PHILIPS LP PHS900-060: STRAUSS 17 Songs - Gerard Souzay - 1960s
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Background on this item -
Gérard Souzay (8 December 1918 – 17 August 2004) was a French baritone singer, regarded as one of the very finest interpreters of mélodie (French art song) in the generation after Charles Panzéra and Pierre Bernac.

He was born Gérard Marcel Tisserand, but later adopted the stage name of Souzay from a village on the river Loire. He came from a musical family in Angers, France. His parents had met at one of the first performances of Pelléas et Mélisande in 1902; his mother and two brothers were singers, and his sister, 15 years older, was the soprano Geneviève Touraine, who gave the first performance of Poulenc's Fiançailles pour rire in 1942. After his schooling at the Collège Rabelais in Chinon, he went to the Sorbonne in Paris to study philosophy, and while there he met the singer Pierre Bernac, who encouraged him to study singing.

Souzay entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1940, studying with Claire Croiza and Jean-Emil Vanni-Marcoux. He actually began singing as a tenor, but in 1943, with advice from the leading operatic singer Henri Etcheverry, he became a baritone. He graduated from the Conservatoire in 1945 with two first prizes, the Prix de chant and the Prix de vocalise. While at the Conservatoire, he also tried his hand at composition and in 1942 three of his settings of poems by Paul Valéry were given a performance by Pierre Bernac. He went on to study voice with Bernac, although he subsequently expressed some differences with the latter's methods and ideas on pronunciation. He was eager not to limit himself to being a specialist in the French repertoire, and he made a detailed study of German lieder with Lotte Lehmann.

Gérard Souzay's public appearances began in 1945 with recitals and concerts, including a performance of Fauré's Requiem in a centenary tribute to the composer at  the Royal Albert Hall in London. He rapidly established an international career as a recitalist, admired not only in French music but also for his command of the German repertoire, especially Schubert and Schumann. In recital, his first accompanist was Jacqueline Bonneau (who had been his contemporary at the Paris Conservatoire), but she was reluctant to travel and from 1954 onwards he formed a close partnership with the American pianist Dalton Baldwin which continued for the rest of his career.

Souzay's exceptional linguistic gifts enabled him to sing convincingly in 13 different languages including Hebrew, Portuguese and Russian. In contemporary music he performed in Honegger's La danse des morts and in the world première of Stravinsky's Canticum sacrum. The composer Jacques Leguerney (1906–1997) wrote many songs for Souzay and for his sister. Souzay also sang Jocelyne Binet's Cycle de Mélodies on seven poems by Paul Éluard in a 1955 recital program.

His operatic career began in 1947 in Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, but it was not until the late 1950s that he extended his stage work – though even then it did not take precedence over his recitals. His roles included Monteverdi's Orfeo, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Lescaut in Massenet's Manon, and Méphistophélès in Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust. One of his favorite and most successful roles was Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.

He did little operatic work after the 1960s, but continued his recital career, finally retiring from performance in the late 1980s. He spent the last years of his life giving master classes in the United States, Europe and Japan: he was an inspiring teacher, preferring to work on phrasing and the mood of a song rather than French diction.

He was a keen abstract painter, and in 1983 he published a book Sur mon chemin: pensées et dessins in which a selection of his paintings was accompanied by his written commentary, on art and life. He died at his home in Antibes in the south of France on 17 August 2004.

PHILIPS Records LP item - BLACK record labels with SILVER lettering, with the record label logo on both labels. The LP was made by MERCURY records for Philips. - see pictures for more detail
Record Made in the USA
Pressing is in STEREO - stamper RFR-1, both sides of the LP
Record Speed: 33 rpm
Record Made in: circa 1960’s (no dates to be found on the LP, jacket or run out groove)
Record Catalog Number: PHS 900-060

This listing is for a very rare, out of print LP featuring -

Richard STRAUSS

Performers on this recording include -
Gerard Souzay, baritone
Dalton Baldwin, piano

LP Title -
SEVENTEEN (17) SONGS

Track listings -
1. See the picture of the back of the LP for song details

CONDITION Details:
The JACKET:
The LP jacket is only in very good plus condition - see pictures.
The jacket has a seam split at the top seam. The bottom seam has been professionally and neatly taped so we assume it may have been split as well at some point in time. The jacket does show some shelf wear, primarily along the seams and corners as well as some foxing of colors, primarily at the front of the jacket.
It has NO drill holes or saw marks of any kind - see pictures with this listing for a better understanding of the condition of this item.
There is NO writing on the front or back of the jacket.
The cover has clean and sharp colors - see picture with this listing for more detail.

The LP (vinyl) itself:
The LP is in excellent plus condition!
It retains most of the original gloss and sheen, but this is not a perfect LP. There are some light marks on this item, some of which may sound on some audio systems depending on how sensitive your arm, cartridge, turntable and preamp are.
The record has no serious or deep marks on the vinyl.
NO significant spindle marks either.
This LP does have a slight mark or two (spider marks) which are caused by sliding the LP in and out of the inner sleeve and are usually not audible on most audio systems, depending of course, on the sensitivity of your turntable, arm and cartridge - as for any record.

Please understand that this is a vintage record LP - as such, one cannot expect the vinyl to sound like a brand new, audiophile pressing! Some noise is inevitable - for best results, always properly clean your LPs before playing them.

The LP is an audiophile quality pressing (any collector of fine MFSL, half speeds, direct to discs, Japanese/UK pressings etc., can attest to the difference a quality pressing can make to an audio system).

A Short Note About LP GRADING -
Mint {M} = Only used for sealed items.
Near Mint {NM} = Virtually flawless in every way.
Near Mint Minus {NM-} = Item has some minor imperfections, some audible.
Excellent {EXC} = Item obviously played and enjoyed with some noise.
Very Good Plus {VG+} = Many more imperfections which are noticeable and obtrusive.

Don't let this rarity slip by!!!

  • Item #: Philips LP PHS 900-060 NM
  • Manufacturer: Philips Records
  • Condition: Used

PHILIPS LP PHS900-060: STRAUSS 17 Songs - Gerard Souzay - 1960s

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