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005: The Mercury Labels: A Discography Volume V Record and Artist Indexes (Discographies: Association for Recorded Sound Collections Discographic Reference) Hardcover – December 9, 1993
About the Author
MICHEL RUPPLI is a well-recognized discographer who has published numerous label discographies through Greenwood Press in addition to various artist discographies.
ED NOVITSKY has been actively compiling artist and record label discographies for more than 15 years and serves as a consultant and advisor to record companies and music publications.
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The fundamental point that is raised with these matters of Living Presence vs leases is that of the true "definition" of Mercury Living Presence. What is that that makes a recording a "genuine" Living Presence? Obviously, having been published under the Mercury Living Presence label isn't enough to qualify, since there were so many leases from Philips, and nobody would consider those to be genuine "Living Presence". On the other hand, as shown by the above examples, having NOT been published under Mercury label doesn't disqualify. The reputation and cachet associated with the "Living Presence" logo comes, before even its roster of artists and choice of repertoire, from its audiophile sound, and that in turn derived from a number of factors, first and foremost the "minimalist" approach to microphoning adopted by the Mercury engineers, Robert Fine and his assistant turned chief engineer in the later years, Robert Eberenz, whose technique was to find the ideal spot for a single microphone in the mono days (Telefunken/Neumann U47, then Telefunken/Schoeps 201) and, in the stereo era (which began for Mercury on 26 & 27 November 1955, with Dorati's Beethoven Symphonies No. 4 & 8, Brahms' Tragic and Academic Overtures and Bartok's Suite No. 2) a central one flanked by two side mics (ultimately settling on three 201s at the beginning of 1959). There were other factors as well, the tape equipment custom-made for Fine, the use as of 1961 of much more expensive 35mm film, the refusal to taper electronically with the original sound, the limitation of intermediary steps from the master tapes to the final product, whether vinyl LP or CD.
In that respect, another strong point in favor of Ruppli/Novitsky vs Lacy is that the latter doesn't cover the very early classical music releases of Mercury, from 1949 to 1951, those published in the series MG-10000 (12" LPs) and MG-15000 (10"), let alone the 78rpms published in 1948 and 1949 under label numbers DM-1 to 38, concentrating instead on the famous MG-50000 series (which opened with the legendary April 1951 Pictures at an Exhibition by Kubelik and Chicago) and its parallel when came the stereo era at the end of the 1950s, the SR-90000 series. Lacy's rationale is this: "Starting in 1951 Mercury began a series of LP record albums of classical music, the first album having catalog number MG-50000. Mercury already had experienced marketing classical recordings, the MG-10000 and MG-15000 series of 12" and 10" LPs, respectively, having been initiated in 1949 [in fact 1950]. Many of the recordings in these series were of European origin and not recorded by Mercury personnel. The MG-50000 series brought to the forefront the technical expertise of C. Robert Fine and his signature monophonic recording technique of a single microphone carefully placed in the recording venue (usually above and slightly behind the conductor)."
I don't find the rationale entirely convincing. First, there is, of course, the fact that one may have an interest in knowing about these early leases published by Mercury, which is how, for instance, Sixten Ehrling's premiere complete recording of Sibelius' Symphonies, originally made for the Swedish Metronome, was introduced to the American market (MG10125, 10129, 10141-3), or how Mahler's Klagende Lied got its premiere on record, with the Vienna State Opera under Zoltan Fekete, MG10102 (there was a quasi-simultaneous release in France on the label Euro-Cord; the recording seems to be originated from Austrian Telefunken). Furthermore, even if the interest is exclusively for Mercury productions "recorded by Mercury personnel", the point is that the early series DID include, amidst leases from foreign labels (which, as previously indicated, the MG-50000/SR-90000 series also had), recordings produced by Mercury and made by Mercury personnel, and more specifically by Robert Fine.
