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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

Landon Ronald’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

For Shakespeare’s birthday back in April, I made available the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream music, in a 1911 recording conducted by Landon Ronald. To complement this, I’ve now transferred the Ronald’s early recordings of the Overture, Nocturne and Wedding March, together with his later electrically recorded version of the Nocturne. I’ve included the Scherzo in this post so the whole set can play continuously. As a  bonus, at the end I’ve included the Ronald’s recording of the overture to Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor, which was coupled with the Midsummer Night’s Dream overture.

Ronald recorded the Mendelssohn works several times.

New Symphony Orchestra:

7th October 1911 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Scherzo (Mendelssohn)
ac5549f (unissued)
ac5550f  0681 (020617, 030617, 060562, D152)

10th February 1912 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Wedding march (Mendelssohn)
ac6007f (unissued)
ac6008f   0755   (030627, 040737, 2-050521, 2-0250599, D166, S4190, W74, ES123)

17th February 1912 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn)
ac6035f (unissued)
ac6036f   0756   (030628, 040738, D152, ES123)

3rd February 1913 – A Midsummer Night‘s Dream: Overture (Mendelssohn)
HO450ai   0853   (020747, 060601, D153, AB102)

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra:

13th March 1923 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
Cc 2695-1 (unissued)
Cc 2695-2   0755X   (D166, 2-050521X, 2-0250599X, S4190)

23rd June 1923 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream Op 61: Scherzo (Mendelssohn)
Cc 3145-1 (unissued)
Cc 3145-2   0681X   (D152)

27th July 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn), pt 1
Cc 6411-1 (unissued)
Cc 6411-2 (unissued)
27th July 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn), pt 2
Cc 6412-1 (unissued)
Cc 6412-2   4-0733   (D1034, AB169)
27th July 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Scherzo (Mendelssohn)
Cc 6413-1   4-0836   (D1097, W918, AB198, ES26)

9th September 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nocturne (Mendelssohn), pt 1
Cc 6411-3,-4 (unissued)
Cc 6411-5   4-0732 (D1034, AB169)

18th November 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn), pt 1
Cc 7310-1 (unissued)
Cc 7310-2 (assigned 4-0858, but unissued)
18th November 1925 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn), pt 2
Cc 7311-1 (unissued)
Cc 7311-2 (assigned 4-0852, but unissued)

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Overture – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D153 (side 0853)
Matrix HO 450ai
Recorded 3rd February 1913, Hayes
The following cuts are made: bb 142 – 157, 196(4) – 517(3), 566 – 585, 620 – end. (inclusive)

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Scherzo – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0681
Matrix ac5550f
Recorded 7th October 1911, London

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Nocturne – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0756
Matrix ac6036f
Recorded 17th February 1912, London
The following cuts are made: bb16-33, 38-41, 73-80, 109-112

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Wedding March – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0755
Matrix ac6008f
Recorded 10th February 1912, London

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Nocturne – Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

Aubrey Brain, horn
His Master’s Voice D 1034 (sides 4-0732/3)
Matrices Cc 6411-5, Cc 6412-2
Recorded 9th September 1925 and 27th July 1925, Hayes

Nicolai – The Merry Wives of Windsor – Overture – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D153 (side 0735)
Matrix al5934f
Recorded 20th January 1912, Hayes
The recording begins at the Allegro, and several cuts are made.

400 years

Although I have had not had a great deal of time to work on recordings for this site recently, I could not let the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death pass unmarked. There are several spoken word Shakespeare recordings to be found on site and music based on his works (just enter Shakespeare in the search box). But as a new addition, I have transferred Landon Ronald’s 1911 recording of the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Music.

Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Scherzo – New Symphony Orchestra, Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice 0681
Matrix ac5550f
Recorded 7th October 1911, London

Another great writer, Miguel de Cervantes died on the same day as Shakespeare. He is best remembered for Don Quixote, and to celebrate this anniversary, I’ve transferred Chaliapin’s 1927 recording of the death of Don Quixote, from Massenet’s opera.

