Damian's 78s (and a few early LPs)

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

Albert Coates day

April 23rd is the anniversary of the birth of the wonderful Albert Coates. To celebrate, I’ve transferred a pair of his Wagner recordings.

Wagner – Lohengrin – Act 3 Prelude – Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

HMV D 1054
Matrix Cc 7083-II (4-0751)
Recorded 27th October 1925, Studio B, Hayes

Wagner – Tannhäuser – March – Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Albert Coates

HMV D 1101
Matrix Cc 7082-II (4-0758)
Recorded 27th October 1925, Studio B, Hayes

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

Frank Titterton sings Lehár

To end the Viennese theme for New Year, the two famous tenor arias from Lehár’s The Land of Smiles, sterlingly sung in English by Frank Titterton. My copy of this 1930s DECCA record is very worn (especially “You are my heart’s delight” which was clearly much played) and though I’ve done my best to improve the sound, it remains very flawed.Titterton’s glorious voice shines through nonetheless!

Lehár – The Land of Smiles – Patiently Smiling – Frank Titterton

Lehár – The Land of Smiles – You are my heart’s delight – Frank Titterton

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

Decca F 2325
Matrices KB 65-2C, KB 66-3C
Recorded c1930

Walter Rehberg plays Soirée de Vienne and Voices of Spring

A pair of brief Viennese arrangements for New Year, in the form of Alfred Grünfeld’s arrangement of themes from Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, “Soirée de Vienne”, and Roderich Bass’s arrangement of Voices of Spring, both ably played by Walter Rehberg. The second record is rather more worn than the first, but still sounds quite well.

Strauss-Grünfeld – Soirée de Vienne – Walter Rehberg

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

Decca “Polydor” Series PO.5025
Matrices 2570 BH1, 2571 BH1
Recorded c1930

Strauss-Bass – Voices of Spring – Walter Rehberg

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

Decca “Polydor” Series PO.5041
Matrices 2572 BH1, 2573 BH1
Recorded c1930

Barbirolli conducts Hansel and Gretel overture c1928

Merry Christmas. I’ve done a quick transfer of the traditionally festive fare of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel overture, in an early orchestral recording from John Barbirolli for Edison Bell’s Electron label.

Humperdinck – Hänsel & Gretel – Overture – John Barbirolli and his Symphony Orchestra

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

Edison Bell Electron X520
Matrices X1757A-1, X1758E-2
Recorded c1928, London

Landon Ronald’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

For Shakespeare’s birthday back in April, I made available the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream music, in a 1911 recording conducted by Landon Ronald. To complement this, I’ve now transferred the Ronald’s early recordings of the Overture, Nocturne and Wedding March, together with his later electrically recorded version of the Nocturne. I’ve included the Scherzo in this post so the whole set can play continuously. As a  bonus, at the end I’ve included the Ronald’s recording of the overture to Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor, which was coupled with the Midsummer Night’s Dream overture.

Ronald recorded the Mendelssohn works several times.

New Symphony Orchestra:

7th October 1911 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Scherzo (Mendelssohn)
ac5549f (unissued)
ac5550f  0681 (020617, 030617, 060562, D152)

10th February 1912 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Wedding march (Mendelssohn)
ac6007f (unissued)
ac6008f   0755   (030627, 040737, 2-050521, 2-0250599, D166, S4190, W74, ES123)

17th February 1912 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn)
ac6035f (unissued)
ac6036f   0756   (030628, 040738, D152, ES123)

3rd February 1913 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Overture (Mendelssohn)
HO450ai   0853   (020747, 060601, D153, AB102)

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra:

13th March 1923 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
Cc 2695-1 (unissued)
Cc 2695-2   0755X   (D166, 2-050521X, 2-0250599X, S4190)

23rd June 1923 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Op 61: Scherzo (Mendelssohn)
Cc 3145-1 (unissued)
Cc 3145-2   0681X   (D152)

27th July 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn), pt 1
Cc 6411-1 (unissued)
Cc 6411-2 (unissued)
27th July 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn), pt 2
Cc 6412-1 (unissued)
Cc 6412-2   4-0733   (D1034, AB169)
27th July 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Scherzo (Mendelssohn)
Cc 6413-1   4-0836   (D1097, W918, AB198, ES26)

9th September 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn), pt 1
Cc 6411-3,-4 (unissued)
Cc 6411-5   4-0732 (D1034, AB169)

