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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

Heinrich Grünfeld plays cello solos

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

Handel’s Largo (from Serse)

Heinrich Grünfeld, cello with piano

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

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

Koschat – Verlassen bin i

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

Boccherini – Menuett

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

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

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

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

Handel – Zadok the Priest – RFH, Sargent
Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance No.1 – RFH, Sargent

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

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

Bridge Peters sings Honour and Arms

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

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

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

Handel – Samson – Honour and Arms – Bridge Peters

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

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

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

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

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

(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

(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

(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

(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.

Lilian Stiles Allen; Hamilton Harty and Henry Wood – Schubert; winners of Columbia’s Schubert competition; Lilac Time

The first selection of recordings this time is of the soprano Lilian Stiles-Allen. She was widely respected in her day, though her performances were confined to the concert platform and broadcasting as she was “not suited to the operatic stage.” She was one of the original sixteen soloists in Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, and went on to teach Dame Julie Andrews. She recorded a number of sides for the Edison Bell company, with the recordings appearing on various of its labels. The recordings have only rarely been reissued, and having gathered a number of them, seeing Julie Andrews perform in London prompted me to transfer these recordings of her teacher.

Mediafire link for Lilian Stiles Allen – Edison Bell recordings

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

Handel – Messiah – Rejoice greatly
Handel – Theodora – Angels ever bright and fair
Edison Bell Velvet Face 700
Matrices X1663B-1, X1664E-1
Recorded c1922
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano
Orchestra

Verdi – Aida – Act 2. Neath the chances of battle… Tremble, thou art discovered
Edison Bell X546
Matrices X1840J, X1841D
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano. Edith Furmedge, contralto
Orchestra

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Miserere
Edison Bell Winner L5397
Matrix 13747F-2
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano. Hardy Williamson, tenor
Orchestra, Orazio Fagotti

Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – O rejoice that the Lord has arisen
Edison Bell Winner L5397
Matrix 13746E-2
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen,
soprano
Orchestra

Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – Santuzza’s Song
Edison Bell X523
Matrix X1763D
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano
John Barbirolli’s Symphony Orchestra

Puccini – Madam Butterfly – Act 1. Love duet, finale
Edison Bell X523
Matrix X1762F
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano.  Dan Jones, tenor
John Barbirolli’s Symphony Orchestra

Puccini – Madam Butterfly – Act 2. Flower duet: Shake the cherry tree… Not a flower left
Edison Bell Electron 0282
Matrices 11963N-1, 11964A-1
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano. Edith Furmedge, contralto
Orchestra

Puccini – Madam Butterfly – Act 2. One Fine Day
Edison Bell Electron 0178
Matrix 11142A-1
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen,
soprano
Orchestra

Gounod – Faust – Finale Trio
Edison Bell Electron 0178
Matrix 11143F-2
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano. Edward Leer, tenor. Edward Halland, bass
Orchestra

HG Pelissier – Awake (Ballad)
Maude Craske Day – Arise, O sun (Ballad)
Edison Bell Winner 5199
Matrices 12845B-1, 12846A-1
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano with piano

Monckton – A Country Girl (excerpts) (Rhajah of Bong; Under the Deodar; Two Little Chicks; Farewell; Pink Hungarian Band; Try It On Johnnie; Yo Ho Little Girls; Coo; My Own Little Girl; Speak And Tell)
Edison Bell Winner L5379
Matrices 13786F-2, 13787F-2
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano. Tessa Deane, mezzo-soprano. Anthony Quorn, tenor
London Concert Orchestra

Lehar – Frederica – Why did you kiss my heart awake
Edison Bell Winner 5171
Matrix 13001F-2
Recorded c1930
Lilian Stiles Allen, soprano
Orchestra

Lehar – Frederica – O maiden, my maiden
Edison Bell Winner 5171
Matrix 13002B-2
Recorded c1930
Hardy Williamson, tenor
Orchestra

The remaining recordings here focus around Schubert and English Columbia. Sir Hamilton Harty, as well as recording a stunning account of Schubert’s Great C major Symphony, also recorded substantial parts of the Rosamunde music, including both the Alphonso and Estrella overture, and the Zauberharfe one.