Massenet – Don Quixote – The Death of Don Quixote (Act 5) – Fyodor Chaliapin

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

Fyodor Chaliapin (bass) as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
Olive Kline (soprano) as the voice of Dulcinea
Orchestra, Rosario Bourdon
His Master’s Voice DB 1096
Matrices CVE-38334-I, 38335-I (sides 2-032114/5)
Recorded 7th April 1927, Liederkranz Hall, New York for Victor.

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.

 

 

Albert Coates conducts choral music

April 23rd is St George’s Day, Shakespeare’s birthday, and more importantly for this site, the anniversary of Albert Coates’s birth. For this year’s Coates tribute, we have two early electrical choral recordings: excerpts from Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and unaccompanied spurious Bach!

Georg Gottfried Wagner – Blessing, Glory and Wisdom (attr. J.S. Bach, BWV Anh 162)
Sung in English
Choir from the Chorus of the British National Opera Company, Albert Coates

G.G. Wagner – Blessing, Glory and Wisdom – BNOC Chorus, Coates

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

His Master’s Voice D 1036
Matrices Cc 64624-I, 6425-II (single side numbers 04852, 04853)
Recorded 30th July 1925, Studio B, Hayes
These sides play at standard pitch at about 74.5rpm (putting the music in E flat)

This is a rare example of Coates conducting unaccompanied choral music – the piece in question was attributed to Bach, but is now known to be by Georg Gottfried Wagner, who worked with Bach in Leipzig for a little while.

Mendelssohn – Elijah – Baal chorus; Thanks be to God
Sung in English
Chorus and Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Mendelssohn – Elijah – Baal chorus – Coates
Mendelssohn – Elijah – Thanks be to God – Coates

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

His Master’s Voice D 1070

Matrices CR 37-II, CR 38-II (single side numbers 4-0781, 4-0782)
Recorded 1st December 1925, Queen’s Hall, London
These sides play in score pitch at about 78.5rpm

Lilian Bryant conducts and plays the piano

This update is by way of tribute to one of the significant contributors to the UK recording industry. Lilian Bryant was a pianist and conductor, and was the musical director of the Pathéphone Company, Ltd. in London. There are numerous orchestral recordings on which she is the conductor, including several popular overtures. She is likely to be the conductor or piano accompanist on numerous British Pathé vocal recordings, often uncredited. She also recorded piano solos for Columbia (and Regal) several of which were issued in Holland, where she was known as the accompanist of violinists Alfred Indig and Boris Lensky (and is credited as such on the record labels). She also crops up on the unusual Chantal de Luxe label (manufactured by Crystalate), conducting for the baritone Louis Lynel. This unusual recording and a number of her piano records are given below. The piano solos are mainly of popular songs of the day, very much in lighter mood, though she did record some popular classical pieces as well. These include the only electrical recording in the current batch, of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. I also have several English Pathés which she may appear on as uncredited accompanist, but I’ve not yet restored them.

Drigo – Les Millions d’Arlequin – Sérénade
Toselli – Serenade
Orchestra, Lilian Bryant
Louis Lynel,
baritone

Drigo – Arlequin – Serenade – Lynel, Bryant
Toselli – Serenade – Lynel, Bryant

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

Chantal de Luxe No 1175
Matrices 2489, 2490
Recorded 1920s

Vliegpostmarsch
Slavische Serenade
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Vliegpostmarsch – Lilian Bryant
Slavische Serenade – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9061
Matrices 68965, 68966
Recorded 1923?

M Yvain – Pays de Rêve
Otto Helmburgh-Holmes – Electric Girl (Shimmy Fox-Trot)
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Yvain – Pays de Rêve – Lilian Bryant
Helmburgh-Holmes – Electric Girl – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9063
Matrices 68990, 68991
Recorded 1923?

Kálman – Die Bayadere – Wenn die Sterne am Himmel leuchten (Fox-Trot)
Hugo Hirsch – Wenn du einmal eine Braut hast
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Kálman – Wenn die Sterne – Lilian Bryant
Hirsch – Wenn du einmal – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9064
Matrices 68992, 68993
Recorded 1923?

