Not as widely known as the Discography of American Historical Recordings (although it certainly deserves to be), the UK-based CHARM website offers another outstanding online discography — in this case, of historical classical and operatic recordings. Hosted by the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music, CHARM is partnership of Royal Holloway, University of London (host institution) with King’s College, London, and the University of Sheffield.
CHARM is the perfect complement to DAHR, offering hard-to-find data on foreign as well as domestic recordings, primarily from the 1920s onward. The database includes much of The Gramophone Company’s 78-rpm output (from original file data compiled by the late Alan Kelly), as well 78s and some LP series from numerous other US, UK, and European companies, including Columbia and Decca, from data supplied by Michael Gray. *
The CHARM site includes a very flexible search engine, and results can be downloaded as comma-delimited text (.csv) or Microsoft Excel files. Here’s a small part of the results from our search on Cesare Formichi’s Columbia recordings: .
In addition, almost 5000 streaming sound files are available via the Find Sound Files facility. Sound files are transferred from 78-rpm discs held by the King’s Sound Archive at King’s College London.
Like DAHR and the affiliated National Juke Box site from the Library of Congress, CHARM is an entirely free service, with no registration or log-in required.
* Dr. Alan Kelly compiled the monumental His Master’s Voice Discography for Greenwood Press during its glory days in the 1990s; when new owners pulled the plug, he completed the project on his own, self-publishing the entire run on a set of inexpensive CDs. In 2007 he was honored with the Association for Recorded Sound Collections’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Michael Gray — besides being one helluva nice guy — has had a distinguished career that includes a long run as director of the Voice of America’s Research Library and Digital Audio Archive projects. He served as series editor for Greenwood Press discographies, has written numerous books and articles, and is the recipient of ARSC’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.
FEODOR CHALIAPIN (Albert Coates, cond.):
Boris Godunov — Coronation Scene
Hayes, Middlesex: November 26, 1925
HMV D.B.900 (mxs. Cc 7064 – 3 / Cc 7066 – 1)
FEODOR CHALIAPIN (Rosario Bourdon, cond.): Boris Godunov — Varlaam’s Song (In the Town of Kazan)
Church studio, Camden, NJ: March 16, 1927
Victor 1237 (mx. BVE 26100 – 4)
FEODOR CHALIAPIN (with London Symphony Orchestra, Max Steinmann, cond.): Boris Godunov — I Have Attained the Highest Power
Small Queen’s Hall, London: June 6, 1931
HMV D.B.1532 (mx. 2B 577 – 3)
FEODOR CHALIAPIN (with London Symphony Orchestra, Max Steinmann, cond.): Boris Godunov — Clock Scene
Small Queen’s Hall, London: June 6, 1931
HMV D.B.1532 (mx. 2B 578 – 2)
FEODOR CHALIAPIN, ANGELO BADA (with ROYAL OPERA CHORUS & ORCHESTRA, Vincenzo Belleza, cond.): Boris Godunov — Duet, Boris and Shuisky (Part 1)
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London: July 4, 1928 (live performance)
HMV test (mx. CR 2312 – 1)
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — Farewell and Death of Boris
HMV D.B.934 (mxs. CR 375 – 1 / Cc 10938 – 3)
Part 1 — Small Queen’s Hall, London (relayed to Gloucester House): May 21, 1926 (Eugene Goosens, cond.) / Part 2 — Studio C, Small Queen’s Hall, London: June 13, 1927 (Lawrance Collingwood, cond.)
Chaliapin performs the roles of Boris, Pimen, and Varlaam, in the Rimsky-Korsokov revision of Mussorgsky’s original work. Discographic data are from the Gramophone Company and Victor Talking Machine Company files, courtesy of Drs. Alan Kelly and John R. Bolig.
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — Yet One More Tale [Pimen, Act I]
Moscow: August 31, 1910
His Master’s Voice 022157 (mx. 2016½c) Orchestra of the Imperial Moscow Opera directed by I.Semenov
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — In the Town of Kazan [Varlaam, Act I]
Camden, NJ: January 30, 1922
His Master’s Voice D.A. 100 (mx. B 26100 – 2) Studio orchestra directed by Josef Pasternack
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — Once at Eve [Pimen, Act IV]
St. Petersburg, Russia: November 26, 1911
His Master’s Voice 022252 (mx. 2548c) No conductor listed in the Gramophone Company file
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — Farewell and Death of Boris [Boris, Act IV]
St. Petersburg, Russia: October 15, 1911
His Master’s Voice 022221 / 022222 (mxs. 2492½c / 2493c) No conductor listed in the Gramophone Company file