Mediafire link for Schubert – Rosamunde music – Sir Hamilton Harty

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

Schubert – Rosamunde – Overture (Die Zauberharfe)
Columbia L 1998
Matrices WAX 2654-1, 2655-2 (7526, 7530)
Recorded 2nd May 1927
Available from December 1927 to June 1947
Hallé Orchestra, Sir Hamilton Harty

As is common with many UK Columbias from this period, the stated 80rpm, turns out to be unreliable, with both sides starting at that speed and ending about  81.2rpm. The recording is somewhat cut, with side 1 containing bars 1-83 and 104-185, and side 2 containing bars 206-375 and 396 to the end.

Schubert – Rosamunde Incidental Music

Overture (Alphonso and Estrella) (2 sides)
Entr’acte No.1 (2 sides)
(a) Entr’acte No.2; (b) Shepherd’s Melody (for Clarinet, Bassoon and Horn)
Entr’acte No.3 (in B flat major) (without repeats)
Ballet Music No.1 – Andantino (in G major) (without repeats)
Ballet Music No.2 – (a) Allegro Moderato; (b) Andante un Poco Assai (without repeats)

Columbia L 2122-5
Matrices WAX 3549-2, 3550-2, 3551-1, 3552-1, 3554-3, 3555-2, 3556-2, 3553-2 (9230, 9228, 9229, 9248, 9239, 9240, 9235, 9238)
Recorded 27th April 1928
Available from September 1928 to August 1946
Hallé Orchestra, Sir Hamilton Harty

Sir Henry Wood recorded Schubert’s Unfinished symphony in a very abridged acoustic version, before making two electrical versions in 1926 and 1933.

Mediafire link for Schubert – Unfinished Symphony (1926 & 1933) – Henry Wood

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

Symphony in B minor (Unfinished)

I. Allegro moderato (3 sides – no repeat)
II. Andante con moto (3 sides)

Columbia 9513-5
Matrices WAX 1490-1, 1491-2, 1492-2, 1493-2, 1494-2, 1495-2 (S654, 653, 657, 658, 652, 655)
Recorded 23rd April 1926
Originally issued on L1791-93 available January 1927 to October 1928
This issue available October 1928 to December 1933 (when it was replaced by the 1933 recording)
The New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood

All sides play at the stated 80rpm

Symphony No.8 in B minor (Unfinished)

I. Allegro moderato (3 sides – no repeat)
II. Andante con moto (3 sides)

Columbia DX 551-3
Matrices CAX 6975-1, 6976-1, 6977-1, 6978-2, 6979-2, 6980-1
Recorded 30th October 1933
Available from December 1933
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood

Frank Merrick’s Two Movements in Symphonic Form and John St.Anthony Johnson’s Pax Vobiscum were the English Prize Works in the Schubert Centenary – Columbia International Composers Contest.

Mediafire link for Merrick & Johnson – Schubert competition winners – Stanford Robinson

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

Frank Merrick – Two Movements in Symphonic Form (A completion of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony)

1. Scherzo (2 sides)
2. Poco Allegro (2 sides)

Columbia 9562-3
Matrices WAX 4180-2, 4181-1, 4249-1, 4250-3 (10437, 10436, 10575, 10574)
Recorded 20th October 1928 (sides 1,2), 3rd November 1928 (sides 3,4)
Available from January 1929 to March 1942
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Stanford Robinson

This plays in the expected key of B minor at 76rpm.

Based on the deliberately Schubertian structure of the Scherzo, I’ve surmised that a section of music at the end of the first side is repeated at the start of the second. I’ve included two versions of the movement, one with the repeated section edited together as I believe it should be played, and one with all the music as recorded.

John St.Anthony Johnson – Pax Vobiscum
Columbia 9564
Matrices WAX 4178-2, 4179-2 (10438, 10435)
Recorded 20th October 1928
Available from January 1929 to March 1935
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Stanford Robinson

This plays in C sharp minor at 76rpm, the same speed as the Merrick piece recorded at the same session.

Finally some Schubert of a rather different style – as arranged by Clutsam for the musical Lilac Time.

