Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hindemith's Choral Legacy on Record: An Appreciation

I first became familiar with the music of Hindemith as a young composition student back in the 1970s. As a trained musician I have always admired his work for its impeccable craftsmanship and formal elegance, for the seemingly inevitable logic of its construction, and for its pure, cerebral beauty. Hindemith's compositions were meticulously worked out in his head before being written down, each voice or instrumental part notated from beginning to end, one at a time. This sort of horizontal conceptualization is similar to what composers did in the Renaissance. In more recent centuries, highly prolific composers such as J.S. Bach, Mozart, Max Reger, and Darius Milhaud have all employed a similar working method. By the early 1930s, in the full flower of creative maturity, Hindemith's craft had settled into a comfortable, quasi-formulaic groove, his technical procedures so thoroughly internalized that he could, as on several occasions, compose pieces under imminent deadline within hours, or even within minutes, whether for radio broadcast (Trauermusik, written on the sudden death of George V in 1936), or recording (Scherzo for Viola and Cello (1934), composed on the spot in a studio during the recording session for the String Trio #2, when it was discovered that there would be an odd side left unused in the Electrola 78-rpm album).

To a casual listener, this constructivist approach to composition can easily be perceived as overly-academic, dry, dispassionate, or soullessly detached, a music more rooted in technique than enlivened by inspiration, or, perhaps, a music that is more science than art. Indeed, as an avid listener-for-pleasure (now retired from composing), I often find myself seeking or wishing for a pathos in Hindemith that isn't necessarily there. Yet I still adore this music for its democratic accessibility as well as its occasional flash of sly referential humor such as introducing Big Bill Broonzy's This Train into the finale of Pittsburg Symphony (1958), using the military march by Beethoven as a countermelody in the scherzo of the Sinfonia Serena (1946), or the sardonic quoting of Mendelssohn's Wedding March in the Concerto for Winds and Harp (1949). I delight in the luminous grandeur of Nobilissima Visione (1938) (based on themes by Machaut, reflecting Hindemith’s lifelong passion for early music), the Symphony: Mathis der Maler (1930), or the slow middle movement of the Cello Concerto (1940), basis for William Walton's glorious Variations on a Theme of Hindemith (1963); the sunny lyricism of the Der Schwanendreher Concerto (1935), and the somber dignity of Trauermusik.

Where his orchestral and chamber compositions are concerned, Hindemith has been served very well on record over the decades. Deutsche Gramophone and EMI have offered multi-disc retrospectives of the composer’s own recordings, both as conductor and viola soloist. The German label CPO issued a 15-disc set (3 slip-cased volumes (1987-1992)) of the complete orchestral music to coincide with the Hindemith centennial in 1991, and, as of this writing, the catalog lists no fewer than 43 recordings of the Symphony: Mathis der Maler. Another German label, Dabringhaus und Grimm (MDG) issued a 10-disc series of smaller-scale works, including the complete sonatas in 7 volumes, and a sparkling album of vocal chamber music, all performed by the marvelous Ensemble Villa Musica, in the early to mid-1990s. CPO and Naxos have released new recordings of the complete string quartets and other chamber works, and, it seems, new recordings and highly desirable re-issues of older ones show up almost every month.

Yet, with the exception of a few pieces, Hindemith's choral oeuvre has not faired quite so well on record, though, technically and stylistically, the music is no less accessible than the popular orchestral works. (A competent high-school choir can tackle the Rilke chansons with good results.) In fact, Hindemith's choral style feels quite conservative when compared to many of his contemporaries in the "professional avant-garde". He eschews the dense textures and towering chord clusters of the serialists (Schoenberg, Webern, Nono) as well as the ironically acerbic anti-settings of Stravinsky, in which the composer intentionally ignores the natural stresses in a text. By contrast, Hindemith strikes us today as positively tame, and, more often than not, refreshingly mellifluous, his neo-classicism closer to that of Brahms or Reger than Stravinsky. Compare, for instance, Hindemith's 1963 setting of the ordinary of the Mass (intended for practical liturgical use) with Stravinsky's "objective" 1947 concert setting for mixed choir and winds. It would be difficult to imagine a wider divide in attitude and style.

