Do I hear R's voice on Naxos reissue of recordings Vol 2

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concertoboy
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Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:54 am

Do I hear R's voice on Naxos reissue of recordings Vol 2

Postby concertoboy » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:11 am

Hi everyone,

I have always wondered what it would be like if we got to hear what Rachmaninoff had to say immediately after recording a piece - that is, if the disc-cutting lathe continued recording sound long after the music stopped, or impromptu remarks which are made on spoiled takes - in Rachmaninoff's case it might be interesting, and given the multiple takes he made to achieve perfection chances are he may have been recorded speaking. I think I have heard an example of that. Today I bought Naxos' reissue of Rachmaninoff's recordings vol 2, something I wasn't interested in because I already had the RCA complete recordings. I noticed something odd when I listened to the Ruins of Athens Turkish March which on this reissue. At the end of the recording after Rachmaninoff plays his final fortissimo chords there is silence and the usual slight surface noise - at this point in the BMG release of the RCA Victor set the track fades out. In the Naxos recording it goes on for several more seconds and then you hear what sounds like a man sighing and then saying in a tired voice, a low voice with accented english, "Play it again". It is pretty audible - I suppose it is our dear Rachmaninoff asking for another take! The recording was made on Dec 14th, 1925 - it took two takes and the first take was the one issued (according to the detailed information in Barrie Martyn's book). I don't think I'm completely crazy (maybe about Rachmaninoff), but this is what I heard. I'd like to hear what others have to say - it is the Naxos reissue (the RCA Gold Seal issue does not have this oddity as it fades out right away after the music ends). I emailed Ward Marston who did the transfer of the original 78 and he said that he heard the comment too, but something tells him it is not Rachmaninoff - if it isn't then someone at the recording session said it and I don't know who would tell Rachmaninoff to play another take! I will say that what I heard sounds exactly like the imitations which Ormandy and Moiseiwitsch and Horowitz did when speaking of Rachmaninoff in their interviews, a low, brooding, kind of lugubrious voice with a heavy russian accent.
Last edited by concertoboy on Sat Jun 18, 2011 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Marianne
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Re: Do I hear R's voice on Naxos reissue of recordings Vol 2

Postby Marianne » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:34 pm

I wish I could here that too... will try to get the record...

concertoboy
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:54 am

Re: Do I hear R's voice on Naxos reissue of recordings Vol 2

Postby concertoboy » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:32 am

This is not Mozart's Ronda alla turca - it is the Beethoven/Rubinstein/Rachmaninoff Turkish March from the Ruins of Athens :-) you can hear the comment on the old original 78's (which are unedited of course) or the naxos volume 2 of the Rachmaninoff solo recordings, but not the BMG box set.

Also, I must apologize - in my original post I put the wrong date and location - the date of the recording session was Dec 14th, 1925 in New York City (not Dec 1928 in Camden New Jersey) - sorry about that, I rechecked the Barrie Martyn book and edited my original post above with the correct date, 1925 and city. So, I'm not sure whether Alexander Greiner would have been present in 1925 (he was someone whom you considered, then rejected, as a candidate who might have uttered this comment).

One more thing, the more I listen to it, the more it sounds like "Play again", and not "Play it again" - I agree with Zane, in the Rachmaninoff litterature we read over and over how his English was spoken in a broken and halting way, this would be conceivable - his saying "Play again" instead of saying a complete sentence such as "I will play it again". This voice truly sounds to me like the imitations that his close circle of colleagues and friends do - this low, brooding voice. By the way, according to Ward Marston, the Boublitchki recording is played too fast - the voices are not at the correct pitch. This recording has not been transfered yet and it is rather difficult to identify when Rachmaninoff is speaking (I don't speak Russian and I don't know whether anyone here, Marianne perhaps, can clarify that).


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