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Alfred Deller (Counter-tenor)
Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works
General Discussions

Recordings

See: Alfred Deller - Short Biography

 

Deller question

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (October 17, 2004):
The shrink wrap has come off the Deller CD of the two Bach solo alto cantatas-agnus dei (with a few of the items from the Handel disk). Of course it is a magnificent treasure and I am happy I got it when I did as who knows whether it is still in print. I got it when Vanguard CDs was going out of business. But I really want to ask the collective knowledge here whether anyone knows about the OTHER "Come ye sons of art" of Purcell which Deller did not with his son Mark, but with a different 2nd counter-tenor by the name of John Whitworth, with the St. Anthony Singers and L'Ensemble orchestral de l'oiseau-lyre conducted by Anthony Lewis. I have it on a London:Editions de l'oiseau-lyre LP (first published in 1958) coupled with Lully's Miserere. I recall it as being more enticing than the more famed recording with Deller père et fils. Did this ever make its way to digitalization?
TIA,

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 18, 2004):
Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote:
< whether anyone knows about the OTHER "Come ye sons of art" of Purcell which Deller did not with his son Mark, but with a different 2nd counter-tenor by the name of John Whitworth, with the St. Anthony Singers and L'Ensemble orchestral de l'oiseau-lyre conducted by Anthony Lewis. I have it on a London:Editions de l'oiseau-lyre LP (first published in 1958) coupled with Lully's Miserere. I recall it as being more enticing than the more famed recording with Deller père et fils. Did this ever make its way to digitalization? >
Sounds enticing; I'll watch for it, thanks for mentioning its existence. I have most of Deller's other Purcell but not that one...and I like some parts of the famous "Dido" 1962 recording conducted by Anthony Lewis (with Janet Baker), too. Really different from Deller's own 1964 recording of it!

Riccardo Nughes wrote (October 18, 2004):
Did this ever make its way to digitalization?

According to http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/lol53005.htm the Purcell tracks have been reissued on 2 cds ->
http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/dec48247.htm & http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/cds/dec43393.htm

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (October 18, 2004):
[Ato Riccardo Nughes]
Mille grazie,

You do seem to have an expertise in locating such things. Now that I know it to exist, the hunt (if even for a CD-R) must begin. I am actually surprised that it has been released as even the LP was arcane and not widely known as the father and son recording was the very popular one.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 18, 2004):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] In case you're still trying to track down other of Deller's Purcell recordings:

- Dido, conducted by Deller, has been on Vanguard Classics 08 5100 07. Helen Watts as the Sorceress!

- Harmonia Mundi France's "musique d'abord" series has released at least eight or nine CDs of Deller's later Purcell recordings, from the later 1960s and into the 1970s. There's an incomplete discography in the booklet of "Olinda" (#190214), and I see that the disc #190233 (five Anthems) wasn't listed there....

I'm still moved by both of Deller's recordings of the Couperin Tenebrae lessons. Vanguard Bach Guild 2525 and HM d'abord 190210.

Bradley Lehman wrote (October 18, 2004):
One more: the St Cecilia ode sung by Deller and conducted by Tippett!
http://www.allegro-music.com/online_catalog.asp?sku_tag=VAN38116

 

Recent listening

John Pike wrote (May 10, 2005):
A number of factors prevented me from looking at e mails over the last few weeks but I was still busy listening to Bach. First on was Alfred Deller's recordings of Cantatas BWV 54 and BWV 170, plus the Agnus Dei from the MBM (BWV 232) and a few snippets of Handel. I had been trying to get hold of this for ages and, after paying the most I have ever paid for a single CD, for a second hand copy, I was not disappointed. In fact, it would be a desert island recording for me. It is, quite simply, some of the most breath-takingly beautiful music making I have heard. Many thanks to Brad for recommending it on the list many times. I particularly enjoyed the opening movement of BWV 170, the first track on the CD.

Next on was Leusink's recording of BWV 54. His complete recordings of the cantatas cost me only UKP 60 on www.jpc.de. Judging by this first recording, I will have mush to look forward to.

