33. Khachaturian, Aram. Gayne Ballet Suite. Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich. Romeo and Juliet; Fantasy Overture (c1880). London Symphony. Antal Dorati, conductor. Wilma Cozart, recording director. C.R. Fine, recording engineer. Harold Lawrence, music supervisor. George Piros, tape-to-disc transfer. Mercury Living Presence SR 90209 (c1961). Codes: SR-90209A-RFR-1 P17 / SR-90209B-RFR-2 P13. 1st Label. New Disq Graded 93/94. Inner Sleeve 98. Cover 98. Please write for the price of this record. (1a)(2a)(3b)(4a)(4e)(4g)(4p)(5b). For this record Maestro gives us lyrical, rolling performances-yet ones that are filled with taught energy. Side-one is mostly rollicking, frolicking good fun, but side-two is filled with pathos and bitter-sweet beauty. This record is sleeved in the original issue jacket which is one of Mercury's most stunning covers and the disq was manufactured to the highest standards at Mercury's own facility. Altogether this is a very collectible production. (Despite the fact that these works were recorded in two different halls a year apart, the sonic images are remarkably alike. Wembley Town Hall, the setting for the Gayne sessions on June 15, 1960, resembles Watford Town Hall [where Romeo and Juliet was recorded on June 20, 1959] in size and acoustical properties. Along with Walthamstow Town Hall, these halls were regarded by the Mercury team as the finest recording halls in Greater London.) H.L. Ex Ronald Penndorf.

 

 

34. Loeffler, Charles. A Pagan Poem Op.14 (c1906). William Kosinski, English horn. Robert Hunter, piano. Schönberg, Arnold. Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (c1899). His Symphony Orchestra. Leopold Stokowski, conductor. Capitol SP 8433 (c1960). Codes: SP1-8433-D7X &/ SP2-8433-V4 &. 1st Stereo Label. Disq Playing Grade 93/94. Disq Visual Grade 94/98. Cover 95/94. Please write for the price of this record. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4e)(4g)(4p)(5b)(5c). With his hand-picked group of Hollywood musicians Maestro gives us a sensual, sweeping recorded-production. This an unbelievably passionateVerklärte Nacht! (One can only wonder about Stokowski's other transfigured nights.) *****(*) This is the first record to be offered from the private-collection of Hollywood, composer, arranger and conductor, Irwin Kostel.

 

 

35. Lutoslawski, Witold. Livre pour Orchestre (c1968). Schwantner, Joseph. Aftertones of Infinity (c1978). Eastman Philharmonia. David Effron, conductor. Ros Ritchie, recording engineer. John Santuccio and Rayburn Wright, record producers. Mercury Golden Imports SRI 75141. Codes: SRI 75141 670 06 1Y1 111 / SRI 75111 2Y1 670 06 114. 1st Label. New Disq Playing Grade 94/94. New Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Cover 98. $50.00. Recorded at the Eastman Theater and the Kresge Recording Studios, Rochester. (2a)(3a)(4b)(4d)(4e)(4f)(4g). One of the few original records in the Golden Import catalogue, this is an attractive one. Both pieces are clearly presented, with a particularly good sense of orchestra and a well-defined setting. Livre pour Orchestre explodes in sound. ****

 

36. Mendelssohn, Felix. Symphony No. 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 52 "Lobgesang" (c1840). Sally Burgess and Margaret Price, sopranos. Siegfried Jerusalem, tenor. London Philharmonic Choir. John Alldis, director. Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56 "Scottish" (c1841-42). London Philharmonic. Riccardo Chailly, conductor. Philips 6769 042 (c1980). 1st Labels. Disqs Playing Grade 93/93 and 93/93. Disqs Visual Grade 96/96 and 96/96. Insert 98. Box 95. $50.00. 2 records. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4b)(4d)(4e)(4g)(4i)(5b). Riccardo Chailly and the London Philharmonic give us a "Scottish" Symphony that is warm, luscious and ripe and the Philips production staff sets it deeply, broadly and in detail. The lesser known symphonic cantata is rendered similarly. This set, especially Symphony No. 2, is a pleasant surprise. ****