18th November 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn), pt 1
Cc 7310-1 (unissued)
Cc 7310-2 (assigned 4-0858, but unissued)
18th November 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn), pt 2
Cc 7311-1 (unissued)
Cc 7311-2 (assigned 4-0852, but unissued)

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Overture – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D153 (side 0853)
Matrix HO 450ai
Recorded 3rd February 1913, Hayes
The following cuts are made: bb 142 – 157, 196(4) – 517(3), 566 – 585, 620 – end. (inclusive)

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Scherzo – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0681
Matrix ac5550f
Recorded 7th October 1911, London

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Nocturne – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0756
Matrix ac6036f
Recorded 17th February 1912, London
The following cuts are made: bb16-33, 38-41, 73-80, 109-112

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Wedding March – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0755
Matrix ac6008f
Recorded 10th February 1912, London

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Nocturne – Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

Aubrey Brain, horn
His Master’s Voice D 1034 (sides 4-0732/3)
Matrices Cc 6411-5, Cc 6412-2
Recorded 9th September 1925 and 27th July 1925, Hayes

Nicolai – The Merry Wives of Windsor – Overture – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D153 (side 0735)
Matrix al5934f
Recorded 20th January 1912, Hayes
The recording begins at the Allegro, and several cuts are made.

400 years

Although I have had not had a great deal of time to work on recordings for this site recently, I could not let the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death pass unmarked. There are several spoken word Shakespeare recordings to be found on site and music based on his works (just enter Shakespeare in the search box). But as a new addition, I have transferred Landon Ronald’s 1911 recording of the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Music.

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Scherzo – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0681
Matrix ac5550f
Recorded 7th October 1911, London

Another great writer, Miguel de Cervantes died on the same day as Shakespeare. He is best remembered for Don Quixote, and to celebrate this anniversary, I’ve transferred Chaliapin’s 1927 recording of the death of Don Quixote, from Massenet’s opera.

Massenet – Don Quixote – The Death of Don Quixote (Act 5) – Fyodor Chaliapin

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

Fyodor Chaliapin (bass) as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
Olive Kline (soprano) as the voice of Dulcinea
Orchestra, Rosario Bourdon
His Master’s Voice DB 1096
Matrices CVE-38334-I, 38335-I (sides 2-032114/5)
Recorded 7th April 1927, Liederkranz Hall, New York for Victor.

New Year’s Suppé from Basil Cameron, and Sir Henry Wood’s 1924 Enigma

For the traditional Viennese welcome to the New Year, here are three Suppé overtures, all performed by the Hastings Municipal Orchestra conducted by Basil Cameron. These Decca records from 1929 and 1930 are rather worn, and the sound is not therefore all I would hope for.

Suppé – Light Cavalry – Overture – Hastings MO, Basil Cameron

Suppé – Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna – Overture – Hastings MO, Basil Cameron

Suppé – Poet and Peasant – Overture – Hastings MO, Basil Cameron

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

Decca F1668, F1886, K529
Matrices MB 775-1A, MB 776-1A, MB 779-3A, MB 780-2A, MA 1174-1A, MA 1175-1A
Recorded 19th December 1929, 20th December 1929, 7th to 13th April 1930, White Rock Pavilion, Hastings

Sir Edward Elgar recorded his Enigma Variations in 1921 acoustically for the Gramophone Company (with a rather abbreviated version of the Nimrod variation). The Columbia Graphophone Company made the second recording, acoustically again, with Sir Henry J Wood conducting the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra. Apart from the omission of a repeat in Variation III, the work is given complete. Although recorded in the summer of 1924 the set was not issued until May the following year. It was only a few months later that electrical recordings began to be issued. Elgar himself recorded an electrical version of the Enigma Variations for the Gramophone Company in 1926, and though Wood’s version on Columbia was deleted in 1928, it wasn’t until 1932 that Hamilton Harty conducted an electrical recording for Columbia, which by this time had merged with the Gramophone Company to form EMI. Wood recorded the variations electrically for Decca in November 1935, again omitting the repeat from Variation III, and this time squeezing the variations into 7 sides, with the overture from Handel’s Solomon as a filler.

