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)

A Night at the Proms with Henry Wood

On Friday 17th July the BBC Proms began. It’s 120 years since the first Proms season, and for the first fifty seasons, Sir Henry Wood did the lion’s share of the conducting.

Wood’s discography is large, and includes many works he performed at the proms. In 1934, Columbia made a compilation record of excerpts of Wood’s recordings from 1925 to 1933, titling it “A Night at the Proms.”

A Night at the Proms – music by Bizet, Schubert, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Bach and Nicolai – conducted by Sir Henry Wood

Wood – A Night at the Proms

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

Columbia DX 724
Matrices CAX 7731-1, 7730-1
Recorded 19th April 1934, London
Issued August 1934

Contents

Bizet – Carmen – Prelude to Act 1
(from L1208R, 1st October 1926, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 78.7rpm)
Schubert – Symphony No.8 in B minor- “The Unfinished” – start of first movement
(from DX 551, 30th October 1933, London Symphony Orchestra, 77.4rpm)
Rossini – William Tell – Overture – final section
(from 5059, 13th July 1928, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 76.1rpm)
Mendelssohn – Fingal’s Cave – Overture – opening
(from 9843, 4th March 1929, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 75.7rpm)
Mendelssohn – Spring Song – opening
(from 9844, 4th March 1929, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 75.7rpm)
J.S. Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No.3 in G – start of first movement
(from LX 173, 16th June 1932, British Symphony Orchestra, 76.1rpm)
Nicolai – Merry Wives of Windsor – Overture – final section
(from L 1723, 7th December 1925, New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, 80.1rpm)

The original recording speeds of the records Columbia re-recorded for this compilation vary somewhat, so for this transfer, I’ve repitched each selection to A440.

 

 

Richard Strauss – 150th anniversary

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss. To mark this, I’ve transferred two acoustic recordings of great tone poems by Strauss.

The first is Henry Wood’s heavily abridged 1916 account of Till Eulenspiegel, the first ever recording of the work. It’s cut down to just two sides, losing approximately half of the music. This is a work that Wood conducted regularly at the Proms, yet this is, as far as I can determine, his only recording of any piece by Strauss.

Richard Strauss – Till’s Merry Pranks: or a Rogue’s Rondo
Henry J Wood and his Orchestra

R. Strauss – Till Eulenspiegel – Wood

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

Columbia L 1067
Matrices 6766-3, 6786-2
Recorded 1916
Available from October 1916 to May 1928
Plays in score pitch at 80.7rpm

The second recording is conducted by the composer himself. In 1922 Columbia recorded Don Juan with Strauss conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. This was Strauss’s second recording of the work, more or less: a 1917 account for Grammophon had the first two sides conducted by George Szell, and the last two by Strauss. For the Columbia recording Strauss conducted the whole work, save for a minor cut of the 24 bars preceding figure L in the score. The rather small violin section is pushed to the limit in some of the prominent parts with a high tessitura.

Richard Strauss – Don Juan
London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Strauss

R. Strauss – Don Juan – LSO, Strauss

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

Columbia L 1419-20
Matrices 75034-2, 75035-2, 75036-2, 75037-2
Recorded 18th January 1922
Available from April 1922 to February 1928
Plays in score pitch at 80.0rpm

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)

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
Orchestra
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
80.0rpm
Matrices X1125E-?, X1126N-?
Michael Zacharewitsch, violin with piano

Wieniawski – Legende
Svendsen – Romanze

Edison Bell Velvet Face 517
Matrices X1122D-4, X1123B-4
80.0rpm
Michael Zacharewitsch, violin with piano

Sarasate – Zigeunerweisen (Gipsy Airs)
Edison Bell Velvet Face 525
81.9rpm
Matrices X1171E-1, X1172F-2
Michael Zacharewitsch, violin with piano

Franz André – Bizet’s Arlèsienne Suites; Ivanov, Gauk, Golovanov – Balakirev; Henry Wood – Purcell, Mendelssohn; Hamilton Harty – Tchaikovsky; Mengelberg – Johann Strauss II; The Virtuoso String Quartet – Debussy’s Quartet, Mendelssohn; Robert Carr – “The trail of the lonesome pine”, “When love creeps in your heart”

