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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

A festive feast of Wagner and Verdi

To round off the Wagner and Verdi bicentenary year, I’ve gathered a varied selection of music by these two operatic greats, in various guises.

Dajos Béla recorded extensively in many genres. The following abridged version of the Tannhäuser Overture is one of his more straightforwardly classical recordings, though the scoring is adapted for his band of the time – a piano can definitely be heard contributing.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Overture (abridged)
Künstler-Kapella Dajos Béla

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Overture – Dajos Béla

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

Odeon AA79816-7
Matrices xxBo 7551, 7552-II
Recorded 24th April 1923
Plays in A440 at 80rpm
Dan Godfrey has appeared here on many occasions, but this is the first time I’ve transferred anything by his eldest son, Dan Godfrey Jr. He very much followed in his father’s footsteps. He was appointed by the nascent BBC to conduct the 2LO Military Band with whom he recorded some 50 sides for the Edison Bell company, mostly arrangements of serious classical fare.

Wagner – The Rhinegold – Entry of the Gods into Valhalla
2LO Military Band, Dan Godfrey Jr

Wagner – Rhinegold – Entry of the Gods – 2LO Military Band, Godfrey Jr

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

Winner 4112
Matrices 8921B-1, 8922B-1
Recorded and issued 1924
Plays in A452 at 80.3rpm

 

The Dresden-born Emil Enderlein (b 1887) started as a lyric tenor, before developing into a Heldentenor. He sang Walther in Die Meistersinger at Bayreuth in 1925, and Parsifal and the Götterdämmerung Siegfried at the Zoppot Forest Opera in 1927-28. After his Bayreuth performances he changed his stage name to Erik Enderlein, and continued to perform well into the 1930s. After retirement he worked as a singing teacher in Berlin. He recorded for Pathé, Parlophone, Polyphon and Polydor as Emil Enderlein, but this curious
piano accompanied account of two excerpts from the Ring cycle appeared on the Piccadilly label, an offshoot of the Metropole label. The recordings are likely to have been made in 1929 when he sang at Covent Garden.

Wagner – The Valkyrie – Spring Song
Wagner – Siegfried – Forging Song
Eric Enderlein, tenor with piano

Wagner – Valkyrie – Spring Song – Enderlein

Wagner – Siegfried – Forging Song – Enderlein

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

Piccadilly No.5020
Matrices 1914, 1915
Recorded 1929
78.3rpm

 

The Carl Rosa Opera Company was a mainstay of opera in English from 1873 to 1960 (before being revived in 1997) performing in London and all round Britain. The selection from Lohengrin is conducted by Arthur Hammond (1904-1991) who joined the company in 1928, but by 1936 was working at Covent Garden. Imperial records were produced by the Crystalate company from 1920 to 1934, probably placing this record in the early 1930s. None of the soloists are named, but are likely to be Carl Rosa regulars of the period (but probably not among the top rank singers who were contracted to other recording companies.)

Wagner – Lohengrin – Vocal Selection
Arthur Hammond, Carl Rosa Orchestra, Carl Rosa Opera Company

Wagner – Lohengrin – vocal selection – Carl Rosa Co, Hammond

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

Imperial Z 115
Matrices T.I. 146.A, 148.A
Recorded c1931-32
79.1rpm

 

The French tenor Paul Franz (1876-1950) was born François Gauthier in Paris. He did not train as a singer until he was almost 30, but soon was in demand across a wide repertoire.

Wagner – Tristan & Isolde – Ou Tristan va se rendre
Wagner – Le Crépuscule des Dieux – Mort de Siegfried
Paul Franz, tenor with Orchestra

Wagner – Tristan und Isolde – Ou Tristan va se rendre – Paul Franz

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Death – Paul Franz

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

Pathé No.0286 (29cm, paper label, edge start)
Recording numbers 2376, 2494 R
Recorded c1919-20
Disc transfers 8th Jan 1924, 4th September 1924
73.1rpm, 76.5rpm

 

Borghild Bryhn-Langaard (1883-1939) was a Norwegian soprano, taught partly by Grieg’s wife Nina Hagerup. She sang the Rhinegold Fricka and Valkyrie Brünnhilde in Richter’s English Ring cycle at Covent Garden in 1908.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Elizabeth’s Greeting
Wagner – Die fligende Holländer – Senta’s Ballad
Borghild Bryn (Borghild Lindvig Bryhn-Langaard), soprano with Orchestra

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Dich teurer Halle – Bryn

Wagner – Die fliegende Holländer – Senta’s Ballad – Bryn

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

Pathé 729
Recording numbers 77198, 77201
Matrices 24198 G, 47320 GR
Recorded 1917-18, Berlin
Play in score pitch at 94.4rpm, 91.5rpm

 

The cellist W.H. Squire recorded extensively for the Gramophone Company and Columbia, with large works interspersed with lighter pieces or arrangements of standards.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve
W.H. Squire, cello with piano

Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve – WH Squire


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

His Master’s Voice 7886
Matrix ak 14731e
Recorded 5th January 1912, London
78.4rpm

 

Landon Ronald needs little introduction for those who know this site well. A Wagner celebration could not go by without including something from him.

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Funeral March
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Funeral March – RAHO, Ronald


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

His Master’s Voice D 502
Matrices HO 4434af, 4433-IIaf (3-0529, 3-0530)
Recorded 11th June 1920, Hayes
79.6rpm
John Barbirolli is also a name that requires little introduction, and his later recordings are well known. But early efforts like this operatic selection have received less attention.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Selection (arr Alfonso Gibilaro)
London Symphony Orchestra, John Barbirolli

Wagner – Tannhäuser – selection – LSO, Barbirolli


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

His Master’s Voice C 2293
Matrices 2B 1102-1, 1103-1 (32-2441, 32-2442)
Recorded 25th September 1931, Queen’s Hall, London
77.6rpm

 

The Zoppot Forest Opera ran from 1921 to 1944 in Sopot (now in Poland) and was known as the Bayreuth of the North. Many prominent singer and conductors performed there, though by 1942 when Siegfried and Die Meistersinger were performed, the singers were perhaps not such big names, but still acquit themselves well.

Wagner – Siegfried:
Siegfried und die Stimme des Waldvogels a.d. 2 Akt – Freundliches Vöglein, dich frage ich nun
Zwischenspiel a.d. 3 Akt
Berlin State Orchestra, Robert Heger
Heinz Kraayvanger, tenor.
Cova Wackers, soprano

Wagner – Siegfried – Woodbird scene – Kraayvanger, Wackers, Heger

Wagner – Siegfried – Interlude to Act 3 Scene 3 – Heger


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

Polydor 67922
Matrices 1880½-GS9, 1891½-GS9
Recorded 18th June 1942 “Aufnahmen mit Künstlern der Zoppoter Waldoper 1942”
77.1rpm

 

Giuseppe Lenghi-Cellini, born in Italy in 1881 had a substantial career in Britain, performing in concerts and opera. He recorded extensively for Parlophone, but can also be heard on Regal and Piccadilly.

This particular record has a bad fracture affecting the first minute or so of each side.

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Ah si ben mio; Di quella pira
Giuseppe Lenghi Cellini, tenor with Orchestra

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Ah si ben mio – Lenghi-Cellini

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Di quella pira – Lenghi-Cellini


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

Piccadilly No.5032
Matrices 3556-2, 3559
Recorded c1930
79.3rpm (Di quella pira transposed down a semitone)
Alick Maclean is a favourite conductor of mine, though few of his recordings have appeared here so far. He recorded extensively with the NQHLO, and also regularly conducted the Scarborough Spa Orchestra.

Verdi – Aida – Selection
The New Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, Alick Maclean

Verdi – Aida – selection – NQHLO, Maclean


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

Columbia L 1439
Matrices 75089-2, 75090-2
Recorded 11th May 1922, London
Available from 10/1922 to 2/1928
(Intended replacement on AX491-2; 492-2; recorded 2nd July 1924 conducted by Eugene Goossens II; test pressings made; but not issued)
80.3rpm

 

The shortlived British violinist Mary Law has appeared here before. These operatic fantasias were standard fare for her in the recording studios.

Verdi – Il Trovatore: Fantasia; La Traviata: Fantasia
Mary Law, violin with piano

Verdi – Trovatore fantasia – Mary Law

Verdi – Traviata fantasia – Mary Law


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

Zonophone Record The Twin Serial A 177
Matrices AL 8350f, AL 8354f (Z-047919, Z-047920)
Recorded 8th June 1915, London
77.9rpm

 

Stanley Chapple was the house conductor for the Aeolian Vocalion company, conducting orchestral works, as well as substantial operatic excerpts like the following. As usual, the soloists are unnamed, though I suspect that Frank Titterton can be heard on the Rigoletto selections.