Gaston Gabaroche & Fred Pearly – Je n’peux pas vivre sans amour
Theo A Körner – Wenn man allein ist
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Gabaroche & Pearly – Je n’peux pas – Lilian Bryant
Körner – Wenn man allein ist – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9066
Matrices 68996, 68997
Recorded 1923?

S Ehrlich – Willst du eine kleine haben (Shimmy Fox-Trot)
Armandola – Hawaiian Memories, Wals
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Ehrlich – Willst du eine kleine haben – Lilian Bryant
Armandola – Hawaiian Memories – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9085
Matrices F6, F7 (15896, 15897)
Recorded 1923?

Wagner – Bruidskoor (uit Lohengrin)
(Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin, Act 3)
Mendelssohn – Hochzeits Marsch
(Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Lilian Bryant,
piano

Wagner – Bridal chorus (Lohengrin) – Lilian Bryant
Mendelssohn – Wedding March – Lilian Bryant

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

Columbia D9846 (electrical recording)
Matrices WF236, WF237 (21546, 21547)
Recorded 1926?

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.

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

Landon Ronald – Glazunov Chopiniana, Mendelssohn Songs without words,Grieg Lyric Suite (1925 & 1933); Arthur De Greef, Landon Ronald – Liszt Concerto No.1, Saint-Saens Concerto No.2; Daisy Kennedy, Hamilton Harty – Beethoven Romance in G

The flurry of Landon Ronald recordings continues, again with accompaniments for Belgian pianist Arthur de Greef (1862 – 1940). De Greef’s recording of Liszt’s 1st Piano Concerto was not the first ever (that honour fell to Anderson Tyrer on Edison Bell Velvet Face, with Adrian Boult conducting), but is important as a recording of a significant work by a pupil of Liszt, despite the acoustic recording. After Liszt’s death, de Greef worked with Saint-Saens in Paris, so it is also significant that he recorded the 2nd Piano Concerto. The present transfer is of de Greef’s 1928 electrical recording. De Greef in fact made the first recording of this work, with Landon Ronald, on just four sides. A few years before, Ronald had conducted the 2nd movement on record for Irene Scharrer.

As well as these concerto recordings, there are several purely orchestral recordings here by Landon Ronald. He recorded Grieg’s Lyric Suite 3 times – the first was an acoustic recording in 1912, and he then recorded it twice electrically. These electrical recordings are from 1925 and 1933, both to be heard here. Also presented below is a 1933 recording of movements from Glazunov’s Chopiniana – orchestral arrangements of well-known works of Chopin, which became the basis for the ballet Les Sylphides. These are coupled with recordings of two of Mendelssohn’s Songs without words, also in orchestral guise. The Spring Song and Spinning Song were a popular combination – Ronald also recorded these same pieces acoustically in 1912 and 1923. The latter of these will appear here in due course.

Glazunov – Chopiniana Op.46

No.1 Polonaise Op.40 No.1
No.2 Nocturne Op.15 No.1
No.3 Tarantelle Op.43

Mendelssohn – Spring Song Op.62 No.2; Spinning Song (Bees’ Wedding) Op.67

Mediafire link for Glazunov – Chopiniana, and Mendelssohn – Landon Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice C 2638/9
Matrices 2B 4639-IIIA, 4641-II, 4642-II, 4643-I (single side numbers 32-3919/22)
Recorded 1933

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Grieg – Lyric Suite Op.54

Mediafire link for Grieg – Lyric Suite – Landon Ronald 1933

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

No.1. Shepherd Boy
No.2. Norwegian Rustic March
No.3. Nocturne
No.4. March of the Dwarfs

His Master’s Voice C 2642/3
Matrices 2B 4638-I, 4636-II, 4640-I, 4637-II (single side numbers 32-3917, 3915, 3918, 3916)
Recorded 1933

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Grieg – Lyric Suite Op.54

Mediafire link for Grieg – Lyric Suite – Landon Ronald 1925

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

No.1. Shepherd Boy
No.2. Norwegian Rustic March
No.3. Nocturne
No.4. March of the Dwarfs