As far as I know, there has never been a truly comprehensive survey of Hindemith's choral music either on LP or CD. Probably one of the composer's most familiar and popular works, the Six Chansons after Rilke (1939) have shown up in choral anthologies as far back as the 1960s, notably, The Canby Singers for Nonesuch (1966), and the Gregg Smith Singers on a maddeningly boxy-sounding Grenadilla LP (1977). Un cygnet (The Swan) and the feather-light 30-second Puisque tout passé (Since all is passing) have made encore-like bows in a few collections, mostly on fairly obscure labels. But what of the other works? To find many of them, collectors have had to settle for a drib here and a drab there, along with a fair amount of redundancy and overlap.



Comes now this well-produced and most welcome 2013 release from Hänssler Classics featuring one of Hindemith's most intriguing and rarely heard choral compositions, Apparebit repentina dies for mixed chorus and ten brass instruments (1947), a work virtually absent from the catalog for nearly forty years. In addition, Marcus Creed leads well-polished readings of Hindemith's final composition, the Mass (1963), and the rarely recorded Songs on Old Texts Op. 33 (1923-1925), along with the Rilke Chansons. Part of Creed's superb on-going series of discs dedicated to the choral music of 20th century masters, now including albums devoted to Charles Ives, Eliot Carter, Alfred Schnitke, and Heitor Villa Lobos, these performances are solidly professional, the recorded sound is first rate, and the timing of the release, coming on the fiftieth anniversary of the composer's death, couldn't be more apt.

And yet, I’d have to say that there are better performances, and better recent digital recordings of all this material, including Apparebit repentina dies. A collector only need know where to look.


The Mass has been issued on CD several times, including the rather indifferent-sounding 1996 reading by Fritz ter Wey and der Junge Chor Aachen, coupled with the twelve 5-Part Madrigals after texts of Josef Weinheber (1958) on CPO. Conductor Uwe Gronostay has recorded it superbly, not once but twice; with the Netherlands Chamber Choir in 1994 for Globe (GLO 5125), and with the Danish National Radio Choir for Chandos in 1995 (CHAN 9413).



Gronostay’s 1994 Globe album is probably the best single-disc survey of Hindemith’s a cappella choral music presently available; it is also the most readily comparable to the recent Hänssler release. In addition to the Chansons and Mass, the Globe CD features four of Hindemith's rarely heard Male Choruses (composed between 1929 and 1939), and six of the Madrigals (the other half of the set are on Gronostay’s Chandos album along with a superb reading of the Songs on Old Texts). In spite of their overlaps, the Hänssler and Globe albums complement each other quite admirably. Comparing performances, I was impressed by Gronostay's greater depth of expression. Listen, for example, to the Kyrie movement of the Mass. Gronostay is a full 60 seconds faster than Creed, and yet, seems to wring far more feeling—even something akin to passion—from the score. (Gronostay’s tempi are even more briskly pronounced in the Chandos recording.) Hänssler’s somewhat remote micing of the chorus aptly reflects Creed's more cerebral, emotionally detached approach to the music. (I consider both Gronostay and Creed's readings far superior to ter Wey's outing on CPO.)


Those who already own the Globe and Chandos CDs will still want to get this new disc for the Apparebit repentina dies.

Premiered at Harvard University in May 1947 at a symposium on music criticism, performed by the Collegiate Chorale and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Robert Shaw (who had also given the premier of Hindemith's When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd the previous year), Apparebit repentina dies (Now Dawns the Day of Repentance) sounds very much like the typical mature Hindemith, a tad somber in spots, perhaps a bit on the dry side, but unique among the composer's works in its instrumentation, and highly effective in exploiting the combination of choral and brass sonorities. Indeed, the power of the brass shines through at every turn, lending a measure of excitement to the music, which anything less than a first-rate chorus cannot always match. The unusual text, an early-Medieval forerunner of the Dies Irae, dates from the Seventh century. A rough-spun abecedarium (23 couplets, each couplet beginning with a successive letter of the alphabet), it is a formal conceit very much in accord with Hindemith's structural approach to music.

The Apparebit has a fairly scant recording history. A good performance coupled with the Mass was released by the German Wergo label (LP 60016 (1966)), recorded in September and December 1965 by the Schola Cantorum of Stuttgart with the brass ensemble of the Southwest German Radio SO (Baden Baden) under Clytus Gottwald. This recording was subsequently re-issued in Europe on the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi label, and in the US on Mace-Scepter (MCS 9095 (1967?) LP and cassette, disappearing from the American catalog altogether by the early 1980s. This recording was available, however briefly, on CD as part of a massive, impractically expensive box set retrospective of the Wergo label.