Verdi – Vocal Excerpts from “Il Trovatore”
Grand Opera Company, Soloists, Full Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Verdi – Il Trovatore – vocal excerpts – Chapple


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

Broadcast Twelve 5187-8
Matrices LO 733, 734, 735x, 736
Recorded 1930
79.0rpm

Verdi – Vocal Gems from “Rigoletto”
Grand Opera Company, Soloists, Full Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Verdi – Rigoletto – vocal gems – Chapple


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

Broadcast Twelve 3094
Matrices LO 1108x, 1109x
Recorded 1931-2
78.5rpm

 

This HMV issue of US Victor masters of vocal gems from Aida in English disguises under the heading of “Grand Opera Company” an ensemble that includes the young Richard Crooks as Radames.

Verdi – Aïda – Vocal Gems
Grand Opera Company
Della Baker, soprano
Elsie Baker, contralto
Stanley Baughman, baritone
Rose Bryant, contralto
Helen Clark, soprano
Richard Crooks, tenor
Frank Croxton, bass
Royal Dadmun, baritone
Charles H Hart, tenor
Vivian Holt, soprano
Judson House, tenor
Olive Kline, soprano
Lucy Isabelle Marsh, soprano
Lambert Murphy, tenor
Ruth Rodgers, soprano
Orchestra, Rosario Bourdon

Verdi – Aida – vocal gems – Bourdon


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

His Master’s Voice C 1605
Matrices CVE-13995-20, 13996-23
Recorded 13th July 1928, Liederkranz Hall, New York
76.3rpm

 

In 1902-3 the Anglo-Italian Commerce Company made a number of recordings in Milan for Pathé. The two excerpts here are from a Verdi rarity, I due Foscari, and are sung by an unnamed baritone.

Verdi – I due Foscari – O vecchio cor che batti; Questa dunque è
unnamed baritone with piano
Verdi – I due Foscari – O vecchio cor che batti – unnamed baritone

Verdi – I due Foscari – Questa dunque è – unnamed baritone


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

Pathé 80098, 80874
Matrices 59089, 7555
Recorded c 1902-3, Milan
90.6rpm, 88.4rpm

 

France’s Garde Républicaine recorded extensively for many years for several companies. In Britain, the most comparable equivalent is the Coldstream Guards Band. These early operatic fantaisies have spoken introductions.

Verdi – Le Trouvère – Fantaisie
Garde Républicaine    

Verdi – Le Trouvère – Fantaisie – Garde Républicaine


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

Odeon 33318/33319
Matrices 33318-2 x, 33319-3 x
Recorded c December 1904
76.1rpm

Malcolm Sargent conducts the Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes (1947)

Britten – Peter Grimes – Four Sea Interludes Op.33A
No.1 – Dawn
No.2 – Sunday Morning
No.3 – Moonlight
No.4 – Storm
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Malcolm Sargent

Britten – Peter Grimes – Sea Interlude 1. Dawn – LSO, Sargent


Britten – Peter Grimes – Sea Interlude 2. Sunday Morning – LSO, Sargent


Britten – Peter Grimes – Sea Interlude 3. Moonlight – LSO, Sargent


Britten – Peter Grimes – Sea Interlude 4. Storm – LSO, Sargent

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

Columbia DX 1441-2
Matrices: CAX 10119-1, 10120-2, 10121-1, 10122-2
Recorded: 11th November 1947, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road
Issued December 1947

This was the second commercial recording of the Sea Interludes, but the first to be issued. Eduard van Beinum recorded them, and the Passacaglia, for Decca with the Concertgebouw Orchestra on September 15th and 16th 1947, with the 78s issued in January 1948. These Sargent sides were recorded two months later, but the incredibly quick turnaround for issue suggests to me that perhaps EMI were determined to be the first to get excerpts from Peter Grimes in the catalogues.

 

George W Byng conducts the Ballet Music from Gounod’s Faust

I received an email recently asking if I knew where George W Byng’s recording of the Ballet Music from Gounod’s Faust might be found. Some six years ago, before I had this website I did a transfer of the recording, so the time seemed apt to revisit it for a new transfer. Listening again, I get a sense of Byng’s experience as a theatre conductor – there is great life in these pieces.

Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music
Royal Opera Orchestra, Covent Garden, George W. Byng

Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music – Byng – part 1


Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music – Byng – part 2


Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music – Byng – part 3


Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music – Byng – part 4


Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music – Byng – part 5


Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music – Byng – part 6


Gounod – Faust – Ballet Music – Byng – part 7

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

His Master’s Voice C 1462-3
Matrices CR 1443-II, 1444-I, 1445-I, 1446-II (side numbers 5-0677 to 5-0680)
Recorded 13th July 1927, Queen’s Hall, London

Adrian Boult and Stanley Chapple conduct Wagner on Vocalion

More Wagner for the bicentenary year, this time with rarely head Vocalions from Adrian Boult in the overture to the Flying Dutchman and the Procession of Masters from Die Meistersinger (both 1927), and from Stanley Chapple in the Act 3 Prelude from Lohengrin (1927) and the Siegfried Idyll (a late acoustic recording from around 1925)

Wagner – Der fliegende Holländer – Overture
Festival Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Boult

Wagner – Flying Dutchman – Overture – Boult


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

Vocalion K-05296
Matrices M.0325, M.0326
Recorded 9th March 1927, Kingsway Hall, London

Wagner – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Procession of Masters
Festival Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Boult

Wagner – The Mastersingers – Procession of Masters – Boult


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

Vocalion K-05302
Matrix M.0393
Recorded 5th May 1927, Kingsway Hall, London

Wagner – Siegfried Idyll
Modern Chamber Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Wagner – Siegfried Idyll – Chapple


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

Vocalion K-05157, K-05158
Matrices 03836XX, 03837XX, 03838, 03839
Recorded c1925, London

Wagner – Lohengrin – Introduction to Act 3
Festival Symphony Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Wagner – Lohengrin – Act 3 Prelude – Chapple


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

Vocalion K-05302
Matrix M.0296
Recorded early 1927, London

Albert Coates conducts choral music

April 23rd is St George’s Day, Shakespeare’s birthday, and more importantly for this site, the anniversary of Albert Coates’s birth. For this year’s Coates tribute, we have two early electrical choral recordings: excerpts from Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and unaccompanied spurious Bach!

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.

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

Heinrich Grünfeld plays cello solos

One early recording by the cellist Heinrich Grünfeld (brother of pianist Alfred Grünfeld) has appeared previously on this site. This has now been revisited, and a later recording by added as well. A full discography for Heinrich Grünfeld can be found on my discographies site.

Handel’s Largo (from Serse)

Heinrich Grünfeld, cello with piano

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)
Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-47875x
Matrix 19h
Recorded: 1905, Berlin
Issued: August 1905
Plays at A=435 at 77.0rpm

The record label states “LARGO (von Handel) gespielt von Professor Heinrich Grünfeld, Hofcellist, Berlin”

Koschat – Verlassen bin i

(from 3 Lieder Op.4, No.1)

Boccherini – Menuett

Heinrich Grünfeld, cello with piano
(mp3 files – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)
Grammophon double sided 2-47851, 2-47852
Matrices 18140l, 18141l
Recorded: 1915, Berlin
At 78.0rpm these sides play at A=435, which is a reasonable pitch for the time.

Percy Pitt conducts Wagner

It’s quite some time since any of Percy Pitt’s recordings appeared here. I’ve therefore opted to share one of his acoustic HMV recordings. It’s an orchestral recording, unusual in his HMV output, which was mainly devoted to accompanying singers either as pianist or conductor.

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Journey to the Rhine
Symphony Orchestra, Percy Pitt

This is a curious recording. The first side has the later matrix number, and though it begins as usual, when the first horn call is reached, we find the passage transposed down a minor third into D major. The bass clarinet line is given to lower strings, and a coda is appended. The second side begins from the second horn call, now at score pitch of F major.  This means the sides do not join easily. The first file below gives the two sides in full. In the second version, I have digitally repitched the horn call passage into F major (without changing the tempo) to effect a side join and make the piece continuous.

