Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5: Delos 3015

by Harold Lawrence

Harold Lawrence and Eugene Ormandy

 

The hall used for this recording was Philadelphia's "Old Met," a spacious opera house built in 1908 by Oscar Hammerstein I, and rediscovered in 1977 as a recording site by the late John Coveney, EMI/Angel's Consultant on Major Recording Projects and EMI Engineer John Kurlander from London. This historic building, now located in one of the nation's most depressed urban districts, was once a home away from home for the Metropolitan Opera House, and later used by Leopold Stokowski for concerts.

It was the site for the world premiere recording of Schoenberg's massive score, Gurrelieder, in 1932. The formerly opulent interior originally seated 4,500 people. Its stage is 125 feet deep, with a 50-foot wide proscenium and a space of 250 feet from "curtain" to rear wall. The mid-frequency reverberation period is over 2.2 seconds and has a smooth decay, making it well-suited for recording.

From the purely orchestral standpoint, Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony is a fascinating study in contrasts and provides a stunning demonstration of the capabilities of digital recording techniques. Within the first four minutes, the work covers virtually the entire dynamic spectrum, ranging from the gloomy, mysterious opening bars played by two clarinets in their deep, chalumeau register, above soft lower strings; to the first powerful tutti outbursts of the first movement featuring the majesty of the brass, the intensity of the full string section, and dramatic punctuations of the timpani. The delicate flute and clarinet melody marked "pianissimo grazioso e leggiero" (first movement, bar 50, 02 :40) emerges with glowing realism; and the climactic passages in the finale (11:16), where the entire brass section does battle with massed orchestral tutti, sound free of distortion.

But Tchaikovsky's orchestration is more than merely an exciting contrast in dynamics. It offers original sounds and instrumental combinations at every turn, sonorities which seem as natural as the unending flow of melody so characteristic of all of Tchaikovsky's music.

The brief Andante announcing the motto theme will recur throughout the symphony in various forms, emerging at intervals until its apotheosis in the finale. The Allegro con anima (02 :53) begins with four bars of string accompaniment at whisper level (marked ppp) leading to the second theme, scored unconventionally for clarinet and bassoon playing an octave at (02 :26). Violins and Violas take over (02:53) while fragments of melody are tossed from one wind instrument to another.

The listener will enjoy following these mini-scale passages as they flit across the aural stage. Until (03:29), Tchaikovsky has held the brass in reserve; now full brass and timpani jolt the strings and woodwinds with electrifying fortissimo attacks. The music becomes increasingly more agitated and powerful, rising to still another dynamic level (fff), at which point the French horns lustily proclaim the Allegro theme. In the mounting excitement, the strings seem to ignite themselves in high-lying tremolo playing and a timpani roll moves the full orchestra to a shattering climax.

Suddenly the strings are alone (04:10) singing a vibrant new theme, marked molto espressivo that rises and falls from l to bar, while flutes glitter fitfully in between-the-phrase comments. A soft, contemplative transition follows (04 53) featuring horns and gentle pizzicato strings. Again the strings (less double-basses) are alone, this time introducing a new section with a broken ff pizzicato chord strikingly reminiscent of the third movement of the Fourth Symphony (05:14). Woodwinds respond and engage in a dialogue with strings involving two-bar phrases. The dialogue evolves into a love duet introducing one of Tchaikovsky's most romantic and lovely melodies (05:37).

The rest of the first movement exploits previous them material and ends even softer than it began, with a sense of deep weariness and melancholy as bassoons, cellos, double-basses and timpani shudder darkly to a halt. Audio systems with excellent bass response will provide listeners with a memorable sonic experience here.

The transition from the first movement (14:56) is one Tchaikovsky's most original conceptions. Recovering from state of utter despondency at the close of the previous moment, the strings float slowly into view. A solo horn enter most "soundlessly" (15:31) and its 15-bar melody, adapted by Tin Pan Alley as "Moon Love" casts its spell over the listen The first clarinet (16:09) sounds brief comments, as if to say: "Oh, yes. How beautiful!" The essence of Tchaikovsky's warmly vibrant music lies in its deep romantic character.

Nowhere is this quality more vividly expressed than in a new theme played first by the oboe (6:51) and later by the entire orchestra in two overpowering climaxes (19:21 and 24:23). At (17:36) Tchaikovsky assigns the main theme to the cellos in one of the most expressive sections of this melody-filled symphony. Later the motto theme which opened the first movement violently interrupts the flow of the movement in nine shattering fff bars for full orchestra, above kettledrum rolls (21:55). At the end, in the softest moments of the entire symphony, two clarinets above strings marked ppp fade into silence.

