The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (1)

The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (1)


norman lebrecht

March 18, 2020

The pianist is Harry Ebert. The interpretation, on the eve of war, is out of this world.

Please add your own suggestions for future zone posts in the Comments space below.


  • fflambeau says:

    A Swede, he studied with Alfred Cortot in the years 1919-1924 .

  • Oded Zehavi says:

    Thank you Norman

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    True, but then what else one expects from this singer. It is easier for us now to identify at least to some extent with the times in which this was recorded We ourselves have just entered into the most significant life changing event since the second world war. This I am convinced is the beginning of a new phase in history, which will soon be combined with the effects of climate change to take us into a totally different world. I don’t believe the world will quite be the same once we protect ourselves from this virus.

  • A.L. says:

    Comfort in Bach-Liszt in the hands of Maria Yudina? Why not.

  • Aspi Billimoria says:

    The likes of this tenor will hardly ever be repeated.
    what a fine Rudolfo he was!

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Dinu Lipatti anything. My first choice: Ich rufe dich Herr Jesu Christ.

    Then again, the recordings are deservedly well known.

  • Christopher Clift says:

    A couple of suggestions NL – Lascia la Spina (Handel) sung by Cecilia Bartoli, and Du bist die Ruh (Schubert) sung by Barbara Bonney.

  • Save the MET says:

    My offering, social distancing comes together in the end.

  • M.Arnold says:

    Wonderful! The first 2 times I went to the old Met, Nov.1959, I heard Bjoerling in Cavalleria and the following Saturday matinee, Tosca.Still my favorite tenor.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    J.S. Bach. ”Dir, dir Jehova will ich singen”, BWV 452.

    If possible that good old recording with Agnes Giebel accompanied by Gustav Leonhardt.

  • Walther Robinson says:

    not to mention the Philly recording of Verdi Req

  • Walther Robinson says:

    the definitive ‘Ingemisco’

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Instrumental music:
    Beethoven, Op. 132, Heilige Dankgesang
    Schubert, String Quintet, final movement
    Faure, Ballade (either piano solo or with orchestra)

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Bjorling’s Adelaide of similar vintage could as easily be listed.

    My nominees, all findable on YouTube:

    Rumanian Petre Munteanu singing “O del mio amato ben” with Michael Raucheisen on piano, circa 1953. A couple of versions of the same recording are on YouTube. No rendition known to me is more tender or eye-moistening.

    Belgian Andre d’Arkor singing the Romance from Maitre Pathelin circa 1931. Likewise, multiple versions. One of the great tenors of his era, which was an era of marvelous tenors.

    The 1930s Philadelphia Orchestra recording under Stokowski of the “Berceuse” from the Tempest music by Sibelius. Not the LP remake circa 1950. I have never heard recorded string playing remotely like it.

    Fritz Kreisler playing the opening Adagio from the first unaccompanied Sonata of Bach. Some YouTube versions are incorrectly pitched. Played and phrased only with regard to beauty, not notions of correctness.

  • John Marks says:

    Lovely; thanks, Norman.

    I find equally lovely (believe it or not), John McCormack’s 1924 version with Fritz Kreisler.

    McCormack I think was typecast, which is a pity. He was very versatile.

    BTW, James Joyce (of “Ulysses” fame) had the same singing teacher as McCormack, and McCormack encouraged and mentored Joyce as a singer.

    McCormack won the gold medal in the Irish national singing competition of 1903. James Joyce (really, I am not making this up) won the bronze medal in 1904, but the consensus was that he would have taken home the gold, but for the fact he blew off the sight-reading requirement. Didn’t even try.