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s journey to the Rhine – Pitt (without side join)


Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s journey to the Rhine – Pitt (repitched horn calls for side join)

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

His Master’s Voice D 559
Matrices Cc 133-II, 132-I (3-0611, 3-0612)
Recorded 6th May 1921, Hayes, Room 1.
Plays at 76.8rpm

Boult’s early Humperdinck and lighter fare for 2013

As the festive season passes, it’s time for some of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, in early acoustical recordings by Adrian Boult. To follow this, in the spirit of the New Year Concert, if not the letter, some very light fare indeed: two entertaining bassoon solos from E W Hincliff and two numbers performed by the Serge Krish septet.

Humperdinck – Hansel and Gretel:
Overture
Hexenritt
Traum Pantomime

British Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Boult

Humperdinck – Hansel and Gretel – Overture – Boult


Humperdinck – Hansel and Gretel – Hexenritt – Boult

Humperdinck – Hansel and Gretel – Traum Pantomime – Boult

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

His Master’s Voice D 591, D 617
Matrices Cc 624-II, 625-II, 1069-III, Cc 1070-II (3-0690, 3-0691, 3-0718, 3-0719)
Recorded 3rd November 1921 (Overture) and 6th March 1922, Hayes, Room 1

Trad arr. Fred Godfrey – Lucy Long
Hinchcliff – Ri-Too-Ral-I-Tay
E.W. Hinchcliff, bassoon
Mme Adami, piano

Trad – Lucy Long – Hinchcliff


Hinchcliff – Ri-Too-Ral-I-Tay – Hinchcliff

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

His Master’s Voice B 1756
Matrices Bb 3977-II, 3978-I (7551, 7552)
Recorded 17th December 1923, Hayes

Ernest William Hinchcliff was born in London in 1878, and married a Jean Arklay, producing a son and two daughters by 1935. He was a professor of bassoon at the Royal College of Music, the Royal Military School of Music (Kneller Hall) and the Guildhall. He was bassoonist for the London Symphony Orchestra from 1904, Beecham Symphony Orchestra from 1910, New Symphony Orchestra from 1913, BBC Orchestra from 1923.

F Poliakin – The Canary (Le Canari)
F Arndt – Nola – A Silhouette
Serge Krish Septet

Poliakin – The Canary – Serge Krish Septet


Arndt – Nola – Serge Krish Septet

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

Regal Zonohpone MR 1753
Matrices CAR 3379-1, 3384-1
Recorded late 1930s

Franz André conducts Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Serenade for Strings

It’s been some time since my last update, but we were due something for Christmas. This is another Franz André LP on Telefunken, with works by Tchaikovsky.

Tchaikovsky – Nutcracker Suite Op.71

I. Miniature Overture

II. March

III. Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy

IV. Russian Dance (Trepak)

V. Arabian Dance

VI. Chinese Dance

VII. Dance of the Mirlitons

VIII. Waltz of the Flowers

Tchaikovsky – Serenade for Strings in C major Op.48

I. Andante non troppo – Allegro moderato

II. Waltz (Moderato)

III. Elegy (Larghetto elegiaco)

IV. Andante – Allegro con spirito

L’ Orchestre Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge, Franz André

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

Telefunken TC 8001

Matrices LP-037852-41A, LP-37623/4-1B
Recorded 15th July 1956 (Nutcracker), 23rd October 1955 (Serenade), Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels.

Delius – Eugene Goossens, Geoffery Toye, John Barbirolli; Mozart’s Figaro Overture – Barbirolli; Beatrice Harrison & Harold Craxton – Delius’s Cello Sonata; Dame Ethel Smyth – overture to The Wreckers

I couldn’t let this Delius anniversary year pass without a selection of his recordings from 78s. These range from acoustics conducted by Eugene Goossens III through some early electricals with Geoffrey Toye up to post-war records by John Barbirolli. There’s one filler side from Barbirolli which is not by Delius. There’s also the early electrical set of the Cello Sonata played by its dedicatee, Beatrice Harrison.

And for a bonus, another English composer, Dame Ethel Smyth, conducts the overture to her opera “The Wreckers.”

Delius – Brigg Fair
Delius – On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Eugene Goossens

Delius – Brigg Fair – RAHO, Goossens

Delius – On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring – RAHO, Goossens

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

His Master’s Voice D 799-800
Matrices Cc 4017-I, 4018-I, 4019-II, 4081-I (3-0974, 3-0975, 3-0976, 3-0977)
Recorded 31st December 1923 and 15th January 1924, Hayes

Brigg Fair is complete, but the Cuckoo is slightly abridged, losing 23 bars in total (from 2 before fig 5 to 4 after fig 6, and from 4 after fig 9 to 3 before fig 11.)

Delius – Sonata for Cello and Piano
Beatrice Harrison, cello
Harold Craxton, piano

Delius – Cello Sonata – Harrison, Craxton

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

His Master’s Voice D 1103-4
Matrices Cc 8199-II, 8200-I, 8201-II, 8202-II (08251, 08252, 08270, 08253)
Recorded 29th March 1926, Hayes

Delius – Brigg Fair
London Symphony Orchestra, Geoffrey Toye

Delius – Brigg Fair – LSO, Toye

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

His Master’s Voice D 1442-3
Matrices CR 1649-I, 1650-I, 1651-I, 1652-I (5-0824, 5-0773, 5-0774, 5-0775)
Recorded 19th February 1928, Kingsway Hall, London

Delius – In a Summer Garden
London Symphony Orchestra, Geoffrey Toye
Delius – A Song Before Sunrise
New Symphony Orchestra, John Barbirolli

Delius – In a Summer Garden – LSO, Toye

Delius – A Song Before Sunrise – NSO, Barbirolli

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

His Master’s Voice D 1696-7
Matrices CR 1655-I, 1656-IA, 1657-IA, Cc 16663-II (5-0776, 5-0777, 6-0808, 6-0793)
Recorded 19th February 1928 (Toye) and 7th June 1929 (Barbirolli), Kingsway Hall, London

Delius – The Walk to the Paradise Garden
New Symphony Orchestra, Geoffrey Toye

Delius – The Walk to the Paradise Garden – NSO, Toye

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

His Master’s Voice D 1738
Matrices Cc 16763-II, 16764-II (32-755, 32-756)
Recorded 13th September 1929, Embassy Theatre, London

Delius – The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Hallé Orchestra, John Barbirolli

Delius – The Walk to the Paradise Garden – Hallé, Barbirolli

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

His Master’s Voice C 3484
Matrices 2ER 817-I, 818-I
Recorded 16th February 1945, Manchester

This record is rather well-worn, and suffers some distortion in forte passages, particularly in the first half

Delius – Deux Aquarelles
Mozart – Overture “The Marriage of Figaro”
Hallé Orchestra, John Barbirolli

Delius – Deux Aquarelles – Hallé, Barbirolli

Mozart – Marriage of Figaro Overture – Hallé, Barbirolli

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

His Master’s Voice C 3864
Matrices 2EA 12961-2, 13654-1
Recorded 1st May 1948, 3rd May 1949, London?

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE:

Delius – The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Goossens

Delius – Walk to the Paradise Garden – Cincinnati SO, Goossens

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

RCA Victor 11-9493
Matrices D6-RC-5139/40
Recorded 14th February 1946, Cincinnati

Smyth – The Wreckers – Overture
British Symphony Orchestra, Dame Ethel Smyth

Smyth – The Wreckers – overture – BSO, Smyth

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

Columbia DX 287
Matrices WAX 5567, 5568 (13625, 13624)
Recorded 1st May 1930, Westminster Central Hall, London

Albert Ketelbey – Massenet’s Angelus and Luigini’s The Voice of the Bells; Hamilton Harty – Wagner’s Die Meistersinger Overture, overtures to Stanford’s Shamus O’Brien and Rossini’s Barber of Seville

Now we head back to the early 1920s for three English Columbia acoustic discs, featuring two of Columbia’s regular conductors: Albert W Ketelbey and Hamilton Harty. The reason for grouping these together is a little confusion in the catalogues as to who is conducting on one of the records.

Massenet – Angelus from “Scenes Pittoresques”
Luigini – The Voice of the Bells – Reverie
Court Symphony Orchestra, Albert W Ketelbey

Massenet – Angelus – Court SO, Ketelbey

Luigini – The Voice of the Bells – Court SO, Ketelbey

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

Columbia 974
Matrices AX 364-1, 360-1 (4721, 4717)
Recorded 11th and 6th March 1924, London
Available from June 1924 to July 1929

Plays at 78rpm, though stated as 80rpm on labels.

