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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

A festive feast of Wagner and Verdi

To round off the Wagner and Verdi bicentenary year, I’ve gathered a varied selection of music by these two operatic greats, in various guises.

Dajos Béla recorded extensively in many genres. The following abridged version of the Tannhäuser Overture is one of his more straightforwardly classical recordings, though the scoring is adapted for his band of the time – a piano can definitely be heard contributing.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Overture (abridged)
Künstler-Kapella Dajos Béla

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Overture – Dajos Béla

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

Odeon AA79816-7
Matrices xxBo 7551, 7552-II
Recorded 24th April 1923
Plays in A440 at 80rpm
Dan Godfrey has appeared here on many occasions, but this is the first time I’ve transferred anything by his eldest son, Dan Godfrey Jr. He very much followed in his father’s footsteps. He was appointed by the nascent BBC to conduct the 2LO Military Band with whom he recorded some 50 sides for the Edison Bell company, mostly arrangements of serious classical fare.

Wagner – The Rhinegold – Entry of the Gods into Valhalla
2LO Military Band, Dan Godfrey Jr

Wagner – Rhinegold – Entry of the Gods – 2LO Military Band, Godfrey Jr

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

Winner 4112
Matrices 8921B-1, 8922B-1
Recorded and issued 1924
Plays in A452 at 80.3rpm


The Dresden-born Emil Enderlein (b 1887) started as a lyric tenor, before developing into a Heldentenor. He sang Walther in Die Meistersinger at Bayreuth in 1925, and Parsifal and the Götterdämmerung Siegfried at the Zoppot Forest Opera in 1927-28. After his Bayreuth performances he changed his stage name to Erik Enderlein, and continued to perform well into the 1930s. After retirement he worked as a singing teacher in Berlin. He recorded for Pathé, Parlophone, Polyphon and Polydor as Emil Enderlein, but this curious
piano accompanied account of two excerpts from the Ring cycle appeared on the Piccadilly label, an offshoot of the Metropole label. The recordings are likely to have been made in 1929 when he sang at Covent Garden.

Wagner – The Valkyrie – Spring Song
Wagner – Siegfried – Forging Song
Eric Enderlein, tenor with piano

Wagner – Valkyrie – Spring Song – Enderlein

Wagner – Siegfried – Forging Song – Enderlein

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

Piccadilly No.5020
Matrices 1914, 1915
Recorded 1929


The Carl Rosa Opera Company was a mainstay of opera in English from 1873 to 1960 (before being revived in 1997) performing in London and all round Britain. The selection from Lohengrin is conducted by Arthur Hammond (1904-1991) who joined the company in 1928, but by 1936 was working at Covent Garden. Imperial records were produced by the Crystalate company from 1920 to 1934, probably placing this record in the early 1930s. None of the soloists are named, but are likely to be Carl Rosa regulars of the period (but probably not among the top rank singers who were contracted to other recording companies.)

Wagner – Lohengrin – Vocal Selection
Arthur Hammond, Carl Rosa Orchestra, Carl Rosa Opera Company

Wagner – Lohengrin – vocal selection – Carl Rosa Co, Hammond

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

Imperial Z 115
Matrices T.I. 146.A, 148.A
Recorded c1931-32


The French tenor Paul Franz (1876-1950) was born François Gauthier in Paris. He did not train as a singer until he was almost 30, but soon was in demand across a wide repertoire.

Wagner – Tristan & Isolde – Ou Tristan va se rendre
Wagner – Le Crépuscule des Dieux – Mort de Siegfried
Paul Franz, tenor with Orchestra

Wagner – Tristan und Isolde – Ou Tristan va se rendre – Paul Franz

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Death – Paul Franz

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

Pathé No.0286 (29cm, paper label, edge start)
Recording numbers 2376, 2494 R
Recorded c1919-20
Disc transfers 8th Jan 1924, 4th September 1924
73.1rpm, 76.5rpm


Borghild Bryhn-Langaard (1883-1939) was a Norwegian soprano, taught partly by Grieg’s wife Nina Hagerup. She sang the Rhinegold Fricka and Valkyrie Brünnhilde in Richter’s English Ring cycle at Covent Garden in 1908.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Elizabeth’s Greeting
Wagner – Die fligende Holländer – Senta’s Ballad
Borghild Bryn (Borghild Lindvig Bryhn-Langaard), soprano with Orchestra

