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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ernest Macmillan – first 4 movements of Holst’s Planets; Adrian Boult – Elgar’s Imperial March; Gustav Holst – Saturn – two acoustic versions (1923 & 1925)

This latest update contains a selection of Planets, prompted by an email I received recently. Sir Ernest Macmillan recorded just four parts of Holst’s Planets Suite with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for Victor in 1942 – Mars, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter. As Mercury required only one side, Adrian Boult’s BBC Symphony Orchestra recording of Elgar’s Imperial March was used as a filler.

Holst – The Planets Op.32

No.1 Mars (The Bringer of War)
No.2 Venus (The Bringer of Peace)
No.3 Mercury (The Winged Messneger)
No.4 Jupiter (The Bringer of Jollity)

Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sir Ernest Macmillan

Elgar – Imperial March Op.32
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Boult

Mediafire link for Holst – Planets – excerpts – Macmillan

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

Victor album DM929, 11-8303/6 (auto-coupling)
(Standard coupling on 11-84121/5)

Matrices ??
Recorded 1942

Matrix 2EA-1054-1A
Recorded 16th April 1937

Holst’s recordings as a conductor are well-known. In particular his acoustic and electrical recordings of The Planets have both been reissued more than once. However, as is typical for English Columbia, the subject of the acoustic recordings has some complications. As originally issued, the complete set, recorded from 1922 to 1923 (with the filler side in 1924) was issued on the following records, with the matrix and take numbers as shown:

L1459 – Jupiter 75204-2, 75205-3 (Recorded 27th October 1922 – Issued February 1923)
L1499 – Venus AX 136-2, AX 137-4 (Recorded 23rd August 1923 – Issued November 1923)
L1509 – Uranus AX 138-2, AX 139-3 (Recorded 24th August 1923 – Issued December 1923)
L1528 – Mars AX 197-2, AX 198-2 (Recorded 30th October 1923 – Issued February 1924)
L1532 – Saturn AX 199-1, AX 200-2 (Recorded 30th October 1923 – Issued March 1924)
L1542 – Neptune AX 205-1, AX 206-1 (Recorded 6th November 1923 – Issued April 1924)
L1543 – Mercury AX 135-3 (Recorded 23rd August 1923) and Marching Song AX 303-1 (Recorded 14th February 1924 – Issued May 1924)

However, for whatever reason (besides Columbia’s common practice), Jupiter and Saturn were re-recorded acoustically in 1925:

L1532 – Saturn AX 199-3, AX 200-3 (Recorded 19th February 1925 – Issued April 1925)
L1459 – Jupiter 75204-8, 75205-6 (Recorded 15th September 1925 – just a month later Columbia UK were making electrical recordings – Issued October 1925)

All of the acoustic versions were replaced in December 1926 with the electrically recorded remake (for which the catalogue numbers have an R appended.)

I’m fortunate to have both acoustic versions of Saturn in my collection. As usual on English Columbia, the take numbers are not visible on the records, so it becomes more difficult to determine which version is the earlier. The two issues are distinguished by a different width of playing surface and different copyright stamps.

Quicker performance:

4½d copyright stamp of “The Copyright Protection Society (Mechanics Rights) Ltd.”
Playing surface 3 1/16 inch on side 1 and 2 14/16 inch on side 2 (measuring from the start of the groove). It’s sadly in a rather battered condition.
This has a total playing time of 7:01

Slower performance:

4d “Mecolico” copyright stamp.
Playing surface 3 11/16 inch on side 1 and 3 5/16 inch on side 2.
This has a total playing time of 8:22

Mecolico was founded slightly earlier than the CPS, but they did coexist. However, my records from the electrical set also have a 4d Mecolico stamp, suggesting that the lower copyright price with Mecolico is later.

Thus the 1925 recording is more than a minute slower than the 1923 recording – a vast difference, and one which sheds interesting light on Holst’s performance practice.

My copy of Jupiter, also has a 4½d CPS copyright stamp, and a large gap between the end of the groove and the label. The playing surface is 3 1/16 inch on side 1 and 2 9/16 on side 2. Given the common features with the earlier Saturn recording, this would suggest that this is the earlier recording of Jupiter, total time about 6:50. This would appear to be the oft-reissued version, unsurprisingly, as it was available for 2 years and 8 months, while the 1925 remake was available for only 1 year and 2 months.

I’ve not managed to find a copy of the 1925 version of Jupiter yet, but I’m ever hopeful. I can’t help but wonder whether the two versions of Jupiter will be as different as the two of Saturn.

I suppose we should be thankful that these Holst acoustics had a rather less convoluted history than some English Columbias – most of Henry Wood’s acoustics seem to have 2 distinct versions (occasionally up to 4), and one Frank Mullings recordings went through five phases of issue!