Since the beginning of the new century, three additional performances have appeared on CD, including this Creed/Hanssler recording. One can fairly quickly dispense consideration of the live performance at the 2007 WASBE convention in Killarney Ireland with the Chetham's School of Music Symphonic Wind Orchestra and the Chamber Choir and Consortium of Irish Choirs, directed by Martin Bussey (Mark 7218 MCD); a fairly dull performance, marred by noise from the audience and indifferent choral singing.



Berlin Classics 1735-2 Wake, Awake! (2001) features the Big Band and Chorus of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra under Kenny Wheeler, and was the first mainstream professional studio recording of Apparebit repentina dies to appear in nearly four decades. It is a truly outstanding performance, albeit part of a rather oddly eclectic program, including Stravinsky’s Mass in addition to a handful of eccentric, jazz-inflected classics. The Berlin Classics album is currently out of print and commanding a pretty hefty price from the few sellers who have a copy to part with, though it has been available (and quite reasonably priced) as an MP3 download since 2008.

I would first recommend the Wheeler/Bamberg recording of the Apparebit repentina dies, for its greater depth, vibrant, immediate sound, and the sheer expressive power of the chorus. These singers seem to have studied the meaning of the text, and that understanding is conveyed with extraordinary dignity and grandeur. Creed makes a powerful case for the music, but not nearly so convincing or memorable as Wheeler. Though I do not think most listeners will be at all disappointed by this new recording. Creed’s program fills (permanently one would hope) a huge gap in the Hindemith discography, and one could hardly ask for a more polished performance. Highly recommended to Hindemith fans, and all those truly adventuresome lovers of Twentieth century choral music.




Globe 5125 (1994)
Hindemith: Mass (1963)
Twelve Madrigals (1958) (#s 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12);
Six Chansons after Rilke (1939)
Male Choruses (1929-1939)
The Netherlands Chamber Choir
Uwe Gronostray

Chandos CHAN 9413 (1995)
Hindemith: Mass
Twelve Madrigals (#s 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11)
Songs on Old Texts Op. 33 (1923-1925)
Danish National Radio Choir
Uwe Gronostay

CPO 999 345 2 (1996)
Hindemith: Mass
Twelve Madrigals
Der Junge Chor Aachen
Fritz ter Wey

Berlin Classics 1735-2 (2001)
Wake, Awake!
Hindemith: Apparebit repentina dies (for choir and 10 brass instruments) (1947)
Stravinsky: Mass (for chorus and winds) (1947)
Plus works by J.S. Bach, Lackner, Wheeler and Hollenbeck
Big Band and Chorus of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Kenny Wheeler

Wergo WER 66422 (2001)
Hindemith Lieder, Chöre, Kanons
(Songs, Choruses and Canons)
Hindemith: Male Choruses
Songs on Old Texts Op. 33
Variations on an Old Dance Song for male chorus
The Demon of the Gibbet for male chorus
Canons (various voicings)
Berlin Radio Chorus
Robin Gritton 


Mark 7218 MCD (2007)
(live recording, WASBE world convention, Killarney, Ireland)
Hindemith: Apparebit repentina dies
Plus works by Marco Putz and Joseph Phibbs
Chetham's School of Music Symphonic Wind Orchestra
Chamber Choir and Consortium of Irish Choirs
Martin Bussey


Hänssler Classics 93.295 (2013)
Hindemith: Apparebit repentina dies
Six Chansons after Rilke
Songs on Old Texts Op. 33
SWR Vocal Ensemble, Stuttgart.
Marcus Creed


Wergo WER 60016 (1966)
(recorded September-December, 1965)
(subsequently re-issued:
Deutsche Harmonia-Mundi (?) (1968?)
Mace (MCS 9095 (1967?))
Hindemith: Mass
Apparebit repentina dies
Schola Cantorum of Stuttgart:
Brass ensemble of the Southwest German Radio SO (Baden Baden)
Clytus Gottwald