That said, while they have been useful at least into giving a lead into what to search for, Ruppli/Novitsky haven't been entirely helpful on this either. First, while their inclusion of the leased recordings in different sections would seem to avoid the risk of confusion, they don't do much by way of establishing where the albums actually originate from. Sometimes they indicate the exact origin of a leased recording ("from Philips label", or "from Nordisk Polyphon label" with SR90450, Nielsen's Springtime in Funen and Twelve Songs by Mogens Wöldike, an information also provided by Lacy) - but rarely, to the point that it seems arbitrary when they do or do not (most albums in the Additional Classical Sessions ARE Philips originated). This lack of indication is especially regrettable in the early leases, from the late 1940s and early 1950s, listed in the "Leased Sessions" section. The cognoscento can easily recognize Philips leases in the "Additional Classical Sessions" and what he doesn't know, Internet provides, but not so easily with the earlier leases. To limit myself to Ruppli/Novitsky's first page (533), where did Bach's Cantata No. 78 with the Bavarian Radio Choir and Chamber Orchestra conducted by Josef Kugler, released on a 10" MG-15010, come from, or harpsichordist Edith Picht-Axenfeld's Bach English Suites (which they list as MG10091 & 10092, forgetting 10093 and the 3-LP deluxe set that gathered them all, MGL-6)? It took hours of Internet research to establish the VERY complicated story and origins of those early leases, whether published on 78s or on early LPs, some from Czechoslovakia, some from Germany via Czechoslovakia, some from the Soviet Union, some from France, some from the Bavarian Radio - and I'm not entirely done yet. For more on this see the comments section.
This has a bearing also in establishing which are genuine Mercury productions. Of special relevance here is that I was able to find out that most of the early domestic productions, those that did not derive from foreign sources and were published by Mercury on 78rpms in 1948 and some even directly on LP in 1950, were indeed recorded by Fine but in fact produced by the label Keynote. Keynote was a small label run by John Hammond, mainly devoted to Jazz, which in 1948 was absorbed by Mercury, Hammond becoming Mercury's Vice-President. Its small classical music catalog was also transferred to Mercury and published by them. So the early 78s releases of Mercury, from DM-1 to DM-9 were Keynote productions, and it was possibly the case also with DM-14, the Fine Arts Quartet's Schubert "Death & the Maiden" (I haven't been able to confirm for sure the origin of that one, Keynote, Mercury or other), but so far as I could establish only the first two, Stravinsky conducting his Dumbarton Oaks Concerto with the Dumbarton Oaks Chamber Ensemble (Keynote DM-1, and although published under that label, Ruppli/Novitsky list it), and Vivaldi's Concerto op. 3-11, recorded by the same Dumbarton Oaks Chamber Orchestra now under Alexander Schneider (Keynote K-2001 then Mercury DM-2, although I've not found a photo or contemporary review of the latter to firmly establish that it was indeed released under the Mercury moniker) were actually released under the Keynote label. It might have been the case also with DM-5, Falla's Harpsichord Concerto with Ralph Kirkpatrick, Alexander Schneider, Mitch Miller, Samuel Baron, Harold Freeman & Bernard Greenhouse and the composition's second recording ever after the composer's own, which everybody including Ruppli/Novitsky refer to as "Mercury", but The Billboard of 20 September 1947 listed it in its Advanced Record Releases as "Keynote DM 4". But starting with DM-3, Shostakovich's Third Quartet by the Fine Arts Quartet, and DM-4, Mozart's Divertimento K251 recorded at the same session as Vivaldi's Concerto (and presumably the same as Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks Concerto and Falla's Harpsichord Concerto, 28 April 1947), they were Mercury. Those early recordings also included the premiere recording of Vaughan Williams' Concerto for Oboe by Mitch Miller (apparently a superb oboist before he became the famous producer and showman for which he is best remembered) and the Saidenberg Little Symphony under Daniel Saidenberg (DM-7) and Brahms' Piano Quartet No. 3 op. 60 with the starry cast of Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Alexander Schneider, Milton Katims and Frank Miller (DM-9). All were reissued on LP in 1950. In the same category, Keynote or Mercury, there were also a few recordings that were published directly on LP in 1950, but whose recording I could trace back to 1947, like Brahms' Piano Quartet No. 1 op. 26 by the same performers as op. 60 (MG-10011) or the Fine Arts Quartet's Prokofiev 2nd Quartet (MG-10045).