Download – Schubert-Clutsam – Lilac Time – selection – George W Byng

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

Schubert-Clutsam – Lilac Time – Selection
His Master’s Voice C 1098
Matrices Cc 2373-II, Cc 2376-II (3-0812/3)
Recorded 12th January 1923
Mayfair Orchestra, George W. Byng

Lilac Time – Selection, Part 1 (Just a little ring; The Flower; The Golden Song; Yours is my heart)
Lilac Time – Selection, Part 2 (My Sweetest Song of all; Maiden, try to smile; Girls and Boys)

Susskind’s Messiah (improved transfer); Daisy Kennedy

I’ve now acquired a better source for Susskind’s Pye recording of Handel’s Messiah, which I present here in rather better sound than its previous appearance. I repeat below the full details of this recording:

This Pye recording from 1958 is announced on the blue folder it was issued in as “Handel’s Messiah – the original manuscript.” This is perhaps misleading – while the performance observes the traditional cuts for the period (with Part III particularly abbreviated), Susskind has removed the two centuries of orchestral accretions to the score, giving us an early attempt at Handel’s original scoring. It’s still very much a mid 20th century account of the work though, with nothing in the way of double-dotting, ornamentation or the fast tempos to which we are now more accustomed.

Mediafire link for Messiah Part 1 – Susskind

Mediafire link for Messiah Part 2 – Susskind

Mediafire link for Messiah Part 3 – Susskind

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

Handel – Messiah
Pye Golden Guinea GSGL 10062
Matrices GSGL 10062 A-1L, B-2L, C-2L, D-2L, E-1L, F-1L
Recorded 1958
The London Orchestra, Walter Susskind
London Philharmonic Choir
(Choirmaster Frederick Jackson)
April Cantelo,
soprano
Helen Watts,
contralto
Wilfred Brown,
tenor
Roger Stalman,
bass
George Malcolm,
harpsichord
Harold Darke,
organ

This set of three stereo LPs (auto coupling) was in rather variable condition, with side 4 being particularly noisy. There are one or two places where the stereo focus drifts. I have corrected occasional pitch variations (in particular at an edit in “But who may abide.”) “The London Orchestra” is so named on the records, and is likely to be the London Philharmonic.

This recording was reviewed in Gramophone in November 1960, and its reissues on Pye’s budget Marble Arch label (both in full and as a single disc of highlights) were reviewed more briefly in February 1966.

More details

There’s more from Daisy Kennedy this month. Several of the raw transfers here were provided by Cheniston Roland of Violinland , and one disc comes from my collection.

All Daisy Kennedy recordings now available on the Daisy Kennedy page

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

Drdla – Dance Op.96
Ethel Barnes – Swing Song (L’Escarpolette)
Columbia 2697
Matrices 35882, 35885
Recorded 1916
Available from September 1916
Daisy Kennedy, violin
with piano

Kosloff – Idylle Finnoise
Zimbalist – Slavonic Dance No. 2 (Hebrew song and dance)
Columbia 2698
Matrices 65490, 65492
Recorded 1916
Available from October 1916
Daisy Kennedy, violin
with piano
(from the collection of Cheniston Roland)

d’Ambrosio – Canzonetta
Kosloff – Melodie tartare
Columbia D1371
Matrices ??
Recorded c1917
Daisy Kennedy, violin
with piano
(from the collection of Cheniston Roland)

Kreisler – Liebesfreud
Zimbalist – Russian Dance
Columbia D1373
Matrices ??
Recorded c1917
Daisy Kennedy, violin
with piano
(from the collection of Cheniston Roland)

Walter Susskind conducts Handel’s Messiah

As the Easter weekend approaches, and soon after that, the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death, it seemed to be time for a Messiah recording. This Pye recording from 1958 is announced on the blue folder it was issued in as “Handel’s Messiah – the original manuscript.” This is perhaps misleading – while the performance observes the traditional cuts for the period (with Part III particularly abbreviated), Susskind has removed the two centuries of orchestral accretions to the score, giving us an early attempt at Handel’s original scoring. It’s still very much a mid 20th century account of the work though, with nothing in the way of double-dotting, ornamentation or the fast tempos to which we are now more accustomed.

Handel – Messiah
Pye Golden Guinea GSGL 10062
Matrices GSGL 10062 A-1L, B-2L, C-2L, D-2L, E-1L, F-1L
Recorded 1958
The London Orchestra, Walter Susskind
London Philharmonic Choir
(Choirmaster Frederick Jackson)
April Cantelo,
soprano
Helen Watts,
contralto
Wilfred Brown,
tenor
Roger Stalman,
bass
George Malcolm,
harpsichord
Harold Darke,
organ

Replaced with improved transfer

This set of three stereo LPs (auto coupling) was in rather variable condition, with side 4 being particularly noisy. There are one or two places where the stereo focus drifts. I have corrected occasional pitch variations (in particular at an edit in “But who may abide.”) “The London Orchestra” is so named on the records, and is likely to be the London Philharmonic.