Deutsche Harmonia-Mundi DHM 1001-03 (3-LP set) (1982)
(EMI Electorla F 667.720-667.722)
Zeitgenössische Musik in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1945- 1950
(Musical Mysticism in West Germany, 1945-1950)
Hindemith: Apparebit repentina dies
String Quartet #6
Symphony in B-flat
Plus works by Strauss, Egk, Pepping and others
Cologne Radio Symphony Chorus and Brass Ensemble
Herbert Schernus

Nonesuch H-71115 (1966)
The Dove Descending: Choral Music by Stravinsky, Hindemith, Carter & Warlock
Hindemith: Six Chansons after Rilke
Stravinsky: The Dove Descending
Carter: Heart Not So Heavy As Mine
The Canby Singers

Grenadilla GS 1034 (1977)
Modern Ayres, Canzonets & Madrigals
Hindemith: Six Chansons after Rilke
Plus works by Fauré and Kodaly
The Gregg Smith Singers

Lyrichord LLST 7161 (date?)
The Last Works of Hindemith and Schoenberg
Hindemith: Mass
Schoenberg: Dreimal Tausend Jahre
The Whikehart Chorale 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Neville Marriner: The Argo Years

Decca 478 6883 (28-disc set) (2014)
Neville Marriner: The Argo Years

This sturdy, handsomely packaged, nostalgically stimulating 28-disc box set from Decca is a fitting tribute not only to one of the most notable conductors and recording artists of the last fifty years, but to one of the great record labels of the mid-20th century as well. Sir Neville Marriner, who celebrated his 90th birthday on April 15, 2014, is certainly one of the most prolific recording artists of all time with more than 600 recordings to his credit. Well over 400 of those were made with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (ASMF) the ensemble he founded in 1959, and first recorded with in 1962 for the L’Oiseau-Lyre label.

The ASMF (which never recorded in the London church for which it is named) would also subsequently make many notable albums for the Argo label beginning in 1963-64 and into the early 1980s, as well as for Philips from about 1970, with Marriner appearing as conductor, leader, or ensemble member. As the founding music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) in 1969, Marriner also forged a fruitful association with EMI in the mid to late 1970s.

The choice of whether or not to buy this set may ultimately come down to how much of this material one already owns. Some overlap is always inevitable, after all, and most of these recordings have been available on CD before through various budget or mid-price re-issues including the London/Decca Double-Decca series, Universal-Australia's Eloquence compilations, and the London Weekend, and Jubilee budget series. Five of the albums in this present set were also included in Decca’s 2011 box, Marriner & the Academy: 20th-Century Classics (TCC) (Decca 478 2759) consisting of albums originally recorded between 1968 and 1979, presented with their original contents without (as in this present set) any additional filler material. Twenty-four of the discs in this new set originated in whole or in part from albums issued on the Argo label between 1964 and 1981, while three represent albums originally recorded in digital sound for Argo, which were ultimately released on the ASV label in 1982. A twenty-eighth “bonus” disc includes material from the original 1962-’63 L’Oiseau-Lyre albums, A Recital by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and A Second Recital (re-issued together on a 2-disc Eloquence set, Neville Marriner: The First Recordings in 2011). 

The heavy cardboard slipcase contains sturdy miniature reproductions of the original LP jacket fronts, though, unfortunately, no original liner notes on the backs, only the barest minimum of track and timing information. (Discs in the double albums have a tendency to fit too tightly in their sleeves—always annoying when trying to remove them without fingerprints or scratches.) The accompanying booklet includes more specific movement-by-movement breakdowns, individual track times and composer dates, as well as information about contributing artists, session venues, and recording dates, along with a short essay by Tully Potter about Marriner’s time with Argo. 

And what a time it was! You could hardly get through an hour of FM classical programming in the ‘70s without hearing something from Marriner and the ASMF. The opening Sinfonia movement of the ensemble’s ravishingly beautiful 1968 Argo recording of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite was the theme music for the popular Matinée program on public radio, and every classical DJ from New York to San Francisco seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of air time waxing pompously authoritative (mostly quoting liner notes) about the Rossini string sonatas, the Boyce symphonies, the Telemann Don Quichotte Suite, or the Corelli Concerti Grossi Opus 6, or filling up the last five minutes of their shows with Henry Cowell’s lovely Hymn and Fuging Tune Nr. 10 or Paul Creston’s rollickingly sardonic masterpiece, A Rumor, both from the 1976 Argo album of 20th-century American music.  Indeed, by the latter half of the decade Marriner and the Academy had become such a staple of classical radio that a cartoon appeared in “Stereo Review” magazine; a man sits in his living room listening to the radio with his pet parrot. The announcer begins “That was the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields . . .” to which the parrot squawks “Neville Marriner conducting!”