Elgar – Enigma Variations – New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J Wood

(zip file – right click the link, then select “Save as”, unzip the folder when downloaded)

Columbia L 1629-32
Matrices AX 505-1, 511-1, 512-1, 513-2, 514-1, 515-1, 516-2, 522-3 (S 546, 547, 548, 549, 552, 551, 550, 553)
Recorded 9th July 1924 (side 1), 10th July 1924 (sides 2 to 7), 14th July 1924 (side 8), Columbia Studios, Petty France, London
Issued May 1925, deleted February 1928

Side 1 – Theme, Variations I (C.A.E.), II (H.D.S.-P.), III (R.B.T.)
Side 2 – Variations IV (W.M.B.), V (R.P.A.), VI (Ysobel), VII (Troyte)
Side 3 – Variations VIII (W.N.), IX (Nimrod)
Side 4 – Variation X (Dorabella) Intermezzo
Side 5 – Variations XI (G.R.S.), XII (G.B.N.)
Side 6 – Variation XIII (***) Romanza
Side 7 – Variation XIV (E.D.U.) Finale – part 1 (fig 61 to 1 bar after fig 72)
Side 8 – Variation XIV (E.D.U.) Finale – part 2 (fig 72 to end)

Bransby Williams as Scrooge (1926)

After Christmas carols earlier in the week, today it’s another Dickensian helping from Bransby Williams. His 1912 Columbia recording of his Scrooge monologues, together with a Micawber speech appeared here last year. These were replaced with later acoustic recordings in 1924, but these were swiftly rendered redundant by the advent of electrical recording. Thus in 1926, Williams recorded these scenes again, on the same catalogue numbers with an R appended (for “re-recording”). The first record of this set has appeared here previously, but I’ve now acquired the second record, so I present it here in full.

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s advice to David Copperfield
Bransby Williams,
actor

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream (1926) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – The Dream (1926) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – After the Dream (1926) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s Advice to David Copperfield (1926) – Bransby Williams

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

Columbia 347R (81.8rpm)

Matrices WAX 1397-2, 1396-2 (6043, 6042)
Recorded 31st March 1926
Available from May 1926 to February 1944

Columbia 348R (81.8rpm)

Matrices WAX 1398-1, 1399-1 (6041, 6040)
Recorded 31st March 1926
Available from June 1926 to February 1944

A Bransby Williams discography can be found elsewhere on this site.

Christmas Carols in German and English

For the festive season, I’ve transferred a 1950s Classics Club LP of two children’s choirs singing carols in German and English.

Side 1: Children’s choir of the Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg High School, Walter Rust

Franz Gruber arr Rust – Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

Handel arr Rust – Tocther Zion (Judas Maccabaeus)

Trad arr Rust – In Dulci Jubilo

Trad arr Feddern – Maria auf dem Berge

Praetorius arr Rust – Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen

Trad arr Jöde – Vom Himmel hoch o Engel kommt

Trad arr Rust – Maria durch ein Dornwald ging

Caspar Othmay arr Rust – Vom Himmel hoch da kommt ich her

Johann Abraham Peter Schulz arr Rust – Ihr Kinderlein kommt

Trad arr Rust – O du Fröhliche

Players and Company of the Children’s Opera Group, Margaret John (with Eric Thiman, organ)
Mendelssohn arr William H Cummings – Hark! the Herald Angels sing

Trad arr F Whitelaw – Wassail Song

Trad arr F Whitelaw – The First Nowell

Trad arr F Whitelaw – While Shepherds Watched (Este’s Psalter 1592)

Trad arr Vaughan Williams – O little town of Bethlehem

Trad arr F Whitelaw – Good King Wenceslas (Tempus adest floridum)

Trad arr F Whitelaw – Kings of Orient

Trad arr F Whitelaw – O come all ye faithful (Adeste fideles)

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

Classics Club London X 516
Recorded 1950s
Issued 1950s

A Night at the Proms with Henry Wood

On Friday 17th July the BBC Proms began. It’s 120 years since the first Proms season, and for the first fifty seasons, Sir Henry Wood did the lion’s share of the conducting.

Wood’s discography is large, and includes many works he performed at the proms. In 1934, Columbia made a compilation record of excerpts of Wood’s recordings from 1925 to 1933, titling it “A Night at the Proms.”