The spirit of combat and deep melancholy is dispelled in the third movement, Waltz, which opens with a balletic melody of charming simplicity that could easily have been composed for Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. New colors, new shades of feeling take over as the violins, marked dolce con grazia, play the Iyrical principal melody. Pizzicato strings then underline solo oboe and solo bassoon repeating the theme in octaves (00:24). A full~blown treatment by the entire woodwind section follows (00:59). The solo bassoon now has a chance to shine in a new theme (01:16) above pizzicato strings, inspiring flutes and clarinets to echo the melody.

This delightful sequence of play and interplay gives way to nimble 16th-note passages (01:41) played first by violins, then by other strings and woodwinds. Tchaikovsky instructs the strings to play spiccato (a technique in which the bow is "thrown" on the string in an elastic and bouncing stroke). A challenge to the virtuosity of any orchestra, this tricky section is difficult enough for strings, but even more exacting for the woodwinds, which take over the quick-moving melody for six bars (02:33-02:39). After a return to the original material, clarinets and bassoons play the motto theme, but without the foreboding of the first two movements.

The finale opens (06:23) in radiant contrast to the first three movements. The noble motto theme, played by strings in E Major with harmonic support from clarinet, bassoons, horns and tuba, is one of optimism and confidence. The clouds have lifted. Fanfare-like passages for brass and woodwinds above restless string pizzicatos (07:09) culminate in a timpani crescendo, after which the music suddenly moves into a much luckier tempo, Allegro vivace. The strings savagely attack a new theme, of which each phrase begins with four down-bow strokes in succession (09:25). This wild Cossack dance provokes a display of orchestral virtuosity unsurpassed in any other Tchaikovsky score -- a battlefield of rhythms and sonorities. There are dazzling splashes of color produced by fast-running figures played by trumpets, horns, strings and woodwinds (10:05); razor-sharp tutti chords marked fff (09:33); and ferocious brass chords above marching timpani figures (10:25).

In this overpowering musical onslaught, themes hurtle into view in rapid sequence as the work gathers increasing strength. Finally, the movement -- and the symphony -- reaches its apotheosis as the motto theme takes over completely, introduced by all the woodwinds playing a triplet accompaniment (16:23). Marked ff largamente, the strings triumphantly sound the majestic melody. But now the brass cannot be restrained, and the score rushes inexorably toward its blazing conclusion -- a perfect way to end a symphony in the grand "victory through struggle" tradition of Brahms' First or Beethoven's Fifth.

 

 

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

For this recording a basic three microphone setup was employed using B & K 4413 omnidirectional microphones. The signal from a custom Neotek Mixing Console directly into the digital tape recorder For monitoring we used a pair of ADS B-C8 monitors powered by Threshold Stasis 11 amplification. The Philadelphia Orchestra was deployed in normal concert configuration.

Harold Lawrence, record producer. Amelia S. Haygood, executive producer. Robert Eberenz, recording engineer. Bruce Leek, assistant recording engineer and disk mastering engineer. Jules Bloomenthal, Sydney Davis, Don Morrison, Jim Wolvington of Soundstream Inc; digital recording, editing and mastering engineers.

copyright Harold Lawrence, RECOLLECTIONS 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of My Favorite Bach Recordings

by Harold Lawrence

I must confess that among my favorite Bach recordings are two that I had the privilege to record for Mercury Records. But, I was not involved with the recording of Nikolaus Harnoncourt Bach Cantatas and it is in these recordings that we find one of Bach's livelier works, the Sinfonia of Cantata No. 35. "Geist und Seele wird verwirret," composed by Bach in 1726. On Telefunken 6.41970 AF this and seven other Cantata Sinfonias are treated as independent, self-sufficient orchestral works and not as introductions to cantatas. Here, Harnoncourt and the Concentus musicus Wien give a truly exciting performance of the Sinfonia, a work.which features an organ solo and is scored for two oboes, strings, and continuo. Nikolaus Harnoncourt was in the forefront of Bach scholars who believe in performing Baroque works with original instruments and in this recording we can hear how fresh and unpedantic this approach can be as the Concentus musicus Wien give a clear and propulsive performance.