His Master’s Voice D 1081/2
Matrices Cc 7229-II, 7230-II, 7254-II, 7255-I (single side numbers 4-0813/6)
Recorded 10th November 1925 (Nos. 1 & 2) and 13th November 1925 (Nos. 3 & 4), Hayes

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Saint-Saens – Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor Op.22

Mediafire link for Saint-Saens Concerto – De Greef, Ronald

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

1st movement – Andante sostenuto (2½ sides)
2nd movement – Allegro scherzando (1½ sides)
3rd movement – Presto (2 sides)

His Master’s Voice D 7458/60 (issued on standard coupling as D 1590/2)
Matrices CR 2110-I, 2111-IA, 2112-IIIA, 2114-I, 2113-IA, 2115-IIA (single side numbers 2-05644, 05645, 05646, 05648, 05647, 05649)
Recorded 26th June 1928, Queen’s Hall, London

Arthur de Greef, piano
New Symphony Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Liszt – Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat major

Mediafire link for Liszt Concerto No.1 – De Greef, Ronald

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

1st movement – Allegro maestoso (1¾ sides)
2nd movement – Quasi adagio (1¼ sides)
3rd movement – Allegretto vivace – Allegro animato (1½ sides)
4th movement – Allegro marziale animato (1½ sides)

His Master’s Voice D 890/2
Matrices Cc 1804-III, 1805-III, 1806-III, 1810-IV, 1822-V, 1823-V (single side numbers 05803/8)
Recorded 7th November 1922 (sides 1, 3), 11th September 1922 (side 2), 21st November 1922 (sides 4, 6), 21st September 1923 (side 5), Hayes

Arthur de Greef, piano
New Symphony Orchestra, Sir Landon Ronald

Another recording of the Australian violinist Daisy Kennedy, again with orchestra. This was the first recording, and the only acoustic one, of Beethoven’s Romance No.1 in G major for violin and orchestra. The recording is conducted by Hamilton Harty. Many thanks to Cheniston Roland of Violinland for providing the source for this recording.

Beethoven – Romance No.1 in G major Op.40

Download – Beethoven Romance No.1 – Daisy Kennedy, Hamilton Harty

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

Columbia L1340
Matrices 76560-2, 76561-2
Recorded 1919
Available from August 1920 to July 1924
Daisy Kennedy, violin
Orchestra, Hamilton Harty

Benno Moiseiwitsch and John Drinkwater

Regular visitors to this site will not be surprised to find a recording conducted by Landon Ronald. In this case, for the anniversary year, it’s Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1 with Benno Moiseiwitsch. The other item is a spoken word recording – the poet and playwright John Drinkwater reading some of his own works. The two men are connected by violinist Daisy Kennedy (of whom I now have several recordings.) Moiseiwitsch was her first husband, and Drinkwater was her second.

Mendelssohn – Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor Op.25
His Master’s Voice D 969-71
Matrices Cc 5655-III, 5656-II, 5657-I, 5658-I, 5659-II, 5660-II (single side numbers 05832/7)
Recorded 27th January 1925

Download – Mendelssohn – Piano Concerto No.1 – 1st movement – Moiseiwitsch, Ronald

Download – Mendelssohn – Piano Concerto No.1 – 2nd movement – Moiseiwitsch, Ronald

Download – Mendelssohn – Piano Concerto No.1 – 3rd movement – Moiseiwitsch, Ronald

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

I. Molto allegro con fuoco (2 sides)
II. Andante (2 sides)
III. Presto: Molto allegro e vivace (2 sides)

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald
Benno Moiseiwitsch, piano

 

Lecture 70: John Drinkwater reading his own poems
Part 1: Mystery; Vagabond; Moonlit Apples; Birthright
Part 2: Cotswold Love; Anthony Crumble; Mrs. Willow; Mamble

Columbia D 40140
Matrices WAX 4608-1, 4609-2 (11340, 11330)
Recorded 30th January 1929

Download – John Drinkwater reading his own poems

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

The sides are labelled as:

Made in England & Published by
Columbia Graphophone Co. Ltd.
Sole Official Publishers for
International Educational Society.

