Future Releases - staging for approval

In an effort to meet the needs of the Marston customer, we have chosen our upcoming releases with you in mind. We press only 1000 copies of most releases and do not repress so “when they’re gone, they’re gone.” To date, more than a 1/3 of our catalogue is out of print!

Listed below are a number of projects which are at various stages of completion. When a set is approaching release (within two months of becoming available), it will go on sale through the website. Your credit card will be charged when the order is placed, and the CDs will be shipped as soon as they are in our hands. "Pre-ordering" this way will guarantee that you are not left out in the cold! Check back regularly for updates on the status of future projects.

Lawrence Tibbett

Lawrence Tibbett

The Complete Victor Recordings and Selected Broadcasts

TBA $120 ($85 to preferred customers)

Few (if any?) opera singers have also been Academy Award nominees, let alone for Best Actor.  But then again, there is only one Lawrence Tibbett (1896–1960). Described as dashing, Tibbett had a career as a movie actor, radio show personality and host, with sponsors such as Packard, Firestone, and Chesterfield. He was also one of the first “crossover” artists singing Gershwin, Kern, and Porter, and was a staple at the Met. A cogent and articulate advocate for artistic causes (rare in his day), he founded the American Guild of Musical Artists with Jascha Heifetz. But first and foremost, Lawrence Tibbett was an opera singer and one of the greatest baritones of all time.

Lawrence Tibbett signed his first contract with the Metropolitan Opera at age twenty-six and over the years built a hugely successful career. His voice was large, deep, and dark-timbred. His dynamic range (in his prime) ranged from forceful fortes to delicate pianissimos. Falstaff’s Ford was his breakthrough role and he was an outstanding Simon Boccanegra, Iago, Scarpia, and Escamillo. Tibbett was the consummate musician with an incredible stage presence. Sadly, arthritis and alcohol took its toll and Tibbett died from a fall in his apartment at age sixty-three.

Tibbett recorded exclusively for RCA Victor between 1925 and 1940, making over one hundred sides. Marston Records is pleased to present the complete Victor recordings of Tibbett for the first time. In addition, this set will include recordings made for his films, Metropolitan and Under Your Spell, as well as selections from his Packard and Chesterfield radio broadcasts never before available on compact disc. The booklet will contain many rare photos and a comprehensive essay by author and critic Conrad Osborne on Tibbett’s life, career, and recorded legacy.

This set is fully funded.

Landmarks of Recorded Pianism, Vol. 3

Landmarks of Recorded Pianism, Vol. 3

52076-2 (2 CDs) | $42 ($38 to preferred customers)

Our next piano issue is volume three in the Landmarks of Recorded Pianism series. This two-CD set comprises piano solos, concerti, and two spoken reminiscences. Producers Gregor Benko and Ward Marston have selected these recordings because of their intrinsic musical and historic importance, hoping that they will merit the attention of music lovers, scholars, and collectors. Most of the offerings in this set will be completely new to collectors and enthusiasts since they will be available here for the first time.

The center pieces of the set are two concerto performances taken from broadcasts, both marvelous in different ways: first we present Chopin’s F-minor concerto from a 1936 broadcast with Polish pianist, Jan Smeterlin, ably supported by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Serge Koussevitzky. A performance of both tumult and tenderness, it is the earliest known live performance of this work.

Then we offer a 1950 BBC broadcast of the Schumann concerto with 79-year-old Adelina de Lara, who had studied the work with Clara Schumann nearly sixty years earlier. De Lara gives an almost “chamber music” reading of the concerto, with subtle gradations of color and phrasing. We are also offering a third performance with piano and orchestra, but not an actual concerto. It is a seven-minute concoction of themes from the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s first concerto, made for a Coca-Cola sponsored radio program, played by the great Russian pianist, Simon Barere, with André Kostelanitz conducting the orchestra. This strange little pastiche is a new addition to the Barere discography.