 

 

 

One year after Bach wrote this Sinfonia for his Cantata No. 35, he began work on a concerto for two claviers and strings. Rafael Puyana, the harpsichordist with whom I recorded this work, speculated that it was probably written originally for two solo harpsichords with the string orchestra added later. We recorded the work, Bach's Concerto C Major for Two Harpsichords and Strings, BWV 1061, for Mercury Records in Fine Recording Studio which was located in the Great Northern Hotel, New York City. It is a stunning concerto, full of brilliant and intricate virtuoso writing in the outer movements and a quiet and moving inner Siciliano. In his record liner-notes and through his playing, Puyana calls attention to a remarkable achievement in the final movement -- the adaptation of the fugue to the Concerto form. I produced this recording for Mercury Records in the April 1963 and it was released as part of Mercury Living Presence MG 50322/SR 90322. Rafael Puyana is joined on this record of harpsichord duos and the harpsichord concerto by Genoveva Galvez, and in the harpsichord concerto by the Clarion Arts Orchestra conducted by Newell Jenkins.

 

 

 

1727 was a very good year for Bach. He not only wrote the magnificent Concerto in C Major for Two Harpsichords, but also composed the lyrical Cantata No.82 "Ich habe genug." In 1966, Janet Baker, the great English mezzo-soprano, made a recording of this Cantata, released in the U.S as Angel 36419/S-36419. I shall never forget attending her American debut in New York that same year. During a few memorable days she sang a Handel opera in Carnegie Hall and two absolutely unforgettable song recitals in Town Hall. It was no coincidence that at the start of her career she won the coveted Kathleen Ferrier Prize -- she has followed in the footsteps of that legendary contralto. In this recording , Janet Baker is accompanied bythe Bath Festival Orchestra directed by Yehudi Menuhin, with the Ambrosian Singers, Chorus Master, John McCarthy. The opening movment is one of Bach's inspired creations -- a duet for voice and oboe, here sensativelly played by Michael Dobson. And Ms. Baker's virtuosity in the twisting line "Ich frreue mich" is as impressive as her eloquence in"schlummert ein."

Anyone who is studying classical piano should consider taking up the French Suites by Bach. These delightful dance-like works will give you plenty of opportunity for limbering up the fingers -- of both hands -- and send you forth whistling and humming the great tunes you'll find in these enchanting works. In this CBS recording (CBS Masterworks M 36682 [c1980]) the incomparable Glenn Gould plays the last three movements of the French Suite No. 5 in G -- Gavotte, Bourée, and Gigue. Specially noteworthy is Gould's crisp fingerwork and tremendous rhythmic excitement he generates.This record is a collection of some of Glenn Gould's favorite Bach pieces taken from his previously issued records. Yet, it is a fine record in itself, and is a great primer of Bach solo-keyboard compositions.

Another wonderful Sinfonia from Hanoncourt's album with the Concentus musicus Wien is the Sinfonia from Cantata No. 29 "Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir." This is an orchestral version of the famous Prelude from the Partita for Solo Violin in E Flat. Here, Bach scored it for three trumpets, two oboes, strings and continuo, with the organ playing the part originally composed for violin.

 

 

The Six Suites for Unaccompanied 'Cello are among Bach's undisputed masterworks in any medium. And one of the great Bach interpreters is the 'cellist, Janos Starker. I had the privilege of producing all of Starker's Mercury recordings between 1962 and 1966. For me, the highlight of these five years was the complete recording of Bach's 'Cello Suites (Mercury Living Presence OL3-116/SR3-9016 [c1966]. Starker recorded Suites Two and Five in 1963, and One, Three, Four, and Six just before Christmas, 1965. All were recorded in New York City at Fine Recording in the Great Northern Hotel on 57th and 6th Avenue -- now torn down. The studio we worked in was the former ballroom on the main floor of the hotel -- it had glittering chandelier, fluted columns and thick, hard plaster walls. All of which produced a live, incredibly clear acoustical setting. It was a joy for me, as a producer, to work there. And work there I did, producing many chamber recordings. It could be daunting to work with some artists -- not Janos Starker. He is always professional, and his technique is flawless. His perfect intonation and impeccable bowing can easily be heard on his record of the Second Bach Suite (Mercury Living Presence MG50445/SR 90445. Of these performances Starker himself comments with some reserve that they are of a high level and that he "was and am satisfied with the results."