The address is given on side 1 as 26, Buckingham Gate, Westminster, S. W. 1, and on side 2 as 98, Clerkenwell Road, E.C. 1

JOHN DRINKWATER (1882-1937)

Associated with Barry Jackson in the formation of the company that developed into the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, in and for which his plays up to and including “Abraham Lincoln” were written. Published New Numbers in conjunction with Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke and Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, and was a contributor to the five volumes of Mr. Marsh’s Georgian Poetry. In addition to his poetry and plays, he has written various critical studies, including volumes on Byron, Charles II, and Charles James Fox.

The texts of these poems are available on the John Drinkwater page on this site.

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.

Mario Rossi conducts Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, Robert Easton sings Mendelssohn and Gounod

As Mendelssohn’s 200th birthday arrives, it seems apt to provide a few more items by this wonderful composer. Thus we have a symphony, and a wonderful bass aria which was much loved by English speaking singers, yet seems sadly neglected now.

Mendelssohn – Son and Stranger – I am a roamer
Gounod – Philemon and Baucis – Vulcan’s song
Columbia 9210
Matrices WAX 2330-1, 2331-1 (7116/7)
Recorded 7th April 1927
Available from September 1927 to January 1946
Orchestra, A W Leggett
Robert Easton, bass

Download – Mendelssohn – Son and Stranger – I am a roamer – Robert Easton

Download – Gounod – Philemon and Baucis – Vulcan’s Song – Robert Easton

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

The Mendelssohn plays in C major at 80rpm, the Gounod in A minor (a semitone below score pitch).

This recording was reviewed in The Gramophone, September 1927:

Robert Easton. – The two records on this disc present a singular contrast – the same fine bass voice in both pieces, but a difference of style and effect that is simply astonishing. It is, however, no mystery, no problem beyond solution. The singer knows how to make every point in I’m a roamer. He gets away with it from the starting-gate, and from that point is a winner as well as a roamer – tone, rhythm, words, humour, everything pat and perfect to the finish. With Vulcan’s Song it is otherwise. Here too slow, there too fast; now too deliberate and heavy; nearly always too lugubrious – the true significance of Vulcan’s allusive remarks and the satire of his own ugliness and deformity, showing what a mistake it is for him to quit Venus and his own fireside to go on nocturnal adventures – the humour of all this is utterly lost, thanks partly, perhaps, to the fatuity of the English translation. That, I suppose, is why Santley always insisted on singing this song in French.

 

Mendelssohn – Symphony No.4 in A major Op.90 “Italian”
Vivaldi – Olimpiade – Andante
Decca AK 1974-7
Matrices AR 11730-1, 11731-1, 11732-1, 11733-1, 11734-1, 11735-1, 11736-1, 11737-2
Recorded 1947

Mediafire link for Mendelssohn – Symphony No.4 Italian – Mario Rossi

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

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

Turin Symphony Orchestra, Mario Rossi

This recording received a detailed review in The Gramophone, December 1948:

Turin Symphony Orchestra (Mario Rossi): Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, “Italian” (Mendelssohn); Andante from “L’Olimpiade” (Vivaldi arr. Mortari). Decca AK1974-7 (12 in., 27s. 4d.).

I cannot imagine why Decca have decided to withdraw the Unger version in six months’ time in favour of this new one. It is true that Unger took the first movement rather deliberately and was altogether too perfunctory about the Andante; but he was well recorded, and on points his version wins hands down over this new competitor. Perhaps the idea was that it would be interesting to have an Italian orchestra playing a work which owed all its inspiration to Italy – for this is not one of your made-up titles stuck on afterwards by a publisher. Mendelssohn had started off at the age of 25 for an extended tour of Austria, Italy and Switzerland, and his sketches and letters vividly record the impressions made on his naturally vivacious mind: in 1831 he wrote from Rome, “The Italian Symphony makes rapid progress: it will be the gayest piece I have yet composed, especially the last movement. I have not yet made up my mind about the Adagio (sic), and think I shall reserve it for Naples.” He finished the work on his return home, and conducted the first performance himself in 1833 for a concert of the Philharmonic Society of London. The curious thing is that this symphony, for all its seeming spontaneity and the sunny freshness of its writing, caused Mendelssohn exceptional difficulty, and right up to the year of his death he was still considering making alterations to it.