Holst – The Planets Op.32 – No.5 Saturn

1923 and 1925 recordings

London Symphony Orchestra, Gustav Holst

Holst – Saturn (1923) – LSO, Holst

Holst – Saturn (1925) – LSO, Holst

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

Columbia L1532
Matrices AX 199-1, AX 200-2
Recorded 30th October 1923
Issued March 1924

Columbia L1532
Matrices AX 199-3, AX 200-3
Recorded 19th February 1925
Issued April 1925
Replaced with electrical version in December 1926

Gordon Jacob’s William Byrd Suite – Coldstream Guards Band (1925); Stanley Chapple – Brahms Hungarian Dances, Elgar Pomp and Circumstance No.1; Franz André – Eric Coates, Elgar, Gershwin; Frieder Weissmann – Strauss’s Tod und Verklärung; Arthur Meale – Thalberg’s “Home Sweet Home”, Ascher’s “Alice, Where Art Thou?”; Capiton Zaporojetz – The Song of the Flea, Drinking (In cellar cool); Early recordings by Julie Andrews

It’s been more than a month since my last update, so there are quite a number of items to add this time. The recordings range from acoustic 78s through to mono LP, and include military band, orchestra, piano and vocal recordings.

Gordon Jacob – Suite by William Byrd

Mediafire link for Jacob – William Byrd Suite – Coldstream 1925

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

No.1 – The Earle of Oxford’s Marche (¾ side)
No.5 – Wolsey’s Wilde (¼ side)
No.6 – The Bells (1 side)

His Master’s Voice C 1215
Matrices Cc 5982-II, 5983-I (single-side numbers 2-0419/20)
Recorded 2nd April 1925
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, Lieut. R.G. Evans

Gordon Jacob’s arrangement of a number of keyboard pieces by William Byrd was made for Military Band in 1923 and orchestra in 1924. It is likely that this late acoustic recording was the earliest recording of these three movements.

Between 1909 and 1927, A=452Hz was the standard pitch for British military bands. A change to the Kings Regulations in 1927 adopted modern pitch of A=439Hz. At 78rpm the record plays at about the expected A=452Hz, slightly more than a semitone sharper than modern pitch.

Brahms – Hungarian Dances Nos. 1 and 2
Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance March No.1

Download – Brahms – Hungarian Dances Nos. 1 and 2 – Stanley Chapple

Download – Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 – Stanley Chapple

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

Broadcast Twelve 5033
Matrices Lo.104x, LO.103
Recorded c1929
Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Chapple (1900-1987) was music director for the Aeolian Company, and conducted frequently for them, though the recordings are hard to find now. These  Broadcast Twleve sides are badly affected by the persistent whistle which seems so common a feature of records on this label. I have done my best to alleviate this problem, so when you notice the remnants of it, bear in mind that it was originally much worse than it sounds now. As the whistle oscillates in pitch, whilst also gradually decreasing pitch and increasing amplitude until the end of the record, correcting it proved to be a major task!


Coates – London Suite

I. Covent Garden (Tarantelle)
II. Westminster (Meditation)
III. Knightsbridge (March)

Coates – London Bridge
Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D major Op.39
Gershwin – An American in Paris

Mediafire link for Coates, Elgar, Gershwin – Franz André

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

Telestar 10049
Matrices LP-071621-I, LP-038079-III
Recorded 2nd to 7th April 1958 (Coates), 20th April 1957 (Elgar), 19th April 1957 (Gershwin)
L’ Orchestre Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge, Franz André


R. Strauss – Tod und Verklärung – Symphonic Poem Op.24

Download – Strauss – Tod und Verklärung – Weissmann

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

American Decca 25350/2
Matrices 2-21619-2, 21620, 21621-2, 21622-2, 21623, 21624 C
Recorded c1930
Philharmonic Orchestra, Frieder Weissmann

I originally transferred this recording about four years ago, before this website was born. The present file is a completely new transfer, in much improved sound.


R. Thalberg – Home, Sweet Home
Ascher – Alice, Where Art Thou?

Download – Thalberg – Home, Sweet Home – Arthur Meale

Download – Ascher – Alice, Where Art Thou? – Arthur Meale

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

His Master’s Voice B 3166
Matrices Bb 17255-III, 17256-III (single-side numbers 30-833/4)
Recorded 19th August 1929, London, Small Queen’s Hall, Studio C
Arthur Meale, piano

Arthur Meale was the regular organist of the Queen’s Hall. He made many organ recordings in a light and popular classical vein. This record gives us the rare opportunity to hear him as a pianist, in two nineteenth century virtuoso salon pieces. For UK comedy fans, Ascher’s melody is the one that was used as the title music for the Ronnie Barker and David Jason sitcom “Open All Hours”.

This record is in very poor condition, with a serious fracture, and a noisy surface with significant distortion – it’s still a fun listen, though.

Mussorgsky – Song of the Flea
Traditional – Drinking (In cellar cool)

Download – Mussorgsky – Song of the Flea – Capiton Zaporojetz

Download – Trad – Drinking (In cellar cool) – Capiton Zaporojetz

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

Columbia L 1991
Matrices WAX 2739-1, 2740-1 (7664/5)
Recorded 12th May 1927
Available from October 1927 to April 1941
Capiton Zaporojetz, bass with piano

I was prompted to transfer this after seeing Zaporojetz’s name mentioned in a couple of places recently. Firstly, in the booklet notes for “Firebirds of Paris”, a Ward Marston CD of French recordings of Russian repertoire from around 1930. Zaporojetz is noted as singing Prince Yuri in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Kitezh in 1926 in Paris, then in 1929 in the premiere of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. He also sang the same role in Kitezh in 1935.

