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.

Mark Hambourg, Marjorie Hayward, Frank Bridge and Warwick Evans play Scherzo from Saint-Saëns’s Piano Quartet

Another brief chamber music update, this time one of the four chamber sides recorded in 1917 by Mark Hambourg. This features Marjorie Hayward on violin, Frank Bridge on viola and Warwick Evans on cello, in a heavily abridged version of the Scherzo from Saint-Saëns’s Piano Quartet in B flat major.

Saint-Saëns – Piano Quartet in B flat major Op.41 – Scherzo
Marjorie Hayward,
violin
Frank Bridge,
cello
C. Warwick-Evans,
cello
Mark Hambourg,
piano

Saint-Saëns – Scherzo from Piano Quartet in B flat – Hambourg et al

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

His Master’s Voice 08054
Matrix HO 2726ef
Recorded 7th July 1917
Play at 78rpm

The recording contains the following sections of the score:
bb1-60; bb94-113, bb33-60, bb231-318 (end)

Albert Whelan – Dickens; Bransby Williams – Dickens and others; Wilhelm Backhaus – Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Bach; Vladimir de Pachmann – Chopin; Mark Hambourg – Chopin, Schubert; Irene Scharrer – Chopin; Moritz Rosenthal – Chopin 1st Piano Concerto

This Christmas update brings a batch of Dickensian spoken word recordings and related items. A few of these have appeared here before, but are presented here in new transfers.

There are more items for the Chopin anniversary from various pianists, and some recordings by the same pianists of other composers, including a little festive Bach.

Albert Whelan (1875-1961) is remembered as a music hall entertainer, emigrating to England from his native Australia fairly early in his career. Given the nature of his career, it becomes hard to be sure whether these Dickens performances are intended sincerely or not. Certainly, The Death of Little Nell is worked for every ounce of sentimentality, and the orchestral backing carries it literally into the realms of melodrama as originally understood. This kind of performance makes one appreciate the reasons for Oscar Wilde’s withering put down of the scene, and is not easy to listen to after hearing more modern acting styles.

Dickens – The Old Curiosity Shop: The Death of Little Nell
Dickens – David Copperfield: Little Emily

Albert Whelan, actor
with Orchestra

Mediafire link for Dickens Monologues – Albert Whelan

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

Zonophone The Twin Serial 268
Matrices 2211e, 7263e
Recorded 4th July 1905, 1907

Based on pitch of orchestral accompaniments, these have been transferred at 77.0rpm and 75.7rpm respectively.

Bransby Williams (1870-1961) is another music hall entertainer, born and bred in London. He was known very much for his impersonations (including a fine imitation of Henry Irving, the great Shakespearean), but also performed many characters from Dickens. He was particularly known for his Scrooge, and he recorded his Scrooge monologues for various companies. In  1928 he played the role in a short sound film, and also in a 1950 BBC TV production. He appeared in a number of silent films of works by Dickens. His recorded repertoire included many Dickens roles, and a number of other dramatic monologues and recitations, several of which are given here.

Mediafire link for Dickens and other recitations – Bransby Williams

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

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge No.3 The Awakening
Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities – Sydney Carton’s Farewell

Bransby Williams, actor
His Master’s Voice C 500
Matrices 3704f, 2636f (01031, 01014)
Recorded 7th October 1909, 9th October 1908

Recorded at about 81rpm and 80rpm respectively

Dickens – David Copperfield: Micawber and Uriah Heep
Cuthbert Clarke & Charles H Taylor – Devil May Care

Bransby Williams, actor
His Master’s Voice C 501 (first side also on Gramophone Monarch 01011)
Matrices 2631f, 2634f (01011, 01021)
Recorded 9th October 1908

Both sides recorded at about 80rpm

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge: Before the Dream; After the Dream
Bransby Williams, actor
The Winner 2533
Matrices 1033D, 1034K
Recorded 1913
Available from January 1914

