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.

Josef Lhevinne

The Complete Josef Lhevinne

53023-2 (3 CDs) | $54 ($36 to preferred customers)

Josef Lhevinne studied at the Moscow Conservatory under Vasily Safonov, made his public debut at fourteen in a performance conducted by Anton Rubinstein, and graduated top of a class that included both Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin. Lhevinne is often included as one of the greatest golden-era pianists, and yet, his recorded legacy is approximately fifty minutes of repertoire for Pathé and Victor, albeit treasured and admired. And not unlike a star whose light went out too soon, the public created a mythos based on a small output and clamors for more examples of his playing to further justify his reputation. The wait is now over.

In addition to the Pathé and Victor recordings, this release includes a 1943 New York broadcast of Brahms's Op. 25 Piano Quartet with Lhevinne and the Perolé String Quartet, which is the cornerstone of this release. Also included will be several studio broadcasts from the 1930s. Among these broadcasts will be the second and third movements of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 from an NBC studio broadcast of 1933, which has been in the hands of collectors for many years. However, we now have a nearly complete performance of this work: Josef Lhevinne featured in this concerto during a Worcester Festival concert in 1936. It should be noted that for unknown reasons the first four minutes of the concerto were not recorded and despite recording flaws, this recording does give us a sense of Lhevinne's unique brilliance. This set will be a must for anyone collecting recordings of pianists of the golden age.

Jean Lassalle

Nineteenth Century French-Baritones

Jean Lassalle, Léon Melchissédec, Maurice Renaud, and Jean Baptist Faure

52069-2 (2 CDs) | $36

Some CD compilations are known because of the rarity of the recordings, while others are known for the quality of singing; this compilation contains some of the rarest recordings known to collectors, and displays incredible singing as well. Jean Lassalle was born in 1847 and died in 1909, not long after the dawn of recording. His career was stellar: he was one of the greatest luminaries of the Paris Opéra; he was a frequent guest in London; and was an honored member of the Metropolitan Opera. His expressive voice displayed mastery of technique, and although his recordings were made when he was in his late 50s, there is still much in the way of style and technique that can be heard. His first recordings were Pathé cylinders dating from about 1902, followed by discs for Odeon and Pantophone in 1904 and 1905. This set will include some 23 of these incredibly rare recordings from the operatic and song repertory. Léon Melchissédec was born in 1843 and died in 1925. He was successful at the Opéra-Comique, the Théâtre Lyrique, and the Paris Opéra. His voice was polished and expressive. His first record was an 1899 seven-inch Berliner of the drum major’s aria from Thomas’s Le Caid, which although highly abridged, shows his voice and technique in remarkable condition. Besides this extremely rare disc, this CD compilation will contain a group of Pathé cylinders, four Zonophone discs, and six sides recorded for the APGA label when Melchissédec was 65 years old. Jean Baptist Faure was born in 1830 and died in 1914. In addition to composing a number of classical songs, which gained immense popularity, Faure was a celebrated baritone who created many important roles including Nélusko (Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine), Rodrigue (Verdi’s Don Carlos), and Thomas’s Hamlet. There exist two non-commercial wax cylinders from about 1905, thought possibly to be sung by Faure, though this is only a supposition. On these cylinders, one hears a baritone of advanced years whose voice yet evinces skill and authority. It should be mentioned that this set will also include the seven Pathé recordings by Maurice Renaud which we were unable to fit on to our Renaud compilation released in 1998.

Celestina Boninsegna (Norma)

The Complete Celestina Boninsegna

55003-2 (5 CDs) | $72 ($54 to preferred customers)

Celestina Boninsegna (1877–1947) was one of the most prolifically-recorded sopranos of the early twentieth century. Yet it was not her stage career which convinced recording executives to produce her records, but her “phonogenic” voice that created the demand. Boninsegna’s recordings are stunning, making her one of the most collectible sopranos of her time. She managed to overcome the limitations of the acoustic recording studio and leave us records that have some of the presence of live recordings from the stage. According to Fred Gaisberg, the impresario for the Gramophone Company, Boninsegna’s “voice was so smooth and velvety and of such even registers that recording was no effort; the results obtained were always thoroughly musical and therefore gave intense pleasure. Those harsh places expected in any record by a dramatic soprano were conspicuous by their absence.”

Over the past fifty years there have been no comprehensive LP or CD reissues of Boninsegna’s records. We now pay homage to Boninsegna by reissuing all of her recordings in this five-CD set, which will include several extremely rare photos, complete discographic information, and an informative essay by Michael Aspinall on her career and recordings.

Our sponsorship goal is $12,500, the cost to remaster and manufacture a five-CD set.

