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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

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.

Vocal Gems from the Bohemian Girl

Balfe’s “The Bohemian Girl” was a popular light opera on the English stage from the nineteenth century. Various popular arias from the work were a staple of the record catalogues in the 78rpm era, and its overture remained a favourite. The present recording is a typical “vocal gems” compilation, including three of the most popular solos and some ensemble passages. Licette and Noble remain fairly familiar names, though Russell (who sang Calaf) and Brindle (a stalwart of the Moody-Manners opera company) are barely remembered now.

Mediafire link for – Balfe – The Bohemian Girl – Vocal gems

(This is an mp3 file – left click the link, download the file)

Balfe – The Bohemian Girl – Vocal Gems
Part 1:
Happy and light of heart (p114-117); I dreamt that I dwellt (p96-98); When other lips (p178-179); Silence (p82-84, 87, transposed down a semitone)
Part 2:
The heart bowed down (p161-162, transposed down a semitone to F); Thou who in might supreme (p75-77); In the gipsy life (p32-35)
Score references to Boosey The Royal Edition vocal score (1899)

Columbia 9579
Matrices WAX 4343-2, 4344-1 (10737/8)
Recording Date 27th November 1928
Available from Jan 1929 to March 1942

Orchestra and Chorus, Charles Prentice
Miriam Licette,
soprano
Francis Russell, tenor
Dennis Noble, baritone
Harry Brindle, bass

Dennis Noble sings for the National Savings scheme; Eugene Goossens – Delius in Cincinnati; Andreieff’s Balalaika Orchestra; Fucik’s Entry of the Gladiators – Coldstream Guards Band; Horenstein – Dvorak’s New World Symphony; Dean Dixon – Schumann and Schubert Symphonies, incidental music to Rosamunde

The second update of 2010 brings my typical mixed bag of recordings.

The first is an unusual recording by the wonderful British baritone Dennis Noble. It is not listed in the discography of Noble which appeared in The Record Collector in 2004. The record label is a private EMI pressing made to promote the National Savings scheme. The songs on one side are a “Silver Lining Medley”, and on the other “Look for the Silver Lining.” These were presumably chosen to tie in with the film “Look for the Silver Lining”, a 1949 biopic of Marilyn Miller. In the medley, Noble sings two songs, and C Wright (a very English tenor crooner) sings another. A fourth is assigned to the chorus. The second side has Noble singing with the chorus. Both sides are introduced by actor Norman Shelley.

Next, from around the same time, a British conductor in the US – Eugene Goossens with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in Delius’s The Walk to the Paradise Garden.

Some decades before, a Russian conductor made recordings in the US – Vassily Andreyev took his Balalaika Orchestra on tour there in 1911. One of the sides he made has appeared here before, when it was a coupling for Landon Ronald’s abridged recording of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

An altogether different sound comes from an early single-side Zonophone of Fucik’s “Entry of the Gladiators”, recorded a little before it acquired its circus connotations. The Zonophone Military Band credited on the label are actually the Band of H.M. Colstream Guards.

Maintaining the Czech theme, Dvorak’s New World Symphony receives a compelling performance from Jascha Horenstein on a Vox LP. The tempi are perhaps slow in places, but the conductor’s attention to detail makes for a highly satisfying account.

Finally, making a long overdue appearance here, the American conductor, Dean Dixon. I have more recordings by Dixon than can be given here – many are still in copyright, as he continued recording into the 1970s. The three LPs here include two symphonies by Schumann, two by Schubert, and Schubert’s Rosamunde music.

Silver Lining Medley:

Trad. – Roll away, clouds
Milton Egan – Song of the Dawn
Jack Ager – Over on the Sunny Side
Irving Berlin – Blue Skies

Jerome Kern – Look for the silver lining

Download – Silver Lining Medley – Dennis Noble, etc.

Download – Look for the silver lining – Dennis Noble, etc.

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

EMI JG.367
Matrices CTPX 14690-1, 14691-1
Recorded 1948?