A Night at the Proms – music by Bizet, Schubert, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Bach and Nicolai – conducted by Sir Henry Wood

Wood – A Night at the Proms

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

Columbia DX 724
Matrices CAX 7731-1, 7730-1
Recorded 19th April 1934, London
Issued August 1934

Contents

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude to Act 1
(from L1208R, 1st October 1926, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 78.7rpm)
Schubert – Symphony No.8 in B minor- “The Unfinished” – start of first movement
(from DX 551, 30th October 1933, London Symphony Orchestra, 77.4rpm)
Rossini – William Tell – Overture – final section
(from 5059, 13th July 1928, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 76.1rpm)
Mendelssohn – Fingal’s Cave – Overture – opening
(from 9843, 4th March 1929, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 75.7rpm)
Mendelssohn – Spring Song – opening
(from 9844, 4th March 1929, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 75.7rpm)
J.S. Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G – start of first movement
(from LX 173, 16th June 1932, British Symphony Orchestra, 76.1rpm)
Nicolai – Merry Wives of Windsor – Overture – final section
(from L 1723, 7th December 1925, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 80.1rpm)

The original recording speeds of the records Columbia re-recorded for this compilation vary somewhat, so for this transfer, I’ve repitched each selection to A440.

 

 

Coates and Shakespeare

April 23rd is Shakespeare day, and also the birthday of the great Albert Coates.

Firstly, two songs by Peter Warlock, the first to a Shakespeare test, sung by Parry Jones.

Warlock – Take, o take those lips away (Shakespeare)
Warlock – There is a lady sweet and kind
(Thomas Ford)
Parry Jones,
tenor with piano

Warlock – Take, o take those lips away – Parry Jones

Warlock – There is a lady sweet and kind – Parry Jones

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

Columbia DB 1443
Matrices CA 14645-1, 14647-1
Recorded 4th September 1934, London
Play at 78rpm

Next, two unaccompanied choral works conducted by Coates.

Sterndale Bennett – God is a Spirit
Sullivan – O Gladsome Light (from The Golden Legend)
British National Opera Company Chorus, Albert Coates

Sterndale Bennett – God is a Spirit – BNOC Chorus, Coates

Sullivan – O Gladsome Light – BNOC Chorus, Coates

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

His Master’s Voice E 397 (side numbers 4984, 4985)
Matrices Bb 6404-II, 6405-II
Recorded 27th July 1925, Hayes
Play from 77.9 to 80.7 and 81.8rpm

Finally a selection of Wagner, for which Coates was justly famed.

Wagner – The Valkyrie – The rock is surrounded by fire. Finale of opera (Loge, hear)
Orchestra, Albert Coates
Clarence Whitehill,
bass

Wagner – The Valkyrie – Loge, hear – Whitehill, Coates

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

His Master’s Voice 3-0782
Matrix Cc 1524-I
Recorded 22nd June 1922, Hayes, Room 1
Plays from 78.4 to 77.5rpm

 

Good Friday Music

As a quick Easter update, the Good Friday Music from Parsifal seemed apposite, here with Hermann Jadlowker and Paul Knüpfer.

Wagner – Parsifal – Charfreitagszauber
Orchestra, Bruno Seidler-Winkler
Hermann Jadlowker,
tenor
Paul Knüpfer, bass

Wagner – Parsifal – Good Friday – Jadlowker, Knüpfer

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

His Master’s Voice 044252, 044253 (2 single-sided 78s)
Matrices 1185s, 1186s
Recorded 26th September 1913, Berlin

The two sides play in score pitch at about 80.6rpm, and altogether last a remarkable 9 minutes 42 seconds.

Classical Recordings Quarterly and CRQ Editions

I’ve subscribed to Classical Recordings Quarterly since it began life as International Classical Record Collector in 1995. It’s always been a fascinating magazine, covering mainly historical recordings, and the performers, producers and record labels associated with them. It remains consistently fascinating, but as a small but well-produced magazine in a world of rising costs and growing competition, it needs more subscribers. So if you have a interest in historic classical recordings (and surely that applies to most visitors to this site) and do not already subscribe to CRQ, please consider doing so. You can find a free pdf of the June 2010 issue on their website, so that you can see if you are tempted by the magazine. I heartily recommend it.

I should make clear that I have a personal interest in supporting CRQ. In the Autumn and Winter 2013 issues, they published my two-part article on Percy Pitt and his recorded legacy, and I have undertaken several remastering projects for their associated CD reissue label CRQ Editions. So far the label has released more than 170 CDs in quarterly batches, some of which are now available as downloads. I’ve contributed the following to their catalogue:

CRQ CD076 (1 CD) Percy Pitt Conducts! Volume 1: French, German and Austrian repertoire – operatic selections by Bizet, Saint-Saëns, Thomas, Delibes, Wagner, Mendelssohn and Suppé.