For piano solo recordings, we first feature two recently discovered acoustic sides made in 1919 by African-American composer and pianist, Nathaniel Dett. These are lovely, serene readings of two short pieces from two suites, and we can only wish that we could hear more, but we have been assured that these are the only recordings of his artistry. The set also includes recordings by Australian-born pianist Elsie Hall whose only records are twelve sides made for HMV in 1930. These can be heard here for the first time in reissue, as well as a splendid performance of Bach’s C-minor Partita recorded privately when Hall was 86 years old. Our Landmarks third volume concludes by paying tribute to the English pianist, Katherine Goodson, 1872–1958. Goodson, a star pupil of Leschetizky, enjoyed a great career spanning a half-century yet sadly left us no recordings of her extraordinary artistry. Here, however, we can hear her speaking on two BBC broadcasts. First, a detailed reminiscence about her studies with Leschetizky, where she plays eight brief musical extracts. Our set concludes with Goodson giving a touching account of her week’s stay with soprano, Mellie Melba, at her Australian home.

Richard Wagner: Parsifal (New York City, 14 April 1938 featuring Kirsten Flagstaff and Lauritz Melchior)

Richard Wagner: Parsifal

New York City, 15 April 1938
featuring Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior

54008-2 (4 CDs) | $66 ($57 to preferred customers)

Among all of the great performances of Wagner’s final opera, this performance of Parsifal from the stage of the Met has been for years one of the holy grails for Wagner enthusiasts, for until now, this broadcast had never been issued in its complete form. It represents the only time that Parsifal with the great Wagnerian duo, Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, was broadcast and preserved. It has none of the customary cuts that afflict other Wagner performances from this era with all cast members in excellent voice. The transfers were made from original discs recorded off the air by a New York recording studio, and we are proud to present this important performance for the first time. The two other principals are Friedrich Schorr and Emanuel List. During this time, the Metropolitan’s Wagner opera performances were conducted by Austrian conductor, Artur Bodanzky. But on this Good Friday, because of ill health, his doctors insisted that he conduct only the first and third acts; Act 2 is ably conducted by his then assistant, Erich Leinsdorf.

Our sponsorship goal is $16,000, the cost to remaster and manufacture this 4-CD set.

The Works of Ernest Reyer and Édouard Lalo

The Works of Ernest Reyer and Édouard Lalo

53019-2 (3 CDs) | $63 ($54 to preferred customers)

At the turn of the 20th century, Ernest Reyer and Édouard Lalo had experienced a certain degree of fame. Reyer’s opera Sigurd was still active in the repertory of many French opera houses including the Paris Opera, and although less popular, Maître Wolfram, La statue, and Salammbô were performed and also occasionally recorded. In the early years of recording, the most popular arias from Sigurd became staples of record company catalogs especially with the tenor arias being recorded by the likes of Scaramberg, Affre, Lafitte, Franz, and Vezzani.

Édouard Lalo, who today is best known for his Symphonie Espagnole for violin and orchestra, composed one opera that was immensely popular during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth: Le roi d’Ys. The “Aubade” from Act 3, “Vainement, ma bien aimée” was one of the most popular and ubiquitously recorded of all French tenor arias, ranking with the flower song from Carmen and “Plus blanche” from Les Huguenots.

This set devoted to Reyer and Lalo will feature at least one recording of each excerpt that was recorded between 1902 and 1930 and will feature approximately 35 singers. The booklet will contain: essays on the life and works of these two composers by Vincent Giroud; plot summaries of their operas; and short biographical sketches of the singers.

This set is fully funded.

Blanche Marchesi

The Complete Recordings of Blanche Marchesi and Other Rarities from the Marchesi School

52079-2 (2 CDs) | $42 ($38 to preferred customers)

This set features the complete known recordings of French mezzo-soprano Blanche Marchesi (1863–1940), the daughter and pupil of legendary vocal instructor Mathilde (née Graumann) Marchesi (1821–1913). Mathilde was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and after a short, unsuccessful career as a performer, she transitioned to teaching voice in 1849, and never looked back. Her teaching career took her from Cologne to Vienna, and ultimately to Paris, where in 1881 she established her own school and enjoyed a long and illustrious career as vocal instructor to many of the greatest singers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of her most famous pupils include Nellie Melba, Emma Calvé, Frances Alda, Selma Kurz, and Emma Eames.

In addition to the complete Blanche Marchesi, this two-CD set features other rare recordings of pupils of Mathilde Marchesi, most being released here for the first time. Included are performances by American sopranos Elizabeth Parkina, Esther Palliser, and Frances Saville, Australian contralto Ada Crossley, and American lyric coloratura soprano Suzanne Adams.

Our sponsorship goal is $6,000, the cost to remaster and manufacture a two-CD set.