I have also just listened to Veldhoven's new OVPP recording of the SJP. It is certainly very beautiful. The singing is of a very high order, instrumental playing is excellent, and the phrasing, intonation, dynamics etc are all very pleasing. My only criticism would be that some of the drama in the work has been sacrificed in making the music sound beautiful throughout. For example, I found "Wir haben ein Gesetz" just too pleasant. Given how unjust and appalling the action really is, I would have preferred to hear this conveyed in the style of performance. However, otherwise an enjoyable recording.

 

OT: Ton Koopman new release
Old Deller Albums

John Pike wrote (April 9, 2008):
OT: Ton Koopman new release

A few years ago I wanted to get hold of Alfred Deller's recording of BWV 170 and BWV 54 with Harnoncourt and Leonhardt. I had great difficulty obtaining it, and had to order it from the USA. It cost an arm and a leg, but I would never regret it for music making like that. I can't understand why it was not readily available.

Julian Mincham wrote (April 9, 2008):
[To John Pike] Agreed. I have the original Lp and treasure it highly--also has the Agnus Dei from the BmM and i have yet to hear a more moving performance of it albeit the strings not always fully in tune.

On the subject of Deller i have similarly beem unable to understand why the two vanguard LPs of the C 16 and 17 songs, catches and glees sung by the Deller Consort seem never to have been transcribed to CDs. I would think that they would find a very appreciative audience. One of the members of the consort, tenor Max Worthley (died a few years ago in Little Rock USA ) once told me about Deller's dislike of rehearsal and the hair raising recording sessions they had back in the mid 1950s. You had to be a damn good sight reader to work with Deller.?

Bradley Lehman wrote (April 9, 2008):
Old Deller Albums

Julian Mincham wrote:
< Agreed. I have the original Lp and treasure it highly--also has the Agnus Dei from the BmM and i have yet to hear a more moving performance of it albeit the strings not always fully in tune.
On the subject of Deller i have similarly beem unable to understand why the two vanguard LPs of the C 16 and 17 songs, catches and glees sung by the Deller Consort seem never to have been transcribed to CDs. I would think that they would find a very appreciative audience. >

Which album titles? I have a bunch of those old Vanguard LPs (collection badly mis-sorted at the moment, though), getting them from a radio station that doesn't play classical anymore.

About five years ago I grabbed as many of the CD versions of those as I ever saw (maybe ten to a dozen). Those were at:
http://www.cybermusicsurplus.com/
http://www.allegro-music.com/
...but the only Deller they have there today is the Handel "Sosarme". Those that I did catch a CD copy of all say they were done by the Omega Record Group between 1996 and 1999.

I'll put on one of them right now. "Elizabethan and Jacobean Music" where the only singer iDeller himself, with Desmond Dupre on lute and Gustav Leonhardt on harpsichord. There are also some four-viol pieces on here where the players are Mr and Mrs Harnoncourt (aka Alice Hoffelner), Eduard Melkus, and Leonhardt (playing bass viol!). This was in 1954, made at the same time as their disc of the Bach cantatas BWV 54/BWV 170 and the Agnus Dei. Leonhardt's harpsichord-playing and his instruments got better than this within the next dozen years; it's weird to hear him playing on the thin pingy type of instrument and bringing out registration changes every 20 to 30 seconds. Deller's singing is magnificently expressive, singing in a language (English) that he knew. :)

Old discussions: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/Deller.htm

Stephen Benson wrote (April 9, 2008):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< On the subject of Deller i have similarly beem unable to understand why the two vanguard LPs of the C 16 and 17 songs, catches and glees sung by the Deller Consort seem never to have been transcribed to CDs. >
HBDirect http://www.hbdirect.com/ ) has a number of Alfred Deller Vanguard CD's, several of those re-issued by the Bach Guild and Artemis Classics and available for $7.99 ($6.99 for members). I don't know if there's anything there that you're looking for, but at these prices (in contrast to the ridiculous prices we've been talking about at the other end of the spectrum), it might be worth a look. I have "Deller's Choice" a collection of mostly 17th-century songs sung by Alfred Deller and accompanied by Gustav Leonhardt. Of course, now that I've gone back and checked HB for availability, I HAD to buy three more discs!