So what was it about these recordings that made, and still makes them, so special, so desirable? First, Argo’s sound engineering was state-of-the-art in its day, and these transfers sound no less magnificent, capturing a range of detail and depth not always common in many contemporaneous recordings. (No documentation concerning re-masterings is included with this set, Decca being notoriously cagey about such things.) Beyond Argo’s legendary sound quality, every aspect of production, pressing and presentation was almost always first-rate, from the heftier vinyl used for the pressings, with the tastefully understated silver-on-green labels in the center, to the lovely glossy jackets with their ever-apropos artwork and simple, elegant designs. Right up there with the slickest high-end Deutsche Gramophone and Philips imports, just handling an Argo album made you feel sophisticated and refined!

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Marriner was an unstinting perfectionist with acute attention to detail and unfailing musical instincts. Where the notorious fastidiousness of many of the older generation of “tyrant” conductors manifested itself all-too-often in heavy, stiff or stultified playing, Marriner’s interpretations are invariably vibrant, animated with a lyrical buoyancy and lightness of texture, transparent ensemble revealing rich inner detail, agility of articulation, subtlety of ornamentation, shimmering strings, colorful, beautifully blended winds, and overall, an infectious, sparkling sense of élan. These qualities are equally evident in Marriner’s performances of 20th-century masterpieces by Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Bartok as in his readings of Baroque works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, and Boyce, or Romantic music by Bizet and Wagner.  

Listen, for instance, to the 1970 rendition of the ultimate Baroque warhorse, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Disc 6). Usually, a little Vivaldi goes an awful long way with me, but this is utterly unlike so many of the exaggerated, gimmicky, over-bearing, yawn-inspiring readings of the past forty-odd years (especially some of the near-cacophonic period-instrument performances). Marriner’s Seasons is always lyrical and light, technical brilliance never trumping musicality. Nor does the conductor seem possessed of any great egotistical need to show off or stand out in so heavily overcrowded a field. Along with the Felix Ayo/I Solisti Zagreb reading (originally for Philips), this is perhaps the most musically satisfying “Seasons” one is likely to hear whether on modern or period instruments. And, the filler material, antiphonal pieces by Giovanni Gabrielli and works by the obscure (but entertaining) 17th-century Czech composer, Pavel Josef Vejvanovsky played with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble is downright delightful!

Highlights of the set for me include Disc 2 with the jaunty, insouciant Rossini string sonatas, Disc 4 with colorful, captivating music of Stravinsky, Disc 7 with Mendelssohn’s delightful piano concerti, Disc 9, J.S. Bach’s evergreen Orchestral Suites in one of their finest-ever “modern instruments” renditions,  Disc 10, marvelous readings of early symphonies by Mozart, Disc 11, the gloriously blithe performance of Bizet’s youthful Symphony in C, Disc 17, an eye and ear-opening program of 20th-century American music, Disc 18, the stately, lyrical, unapologetically Handel-derivative symphonies of William Boyce; Disc 22, a very fine, passionate performance of the Mozart Requiem (though I have yet to decide whether I like this better than the 1991 reading for Philips (432-087)), and Disc 24 with the hauntingly beautiful orchestral music of Gabriel Fauré. I also thoroughly enjoyed the marvelous performances of works by Handel, Corelli, Telemann, and Tchaikovsky.

I might quibble some over the weird-sounding “experimental” use of vocal ornament in the Messiah, which seems not so much to enhance the music as twist it out of melodic shape. But so-called “period-practice” was all the rage in the 1970s following close upon the advent of the original-instruments movement. Marriner and the ASMF, most notably along with Raymond Leppard and the English Chamber Orchestra staked out what, at the time, seemed a sane middle ground between the old-fashioned excesses of modern full orchestras (such as in some of Karl Richter’s earlier efforts with the Bach cantatas on DG Archiv), and the sometimes horrendously sour-sounding efforts of the “authenticity mavens” (Harnoncourt’s disastrous reading for Telefunken of Bach’s Brandenberg Concerti comes immediately to mind.)