To begin the New Year, I’m looking back as well as forwards. Mendelssohn and Purcell had anniversaries in 2009, so you can hear works by them, conducted by Henry Wood. There’s also a movement from one of Mendelssohn’s String Quartets, as a filler for the Virtuoso Quartet’s recording of the Debussy String Quartet. There will be more from this quartet and from Wood in 2010. Also I hope to make more recordings by Hamilton Harty available here – so as a sort of teaser, one of those odd Columbia couplings, of Harty conducting Tchaikovksy and Mengelberg conducting Johann Strauss II (which serves as a late acknowledgement of the New Year’s Day Concert). From the LP era, comes a delightful sounding recording of Bizet’s Arlèsienne Suites from Franz André, and three Balakirev works, probably recorded in the early to mid-1950s, but here remastered from a Saga LP.

And as a curio, and a continuation of unusual vocal recordings, the widely recorded bass Robert Carr sings two songs on a Winner record, including an early recording of the Trail of the Lonesome Pine – rather more lugubrious than the version with Stan and Ollie.

Bizet – L’Arlèsienne Suites 1 & 2

Mediafire link for Bizet – L’Arlèsienne Suites – Franz André

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

Telefunken LGX 666021
Matrices LP037096-1B, 037097-1B
Recorded 1st October 1953
Issued 1954
L’ Orchestre Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge, Franz André

Suite No.1 – I. Prelude
Suite No.1 – II. Minuetto No.1
Suite No.1 – III. Adagietto
Suite No.1 – IV. Carillon

Suite No.2 – I. Pastorale
Suite No.2 – II. Intermezzo
Suite No.2 – III. Minuetto No.2
Suite No.2 – IV. Farandole

Balakirev – Russia
Soviet Radio Symphony Orchestra, Konstantin Ivanov
Balakirev – Overture on Three Russian Themes
Soviet Radio Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Gauk
Balakirev – Tamara
Soviet Radio Symphony Orchestra, Nikolai Golovanov

Mediafire link for Balakirev – Orchestral works

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

Saga Sovereign XID 5101
Matrices XID 5101A, 5101B
Issued 1961
Recorded 1952 (Golovanov), mid 1950s? other items. All in mono

Purcell arr. Henry J Wood – Suite in Five Movements

Mediafire link for Purcell-Wood – Suite in Five Movements – Wood

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

Decca K.975/6
Matrices TA 2967-II, 2968-II, 2969-II, 2970-III
Recorded 2nd April 1937
Available from October 1941
The Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood
George Stratton,
leader

No.1. Prelude from Act 3 “Dioclesian” (Molto maestoso)
No.2. Minuet from “Distressed Innocence” (Tempo di minuetto)
No.3. Largo from “5th Sonata for Strings, in three parts”
No.4. Song of the Birds (Allegro from “Timon of Athens”) No.5. Vivace from “1st Sonata for Strings”

Mendelssohn – Fingal’s Cave Overture; Two Songs without words

Mediafire link for  Mendelssohn – Hebrides, Songs without words – Wood

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

Columbia 9843-4
Matrices WAX 4731-2, 4732-2, 4733-2, 4734-2 (S 808, 810, 811, 807)
Recorded 4th March 1929
Available from mid-September 1929 to February 1948
The New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood

All sides run at about 76.8rpm

Fingal’s Cave Overture (“The Hebrides”) (3 sides)
Two Songs without Words – (1) Spring Song; (2) Bee’s Wedding (1 side)

Tchaikovksy – Mazeppa – Cossack Dance
Matrix CAX 6279-1
Recorded 12th February 1932
Hallé Orchestra, Sir Hamilton Harty

Johann Strauss II – Perpetuum Mobile
Matrix 6428-1
Recorded 11th May 1932, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, Willem Mengelberg