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Dich teurer Halle – Bryn

Wagner – Die fliegende Holländer – Senta’s Ballad – Bryn

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

Pathé 729
Recording numbers 77198, 77201
Matrices 24198 G, 47320 GR
Recorded 1917-18, Berlin
Play in score pitch at 94.4rpm, 91.5rpm


The cellist W.H. Squire recorded extensively for the Gramophone Company and Columbia, with large works interspersed with lighter pieces or arrangements of standards.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve
W.H. Squire, cello with piano

Wagner – Tannhäuser – O Star of Eve – WH Squire

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

His Master’s Voice 7886
Matrix ak 14731e
Recorded 5th January 1912, London


Landon Ronald needs little introduction for those who know this site well. A Wagner celebration could not go by without including something from him.

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Funeral March
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Wagner – Götterdämmerung – Siegfried’s Funeral March – RAHO, Ronald

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

His Master’s Voice D 502
Matrices HO 4434af, 4433-IIaf (3-0529, 3-0530)
Recorded 11th June 1920, Hayes
John Barbirolli is also a name that requires little introduction, and his later recordings are well known. But early efforts like this operatic selection have received less attention.

Wagner – Tannhäuser – Selection (arr Alfonso Gibilaro)
London Symphony Orchestra, John Barbirolli

Wagner – Tannhäuser – selection – LSO, Barbirolli

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

His Master’s Voice C 2293
Matrices 2B 1102-1, 1103-1 (32-2441, 32-2442)
Recorded 25th September 1931, Queen’s Hall, London


The Zoppot Forest Opera ran from 1921 to 1944 in Sopot (now in Poland) and was known as the Bayreuth of the North. Many prominent singer and conductors performed there, though by 1942 when Siegfried and Die Meistersinger were performed, the singers were perhaps not such big names, but still acquit themselves well.

Wagner – Siegfried:
Siegfried und die Stimme des Waldvogels a.d. 2 Akt – Freundliches Vöglein, dich frage ich nun
Zwischenspiel a.d. 3 Akt
Berlin State Orchestra, Robert Heger
Heinz Kraayvanger, tenor.
Cova Wackers, soprano

Wagner – Siegfried – Woodbird scene – Kraayvanger, Wackers, Heger

Wagner – Siegfried – Interlude to Act 3 Scene 3 – Heger

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

Polydor 67922
Matrices 1880½-GS9, 1891½-GS9
Recorded 18th June 1942 “Aufnahmen mit Künstlern der Zoppoter Waldoper 1942”


Giuseppe Lenghi-Cellini, born in Italy in 1881 had a substantial career in Britain, performing in concerts and opera. He recorded extensively for Parlophone, but can also be heard on Regal and Piccadilly.

This particular record has a bad fracture affecting the first minute or so of each side.

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Ah si ben mio; Di quella pira
Giuseppe Lenghi Cellini, tenor with Orchestra

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Ah si ben mio – Lenghi-Cellini

Verdi – Il Trovatore – Di quella pira – Lenghi-Cellini

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

Piccadilly No.5032
Matrices 3556-2, 3559
Recorded c1930
79.3rpm (Di quella pira transposed down a semitone)
Alick Maclean is a favourite conductor of mine, though few of his recordings have appeared here so far. He recorded extensively with the NQHLO, and also regularly conducted the Scarborough Spa Orchestra.

Verdi – Aida – Selection
The New Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, Alick Maclean

Verdi – Aida – selection – NQHLO, Maclean

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

Columbia L 1439
Matrices 75089-2, 75090-2
Recorded 11th May 1922, London
Available from 10/1922 to 2/1928
(Intended replacement on AX491-2; 492-2; recorded 2nd July 1924 conducted by Eugene Goossens II; test pressings made; but not issued)


The shortlived British violinist Mary Law has appeared here before. These operatic fantasias were standard fare for her in the recording studios.

