Georg Schneevoigt

Georg Schneevoigt (1872 – 1947) was a Finnish conductor principally remembered now for his narrow recording career. For Columbia he made the first recording of Sibelius’s 6th Symphony (available from Divine Art and Pristine Classical), and also 8 records of music by Grieg (Peer Gynt Suites, 4 records; Sigurd Jorsalfar, 2 records; Norwegian Dances, 2 records).
Grieg – Norwegian Dances Op.35
No.1 in D minor (Allegro marcato)
No.2 in A major (Allegretto tranquillo)
No.3 in G major (Allegro moderato alla marcia)
No.4 in D major (Allegro molto)
London Symphony Orchestra, Georg Schneevoigt

Available to download from Historic Recordings

American Columbia Viva-Tonal 7128/9-M
Matrices WAX 1214-2, 1215-2, 1216-2, 1217-1
Recorded 21st December 1925, London
Available from May 1926 to April 1945 on UK Columbia L 1733/4
All sides begin at 80rpm and end at about 81rpm
Grieg – Sigurd Jorsalfar
1 – In the King’s Hall (1 side)
2 – Borghild’s Dream (Intermezzo) (1 side)
3 – Homage March (2 sides)
London Symphony Orchestra, Georg Schneevoigt

Available to download from Historic Recordings

Columbia L 1748/9
Matrices WAX 1218-2, 1219-1, 1220-2, 1221-1 (5774/7)
Recorded 22nd December 1925, London
Available from August 1926 to June 1942
All sides begin at 80rpm and end at about 81rpm
Grieg – Peer Gynt Suite No.1
1. Morning
2. Death of Ase
3. Anitra’s Dance
4. In the Hall of the Mountain King
Grieg – Peer Gynt Suite No.2
1. Der Brautraub (Ingrids Klage)
2. Arabian Dance
3. Return of Peer Gynt
4. Solveig’s Song
New Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, Georg Schneevoigt

Available to download from Historic Recordings

Columbia 9309-12, recorded 1927 and 1928.
First version:
Matrices WAX 2775-2, 2776-2, 2777-2, 2778-1, 2779-1, 2780-1, 2781-1, 2782-2
Recorded May 27th 1927, Scala Theatre, London
Available from April 1928 to November 1928.

Second version:
Matrices WAX 2775-3, 2776-4, 2777-4, 2778-4, WAX 2779-4, 2780-3, 2781-5.
Recorded May 24th 1928.
Available from December 1928 to February 1948 (1st Suite) and April 1941 (2nd Suite). The final side, Solveig’s Song, was not replaced in the 1928 re-recording.

It is interesting to note that the re-recordings were made within two months of the original recordings being issued. It seems possible that the replacements were made due to some defect coming to light soon after the original issues. On several of the 1927 sides, particularly in the second Suite, Schneevoigt starts his performances unusually quickly after the record begins. With no run-in groove, this could make it awkward to catch the very beginning of each piece. However, this also occurs in Solveig’s Song, which was not replaced. It is also possible that the original matrices were damaged in some way soon after the records were first issued, and with such popular music, a re-recording may have been necessary to cater for demand.

I’ve acquired three sets of the Suites, allowing me to collect all issued versions of the Suites. It appears that my previous transfers were of the earlier version (which is as I suspected given the source of the recordings – unsold stock from a shop that closed in the late 1920s). Thankfully, the last two movements of the first Suite had matrix numbers in two of my sets, as did the last three sides of Suite No.2 in one of my sets. These allowed me to identify the respective records as the 1928 recordings. Some comparison of labels, recording speeds and sound quality was necessary to confirm which versions of the other items were from 1927 and which from 1928.

There are differences between the two recordings, but there does not appear to be any obvious sonic reason for the re-recordings. In fact, the earlier recordings, apparently made in the Scala Theatre in London, according to the labels, have, to me, a more pleasing sound, with clearer balance. The later recordings do not mention a recording location on the label, so I presume they were made elsewhere. There are variations in tempo between the early and later recordings, and one or two imperfections in ensemble at various points. The bass drums used in the Arabian Dance are quite different between performances.

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