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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

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.

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

Albert Whelan – Dickens; Bransby Williams – Dickens and others; Wilhelm Backhaus – Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Bach; Vladimir de Pachmann – Chopin; Mark Hambourg – Chopin, Schubert; Irene Scharrer – Chopin; Moritz Rosenthal – Chopin 1st Piano Concerto

This Christmas update brings a batch of Dickensian spoken word recordings and related items. A few of these have appeared here before, but are presented here in new transfers.

There are more items for the Chopin anniversary from various pianists, and some recordings by the same pianists of other composers, including a little festive Bach.

Albert Whelan (1875-1961) is remembered as a music hall entertainer, emigrating to England from his native Australia fairly early in his career. Given the nature of his career, it becomes hard to be sure whether these Dickens performances are intended sincerely or not. Certainly, The Death of Little Nell is worked for every ounce of sentimentality, and the orchestral backing carries it literally into the realms of melodrama as originally understood. This kind of performance makes one appreciate the reasons for Oscar Wilde’s withering put down of the scene, and is not easy to listen to after hearing more modern acting styles.

Dickens – The Old Curiosity Shop: The Death of Little Nell
Dickens – David Copperfield: Little Emily

Albert Whelan, actor
with Orchestra

Mediafire link for Dickens Monologues – Albert Whelan

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

Zonophone The Twin Serial 268
Matrices 2211e, 7263e
Recorded 4th July 1905, 1907

Based on pitch of orchestral accompaniments, these have been transferred at 77.0rpm and 75.7rpm respectively.

Bransby Williams (1870-1961) is another music hall entertainer, born and bred in London. He was known very much for his impersonations (including a fine imitation of Henry Irving, the great Shakespearean), but also performed many characters from Dickens. He was particularly known for his Scrooge, and he recorded his Scrooge monologues for various companies. In  1928 he played the role in a short sound film, and also in a 1950 BBC TV production. He appeared in a number of silent films of works by Dickens. His recorded repertoire included many Dickens roles, and a number of other dramatic monologues and recitations, several of which are given here.

Mediafire link for Dickens and other recitations – Bransby Williams

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

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge No.3 The Awakening
Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities – Sydney Carton’s Farewell

Bransby Williams, actor
His Master’s Voice C 500
Matrices 3704f, 2636f (01031, 01014)
Recorded 7th October 1909, 9th October 1908

Recorded at about 81rpm and 80rpm respectively

Dickens – David Copperfield: Micawber and Uriah Heep
Cuthbert Clarke & Charles H Taylor – Devil May Care

Bransby Williams, actor
His Master’s Voice C 501 (first side also on Gramophone Monarch 01011)
Matrices 2631f, 2634f (01011, 01021)
Recorded 9th October 1908

Both sides recorded at about 80rpm

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge: Before the Dream; After the Dream
Bransby Williams, actor
The Winner 2533
Matrices 1033D, 1034K
Recorded 1913
Available from January 1914

Milton Hayes – The Green Eye of the Yellow God
Chas J Winter – The Caretaker

Bransby Williams, actor
Columbia 388 (80rpm)
Matrices 6352-3, 6353-3 (1054/5)
Recorded 2nd May 1924
Available from June 1924 to May 1926

These sides were recorded 3 times. First in 1913 (6352-1, 6353-2), available from July 1913 to June 1924. They were then replaced with versions recorded on 2nd May 1924 (6352-3, 6355-3). These were in the catalogues until May 1926, when the electrically recorded remakes of 1st April 1926 replaced them (WAX 1400-1, 1401-1). These were deleted from the catalogue in February 1943

Dickens – The Pickwick Papers – Tony Weller
Dickens – Oliver Twist – Bill Sykes

Bransby Williams, actor
Columbia-Rena 400
Matrices 6354-1 or -2, 6355-2
Recorded 1913
Available from September 1913 to June 1924

Columbia 400
Matrices 6354-4, 6355-4 (1056/7)
Recorded 23rd and 21st May 1924
Available from June 1924 to July 1929

These two versions of the same “Dramatic Recitals” show how Williams’s performances varied. The broad outline of each version is the same, but there are differences in the details. Another, slightly cut, version of the Tony Weller scene was filmed for British Pathé

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge: Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – David Copperfield: Micawber’s Advice to Copperfield

Bransby Williams, actor
Columbia 347 (81.8rpm)
Matrices WAX 1397-2, 1396-2 (6043, 6042)
Recorded 31st March 1926
Available from May 1926 to February 1944

Columbia 348 (80rpm)
Matrices 6277-1, 6278-1
Recorded 1912
Available from December 1923 to May 1924

This set was recorded 3 times. First in 1912 (6275-2, 6276-2, 6277-1, 6278-1), available from December 1912 to May 1924. It was then replaced with versions recorded on 14th and 4th April 1924 (6275-3, 6276-3, 6277-4, 6278-3). These were in the catalogues until May (347) and June (348) 1926, when the electrically recorded remakes of 31st March 1926 replaced them (WAX 1397-2, 1396-2, 1398-1, 1399-1). These were deleted from the catalogue in February 1944

Dickens, Lee, Weston – A Charles Dickens Christmas
Bransby Williams, actor
with various other performers
Columbia DX 554
Matrices CAX 6971-1, 6972-1
Recorded October 1933, London

The pianist Mark Hambourg has already featured on this site. The latest item is one of his earlier acoustic recordings, of Chopin and Schubert.