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (April 10, 2008):
Deller and unavailable CDs

John Pike wrote:
> A few years ago I wanted to get hold of Alfred Deller's recording of BWV 170 and BWV 54 with Harnoncourt and Leonhardt. I had great difficulty obtaining it, and had to order it from the USA. It cost an arm and a leg, but I would never regret it for music making like that. I can't understand why it was not readily available. <
I see no profit in responding to any of the ad hominem posts and I shall not. I do wish to suggest that what we all have in common is a love of music and esp. of Bach's music. I find life too short to worry about oop CDs. I see little purpose in spending a small fortune to obtain an oop CD such as the Deller. I was lucky enough to replace my Deller LP and my Vanguard Rössl-Majdan LPs at the time the Omega was having a fire sale close-down-the company, going out of business..

But If I did not catch them at that time, I would not be searching for sellers who want $100.00 for a copy. I would simply seek a CD-R. And that is one of the things I consider decent and neighborly music-loving behavior having nothing to do with any organized religion. It is very common in the opera world and far less common in the Bach world. However I have still finally found many such desiderata, particularly the ones that have never been transferred to CD. E.g. The Helen Watts solo contralto LP was recently shared at my request on operashare. It was my 2nd request and it took a year or so.

It was never a super-favorite of mine but, as many here know, I collect BWV53 and I waited a long time until the Werner set appeared just for that one item (I enjoyed many of the other performances in the Werner set, some of which I long had on LPs). Now of course there are many fine in-print current recordings of this work and of many works, but I need them all and I see no reason not to share them.

I myself have shared CDs, I haven't mastered LP transfers, for years with strangers and often asked for nothing in return. Others have overwhelmed me at times with such generosity. Such things are a common religion to music lovers in my opinion and not the insane use of a music list to insist on one's religious faith. That's my belief and nobody has to share it. <>

Ed Myskowski wrote (April 10, 2008):
>I see little purpose in spending a small fortune to obtain an oop CD such as the Deller.<
The purpose is to obtain something one will enjoy. The price is a matter of agreement between buyer and seller.

>Now of course there are many fine in-print current recordings of this work and of many works, but I need them all and I see no reason not to share them.<
In-print current recordings? The reason not to share them is copyright law. A casual copy among friends, generally tolerated, but widespread distribution is illegal, and is prosecuted often enough to discourage it.

I am wondering if the orignal statement is not a bit unclear, and <share them> is in fact intended to refer to the out-of-print, rather than to in-print CDs? Even in that case, propietary rights remain a consideration.

Julian Mincham wrote (April 10, 2008):
[To Stephen Benson] Many thanks Steve--I will follow it up.

Aryeh Oron wrote (April 12, 2008):
Alfred Deller

[To Ed Myskowski] Talking about Alfred Deller, you might be interested to know that his bio on the BCW was recently updated and corrected by his grandson, Martin Deller.
See: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Deller-Alfred.htm

BTW, Deller's highly recommended album of Cantatas BWV 54/BWV 170 is currently not available from Amazon, but at least you can listen to samples from it.
See the Amazon link at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/H&L-Recordings.htm [E-1]

 

Alfred Deller

Sw Anandgyan wrote (June 24, 2008):
Aryeh Oron wrote:
[snip]
< BTW, Deller's highly recommended album of Cantatas
BWV 54/BWV 170 is currently not available from Amazon, but at least you can listen to samples from it.
See the Amazon link at:
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Performers/H&L-Recordings.htm [E-1] >
Greetings Aryeh and every Bach aficionados

This may already have been brought up but since I cannot contain my excitement, let it be known that I am currently listening to some of this "collector's item" music from a giveaway CD with the current (in Québec) Diapason magazine # 558 for it features a special on Gustav Leonhardt's 80th birthday.

http://www.diapasonmag.fr/magazine.php?Num=558

The first three LPs recorded in 1954; some Parsons, Campian, Dowland, Bartlett and Purcell and cantatas BWV 170 and BWV 54 AND the Agnus Dei aria from the MBM (BWV 232).

