The Playlist • Feodor Chaliapin in “Boris Godunov” (1910–1922)

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Playlist • Arturo Toscanini and Walter Damrosch — Acoustic Recordings (1921–1923)

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NEW YORK SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (WALTER DAMROSCH, conductor):
Norwegian Dances, Nos. 1 and 2 (Grieg, op. 35)

New York: May 1, 1923
Columbia 65001-D (mx. 98078 – 1)

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“The La Scala Orchestra was made up of green Italian musicians and we found it very difficult to make them comprehend just what we wanted them to do for record making, and we, the Recording Staff, were not sorry when the engagement terminated… The sailing of the steamship on which they had booked passage, for some cause, was delayed or postponed on two different occasions, which prolonged the recording engagement, as the Victor Company thought it better to keep them engaged, fearing if they had open time they might sell their services to some other recording company.”
Victor recording engineer Harry O. Sooy (Memoirs, David Sarnoff Collection)

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LA SCALA ORCHESTRA (ARTURO TOSCANINI, conductor):
Carmen (Bizet) — Prelude to Act 4 (Aragonaise)

Church Studio (114 N. Fifth Street, Camden NJ): March 31, 1921
Victor 64999 (mx. B 24750 – 6)

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LA SCALA ORCHESTRA (ARTURO TOSCANINI, conductor):
L’ Arlésienne (Bizet) — Suite, No. 2 (Farandole)

Church Studio (114 N. Fifth Street, Camden NJ): March 11, 1921
Victor 64986 (mx. B 24984 – 1)

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For a history of early attempts at symphonic recording, see A Phonograph in Every Home and Recording the ‘Twenties, both available from Mainspring Press and many major libraries.

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The Playlist • José Mardones (1910–1923)

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JOSÉ MARDONES: Mefistofele — Ecco il mondo
With studio orchestra

New York: April 9, 1910
Columbia A5216 (mx. 30417 – 2)

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JOSÉ MARDONES: Mefistofele — Son lo spirito che nega
With studio orchestra

New York: April 8, 1910
Columbia A5216 (mx. 30415 – 1)

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JOSÉ MARDONES & GIOVANNI ZENATELLO: Aida — Numi custode e vindice
With uncredited chorus & orchestra

New York: April 12, 1912
Columbia A5426 (mx. 36366 – 2)

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JOSÉ MARDONES: La alegría del battalón (Serrano)
Studio orchestra conducted by Rosario Bourdon

Camden, NJ: March 9, 1923
Victor 921 (mx. B 27597 – 2)

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The Playlist • Andrés Segovia Plays Bach (1928)

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ANDRÉS SEGOVIA (guitar): Prelude (BWV 926) / Allemand (Lute Suite, BWV 996)
(J. S. Bach)

London (C Studio, Small Queen’s Hall): May 15, 1928
Victor 7176 (Gramophone Co. mx. Cc 12979 – 2)

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ANDRÉS SEGOVIA (guitar): Fugue (Sonata No. 1, BWV 1001) (J. S. Bach)

London (C Studio, Small Queen’s Hall): May 15, 1928
Victor 7176 (Gramophone Co. mx. Cc 12980 – 1)

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Discographical data from the Gramophone Company files, courtesy of Dr. Alan Kelly.

78 Records Playlist • Leopold Stokowski Explains Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony (1927)

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A music appreciation lesson, 1920s style. In early 1928, Victor released a newly remade version of their first Musical Masterpiece album — Dvorak’s Symphony No. 5, “From the New World,” by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski. The original version (using October 1925 masters recorded in Camden, New Jersey) had released on April 30, 1926.

As a bonus, the remade version included this special single-sided disc by Leopold Stokowski himself, which was never sold individually. The new recordings, other than Stokowski’s talk, were made at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. They retained the original matrix numbers (which were assigned higher take numbers), M-1 album number, and 6500-series catalog numbers; however, Red Seal catalog numbers had advanced into the 6700s by the time the new version was issued, as reflected by the number assigned to this side.

At one point, Stokowski contends that Dvorak was influenced by “Negro jazz,” confusing jazz with its predecessor, ragtime (seminal examples of had just begun making their way into print at the time Dvorak was composing this symphony in 1893) — not an uncommon error, even at that late date.

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LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (speech and piano): Symphony No. 5, “From the New World” (Dvorak, Op. 95) — Outline of Themes with Piano

Camden, NJ: October 6, 1927
Victor 6743 (mx. CVE 40401 – 2)
Included in version 2 of Victor Musical Masterpiece Album M-1 (released January 27, 1928)

Note: Victor also recorded a Spanish translation of Stokowski’s talk by José Tablada, with piano by Rosario Bourdon, for the Latin American market (issued on single-sided Victor 6750).

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Discographical data from the original Victor files (courtesy of John R. Bolig) and Victor’s May 1926 Talking Machine World listing.