So "Leased Sessions" they might have been, but not in the same sense and not as clearly as those leased from foreign sources, and Ruppli/Novitsky, other than listing those recordings, have NOT been helpful here, by providing no clarification on that, not even recording dates (which they never do with the Leased Sessions). In fact, having been engineered by Fine and (for those concerned) Keynote having been subsumed into Mercury, they can be considered at least as being the prehistory of Mercury's genuine productions. Bulking them with the recordings leased from foreign sources only conceals their origin and significance.
But it is not just there that Ruppli/Novitsky's allocation of recordings to the "Leased Sessions" vs "Living Presence Sessions" blurs rather than clarifies the issues. My research on the early sources has also brought to light that various criteria can be used for deciding if a recording belongs to the genuine "Living Presence" series, and that it is never clear which one Ruppli/Novitsky use. The most obvious one would be, of course, the presence of Fine or Robert Eberenz as engineer, using their minimal "Telefunken" mikes - one only in the mono era, three in stereo. In fact, thanks to the Mercury Session list mentioned above (the one that can be found on the Harold Lawrence memorial website), it is known precisely when that began: on 28 December 1950, and the occasion was the recording of William Schuman's two ballet scores, "Judith" and "Undertow", with the Louisville Orchestra, published on MG-10088 (for more details about this fascinating story, see my third comment under my review of the Mercury Living Presence vol. 2 set). Before that, Fine had been using an Altec mic ("probably a `birdcage', indicated his son Thomas Fine in an article published in the August 2012 issue of TapeOp, and reproduced in the booklet of the new Mercury Living Presence volume 2 set), mainly for recordings of piano, organ, chamber music and chamber orchestras. Applied to the Louisville Orchestra, the results had been judged "musically unacceptable". Hence the switch to Telefunken/Neumann.
So there's a decision to be made whether the recordings made by Fine before that date should be included or not in the genuine "Living Presence". If the answer is "no", it means that Living Presence is equated with "Telefunken". A possible solution and a solid one too since this is what was used for the legendary April 1951 recording of Kubelik/Mussorgsky/Chicago/Pictures at an exhibition (MG-50000) which immediately followed the one from December 28 1950, but it may also be considered a bit too radical. That the results were "musically unacceptable" for a sizeable symphony orchestra doesn't mean that they were also with smaller ensembles, and in fact Fine's sonics were often praised in the press of those days.
But clearly, it is not the criterion used by Ruppli/Novitsky, since they include in the Living Presence Series a few recordings made prior to 28 December 1950 - indeed their list starts with the Fine Arts Quartet's Schubert Quartet No. 13 and Mendelssohn Quartet No. 1 op. 12, recorded at "Reeves Sound Studio, NYC, April 17 & 18 1950" (MG10065). Incidentally, I first thought they also excluded some recordings made AFTER the adoption by Fine of the Telefunken/Neuman mic, but I have now been able to establish that the three recitals of Andor Foldes (Beethoven Sonatas on MG10121, pieces of Schumann on MG10122 and Grieg's Norwegian Peasant Dances op. 12 on MG10136) were were in fact reissues from Tono and not original Mercury/Fine recordings.
Another criterion might be Keynote vs "genuine" Mercury, but any recording made as of 1949 would be a genuine Mercury and, although Ruppli/Novitsky do not date the recordings listed in the "Leased Sessions", research shows that a number of them were made indeed in 1949. Yet another criterion could have been the use by Fine of magnetic tape vs recording directly to lacquer disc in 78rpm mode. Although the introduction by Columbia of the Long-Playing record (in June 1948) and the commercialization of the magnetic tape recorder (according to Wikipedia, , "Ampex' Model 200 tape deck was issued in 1948") happened almost simultaneously and were closely related (longer durations required a medium that allowed for longer takes, and possibly more editing than was possible with lacquer discs), they were two independent processes. In terms of high-fidelity and "Living Presence", it can be argued that the magnetic tape was more significant than the LP. There are numerous examples showing that early LP pressings often gave a very poor and distorted notion of the sonic excellence of the magnetic tape masters, which only the CD era revealed, and there was constant research in the late 78s and early LP era to improve the sonic performance of disc pressings. It is significant that the publicity blurbs on the early Mercury LPs insisted on the LP's cutting process (the famous "Reeves-Fairchild Margin Control") rather than Fine's microphone placement.
