Albert Whelan (1875-1961) is remembered as a music hall entertainer, emigrating to England from his native Australia fairly early in his career. Given the nature of his career, it becomes hard to be sure whether these Dickens performances are intended sincerely or not. Certainly, The Death of Little Nell is worked for every ounce of sentimentality, and the orchestral backing carries it literally into the realms of melodrama as originally understood. This kind of performance makes one appreciate the reasons for Oscar Wilde’s withering put down of the scene, and is not easy to listen to after hearing more modern acting styles.
Dickens – The Old Curiosity Shop: The Death of Little Nell
Dickens – David Copperfield: Little Emily
Albert Whelan, actor
(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)
Zonophone The Twin Serial 268
Matrices 2211e, 7263e
Recorded 4th July 1905, 1907
Based on pitch of orchestral accompaniments, these have been transferred at 77.0rpm and 75.7rpm respectively.