THE MUSIC BOX
WHRB's LP recording of the Lowell House Musical Society's Acis and Galatea is certainly a bit of good luck. The blurb on the back of the envelope tells us that the broadcast of last spring's performance was recorded as an experiment. It goes on to say that the success justified its release. This is true.
Most of the selections have been chosen so that they do not duplicate commercial recordings. The bass aria, "O ruddier than the cherry," is an exception. Obviously it has been included for the very good reason that Paul Tibbetts is singing it, but it is one of the dullest pieces the Handel ever wrote. Marguerite Willauer has much better material for her fine soprano voice in "As when the dove laments her love" and "Heart, the seat of soft delight."
So much of the high quality of the performance comes through on the recording that you wish there had been less luck and more plan. The anti-acoustical Lowell dining hall is the worst offender. The choruses which had clarity both in words and accompaniment have lost much of their color. Presumably the beautiful "Hush ye pretty warbling choir" and "Happy we" were not suitable for release, for there is no other excuse for omitting them.
Besides their obvious technical advantages, LPs, by their economy, have brought a multitude of new producers into recording. If WHRB is planning a career, it has made a promising start with "Acis." Taking down undergraduate productions is a tremendously worthwhile project both for boosting young performers and making rare works available.