Another complaint is the lack of coloristic variety in Vivaldi’s Opus 4 concerti, but that is as much a compositional issue as an interpretive one. The recording and performance make as good a case for these works as possibly imaginable.

I also wish that the producers of this collection had mined more of Marriner’s late-analog Argo discography as opposed to the early digital ASV material. I would dearly love to have Marriner’s hauntingly beautiful recording of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat in D (originally on Argo ZRG 854 (1977)) and more of his 20th-century English music, especially the Vaughan Williams (Argo ZRG 696 (1977)), Tippet (Argo ZRG 680 (1976)) Britten, and Butterworth (Argo ZRG 860 (1976)) though the latter composers are represented on Disc 9 of the TCC box set.  

The Argo Years is recommended for its treasures and for its revelations, if not for its oversights and redundancies. Those who don’t already have these marvelous, historically significant recordings shouldn’t hesitate. Many who already do own a good share of this material will want this set, too, if only for the nostalgia factor.

Here is a detailed discographical breakdown of the set’s contents.

G.F. Handel: 6 Concerti Grossi Op. 3
(from Argo 5400 (1964))
Alcina Incidental Music
Ariodante Ballet Music
(from Argo ZRG 688 (1972))

Gioachino Rossini: Six String Sonatas
(from Argo S-506 (1967) (Sonatas 1, 3, 5, 6), and Argo ZRG 604 (1969) (Sonatas 1 & 4))

Felix Mendelssohn: Octet Op. 20
Luigi Boccherini: Cello Quintet Op. 37 #7
Argo ZRG 569 (1968)

Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite: Appolon Musagete Ballet
(from Argo ZRG 575 (1968)) (TCC Disc 1)
Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra
(from Argo ZRG 674 (1972)) (the Capriccio was originally coupled with the Shostakovich Piano Concerto #1. The original album is reproduced with no additional filler material in the TCC set (Disc 4))

Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen for twenty-three solo strings
Richard Wagner: Siegfried-Idyll
Heinrich Baermann: Adagio for Clarinet and Strings (formerly attributed to Wagner)
(Argo ZRG 604 (1969) (TCC Disc 2)
Arnold Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht
(from Argo ZRG 763 (1974)) (The original album (complete on Disc 7 of the TCC set) was coupled with string music by Hindemith and Webern.) 

Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons Op. 8
(Argo ZRG 654 (1970))
Giovanni Gabrielli: Sacrae Sinfoniae
Pavel Josef Vejvanovsky
5 instrumental works
with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
(from Argo ZRG 644 (1970))

Felix Mendelssohn: Concerto in E for two pianos and orchestra
Concerto in a minor for piano and strings
(Argo ZRG 605 (1970))
String Symphony #12 in g minor
(from Argo 5467 (1966)) (The original LP also included Symphonies 9 and 10.)

Antonin Dvorak: Serenade for Strings in E Major Op. 22
Edvard Grieg: Holberg Suite (for string orchestra) Op. 40
(Argo ZRG 670 (1970)) (The Holberg Suite also appeared on the original issue of ZRG 877 Scandinavian Music (1980), which was re-issued as part of the TCC set (Disc 10), and is also included in this present collection (Disc 21), but now with the Grieg Elegaic Melodies.)
Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings in C Major Op. 48
(Argo ZRG 584 (1969)) (Later coupled with the Dvorak on ZRG 848 (1976))

J.S. Bach: Four Orchestral Suites
(Argo ZRG 687/8 (1971). Subsequent re-issue on London Jubilee CD 430-378-2 (1991))

W.A. Mozart Symphonies
Symphony #25 in G K 183
Symphony #26 in E-flat K 184
Symphony #27 in G K 199
Symphony #29 in A K 186a (K 201)
Symphony #32 in G K 318
(Argo ZRG 653 (1970) Symphonies 23, 24, 26, 27)
(Argo 706 (1972) Symphonies 25 & 29)
(Argo ZRG 679 (1971) Symphony 32: Serenade K 525; Sinfonia Conertante)

Georges Bizet: Symphony in C
Serge Prokofiev: Symphony #1 in D Op. 25 “Classical”
(Argo ZRG 719 (1973) (TCC Disc 6) (These were also re-issued along with the Stravinsky Pulcinella Suite on London Jubilee 417-734-2 (1987))
Prokofiev: Visions fugitives Op. 22 (arr. for strings by Rudolf Barshai)
(Argo ZRG 711 (1973) (TCC Disc 5) (Originally coupled with the Walton Sonata for Strings.)