Wagner – The Meistersingers – Overture
Court Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Harty

Wagner – Meistersinger – Court SO, Harty

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

Columbia 976
Matrices AX 361-1, 362-1 (4718, 4719)
Recorded 7th March 1924, London
Available from June 1924 to August 1932

This recording is unabridged. The first side begins at 80rpm and progresses to 81rpm, while the second side remains around 80rpm.

On the record label, the performance is credited simply to the Court Symphony Orchestra, and in Columbia’s 1925 catalogue it is listed under the section for Court Symphony Orchestra conducted by Albert W. Ketelbey. However, Ronald Taylor’s discography of 12” Columbia records 1906-1930 notes the conductor as “Harty (Listed in the catalogues as Ketelbey)” Another Court Symphony Orchestra recording, from 4th March 1924 (record 980, matrices AX 356-2, AX 359-1), was issued in the UK with no conductor credited, and appears in the same section of the 1925 catalogue under Ketelbey’s name but American issues gave Harty’s name.

I’m inclined to accept the attribution of Harty as the conductor, partly because of the accelerando at the end of the overture which is not unusual for him.

Stanford – Shamus O’Brien – Overture
Rossini – Barber of Seville – Overture
Hallé Orchestra, Hamilton Harty

Stanford – Shamus O’Brien – Hallé, Harty

Rossini – Barber of Seville – Hallé, Harty

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

Columbia L 1428
Matrices 75078-1, 75080-2
Recorded 20th April 1922, London
Available from July 1922 to February 1928

Both sides play at 80rpm.

The overtures are both abridged. The Stanford is only slightly trimmed, but the Barber has been rather butchered to fit on one side.

Malcolm Sargent conducts Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No.1 at the opening of the Royal Festival Hall

To celebrate this Diamond Jubilee weekend for Queen Elizabeth II, I present here two records from the year before her accession to the throne. The opening of the Royal Festival Hall in 1951 included Handel’s Coronation Anthem “Zadok the Priest,” which was also heard during the Queen’s Coronation in June 1953. The 1951 concert also included Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.1, a staple, of course, of British patriotic events.

Handel – Zadok the Priest
Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D major Op.39 “Land of Hope and Glory”
Royal Festival Orchestra and Chorus, Sir Malcolm Sargent

Handel – Zadok the Priest – RFH, Sargent

Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance No.1 – RFH, Sargent

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

His Master’s Voice Records DA 1980, 1981
Matrices 0EA 15573-1C, 15574-1C, 15575-1A, 15576-1A
Recorded live on 3rd May 1951 at the Ceremonial Opening Concert of the Royal Festival Hall, London

Bridge Peters sings Honour and Arms

The baritone, Bridge Peters, was active in the first quarter of the 20th century. He was born in late 1878 in Haslingden, near Altrincham in Lancashire, England. In 1907 he married Daisy, and by 1911, they had a son James, and were living in Manchester, and were financially secure enough to have a domestic servant. Bridge Baron Peters lived for most of his life in or around Manchester, but appears to have moved to the south coast of England around the start of the Second World War. He died in the spring of 1949, in Honiton, Devon,

There are a few mentions of concerts to be found online, including a Prom concert on Tuesday 1st October 1912, conducted by Sir George Henschel, at which he sang Henschel’s “Young Diderich”, in an orchestration by Percy Pitt, and the first Proms performance of “The Sea Road” by Haydn Wood, with Frederick Kiddle at the piano. Peters made several recordings for the Gramophone Company between 1910 and 1914, issued on the Zonophone label, and also for Edison Bell around the same time (some issued on the Winner label.)

Handel – Samson – Honour and Arms
Bridge Peters,
baritone
with Orchestra

Handel – Samson – Honour and Arms – Bridge Peters

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

Edison Bell 24 (10”)
Matrices 2116B-3, 2117E-3
Recorded c1912

Plays in score pitch of B flat major at 75rpm.

This copy is very worn, and the sound was very thin. In re-equalising the sound, the surface noise of the record has been accentuated.

Easthope Martin – Godard and Grieg; Albert Coates – Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance of the Tumblers

There are two parts to this latest addition to my site. First, a performer who has appeared already as a composer: Easthope Martin, whose popular “Come to the fair” has been heard here performed both by Julie Andrews, and her stepfather Ted Andrews. However, in the period before the First World War, Martin recorded a number of sides for Zonophone, though he was disguised behind a pseudonym.

Godard – Second Mazurka Op.54
Grieg – Norwegian Bridal March Op.19 No.2
Easthope Martin,
piano
(credited on label as Paul Astor)

Godard – Second Mazurka – Easthope Martin

Grieg – Norwegian Bridal March – Easthope Martin

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

Zonophone Record The Twin Serial A 144
Matrices z7135f, z7136f (side numbers Z-045509, Z-045508)
Recorded 24th February 1913

To commemorate Shakespeare’s anniversary, and the birthday of the Anglo-Russian  conductor Albert Coates, I present here one of Coates’s later Decca recordings – Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance of the Tumblers as the filler side.

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

Lilian Bryant conducts and plays the piano

This update is by way of tribute to one of the significant contributors to the UK recording industry. Lilian Bryant was a pianist and conductor, and was the musical director of the Pathéphone Company, Ltd. in London. There are numerous orchestral recordings on which she is the conductor, including several popular overtures. She is likely to be the conductor or piano accompanist on numerous British Pathé vocal recordings, often uncredited. She also recorded piano solos for Columbia (and Regal) several of which were issued in Holland, where she was known as the accompanist of violinists Alfred Indig and Boris Lensky (and is credited as such on the record labels). She also crops up on the unusual Chantal de Luxe label (manufactured by Crystalate), conducting for the baritone Louis Lynel. This unusual recording and a number of her piano records are given below. The piano solos are mainly of popular songs of the day, very much in lighter mood, though she did record some popular classical pieces as well. These include the only electrical recording in the current batch, of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. I also have several English Pathés which she may appear on as uncredited accompanist, but I’ve not yet restored them.

Drigo – Les Millions d’Arlequin – Sérénade
Toselli – Serenade
Orchestra, Lilian Bryant
Louis Lynel,
baritone

Drigo – Arlequin – Serenade – Lynel, Bryant

Toselli – Serenade – Lynel, Bryant

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

Chantal de Luxe No 1175
Matrices 2489, 2490
Recorded 1920s

Vliegpostmarsch
Slavische Serenade
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Vliegpostmarsch – Lilian Bryant

Slavische Serenade – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9061
Matrices 68965, 68966
Recorded 1923?

M Yvain – Pays de Rêve
Otto Helmburgh-Holmes – Electric Girl (Shimmy Fox-Trot)
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Yvain – Pays de Rêve – Lilian Bryant

Helmburgh-Holmes – Electric Girl – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9063
Matrices 68990, 68991
Recorded 1923?

Kálman – Die Bayadere – Wenn die Sterne am Himmel leuchten (Fox-Trot)
Hugo Hirsch – Wenn du einmal eine Braut hast
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Kálman – Wenn die Sterne – Lilian Bryant

Hirsch – Wenn du einmal – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9064
Matrices 68992, 68993
Recorded 1923?

Gaston Gabaroche & Fred Pearly – Je n’peux pas vivre sans amour
Theo A Körner – Wenn man allein ist
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Gabaroche & Pearly – Je n’peux pas – Lilian Bryant

Körner – Wenn man allein ist – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9066
Matrices 68996, 68997
Recorded 1923?

S Ehrlich – Willst du eine kleine haben (Shimmy Fox-Trot)
Armandola – Hawaiian Memories, Wals
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Ehrlich – Willst du eine kleine haben – Lilian Bryant

Armandola – Hawaiian Memories – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9085
Matrices F6, F7 (15896, 15897)
Recorded 1923?

Wagner – Bruidskoor (uit Lohengrin)
(Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, Act 3)
Mendelssohn – Hochzeits Marsch
(Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Wagner – Bridal chorus (Lohengrin) – Lilian Bryant

Mendelssohn – Wedding March – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9846 (electrical recording)
Matrices WF236, WF237 (21546, 21547)
Recorded 1926?

Carl Schuricht – Die Fledermaus overture; Franz André – Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, Suppé’s Poet and Peasant overtures

To welcome in the New Year, I’ve transferred Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus overture in an early recording by Carl Schuricht, and as an extra, a pair of overtures by Suppé and Offenbach, conducted by Franz André.

J. Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Overture
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Carl Schuricht
(credited on label as “New State Symphony Orchestra, with no conductor named)

J. Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Overture

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

Decca K.638
Matrices 30159, 30160 (from Telefunken originals)
Recorded 9th September 1929, Berlin
Play at 78rpm

Offenbach – Orpheus in der Unterwelt – Overture
Suppé – Dichter und Bauer – Overture
L’Orchestre Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion Nationale, Belge, Franz André

Offenbach – Orphée – André

Suppé – Poet and Peasant – André

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

Telefunken UX4507 (7” 45rpm)
Matrices 45-9/38418-1-R, 45-9/36989-X-R
Recorded 6 and 5 October 1952, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels

Marguerite d’Alvarez – Silent Night, Habanera, Ai nostri monti (with Giulio Crimi); George Baker – Toreador Song, Il balen

Aeolian Vocalion records are the source for a quintet of vocal recordings in time for Christmas. They also serve as a little coda to the pile of Carmen recordings that I posted here in October. The English-born contralto, Marguerite d’Alvarez, sings Silent Night, and then the Habanera from Carmen, and, with tenor Giulio Crimi, “Ai nostri monti” from Verdi’s Il Trovatore. This is followed by two more recordings from the same works – baritone George Baker, in a lesser known corner of his discography, made a number of operatic sides for Aeolian Vocalion.

Gruber – Silent Night, Holy Night
Orchestra
Marguerite d’Alvarez,
contralto

Gruber – Silent Night – d’Alvarez

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

Aeolian Vocalion C-01054 (12” single-side)
Matrix AM 7619
Recorded June 1921
Play at 78.4rpm

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera
Orchestra
Marguerite d’Alvarez,
contralto
Verdi – Il Trovatore – Ai nostri monti
Orchestra
Marguerite d’Alvarez,
contralto
Giulio Crimi, tenor

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – d’Alvarez

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Ai nostri monti – d’Alvarez, Crimi

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

Aeolian Vocalion A-0200 (12” double-side)
Matrices AM 5151, AM 7359
Recorded 1920?, April 1921
Play at 78.5rpm and 77.9rpm respectively

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador Song
Orchestra
George Baker,
baritone

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador Song – Baker

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

Aeolian Vocalion C-01004 (12” single-side)
Matrix 01576
Recorded c1920
Play at 81.8rpm for score pitch

The record label says “in Italian”, but Baker is singing in English.

Verdi – Il Trovatore – The tempest of the Heart (Il Balen)
Orchestra
George Baker,
baritone

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Il balen – Baker

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

Aeolian Vocalion C-01005 (12” single-side)
Matrix 01593
Recorded c1920
Play at 81.8rpm to play in A flat major (a tone below score pitch)

Mark Hambourg, Marjorie Hayward, Frank Bridge and Warwick Evans play Scherzo from Saint-Saëns’s Piano Quartet

Another brief chamber music update, this time one of the four chamber sides recorded in 1917 by Mark Hambourg. This features Marjorie Hayward on violin, Frank Bridge on viola and Warwick Evans on cello, in a heavily abridged version of the Scherzo from Saint-Saëns’s Piano Quartet in B flat major.

Saint-Saëns – Piano Quartet in B flat major Op.41 – Scherzo
Marjorie Hayward,
violin
Frank Bridge,
cello
C. Warwick-Evans,
cello
Mark Hambourg,
piano

Saint-Saëns – Scherzo from Piano Quartet in B flat – Hambourg et al

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

His Master’s Voice 08054
Matrix HO 2726ef
Recorded 7th July 1917
Play at 78rpm

The recording contains the following sections of the score:
bb1-60; bb94-113, bb33-60, bb231-318 (end)

The London Wind Quintette (Murchie, Goossens, Draper, James and A.E. Brain) play works by Pierné and Scarlatti

The single record in this update is contains two treats from the wind ensemble repertoire. The London Wind Quintette are heard on an early 1920s Edison Bell Velvet Face 12” record. The quintette features flautist Robert Murchie, Leon Goossens on oboe, Haydn Draper on clarinet, bassoonist Wilfred James and horn player Alfred Edwin Brain Jr. The discography given in Carole Rosen’s “The Goossens – A Musical Century” names Frederick Salkeld as the horn player, with a recording date of 1923. However, the record labels clearly state A.E. Brain. Brain left the UK in August 1922, playing in the NYPO, LAPO and was heard on numerous film soundtracks. His date of emigration and the matrix numbers on the record suggest a 1922 recording date.

Pierné – Pastorale
Scarlatti – Andante and Allegro (from Suite)
London Wind Quintette:
Robert Murchie,
flute
Leon Goossens,
oboe
Haydn Draper,
clarinet
Wilfred James,
bassoon
Alfred Edwin Brain Jr,
horn

Pierné – Pastorale – London Wind Quintette

Scarlatti – Andante and Allegro – London Wind Quintette

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

Edison Bell Velvet Face 515
Matrices X1147H-2, X1148H-1
Recorded 1922
Play at about 83.6rpm

The Scarlatti pieces are arrangements of the Sonata in D minor K9/L413 transposed to E minor, and Sonata in G minor K450/L38 in its original key.

The Pierné Pastorale is No.1 from Album pour mes petits amis Op.14, in its original key of A minor. Bars 35-80 are repeated, presumably so that record was filled out to a reasonable duration.

Carmen excerpts: 1920 Columbia abridged recording; highlights on LP from Walter Goehr and Erasmo Ghiglia; orchestral and choral excerpts – Weingartner, Pitt, Maclean, Ronald, Sabajno, Matacena, Mackenzie-Rogan, Weissmann, Coates; excerpts from 1911 Pathé recording; other vocal excerpts in French, English, German, Italian and Russian

It has taken a long time to prepare this update, which focuses on Bizet’s Carmen. The centrepiece is the abridged 1920 Columbia set on 10” records. This is complemented by two LPs of excerpts from the 1950s, and then a wide selection of 78s of orchestral and vocal excerpts, whether in more or less their original forms, or as “gems.” The sung languages range from French, via Italian, English and German to Russian. Where Carmen excerpts occupy only one side of a record, the other side is, as usual, given here too. In some cases additional recordings by the same performer are included.

Complete or substantial excerpts:

Bizet – Carmen (abridged)
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
sung in Italian

1. Prelude
2. Chorus of Cigarette Girls – Suono la campana
3. Habanera – E l’amore
4. Duet – Ah, mi parla di lei
5. Duet – Mio vegga ancor
6. Seguidilla – Presso il bastion di Siviglia
7. Duet – Carmen quest’ ufficiale
8. Bohemian Song – All’ udir
9. Bohemian Song – Or ben Pastia desia
10. Toreador Song – Part 1 (Con voi ber)
11. Toreador Song – Part 2
12. Quintette – Part 1 – Noi s’lia in vista un bell’ affar
13. Quintette – Part 2 – Certo la cosa
14. Duet – Alfin sei qui
15. Duet – Al quartier
16. Flower Song – Il fior
17. Duet – No, tu non m’ami
18. Duet and Finale (Part 1) – No, piu non ti voglio
19. Finale, Act 2 (Part 2) – Dubbio non c’e
20. Trio – Part 1 – Io ci veda
21. Trio – Part 2 – Invan par evitar
22. Ensemble – E nostr’ affar il doganier
23. Aria – Io dico
24. Recit & Duet Part 1 – Ma non m’inganno
25. Duet Part 2 – Per amante ell’ avveva
26. Finale Act 3, Part 1 – Ola! Jose
27. Finale Act 3, Part 2 – Ah! bada a te
28. Finale Act 3, Part 3 – Ah! paventa
29. Duet – Se tu m’ami
30. Duet – Sei tu?
31. Finale Act 4, Part 1 – Piu non m’ama il tuo cor?
32. Finale Act 4, Part 2 – No davver

Fanny Anitua, mezzo-soprano – Carmen
Luigi Bolis, tenor – Don José
Ines Maria Ferraris, soprano – Micaëla
Cesare Formichi, baritone – Escamillo
Lina Garavaglia, soprano – Mercédès
Rosa Garavaglia, soprano – Frasquita
Enrico Spada, bass – Zuniga
Luigi Baldassare, bass – Il Dancairo/Moralès
Carlo Paltrinieri, tenor –  Il Remendado
La Scala Chorus

Mediafire link for Bizet – Carmen – acoustic Columbia – Acts 1 & 2
Mediafire link for Bizet – Carmen – acoustic Columbia – Acts 3 & 4
(No longer available due to bogus copyright claim)

(These are zip files – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

Columbia D 5582-97
Matrices 42436, 42381, 42384, 42427, 42398, 42416, 42431, 42412, 42411, 42382, 42383, 42395, 42396, 42413, 42414, 42415, 42420, 42429, 42430, 42406, 42388, 42424, 42426, 42392, 42397, 42389, 42434, 42421, 42385, 42432, 42435, 42433
Recorded 1920

Play at 82.6rpm (1, 19, 31-2), 78rpm (2-5, 7, 10-14, 16-18, 21, 24), 81.6rpm (6, 8, 9, 15, 22-3, 28, 30), 79.6rpm (20, 25-6), 83.4rpm (27), 80.9rpm (29)

Sides in order of matrix number:
2, 10, 11, 3, 29, 21, 26, 24, 12, 13, 25, 5, 20, 9, 8, 14, 15, 16, 6, 17, 28, 22, 23, 4, 18, 19, 7, 30, 32, 27, 31, 1

This recording, though of course publicised as the complete opera, is heavily cut, with substantial omissions at the start of Acts 1 and 4, among others. It’s still an interesting performance, though Luigi Bolis (Don José) tends to pronounce Carmen so that it sounds like Carmeng!