 

37. Milhaud, Darius. Les Choéphores (c1916). Vera Zorina, Choéphoe. McHenry Boatwright, Orestes. Irene Jordan, Electra. Virginia Babikian, soprano. Schola Cantorum of New York. Hugh Ross, director. New York Philharmonic. Leonard Bernstein, conductor. John McClure, record producer. Columbia Masterworks MS 6396 (c1962). Codes: XXSM-57642-1A PH 1111 / XXSM-57643-1A PH 11. 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 93/93. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 95. Insert 95. Cover 96. $150.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4g)(4h)(5k)(5m). This is a work that lends itself well to stereo recording. Milhaud's open texture, varied and contrasting sounds, and percussive rhythms are the perfect ingredients for great stereo. Mr. Bernstein and his musicians give us a rousing performance and Mr. McClure and his staff give a detailed rendering. Altogether this is a stunning production. ****

 

38. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Mass in C Minor, K. 427 "The Great." Helen Donath, soprano. Heather Harper, soprano. Ryland Davies, tenor. Stafford Dean, bass. London Symphony Chorus. Arthur Oldham, director. London Symphony. Colin Davis, conductor. Philips 6500 235 (c1971). Codes: AA 6500 235 1Y2 670 J211 / AA 6500 235 2Y3 670 112. 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 94/95. Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Cover 95. $100.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4f)(4g)(4h)(4q)(5m). This recording offers an extremely natural and clear presentation of a large, difficult work. Even when both orchestra and chorus are singing and playing together loudly, as in the "Sanctus," all are easily heard. The recording engineers place the orchestra in the foreground, with the chorus realistically behind and a little above it. The soloists are naturally forward of the orchestra. Happily these, the work's three major components, are in exact scale. This is also a very satisfying portrayal of a concert performance. It is very realistic, with the overall sound muted as it would be in a hall full of people. Importantly, the sense of music and performance are overwhelming, yet there is almost no feeling that this is a record. (Above all, this is quietly powerful Mozart.) *****(*)

 

39. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Quintet for Piano and Winds in E Flat Major, K. 452. Dennis Brain, French horn. Leonard Brain, oboe. Stephen Waters, clarinet. Cecil James, bassoon. Collin Horsley, piano. Berkeley, Lennox. Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano, Op. 44 (c1952). Manoug Parikian, violin. Capitol G 7175 (c1959). Codes: GX1-7175-D1 / GX-2-7175-D9 2. 1st Label. Mono Only. Disq Playing Grade 93/94. Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Inner Sleeve 95. Cover 98. Please write for the price of this record. (1a)(2b)(3b)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4k). In April 1784 Mozart wrote of his Piano and Wind Quintet, "it is the best work I have ever composed." In 1959 an anonymous writer of liner notes for Capitol Records wrote, "One of the work's most striking qualities is the composer's sense of the color and character of each instrument. Remarkable, too, is the skill with which he maintains the balance between them. . . . The penetrating tone of the oboe, and the relative heaviness of the horn are perfectly blended in the ensemble. . . ." Capitol's release of this HMV recording perfectly captures this color and balance. Another anonymous writer for Capitol ends the liner notes with some uncharacteristically honest ad copy. He writes that this album "is a top-quality product of the recording art, and will continue to be a source of outstanding sound reproduction, now and in the future." The neoclassic Lennox Berkeley trio is a fitting companion to Mozart. *****

 

 

40. Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. String Quartet in D Major, No. 2, K. 155 (c.1772). String Quartet in G Major, No. 3, K. 156 (c.1772). String Quartet in C Major, No. 4, K. 157 (c.1772). String Quartet in F Major, No. 5, K. 158 (c.1772). Barylli Quartet: Walter Barylli, first violin. Otto Strasser, second violin. Rudolf Streng, viola. Richard Krotschak, 'cello. Westminster XWN 18053 (c1955). Codes: WXTV23491-1A 5 / WXTV23492-1AC. 1st Label. Mono Only. Disq Playing Grade 93/93. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 94. Cover 98. Please write for the price of this record.(1a)(2b)(3b)(4a)(4e) (4i)(5a). Richly warm tube sound and a sense of live performing make this record particularly enjoyable. For further enjoyment, a young Mozart's tuneful music is revealed in a lovely Romantic way by the Barylli Quartet. ****

 

41. Orff, Carl. Carmina Burana. Soloists. New England Conservatory Chorus and Children's Chorus. Boston Symphony. Seiji Ozawa, conductor. RCA Victor Red Seal LSC 3161 (c1970). 1st Label. New Sealed Disq. Cover Grade 100. $100.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4f)(4p)(5b)(5m). This record is a study in the power of clarity and precision in recorded performing. (This is my favorite recorded performance of the work.) *****(*)

 

 

42. Orff, Carl. Der Mond: Ein kleines Welttheater (c1937-38). Eberhard Büchner, tenor. Helmut Klotz, tenor. Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, tenor. Horst Lunow, baritone. Wilfried Schaal, baritone. Reiner Süss, bass. Armin Terzibaschian, bass. Fred Teschler, bass. Paul Glahn, speaker. Gerd Gütschow, speaker. Paul-Adolf Neiss, speaker. Hans-Joachim Hegewald, speaker. Leipzig Radio Chorus. Horst Neumann, director. Leipzig Radio Symphony. Herbert Kegel, conductor. Philips 6700 083 (c1974). Codes: AA 6500 816 1Y4 112 06 / AA 6500 816 2Y2 670 03 113 and AA 6500 817 1Y2 670 03 111 / AA 6500 817 2Y2 670 03 113. 1st Labels. New Disqs Playing Grade 97/93 and 95/97. New Disqs Visual Grade 98/98 and 98/98. Booklet 98. Box 95. 2 Records. $200.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4e)(4f)(4g)(4i)(4j)(4k) (5b)(5j)(5m). This is a wonderfully weird set of records. Through sound alone, it magically places before us the story, characters, color, movement, and music of a fairy tale. In one of its stranger moments a character leaves the stage, walks into our listening room and confides in us. Regularly, voices float and hover about the stage. At another time a comet is hurled across our listening room with a force that makes us fear for our lives. (This is great theater of the mind. ) *****(*) Ex Ronald Penndorf.

 

43. Prokofiev, Sergei. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in D Major (c1916-17). Erick Friedman, violin. Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 5 in G Major (c1931-32). Lorin Hollander, piano. Boston Symphony. Erich Leinsdorf, conductor. Richard Mohr, record producer. Lewis Layton and Anthony Salvatore, recording engineers. RCA Victor Red Seal LSC 2732 (c1964). Codes: RRRS-3293-6S B1 I / RRRS-3294-3S A1 I. 1st Label (5m). New Unplayed Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Insert 98. Cover 95. Please write for the price of this record. (1a)(2a) (3a)(4a)(4c)(4g). Violin Concerto, (5e). This disq is filled with fine sound and fiery Prokofiev. (The copy offered is probably unique.) *****(*)

 

44. Prokofiev, Sergei. Love for Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33b (c1925). Scythian Suite, Op. 20 (c1924). London Symphony. Antal Dorati, conductor. Wilma Cozart, recording director. C. R. Fine, recording engineer. Harold Lawrence, music supervisor. George Piros, tape-to-disc transfer. Mercury Living Presence SR 90006 (c1959). Codes: SR 90006A FR2 B2 I / SR 90006B FR1 C2 I. 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 94/94. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 96. Cover 95. Please write for the price of this record. (1a)(2a)(3b)(4b)(4e)(4f)(4g)(4p)(5b)(5k). This is a thrilling production. *****

