Albert Coates (1882 – 1953) was an Anglo-Russian conductor held in high regard by many. His discography is extensive, including various symphonies (including Mozart’s Jupiter, Beethoven’s Choral and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique twice each) and Wagnerian excerpts. He conducts with vigour and excitement.

Wagner – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Overture
Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Download – Wagner – Die Meistersinger Overture (1921) – Albert Coates

(mp3 file – right click the link, then select “Save as”)

His Master’s Voice D 590
Matrices Cc 606-II, 607-II (single side numbers 3-0680, 3-0679)
Recorded 28th October 1921, Hayes, Room 1

Georg Gottfried Wagner – Blessing, Glory and Wisdom (attr. J.S. Bach, BWV Anh 162)
Sung in English
Choir from the Chorus of the British National Opera Company, Albert Coates

G.G. Wagner – Blessing, Glory and Wisdom – BNOC Chorus, Coates

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

His Master’s Voice D 1036
Matrices Cc 64624-I, 6425-II (single side numbers 04852, 04853)
Recorded 30th July 1925, Studio B, Hayes
These sides play at standard pitch at about 74.5rpm (putting the music in E flat)

This is a rare example of Coates conducting unaccompanied choral music – the piece in question was attributed to Bach, but is now known to be by Georg Gottfried Wagner, who worked with Bach in Leipzig for a little while.

Bizet – Carmen – March Act IV – Coates
Gounod – Faust – La Kermesse – Coates

(mp3 files – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

His Master’s Voice D 1047
Matrices Cc 7063-II, 7065-II (single side numbers 4-0749, 4-0750)
Recorded 26th October 1925, Hayes

This was recorded in a session at Hayes which also included the Boris Godunov coronation scene with Chaliapin and the Church Scene from Faust, with Chaliapin and Austral. The baritone who has a brief solo in the Faust chorus is unnamed. There is a possibility that it is Edward Halland, who was in studio with Coates the following day when some Wagner excerpts were recorded.

The sound is somewhat recessed, as these are fairly early examples of electrical recording of pieces for chorus and orchestra. Indeed, on the same day that these recordings were made at Hayes, the pianist Max Darewski was being recorded acoustically in another of the Hayes studios.

Mendelssohn – Elijah – Baal chorus; Thanks be to God
Sung in English
Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Mendelssohn – Elijah – Baal chorus – Coates
Mendelssohn – Elijah – Thanks be to God – Coates

(mp3 files – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

His Master’s Voice D 1070

Matrices CR 37-II, CR 38-II (single side numbers 4-0781, 4-0782)
Recorded 1st December 1925, Queen’s Hall, London
These sides play in score pitch at about 78.5rpm

Wagner – The Twilight of the Gods – Siegfried’s Funeral March

Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Wagner – The Twilight of the Gods – Funeral March – Coates

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

His Master’s Vocie D1092
Matrices CR 217-II, 141-III (4-0837/8)
Recorded 26th March, 25th January 1926, Queen’s Hall, London

Holst – The Planets – No.4, Jupiter (The Bringer of Jollity)
Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

His Master’s Voice D1129
Matrices CR 689-IA, 690-I (4-0912/3)
Recorded 20th September 1926, Kingsway Hall, London

Coates recorded 4 movements from Holst’s Planets: Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Uranus – the faster movements! His recording of Mars was used as the title music to the original television series of The Quatermass Experiment. This copy of Jupiter is very worn, and suffers from blasting in places.

Dvorak – Carnival Overture
London Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Electrola EJ 591
Matrices Cc 17860-IIA, 17861-IIA (32-1049/50)
Recorded 6th November 1929, Kingsway Hall, London

Tchaikovsky – Romeo and Juliet – Fantasy Overture
Rimsky-Korsakov – The Snow Maiden – Dance of the Tumblers
National Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Tchaikovsky – Romeo and Juliet – Coates
Rimsky-Korsakov – Snow Maiden – Dance of the Tumblers – Coates

(mp3 files – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

Decca (Dutch) X 10068/9, X 10170
Matrices AR 9109-2, 9110-1, 9111-2, 9112-2, 9113-1, 9152-2
Recorded 8th February 1945 (sides 1 and 4), 23rd February 1945 (sides 2, 3, 5 and Rimsky-Korsakov), Kingsway Hall, London

Curiously, sides 1 to 4 are coupled in automatic sequence on X 10068/9, and side 5 and the Rimsky-Korsakov are on X 10170