Commentary by Norman Shelley
Dennis Noble
, baritone
C Wright, singer
Chorus
National Savings Symphony Orchestra, Cecil Woods

 

Record label for Dennis Noble's National Savings record

Record label for Dennis Noble’s National Savings record

Delius – The walk to the Paradise Garden (Intermezzo from A Village Romeo and Juliet)

Mediafire link for Delius – Paradise Garden – Goossens

(This is an mp3 file – left click the link, download the file)

RCA Victor 11-9493
Matrices D6-RC-5139, 5140
Recorded 14th February 1946, Cincinnati
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Goossens

Traditional – Serenade Falet
Rubinstein – Bal Costumé – Toreador et Andalouse

Mediafire link for Andreieff’s Balalaika Orchestra

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

Victrola 18058
Matrices B9996-1, 9978-1
Recorded 20th, 21st February 1911
Andreieff’s Balalaika Orchestra, Vassily Vassilievich Andreyev

The top half of the label has a replacement stuck over it:

SPECIAL RECORD
Manufactured for
THE GRAMOPHONE CO., LTD.
HAYES,
MIDDLESEX, ENGLAND
Made in U.S.A.

Fucik – Entry of the Gladiators

Download – Fucik – Gladiators – Coldstream Guards

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

Zonophone X-40168
Matrix 2293e (X40168V)
Recorded 19th July 1905
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan
(credited on label as Zonophone Military Band)

This recording plays just sharp of A major at 78rpm and, in A flat major at 73rpm. Transposition up to B flat major seems unnaturally fast, and A is an unlikely key for a military band. The piano score of the piece is in C major.

Dvorak – Symphony No.9 in E minor Op.95

Mediafire link for Dvorak – New World Symphony – Horenstein

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

I. Adagio – Allegro molto
II. Largo
III. Scherzo
IV. Allegro con fuoco

Vox PL 7590
Matrices XTV 17222-1D, 17223-1B
Recorded c1952, Vienna
Issued 1953
Vienna State Philharmonia, Jascha Horenstein

Reviewed in Gramophone, November 1953, where it was found to be better than recordings by Jorda and Kubelik.

 

Schumann – Symphony No.3 in E flat major Op.97 “Rhenish”

I. Lebhaft
II. Scherzo
III. Nicht schnell
IV. Feierlich
V. Lebhaft

Schumann – Symphony No.4 in D minor Op.120

I. Ziemlich langsam – Lebhaft
II. Romanze
III. Scherzo
IV. Langsam

Mediafire link for Schumann – Symphonies – Dean Dixon

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

Westminster WL 5285
Matrices XTV  20239-1B, 20240-1A
Issued 1954
Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Dean Dixon

Schubert – Symphony No.4 in C minor (“Tragic”)

I. Adagio molto – Allegro vivace
II. Andante
III. Menuetto: Allegro vivace
IV. Allegro

Schubert – Symphony No.5 in Bb major

I. Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Menuetto: Allegro molto
IV. Allegro vivace

Mediafire link for Schubert – Symphonies – Dean Dixon

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

Nixa NLP 913
Issued 1954
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Dean Dixon
(credited on label as Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of London)

Schubert – Rosamunde – incidental music

Mediafire link for Schubert – Rosamunde – Dean Dixon

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

Whitehall, WH 20069
Matrices M-18483-A-XTV-19105-IU, M-18483-B-XTV-19106-IU
Issued 1954

1. Overture (Alphonso and Estrella) (Andante – Allegro)
2. Entr’acte (Allegro molto moderato)
3. Ballet (Allegro moderato – Andante un poco assai)
4. Entr’acte (Andante)
5. Romance (Andante con moto) (a)
6. Chorus of Spirits (b)
7. Entr’acte (Andante)
8. Shepherd’s Melody (Andante)
9. Shepherd’s Chorus (Allegro) (b)
10. Hunting Chorus (Allegro moderato) (b)
11. Ballet (Andantino)

Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Dean Dixon
(a) Hilde Rössl-Majdan, mezzo-soprano
(b) Vienna Akademie Kammerchor