 

 

45. Purcell, Henry. Eighteen Pieces from "The Second Part of Musick's Handmaid" (c1689). Pieces from "Abdelazar." Pieces from "The Indian Queen." Suite No. 1 in G Major. Suite No. 2 in G Minor. Suite No. 3 in G Major. Suite No. 4 in A Minor. Suite No. 5 in C Major. Suite No. 6 in D Major. Suite No. 7 in D Minor. Suite No. 8 in F Major. Thirteen Miscellaneous Pieces. Two Grounds in C Minor. Robert Woolley, Feldberg-Whale or Horniblow harpsichords. Nonesuch HB-73033 (c1978). Codes: HB-73033A-SP (ED) / HB-73033D SP 1-2 and HB-73033B SP (ED) / HB-73033C SP. 1st Labels. New Promotional Disqs Playing Grade 95/96 and 94/96. New Promotional Disqs Visual Grade 96/95 and 95/95. Promotional Album 94. 2 records. $40.00. Recorded at Eltham College, London. (2a)(4a)(5h). I love the recorded rendering of the Horniblow instrument. On record its tone is subtle, varied and satin. This harpsichord is easy to listen to, engaging, and revealing. ****

 

46. Rachmaninoff, Sergei. Daisies. Études Tableaux, Op. 33 (c1911). Fantasy Piece No. 1 in G Minor. Fantasy Piece No. 2 in D Minor. Lilacs. Oriental Sketch. Variations on a Theme by Corelli, Op. 42 (c1932). Ruth Laredo, piano. Andrew Kazdin, record producer. Columbia M33998 (c1976). 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 93/93. Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Demonstration Only Cover 95. $45.00. In giving us ecstatic Rachmaninoff, Ruth Laredo calls upon an unbelievable variety of sound from her instrument. Producer Kazdin's recording excitingly renders it all. ****

 

47. Ravel, Maurice. Daphnis et Chloé (c1912). New England Conservatory Chorus. Robert Shaw, director. Boston Symphony. Charles Munch, conductor. Max Wilcox, record producer. Lewis Layton, recording engineer. RCA Victor Red Seal LSC 2568 (c1961). Codes: M2 RY1410-15S A1 I / M2 RY1411-9S A1 I. 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 95/95. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 96. Cover 96. Please write for the price of this record. (1a)(2a)(3b)(4b)(4d)(4e)(4f)(4g)(5b). Charles Munch gives us a concert performance of Daphnis et Chloé and for it he arranges his orchestra in the new manner. The first violins are heard on the far left, with the seconds toward the center. The violas are next to the seconds, farther to the right, and the 'cellos are on the far right. The double basses are behind the 'cellos. The winds and brass are spread behind the strings, and the percussion is heard at the back of the orchestra. The chorus is arrayed behind and above the orchestra and blends well with it. This is gentle, dreamy Ravel. ****

 

 

48. Respighi, Ottorino. Ancient Airs and Dances; Suite No. 1, Suite No. 2 and Suite No. 3. Philharmonia Hungarica. Antal Dorati, conductor. Mercury Golden Imports SRI 75009 (c1974). Reissue Label of SR 90199 (c1959). New Disq Playing Grade 98/96. New Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Cover 98. $45.00. Like most 1970s Philips disqs, this one is manufactured with a fine, fine groove. In width and breadth I believe the groove to be 70 to 80 percent of the typical groove cut in 1950s and '60s LPs. In order to get the maximum sound out of these grooves, it is necessary to track them at 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 grams and to make sure the disq is absolutely clean. If this is done the performance and the recording will be heard clearly, with detail, timbre, perspective and setting very apparent. These 1970s disqs are particularly delicate instruments of recorded sound. This is a refined, most musical rendering of the master tapes. Of the original Mercury Living Presence issue, SR 90199, Harold Lawrence has written. "Of the hundreds of transcriptions of early music made by master composers since Mozart 'arranged' Handel's Messiah, none has been more successful than Respighi. Based on French and Italian lute music, Respighi's 'Airs' are not only elegant and masterfully orchestrated, but the sequence of pieces is beautifully planned. One of Dorati's most popular recordings, it was recorded in the historic Konzerthaus, Vienna on June 9-11, 1958." ****

