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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

Happy Birthday Sir Henry

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Henry J Wood, the first conductor of the Promenade Concerts, and a mainstay of British musical life. The Proms were founded in 1895, and Sir Henry was their guiding hand for several decades, and continued to conduct in the concert series until his death in 1944. Although they are now known as the BBC Proms (the BBC having taken them over in 1927), Sir Henry’s bust still oversees the concerts every season from the back of the Royal Albert Hall stage.

Although I’ve not had time to produce any new transfers of Sir Henry’s work, last summer I uploaded a video of his recording of Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music. This work was written to celebrate Wood’s 50 years as a conductor, and features 16 prominent English vocalists of the era. I’ve included pictures of each vocalist as they sing their solo lines:

Serenade to Music – Sir Henry J Wood and soloist

More of Sir Henry’s recordings are available here on my site. I hope to upload soon a discography of Sir Henry’s recordings.

Aida excerpts and other items with Sydney Rayner, Eva Turner, Giovanni Inghilleri, Tina Poli-Randaccio, Agustarello Affre, Jane Marignan, Frank Mullings, Elsa Stralia, Andreina Beinat, Vincenzo Bettoni, Valentina Bartolomasi, Guido Fernandez, Rosita Pagani, Enrico Trentini, conducted by Beecham, Haarth, Albergoni, Barbirolli, Sabajno, Harty; Mackenzie-Rogan, Coldstream Guards Band – Orth, Tchaikovsky; Stanley Chapple – excerpts from Stravinsky’s Firebird; Franz André – Liszt, Richard Strauss

When you have a lot of free time, it sometimes turns out that the things you planned to use it for just don’t happen. Such was the case with my summer holidays. This is why it’s been two and a half months since the last update. I hope the new selection proves interesting. I’ve been exploring recordings of Aida, and this has included branching out into one or two other recordings by some of the same artists, and occasionally other recordings on the same labels. This diversification brings us several excerpts from Tosca and Cavalleria Rusticana. The recordings are presented roughly in score order for the selections from Aida (and are annotated with the pages of the vocal score.) And just to round things off, there’s some Stravinsky from Stanley Chapple, and some Richard Strauss and Liszt from Franz André.

Verdi – Otello – (Tu! Indietro! Fuggi!…) Ora e per sempre
Verdi – Aida – (Se quel guerriero io fossi…) Celeste Aida

(VS pp6-11)

Sydney Rayner
, Premier Tenor of the Opera Comique, Paris

Mediafire link for Otello and Aida arias – Sydney Rayner

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

Decca T.204
Matrices GA 5380-1D, GA 5382-11D
Issued April 1933
Recorded 20th December 1932

Verdi – Aida – Ritorna vincitor
Aida – Ritorna vincitor. Part 1 (VS pp52-56)
Aida – Ritorna vincitor. Part 2 (VS pp56-59)
(3½ bar overlap between sides)
Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Eva Turner,
Columbia L 2150
Matrices WAX 3931-3, 3932-2 (9956, 9958)
Recorded 19th July 1928
Available from mid October 1928 to August 1949

Puccini – Tosca – Vissi d’arte
Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – Voi lo sapete

Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Eva Turner,
Columbia L 2118
Matrices WAX 3929-3, 3930-2 (9952, 9951)
Recorded 18th July 1928
Available from November 1928 to April 1950

Mediafire link for Verdi, Puccini, Mascagni arias – Eva Turner, Thomas Beecham

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

Verdi – Aida – Ballet music
Side 1: a) Tanz der Priesterinnen (VS pp65-67) b) Tanz der Mohrensklaven (VS pp85-87)
Side 2: Ballettmusik a. d. 2. Akt (VS pp122-131)
Berlin State Orchestra, Herbert Haarth
Siemens Polydor 57270
Matrices 2281½ GS9, 2280½ GS9
Recorded 1943 (Depositato 10.8.43 (on both sides))