All in glorious mono!

 

OT: Deller

Julian Mincham wrote (December 13, 2008):
For those with a distaste for Alfred Deller or those just beginning to explore his many recordings I thought the following testimonials from two men often mentioned on this list, may be of interest. They were made on the 25th anniversary of Deller’s death.

1 He was a musician but even among those singing musicians he was exceptional, as for him music served the text (as it had for the best composers).

I consider Deller as one of my foremost teachers (keyboard players need this dynamic colouring just as badly, even if the result at best is only illusion).

Gustav Leonhardt


2 A magnificent sound, handled with refinement, effortless, light, ideal for our old instruments; exceptionally individual and used with great expressiveness. To accompany him was a sheer pleasure.

------it was clear from the beginning that we were working with a truly great singer and creative artist.

But, above all, he was the most important singer of the blossoming ‘Early Music’ movement.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

John Pikewrote (December 13, 2008):
[To Julian Mincham] Many thanks for this, Julian. Great tributes by two great about another great man.

Julian Mincham wrote (December 14, 2008):
[To John Pike] Yes I found their comments fascinating. In fact Harnoncourt also said that in making the 1954 recordings with him (which I think must have been the Bach cantatas and the Agnes Dei from the Bm Mass) was the first time that he had ever heard a male alto!

 

Deller recordings

Julian Mincham wrote (January 15, 2009):
The subject of Deller's old Vanguard recordings has cropped up from time to time on list. I have been looking for years, without success, for? a CD of the catches and glees he recorded with the consort back in the 50s. Marvellous stuff for young choirs although sometimes the words need to be bowdlerised in order to placate parents!

After an 8 week search CD Universe managed to locate a 7 CD set of his Vanguard classics recorded in 2008 also including a CD Rom of further information and the original liner notes---Vol 1 of the complete Vanguard recordings of Deller.?They arrived this morning and?I am listening to them now.? Why it takes so long to track them down I do not know but the point is, they are actually available.

I assume that the recordings of the alto cantatas which I know some members are looking for either are, or will soon be, available.

Thanks to Ed for pointing me in the right direction.

Stephen Benson wrote (January 15, 2009):
[To Julian Mncham] Volumes 2 and 3 are also available. Volume 3 WAS to have been his Bach recordings, but the order the sets were issued was switched, I presume, to permit the "Carols and Motets" set, now Vol. 3, to be available for Christmas.

There is a link to last July's press release announcing the entire series which I'll provide when I can find where I put it. I hope the current economic mess doesn't throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings.
(I've had this information for a few weeks now, and DID -- honest! -- intend to share it.)

Julian Mincham wrote (January 16, 2009):
Apologies if people receive this twice. I know some did as Steve responded. However it wasn't delivered to my own in box as usual so I thought there might be a problem of general distibution. I know there are one or two other Deller fans out there like myself.

Julian Mincham wrote (January 19, 2009):
I don't know if this is illegal but at least it's an advert for the company---- below is a copy from the CD rom front page which accompanies each set of the complete Deller Vanguard recordings currently being released (see my previous email on this). Each volume has several CDs (the first set has seven) and includes all the catches and glees and the London Cries, folk and lute songs. Vol 4 has the Bach cantatas and Agnus Dei which some people have been looking out for.

Original Recordings licensed from Sheridan Square Entertainment Inc.
This Compilation (P) & © 2008 Musical Concepts. All Rights Reserved
Vanguard Classics is a trademark of Figaro JGO Music
CD-ROM produced by Gaudette & Assoc.

Try CDUniverse if you want more details.

 

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Last update: ýJanuary 19, 2009 ý17:06:21