The first record in my copy of this set is broken, and I’ve done my best to repair it for this transfer.

Bizet – Carmen – Concert performance
Orchestra del Teatro Comunale, Firenze, Erasmo Ghiglia

1. Act 1. Habanera: L’amour est un oiseau rebelle
2. Parlez-moi de ma mère
3. Seguidilla: Près des remparts de Séville
4. Act 2. Chanson bohème (abridged, solo)
5. Toreador Song: Votre toast
6. Flower Song: Le fleur que tu m’avais jetée
7. Act 3. Card Scene
8. C’est des contrabandiers… Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante
9. Duet Escamillo/ Don José
10. Act 4. Si tu m’aimes, Carmen… C’est toi! C’est moi!

Franca Sacchi, mezzo-soprano  – Carmen
Eddie Ruhl, tenor – Don José
Alberta Hopkins, soprano – Micaela
Antonio Boyer, baritone – Escamillo

Mediafire link for Bizet – Carmen – concert performance – Ghiglia

(No longer available due to bogus copyright claim)

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

Saga XID 5264
Matrices XID 5264A, 5264B
Recorded 1950s
Play at about 32.7rpm (-2%)

The record label notes “First issued 1965”, but this is likely to have been recorded in the 1950s. Ghiglia is credited as Ghili, and Ruhl as Rhul on the record sleeve. The soloists sing in French, but the chorus sings in Italian throughout.

Bizet – Carmen – Opera in four Acts – a concise version
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Walter Goehr
(Performers credited on label as:
Orchestra and Chorus of The Opera Classica Society of New York. William Stellar, conductor)

1. Prelude Act 1 (without Coda)
2. Habanera (abridged)
3. Parle-moi de ma mère (abridged)
4. Seguidilla (tenor is a bar behind in final section)
5. Act 2. Chanson bohème
6. Toreador Song (omits L’amour interchange at end)
7. Flower Song
8. Act 3. Smugglers’ march
9. Card Song and Trio
10. Micaela’s aria
11. Act 3. Finale
12. Intermezzo Act 4
13. Act 4. Finale (abridged)

Cora Canne Meyer, Carmen
Leo Larsen, Don José
Corry van Bekkum, Micaëla
Gerard Holthaus, Escamillo
Rick van Veen, Frasquita
Betty de Jong, Mercédès

Mediafire link for Bizet – Carmen – concise version – Goehr

(No longer available due to bogus copyright claim)

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

The Classics Club Rembrandt X64
(Originally issued by The Musical Masterpiece Society)
Matrices X64A1P, X64B1P
Recorded 1953-4
Reviewed in July 1954
Play at about 33.6rpm

This Classics Club reissue is slightly later than the original MMS issue.

Orchestral:

Wagner – Die Walküre – Magic Fire Scene
Bizet – Carmen – Overture and Intermezzo Act IV
Grand Symphony Orchestra, Felix Weingartner

Wagner – Die Walküre – Magic Fire – Weingartner

Bizet – Carmen – Overture, Intermezzo IV – Weingartner

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

Columbia L 1097 (pale blue label)
Matrices 36914-2, 36916-1
Recorded 23rd March 1914
Available from September 1916 to May 1928
(Previously available on D17724 from September 1914 to October 1916)
Play at about 79rpm (though speed is a little variable)

These recordings were among Weingartner’s earliest, made in America.

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE:
Bizet – Carmen selection
New Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, Alick Maclean

Bizet – Carmen – selection – Maclean

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

Columbia L1485
Matrices 76991-2, 76992-2
Recorded 10th May 1923
Available from September 1923 to February 1928

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE:
Bizet – Carmen – selection
BBC Wireless Symphony Orchestra, Percy Pitt

Bizet – Carmen – selection – Pitt

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

Columbia 9125
Matrices WAX 1509-1, 1510-1 (6172, 6174)
Recorded 28th April 1926
Available from March 1927 to April 1941

The recordings below contain Landon Ronald’s complete orchestral excerpts from Carmen and almost all of his recordings from Delibes’s Sylvia – only the early 1913 account of the Prelude is missing (recorded on the same day as the Pizzicato)

Delibes – Sylvia – Prelude les Chasseresses
Bizet – Carmen – Intermezzos, Acts 3 & 4

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Delibes – Sylvia – Prelude les Chasseresses – Ronald

Bizet – Carmen – Intermezzos, Acts 3 & 4 – Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D 134
Matrices HO 1867ac, 3640af (side numbers 2-0698, 2-0912)
Recorded 27th May 1916, 8th March 1919
Play at 78.1rpm, 77.2rpm

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude
Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – Intermezzo

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald
(label for Mascagni “late New Symphony Orchestra”)

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude – Ronald

Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – Intermezzo – Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D 137
Matrices HO 456 aj, Cc 2755-I (side numbers 0863, 0739)
Recorded 8th February 1913, 27th March 1923
Play at 77.8rpm, 76.5rpm

This is the later of Ronald’s two recordings of the Cavalleria Intermezzo

Delibes – Sylvia – Cortège de Bacchus
Mendelssohn – Spring Song, Bees’ Wedding

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Delibes – Sylvia – Cortège de Bacchus – Ronald

Mendelssohn – Spring Song, Bees’ Wedding – Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D 160
Matrices HO 406aj, Cc 2754-I (side numbers 0845, 0738)
Recorded January 1913, 27th March 1923
Play at 76.6rpm, 77.2rpm

Ronald recorded the Mendelssohn pieces on 18th November 1911, but this side was not issued. On 6th January 1912 the side was recorded twice more, with the second attempt being issued. The 1923 remake given here (the first of two takes made on the same day) was his last issued recording of these works.

Delibes – Sylvia – Intermezzo and Valse Lente; Pizzicato
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Delibes – Sylvia – Intermezzo and Valse Lente – Ronald

Delibes – Sylvia – Pizzicato – Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D 161
Matrices HO 427af, HO 448aj (side numbers 0849, 0852)
Recorded January 1913, 3rd February 1913
Play at 78.1rpm, 77.5rpm

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE:
Bizet – Carmen – Preludes to Act 1 and 2
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 1 – Ronald

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 2 – Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice E 461
Matrices BR 936-IA, 937-II (single side numbers 6-830/1)
Recorded 21st January 1927, Queen’s Hall, London

Bizet – The Toreador Song “Carmen”
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador Song – Coldstream Guards

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

Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-283
Matrix 2482(b)-WG (side number 283)
Recorded 9th October 1902

Transferred at 78rpm, to play in G minor/major at A452.

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude to Act III (Intermezzo)
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, Carlo Sabajno

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 3 – Sabajno

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

Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-760
Matrix 8121b (side number 760)
Recorded May 1906, Milan

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE:
Bizet – Carmen – Selection I
Bizet – Carmen – Preludio Atto I
La Scala Symphony Orchestra, Carlo Sabajno

Bizet – Carmen – Selection I – Sabajno

Bizet – Carmen – Overture – Sabajno

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

Bizet – Carmen – Preludio atto IV
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, Carlo Sabajno

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 4 – Sabajno

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

His Master’s Voice C428
Matrices: 925c, 1045c (side numbers 0548, 05025)
Recorded 1906, April 1907, Milan

No conductor is identified in the recording ledgers for the April 1907 sessions. Fred Gaisberg recorded various solo items with Alice Cuccini, the La Scala Chorus and La Scala Orchestra. Other items from Carmen  were recorded at these sessions. When Gaisberg returned to Milan in May 1907, after recording in Egypt, Sabajno was in the studios, and  identified as such in the ledgers. It remains uncertain, therefore, whether he was involved in the April sessions.

Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-50547
Matrix 10383b (50547 IV)
Recorded April 1907

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE:
Bizet – Carmen – Intermezzo Act IV
Wagner – Lohengrin – Prelude Act III
Musica della R. Marina Italiana, Mo. Cav. Saba Matacena

Bizet – Carmen – Intermezzo IV – Matacena

Wagner – Lohengrin – Prelude Act III – Matacena

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

Fonotipia 39471, 39470 (Nos. 1927, 1926)
Matrices: XPh 1595m 1594
Recorded 9th February 1906

These performances are certainly spirited, but it is noticeable how ragged  they are, when compared with the much more polished performances by the  Coldstream Guards and the Garde Républicaine from around the same time.

Bizet – Carmen – Orchestral selections
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Frieder Weissmann

Prelude (Act 1)
First Intermezzo (Avec la garde montante)
Second Intermezzo (Entr’acte Act 3)
Chorus of the Smugglers (Act 3)
Third Intermezzo (Entr’acte Act 4) (Includes extra repeat to fill out disc)
Ballet (Farandole from L’Arlèsienne, Danse bohemienne from La Jolie Fille De Perth)

Mediafire link for Bizet – Carmen – Orchestral selections – Weissmann

(No longer available due to bogus copyright claim)

(This is a zip file – left click the link, download the file, then unzip when downloaded)

Odeon 5027-9
Matrices C5027A-1, D5027B-1, A5028A-2, A5028B-5, C5029A-4, F5029B-2
Recorded 24th January 1923

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 1, Act 3
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Frieder Weissmann

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 1 – Weissmann

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude Act 3 – Weissmann

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

Parlophone E 11015
Matrices W 2-20769-2 ab, 2-20768 Bm
Recorded late 1920s

Play at 75.9rpm

French:

Bizet – Carmen – excerpts from complete Pathé recording
Sides 5 and 6 – Choeur des gamins (Suite); Choeur des cigarieres: La cloche a sonné
Sides 15 and 16 – Ou me conduisez-vous… [Seguidille]; Oui mais toute seule
Sides 19 and 20 – Les tringles des sistres; Tra la la la
Sides 31 and 32 – Tu m’entendras [Air de la fleur]; Non tu ne m’aime pas

Chorus and Orchestra of the Opéra Comique de Paris, François Ruhlmann
Marguerite Mérentié,
soprano – Carmen
Agustarello Affre, tenor – Don José
Marie Gantéri, soprano – Frasquita
Jeanne Billa-Azéma, soprano – Mercédès
M. Dulac, baritone – Moralès
Pierre Ernest Dupré, baritone – Zuniga

Not heard on these sides:
Aline Vallandri, soprano – Micaëla
Henri Albers, baritone – Escamillo
Hippolyte Belhomme, bass – Le Dancaïre
Paul Dumontier, baritone – Le Remendado

Bizet – Carmen – Pathé sides 5-6 – Ruhlmann

Bizet – Carmen – Pathé sides 15-16 – Ruhlmann


Bizet – Carmen – Pathé sides 19-20 – Ruhlmann

Bizet – Carmen – Pathé sides 31-32 – Ruhlmann

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

Pathé catalogue number No.1652 – Carmen 5/6
Pathé catalogue number No.1657 – Carmen 15/16
Pathé catalogue number No.1659 – Carmen 19/20
(80rpm, 11½”, edge start, paper label)
Recorded 1911. Early 1920s pressings
Play at 76.6rpm, 78.1rpm, 76.4rpm

Pathé Carmen 31/32
(90rpm 11½” centre start etched label)
Recorded 1911. Early pressing.
Matrices 96460 RA, 96554 RA
Play at 87.9rpm

Auber – La Muette de Portici – Amour sacré
Orchestra
Henri Albers,
baritone
Albert Vaguet, tenor

Bizet – Carmen – Je suis Escamillo
Orchestra
Henri Albers,
baritone
Gaston de Poumayrac, tenor

Auber – La Muette de Portici – Albers, Vaguet

Bizet – Carmen – Je suis Esacmillo – Albers, de Poumayrac

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

Pathé catalogue number 1577
Recording numbers 561, 976
(90rpm 11½” centre start etched label)
Matrices 53632GR, 49578GR
Recorded 1910 – July 1912

Play at 88.0rpm and 88.6rpm

Bizet – Carmen – Couplets du Toréador
Berlioz – La Damnation de Faust – Voici des roses
Maurice Renaud,
baritone with piano

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador – Renaud

Berlioz – La Damnation de Faust – Voici des roses – Renaud

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

Pathé recording numbers 3381, 3383
(90rpm 11½” centre start etched label)
Matrices 11844Px, 11846Px
Recorded 1902-3

Play at 87.4rpm and 86.7rpm

Bizet – Carmen – L’amour est enfant; Air des cartes
Marie Delna,
mezzo-soprano with piano

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – Delna

Bizet – Carmen – Air des cartes – Delna

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

Pathé recording numbers 3502, 3514
(90rpm 11½” centre start etched label)
Matrices 7845-B-x, 7866-B-x
Recorded 1903-4

Play at 89.1rpm and 85.2rpm

The opening of the Habanera was not successfully transferred from the Pathé Master Cylinder to this disc, so I’ve reconstructed it from the following bars.

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera
Handel – Célèbre Largo
Orchestra
Alice Raveau,
contralto

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – Raveau

Handel – Largo – Raveau

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

Pathé No.0484 (11½”, edge start, paper label)
Recording numbers 1129, 1135 c
Recorded 1925 (Sides are dated 7th August 1925, 22nd August 1925)

Play at 78.4rpm (Handel transposed down a semitone into E major)

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE (new restorations):
Bizet – Carmen – Chanson du Toréador

Victor Orchestra
Emilio de Gogorza,
baritone

Victrola 88178
Matrix C-3349-4 (P88178)
Recorded Date 11th June 1906
Plays at 76.2rpm

In this recording (which has only one verse), the chorus members disagree over the language. De Gogorza has been happily singing in French, and most of the chorus follow this with “Toréador, en garde,” but some go for the Italian version “Toreador, attento.” Carmen was still frequently given  in Italian in the early 20th century, and at the Met it was not unknown for the soloists to sing in French while the chorus sang in Italian.

Rossini – Il Barbiere di Siviglia – Largo al factotum
Victor Orchestra, Rosario Bourdon
Emilio de Gogorza,
baritone

Victrola 88181
Matrix C-6867-2 (D88181)
Recorded 8th March 1909
Plays at 78.6rpm

In this recording,  at “uno alla volta” de Gogorza and the orchestra disagree over which edition of the score is being used: the singer uses the version which has the pattern F-E-F-E-D#-E, while the orchestra goes for  F-E-D#-E-D#-E.

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador – Gogorza

Rossini – Barbiere – Largo al factotum – Gogorza

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

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera; Seguidilla
Orchestra
Sigrid Onegin,
mezzo-soprano

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – Onegin

Bizet – Carmen – Seguidilla – Onegin

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

Brunswick 15128
Matrices E21530, E21533
Recorded 17th February 1927

Italian:

Bizet – Carmen – Romanza del fiore
Thomas – Mignon – Addio Mignon
Orchestra
Angelo Bendinelli,
tenor

Bizet – Carmen – Romanza del fiore – Bendinelli

Thomas – Mignon – Addio Mignon – Bendinelli

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

Columbia-Rena Opera Record D 5503
Matrices 11243, 11266
Recorded c1912
sung in Italian

The Carmen aria is sung a semitone below score pitch, playing at 78rpm. The Mignon aria plays at 79.8rpm.

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera
Donizetti – La Favorita – O mio Fernando

Orchestra
Nini Frascani,
mezzo-soprano

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – Frascani

Donizetti – La Favorita – O mio Fernando – Frascani

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

Columbia D 5505
Matrices 11113, 11115
Recorded c1912
sung in Italian

Play at 81.2rpm

English:

Gounod – Faust – Even Bravest Heart
Bizet – Carmen – Toreador Song

Orchestra
Thomas Chalmers,
baritone

Gounod – Faust – Even bravest heart – Chalmers

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador Song – Chalmers

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

Edison Diamond Disc 82060
Matrices 2826-B-5-4, 2997-A-2-1 (82060-L, -R)
Recorded 18th February 1914, 1st May 1914, New York

Play at 80.5rpm (Gounod), 79.6rpm (Bizet)

Bizet – Carmen – My Mother I Behold (Act I)
Orchestra, Sir Hamilton Harty
Elsa Stralia,
soprano
Frank Mullings, tenor

Bizet – Carmen – My Mother I Behold – Stralia, Mullings, Harty

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

Columbia 7258
Matrix 74106-2
Recorded c 14th May 1920
Available from March 1922 to April 1924

Plays at 83.7rpm
This was reissued on double sided 7332 in April 1924, coupled with Stralia’s 1920 account of Micaela’s aria.
This was available until January 1925 when the Micaela aria was replaced with a 1924 remake – this new issue was available 22nd January 1925 to August 1930.

