The Music Lover’s Portfolio- charming vintage folio

The Music Lover’s Portfolio- charming vintage folio

Two weeks ago I was walking past a second hand bookshop ( the building dates from the late eighteenth century). Outside there is always a couple of bookshelves with reduced priced books- 50p- £1.00. On the 50p stand I found this rare and charming gem:

music book

It is very big, so it didn’t fit fully on the scanner, but you can see its beautiful gold embossed title and pale blue cover.

Inside its first owner, an M. Porter made a contents page, which has been written in one of those lovely old dip ink pens:


It is a collection of music magazines, or folios that have been bound by hand. It dates from the 1920s. The articles are interesting, and discuss ways to play a piece of music, or how to sing a vocal works like Mozart’s Non Piu Andrai.

Here is one rather Lisztian looking character, who took my interest-   Vladimir De Pachmann:


He was by all accounts a rather flamboyant pianist. Born in the Ukraine in 1848, and of Russian-German heritage, Vladimir was well known for his playing of Frederic Chopin’s music and an eccentric style of playing. Of interest to me was the fact that Vladimir’s father was a violinist and had once met Ludwig van Beethoven and Carl Maria von Weber! Vladimir was one of the first pianists to record himself playing piano; firstly in 1906 for the the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano, and then in 1907 for the gramophone.

Here is a recording dating from 1923 of Vladimir playing Chopin’s Nocturne in B Major:

I just love vintage recordings like this! I love the background noise, the crackles….what many people today would see as imperfections ( used to the at times almost clinical sound of digital recordings on CD) I find atmospheric, warm and evocative. Their time is almost immortal, we hear exactly what they heard, can be transported back to those very moments.

Here is an online index of documents (articles, reviews, book excerpts, programs, etc.)  about  Vladimir de Pachmann .

 The article in my folio is listed being from 1922! Here is the article :

 I wonder how many pianists followed his ideas?

Here is another recording of Vladimir playing Chopin- this time the Etude in C Minor:



2 thoughts on “The Music Lover’s Portfolio- charming vintage folio

  1. I had heard of Pachmann (he added the “de” himself), but had not heard any of his recordings until quite recently. He was once referred to as the “Chopinzee” because of his bizarre manner on stage, including mumbling while playing. There were a number of traits that made him a laughingstock. However, he did have the chops to play this repertoire. I wish we could hear more clearly– the crackles may be charming but in many cases we can’t get the details of what he was doing.

    I can recommend his recording of the 27/2 nocturne because of some interesting embellishments he added. I don’t know if any were authentic– we know that Chopin did such things, but those particular additions may have been original with Pachmann himself.

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