Albert Coates’s birthday

Albert Coates’s birthday

This year for the anniversary of Albert Coates’s birth I’ve selected several discs conducted by Coates (and a couple of related items not conducted by Coates.)

To begin with, two of Coates’s less familiar recordings. In 1932 Coates two movements from Handel organ concertos, played by Herbert Dawson on the organ of Kingsway Hall. These were issued on the 10 inch DA 1261. Dawson ornaments the solo line quite nicely in places. The orchestra for the session was 14 first violins, 12 seconds, 8 violas, 8 cellos, 4 basses, 1 piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 oboes, 1 cor anglais, 2 bassoons, 1 contra-bassoon, 4 horns, 1 bass clarinet, 3 trumpets, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, tuba, timpani, harp, 3 percussion. The full array of woodwind and percussion did not feature in the Handel pieces, but was reserved for Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance of the Tumblers and the Bach-Holst Fugue in G.

Handel – Organ Concerto No.7 – IV. Bourrée – Dawson, LSO, Coates

Handel – Organ Concerto No.13 – II. Allegro (Cuckoo and Nightingale) – Dawson, LSO, Coates

His Master’s Voice DA 1261
Matrices 0B 1582-II, 0B 1583-II (side numbers 30-8479, 30-8480)
Recorded 20th February 1932, Kingsway Hall, London
London Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates
Herbert Dawson, organ

Coates’s recordings from Tristan and Isolde are little known, apart from the love duet from Act 2, with Leider and Melchior. Coates did in fact record other excerpts from all 3 acts, including this 1926 account of the Prelude to Act 1.

Wagner – Tristan und Isolde – Prelude Act 1 – Coates

His Master’s Voice D 1107
Matrices CR 144-I, CR 145-I (side numbers 4-0791, 4-0792)
Recorded 25th January 1926, Queen’s Hall, London
Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates

Last year I shared Coates’s acoustic excerpts from “The Rhinegold”, and this year we move to Siegfried. This opera merited four double-sided records, His Master’s Voice D700 to D702 taking in scenes from all three acts (conducted by Coates except for side 2 by Goossens and side 4 by Pitt), and DB441 providing scenes from the start of Act 3 with Coates conducting for Clarence Whitehill. There was also a double-sided record of the Forest Murmurs conducted by Percy Pitt on D561.

I have transferred the first of these from its French issue as W568.

The first excerpt is described on the label as “Siegfried – Act 1 – Siegfried forges the sword (Finale)”. This is a rather trimmed down account of the forging, shorn of Mime’s contributions. In the Eulenburg miniature score this contains p327-331, 339 (last bar)-350b2, 363b2-364 (without vocal), 382-392b1, 438(last 2bars)-447 (end of act). Tudor Davies sings Siegfried (in English).

The second excerpt is called “Siegfried – Act 2 – Mime betrays Siegfried”. This is a much more coherent selection running from p658b3-664b4, then 665b1-677, so losing 5 orchestral bars before the entrance of the woodbird. Tudor Davies again sings Siegfried, with Florence Austral as the woodbird, and Sydney Russell as Mime.

Tudor Davies sang Froh in English in 1922-3 performances of Rhinegold at Covent Garden under Coates. This role was sung by Sydney Russell in 1910 performances in German under Hans Richter and Paul Drach. Russell sang Mime in 1922-23 performances under Coates, Goossens and Julius Harrison. In these same performances Florence Austral sang Brünnhilde, so to have hear as the woodbird is rather luxurious casting!

The orchestra for the forging song consisted of 4 first violins, 3 second violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos, 4 flutes, 3 oboes, 1 cor anglais, 3 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 2 bassoon, 1 contra-bassoon, 3 horns, 3 trumpets, 1 bass trumpet, 3 trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 bass tuba, timpani, piano and anvil.

Wagner – Siegfried – Act 1 – Siegfried forges the sword (Finale) – Davies, Coates

Wagner – Siegfried – Act 2 – Mime betrays Siegfried – Davies, Russell, Austral, Goossens

His Master’s Voice W 568 (D 700)
Matrices Cc 1591-II, Cc 2841-II (side numbers 3-0776, 3-0858)
Recorded 30th June 1922, 16th April 1923, Hayes
Symphony Orchestra, Albert Coates, Eugene Goossens
Tudor Davies (tenor) – Siegfried
Sydney Russell (tenor) – Mime
Florence Austral (soprano) – Woodbird

As a complement to Tudor Davies’ truncated forging song, the next disc, for whom the conductor is unknown, takes us back to the Covent Garden English Ring cycle of 1908. These performances in January and February were conducted by Hans Richter and featured the Danish tenor Peter Cornelius as Siegfried. Additional performances of Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung were given in May and June in German, with Cornelius singing Siegmund and Siegfried. Around this time, soprano Perceval Allen (who sang Brünnhilde in the January and February performances) recorded the Götterdämmerung prolog duet in both German and English with Peter Cornelius, then Cornelius recorded “The sword song” from Siegfried, and “The hammer song”, and Anton van Rooy who sang  Wotan in the May/June Walküre performances recorded Abendlich strahlt from Das Rheingold. Further recordings were made in February the following year, some in English and some in German (and one in Danish!) with Clarence Whitehill (Wotan), Minnie Saltzmann-Stevens (Brünnhilde) and Peter Cornelius (recording Siegmund and Siegfried, though Siegmund was sung at Covent  Garden by Walter Hyde.

The recording given here is Cornelius’s slightly accented English version of The Sword Song from Siegfried (“Nothung! Nothung! Neidliches schwert!”). In the Eulenburg miniature score it contains p327-350

Wagner – Siegfried – The Sword Song – Peter Cornelius

His Master’s Voice 02169
Matrix 2489f (side numbers 02169-II)
Recorded June 1908, London
Peter Cornelius (tenor) – Siegfried

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