A much loved rarity...
One of the greatest things about modern technology for me is the ability to locate recordings once thought long lost but now available in new formats. One particular example for me is a recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons recorded by the legendary Leopold Stokowski in glorious Decca stereo. Recorded in 1966 with Hugh Bean as the violin soloist and the New Philharmonia Orchestra.
Admittedly by today's standards it's rather heavy handed and Late Romantic in it's approach but to me this can sometimes add to the appeal. While I do admire the Original Instrument approach of more recent tastes, sometimes it's nostalgia that one really longs for. I bought the cassette with my pocket money, it was $4.99 and about 1983.
I must have worn that tape out on our weekly family drives for late night shopping down from the picturesque hills of Roleystone into the realms of bleak outer suburban malls and back again. It was the return journey I always longed for, especially if the moon was large.
I'd turn my Walkman, the one with the bright orange headphone sponges, up loud and what I'd listen to was this...the part that made the most impact for me is at five minutes fourteen seconds to be precise...this to me is the most expressive use of improvisation, in a lush Late Romantic way, the harpsichord is exquisite.
Watching the clouds rolling by a full moon with the dark silhouettes of clouds as a dramatic contrast I'd sit there in the comfort of Dad driving his dark brown vintage Ford with camel coloured roof, up the winding roads and into the darkness and comfort of our home in the hills. I'd listen to that most extraordinary of improvisations and dream of Baroque Europe and melancholy heroines and dashing heroes in powdered wigs. It's lost none of it's appeal even after all these years.