CRQ CD095 (1 CD) Percy Pitt Conducts. Volume 2: Italian repertoire – operatic overtures and selections by Rossini, Drigo, Boccherini, Wolf-Ferrari, Verdi and Leoncavallo.

CRQ CD104 (1 CD) Percy Pitt conducts, Volume 3: Russian, Italian, Irish and English repertoire – works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, Puccini, Balfe, Coleridge-Taylor and Sullivan.

CRQ CD120 (1 CD) Lorenzo Molajoli conducts the Milan Symphony Orchestra in Respighi’s Fontane di Roma and orchestral works by Cimarosa, Bellini, Rossini, Mascagni, Gounod, Fucik and Tchaikovksy.

CRQ CD131-132 (2 CD) Percy Pitt conducts, Volume 4: the vocal recordings for HMV – this includes all except two of the singers with whom Pitt recorded, and also includes examples of Pitt as piano accompanist. The first CD is devoted  to international stars and Wagner, and the second to singers from the British Empire and the USA. Also included is the only example of Pitt as a concerto conductor, leading the Air from Goldmark’s Violin Concerto with Francis MacMillen plus several purely orchestral items. The singers featured are Luisa Tetrazzini, Maria Gay, Emmy Destinn, Louise Kirkby-Lunn, John McCormack, Mario Sammarco, Titta Ruffo, Graziella Pareto, Fernand Ansseau, Marie-Louise Edvina, Dmitri Smirnov, Feodor Chaliapin, Minnie Saltzmann-Stevens, Peter Cornelius, Clarence Whitehill, Robert Radford, Florence Austral, Tudor Davies, Walter Hyde, Miriam Licette, Nora d’Argel, William Samuell, Jeanne Brola, Eveline Matthews, John Harrison, Phyllis Lett, Flora Woodman, Olga Haley, Stella Power, Rosina Buckman and Edna Thornton.

CRQ CD144 (1 CD) Eugene Goossens conducts Gramophone Premières – Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; Delius: Brigg Fair; Stravinsky: Petrushka; Rimsky-Korsakov: Dubinushka; Scriabin: Rêverie Op.24; Grainger: Molly on the Shore – Irish Reel; Goossens: Tam O’Shanter – Scherzo.

CRQ CD153 (1 CD) Eugene Goossens conducts, Volume 2: the Columbia and Edison Bell recordings – Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre; Goossens: Four Conceits, Op. 20 (first recording); Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Tannhäuser: Overtures; Wolf-Ferrari: Il Segreto di Susanna: Overture; Sibelius: Scènes Historiques: Festivo; Delibes: Le Roi l’a dit: Overture ; Coppélia: 4 extracts; Planquette: Paul Jones (Surcouf): Selection; Offenbach: La Périchole: Selection; Auber: Les Diamants de la Couronne: Overture; Le Cheval de Bronze: Overture.

CRQ CD171-172 (2 CD) The Virtuoso String Quartet: pioneers of chamber music on record
Franck: Quartet in D*; Debussy: Quartet in G minor, Op. 10; Tchaikovsky; Quartet in D, Op. 11*; Beethoven: Quartet No. 12 in E flat, Op. 127, plus music for string quartet by Mendelssohn, Gossec, Grainger, Glazunov, Dittersdorf and Haydn (*=first recording) / Virtuoso String Quartet (Marjorie Hayward, Edwin Virgo, violins; Raymond Jeremy, viola; Cedric Sharpe, cello).

Further projects for this label are currently in production.

Waltzing in the New Year – Krips, Scotney and Bertin

Following the Christmas festivities, I like to ring in the new year with the Strausses. To that end, here are three of his most famous waltzes, one in purely orchestral form, one in both orchestral and vocal versions, and another only in its vocal form. The two singers had their Strauss waltzes backed by the waltz song Je veux vivre from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.

Josef Krips recorded numerous Strauss waltzes for DECCA with at least four orchestras, and sometimes with vocal soloists. These are his earliest DECCA accounts of this repertoire.