This recording was reviewed in Gramophone in November 1960, and its reissues on Pye’s budget Marble Arch label (both in full and as a single disc of highlights) were reviewed more briefly in February 1966:

Gramophone November 1960

The extent of that most flourishing of all musico-industrial concerns, Handel’s Messiah, may be gauged by the juxtaposition of the five complete casts now available: only one artist (Jennifer Vyvyan) appears in two sets – the Decca and RCA versions. Otherwise, the casts are completely independent. The newest one, which makes its appearance on an inexpensive label, is oddly enough one of the best balanced of all these quartets. The singers are English, and they have been around for many years. Their interpretations of Messiah are known to audiences and congregations all over Britain. Now they make their recorded debut in this taxing oratorio, and the four of them acquit themselves brilliantly.

April Cantelo, whose singing of the soprano arias is splendidly forthright and confident, is more heedful than many of her possibly more flexible sisters to the underlying drama of the text. The upper range of her voice is more than clear: it has a silvery edge to it that she uses with uncommon intelligence, so that even a short passage like “And suddenly there was with the Angel…” remains fixed in the mind as a moment of genuine biblical drama. Her “Rejoice greatly” and “I know that ray Redeemer liveth” are also magnificent and afford ready proof of sheer technique as well as a remarkable control of timbre.

Helen Watts, in her deeply-felt interpretation of “He was despised”, gives what is (for me) the best performance on record. Her voice is rich without being overopulent; it has all the qualities of a fine contralto without any loss of mobility. “O thou that tellest” is beautifully sung, although there are places where individual notes in a run are half-aspirated.

Wilfred Brown adds lustre to the tenor solos in a unique and personal way. The timbre of his voice is neither heroic nor lachrymose, but it has individual qualities that add up to something far more impressive than those. His intonation is rocksteady, and his upward range so well developed that the high notes in “Thou shalt break them” emerge almost effortlessly, whereas one senses strain in the performances of Vickers, Maran and Herbert. Brown’s vivid performance of this aria is one of the most praiseworthy in the entire set, for he sings the words as if he really meant them; indeed, I found myself moving subconsciously a few feet further from the speakers when he arrived at “Thou shalt dash them in pieces”. My equipment, unlike the potter’s vessel, remains happily unharmed but my mental impressions of this aria were almost tactile, and I think that many singers could learn a lot from listening to it. “Every valley” is beautifully phrased and evokes a verdant pastoral picture which Handel was surely aiming at.

Roger Stalman’s fine bass voice is heard to advantage in “But who may abide”. In “The people that walked in darkness” it is again strong and sonorous, though I felt that some variation in timbre might have helped to bring out more vividly the meaning of the words. “Why do the nations”, with all its ferocious roulades, holds no terrors for this singer. He has great powers of sostenuto as well as ample flexibility, but I felt that in “The trumpet shall sound” he fell a little below his own high standard.

The orchestra plays well, the chorus does its best but is often poorly balanced, and Susskind seems to have little idea of Handelian style.

The stereo version improves the chorus balance to some extent, but accentuates the heaviness of the orchestral basses. Those who benefit most are the four soloists.

Gramophone February 1966

First the single disc of selections. Two months back I was writing about a similar record issued by Saga for half a crown less. The contralto and bass soloists were the same, and so were the orchestra and chorus, and the conductor was Frederick Jackson. Both discs are astonishingly good value. The Susskind one under review offers the more conventional selection in the more conventional performance. This tends to be in the beefy old-fashioned style, whereas the Jackson is a little more ‘musicological’. But there is not all that difference, and both are good of their kind. I prefer Susskind’s tenor, as also his soprano; the solo singing is extremely and consistently good. Against this is the fact that you can’t get the Susskind in stereo, and you can the Jackson.

But if you want the Susskind, there does seem every reason to go a splash (it’s a very tiny one) and get the lot for 30s. Well, not actually every item. As so often where Messiah is concerned, the word ‘complete’ means that the lesser-known numbers are left out; you hear what you normally hear in the concert hall. I mustn’t enthuse too much about this enjoyable performance. The choral singing is nothing like as good as it is on the new Klemperer discs (and the “Amen” chorus at the end is taken much too slowly) but the Klemperer discs do cost nearly four times as much.

