Friday, 6 April 2012

No sewing-machine here!

Sewing shop, Lumix LC1, 6-Apr-12

Domenico Scarlatti 8 Essercizi per gravicembalo
Eliza Hansen
(‘Christophori’ model harpsichord by Neupert)
Archiv 13 001 (rec. 22 & 23 October 1953)

Apologies, I’ve had this on the stocks for some time, but I’ve been grumpier than usual. Also, I’ve become self-defeatingly perfectionist about my transfers; I’ve done several interesting LPs that I just don’t feel are good enough to inflict on you. What I’d have been quite happy with, some months ago, now sounds hummy, crackly, distorted or dull.

No danger of that here, though – what a sparkling gem of a disc! I was walking to our little Lidl this morning (their trout fillets smoked with juniper berries are the best) when I passed one of our other locals – the sewing supplies shop, where I buy embroidering wool for Ma Grumpy. A wonderful time-warp.

It reminded me to post this disc – as a counter-example. All right, the Neupert. A little metronomic rigidity, perhaps, yes. I see Lionel Salter called it stolid; I think that’s going too far. It’s not auto-pilot, sewing-machine playing. I get the strong feeling Hansen is seeing through the notes to the gestures – and relishing the fabulous, free-wheeling writing.

I’d never heard Hansen before – do read the short biog on (link above), she’s obviously an important and interesting figure. I’m on the hunt for her other Archiv disc – annoyingly, I bought a copy recently but on receiving it found it was mono. That’s the trouble with those ARC-prefixed US pressings – you can’t tell from the number which mode it’s in (or have I missed something?). Though the dealer should have said, frankly.

8 mono, fully-tagged FLACs, in a .rar file, here.

P.S.: Please all visit Jolyon’s new blog, Fluff on the Needle!



  1. I've been doing reups lately on my blog, and they are painful because I know I could do a better job today on most of the transfers I did years ago.

    Look at it this way - we are eager to hear what you have to offer, even with the imperfections. Most of us are very used to listening to ancient recordings, after all!

  2. Thank you, Buster! You're right - though I like to distinguish between ancient recordings, which are often very good, and the objects that carry them, which may have suffered damage that obscures the recordings, as well as being transfers themselves, as e.g. an LP is of a master tape. I can often hear the recording is good but I haven't got the tools, know-how and patience to clean the object or neutralise its characteristics... so I get frustrated! Best wishes, G

  3. American Archiv stereo issues (of the first series) prefix a 7 to the mono number, thus the Hansen Goldberg disc is 3195 in mono and 73195 in stereo.
    Interestingly the Americans didn't issue 7" or 10" discs, often combing the two to make up 12" discs, or using 3 or 4 7" discs to the same end. This often the only way to get hold of somewhat rare (or overly costly) German 45s.

  4. Thanks, Grumpy, for the interesting post, and to LPCollector, for your info about US pressings of Archiv releases.

    US pressing of just about everything seem to have been made to defraud, skimp, and hoodwink the American buyers, all while trying to deliver them some kind of "value" they demanded, which frustrates me constantly. I was in germany recently and just astounded at the number of 10" and 7" classical Lps I saw in shops there. So preferable in so many ways, for example getting a 30 minute work on the disc without insane inner groove noise toward the spindle, which happens when you squeeze it onto one side of a 12". Also, the papery covers that absorb atmospheric moisture, and the floppy LPs contained in them... it has made me long for German and French copies of all the Cleveland and Boston and NY Phil recordings. (Though I always wonder if they made all of those pressings from the original masters or what exactly...)

    Sorry for the rant, I must be out of characters!! Cheers, Sq.

    PS: Since I've already worn out my welcome, a request: Could you, Grumpy, be so kind as to allow Name/URL as a login option in the comments? The "Wordpress" option hasn't worked for months. I sense some competition between them and Blogger.

  5. PSS,
    Grumpy, seems that using the OpenId login works instead of the wordpress one, so never mind the name/url! I'm just fine.