Verdi – Aida – Triumphal March Act 2
Side 1 (VS p111-117,120-122)
Side 2 (VS p121 line 4 -122, 132-141, 196-203)
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Frieder Weissmann
Parlophone E 11041
Matrices XXB 8479/80
Recorded probably 31st March 1930

Plays at 75.1rpm

Mediafire link for Aida Ballet music and Grand March – Herbert Haarth, Frieder Weissmann

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


Verdi – Aida – Act 3 Duet

Side 1: Ciel! mio padre (VS pp215-223)
Side 2: Su, dunque, sorgete egizie coorti (VS pp223-233)
Grand Symphony Orchestra, Angelo Albergoni
Giovanni Inghilleri,
baritone – Amonasro
Tina Poli-Randaccio,
soprano – Aida
Parlophone Odeon Series R 20141
Matrices XXPh 6405/6
Recorded 20th October 1928

Puccini – Tosca:
Tre sbirri, una carrozza

La povera mi cena fu interrotta (… Gia mi dicon venal)

Orchestra , John Barbirolli
Giovanni Inghilleri,
Octave Dua, tenor
His Master’s Voice D 1701
Matrices CR 2422-I, CR 2423-I (2-052426/7)
Recorded 19th June 1929

Verdi – Un Ballo in Maschera – Eri tu che macchiavi quell’ anima

Orchestra, John Barbirolli
Verdi – Rigoletto – Pari siamo!

Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, Carlo Sabajno
Giovanni Inghilleri,
His Master’s Voice D 1823
Matrices CR 2424-II (2-052424), CF 2359-IV (2-052394)
Recorded 19th June 1929, 10th December 1928

This record has a small chunk chipped from the rim, affecting the start of the groove on both sides.

(These are mp3 files – left click the link and download the file, or press play)

Verdi – Aida – Je te revois enfin – Duo
(Pur ti riveggo) – (VS pp233-235, 245-247, 248-249)
Verdi – Aida – Mourir ô toi si belle – Duo final
(Morir, si pura e bella) – (VS pp298-300, 303-304, 308-309)
Agustarello Affre,
tenor – Radames
Jane Marignan, soprano – Aida

Mediafire link for Aida duets – Agustarello Affre, Jane Marignan

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

Pathé AGPA P1503 (25) [88.6rpm, 28cm diameter, centre start]
Matrices 54579 GR, 60516 GR
Recorded c1906-11

Verdi – Aida – Nile Duet. From Finale, Act III
Aida – Nile Duet. From Finale, Act III. Part I (VS pp239-244)
Aida – Nile Duet. From Finale, Act III. Part II (VS pp244-249)
Orchestra, Hamilton Harty
Frank Mullings,
tenor – Radames
Elsa Stralia, soprano – Aida

Mediafire link for Aida – Nile Duet – Frank Mullings, Elsa Stralia – Hamilton Harty

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

Columbia 7248/9
Matrices 74063-2, 74064-2
Recorded about 3rd May 1920, 80rpm
Available from January 1921 to April 1924

This duet was reissued on double sided Columbia 7334 in April 1924, and was available in this form until August 1930

Verdi – Aida – Judgment Scene (Act IV)
Aida – Judgment Scene (Act IV) Pt.1. – Spirto del Numo
(Heavenly Spirit) (VS pp279-281(last line), 284-285)
Aida – Judgment Scene (Act IV) Pt.2. – Radames e deciso il tuo fato (We thy fate have decided) (pp285-295 (final bars omitted))
Andreina Beinat,
mezzo-soprano – Amneris
Vincenzo Bettoni, bass – Ramfis

Mediafire link for Aida – Judgment Scene – Vincenzo Bettoni, Andreina Beinat

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

Columbia-Rena Opera Record D 5540 (10”)
Matrices 41851, 41852
Recorded c1912

These sides form part of the abridged Columbia Aida, issued on 17 double sided records, though this particular issue is not from the main run of either the Italian or English issues.