DISCs 12 and 13
Archangelo Corelli: 12 Concerti Grossi Op. 6
(Argo ZRG 773/5 (1974)) (Concerti  6, 7, 8 and 12 were also issued on a single LP (Argo ZRG 828 (1975)) (CD re-issue London 430-560-2 (1993?) as part of the Double Decca series.)

DISCs 14 and 15
Vivaldi: 12 Violin Concerti Op. 4 La Stravaganza
(Argo ZRG 800/1 (1975))
(also issued on Argo D101D10 (1978?), a ten-LP box set including the 1970 Four Seasons, Violin Concerti Op. 3 & Op. 9, and diverse concerti for winds.) (CD: London 430-566-2 (1993) as part of the Double Decca series.)

G.P. Telemann:
Suite in G 'Don Quichotte'
Viola Concerto in G
Overture in D
(Argo ZRG 836 (1976))
Overture in C
(from Argo ZRG 837 (1977))

Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings
Charles Ives: Symphony #3
Aaron Copland: Quiet City
Henry Cowell: Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 10
Paul Creston: A Rumor
(Argo ZRG 845 (1976)) (TCC Disc 8)
(Original CD issue, 410-818-2 (1987))

William Boyce: 8 Symphonies
(Argo ZRG 874 (1978))

DISCs 19 and 20
Handel: The Messiah
(Argo D18D-3 (1976)) (Two albums of highlights were subsequently issued:
Argo ZRG 872 (1978) “Messiah Choruses” and Argo ZRG 879 (1979) “Messiah Arias and Choruses”) (Complete recording re-issued 1994 (London 421-234-2) as part of  the Double-Deckers series.)

Edvard Grieg: Elegiac Melodies Op. 34
Jean Sibelius: Valse triste Op. 44; “Rakastava” Op. 14
Carl Nielsen: Little Suite Op. 1
Dag Wiren: Serenade Op. 11
(Argo ZRG 877 Scandinavian Music (1980) (TCC Disc 10))

Mozart: Requiem K 626
(Argo ZRG 876 (1977))

Mendelssohn: Symphony #3 'Scottish'; 
Symphony #4 'Italian'
(Argo (?) (1981))

Gabriel Fauré: Pelleas et Melisande Suite Op. 80; 
Pavane Op. 50; 
Masques et Bergamasques Suite Op. 112
(Argo ZRDL 1003 (digital LP); 410-552-2 (CD) (1982))
Tchaikovsky: Sextet 'Souvenir de Florence' Op. 70
(Argo ZRG 584 (1969))

Carl Maria von Weber: Symphonies 1 and 2
(ASV (digital) (1982))

The English Connection
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves
Fantasia on a Theme of Tallis
Elgar: Serenade in e minor for strings Op. 20
Michael Tippet: Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli
(ASV (digital) (1982)) (Note: These are not to be confused with earlier analog recordings: Argo ZRG 680 (1976?) Tippet String Music and Argo ZRG 696 (1977?) Vaughan Williams Fantasias)

The French Connection
Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin
Claude Debussy: Danse sacrée et profane
Gabriel Fauré: Dolly Suite Op. 56
Jacques Ibert: Divertissement
(ASV (digital) (1982))

 DISC 28
Corelli: Concerto Grosso Op. 6 #7
Torelli: Concerto Grosso Op. 6 #10
Locatelli: Concerto Grosso Op. 1 #9
Albicastro: Concerto a 4 Op. 7 #6
Handel: Concerto Grosso Op. 6 #6
(L’Oiseau-Lyre SOL 60045 (1962) A Recital by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields)
Avison: Concerto Grosso Op. 9 #11
Manfredini: Concerto Grosso Op. 3 #10
(L’Oiseau-Lyre SOL 264 (1963) A Second Recital by the ASMF
(Both early L’Oiseau-Lyre albums were re-issued by Universal-Australian (Eloquence) in 2011.)
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso Op. 3 #3
(recorded (Argo) 1965)