Download – Chopin – Polonaise in A – Mark Hambourg
Download – Schubert-Tausig – Marche Militaire – Mark Hambourg

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

Chopin – Polonaise in A major Op.40 No.1 (“Military”)
Schubert-Tausig – Marche Militaire

Mark Hambourg, piano
His Master’s Voice D 486
Matrices HO 4160af, 4162af (05646, 05647)
Recorded 15th December 1919, London

Wilhelm Backhaus (1884-1969) is without doubt one of the most famous of recorded pianists, with a studio career stretching from acoustic recordings in the first decade of the twentieth century through to stereo recordings in the 1960s. The recordings below show him in core repertoire from 1913 to 1934.

Mediafire link for Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms – Wilhelm Backhaus

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

Chopin – Etude in E major Op,10 No.7; Waltz in D flat major Op.64 No.1 (“Minute”)
Schubert – Moment Musical Op.94 No.3; Hark, hark the lark
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano

His Master’s Voice D 170 (81rpm)
Matrices z7358f, z7360f (05553, 05550)
Recorded 20th May 1913, London

Brahms – Variations on a Theme by Paganini Op.35 Book 1 (Theme and Variations 1-8; Variations 9 -13)
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano
His Master’s Voice D 1019
Matrices Cc 5437-II, 5438-III (05855, 05856)
Recorded 5th December 1924, London

Chopin – Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor Op.66
Chopin – Prelude in C major Op.28 No.1; Etude in C major Op.10 No.1
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 2059
Matrices 2B 5391-II, 5392-IV (32-4189, 32-4190)
Recorded 7th and 10th October 1933, London

Beethoven – Piano Sonata in C sharp minor Op.27 No.2 (“Moonlight”)

I. Adagio sostenuto (1 side)
II. Allegretto
(½ side)
III. Presto agitato
(1½ sides)

Bach arr Lucas – Pastorale from “Christmas Oratorio”
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 2405-6
Matrices 2EA 518-II, 519-III, 520-III, 516-II
Recorded 6th (sides 1 and 4) and 8th (sides 2 and 3) November 1934, Abbey Road Studio No.3, London

Vladimir de Pachmann (1848-1933) was highly regarded for his wonderful Chopin playing. The odder aspects of his platform behaviour carried into the recording studio, and his comments can be heard on several of the recordings here.

Mediafire link for Chopin – Vladimir de Pachmann

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

Chopin – Prelude in B minor Op.28 No.6; Etude in G flat major Op.67 No.1
Chopin – Etude in G flat major Op.10 No.5
Vladimir de Pachmann, piano
His Master’s Voice DA 1302
Matrices Bb 6258-I, 11763-I (30-10220, 30-10221)
Recorded 26th June 1925, Hayes, Studio B and 3rd November 1927, C Studio, Small Queen’s Hall, London

Chopin – Nocturne in B major Op.32 No.1
Chopin – Impromptu in F sharp major Op.36 No.2
Vladimir de Pachmann, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 859
Matrices Cc 6259-II, 6261-I (05854, 05853)
Recorded 26th June 1925, Hayes, Studio B

Chopin – Nocturne in D flat major Op.27 No.2
Chopin – Etude in F major Op.25 No.3; Valse in C sharp minor Op.64 No.2
Vladimir de Pachmann, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 860
Matrices Cc 6253-I, 6260-I (05859, 05860)
Recorded 26th June 1925, Hayes, Studio B

Moritz Rosenthal (1862-1946) was a pupil of Liszt, and recorded extensively.

Chopin – Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor Op.11

Mediafire link for Chopin – Piano Concerto 1 – Moritz Rosenthal, Frieder Weissmann

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

I. Allegro maestoso
II. Romanza
III. Rondo vivace

Moritz Rosenthal, piano
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Frieder Weissmann

Parlophone R 902-4, E 11113-4 (3 10” and 2 12” records)
Matrices W 38839, 38840, 133019, 133020, 133021, 133026, W 2-21695-3, 21696-2, 2-21697, 2-21698
Recorded 1st May 1839m 26th November 1930, 2nd March 1931, Berlin

Several sides of this recording are afflicted with a high pitched whistling noise, which I have done my best to ameliorate. Additionally, there is a twenty-six bar overlap between sides 3 and 4, so I have given two versions of the first movement, with the edit at the start and end of the overlapping section.

The recording is also somewhat cut:

1st movement:
Side 1: b1-24, b139-221
Side 2: b221-333
Side 3: b333-434
Side 4: b408-510
Side 5: b510-588
Side 6: b589-689

2nd movement:
Side 7: b12-71 (orchestral introduction omitted)
Side 8: b72-126

3rd movement:
Side 9: b1-47, b88-260
Side 10: b260-295, b327-520

Irene Scharrer (1888-1971) was one of the UK’s best known pianists. While perhaps best remembered for her recording with Henry Wood of the Litolff Scherzo, she was in fact a regular in the recording studios from around 1909 onwards. She made concerto recordings with Landon Ronald, and even attempted the Litolff Scherzo with him in 1915, though it was never issued.

Chopin – Scherzo No.2 in B minor Op.31
Irene Scharrer, piano

Download – Chopin – Scherzo No.2 – Irene Scharrer

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

Columbia DX 433
Matrices CAX 6604-3, 6605-2
Recorded 5th December 1932, London