Download – Tchaikovksy – Mazeppa – Cossack Dance – Harty

Download – Johann Strauss II _ Perpetuum Mobile – Mengelberg

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

Columbia LX 240

Debussy – String Quartet in G minor Op.10
Mendelssohn – Quartet in Eb major Op.43 – II. Scherzo

Mediafire link for Debussy – String Quartet – Virtuoso Quartet

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

His Master’s Voice D 1058-1061
Matrices Cc 6690-II, 6691-V, 6692-VII, 6711-IIII, 6712-IIII, 6713-II, 6891-IV, 7021-I (single side numbers 08218/9, 08220/5)
Recorded 14th September 1925 (side 1), 18th September (side 4, 6) 4th December 1925 (side 2, 3, 5, 7), 21st October 1925 (Mendelssohn)

No.1. First Movement – Animé et très décidé (First Record)
No.2. First Movement – Animé et très décidé (Second Record)
No.3. Second Movement – Assez vif et bien rythmé
No.4. Third Movement – Andantino doucement expressif (First Record)
No.5. Third Movement – Andantino doucement expressif (Second Record)
No.6. Fourth Movement – Très modéré (First Record)
No.7. Fourth Movement – Très modéré (Second Record)
String Quartet in Eb major Op.44, No.3 – II. Scherzo: Assai leggiero vivace

Virtuoso String Quartet
Marjorie Hayward,
violin
Edwin Virgo, violin
Raymond Jeremy, viola
Cedric Sharpe, cello

Bennett Scott – When love creeps in your heart – Ballad (lyrics AJ Mills)
Harry Carroll – The trail of the lonesome pine – Popular song

Download – When love creeps – Robert Carr

Download – The trail of the lonesome pine – Robert Carr

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

The Winner 2546
Matrices 1058B-2, 1059W-1 (3901)
Issued February 1914
Orchestra
Robert Carr, baritone

Play in E flat and A flat respectively at 80rpm

Henry Wood conducts Turina

To maintain my quota of acoustic orchestral recordings, and to mark the 60th anniversary of the death of Joaquin Turina, this weekend I’m making available the earliest recording of any of his orchestral works. The Danzas Fantasticas were completed in 1919, with the score published in Madrid in 1921. Sir Henry Wood recorded them for Columbia in December 1922. Not only was this the first orchestral record of music by Turina, it was the only one to be made by the acoustic process. Wood notes in his autobiography, “My Life of Music,” that he gave the first English performance of this suite.

Turina – Danzas Fantasticas
Columbia L 1467-8
Matrices 75239-2. 75240-2, 75241-2, 75242-2
Recorded 13th December 1922, London
Available from April 1923 to July 1927

Mediafire link for Turina – Danzas Fantasticas – Henry Wood

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

No.1 – Exaltacion (2 sides)
No.2 – Ensueno (1 side)
No.3 – Orgia (1 side)

New Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood

This was the premiere recording of this work, and in fact the only acoustic recording of Turina’s orchestral music. This piece was completed in 1919, and the score published in Madrid in 1921 – Wood was most definitely conducting modern music here.

The record labels state the speed as 80rpm, but all sides run at around 81rpm.

Curiously, there is an overlap of approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds between sides 1 and 2. In the files for download I’ve included both edited and unedited versions of the first dance.

This set was reviewed enthusiastically in an early issue of Gramophone magazine, from April 1923. Half the review is taken up with a grumble about the repetition of recorded repertoire (how things change!), particularly Coppelia, Sylvia, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peer Gynt :

Both Sir Henry Wood and the Columbia company are to be commended for these records of a composer almost unknown in this country. It is a relief to find conductors deserting the beaten track, even when they give its less charming things than these dances. … The “Danzas Fantasticas” are unlike anything else that has been recorded. The Spanish idiom is unfamiliar in England, and these two excellent records of dances, which are really fantastic and really Spanish, should be in every representative collection of orchestral records. It is difficult to choose between the two, but on the whole I think I prefer the “Exaltacion.”

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.