A few weeks after reading this, I was reading the June 2010 issue of “The Record Collector”, and the article on Marguerite D’Alvarez mentioned a concert on 2 October 1927 in London, where Thomas Beecham conducted “An Afternoon of Grand Opera” at the Royal Albert Hall. with Austral, Burke, D’Alvarez and Zaporojets.


Gounod – Romeo  & Juliet – Je veux vivre
Easthope Martin – Come to the fair (from “Songs of the Fair”)

Columbia DB 2470
Matrices CA 20923-2, 20924-1
Recorded c1948
Julie Andrews, soprano
Ted Andrews, baritone (Come to the fair)
Barbara Andrews, piano

Mozart-Adam – Ah! vous dirai-je mama
Benedict – The Wren

Columbia DB 2553
Matrices CA 21114-1, 21115-1
Recorded c1948
Julie Andrews, soprano
Orchestra, Ted Andrews

Mediafire link for Julie Andrews – early recordings

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

The first of these records has appeared here previously. It has been retransferred to be presented here with another of Julie Andrews early 78s.

Landon Ronald – Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (1922 acoustic recording); Thomas Beecham – Berlioz, Johann Strauss II (acoustic recordings); Carlo Sabajno – Elgar (1906 recording)

A varied selection of acoustic orchestral recordings to start the autumn now. Landon Ronald’s 1926 recording of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony has already appeared at this site, so it’s interesting to hear his 1922 acoustic recording of the same work. There’s very little difference in the performance, though the French style bassoons are more obvious in this early recording.

Thomas Beecham has not appeared here before, though his recorded legacy is well known. His acoustic recordings, however, have had little attention on CD. A Symposium double CD issue from 1991 contained a selection of them, including the Fledermaus overture given here, and focusing on material that Beecham did not re-record. The Berlioz sides, superseded in the 1930s, have therefore had limited circulation.

The coupling for HMV’s double sided issue of Beecham conducting the overture to Die Fledermaus is of particular interest. It provides a rare chance to hear an Italian conducting Elgar in 1906. Carlo Sabajno was the Gramophone Company’s house conductor in Italy. Salut d’amour was not the only Elgar work that Sabajno recorded. In 1909 he recorded a single sided version of “In the South”, the first recording of the work (or at least of its final section). In Salut d’amour the extensive use of portamento may be startling to modern listeners!

Beethoven – Symphony No.5 in C minor Op.67

Mediafire link for Beethoven – Symphony No.5 – Landon Ronald

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

First Movement – Allegro con brio (2 sides)
Second Movement – Andante con moto (2 sides)
Third Movement – Allegro (Scherzo) (1½ sides)
Fourth Movement – Allegro (Finale) (2½ sides)

His Master’s Voice D 665/8
Matrices Cc 1812-IV, 1813-III, 1814-IV, 1815-I, 1948-II, 1949-I, 1950-II, 2017-I (single side numbers 3-0798/0804)
Recorded 24th October 1922 (sides 1, 2, 8), 10th October 1922 (sides 3, 5, 6, 7), 12th September 1922 (side 4), Hayes

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Berlioz – A Roman Carnival – Overture (abridged)
Berlioz – Damnation of Faust – March

Download – Berlioz – A Roman Carnival – Beecham

Download – Berlioz – Damnation of Faust – March – Beecham

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

Columbia L1105
Matrices 6907-1, 6924-1
Recorded 1916
Available from December 1916 to May 1928
The Beecham Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Beecham

The overture is substantially abridged, shorn of its first part. The recording contains bars 78-157 and 255-440 (the end of the work), and is very dimly recorded at the beginning. Details of matrix 6906 in Beecham’s 1916 sessions are not available, leading the suggestion that it may have contained the first part of the overture, which remained unissued. The March from Faust is given complete.

The two sides play at 82.5 and 81rpm respectively.

Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Overture (abridged)
Beecham’s Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Beecham
Elgar – Salut d’amour
La Scala Symphony Orchestra, Carlo Sabajno

Download – Strauss II – Die Fledermaus Overture – Beecham

Download – Elgar – Salut d’amour – Carlo Sabajno

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

Mediafire link for previously available recordings by Carlo Sabajno

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

His Master’s Voice C431
Matrices 381ac (4360f-II, 0627), 921c (0546)
Recorded London 28th July 1910 (Beecham), Milan 1906 (Sabajno)
Available from September 1915

The overture is heavily cut. The recording contains bars 1-11, with bar 12 changed to unison B rather than E, to lead to b200-208, then b225-420 (the end of the overture). In the run out area of the record, an attempt has been made to scratch out the matrix number 4360f II. This is because 4360f was also assigned to an unpublished Evan Williams recording, This Beecham recording, when the duplication was realised, was renumbered 4360f-II, and later (May 1911) as 381ac.

The Beecham plays at 80rpm and the Sabajno at 74rpm.