Verdi – Il Trovatore: Fantasia; La Traviata: Fantasia
Mary Law, violin with piano

Verdi – Trovatore fantasia – Mary Law

Verdi – Traviata fantasia – Mary Law

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

Zonophone Record The Twin Serial A 177
Matrices AL 8350f, AL 8354f (Z-047919, Z-047920)
Recorded 8th June 1915, London


Stanley Chapple was the house conductor for the Aeolian Vocalion company, conducting orchestral works, as well as substantial operatic excerpts like the following. As usual, the soloists are unnamed, though I suspect that Frank Titterton can be heard on the Rigoletto selections.

Verdi – Vocal Excerpts from “Il Trovatore”
Grand Opera Company, Soloists, Full Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Verdi – Il Trovatore – vocal excerpts – Chapple

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

Broadcast Twelve 5187-8
Matrices LO 733, 734, 735x, 736
Recorded 1930

Verdi – Vocal Gems from “Rigoletto”
Grand Opera Company, Soloists, Full Orchestra, Stanley Chapple

Verdi – Rigoletto – vocal gems – Chapple

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

Broadcast Twelve 3094
Matrices LO 1108x, 1109x
Recorded 1931-2


This HMV issue of US Victor masters of vocal gems from Aida in English disguises under the heading of “Grand Opera Company” an ensemble that includes the young Richard Crooks as Radames.

Verdi – Aïda – Vocal Gems
Grand Opera Company
Della Baker, soprano
Elsie Baker, contralto
Stanley Baughman, baritone
Rose Bryant, contralto
Helen Clark, soprano
Richard Crooks, tenor
Frank Croxton, bass
Royal Dadmun, baritone
Charles H Hart, tenor
Vivian Holt, soprano
Judson House, tenor
Olive Kline, soprano
Lucy Isabelle Marsh, soprano
Lambert Murphy, tenor
Ruth Rodgers, soprano
Orchestra, Rosario Bourdon

Verdi – Aida – vocal gems – Bourdon

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

His Master’s Voice C 1605
Matrices CVE-13995-20, 13996-23
Recorded 13th July 1928, Liederkranz Hall, New York


In 1902-3 the Anglo-Italian Commerce Company made a number of recordings in Milan for Pathé. The two excerpts here are from a Verdi rarity, I due Foscari, and are sung by an unnamed baritone.

Verdi – I due Foscari – O vecchio cor che batti; Questa dunque è
unnamed baritone with piano
Verdi – I due Foscari – O vecchio cor che batti – unnamed baritone

Verdi – I due Foscari – Questa dunque è – unnamed baritone

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

Pathé 80098, 80874
Matrices 59089, 7555
Recorded c 1902-3, Milan
90.6rpm, 88.4rpm


France’s Garde Républicaine recorded extensively for many years for several companies. In Britain, the most comparable equivalent is the Coldstream Guards Band. These early operatic fantaisies have spoken introductions.

Verdi – Le Trouvère – Fantaisie
Garde Républicaine    

Verdi – Le Trouvère – Fantaisie – Garde Républicaine

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

Odeon 33318/33319
Matrices 33318-2 x, 33319-3 x
Recorded c December 1904

Franz André – Carnival of the Animals, Daphnis and Chloe Suite No.2; François Ruhlmann – Chabrier’s España; Maurice Maréchal, Philippe Gaubert – Lalo’s Cello Concerto; W.H. Squire, Hamilton Harty – Saint-Saëns’s First Cello Concerto; Arnold Földesy – Bruch’s Kol Nidrei; Antonio Janigro, Dean Dixon – Dvorak’s Cello Concerto

The themes this month are the cello and French composers. A number of recordings will fall into both categories.

We begin with Franz André conducting Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals and Ravel’s second Daphnis and Chloe suite. The early 1950s Telefunken sound is generally good, particularly in the Saint-Saëns, with its sparer textures. The Ravel, the earlier of the two recordings, suffers some crumbling of sound in climaxes. Both works receive impressive performances, though the double bass player in Le Carnaval isn’t as secure as one would wish.

From twenty years earlier, François Ruhlmann conducts Chabrier’s España, on a rather noisy Pathé recording.

Recordings of two French cello concertos date from about the same period. Maurice Maréchal plays the Lalo concerto impressively, with solid backing from Philippe Gaubert in a 1932 Columbia recording. There are a few small cuts in the first movement. And from spring of 1926, W.H. Squire plays Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concerto No.1 with equally fine support from Hamilton Harty and the Hallé Orchestra.