Henry Wood’s Vaughan Williams

To round off this Vaughan Williams anniversary year, here are the remainder of Henry Wood’s recordings of Vaughan Williams’s music: The Serenade to Music, The Wasps Overture and the Fantasia on Greensleeves.

Download – Vaughan Williams – The Wasps – Wood

Download – Vaughan Williams – Fantasia on Greensleeves – Wood

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

Vaughan Williams – The Wasps – Overture
Vaughan Williams – Fantasia on Greensleeves
Originally issued on Decca K.821/2
Matrices TA 2136, 2137, 2138 (The Wasps), TA 2139 (Greensleeves)
Recorded 22nd April 1936
The Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood
George Stratton, leader

The present transfers are made from the Decca Ace of Clubs LP reissue, ACL 255.

Vaughan Williams – Serenade to Music
UPDATED TRANSFER AVAILABLE

Vaughan Williams’s “A London Symphony” – Wood and Goossens

As we approach the end of the year, it’s time to remember a composer who died fifty years ago: Ralph Vaughan Williams. There have been many reissues in connection with this, including, from Symposium, Dan Godfrey’s premiere recording of A London Symphony – both his earlier recording of the first (abridged) and third movements, and the “complete” recording that followed. The abridged first movement was one of the records recommended by Percy Scholes in his “Second Book of the Gramophone Record”. Godfrey’s recording used the 1920 version of the score. Vaughan Williams published an updated version of the score in 1936, and it is this that was used by Sir Henry Wood in his recording the same year. However, by a curious quirk, when Eugene Goossens recorded the work in 1941 with the Cincinatti Symphony Orchestra, he used the 1920 version. It is also noteworthy, that both Wood and Goossens omit the repeat of the first section of the Scherzo, which Godfrey included in both his acoustic recordings of the movement. There can be no doubt that both conductors would have had room for it: Wood’s side lengths are fairly short, and breaks between movements occur during sides; and Goossens’s recording takes 9 sides, with the 10th taken up by a 1938 recording with the LSO of Bizet’s Farandole!

These recordings, then, by Wood and Goossens provide an opportunity to compare the two versions of the work. It’s also an instructive comparison of recording styles. Wood rarely approaches a true pianissimo, particularly where the lower instruments are concerned, perhaps continuing the habits from around 1916 when he started conducting for records. Goossens for Victor has a much more natural recorded sound, allowing for a wide dynamic range.

Mediafire link for Vaughan Williams – A London Symphony – Henry Wood

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

Vaughan Williams – A London Symphony

I. Lento – Allegro risoluto (3½ sides)
II. Lento (2 sides)
III. Scherzo (Nocturne) (1½ sides)
IV. Andante con moto – Maestoso alla Marcia. (2 sides)
Epilogue – Andante sostenuto (1 side)

Decca X.114-8
Matrices TA 2126-III, 2127-II, 2128-II, 2129-II, 2130-II, 2131-III, 2132-I, 2133-III, 2134-2, 2135-II
Recorded 21st April 1936
Issued June 1936
The Queen’s Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry J. Wood
George Stratton, leader

There is a deterioration in sound quality for the last two sides, as the final disc in my copy of the set of 78s has a crack from label to rim. I have done my best to alleviate the effects of this.

Mediafire link for Vaughan Williams – A London Symphony – Eugene Goossens

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

Vaughan Williams – A London Symphony

I. Lento – Allegro risoluto (3 sides)
II. Lento (2 sides)
III. Scherzo (Nocturne) (1 side)
IV. Andante con moto – Maestoso alla Marcia. (1½ sides)
Epilogue – Andante sostenuto (1½ sides)

RCA Victor Red Seal DM-916 (11-8253/7)
Matrices 062506/14
Recorded 19th and 20th February 1941, Cincinatti
Cincinatti Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Goossens

Bizet – L’Arlésienne Suite No.2 – 4. Farandole
RCA Victor Red Seal 11-8253
Matrix 2EA 6311-II, 073028
Recorded 9th May 1938, Abbey Road Studio 1, London
London Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Goossens