Milton Hayes – The Green Eye of the Yellow God
Chas J Winter – The Caretaker

Bransby Williams, actor
Columbia 388 (80rpm)
Matrices 6352-3, 6353-3 (1054/5)
Recorded 2nd May 1924
Available from June 1924 to May 1926

These sides were recorded 3 times. First in 1913 (6352-1, 6353-2), available from July 1913 to June 1924. They were then replaced with versions recorded on 2nd May 1924 (6352-3, 6355-3). These were in the catalogues until May 1926, when the electrically recorded remakes of 1st April 1926 replaced them (WAX 1400-1, 1401-1). These were deleted from the catalogue in February 1943

Dickens – The Pickwick Papers – Tony Weller
Dickens – Oliver Twist – Bill Sykes

Bransby Williams, actor
Columbia-Rena 400
Matrices 6354-1 or -2, 6355-2
Recorded 1913
Available from September 1913 to June 1924

Columbia 400
Matrices 6354-4, 6355-4 (1056/7)
Recorded 23rd and 21st May 1924
Available from June 1924 to July 1929

These two versions of the same “Dramatic Recitals” show how Williams’s performances varied. The broad outline of each version is the same, but there are differences in the details. Another, slightly cut, version of the Tony Weller scene was filmed for British Pathé

Dickens – A Christmas Carol – Scrooge: Before the Dream; The Dream; After the Dream
Dickens – David Copperfield: Micawber’s Advice to Copperfield

Bransby Williams, actor
Columbia 347 (81.8rpm)
Matrices WAX 1397-2, 1396-2 (6043, 6042)
Recorded 31st March 1926
Available from May 1926 to February 1944

Columbia 348 (80rpm)
Matrices 6277-1, 6278-1
Recorded 1912
Available from December 1923 to May 1924

This set was recorded 3 times. First in 1912 (6275-2, 6276-2, 6277-1, 6278-1), available from December 1912 to May 1924. It was then replaced with versions recorded on 14th and 4th April 1924 (6275-3, 6276-3, 6277-4, 6278-3). These were in the catalogues until May (347) and June (348) 1926, when the electrically recorded remakes of 31st March 1926 replaced them (WAX 1397-2, 1396-2, 1398-1, 1399-1). These were deleted from the catalogue in February 1944

Dickens, Lee, Weston – A Charles Dickens Christmas
Bransby Williams, actor
with various other performers
Columbia DX 554
Matrices CAX 6971-1, 6972-1
Recorded October 1933, London

The pianist Mark Hambourg has already featured on this site. The latest item is one of his earlier acoustic recordings, of Chopin and Schubert.

Download – Chopin – Polonaise in A – Mark Hambourg
Download – Schubert-Tausig – Marche Militaire – Mark Hambourg

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

Chopin – Polonaise in A major Op.40 No.1 (“Military”)
Schubert-Tausig – Marche Militaire

Mark Hambourg, piano
His Master’s Voice D 486
Matrices HO 4160af, 4162af (05646, 05647)
Recorded 15th December 1919, London

Wilhelm Backhaus (1884-1969) is without doubt one of the most famous of recorded pianists, with a studio career stretching from acoustic recordings in the first decade of the twentieth century through to stereo recordings in the 1960s. The recordings below show him in core repertoire from 1913 to 1934.

Mediafire link for Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven and Brahms – Wilhelm Backhaus

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

Chopin – Etude in E major Op,10 No.7; Waltz in D flat major Op.64 No.1 (“Minute”)
Schubert – Moment Musical Op.94 No.3; Hark, hark the lark
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano

His Master’s Voice D 170 (81rpm)
Matrices z7358f, z7360f (05553, 05550)
Recorded 20th May 1913, London

Brahms – Variations on a Theme by Paganini Op.35 Book 1 (Theme and Variations 1-8; Variations 9 -13)
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano
His Master’s Voice D 1019
Matrices Cc 5437-II, 5438-III (05855, 05856)
Recorded 5th December 1924, London