But in terms of "Living Presence" sound, it is permissible to consider that the discriminating factor, if not the use of Telefunken mics, would be that the sessions were recorded on magnetic tape and not just directly to lacquer disc. The records show that Fine began using magnetic tape somewhere in the early months of 1949. There is, then, a kind of "gray" area, between those early months of 1949 and 28 December 1950, where all but one of the hallmarks that made the "Living Presence" sound of the legendary April 1951 MG-50000 recording were already gathered: Fine, single mic, magnetic tape. The only missing factor was Telefunken.
But there again "Fine + Magnetic tape" isn't the criterion used by Ruppli/Novitsky, as is shown by their different treatment of recordings by the piano duet of husband and wife Abram Chasins and Constance Keene. Chasins is probably best remembered today as the radio host of WQXR, but before the war he was recognized as a virtuoso pianist and celebrated composer. Constance Keene was his student before becoming his wife, and she later made a series of recordings for the label Protone, among which her Rachmaninoff Preludes have become a prized collector's item (Plays Rachmaninoff Complete Preludes). I had been puzzled that their Brahms Waltzes op. 39 paired with their recording of Chasin's own "Period Suite for two pianos" (MG10061), as well as Chasin's recording of three Brahms Rhapsodies, Mozart's Fantasia K. 475 and Bach's Chromatic Fantasia (MG10062), all made at "Steinway Hall, NYC, June 27-29, 1950", were included by Ruppli/Novitsky in the authentic "Living Presence" productions, but not their Fantasias on three Strauss Waltzes and Bizet's Carmen, MG10005 (arrangements by Chasins) or the recital published on MG10025, with a Schwanda-Fantasy by Chasins after Weinberger and Chasins' own Three Chinese pieces, Three Preludes and Fairy Tale played by himself, plus Chasins' arrangements of Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Sprits from Orfeo ed Euridice and Rimsky-Korsakov's Dance of the Buffons played by both.
All had their first publication on LP, so that couldn't have been the discriminating factor, and even those included in the "Living Presence" section were recorded before 28 December 1950, so Telefunken vs Altec mic couldn't have been either. A case then again of the earlier ones having been recorded in the 78s era and belatedly released on LP, like the Fine Arts Quartet's Prokoviev or Horszowski-Schneider's Brahms op. 25, and possibly even Keynote productions?
Not so. Everything about these recordings was unveiled in 1987, when the International Piano Archives at Maryland reissued the Bizet-Strauss arrangements on MG10005 and the two-piano excerpts from 10025 (listed by Ruppli/Novitsky in the Leased Sessions) plus the two Chasins compositions of MG10065 listed by R/N in the "Living Presence Sessions", shortly after Chasins' death, on IPAM 1167. The liner notes were written by someone who'd have first-hand information: David Hall, the annotator of many early Mercury releases and the producer of the early "Living Presence" sessions. This is what he writes:
"The performances here are from recordings done in 1949-50 for Mercury Records. The Bizet-Strauss pieces [MG10005] stem from 1949 sessions done at Reeves Sound Studio a few blocks away from the United Nations complex in New York. Because the Reeves elevator could not accommodate the nine-foot Steinway concert grand, Steinway Model B instruments were used. For the repertoire on side two [excerpts from MG10025 and MG10065], recorded the following year, the performance venue was changed to Steinway Hall at the Steinway building on West 57th Street (...). When the Reeves Sound Studios recordings were done, magnetic tape mastering for commercial purposes was a new thing (Mercury, in fact, was the first firm to sign up with Columbia for use of that label's then new LP microgroove technology) and so lacquer disc masters were cut simultaneously as backup to the magnetic tape. For subsequent sessions portable Ampex tape equipment was brought to Steinway Hall. C. Robert Fine was the session engineer and George Piros handled both the original disc mastering work and tape-to-disc transfers. The original Mercury LPs were the first to employ variable pitch grooves spacing and heated cutting stylus, thus enabling accommodations of dynamic range exceptional for the time."