Verdi – Aida – Sacerdoti, compiste un delitto (Scena del Giudizio, Act IVo) (VS pp288 – 295)
Verdi – Aida – La fatal pietra (VS pp296 – 298)
Grande Orchestra, Carlo Sabajno
Valentina Bartolomasi,
soprano – Aida
Guido Fernandez, bass – Ramfis
Rosita Pagani, mezzo-soprano – Amneris
Enrico Trentini, tenor – Radames
Gramophone Concert Record S 5178
Matrices 1013Aj (2-20254147), 971Aj (2-0254148)
Recorded 3rd November 1919, 27th October 1919
Issued 1920
These are sides 37-38 of a 40 side complete recording of Aida

Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – Scena Ia
Parte Ia – “Gli aranci olezzano” (VS p11 – 20.2.2)
Parte IIa – “Cessin le rustiche opre” (VS p20.2.3 – 26)
La Scala Chorus
Grande Orchestra, Carlo Sabajno
Gramophone Concert Record S 5094
Matrices 3017c, 3018c (2-0524500, 2-0254501)
Recorded 6th April 1915
These are sides 3-4 of a 20 side complete recording of Cavalleria Rusticana

Bizet – Carmen – Preludio atto IV
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan, Carlo Sabajno
Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-50547 (10”)
Matrix 10383b (50547 IV)
Recorded April 1907

Donizetti – Don Pasquale – Coro dei servitori (complete)
Gounod – Faust – Kermesse
(VS pp29-41, 44-46)
Aristide Venturi,
chorus master
Orchestra, Carlo Sabajno
Gramophone Monarch Record 054502/054503
Matrices 570c (054502 III), 629c (054503L)
Recorded October-December 1905 (approved 19/3/06), May 1906 (approved 17/9/06)

Mediafire link for Aida, Cavalleria, Carmen, Don Pasquale, Faust – Carlo Sabajno

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

Orth – In a Clockmakers Shop
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan
Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-2-178 (10”)
Matrix 3393e (2-178 II)
Recorded 19th January 1906
Issued 1906

Tchaikovsky – Finale 4th Symphony
Band of H.M. Coldstream Guards, John Mackenzie-Rogan
Gramophone Monarch Record 0185 (12”)
Matrix 2758f (0185-1*)
Recorded 17th December 1908
Issued 1909

Mackenzie-Rogan is not named on the record label.
This recording is likely to be transposed a tone down from Tchaikovksy’s original, like the Safranek arrangement for band. The recording plays in E flat at 78rpm. However, at this time, British military pitch was around A-452, so the record should probably be played at 80rpm, to be in E flat for the appropriate pitch standard.

Mediafire link for Orth, Tchaikovksy – Mackenzie-Rogan & Coldstream

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


Stravinsky – L’oiseau de feu:
Danse Infernale du roi Kastchei
Opening Key A minor, Full score p118-155
Opening Key B, Full score p166-172
Aeolian Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Mediafire link for Stravinsky – Firebird excerpts – Stanley Chapple

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

Vocalion K-05288
Matrices M.0169, M.0168
Released April 1927
R. Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier – Waltzes
Liszt – Les Preludes

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

Mediafire link for Richard Strauss, Liszt – Franz André

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

Capitol Telefunken L 8173
Matrices L-8173-Y1, L-8173-Z1 (8-52)
Recorded 12th April 1952, 9th April 1952, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels

Fabien Sevitzky – Arensky’s Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky; Marie Novello – Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2; Thorpe Bates – Captain’s Song from HMS Pinafore; Joseph Batten – “March of Victory” for the National Savings Movement; Henry Wood – Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music (improved transfer); Michael Zacharewitsch – violin solos

The latest selection of recordings is a typically mixed bag.

Firstly, Fabien Sevitzky, who has been heard here before with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, recorded slightly earlier with his own Philadelphia String Simfonietta. One product of his studio sessions was Arensky’s Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, an adaptation of the third movement of Arensky’s String Quartet No.2.