Chopin – Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor Op.66
Chopin – Prelude in C major Op.28 No.1; Etude in C major Op.10 No.1
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 2059
Matrices 2B 5391-II, 5392-IV (32-4189, 32-4190)
Recorded 7th and 10th October 1933, London

Beethoven – Piano Sonata in C sharp minor Op.27 No.2 (“Moonlight”)

I. Adagio sostenuto (1 side)
II. Allegretto
(½ side)
III. Presto agitato
(1½ sides)

Bach arr Lucas – Pastorale from “Christmas Oratorio”
Wilhelm Backhaus, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 2405-6
Matrices 2EA 518-II, 519-III, 520-III, 516-II
Recorded 6th (sides 1 and 4) and 8th (sides 2 and 3) November 1934, Abbey Road Studio No.3, London

Vladimir de Pachmann (1848-1933) was highly regarded for his wonderful Chopin playing. The odder aspects of his platform behaviour carried into the recording studio, and his comments can be heard on several of the recordings here.

Mediafire link for Chopin – Vladimir de Pachmann

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

Chopin – Prelude in B minor Op.28 No.6; Etude in G flat major Op.67 No.1
Chopin – Etude in G flat major Op.10 No.5
Vladimir de Pachmann, piano
His Master’s Voice DA 1302
Matrices Bb 6258-I, 11763-I (30-10220, 30-10221)
Recorded 26th June 1925, Hayes, Studio B and 3rd November 1927, C Studio, Small Queen’s Hall, London

Chopin – Nocturne in B major Op.32 No.1
Chopin – Impromptu in F sharp major Op.36 No.2
Vladimir de Pachmann, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 859
Matrices Cc 6259-II, 6261-I (05854, 05853)
Recorded 26th June 1925, Hayes, Studio B

Chopin – Nocturne in D flat major Op.27 No.2
Chopin – Etude in F major Op.25 No.3; Valse in C sharp minor Op.64 No.2
Vladimir de Pachmann, piano
His Master’s Voice DB 860
Matrices Cc 6253-I, 6260-I (05859, 05860)
Recorded 26th June 1925, Hayes, Studio B

Moritz Rosenthal (1862-1946) was a pupil of Liszt, and recorded extensively.

Chopin – Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor Op.11

Mediafire link for Chopin – Piano Concerto 1 – Moritz Rosenthal, Frieder Weissmann

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

I. Allegro maestoso
II. Romanza
III. Rondo vivace

Moritz Rosenthal, piano
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Frieder Weissmann

Parlophone R 902-4, E 11113-4 (3 10” and 2 12” records)
Matrices W 38839, 38840, 133019, 133020, 133021, 133026, W 2-21695-3, 21696-2, 2-21697, 2-21698
Recorded 1st May 1839m 26th November 1930, 2nd March 1931, Berlin

Several sides of this recording are afflicted with a high pitched whistling noise, which I have done my best to ameliorate. Additionally, there is a twenty-six bar overlap between sides 3 and 4, so I have given two versions of the first movement, with the edit at the start and end of the overlapping section.

The recording is also somewhat cut:

1st movement:
Side 1: b1-24, b139-221
Side 2: b221-333
Side 3: b333-434
Side 4: b408-510
Side 5: b510-588
Side 6: b589-689

2nd movement:
Side 7: b12-71 (orchestral introduction omitted)
Side 8: b72-126

3rd movement:
Side 9: b1-47, b88-260
Side 10: b260-295, b327-520

Irene Scharrer (1888-1971) was one of the UK’s best known pianists. While perhaps best remembered for her recording with Henry Wood of the Litolff Scherzo, she was in fact a regular in the recording studios from around 1909 onwards. She made concerto recordings with Landon Ronald, and even attempted the Litolff Scherzo with him in 1915, though it was never issued.

Chopin – Scherzo No.2 in B minor Op.31
Irene Scharrer, piano

Download – Chopin – Scherzo No.2 – Irene Scharrer

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

Columbia DX 433
Matrices CAX 6604-3, 6605-2
Recorded 5th December 1932, London