Alois Melichar

Alois Melichar (1896-1976) was an Austrian conductor, composer and music critic. His recorded legacy consists mainly of orchestral accompaniments for various well-known singers, such as Gigli. His recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos were a rare excursion into the orchestral repertoire. The violinist Szymon Goldberg recorded extensively, and in the 78 period was known particularly for his partnership with Lili Kraus. His 1933 account of the Brandenburg No.1 has appeared on an Andante CD set, and the finale of this Brandenburg No.2 appeared on an International Trumpet Guild CD devoted to European Cornet and Trumpet Soloists 1888-1950. Otherwise the recording has not been reissued, as far as I can determine.
Mussorgsky-Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition
Glinka – Kamarinskaya – Fantasia on two Russian Folk-songs – Wedding-song and Dance-song
Side 1 – Promenade. No.1 – A Gnome – Promenade
Side 2 – No.2 – The Old Castle
Side 3 – No.3 – In the Tuileries Gardens. No.4 – A Polish Ox Wagon
Side 4 – No.5 – Ballet of new-born chicks. No.6 – Rich Mr. Samuel Goldenberg and poor Schmuyle. No.7 Limoges Market
Side 5 – No.8 – The Catacombs
Side 6 – No.9 – The Hut of the Baba-Yaga
Side 7 – No.10 – The Great Gate of Kiev

Side 8 – Glinka – Kamarinskaya
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Alois Melichar

Decca “Polydor” Series LY.6053-6
Matrices: 1139½ BI, 1140 BI, 1141 BI, 1142½ BI, 1143½ BI, 1144½ BI, 1145 BI, 1184½ BI-I
Recorded 1931, Berlin

The sound is somewhat rough in places, as the records are worn, and 5 of the 8 sides run to around 5 minutes, so there congestion in loud passages. The performance is interesting, though. Tempi are unexpected in places: Schmuyle is rather fast, and the trumpet doesn’t find it easy, Limoges and the chicks are a little on the slow side.

J. S. Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F major BWV1047
I. First Movement, Part I: Allegro
II. First Movement, Part II: Allegro
III. Second Movement: Andante
IV. Third Movement: Allegro assai
Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin, Alois Melichar
Paul Spörri, trumpet
A Harzer, flute
Gustav Kern, oboe
Szymon Goldberg, Violin
Hans Bottermund, cello
Dr Kruttge, Harpsichord
Brunswick 90244-5
Matrices: 1251bi, 1252½bi, 1253½bi, 1254½bi
Recorded 1932, Berlin
Franz von Suppé – Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna – Overture
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Alois Melichar
Decca “Polydor” Series PO5051 (10”)
Matrices 3078½bh, 3079bh
Recorded 1932, Berlin
Johann Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Overture
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Alois Melichar
Decca “Polydor” Series CA8228
Matrices 568½gs, 569gs
Recorded 1935, Berlin
Bach-Melichar – Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Alois Melichar
Polydor 15243
Matrices 1044-2, 1045-2
Recorded 1939

The Polydor sound is excellent, and it is possible around 4:50 to make out the sound of Melichar grunting along with the bass line. It is interesting to compare Melichar’s orchestration with those of Stokowski and Henry Wood (in the guise of Klenovsky!)

Leave a Reply