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

Historic recordings remastered. Not a sales list!

Waltzing in the New Year – Krips, Scotney and Bertin

Following the Christmas festivities, I like to ring in the new year with the Strausses. To that end, here are three of his most famous waltzes, one in purely orchestral form, one in both orchestral and vocal versions, and another only in its vocal form. The two singers had their Strauss waltzes backed by the waltz song Je veux vivre from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.

Josef Krips recorded numerous Strauss waltzes for DECCA with at least four orchestras, and sometimes with vocal soloists. These are his earliest DECCA accounts of this repertoire.

Johann Strauss II – The Blue Danube Waltz
National Symphony Orchestra, Josef Krips

Johann Strauss II – The Emperor Waltz
New Symphony Orchestra, Josef Krips

J Strauss II – Blue Danube – National SO, Krips

J Strauss II – Emperor – New SO, Krips

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

DECCA LW 5011 (10″ LP)
Matrices TRL 29-1A, 30-1B
Transfers from original 78rpm matrices AR 11669, 11670 (Blue Danube), AR 12162, 12163 (Emperor)
Recorded 17th October 1947 (Blue Danube) and 7th April 1948 (Emperor), Kingsway Hall, London

DECCA attempted to record both waltzes during the 1947 session, but only the Blue Danube was completed. By the time the next sessions came round, the contract with the National Symphony Orchestra had expired, so the New Symphony Orchestra were called on instead. The LP sleeve however references only the earlier orchestra. The two sides of each recording were transferred to the 33rpm matrices at inconsistent speeds, necessitating a drop in speed of about 0.3rpm halfway through each waltz (at the side join).

The Australian soprano Evelyn Scotney (1896-1967), after early studies in her homeland, was heard by the great Nellie Melba and dispatched to Paris to study with Mathilde Marchesi. She later had lessons from Tosti in London. Her career took in the Boston Opera House, the Metropolitan in New York (with Caruso) and in the UK in the 1920s.

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre
Johann Strauss II – Blue Danube Waltz (in Italian)
Evelyn Scotney,
soprano
Aeolian Orchestra

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre – Scotney

J Strauss II – Blue Danube – Scotney

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

Aeolian Vocalion A-0213
Matrices AM 8480, 10581
Recorded c1923, London
Play at 77.3rpm

The French soprano Suzanne-Marie Bertin recorded in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Several operetta sides have been reissued by Symposium, and her recording of a Reynaldo Hahn song can be heard on Youtube. This Piccadilly recording however sees her firmly in the coloratura repertoire.

Johann Strauss II – Blue Danube Waltz (in Italian)
Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre
Suzanne-Marie Bertin,
soprano
with Orchestra

J Strauss II – Reves du Printemps – Bertin

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre – Bertin

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

Piccadilly No.5018
Matrices 1867-2, 1868
Recorded c1930, London
Play at 77.8rpm

Strauss (and Ivanovici) for the New Year

As ever I like to ring in the New Year with a nod in the direction of a Viennese New Year’s Day Concert.

France’s Garde Républicaine returns with two pieces with a Danube theme.

Iosif Ivanovici – Flots du Danube (Valse)
Johann Strauss II – Le Beau Danube Bleu
Garde Républicaine

Ivanovici – Flots du Danube ( Donauwellen) – Valse – Garde Républicaine

Johann Strauss II – Le Beau Danube Bleu – Garde Républicaine

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

Odeon 3814/6483
Matrices 3814-4 x, 6483 x (P 2279)
Recorded January 1906
74.2rpm playing in F minor and E flat major at A435

The next two sides are classics of the gramophone, though my copies aren’t the best.
Johann II Strauss – Die Fledermaus – Mein Herr Marquis; Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande
Orchestra, Karl Alwin
Elisabeth Schumann, soprano

Johann Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Mein Herr Marquis – Schumann

Johann Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande – Schumann

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

HMV E 545
Matrices Bb 12008-I, BV 614-III (7-43097, 30-1473)
Recorded 11th November 1927, Studio C, Small Queen’s Hall, London; 6th September 1929, Mittlerer Konzerthaussaal, Vienna
76.3rpm, 76.5rpm

The final Strauss of the day celebrates his sesquicentennial anniversary this year, and is represented by his best known waltz.