The tragically short-lived English pianist Marie Novello managed to record extensively. For Winner she recorded Liszt’s 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody, though it’s somewhat gratingly abridged to fit on two 10” sides.

Thorpe Bates has also appeared here before in recordings from early in his career. The present pair of recordings take us earlier still, and also to the end of his career.

As a regular in the Gramophone Company studios, he featured in numerous ensemble recordings, not always credited on the label. A 1906 recording of the Captain’s Song from HMS Pinafore includes Bates as soloist. The accompanying choir includes Peter Dawson, whose distinctive tones can be heard particularly on each cry of “What never?” as he holds the final note longer than everyone else!

Bates also visited the studios in 1945, to take part in one of those curious patriotic records for the National Savings movement. This one celebrated the work of the British forces in securing victory in Europe, and was recorded after Hitler’s death, but a few days before VE Day. Bates contributes to the first side, and the second features Walter Saull, a baritone who had sung Dr Caius in the third performance of Vaughan Williams’s Sir John in Love in 1929 (part of the original run).

And staying with English singers, I’ve just acquired a fine set of original 78s of Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, which provides a much improved transfer compared to the Columbia 7” reissue that I previously transferred.

I’ve been prompted to transfer my latest Edison Bell of the violinist Michael Zacharewitsch, who has also appeared here before. As well as the new disc in my collection, I’ve also improved the transfers of the other Zacharewitsch recordings which have appeared here.

Arensky – Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op.35a

Mediafire link for Arensky – Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovksy – Sevitzky

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

RCA Victor Red Seal DM 896 (11-8155/6)
Matrices 056558 7, 056559 1, 056560 1A4, 056561 10 (11-8155/6 auto, 11-8153/4 manual)
Recorded 1942

Part 1 – Variations 1 and 2
Part 2 – Variations 3 and 4
Part 3 – Variations 5 and 6
Part 4 – Variation 7 and Finale

Philadelphia Chamber String Sinfonietta, Fabien Sevitzky conductor

Album notes:

Arensky – Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op.35a

Anton Arensky was one of the most distinguished Russian composers of his period. Endowed with a natural facility of musical diction, a tenderness of feeling and a gift for simple and beautiful melody, Arensky soon won the warm friendship of his older and greater contemporary, Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. A word concerning the cordial relationship between the two men is in order, for it is a melody by Tchaikovsky which forms the basis for the variations by Arensky recorded here. Tchaikovsky found in Arensky “a man of remarkable gifts” (as he expressed it in a letter to Mme. von Meck), not the least of which was an impeccable technical equipment in the craft of composition which, in Tchaikovsky’s words, “deserves unqualified praise.” As an older and more experienced composer, Tchaikovsky occasionally felt called upon to criticize certain aspects of Arensky’s music. The criticism was kindly but firm, and, in one instance at least, reveals perhaps more about Tchaikovsky than it does about Arensky. Arensky had submitted a work (Marguerite Gautier) based on the famous La Dame aux Camelias of Dumas fils – the work which served Verdi as the foundation for his La Traviata. Tchaikovsky disapproved, failing to see how “an educated musician” could have chosen so trivial a work when such authors as Homer, Shakespeare, Dante, Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy were available as sources of inspiration. But Tchaikovsky could be extraordinarily kind as well. He put himself to considerable trouble to gain Arensky a hearing. He recommended Arensky’s book on musical theory to Jurgenson, the publisher. He wrote to Rimsky-Korsakoff asking as a favor that one of Arensky’s works be performed at one of his concerts. The manner in which the favours was asked is unique in the history of the friendship of composers, and indicates how much faith Tchaikovsky had in his friend’s talent. He proposed to Rimsky-Korsakoff that his own Rome overture be replaced by a composition of Arensky’s, arguing that where all Russian composers find a place, room should be made for Arensky. Arensky indicated his veneration for his friend by dedicating several of his compositions to Tchaikovsky. The present series of variations – originally a part of his string quartet, Op.35 – takes as its theme a song by Tchaikovsky.