Eleanor Jones-Hudson in oratorio and opera

Eleanor Jones-Hudson (1874-1946), the Welsh soprano and wife of the flautist Eli Hudson has appeared here in a number of ensemble recordings, so it seems time to present some of her solo work. In this anniversary year, it’s somehow appropriate to hear her in two of the best known soprano arias by Handel and Haydn. As an extra, there’s an example of her operatic singing, with Musetta’s waltz song in English.

Handel – Messiah – I know that my Redeemer liveth
Haydn – The Creation – With verdure clad

Zonophone The Twin Serial A 10
Matrices 4366f, 4365f (single side numbers Z-043014, Z-043017)
Recorded 31st July 1910
Orchestra
Eleanor Jones-Hudson, soprano
(credited as Madame Deering)

Download – Handel – Messiah – I know that my Redeemer liveth – Eleanor Jones-Hudson

Download – Haydn – The Creation – With verdure clad – Eleanor Jones-Hudson

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

In the Handel aria bars 1- 14, 40-91, 154-160 are omitted.
In the Haydn aria bars 64-82 are omitted

These two sides are very worn, and suffer from blasting on Madame Jones-Hudson’s high notes.

Puccini – La Bohème – Musette’s Song
His Master’s Voice G.C.-3770
Matrix 8837e (single side number 3770)
Recorded 1908
Orchestra
Eleanor Jones-Hudson, soprano

Download – Puccini – La Bohème – Musette’s Song – Eleanor Jones-Hudson

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

Mendelssohn with Harty, Mendelssohn’s Walpurgisnacht, Golschmann’s Shostakovich, Raybould, Goossens, Heger, Frank Mullings and Salvatore Salvati

This latest update sees a site redesign, and a number of new transfers on site. In the orchestral arena, we have Harty’s sparkling account of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony (afflicted by swish), Golschmann’s early 1950s LP recording of Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, overtures conducted by Clarence Raybould (on Regal), and Eugene Goossens (on Edison Bell), and a Strauss excerpt under the baton of Robert Heger.

Vocal music comes in the form of two Handel arias from Frank Mullings (with Raybould conducting), two operatic arias from the tenor Salvatore Salvati, and a performance of Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht, from a probably pseudonymous Everest LP.

Mendelssohn – Symphony No.4 in A major Op.90 “Italian”
Columbia DX 342-4

Matrices WAX 6054-2, 6055-2, 6056-1, 6-57=2, 6058-1, 6059-1 (14899, 14902, 14901, 14900, 14912, 14916)
Recorded 10th April 1931

Mediafire link for Mendelssohn – Symphony No.4 Italian – Hamilton Harty

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

I. Allegro vivace (1½ sides)
II. Andante con moto (1½ sides)
III. Con moto moderato (1 side)
IV. Finale: Saltarello-Presto (2 sides)

Hallé Orchestra, Sir Hamilton Harty

 

Shostakovich – Symphony No.5 in D major Op.47
Capitol Classics CTL.7077

Matrices P1.8268Y-1B, P2.8268Z.1B
Recorded 1953

Mediafire link for Shostakovich – Symphony No.5 – Vladimir Golschmann

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

I. Moderato
II. Allegretto
III. Largo
IV. Allegro non troppo

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Golschmann

 

Mendelssohn – Die erste Walpurgisnacht Op.60
Everest 3229 (Electronic Stereo)

Recorded ?

Mediafire link for Mendelssohn – Walpurgisnacht

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

Overture: The Change of Winter to Spring
1. A Druid and Chorus of the People
2. An Aged Woman and Chorus of the People
3. A Druid Priest and Chorus of Druids
4. Chorus of Druid Guards and People
5. A Druid Guard
6. Chorus of Guards and People
7. A Druid Priest and Chorus
8. A Christian Guard and Chorus of Guards
9. A Druid Priest and Chorus of Druids and People

“Lorenzo Bernardi and Chorus and Orchestra of the Leipzig Bach Festival”

This recording, presumably from a German or Austrian radio source, leaves its soloists (soprano, tenor and bass) unnamed. The conductor and other performers seem to be pseudonymous. Although the first side of the record is roughly at correct pitch, the second side drifts downwards until a horrendous edit about a minute from the end, where the pitch and ambience are suddenly hugely different. This final section may even come from a different performance. I have endeavoured to fix the pitch, and reduce the jarring effect of the change of sound quality. I’ve also mixed the sound back to mono.

I’ve included the closing passage of the work prior to pitch adjustment, so that the grating effect of this awful edit can be fully appreciated.