 

49. Rodrigo, Joaquin. "Concierto de Aranjuez" for Guitar and Orchestra (c.1939). Pepe Romero, guitar. "Concierto andaluz" for Four Guitars and Orchestra (c.1967). Angel Romero, Celedonio Romero and Celin Romero, guitars. Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Neville Marriner, conductor. Philips 9500 563 (c1979). 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 95/95. Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Cover 98. $35.00. On this subtle record, elegant performances combine seamlessly with clear recordings. This is a delicate instrument of recorded sound. *****

 

50. Rossini, Gioacchino. Il barbiere di Siviglia; Overture (c1816). La cambiale di matrimonio; Overture. L'inganno felice; Overture. L'Italiana in Algeri; Overture (c1816). La scala di seta; Overture (c1812). Il Signor Bruschino; Overture (c1813). Tancredi; Overture (c1813). Il Turco in Italia; Overture (c1814). St. Martin-in-the-Fields Academy. Neville Marriner, conductor. Philips 6500 878 (c1974). Codes: AA 6500 878 1Y1 670 115 06 / AA 6500 878 2Y1 670 115 06. 1st Label. New Disq Grade Playing Grade 93/95. New Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Cover 95. $75.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4g)(4i). In these performances Neville Marriner gives us a look at each overture in its entirety. We not only hear Rossini's beautiful melodies but we see his sparkling textures. Through Marriner's readings it becomes clear that there is more to these pieces than fluffy melody; there is in fact musical substance. (What a pleasant discovery. ) *****(*)

 

51. Rossini-Respighi. La Boutique fantasque (c1919). London Symphony. Lamberto Gardelli, conductor. Christopher Parker, recording engineer. Angel SZ 37570 (c1979). 1st American Label. Disq Playing Grade 93/95. Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Promotional Cover 96. $35.00. These fluffy pieces are Respighi's arrangements of some of Rossini's Péchés de vielesse. They make a lovely soufflé. *****

 

 

 

52. Scarlatti-Tommasini. The Good Humored Ladies. Bach-Walton. The Wise Virgins. Concert Arts Orchestra. Robert Irving, conductor. Capitol SP 8583 (1962). Codes: SP-1-8583-D2 / SP-2-8583-D2. 1st Label. Disq Visual Grade 93/93. Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Cover 95. $150.00. (2a)(3b)(4b)(4d)(4g). Both these scores are arrangements of other composers' works for the ballet. Robert Irving, a conductor of ballet, gives us danceable readings, yet they are more than that. Often, the music brings to life the dancers, enabling us to "see" them. The Tommasini setting of Scarlatti sparkles delightfully, and there is an easy lilt throughout the Bach-Walton piece. ****

 

53. Schönberg, Arnold. Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4 (c1899; arr. for strings c1917). Vaughan Williams, Ralph. Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (c1910). Strings of the New York Philharmonic. Dmitri Mitropoulos, conductor. Columbia Masterworks MS 6007 (c1958). Codes: XXSM43722-1K 111H / XXSM43723-1AE 111H. 1st Label. New Disq Playing Grade 95/95. New Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Cover 95. Please write for the price of this record. (2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4i)(4j)(4k). This is an absolutely arresting production-and a dramatic portrait of the strings of the New York Philharmonic. The record is sleeved with a particularly colorful and attractive jacket. *****

 

