Sunday, 29 April 2012

Parsifal Carnegie Hall 1938

Rare Picture of Norman Cordon
Although the entire first act of Parsifal was broadcast as part of this NYPSO concert, only 23 mins seem to survive. These airchecks were recorded by a professional company in New York for Norman Cordon, who sang Titurel in this performance. Some singers were anxious to document their broadcast performances (Lawrence Tibbett did it often) and paid others to record off-air transmissions. Perhaps the company was only commissioned to record Cordon's part, understandable given the expense involved.
After Cordon's death these discs were donated by his family to a charity shop run by a local PTA in Carborro, NC. They were spotted by an opera enthusiast who rescued them and now we are able to hear part of this performance.
Englishman John Barbirolli had taken over from Toscanini as the principal conductor of the NYPSO in 1936, not a universally acclaimed decision with some critics particularly taking offence the job had not been offered to a more famous conductor. The survival of air-checks of Barbriolli's concerts permit us to judge his ability on the podium for ourselves and I think in general JB comes out pretty well as a result.

New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra Concert
Carnegie Hall April 17, 1938 broadcast over WABC 3-5pm.
Act 1 grail scene, Norman Cordon (Titurel), Richard Bonelli (Amfortas)
c. John Barbirolli

1 comment:

  1. Found some Norman Cordon recordings at the Durham NC library book sale years ago 2 airchecks from Chesterfield radio program.He sings Old Man River,Mentions the "Met" and a set of discs when he was with the Merriemen .