“Red Label” Gramophone Records — Highlights from the February 1904 G&T Catalog

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Many of the records in Gramophone & Typewriter’s February 1904 catalog were also issued in the U.S. as Victor Imported Red Seal Records. Details of those issues (many of which are now quite rare, and correspondingly expensive) can be found in John Bolig’s Victor Red Seal Discography, Vol. I .

Victor soon adopted a policy of replacing imported recordings like these with their own domestically recorded versions whenever possible, as happened with many of the Caruso and Plancon offerings.

You can find more on the early history of the Red Seal in A Phonograph in Every Home: The Evolution of the American Recording Industry, 1909-1919, also available from Mainspring Press.

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The Playlist • Vladimir Kastorsky (St. Petersburg, 1908)

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VLADIMIR KASTORKSY: Sadko (Rimsky-Korsakov) — Song of the Viking Guest 

St. Petersburg, Russia: 1908
Gramophone Concert Record G.C.-3-22817  (mx. 7770 l)

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VLADIMIR KASTORSKY: Prince Igor (Borodin) —
Nor Sleep, Nor Rest

St. Petersburg, Russia: 1908
Ammour Gramophone Record 022126  (mx. 403m)

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VLADIMIR KASTORSKY: Ruslan and Ludmilla (Glinka) — Farlaf’s Rondo

St. Petersburg, Russia: 1908
Ammour Gramophone Record 022125  (mx. 401m)

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Early Gramophone Company recording speeds vary widely; these transfers have not been checked for correct pitch.

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The Playlist • Feodor Chaliapin: Highlights from “Boris Godunov” (Electrical Versions, 1925–1931)

Note: Acoustically recorded versions (1910–1922) are also posted.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.)

Three ARSC 2015 Awards for Mainspring Press Books: Eli Oberstein, Victor Special Labels, Ajax Records

We’re honored to announce that three Mainspring Press titles have received 2015 awards from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Details and secure online ordering are available on the Mainspring Press website.

The ARSC Award for Excellence—Best Label Discography went to Eli Oberstein’s United States Record Corporation: A History and Discography, 1939–1940:

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2015 Certificates of Merit were awarded to The Victor Discography: Special Labels, 1928–1941; and Ajax Records: A History and Discography:

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ORDER SOON if you’re interested in Oberstein or Victor Special Labels. Both titles have been on the market for a while, so supplies are running low (and in addition, there’s recently been a big library run on USRC). We won’t be reprinting either title once our current supplies are gone.

Sorry, Ajax has already sold out (it was a 2013 title — the wheels sometimes turn very slowly at ARSC), although we might consider reprinting this one if there’s sufficient interest — Let us know.

Just Arrived — “Edison Two-Minute and Concert Cylinders” — In Stock

NOW IN STOCK — Available Exclusively from Mainspring Press

ED2M-cover-x5EDISON TWO-MINUTE AND CONCERT CYLINDERS
American Series, 1897–1912
By Allan Sutton

398 pages, illustrated • 7″ x 10″ quality softcover
$49 (U.S. –  Free Shipping)
Order directly from Mainspring Press

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Edison Two-Minute and Concert Cylinders is the first study  of these records to be compiled from the surviving company documentation (including the factory plating ledgers, studio cash books, remake and deletion notices, catalogs, supplements, and trade publications), along with first-hand inspection of the original cylinders. All American-catalog issues from 1897 through 1912, including the Grand Opera series, are covered.

Unlike previously published guides, which don’t list Edison’s numerous and often confusing remakes, this new volume lists all versions — even indicating those initially supplied by Walcutt & Leeds — along with the listing or release dates and the distinguishing details (changes in artists, accompaniments, announcements, etc.) for each. Plating dates for brown-wax pantograph masters and early Gold Moulded masters, which provide valuable clues to the long-lost recording dates, are published here for the first time.

Other features include composer and show credits, medley contents, accompaniment details, pseudonym identification, an illustrated footnoted history of Edison cylinder production during the National Phonograph Company period, user’s guide, and indexes.

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The Playlist • Dimitri Smirnov (1912–1924)

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DIMITRI SMIRNOV & MARIA DAVIDOV (Julius Harrison, conductor)
Boris Godunov — Oh, Tzarevich, I implore thee (Mussorgsky)

Hayes, Middlesex, England: August 23, 1923
His Master’s Voice D.B.753 (mx. Cc 3335 – 1)

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DIMTRI SMIRNOV & KONSTANTIN KAIDANOV (Pierro Coppola, conductor)
Boris Godunov — Yet one more tale
(Mussorgsky)

Paris: June 24, 1924
His Master’s Voice D.B.765 (mxs. CP 260 – 1 and CP 261 – 1)

 

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DIMITRI SMIRNOV: May Night — The sun is low (Rimsky-Korsakov)

St. Petersburg, Russia: October 21, 1912
His Master’s Voice 022302 (mx. 2697c)

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Discographic data are from the original Gramophone Company files, courtesy of Dr. Alan Kelly.

 

Leo Slezak in the Pathé Studio (c. 1913)

MSP-TMW-1914_slezak-patheThe location is probably Vienna, reputedly the site of Slezak’s 1913 Pathé session. The photo was reproduced in the September 1914 Talking Machine World, just as the New York–based Pathé Frères Phonograph Company (the French company’s U.S. licensee) was preparing to unveil Pathé discs to the American public. The company had only recently begun to make its own recordings and thus had to rely heavily on imported discs, like Slezak’s, to fill the initial catalog.

The oversized cylinder master, from which the disc masters would be transcribed pantographically, can be seen at the far right. This photo (along with others taken in the American studio and in various foreign locations) contradicts the popular anecdotal tale that Pathé’s recording equipment was a jealously guarded secret, hidden behind locked doors and never to be glimpsed by performers or the public.