54. Schubert, Franz. Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, Op. 162 "Duo" (c1817). Sonatina for Violin and Piano No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 137 (c1816). Johanna Martzy, violin. Jean Antonietti, piano. Angel 35365 (c1956). Codes: XRX-203-2N 12 M / XRX-206-2N 12 M. 1st American Label. Mono Only. Disq Playing Grade 93/93. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Booklet 96. Deluxe Cover 94. Please write for the price of this record. (2b)(3b)(4a)(4d)(4o)(5c)(5e). The mono LP era began just as the romantic era in performing was ending. Although romanticism in composition ended with the beginning of the 20th century, many musicians making records in the 1950s were trained in the romantic style or were influenced by it. Heifetz, the first modern violinist, was widely criticized for being cold, that is, essentially unromantic. The romantics were many things-extraordinary, great musical personalities, very individual perhaps-but not cold. Johanna Martzy was a very individual violinist, and was warmly romantic. The mono LP captured the personalities, the individualism and the warmth. While some of this individualism came from the Romantic notion of the artist as bohemian, some of it stemmed from real differences in national and personal style. Monteux, who played for Brahms, relates that this German composer thought French musicians best realized his music. When asked what he, Monteux, thought of Brahms, maitre replied that they couldn't converse since Brahms didn't speak French and Monteux didn't speak German. Monteux added that Brahms had a lot of hair and smoked cigars. Personal differences also were very great. Casals's music personality, for instance, was extraordinarily different from Feuermann's. Then there was the romantic style itself. Not only was it individualist, but it was emotional and emotive: expressive glissandi, suggestive rubati and wide vibrato abound. The violin was queen of instrumental music and was adored as a prima donna. Melody was supreme and often delivered with the drama of Grand Opera. Early mono LPs show this to be a grand era. If old mono classical records cannot be found, these characteristics can most readily be heard by listening to the soundtracks of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood films. For the Hollywood Romanticism of these scores and the film studio orchestras have their origins in European Romanticism. Carried to an extreme, of course, Romantic playing results in schmaltz. This record is almost, but not quite, schmaltz. It is an emotion-filled recital by a fine Hungarian Romantic violinist. *****

 

 

55. Schumann, Robert. Frauenliebe und leben, Op. 42 (c1840). Liederkreis, Op. 39 (c1840). Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, soprano. Geoffrey Parsons, piano. Walter Legge, record producer. Johann-Nikolaus Matthes, recording engineer. Angel S-37043 (c1974). 1st American Label. New Disq Playing Grade 95/95. New Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Insert 98. Cover 98. $45.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(5c)(5m). Even more beautiful than these Schumann songs is Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. ****

 

56. Schumann, Robert. Grand Sonata No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 14 (c1836). Scriabin, Alexander. Piano Sonata No. 5 in F Sharp Major, Op. 53 (c1908). Vladimir Horowitz, piano. John F. Pfeiffer, record producer. RCA Red Seal ARL1-1766 (c1976). 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 95/93. Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Album 96. $25.00. For Horowitz' sparkling Grand Sonata, Begley and Pfeiffer have created a convincing illusion of a real recital-the concert hall is rendered as artfully as the performance. ****

 

57. Shostakovich, Dmitri. Prelude and Fugue No. 4 in E Minor. Prelude and Fugue No. 12 in G Sharp Minor. Prelude and Fugue No. 14 in E Flat Major. Prelude and Fugue No. 15 in D Flat Major. Prelude and Fugue No. 17 in A Flat Major. Prelude and Fugue No. 23 in F Major. Sviatoslav Richter, piano. Philips 900 048 (c1962). Codes: PHS-900-048A -RFR3 RR / PHS-900-048B-RFR-2 RR. 1st Promotional Label. New Disq Playing Grade 93/93. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 95. Promotional Cover 95. Please write for the price of this record. (1a)(2a)(3b)(4a)(4e)(5c). Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier creatively influenced these preludes and fugues yet these pieces are very much Shostakovich's own. Here Maestro Richter plays them with a natural understanding and pefectly. Happily, the Philips production staff renders them with a Living Presence sensibility. (This is a beautiful and powerful piano record.) *****(*)

 

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