Thanks David for this invaluable info, you must have been anticipating me.
All these recordings were made by Fine, with an Altec microphone, on magnetic tape. It means then that Ruppli/Novitsky's allocation of MG10005 and 100025 to the Leased Sessions and MG100065 to the genuine "Living Presence Sessions" appears to be not only arbitrary, but plain wrong. The first two are as much - or as little, if you favor the "Telefunken" factor - "Living Presence" as the latter.
The same inconsistencies appear with the organ recitals of Ernest White, with MG10069, the important recording premiere of Messiaen's La Nativité, allocated to the Leased Sessions, and MG10070, Brahms Eleven Choral-Preludes and MG15032 (10" LP), Bach Pastorale / Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, both recorded on 14 & 15 August 1950, granted the honor of inclusion in the Living Presence Sessions. Research on these has yielded that, indeed, the Messiaen was recorded before, but still: in August 1949, so too late to be Keynote and presumably on magnetic tape already, so there would be no significant difference in copyright or recording technique with the sessions of a year later. Consequently, I fail to see the logic of allocating them to different sections.
Or rather, the only logic I see in these apparent inconsistencies of Ruppli/Novitsky is simply: information gaps. Their discography was compiled in the pre-Internet era (it came out in 1993), and information was simply much more difficult to come by. Incidentally, the Mercury session list found on the Harold Lawrence website starts with the same recording as Ruppli/Novitsky's "Living Presence Sessions": the Fine Arts Quartet's recording of Schubert's 13th Quartet and Mendelssohn's first from 17 & 18 April 1950, released on MG10065, includes the early recordings from the MG-10000 series listed by Ruppli/Novitsky in their Living Presence section, and doesn't mention those rejected by the discographers in the "Leased Sessions" section. So I am supposing that they simply followed that list.
Other recordings made by Fine and that might have been recorded on magnetic tape but are listed by Ruppli/Novitsky in the Leased Sessions (and not mentioned on the Mercury session list) are the Brahms Clarinet Sonatas with Reginald Kell and Mieczyslaw Horszowski, made (based on Horzowski's own memoirs) in February 1949 (MG10016), Bach's Sonatas & Partitas for Violin by Alexander Schneider, recorded in 1949 (MGL-1, a four-LP deluxe set) and, most unexpected of all, Menotti's The Medium (MGL-7), the soundtrack for the 1951 movie directed by the composer himself, starring Marie Powers, Thomas Schippers conducting the Italian Radio Orchestra of Rome: I haven't been able to find out exactly when it was recorded. I also have a question mark on the 10" LP MG15025, released at the end of 1950, which has an English-sung performance of Mozart's Schauspieldirektor/The Impressario with a cast including American soprano Lois Hunt and an unnamed Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hermann Herz (who from 1950 to 1967 was the music director of the Duluth Symphony).
And Ruppli/Novitsky's inconsistencies are not limited to the early days, the same phenomenon happens with some of the late releases. Why include, pp. 700 & 701, the Schubert and Satie recitals of Evelyne Crochet, from November 1967 and January 1968, in the Living Presence Sessions, although they were NEVER issued on Mercury but on Philips only (PHS900-178 & PHS900-179), and send to the Additional Classical Sessions her recital of Bach transcriptions from June 1969, which WAS published on Mercury, SR-90519? Here it is not just a matter of reproducing what was on the Mercury session list, since it stops at the end of 1967 and thus doesn't include the 1968 Satie recital. So you'd think the answer might be that the former were recorded by Mercury's Robert Eberenz and was a case similar to the Richter-Liszt Concertos never issued on Mercury, and not the latter. Wrong. As Mrs Crochet has confirmed in a private correspondence, all three were recorded by Marc Aubort. So the Schubert and Satie - not recorded by Mercury personnel, never released on Mercury - have, ultimately, absolutely nothing to do in the listing, whatever the section.