Johann Strauss II – The Blue Danube Waltz
National Symphony Orchestra, Josef Krips

Johann Strauss II – The Emperor Waltz
New Symphony Orchestra, Josef Krips

J Strauss II – Blue Danube – National SO, Krips

J Strauss II – Emperor – New SO, Krips

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

DECCA LW 5011 (10″ LP)
Matrices TRL 29-1A, 30-1B
Transfers from original 78rpm matrices AR 11669, 11670 (Blue Danube), AR 12162, 12163 (Emperor)
Recorded 17th October 1947 (Blue Danube) and 7th April 1948 (Emperor), Kingsway Hall, London

DECCA attempted to record both waltzes during the 1947 session, but only the Blue Danube was completed. By the time the next sessions came round, the contract with the National Symphony Orchestra had expired, so the New Symphony Orchestra were called on instead. The LP sleeve however references only the earlier orchestra. The two sides of each recording were transferred to the 33rpm matrices at inconsistent speeds, necessitating a drop in speed of about 0.3rpm halfway through each waltz (at the side join).

The Australian soprano Evelyn Scotney (1896-1967), after early studies in her homeland, was heard by the great Nellie Melba and dispatched to Paris to study with Mathilde Marchesi. She later had lessons from Tosti in London. Her career took in the Boston Opera House, the Metropolitan in New York (with Caruso) and in the UK in the 1920s.

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre
Johann Strauss II – Blue Danube Waltz (in Italian)
Evelyn Scotney,
soprano
Aeolian Orchestra

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre – Scotney

J Strauss II – Blue Danube – Scotney

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

Aeolian Vocalion A-0213
Matrices AM 8480, 10581
Recorded c1923, London
Play at 77.3rpm

The French soprano Suzanne-Marie Bertin recorded in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Several operetta sides have been reissued by Symposium, and her recording of a Reynaldo Hahn song can be heard on Youtube. This Piccadilly recording however sees her firmly in the coloratura repertoire.

Johann Strauss II – Blue Danube Waltz (in Italian)
Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre
Suzanne-Marie Bertin,
soprano
with Orchestra

J Strauss II – Reves du Printemps – Bertin

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre – Bertin

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

Piccadilly No.5018
Matrices 1867-2, 1868
Recorded c1930, London
Play at 77.8rpm

Stanford Robinson’s Nutcracker and Bransby Williams’s Scrooge

With Christmas nearly here, it’s time for my customary festive posting. On the orchestral side of things, Stanford Robinson conducts the Nutcracker Suite, and then there’s a feast of Dickensian recordings from Bransby Williams. Then as a non-festive bonus, a monologue from Wilfrid Brambell, best known as Albert Steptoe in Steptoe and Son. He apparently created the character of “David Bright” and is heard here in “A Bright Day” recorded for Radio Eireann in 1946, according to the written note on the record sleeve.

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite Op.71a
National Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 1. Miniature Overture – Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 2. March – Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 3. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 4. Russian Dance (Trepak) – Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 5. Arab Dance – Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 6. Chinese Dance – Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 7. The Reed Pipe Dance – Robinson

Tchaikovksy – Nutcracker Suite – 8. Waltz of the Flowers – Robinson

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

DECCA AK 1142-4
Matrices AR 9056-3, 9057-2, 9058-2, 9081-2, 9079-2, 9080-2
Recorded 18th January 1945 (tracks 1-5) and 26th January 1945 (tracks 6-8), Kingsway Hall, London
Released September 1945

Bransby Williams was a regular on the music hall stage, famed for his impersonations of great actors of the time, for his humorous monologues, and particularly for his performances of Dickensian characters. He recorded extensively from at least 1905 to 1948, starting with Edison cylinders, then HMV and Zonophone, Pathé, Winner, Columbia and Decca. He recorded his interpretation of Scrooge in 1905, 1906 and 1912 (Edison), 1909 (HMV), 1912 (Winner), 1912, 1924 and 1926 (Columbia) and 1948 (DECCA). I present here his 1912 Columbia and 1948 DECCA accounts. The Columbia is coupled with Micawber’s advice to David Copperfield, which can also be heard on a separate DECCA recording from 1947.

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s advice to David Copperfield

Bransby Williams, actor

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream (1912) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – The Dream (1912) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – After the Dream (1912) – Bransby Williams

Dickens – David Copperfield – Micawber’s Advice to David Copperfield (1912) – Bransby Williams

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

Columbia 347-8
Matrix 6275-2, 6276-2, 6277-1, 6278-1
Recorded 1912, London
Available from December 1912 to May 1924 (replaced by recordings made April 1924)
Play at 81.1rpm

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – Dombey and Son – Captain Cuttle

Bransby Williams, actor

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – The Dream – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Scrooge – After the Dream – Bransby Williams