In brief, the main outlines of Arensky’s biography follow. He was brought up amidst eminently musical surroundings. His father, a doctor, played the ‘cello, and his mother was reputed to have been an accomplished pianist. Arensky supplemented his early musical training with a course of study at the Petrograd Conservatory under Rimsky-Korsakoff. Following the completion of his studies – he graduated with honors – he was appointed professor of harmony and counterpoint at the Imperial Conservatory in Moscow in 1882. In 1889 he became a member of the Council of the Synodal School of Church Music at Moscow, a post which he held until 1893. For seven years he was conductor of the Russian Choral Society. In 189 he succeeded Balakirev, upon the latter’s own recommendation, as director of the Imperial Chapel at Petrograd. This post he resigned in 1901. He died in Terijoki, Finland, on February 25, 1906 following a long illness.

Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody (No.2)

Download – Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 – Marie Novello

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

The Winner 3599 (10″)
Matrices 6849K-3, 6850R-3
Recorded November 1921
Marie Novello, piano

National Savings Movement presents “March of Freedom”

Download – March of Freedom – Joseph Batten

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

EMI JG.303 (EMI: A Private Recording)
Matrices CTPX 12923-1, 12924-1
Recorded 3rd May 1945
London Symphony Orchestra, Joseph Batten
Thorpe Bates
, baritone (Side 1)
Walter Saull, baritone (Side 2)
Michael Shepley, compere (both sides)
Chorus (both sides)

Sullivan – HMS Pinafore – Captain’s song
(My gallant crew good morning… I am the captain of the Pinafore)

Download – Sullivan – HMS Pinafore – Captain’s Song – Thorpe Bates

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

Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-4404 (10”)
Matrix 8352b (4404 II)
Recorded 16th June 1906
Sullivan Quartette:
Thorpe Bates
, baritone
Peter Dawson, bass-baritone
Stanley Kirkby, baritone
Ernest Pike, tenor

Thorpe Bates listed as soloist in Gramophone Company archives. Though the record label notes “Sullivan Quartette”, the ledgers give “Sullivan Operatic Party.” As noted earlier, Dawson is distinctly audible in the chorus. The recording ledgers do not list the chorus members, but Pike, Dawson and Kirkby were all in studio on the same day, recording with Bates and Eleanor Jones-Hudson in various combinations: Kirkby (recording as Walter Miller) was accomapnied by the Minster Singers, comprising Dawson, Bates, Pike and Jones-Hudson), and when Pike was the soloist his place is the same named group was taken by Kirkby.

Vaughan Williams – Serenade to Music

Download – Vaughan Williams – Serenade to Music – Henry Wood

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

Columbia LX757-8
Matrices CAX 8367-2A, 8368-2A, 8369-1, 8370-1
Recorded 15th October 1938
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood
Isobel Baillie,
soprano – Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano – Elsie Suddaby, soprano – Eva Turner, soprano
Margaret Balfour, contralto – Muriel Brunskill, contralto – Astra Desmond, contralto – Mary Jarred, contralto
Parry Jones, tenor – Heddle Nash, tenor – Frank Titterton, tenor – Walter Widdop, tenor
Norman Allin, bass – Robert Easton, bass – Roy Henderson, baritone – Harold Williams, baritone


Mediafire link for recordings by Michael Zacharewitsch

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

Schubert – Ave Maria
Zacharewitsch – Imagination

Edison Bell Velvet Face 509
Matrices X1125E-?, X1126N-?
Michael Zacharewitsch, violin with piano

Wieniawski – Legende
Svendsen – Romanze

Edison Bell Velvet Face 517
Matrices X1122D-4, X1123B-4
Michael Zacharewitsch, violin with piano

Sarasate – Zigeunerweisen (Gipsy Airs)
Edison Bell Velvet Face 525
Matrices X1171E-1, X1172F-2
Michael Zacharewitsch, violin with piano