Open Reel Records release six new classical recordings on tape

Still looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your tape-loving audiophile? Look no further. Hot off the press are six newly-available recordings from the superb Italian label Open Reel Records, all available to order now.

Here’s the goodies…


Accademia degli Astrusi

Arcangelo Corelli’s Christmas Concert “Per La Notte Di Natale”

Conductor: Federico Ferri
Orchestra: Accademia degli Astrusi

A special release for Christmas 2018, recorded by Open Reel Records’ artistic director, Marco Taio, in Bologna, Italy. The orchestra is the outstanding Accademia degli Astrusi (a Sony artist, among many other accolades), led by cellist and conductor Federico Ferri. If you like your Christmas big on baroque and emotion, then this is surely the soundtrack you need to accompany this month’s festivities.

It features Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G minor, the eighth of his 12 concerti grossi (that is, concertos for a concertino group), Op. 6, published posthumously and created specifically for Christmas night. “This is a Christmas worthy of baroque Rome, oozing gold and brocade and then dropping to the poignant lullaby of the final pastorale,” tempt the cover notes. Also featured are Francesco Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso No.12 in D (‘La Follia’, after Corelli, Op.5, No.12), and Giacomo Antonio Perti’s “sparkling little Sinfonia” for violin, in four largely isorhythmic parts.

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Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, no.s 9-12 (2 tapes)

Conductor: Enrico Dindo
Orchestra: I Solisti di Pavia

Again, this is a live recording made by Open Reel Records’ Marco Taio, this time in Pavia, Italy. It’s performed by the excellent chamber orchestra I Solisti di Pavia (‘the soloists of Pavia’) led by cellist Enrico Dindo.

The two tapes feature the latter four of Corelli’s above-mentioned 12 concerti grossi, Op. 6: nos 9, 10, 11 and 12. Corelli’s concerti grossi were real ground-breakers in their day. While not the inventor of the concerto grosso form, Corelli wrote the first great music for it and established and popularized its potential, paving the way for future work by Vivaldi, Handel and Bach. Having previously penned a glowing review of I Solisti di Pavia and Enrico Dindo’s three prior recordings for Open Reel Records, I’ve already got my hands on a copy of this recording and I look forward to reviewing it in early 2019!

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Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater
Sara Mingardo & Silvia Frigato

Conductor: Federico Ferri
Orchestra: Accademia degli Astrusi

Composed in the final weeks of his life, the Stabat Mater is one of Pergolesi’s most celebrated sacred works, achieving great popularity after the composer’s death (at the age of just 26). This is another (no doubt superb) recording made by Marco Taio, in Bologna, Italy and, like the Christmas Concert it features the Accademia degli Astrusi led by Federico Ferri. The stunning voices are those of Sara Mingardo (contralto) & Silvia Frigato (soprano)

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‘Classical on Tape’ Series 

Next up are three new additions to Open Reel’s ‘Classical on Tape’ Series. The recordings in this series aren’t made by Marco Taio himself and aren’t ‘new’ as such. Rather, they are wonderful, classic old recordings of which Open Reel Records has acquired the masters.

The first three recordings (‘volumes’) already released in the series, which you can find on Open Reel Records’ website, are:

Vol 1- Hector Berlioz – Sinfonia Fantastica (Part 1 / Movements 1-2)

Vol 2 – Johannes Brahms – Concerto For Violin and Cello Op.102

Vol 3 – Claude Debussy – Nocturnes.

The three new additions now joining them are…

Conductor Carlo Zecchi

Vol 4 – Hector Berlioz – Sinfonia Fantastica (Part 2 / Movements 3-5)

Conductor: Carlo Zecchi
Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded at the House of Artists, Prague in 1959

I have a copy of Vol 1 / Part 1 so have been eagerly awaiting Vol 4 / Part 2 of Berlioz’ ‘Fantastical Symphony: An Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Movements’. Leonard Bernstein famously described the symphony as the first musical expedition into psychedelia because of its hallucinatory and dream-like nature, and also because it’s believed that Berlioz composed at least a portion of it under the influence of opium. According to Bernstein, “Berlioz tells it like it is. You take a trip, you wind up screaming at your own funeral.” Sounds like a must-listen to me!

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Conductor Jean Fournet

Vol 5 – Claude Debussy – La Mer

Conductor: Jean Fournet
Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded at the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum, Prague in 1963

From the cover notes/accompanying booklet: “A masterpiece of suggestion and subtlety in its rich depiction of the ocean, which combines unusual orchestration with daring impressionistic harmonies. The work has proven very influential, and its use of sensuous tonal colours and its orchestration methods have influenced many later film scores.”

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Vol 6 – Sergei Prokofiev – Cinderella (Part 1)

Conductor: Jean Meylan
Orchestra: Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Recorded at the House of Artists, Prague in 1961

Cinderella, Op. 87, is a ballet composed by Prokofiev for a scenario by Nikolai Volkov. It’s one of Prokofiev’s most popular and melodious compositions and has inspired a great many choreographers over the years since its premiere at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1945. The performed piece as a whole was notable for its jubilant music, lush scenery, and for the comic double-roles of the stepsisters, who were more mad than bad in this treatment.

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