All this may sound like cutting hair with a microscope - and I'll grant: it is. But not just for the sake of cutting hair. What is at stake is establishing which were genuine, Robert Fine engineered recordings, which is, arguably, the true definition of "Living Presence".
And when you start looking through a microscope, you see things you didn't suspect were there. If you agree with the definition that "Living Presence" = Fine (or Eberenz) + three Telefunken microphones (in the stereo era), then sometimes you really need to look into the smallest details to decide if a recording is "one of them" or an alien in disguise. In the course of my research I came up with two interesting cases. One is Tchaikovsky's Four Orchestral Suites, recorded by Dorati and the New Philharmonia Orchestra in August 1966, released on Mercury, OL 3-118 or SR 3-9018 and listed by Ruppli/Novitsky in the Living Presence sessions, but not included in Wilma Cozart Fine's series of CD reissues, and I thought it was because Philips had already reissued them, Tchaikovsky: Complete Suites for Orchestra or Tchaikovsky: Four Suites for Orchestra. But I chanced on an article written by the producer of those sessions, Harold Lawrence, for the Journal of Recorded Music, where he mentions that he had hired a team of Dutch technicians, using "three ultra-sensitive microphones designed and built for Philips by the renowned German audio engineer, Schoeps" (presumably not the Schoeps/Telefunken 201 used by Fine). So, three mics and Mercury producer Harold Lawrence but not Fine or Eberenz and other Schoeps than the ones they used, does it qualify? We are really in a gray area here (another similar case is with Colin Davis' Handel Messiah, recorded a month before by the same team of engineers and microphones, but unlike Dorati, nobody associates Colin Davis with Mercury).
The other case is Frederick Fennell's "Broadway Marches", arrangements for Wind Band of great Broadway hits, duly included in Ruppli/Novitsky's "Living Presence Series" section, published on a Mercury Living Presence LP, SR90390, but also not reissued on CD by Wilma Cozart Fine and I wondered why. Another article by Lawrence in another issue of the same journal provided a possible answer. Reminiscing on those May 1964 recording sessions, he mentions in passing: "All 14 microphones were set to a cardioid pattern and fed to three-track half-inch Ampex tape machines, the same used for Mercury's Living Presence classical recordings". Yes, 14 microphones. That's NOT Robert and Wilma Cozart Fine's "Living Presence" recording techniques and sound, and it is questionable that this recording should have been included in Ruppli/Novitsky's Living Presence section. But you really need to dig deep to find out.
On the other hand, Ruppli/Novitsky list Beethoven's Violin Concerto with Szeryng and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in the Additional Classical Sessions, and provide no recording date. The comprehensive discography of the LSO by Philip Stuart, now hosted on CHARM, the Research Center for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music, indicates 8-10 July 1965, and shows that it was produced by Harold Lawrence and engineered by Robert Eberenz: it is a genuine Living Presence. But the Stuart discography also confirms that the companion recordings, the Concertos for Violin of Sibelius and Prokofiev (No. 2) now under the baton of Rozhdestvensky (made on 22-24 July), rightfully belong to the Additional Classical Sessions: they were produced and engineered by Vittorio Negri. No one from Mercury was involved here (they were busy recording a program of Flute Concertos of Vivaldi, Handel and Telemann with Bernard Krainis and Neville Marriner, Mercury SR-90443).