Landmarks of Recorded Pianism, Vol. 3

Landmarks of Recorded Pianism, Vol. 3

52076-2 (2 CDs) | $36

Marston Records’s next issue in the Landmarks of Recorded Pianism series will continue to explore the question “What is a landmark piano recording?” In Volume Three our choices will again be presented, with an emphasis on recordings that have never been issued or reissued, and which seem to the producers (Ward Marston and Gregor Benko) to merit the attention of music lovers, scholars, and collectors because of their intrinsic musical and historic importance, not their rarity. This two-CD set will contain a mixture of piano solo and concerted works. Among the latter will be a live performance of the Schumann Concerto with the pupil of Clara Schumann, Adelina de Lara, plus a recently discovered live performance of the Chopin F minor Concerto with Jan Smeterlin and the Boston Symphony conducted by Serge Koussevitzky, as well as a radio broadcast performance of an abridged first movement of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with Simon Barer. Rare solo piano recordings taken from early discs and broadcasts will complete the set. Many of the recordings that will be presented are indeed great rarities, some completely unknown before this. Volumes One and Two in the series have proved controversial, which is not a bad thing especially when reviewers completely disagree on which inclusions are the best and worst of the set. Having said this, the feedback from our clientele has been uniformly enthusiastic, so onward to Volume Three. 

Our sponsorship goal is $5,000, the cost to remaster and manufacture a two-CD set.

Herbert Janssen

Herbert Janssen: Portrait of a Mastersinger

54007-2 (4 CDs) | $54

The recordings of the baritone Herbert Janssen (1892–1965) have continued to delight listeners, beginning with their first appearance in the 1920s up until the present, where contemporary critics often revere them as standards of distinguished singing. The very individualistic beauty of his voice has long been held in the highest esteem by connoisseurs of both operatic and Lieder singing. His perfect Italianate legato, his breath control, and the “long-bowed” phrasing of his vocal art were greatly praised by critics and audiences throughout his thirty-year career, first in continental Europe and at Covent Garden, and latterly in the Americas.

His musically rich and varied career in Europe ended abruptly in 1937 when his outspoken opposition to Hitler’s regime led to his pursuit by the Gestapo and eventual escape and exile. Until then, he had given highly praised performances, not only of the Wagnerian roles for which he is chiefly remembered today, but of Mozart, Gluck, a great deal of Verdi and other Italian and French operas, as well as of contemporary works and even Russian repertoire.

Janssen’s Lieder singing on record has left memorable interpretations of songs by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, and Strauss which are still very highly prized today.

The present collection includes all his surviving pre-war studio recordings of opera and operetta (except for the 1930 Columbia Tannhäuser); all of Janssen’s surviving 78 rpm Lieder recordings, including several previously unpublished items; and rare broadcast material that appears here together for the first time. The set includes liner notes by Ian Miller and Michael Aspinall, as well as a large selection of rare photos. As a portrait of one of the greatest baritones on records, this four-CD set of Herbert Janssen is the most complete yet to appear.

This set is fully funded.

The Works of Ernest Reyer and Édouard Lalo

The Works of Ernest Reyer and Édouard Lalo

53019-2 (3 CDs) | $54 ($36 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 19th century and the first three decades of the 20th: 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.

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) | $54

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.

Marian Anderson

The Young Marian Anderson

The Complete Studio Recordings 1923–1939 and Early Broadcasts

54009-2 (4 CDs) | $54

Marian Anderson (1897–1993) was an American contralto known for her recitals of opera, spirituals, and Lieder as well as her achievements in eroding the color barrier in arts and culture. She was a recipient a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. She sang at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 in the now-famous response to being shut out of Constitution Hall by the DAR, performed at the March on Washington in 1963, and was the first black person to sing at the Metropolitan Opera (1955) in New York in her only operatic role on stage. While a towering figure in the civil rights movement, it was Marian Anderson’s velvety and vibrant contralto voice that opened the doors for herself and others.

This four-CD set is the first complete and chronological issue of Anderson’s early recordings including never-before issued rarities and early broadcasts from the 1930s. The set also includes numerous photos with liner notes by Jeffrey McMillan, author and senior communications manager at San Francisco Opera, and Mark Burford, R. P. Wollenberg professor of music at Reed College, author of Mahalia Jackson and the Black Gospel Field, and editor of The Mahalia Jackson Reader.

Our sponsorship goal is $10,000, the cost to remaster and manufacture a four-CD set.

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.

Our sponsorship goal is $18,000, the cost to remaster and manufacture an eight- or nine-CD set as well as the cost to secure the rights for a portion of the recorded music. We believe that this set will be one of our most important contributions to preserving our musical past, similar in significance to our complete Feodor Chaliapin and John McCormack series. We are hopeful that our loyal and generous supporters will assist us in making the complete Lawrence Tibbett a reality.