  6. Dear LPCollector, thank you so much for explaining! I've not seen any ARC 7- issues. Quite a few Archiv recordings do seem to have come out only on 45rpm in Europe, which I don't much like: contrary to received wisdom about record speeds and s/n ratios, they sound a lot worse than 33rpm pressings - why should that be? Groove pitch or shape? We ought to do a concordance to all these numbers - it's darn confusing, what with Archiv itself sometimes using prefixes, sometimes suffixes, sometimes (as on this disc) nothing; sometimes grouping the digits, as here, sometimes not...

  7. I have actually compiled a concordance of the American and German numbers covering the 37000, 13000, 14000 and 198000 series using the American numbers as the key, but it's only the numbers, no catalogue details, and it's not absolutely comprehensive, as there are some American issues (14500, 14600 - not actually that many) which don't correspond exactly with German issues. I don't know how to post it here, though

  8. Dear Squirrel, That's interesting - were were always fewer 10" LPs in the US? Or only later? In Europe, I would guess that price was an important factor: smaller sizes were more affordable and so widened the market. Mono issues persisted long into the stereo era for the same reason. In the US, maybe there were fewer hard-up high-brows! I also didn't know US issues were shoddier. We see fewer of them here. Maybe you see fewer European budget issues - they had paper covers too. Mind you, some polythene inner sleeves have now perished and stick to the vinyl... nasty! Sorry about your comment problem; I may well migrate your way when I see what further indignities or impracticalities this month's new Blogger 'look' foists on us... All the best, G

  9. Dear LPc, Great! maybe you could put it up on Mediafire, before Monopollywood closes it down, and buzz us the link?

  10. I've never done anything like that so it may take a while, as I would also need to clean it up and add some details which are currently handwritten. I also have a sort of finding list for the German numbers with brief details of composer, work and artist. It would make sense to upload that too. Don't hold your breath...It doesn't cover anything from 2533000 on, by the way.

  11. As to the American issues of Archiv Produktion, as far as I can tell from the ones I have the discs were pressed in Germany as were the sleeves, but the sleeves were just normal ones with text only in English (and of course they were "Archive Production") rather then the triple foldouts in 3 languages which were issued in Europe. Must have saved on shipping costs. The worst sleeves I have come across were the ones made in England by Heliodor (the British DGG distributor) for the 10" series.
    I always hesitate to buy 7" 45s as they always seem in bad condition, even the few that have retained an inner sleeve. Probably played on Dansettes, who knows?

  12. The Mediafire upload was easier that I thought so I've put all the files on it at

    as a folder called "archiv". The main file 1980-contains long stretches of numbers with no entries, just because the numbers were never used. The American-European concordance is the 9 files labelled "Concord" The other files are lists of the 7", 10" ad 12" mono recordings. There are errors and omissions, which I have corrected manually in my own printed-off copies I'll try to correct them at some later date

  13. Goodness, thank you very much! I will try to look at these today, although I'll be out of the Cave for a while. You're right, quite a few of the 45s must have been played on pretty basic machines. All the best, Grumpy

  14. If you are actually looking for a stereo copy of Hansen playing Goldberg, there is one at Irvington Music Just search for SAPM 198695 (one of the three numbers for this record)

  15. Grumpy,
    Classical 10" discs existed here briefly from around 1948 to 1951 and then disappeared completely. Capitol, London, and RCA Victor (including the Paganini Quartet recordings) were released on 10" but the majority were of a more "popular" genre, i.e. Caruso and Pinza and Arthur Fiedler discs. In the US, 7" 45rpm discs were thought to be exclusively for popular music, and almost no classical releases made it in that format.

    Today you can go into a well-stocked used collector's LP shop and see virtually no 10" or 7" discs at all.

  16. Deepest apologies for not answering your kind comments sooner! Thanks, LPc, I must get off my grumpy posterior, put my money where my mouth is and buy that record. Trouble is, I've bought too much else recently, including quite a lot of stuff I don't really 'need'... Squirrel, that's interesting and makes sense. Thanks again, G

  17. I see the superlative contents on your blogs and I perfectly enjoy going through them.
    sewing machine reviews

  18. thank you for sharing this little treasure
    had never heard of her in my long search for scarlatti stratospheres...
    such a bold grace reminiscent of Landowska and what praise could higher!?!

  19. I'm so glad you enjoyed it - thank you very much for your kind comment!