This about rounds up what I have to say on Ruppli/Novitsky's discography. The rest is small details - a discography like this deals with, literally, millions of them, so no wonder they miss target on a few. For some reason Ruppli/Novitsky list the Mercury 78s as MDM (some as MDMS) - all those I've seen sold on eBay or in library catalogs were DM. They fail to list the Intermezzo from Mendelssohn's Piano Quartet op. 2 which was the filler to 78rmp DM-9, Brahms' 3rd Piano Quartet (the filler wasn't even indicated on the album's cover). In volume IV, in the "Leased Sessions", page 547, they say that Shostakovich's Trio played by Shostakovich-Oistrakh-Sadlo was released on a 10" 33rpm MG-15005 - it wasn't: MG-15005 was Highlights from Strauss' Gypsy Baron with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra; strangely, Ruppli/Novitsky don't give any entry for MG-15005 in their Vol. V numerical listing. They certainly fooled Shostakovich's discographer Derek C. Hulme, Dmitri Shostakovich Catalogue: The First Hundred Years and Beyond, who lists the Shostakovich as MG-15005 but not as 12" 33rpm MG-10045. Ruppli/Novitsky's numerical listing of MG 15016 indicates Brahms 6 Lieder but fails to mention the flip side, Beethoven's An die Ferne Geliebte, although the reference is duly indicated in the Leased Sessions of vol. IV. Ruppli/Novitsky wrongly list MG-15009 as containing Bach's Sonata No. 3 by Alexander Schneider alongside Janacek's Youth Quintet and Bartos' Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme-suite, which would make strange bedfellows, but obviously a wrong reference crept in at some point which the discographers failed to notice. They are very spotty about Ernest White's recording of Bach's 8 Little Preludes and Fugues, listing only a 45rpm release of four but not the complete cycle on MG-15027, and but allocate it to the "genuine" Living Presence section, with a question mark; however, research shows that it was the reissue of a Technichord 78rpm album released in 1948. The Symphony No. 19 on MG-15077 is Haydn's, not Mozart's. Hovhaness' First Concerto for Orchestra is called "AreVaKal" not "AreKaVal" (vol. IV p. 571). The discographers omit to list the Variations ABEGG in Andor Foldes' Schumann recital on MG-10122 (vol. IV p. 547 and vol. V p. 498) and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde Prelude performed by Leinsdorf and the Silvertone Symphony Orchestra in their listing of MG-200014, devoted to "Famous Orchestral Highlights from Grand Opera", the rest with the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra under Henry Weber (IV p. 558). In their listing of MG-10021, featuring again the Silvertone Symphony Orchestra and reissues from the Silvertone 78rpm label (IV p. 557) they attribute to Leinsdorf Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte - it is Enesco conducting - and omit entirely the Enesco-conducted Debussy's Prelude à l'après midi d'un faune and Fauré's Fileuses from Pelleas & Melisande. Contrary to Ruppli/Novitsky's listing of SR 90100, Beethoven's Symphonies No. 4 & 8 and Mercury's first stereo recording from 26 November 1955, was apparently never released in stereo in the SR series (but there was a stereo release on Mercury's budget label, Wing, SRW 18042, probably a fake, "electronically reprocessed" stereo). Likewise, they list stereo releases SR-90086 to 90097, but that's impossible since MG-50086 to 97 were mono recordings all made before November 1955, and James Lacy on mercury.lacyway indicates that SR-90061 to 97 were left unused. Their listing of Rostropovich-Richter's Beethoven, "5 Sonatas for piano and cello, op. 69", lets you think that the Mercury team recorded all five; not so, only No. 3 op. 69, the rest was made in Vienna in 1962 and 1963 by others. And I've dealt in the first part of this review with other mistakes, such as the dating ones for Janis' Pictures at an Exhibition, Schuman's ballets, the attibution of Hanson's Souza Stars & Stripes and various typos.
Ruppli/Novitsky are also sometimes mistaken when the indicate a recording "unissued": Käbi Laretei's Ludus Tonalis from October 19 & 20, 1965 (vol. IV p. 698), Puyana's Orbon Tres Cantigas del Rey from 10-11 July 1964 (p. 691) and Partitas from December 1966 (p. 699): they were, but on Philips (in fact R/N duly list Ludus Tonalis in their numerical listing of the Philips PHS series, vol. V p. 635, but with a typo on the performer's name, LareteJ, which is probably why they failed to cross-reference it). The discographers also err when their typographic presentation treats "Arauxo" and "Cabezon" as compositions of Orbon, rather than like the composers they are (vol. IV p. 699). All this is individually menial, although it cumulates.
My pointing out the inconsistencies and omissions of Ruppli/Novitsky probably makes me seem more critical than I am. Again, they have been invaluable in giving me the lead to what to search for. But they are a starting point, not an end.