Arnold Földesy recorded for the Gramophone company around 1915-19, Odeon in the early 1920s, and again for the Gramophone Company around 1930. Among his HMV recordings were movements from the Lalo concerto, presumably abridged. He was principal cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic for a number of years, before working as a soloist. His cello is now owned by Daniel Müller-Scholl, who has recorded Bruch’s Kol Nidrei on it. It is this work that we can hear Földesy playing (with a minor cut), in an early 1930s Gramophone Company recording with piano accompaniment.

For the final cello recording of this update, we return to the early LP era. Antonio Janigro plays Dvorak’s Cello Concerto, with the support of Dean Dixon and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.

Saint-Saëns – Carnival of the Animals
Ravel – Daphnis and Chloe Suite No.2

Mediafire link for Saint-Saëns and Ravel – Franz André

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

Telefunken GMA 41
Matrices LPO-65330-3B, LPO-36498-3B
Recorded 5th October 1952, November 1950
L’ Orchestre Symphonique de la Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge, Franz André
with Frank Vanbulck and Jeanne Visele, pianos

Chabrier – España – Rapsodie pour orchestre

Download – Chabrier – Espana – François Ruhlmann

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

Pathé X.5446
Matrices N 8689-1, N 8690-1 (M5-50495, –)
Recorded 1931
Orchestre Symphonique, François Ruhlmann

Lalo – Cello Concerto

Mediafire link for Lalo – Cello Concerto – Maurice Maréchal, Philippe Gaubert

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

Columbia LFX 282-4
Matrices WLX 1619-3, 1620-2, 1621-3, 1622-3, 1623-1, 1624-1 (M6-62012, 62565, 62567, 62569, 62017, 62016)
Recorded June 5 1932 (sides 1 and 2), June 6 1932 (remainder)
Maurice Maréchal, cello
Orchestre Symphonique, Philippe Gaubert

I. 1er Temps (2½ sides)
II. Intermezzo (1½ sides)
III. Final (2 sides)

The first movement has several cuts: bars 7-12 of fig 7; first 8 bars of fig 8; from beat before fig 9 to last beat of 10th bar of fig 9.

Saint-Saens – Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.33

Mediafire link for Saint-Saëns – Cello Concerto No.1 – W.H. Squire, Hamilton Harty

(This is an mp3 file – left click the link, download the file)

Columbia L 1800-2
Matrices WAX 1414-2, 1415-1, 1416-1, 1417-1, 1418-4, 1419-1 (6064, 6066, 6057, 6058, 6067, 6065)
Recorded 25th March 1926
Available from December 1926 to January 1940
W.H. Squire, cello
Hallé Orchestra, Sir Hamilton Harty

All sides run at 80.6rpm, and maintain a consistent speed – this seems a rare occurrence for Columbias of this vintage. The work is in one continous movement, though it is divided into sections.

Bruch – Kol Nidrei

Download – Bruch – Kol Nidrei – Arnold Földesy

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

His Master’s Voice E.H. 15
Matrices Cw 303-I, 304-I (single-side numbers 4-047850/1)
Recorded c1930
Arnold Földesy, cello
Helmut Baerwald, piano

Side 1 runs from the start of the work to the first beat of letter D in the score. The second side picks up at one beat before letter E – thus omitting 11½ bars.
Földesy also recorded this work in August 1920 for Odeon.

Dvorak – Cello Concerto in B minor Op.104

Mediafire link for Dvorak – Cello Concerto – Antonio Janigro, Dean Dixon

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

World Record Club T 342 (Westminster recording)
Matrices W 7904-1N, 7905-1N
Recorded 1953/4

I. Allegro
II. Adagio ma non troppo
III. Allegro moderato

Antonio Janigro, cello
Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Dean Dixon

The original Nixa release of this recording was reviewed in Gramophone in June 1954. It was described as “first-class in every way.”  It is compared favourably against versions by Zara Nelsova and Rostropovich.

The original release had the first two movements on the first side, and the third movement on the second side. On this World Record Club reissue, the 2nd movement is moved onto the second side.