Posted by Alex C on December 23, 1999 at 19:41:15:
In Reply to: Re: Arnold Jacobs recordings posted by tuba fan on December 23, 1999 at 15:49:55:
On the whole most people will agree with you. Fletcher's recording is great.
There are folks better able than I to speak about the details than I. Barenboim was scheduled to record the V-W in the early 80's when his wife (Jacequeline DuPree) died. The piece was rehearsed and some performances of the concerto were given that year. The recording it self was put off, a year or longer.
The recording was a rush, and Barenboim scheduled no rehearsal time! Mr. Jacobs told me that Barenboim insisted that he play while the orchestra found it's way through the piece again in the recording session. The first reading was not very good for the orchestra, a second reading was some better.
I don't know how many "readings" were done, seven is the number I remember, but as the orchestra got better Mr. Jacobs got more tired. The resulting recording is a mis-mash of all those readings and not well done at all. He was well over 60 years old.
The published version sucks. You can actually hear what sounds like tape splices in places, many variances of tempo and equalization. I firmly believe that there is a half beat missing somewhere (3rd mvt, I think).
Mr. Jacobs was extremely dissappointed and offered to buy the master from DG to keep it from being released. There are still flashes of his brillance but it is a butchered recording at best.
There are tapes floating around of a couple of V-W performances with Jacobs and the CSO which are astounding.
If really interested, try to find a copy of the Gunnison, CO summer music camps when Jacobs recorded the Strauss 1st Horn Concerto. It represents the highest order of virtuosity on any instrument.
There is also a recording from those days of Tubby the Tuba with William Bell as soloist and narrator, probably the best recording of that piece I've heard. Also recorded is Perpetual Motion with Jacobs, Bell and young Harvey Phillips as a solo trio, quite an ensemble!
I wish that the copyright laws could be suspended and a recording of many of the private tape performances of Mr. Jacobs could be released. There are many earlier generation tuba performances around, but Mr. Jacobs never got a really fine solo performance released.