Landon Ronald – Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (1922 acoustic recording); Thomas Beecham – Berlioz, Johann Strauss II (acoustic recordings); Carlo Sabajno – Elgar (1906 recording)

A varied selection of acoustic orchestral recordings to start the autumn now. Landon Ronald’s 1926 recording of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony has already appeared at this site, so it’s interesting to hear his 1922 acoustic recording of the same work. There’s very little difference in the performance, though the French style bassoons are more obvious in this early recording.

Thomas Beecham has not appeared here before, though his recorded legacy is well known. His acoustic recordings, however, have had little attention on CD. A Symposium double CD issue from 1991 contained a selection of them, including the Fledermaus overture given here, and focusing on material that Beecham did not re-record. The Berlioz sides, superseded in the 1930s, have therefore had limited circulation.

The coupling for HMV’s double sided issue of Beecham conducting the overture to Die Fledermaus is of particular interest. It provides a rare chance to hear an Italian conducting Elgar in 1906. Carlo Sabajno was the Gramophone Company’s house conductor in Italy. Salut d’amour was not the only Elgar work that Sabajno recorded. In 1909 he recorded a single sided version of “In the South”, the first recording of the work (or at least of its final section). In Salut d’amour the extensive use of portamento may be startling to modern listeners!

Beethoven – Symphony No.5 in C minor Op.67

Mediafire link for Beethoven – Symphony No.5 – Landon Ronald

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

First Movement – Allegro con brio (2 sides)
Second Movement – Andante con moto (2 sides)
Third Movement – Allegro (Scherzo) (1½ sides)
Fourth Movement – Allegro (Finale) (2½ sides)

His Master’s Voice D 665/8
Matrices Cc 1812-IV, 1813-III, 1814-IV, 1815-I, 1948-II, 1949-I, 1950-II, 2017-I (single side numbers 3-0798/0804)
Recorded 24th October 1922 (sides 1, 2, 8), 10th October 1922 (sides 3, 5, 6, 7), 12th September 1922 (side 4), Hayes

Royal Albert Hall Orchestra, Landon Ronald

Berlioz – A Roman Carnival – Overture (abridged)
Berlioz – Damnation of Faust – March

Download – Berlioz – A Roman Carnival – Beecham

Download – Berlioz – Damnation of Faust – March – Beecham

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

Columbia L1105
Matrices 6907-1, 6924-1
Recorded 1916
Available from December 1916 to May 1928
The Beecham Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Beecham

The overture is substantially abridged, shorn of its first part. The recording contains bars 78-157 and 255-440 (the end of the work), and is very dimly recorded at the beginning. Details of matrix 6906 in Beecham’s 1916 sessions are not available, leading the suggestion that it may have contained the first part of the overture, which remained unissued. The March from Faust is given complete.

The two sides play at 82.5 and 81rpm respectively.

Strauss II – Die Fledermaus – Overture (abridged)
Beecham’s Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Beecham
Elgar – Salut d’amour
La Scala Symphony Orchestra, Carlo Sabajno

Download – Strauss II – Die Fledermaus Overture – Beecham

Download – Elgar – Salut d’amour – Carlo Sabajno

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

Mediafire link for previously available recordings by Carlo Sabajno

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

His Master’s Voice C431
Matrices 381ac (4360f-II, 0627), 921c (0546)
Recorded London 28th July 1910 (Beecham), Milan 1906 (Sabajno)
Available from September 1915

The overture is heavily cut. The recording contains bars 1-11, with bar 12 changed to unison B rather than E, to lead to b200-208, then b225-420 (the end of the overture). In the run out area of the record, an attempt has been made to scratch out the matrix number 4360f II. This is because 4360f was also assigned to an unpublished Evan Williams recording, This Beecham recording, when the duplication was realised, was renumbered 4360f-II, and later (May 1911) as 381ac.

The Beecham plays at 80rpm and the Sabajno at 74rpm.

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