RCA LP LSC 2228: BERLIOZ, Harold In Italy MUNCH BSO, 1958 USA NM
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Background on this item -
This is an ORIGINAL, early issue RCA Shaded Dog LP pressing featuring Charles Munch conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The stamped information on the dead wax around the rim of the record label indicate that this LP was made in the USA by RCA, at the Indianapolis Pressing Plant. The actual stamper numbers are: side 1 - 3s and side 2 - 1s.

The record labels indicate that this LP is a "shaded dog" vintage issue, made in 1958.

Hector Berlioz (11 December 1803 – 8 March 1869) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a conductor, he performed several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. He also composed around 50 songs. His influence was critical for the further development of Romanticism, especially in composers like Richard Wagner, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Liszt, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and many others.

Harold en Italie, Harold in Italy, Symphony in Four Parts with Viola Obbligato, Op. 16, is Hector Berlioz' second symphony, written in 1834.

Niccolò Paganini (1782–1840) encouraged Berlioz (1803–1869) to write Harold en Italie. The two first met after a concert of Berlioz’s works conducted by Narcisse Girard on 22 December 1833, three years after the premiere of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Paganini had acquired a superb viola, a Stradivarius — "But I have no suitable music. Would you like to write a solo for viola? You are the only one I can trust for this task.” Berlioz began "by writing a solo for viola, but one which involved the orchestra in such a way as not to reduce the effectiveness of the orchestral contribution." When Paganini saw the sketch of the allegro movement, with all the rests in the viola part, he told Berlioz it would not do, and that he expected to be playing continuously. They then parted, with Paganini disappointed.

Harold en Italie is a four-movement work featuring an extensive part for solo viola. Lord Byron's poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage inspired the mood of Harold. Berlioz wrote, "My intention was to write a series of orchestral scenes, in which the solo viola would be involved as a more or less active participant while retaining its own character. By placing it among the poetic memories formed from my wanderings in the Abruzzi, I wanted to make the viola a kind of melancholy dreamer in the manner of Byron’s Childe-Harold." That he had recycled some of the material from his discarded concert overture, Rob Roy, went unmentioned.

The first movement ("Harold aux montagnes") refers to the scenes that Harold, the melancholic character, encounters in mountains. In the second movement ("Marche des pélerins"), Harold accompanies a group of pilgrims.

The third movement ("Sérénade") involves a love scene; someone plays a serenade for his mistress. In the fourth movement, ("Orgie de brigands"), spiritually tired and depressed, Harold seeks comfort among wild and dangerous company, perhaps in a tavern. Jacques Barzun reminds us that "The brigand of Berlioz’s time is the avenger of social injustice, the rebel against the City, who resorts to nature for healing the wounds of social man."

Throughout the symphony, the viola represents Harold's character. The manner in which the viola theme hesitantly repeats its opening phrase — gaining confidence, like an idea forming, before the long melody spills out in its entirety — was satirized in a musical paper after the premiere. It began "Ha! ha! ha! – haro! haro! Harold!"— a cheeky touch that Berlioz recalled years later in his Memoirs.

In addition to the solo viola, the work calls for 2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (1st doubling cor anglais in Movement III), 2 clarinets in C (Movements I,III, and IV) and A (Movement II), 4 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 cornets, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, cymbals, triangle, 2 tambourines, harp and strings.

RCA LIVING STEREO Records LP item - RED record labels with SILVER lettering. The labels have the famous little dog “Nipper” affectionately known by audiophiles as the “Shaded Dog” LP vintage - see pictures for more detail
Record Made in the USA, “I” = Indianapolis Pressing Plant
Pressing is in STEREO
Record Speed: 33 1/3 rpm
Record Made in: 1958
Record Catalog Number: LSC 2228
Stampers on the dead wax are 3s (side 1) and 1s (side 2) - these are STAMPED into the dead wax, not hand written.

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

Hector BERLIOZ

Performers on this LP include -
Charles Munch, conductor
The Boston Symphony Orchestra
William Primrose, viola

LP Title -
BERLIOZ - HAROLD IN ITALY

Track listings -
1. Harold In Italy, Op. 16

CONDITION Details:
LP JACKET:
The LP jacket is in Very Good plus condition!
The jacket has a 11" seam split at the top seam, and a tiny split at the bottom seam as well. Spine is fine, with just a bit of weakening, no further splits. The corners show a bit of shelf wear - see pictures with this listing of the actual item for more details. Although the jacket is less than perfect, it's still very nice.
The jacket has NO drill holes or saw marks of any kind!
There are some small hand written numbers on the back of the jacket - see pictures with this listing for more detail.
The cover has clean and sharp colors, with a bit of color foxing and discoloration on the back - again, see pictures with this listing for more detail.

The LP (vinyl) itself:
The LP would be NEAR MINT except for a mark on the second side, half way through the recording - thus, we will scale the rating back to "excellent" condition only.
The LP has most of it's original gloss and sheen. As noted above, there is a mark on the second side that may sound on some audio systems - still a fine LP recording. We play tested parts of the LP and it sounded superb in most sections, only the area with the mark did have some noise - again, this is dependent on the sensitivity of your arm, cartridge and turntable - some systems will play through this section with no distractions, others may pick up on the mark and thus, it will sound - so be forewarned. If this is an issue for you, then don't buy this rare LP.
The record labels have NO significant spindle marks.
This LP may 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.

Please understand that this is a vintage LP record - 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 #: RCA LP LSC 2228 NM
  • Manufacturer: RCA Victor Records
  • Condition: Used

RCA LP LSC 2228: BERLIOZ, Harold In Italy MUNCH BSO, 1958 USA NM

Price: $49.99
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