Richard Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier – Waltz
Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Leo Blech

R Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier – Waltz – Blech

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

His Master’s Voice C 1819
Matrices CLR 4851-II, 4852-II (4-040730/1)
Recorded 12th December 1928, Berlin
74.2rpm

Works by Lumbye, Warschawsky, Kremer and Waldteufel on early Gramophone Concert records; Chimes and sounds of London, with Stanley Roper, organ

Here in London, it’s traditional that the chiming of Big Ben rings in the New Year. The following recordings, from November 1926, includes that distinctive bell, and other bells of Westminster, together with Stanley Roper playing the organ of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster.

St. Margaret’s Chimes, Westminster. “O God, our help in ages past”
Impressions of London (Westminster). Actual recording of BIG BEN and traffic noises. St. Margaret’s Chimes and Organ (“The Old 100th”)

Stanley Roper, organ

St Margaret’s Chimes. “O God, our help” – Roper

Impressions of London. “The Old 100th” – Roper

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

His Master’s Voice B 2398
Matrices BR 868-III, 869-I (9764, 9765)
Recorded 24th November 1926, St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, London

New Year’s Day itself brings the concert from Vienna, with waltzes, polkas, galops and so on, usually by the Strauss family. The four recordings presented here are dances of the same type, but by a wider range of composers, and ensembles.

Warschawsky (or Vasily S. Varshavsky) recorded for a number of different labels (Beka, Columbia, Favorite, Gramophone Co., Zonophone) with his “Harmonia Orchestra”. This was in fact an accordion ensemble. He conducted accompaniments for choirs and solos. More details can be found at Russian Records.

Warschawsky Polka
W. Warschawsky’s Orchester

Warschawsky Polka

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

G&T Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-20596
Matrix 1556z (20596 II)
Recorded 1903, Moscow

This plays in G major at 78rpm (with concert pitch of A440). My copy of this record is very worn, particularly at the start.

Chris Chapman was an American percussionist who recorded for Victor from 1905 to 1909, playing mainly bells or xylophone. In this recording he plays a Gavotte by Charles W Kremer, about whom I can find no further information. This is the only recording of one of his works to appear in the Victor acoustic catalogues.

Charles W Kremer – Southern Girl Gavotte
Chris Chapman, bells with Orchestra

Kremer – Southern Girl Gavotte – Chris Chapman

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

Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-9383
Matrix B-4764 (Victor master – English pressing gives A4764 (9383 IV))
Recorded 5th August 1907

This plays in F major at 78rpm.

Although named on the label as “Clarkes London Concert Band,” this recording was issued in the French catalogue as being played  by the Musique de la Garde Républicaine, and its use of the o-series matrix number also suggests a French recording.

Waldteufel – Toujours ou jamais Waltz
“Clarkes London  Concert Band” – Musique de la Garde Républicaine

Waldteufel – Toujours ou jamais – Garde Republicain (G flat major)
Waldteufel – Toujours ou jamais – Garde Republicaine (G major)

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

G&T Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-2-145
Matrix 4397o (2-145)
Recorded 1904-5, Paris

Curiously, after the end of the Waldteufel, there is a gap in the grooves, and then another track – a few seconds of a steady single note on a trumpet.

The French military had already adopted diapason normal by this time and this recording plays in G flat major at 75.9rpm. At this speed, this trumpet tone appears as A440. A speed of around 80.4rpm would put the work in G major, with the test tone as a B flat, this would put result in many of the transposing instruments playing in A major and E major, which may be less likely than playing in A flat major and E flat major. However, I’ve provided transfers at both pitches, and leave it to the listener to decide which sounds more likely. The original orchestral key of E major is unfeasible!

As with the Warschawsky, there is a great deal of wear and distortion, particularly near the start of this record.

The label for the following record of music by Lumbye names “Elite Orkester”, then København, Danish Orchestra. However, the matrix listings name the Black Diamonds Band, the Gramophone Company’s house band. At the same session they recorded several other works by Lumbye, Lund, Eriksen and Wenrich, likely for the Danish catalogue.

H.C. Lumbye – Salut for August Bournonville, Galop
“Elite Orkester” – Black Diamonds Band

Lumbye – Salut for August Bournonville – Black Diamonds Band

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

Gramophone Concert Record V.*70659
Matrix 11414e (V*70659)
Recorded 4th March 1910, London

On the basis that standard military band pitch at the time was A452, I’ve transferred this at 80rpm, which puts it in B flat for this pitch standard. The original orchestral version is in D, which would give a turntable speed which is unfeasibly fast for Gramophone records of this period. It would however give the piece at a speed comparable to modern recordings of this galop!

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