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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

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

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

Mediafire link for Lilian Stiles Allen – Edison Bell recordings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mediafire link for Schubert – Rosamunde music – Sir Hamilton Harty

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

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

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

Schubert – Rosamunde Incidental Music

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

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

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

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

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

Symphony in B minor (Unfinished)

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

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

All sides play at the stated 80rpm

Symphony No.8 in B minor (Unfinished)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susskind’s Messiah (improved transfer); Daisy Kennedy

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

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

Mediafire link for Messiah Part 1 – Susskind

Mediafire link for Messiah Part 2 – Susskind

Mediafire link for Messiah Part 3 – Susskind

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

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

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

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

More details

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

All Daisy Kennedy recordings now available on the Daisy Kennedy page

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

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

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

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

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

Walter Susskind conducts Handel’s Messiah

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

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

Replaced with improved transfer

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

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

Gramophone November 1960

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gramophone February 1966

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

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

Eleanor Jones-Hudson in oratorio and opera

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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