Dickens – Dombey and Son – Captain Cuttle – Bransby Williams

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

DECCA AK 1963-4
Matrix AR 12497-1, 12498-1, 12499-1, 12500-1
Recorded 7th July 1948, London

Dickens – Scrooge – Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – Dombey and Son – Captain Cuttle

Bransby Williams, actor

Dickens – David Copperfield – Wilkins Micawber – Bransby Williams

Dickens – David Copperfield – Dan’l Peggotty – Bransby Williams

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

DECCA F 9277
Matrix DR 12529-1, 12530-2
Recorded July 1948, London

Brambell – A Bright Day

Wilfred Brambell, actor

Brambell – A Bright Day

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

Broadcasting Service 455/12/DS
Recorded 1946, Dublin?

Written on the record sleeve: Wilfred Brambell as “David Bright” for “A Bright Day”, written by him and broadcast Radio Eireann 1946

Lorenzo Molajoli orchestrals, and opera in America

Over the past year or so I’ve produced several CD reissues for CRQ Editions. One of these was devoted to orchestral recordings conducted by Lorenzo Molajoli. The following set arrived too late for inclusion on the Molajoli CD.

Verdi – Nabucco – Overture
Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 1
Milan Symphony Orchestra, Lorenzo Molajoli

Verdi – Nabucco – Overture – Molajoli

Bizet – Carmen  Prelude Act 1 Molajoli

 

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

Columbia D 12274-5 (in album)
Matrices WB 1632, 1633, 1634 (30129, 30125, 30124), WB 1730 (30526)
Recorded 3rd November 1927 (Verdi), 19th November 1927 (Bizet), Milan
Verdi plays in score pitch at 75.2rpm, Bizet at 76.9rpm

The next track is one of the curious “collateral restorations” to my work on CDs of Percy Pitt. In 1909 Pitt conducted Peter Cornelius and Minnie Saltzmann-Stevens singing part of the final scene of Wagner’s Siegfried. When HMV reissued this on a double-sided record they chose to couple it with a Victor recording of the famous duet from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, with Lambert Murhpy and Reinald Werrenrath.

Verdi – La Forza del Destino – Solenne in quest’ora
Lambert Murphy, tenor.
Reinald Werrenrath, baritone.
Orchestra

Verdi – La Forza del Destino – Solenne in quest’ora – Murphy and Werrenrath

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

His Master’s Voice D 305
Matrix C-12174-5 (A12174) (70103, 2-054051)
Recorded 5th November 1913, Camden, New Jersey
Plays in score pitch at 75.3rpm

Luisa Tetrazzini and Percy Pitt

Over the past year or so I’ve produced several CD reissues for CRQ Editions. These included 3 CDs of Percy Pitt’s Columbia recordings, followed by a 2CD set of his HMV recordings with singers. In compiling the last I listened to and did initial restoration on many more records than the set could accommodate, and I hope to present several of these “collateral restorations” here. First up are three sides with Pitt conducting for the great Luisa Tetrazzini. Two of these are from Pitt’s first HMV recording session, which was also Tetrazzini’s first. The third comes from a session the following year.

Thomas – Mignon – Polonaise (Io son Titania)
Luisa Tetrazzini, soprano with Orc
hestra conducted by Percy Pitt

Thomas – Mignon – Polonaise – Tetrazzini

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

Gramophone Monarch 053142
Matrix 2171f
Recorded 20th December 1907, London
Plays in score pitch at 76.8rpm – original record has a lot of wear, so the sound is noisy in places

Delibes – Lakmé – Bell Song (Dov’e l’Indiana bruna)
Luisa Tetrazzini, soprano with Orc
hestra conducted by Percy Pitt

Delibes – Lakmé – Bell Song – Tetrazzini

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

His Master’s Voice 053150
Matrix 2172f
Recorded 20th December 1907, London
Plays in score pitch at 76.8rpm

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Waltz
Luisa Tetrazzini, soprano with Orc
hestra conducted by Percy Pitt

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Tetrazzini

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

His Master’s Voice 053195
Matrix 2524f
Recorded 1st July 1908, London
Plays in score pitch at 76.8rpm

Richard Strauss – 150th anniversary

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss. To mark this, I’ve transferred two acoustic recordings of great tone poems by Strauss.

The first is Henry Wood’s heavily abridged 1916 account of Till Eulenspiegel, the first ever recording of the work. It’s cut down to just two sides, losing approximately half of the music. This is a work that Wood conducted regularly at the Proms, yet this is, as far as I can determine, his only recording of any piece by Strauss.