 

 

 

Discography

Bach, Johann Christian Duet for Harpsichord A, Op. 18 No. 5. Duet for Harpsichord F, Op. 18 No. 6.. Bach, J. S. Concerto for Two Harpsichords in C, BWV 1061.Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann. Concerto à duoi cembali concertati in F. Rafael Puyana and Genoveva Galvez, harpsichords. Clarion Arts Orchestra. Newell Jenkins, conductor. Mercury Living Presence MG 50322/SR 90322 (c1964). Record at the Fine Recording Studios in the Great Northern Hotel, New York City on April 9, 10, 11, 12 and 22, 1963. (This Bach Double Concerto is one of the finest examples of living, moving, sound-architecture that I know. The spatial interplay between the various instruments is astonishing. R. P.)


The Little Bach Book: Goldberg Variations - Aria (BWV988); Little Prelude No. 1 in C (BWV933); Little Prelude No. 2 in c (BWV934); Four Two-Part Inventions - No. 1 in C (BWV772), No. 8 in F (BWV779), No. 4 in d (BWV775), No. 14 in B-Flat (BWV785); Partita No. 1 in B-Flat - Minuets I, II and Gigue (BWV825); English Suite No. 3 in g - Gavottes I and II (BWV808); Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I - Prelude and Fugue No. 21 in B-Flat (BWV866); Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I - Prelude and Fugue No. 5 in D (BWV850); French Suite No. 5 in G - Gavotte, Bourrée, Gigue (BWV816); Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I - Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C (BWV846); Fughetta in c (BWV961); Little Prelude No. 1 in C (BWV924); Five Two-Part Inventions - No. 10 in G (BWV781), No. 3 in D (BWV774) , No. 13 in A (BWV784) , No. 6 in E (BWV777), No. 15 in b (BWV786); French Suite No. 3 in b - Minuet and Trio (BWV814); French Suite No. 6 in E - Minuet, Bourrée, and Gigue (BWV817); English Suite No. 2 in a - Bourrées I and II, Gigue (BWV811). Glenn Gould, piano. CBS Masterworks M 36682 (c 1980).
The writer of the album's liner-notes observes "In choosing the selections for this album, Glenn Gould made a thorough search through his own recorded catalog and settled on a variety of pieces that have given him particular pleasure throughout his distinguished recording career. The selections range in time: The Aria from the Goldberg Variations was recorded in 1955 and the Little Preludes Nos. 1 and 2 were done late in 1979. The result is a sort of 'Little Bach Book' that might easily have challenged and inspired the 11-year-old budding genius, Glenn Gould, shown on the cover of this album. And, to refer again to Karl Geiringer, there can be no doubt that these 'creations of supreme beauty as well as craftsmanship' constitute a 'stimulating experience . . . for all students and music-lovers alike.' "

To be continued

copyright 2002 by Harold Lawrence, RECOLLECTIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimi Hendrix

by Tony Almeida

Rock music is a music of youth, and the late 1960s was its coming of age. Like it or hate it, you couldn't ignore it. Jimi Hendrix, a guitarist, performer, and songwriter of the late '60s was the most influential rock artist of the era.

He began his career with jobs in rhythm and blues bands, playing behind, among others, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, and the Isley Brothers. Later he lived in New York and played the clubs of Greenwich Village where he billed his group as Jimmy James and the Blue Flames.

At age 23, he left the U. S. for England to continue his career. There his new manager Chas Chandler had contacts, and informal auditions were held for a bassist and drummer to form the group, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitch Mitchell was chosen as drummer and the bassist chosen was Noel Redding. Jimi's guitar skills more than filled out the sound of the three-piece band. What's more, at this stage of his career, he knew the importance of putting on a show. The Beatles learned this in Hamburg, where club owner, Bruno Koschmider, required it of them. "The Big Show", he called it-"Make the Big Show".

And Jimi Hendrix could make plenty Big Show.

Jimi used his guitar as a prop, dancing with it, fondling it, playing it behind his head and with his teeth. He even burned his guitar at the conclusion of the Experience's first American performance, captured in the wonderful film by director, D.A. Pennebaker, Monterey Pop. Jimi's entire performance at Monterey has finally been released on LP (Reprise 25358-1) and the excitement has survived the years. The album opens with Howling Wolf's "Killing Floor". This blues metaphor for the lowest floor of the Chicago slaughter houses had never rocked so hard. Hendrix and the Experience lighten up considerably after this, but for that first song, Jimi Hendrix is playing for keeps.