W.R.A., writing of the recent Barbirolli recording of the Italian, said that it achieved “high clarity at the expense of warmth.” Here almost the reverse is true: there is plenty of spirit, even if the orchestra is not particularly well disciplined, but far greater definition, both of playing and recording, is necessary. Rossi starts off at an impetuous speed; the woodwind repeated chords are a mere indistinct background; the strings, when they enter with their exuberant tune, skitter over the quavers and clip the rhythm. It is all, clearly, just too fast for the players’ comfort: phrases are snatched, and there is frequently little continuity of the melodic line. But there is interesting perspective and plenty of vitality. If the staccato string passage leading to the second subject is untidy, the second subject itself is treated with the most delicious lightness and grace. It is a pity that the exposition is not repeated: it is becoming a bad habit to alter Mendelssohn’s carefully-calculated proportions by cutting the repeat.

After the first movement the rot begins to set in. The Andante is played sympathetically, but (especially at the end) oh! so slowly. This seems to have depressed the orchestra so much that it plays the third movement without much conviction, and the Trio is dreary in the extreme – it is taken very slowly, the horns ignore the phrasing (which is clearly marked in bar-lengths), and the violins’ dancing figure is laborious and leaden-footed. By contrast, in the Saltarello, the Roman carnival seems to have gone to the players’ heads, and the rhythm is none too stable (notice how the woodwind soloists jump their fourth beats at letter C, side 7). This movement certainly cannot compare with Unger’s version.

The fill-up is interesting: a gracious elegiac Andante from one of the 38 operas of Vivaldi, the red-headed priest on whose music Bach drew so much. L’Olimpiade, one of Metastasio’s most popular libretti, was set by about a dozen composers, and Vivaldi’s opera was revived in 1939 at the Siena Festival.

The LP issue was reviewed briefly in The Gramophone, September 1950:

*MENDELSSOHN. Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90, “The Italian.” Turin Symphony Orchestra (Mario Rossi). Decca LX3004 ( 10 in., 29s. 6d.).

In December, 1948, my colleague L.S. devoted nearly a column to a review of the 78 version or this symphony. He wrote with no great enthusiasm, and I agree with all his strictures. Indeed, as a whole, it is a poor performance, and therefore I cannot understand why Decca has bothered to issue it on L.P. There is certainly no improvement in the quality of the recording. L.S. said that “far greater definition, both of playing and recording, is necessary.” It still is. R.H.

Malcolm Sargent conducts Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas and Horenstein conducts Haydn’s Surprise

2009 brings the bicentenary of Mendelssohn’s birth, for which we have Malcolm Sargent conducting Ruy Blas, and the bicentenary of Haydn’s death, with Jascha Horenstein conducting the Surprise Symphony. Both recordings are 80 years old in 2009.

Download – Mendelssohn – Ruy Blas Overture – Malcolm Sargent

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

Mendelssohn – Ruy Blas – Overture
His Master’s Voice C 1813
Matrices Cc 17933-II, 17934-I (32-1065/6)
Recorded 16th December 1929, Kingsway Hall, London
London Symphony Orchestra, Malcolm Sargent
(The orchestra is credited on the record labels only as “Symphony Orchestra”)

Mediafire link for Haydn – Surprise Symphony – Jascha Horenstein

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

Haydn – Symphony No.94 in G major “The Surprise”

I. Adagio cantabile – Vivace assai (2 sides)
II. Andante (2 sides)
III. Menuetto (Allegro molto) and Trio (1 side)
IV. Allegro di molto (1 side)

Polydor 66914-6
Matrices 132, 133, 134½, 135, 136, 137½ BV VI (B 21217/22)
Recorded 1929, Berlin
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Jascha Horenstein