Richard Strauss – Till’s Merry Pranks: or a Rogue’s Rondo
Henry J Wood and his Orchestra

R. Strauss – Till Eulenspiegel – Wood

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

Columbia L 1067
Matrices 6766-3, 6786-2
Recorded 1916
Available from October 1916 to May 1928
Plays in score pitch at 80.7rpm

The second recording is conducted by the composer himself. In 1922 Columbia recorded Don Juan with Strauss conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. This was Strauss’s second recording of the work, more or less: a 1917 account for Grammophon had the first two sides conducted by George Szell, and the last two by Strauss. For the Columbia recording Strauss conducted the whole work, save for a minor cut of the 24 bars preceding figure L in the score. The rather small violin section is pushed to the limit in some of the prominent parts with a high tessitura.

Richard Strauss – Don Juan
London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Strauss

R. Strauss – Don Juan – LSO, Strauss

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

Columbia L 1419-20
Matrices 75034-2, 75035-2, 75036-2, 75037-2
Recorded 18th January 1922
Available from April 1922 to February 1928
Plays in score pitch at 80.0rpm

Shakespeare Day

Although I’ve not posted much here recently, I’ve been doing plenty of restoration, for CRQ editions – there are now four volumes of Percy Pitt recordings available, and one of Lorenzo Molajoli.

My reason for posting today though is to honour Shakespeare’s birthday. I’ve transferred a recently acquired late acoustic Vocalion of Henry Baynton (1892-1951), one of the last actor-managers, performing Shakespearian excerpts. The first side is one of his own concoctions, I think, called “Shakespeare’s War Cry” consisting of a shortened verions of Richmond’s speech  from Richard III, Act 5 Scene 3, the last three lines of Philip the Bastard from King John Act 5 Scene 7, and the St Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V Act 4 Scene 3, followed by a brief conclusion “God keep us thorough to the end. God prosper your affairs. God grant us everlasting peace.”

Shakespeare’s War Cry (from Richard III, King John, Henry V)
Shakespeare – The Seven Ages of Man (from As You Like It); Hamlet’s Soliloquy
Henry Baynton

Shakespeare’s War Cry – Baynton

Shakespeare – Seven Ages of Man, Hamlet’s soliloquy – Baynton

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

Vocalion K-05216
Matrices 04273, 04274X
Recorded c 1924
Transferred at 79.5rpm in line with some roughly contemporary matrices.

The day cannot go by either without at least a brief tribute to the great Albert Coates. I’ve not had time to do any new transfers of his recordings, so I thought his wonderful account of Dvorak’s Carnival Overture needed to reappear here.

Dvorak – Carnival Overture
London Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Dvorak – Carnival Overture – Coates

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

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

Strauss (and Ivanovici) for the New Year

As ever I like to ring in the New Year with a nod in the direction of a Viennese New Year’s Day Concert.

France’s Garde Républicaine returns with two pieces with a Danube theme.

Iosif Ivanovici – Flots du Danube (Valse)
Johann Strauss II – Le Beau Danube Bleu
Garde Républicaine

Ivanovici – Flots du Danube ( Donauwellen) – Valse – Garde Républicaine

Johann Strauss II – Le Beau Danube Bleu – Garde Républicaine

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

Odeon 3814/6483
Matrices 3814-4 x, 6483 x (P 2279)
Recorded January 1906
74.2rpm playing in F minor and E flat major at A435

The next two sides are classics of the gramophone, though my copies aren’t the best.
Johann II Strauss – Die Fledermaus – Mein Herr Marquis; Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande
Orchestra, Karl Alwin
Elisabeth Schumann, soprano

Johann Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Mein Herr Marquis – Schumann

Johann Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande – Schumann

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

HMV E 545
Matrices Bb 12008-I, BV 614-III (7-43097, 30-1473)
Recorded 11th November 1927, Studio C, Small Queen’s Hall, London; 6th September 1929, Mittlerer Konzerthaussaal, Vienna
76.3rpm, 76.5rpm

The final Strauss of the day celebrates his sesquicentennial anniversary this year, and is represented by his best known waltz.

Richard Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier – Waltz
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Leo Blech

R Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier – Waltz – Blech

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

His Master’s Voice C 1819
Matrices CLR 4851-II, 4852-II (4-040730/1)
Recorded 12th December 1928, Berlin
74.2rpm