Around the time Jimi's second hit, "Purple Haze", broke the top ten, London's Sunday Mirror asked Jimi about the suggestive movements of his act. He replied: "I think 'act' is maybe the wrong word. I play and move as I feel. It's no act. Perhaps it's sexy . . . but what music with a big beat isn't?" Listen to the introductory bars of "Purple Haze". Who had heard such rhythmic dissonance in a rock recording before this? "Purple Haze" was the first cut on the Experience's U.S. debut LP, Are You Experienced? (Reprise RS 6261), released August of 1967. A similarly titled LP had already been released in England on the Track label. However, the English version was only available in monaural and featured a somewhat different song selection. One of these songs, "Red House", was a blues that Jimi wrote and had been playing for sometime. Amazingly, it is about the only song that Rolling Stone magazine's Jon Landau, thought had any merit. In the big print of the magazine's first issue he says, "Dig it if you can, but as for me, I'd rather hear Jimi play the blues," and in hindsight it is apparent that almost all of Jimi's songs are strongly blues-influenced.

The U.S. LP came out on the Reprise label. Reprise records was an unusual amalgam of recording artists begun for Frank Sinatra after his dispute with Capitol. The original label is Reprise's tricolor "riverboat" label. The cover also differs from the U.K. release, the American version being more psychedelic. It was available in stereo-or at least what passed for stereo. Rock collectors speak of "true stereo". Are You Experienced? was in true stereo. However, this does not mean that a pair of microphones captured the sound of the band and the room they were playing in. It merely indicates that the stereo effect was not produced by electronically modifying a monaural recording. The practice of electronically processing stereo was still acceptable in some companies. Capitol's "Duophonic Stereo" processing of the Beach Boy Pet Sounds is just one example.

The remarkable aspect of the engineered sound of Are You Experienced? lies not in the stereo spread, but in the effects that Hendrix and engineer, Eddie Kramer, were able to achieve with Olympic Studio's 4-track facilities, and Jimi's electric sound sensibilities and guitar orchestrations. Musicians are still trying to figure out how he got all of the sounds on that record.

Guitarist Mike Bloomfield gives a glimpse of Jimi's experimentation in an interview from 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky. He and Hendrix were fooling around with their guitars backstage at a concert in Los Angeles. Bloomfield was concentrating on his playing when he started hearing strange sounds coming from Jimi's amp. "Here I am playing, hunched over and playing all these notes and there's this guy . . . tapping the back of the (guitar) neck and he's got his vibrato in his hand and he's moving the toggle switch . . . and it sounded like sirocco winds coming up from the desert."

After the opening cut, "Purple Haze", comes "Manic Depression". This is one of the more driving forward-moving songs that the Experience cut. It gives an indication of what it was that made the Experience so unique at the time. The changes in rhythm within the song were more complex than most previous rock recordings. It was easy to follow after a few listenings, but it kept on and keeps on surprising. The rhythm is emphasized at certain points through changing it slightly, and this shift in rhythm pleases and somehow makes the recording sound fresh at each listening. The next cut is "Hey Joe", which was the Experience's first hit in the U.K. This song and Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" from the Monterey album demonstrate another aspect of Jimi's appeal to a (mostly) white rock audience. Here was an ace rhythm and blues player who played and enjoyed and understood rock, folk-rock, and even abstract sound paintings. This in spite of the fact that one of the factors which contributed to the breakup of the Experience was Jimi's need to feel more accepted by other African Americans. Hendrix was the quintessential artist, needing to create according to his own muse, also needing to feel accepted by his society.

Who was the enigma Jimi Hendrix? Between the lines of his lyrics and the spacey interviews he gave, what were his thoughts? "When Six Was Nine" was on the soundtrack to the film, Easy Rider, and gave cryptic insights.

If all the hippies cut off all their hair-I don't care!
Ain't nobody know what I'm talkin' about.
I've got my own life to live.
I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die.
So let me live my life
the way I want to.

"When Six Was Nine" ended side one of the Experience's second LP-Axis: Bold As Love (Reprise RS 6281). This LP, released in the U.S. in January of 1968, was again on Reprise's tricolor label. However, since the company switched to a different label design around March 1968 this first edition is scarce. The U.K. release was again on the Track label and had noticeably different mixes on a couple of the selections. Axis: Bold As Love was widely available in stereo, but the mono run was very small and is rare.