If any recognises any of the soloists or indeed the whole performance, do let me know!

 

Donizetti – La Favorita – Una vergine
Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – Brindisi
Phonycord Flexible Nr 151
Matrices 8235, 8241
Recorded 1930
Orchestra
Salvatore Salvati, tenor

Download – Donizetti – La Favorita – Una vergine – Salvati

Download – Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana – Brindisi – Salvati

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

These are taken from a flexible disc recording, which was badly warped, and not easily persuaded to lie flat. They therefore had to be recorded below speed to ensure the stylus tracked the groove, and this has had an effect on the level of surface noise.

 

Handel – Semele – Where’er you walk
Handel – Jephtha – Deeper and Deeper Still
Columbia 9350

Matrices WAX 1898-1, 1900-1 (6585, 6583)
Recorded 13th September 1926
Available from 12th February 1928 to January 1937
Orchestra, Clarence Raybould
Frank Mullings, tenor

Download – Handel – Semele – Where’er you walk – Mullings

Download – Handel – Jephtha – Deeper and Deeper Still – Mullings

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

This was a reissue of L1344, available from October 1926 to February 1928. An earlier version of L1344 was available from February 1920 to October 1926 – with recordings made on 5th May 1919, with Hamilton Harty conducting.

Curiously, although the Semele aria maintains correct pitch, the Jephtha increases speed slightly. The Jephtha aria is also notable for the variety of tone colour used by Mullings.

Beethoven – Egmont Overture
Regal G1084

Matrices WAX 5186-1, 5187-2 (12757/8)
Recorded 3rd October 1929
Available from February 1930 to March 1941
Classic Symphony Orchestra, Clarence Raybould

Thomas – Raymond – Overture
Regal MX8

Matrices WAX 5318-1, 5319-2 (13162, 13161)
Recorded 4th January 1930. Recorded in a concert hall
Available from June 1930 to March 1941
Classic Symphony Orchestra, Clarence Raybould

Download – Beethoven – Egmont – Raybould

Download – Thomas – Raymond – Raybould

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

All of the above sides play at slightly below 78rpm.

 

R. Strauss – Feuersnot – Love Scene
His Master’s Voice C1841

Matrices CW 2161-IA, CW 2162-II (6-0659/60)
Recorded January 1929
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Heger

Download – R. Strauss – Feuersnot – Love Scene – Heger

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

The recording session was between the 9th and 25th January 1929.

 

Wagner – The Meistersingers – Overture
Edison Bell Velvet Face 523

Matrices X1163K-1, X1164F-2
Recorded 1921
Available from October 1922
Goossens Orchestra, Eugene Goossens

Download – Wagner – The Meistersingers – Overture – Goossens

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

Both sides play at almost 82rpm.

There is a gap of several bars between the two sides. The first side finishes on the first beat of bar 96 (with an E major chord), and the second starts at bar 122 (with an E flat major chord). This prevents an adequate side join.

Rodzinski’s Mussorgsky-Ravel Pictures and Henry Wood’s Handel

Today brings another two brief updates, because I’ve been busy. There’s an early LP of Rodzinski conducting Pictures at an Exhibition. The record I’ve taken this from is in terrible condition, so there is a considerable amount of noise that could not be removed. The other item is Henry Wood conducting an arrangement of a Handel overture – as “inauthentic” a performance as one could wish for.

Mussorgsky-Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition
Columbia Masterworks ML 4033
Matrices F XLP 254 3A, F XLP 255 3C
Recorded 1945
Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York, Artur Rodzinski

Mediafire link for Mussorgsky-Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition – Rodzinski

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

1. Promenade
2. Gnomes
3. Promenade
4. The Old Castle
5. Promenade
6. Tuileries
7. Bydlo
8. Promenade
9. Ballet of chicks in their shells
10. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
11. The market place at Limoges
12. Catacombs
13. Cum mortuis in lingua mortua
14. The hut on Fowls’ Legs
15. The great gate at Kiev

Tracks 11 and 12 are combined into one mp3 file to avoid a break in sound. The gap between tracks 14 and 15 is as on the LP.

Handel – Berenice – Overture
Decca K.819
Matrices TA 2041-II, 2042-II
Recorded 7th November 1935
Released May 1936
The Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood
Charles Woodhouse, leader

Download – Handel – Berenice – Overture – Henry Wood

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

The minuet from this overture was also recorded in a performance by Reginald Jacques.