Bizet – Carmen – The Toreador Song
Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve
Orchestra, Clarence Raybould
(Bizet), Robert Ainsworth (Wagner)
Harold Williams,
baritone

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador – Williams

Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve – Williams

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

Columbia 9873
Matrices WAX 3226-1, 4552-2 (side numbers 8480, 11189)
Recorded 7th August 1928, 15th January 1929

Play at 76.9rpm and 78.0rpm.

Bizet – “Carmen” – Vocal Gems

Intro.: Act1; Habanera; Micaela – Don Jose Duet; Seguidilla; Toreador’s Song, Act 2
Flower Song, Act 2; March, Act 4; Escamillo-Carmen Duet, Finale

Sadler’s Wells Orchestra, Warwick Braithwaite
Noel Eadie,
soprano
Nancy Evans, contralto
Webster Booth, tenor
Dennis Noble, baritone

Bizet – Carmen – Vocal gems – Eadie, Evans, Booth, Noble, Braithwaite

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

His Master’s Voice C 3143
Matrices 2EA 8190-I, 8191-I
Recorded 21st December 1939

Bizet – Gems from “Carmen”
Orchestra
Zonophone Operatic Party
Carrie Tubb,
soprano
Violet Elliott, mezzo-soprano
Ernest Pike, tenor
Harold Wilde, tenor
Stewart Gardner, baritone
Peter Dawson, bass-baritone

Bizet – Carmen – gems – Zonophone

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

Zonophone The Twin Serial A 50
Matrices z5447f, 5449f (side numbers Z-044509. Z-044510)
Recorded 15th September 1911

Plays at 75.6rpm

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera; Gipsy Song
Orchestra

Edna Thornton,
contralto
(credited on label as Madame Violetta)
Eleanor Jones-Hudson, soprano
Ernest Pike, tenor
Peter Dawson, bass-baritone

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – Thornton

Bizet – Carmen – Gipsy Song – Thornton

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

Zonophone Celebrity Record G.O.9
Matrices 11589e, 11590e (side numbers 43205, X43207)
Recorded 14th April 1910

Plays at about 78.5rpm.

Thornton enters a beat early for the final verse of the Gipsy Song, but somehow she and the orchestra get themselves back together again after some time.

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador Song
Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve

Orchestra
Roy Henderson,
baritone

Bizet – Carmen – Toreador Song – Henderson

Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve – Henderson

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

Broadcast Twelve 5100/3231
Matrices L 0241, L 0245 (5100-A/3231-A, 5100-B X/3231-B X)
Recorded January 1929
Sides play at about 77rpm, and 78rpm

Gounod – Faust – Even bravest heart
Rossini – The Barber of Seville – Room for the City’s Factotum

Orchestra
Roy Henderson,
baritone

Gounod – Faust – Even bravest heart – Henderson

Rossini – Barber of Seville – Largo al factotum – Henderson

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

Broadcast Twelve 5089
Matrices L 0242, L 0246 (5089A X, 5089B)
Sides play at about 77rpm, and 78rpm
Recorded January 1929

At these speeds the Bizet and Wagner arias both play in score pitch. The Gounod plays in D flat, putting the introduction at score pitch, and the aria a tone below. The Rossini plays in A, a surprisingly large transposition of a minor third below score pitch.

 

Bizet – Gems from “Carmen”
Soloists, full chorus and orchestra
with Constance Willis, mezzo-soprano

Bizet – Carmen – gems – Willis

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

Broadcast Twelve 5018
Matrices L070X, L071X
Recorded c1929
Plays at about 76.0rpm

Saint-Saëns – Samson and Delilah – Softly awakes my heart
Bizet – Carmen – Habanera
Orchestra

Constance Willis,
mezzo-soprano

Saint-Saëns – Samson and Delilah – Softly awakes my heart – Willis

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – Willis

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

Broadcast Twelve 5114
Matrices L 0208X, L 0247X
Recorded 1929
Plays at about 77.5rpm

Constance Willis is perhaps best remembered (if at all) for her impressive performance as Katisha in the 1939 film of The Mikado. She was an experienced singer both in concert and in opera by this time, and was known for her Carmen. Surprisingly she appeared only once at the Proms, in 1930, singing “Amour! viens aider ma faiblesse!” from Samson and Delilah, and two Rachmaninov songs. The second of her records listed here prompted the following from Herman Klein in the December 1929 issue of The Gramophone:

Constance Willis’s experience with the B.N.O.C. has made a dramatic singer of this artist and taught her to bring some of her stage instincts with her into the recording studio. In such cases let me assure the Broadcast Twelve operator that there is no need for indiscriminate over-amplifying; the voice and the style are quite big enough without his artful aid. The only other criticism I would make concerns the descending chromatic phrases of the Habanera; and there Miss Willis is too inclined to “slither” down from note to note when a clean scale is absolutely essential.

Earlier recordings for Vocalion were warmly received.

Bizet – Carmen – Flower Song
Gounod – La Reine de Saba – Lend me your aid

Orchestra
Frank Titterton,
tenor
(credited on labels as Francesco Vada)

Bizet – Carmen – Flower Song – Titterton

Gounod – La Reine de Saba – Lend me your aid – Titterton

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

Broadcast Twelve 5062
Matrices L 072, L 094 (5062A X, 5062B)
Recorded c 1929
Plays at about 77.4rpm. This record is very worn and scratched, particularly at the start of each side.

Puccini – La Boheme – Your Tiny Hand is Frozen
Bizet – Carmen – The Flower Song

Orchestra, Leslie Heward
(Puccini), Julian Clifford (Bizet)
Frank Titterton, tenor

Puccini – La Boheme – Your tiny hand is frozen – Titterton

Bizet – Carmen – Flower Song – Titterton

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

Decca K505
Matrices MA 486-2A, MA 746-1A
Recorded 24th September 1929, 6th December 1929
Play at about 78.5rpm and 78.9rpm.

Together, these two records provide a rare chance to hear an artist recording the same aria for two different companies around the same time.

PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE:
Bizet – Carmen – March Act IV
Gounod – Faust – La Kermesse
Sung in English
Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

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.

German:

Saint-Saëns – Samson et Dalila – Printemps qui commence
Bizet – Carmen – Ja, die Liebe hat bunte flügel (Habanera)

Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Leo Blech
Maria Olszewska,
contralto

Saint-Saëns – Samson et Dalila – Printemps qui commence – Olszewska

Bizet – Carmen – Habanera – Olszewska

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

His Master’s Voice D1386
Matrices CWR 1291-I, 1295-II (side numbers 2-043085, 2-044029)
Recorded 27th and 28th February 1927, Berlin

Saint-Saëns – Samson et Dalila – Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix
Handel – Rinaldo – Lascia ch’io pianga

Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Fritz Zweig
Maria Olszewska,
contralto

Saint-Saëns – Samson et Dalila – Mon coeur s’ouvre – Olszewska

Handel – Rinaldo – Lascia ch’io pianga – Olszewska

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

His Master’s Voice D 1465
Matrices CLR 3961-III, CLR 3962-II (side numbers 2-033131, 2-033132)
Recorded 15th March 1928, Berlin

Across these two records Olszewska shows off her command of languages: the Saint-Saëns arias are in French, the Carmen is in German, and the Handel is in Italian.

Russian:

Bizet – Carmen – La fleur que tu m’avais jetée
Meyerbeer – Les Huguenots – Plus blanche que la blanche ermine

Orchestra
Dmitri Smirnov,
tenor

Bizet – Carmen – Flower song – Smirnov

Meyerbeer – Les Huguenots – Plus blanche – Smirnov

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

Historic Masters HMB 7
Matrices 2689c, 2857c (022312, 022338)
Recorded 21st October 1912, 15th October 1913, St. Petersburg

The sides play at about 78.6rpm and 75.2rpm respectively. This repressing from original matrices was among the earliest issues by Historic Masters.