The feeling of Axis: Bold As Love is mellower and moodier than Are You Experienced?. It has its rockers, but what attracted most people were the ballads, especially the wistful "Little Wing", with its Curtis Mayfield inspired guitar stylings, and "Castles Made of Sand". Despite the historical significance of Are You Experienced? and how right it sounded at the time, I find Axis: Bold As Love to be the record I come back to more often. Even the token Noel Redding song "She's So Fine", has a moving feeling to it, and Jimi and Mitch lend sympathetic support. In fact, Mitch's fine drumming is given more prominence than on the first LP.

How heavy was Mitch's drumming? In those innocent days of 1968, having the stage hands loudly nail down your drum kit before the show was a significantly ominous bit of show biz indeed.

The stereo spread of Axis: Bold As Love is an improvement over Are You Experienced?, but there is evidence that Hendrix wasn't altogether happy with his inability to control the final product. This was in part due to the pressure to release it during a time of constant touring. ". . . the scene of cutting it. They go by levels and all that. Some people don't have any imagination. See, when you cut a record, right before it's being printed, you know, when you cut the master, if you want a song where you have really deep sound, where you have depth and all this, you must almost remix it again right there at the cutting place. And nine-nine percent don't even do this. They just say, oh turn it up so this mixture doesn't go over or their mixture doesn't go under. And there it is, you know. It's nothing but one-dimensional."-interview recorded by "Meatball" Fulton, 1968.

The Experience's last album, Electric Ladyland (Reprise 2 RS 6307), was released in the U.S. in October 1968. The front cover has a beautiful photo of Jimi, but it is the cover released in England that received the most attention. The two disq set featured a gatefold cover photo of about 20 naked women. There was an immediate and (I'm sure not unexpected) negative response from the retailers, but what's worse is that the photo makes them all appear less attractive than was intended.

The sound of Electric Ladyland was more influenced by Jimi's then current state of mind and his increased control of production than by the previous two LPs. There is an experimental, searching sense in how unrelated the songs sound. Also, this is the first LP that featured other players sitting in on some cuts. Among others, Steve Winwood from Traffic played organ on "Voodoo Child" and Buddy Miles from Electric Flag played drums on "Rainy Day, Dream Away". Most of Electric Ladyland was recorded at New York's Record Plant with its 8-track facility. Jimi's pride and joy, his Electric Lady Studios would not open until mid-1970.

By now Jimi was getting tired of the limitations of a trio and wanted to expand the sound. "Music has to go places. We'll squeeze as much as we really feel out of a three-piece group, but things happen naturally . . ."-Jimi interviewed by Guitar Player Magazine, December 1968. In early July of 1969 bassist Noel Redding announced his plans to end his association with Hendrix. "The crux of the split, it appears, is that he was not consulted by Jimi over his plan to expand the group from a trio into a 'creative commune' which would include writers as well as more musicians."-Melody Maker, July 5 1969.

Jimi often spoke of the epic number of verses he had originally written for "Purple Haze", and how his manager Chas Chandler, had insisted on recording a tightly edited version. It would be interesting to hear that long version, but I think that the discipline Chas placed on Jimi was for the better at that time, because from Electric Ladyland until his death, Jimi was increasingly free from that outside discipline. He was certain to hit upon a formula that would have led his music to an even higher plateau, but wasn't there yet. And he was too far past the wild-man leader-of-the-Experience role to be happy or successful with that much longer. Electric Ladyland was a new beginning and the end of a segment of Jimi Hendrix's musical career.

Linger awhile with the last two songs of Electric Ladyland.

Listen as the stylus goes down on "All Along the Watchtower". Extra special attention was paid to the sound of this song. Although again Jimi was not in on the cutting of the album, "All Along the Watchtower" has the depth of sound that he felt was missing from Axis: Bold As Love. It was closer to Jimi's ideal: "I want to have stereo where it goes up and behind and underneath, you know. All you get now is just across and across."-"Meatball" Fulton interview 1968. Next comes the monumental "Voodoo Child (slight return)".

This was the last encore the warm autumn night I saw the Experience in 1969. Jack Casady, from the Jefferson Airplane, sat in on bass. The Oakland Arena management had turned on the lights in a futile attempt to keep the show from running further over schedule.

Hendrix sang:

 

I stand up next to a mountain,
and chop it down with the edge of my hand.

 

The house came down.

James Marshall Hendrix died September 18, 1970, three years and three months after his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival.

 

return

next

To receive my monthly sales list as well as information about collectible records send your email address to ronpenndorf@earthlink.net