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This mini information magazine on old records is issued monthly and covers many aspects of collecting 78rpm records
As I haven't been invited on to Desert Isle Discs, here are the records I would happily share for ever with myself on my Desert Island.
I must have something by the great Jack Buchanan. How about one of his early discs, And her Mother Came Too? Or Blotto? Or I nearly chose Everything Stops for Tea.
Principal bass at Covent Garden, he made his name as Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, but before this breakthrough did record two 78s for HMV:
Wo berg ich mich (2 sides) ... HMV HS84
Edward... HMV HS86.
From his correspondence, here are three letters, the first from that fine bass Norman Allin, who made numerous recordings, composer Benjamin Britten, for whom Langdon had recorded Billy Budd, and George Baker the fine HMV recording artist.
From Norman Allin (Paddock Road Newbury, April 20th 19xx?): "Dear Michael, You were absolutely first class and I enjoyed every moment of it. You rang a peach of a low C which came down to us as clear as crystal. Your acting too was so easy and natural, so completely unforced. Surely you must have a great career awaiting you and I wish you every possible success- obviously you have worked and studied hard and you deserve it all... This is a great and wonderful life worthy of every self denial... I thought Adele Leigh gave a very fine performance the equal to the many Germans I have seen and heard in the past... Yours ever, sincerely Norman."
From Benjamin Britten (Aldeburgh, nd): "My dear Michael, How kind of you to write. I have had a rather wretched time (with a gruelling month in hospital) but I am home now and slowly coming up to scratch again! I hope you have been well, I haven't heard the B Budd recordings yet (because I have been 'kept in') but I hear that they are very good and exciting! All good wishes and thanks, Yours Ben."
From George Baker on the occasion of Michael's CBE: "Dulas Court, Pontrilas, 1/1/1973. May I, as one of the doyens of the race of singers, offer you my heartiest congratulations on receiving the award of a CBE in the New Years Honours. A well deserved and timely honour indeed. Yours very sincerely, George Baker."TALKING MACHINE SOCIETIES
Before the first war there sprang up societies devoted to the playing of gramophone and phonograph recordings. Here are accounts of some of those early meetings.
Manchester boasted two Talking Machine Societies, which existed in a friendly rivalry, The Manchester Gramophone Society and the Manchester Phonographic Society aka Manchester Edison Society.
On June 12th 1915, the latter society was invited to the former's in Onward Buildings Deansgate for the playing of the same music on discs and cylinders, evidently, though this wasn't admitted, to prove the superiority of one system over the other.
The writer of the report for the Record Society did concede "some selected by the Phono Society would be hard if not impossible to beat for purity of tone." However it was revealed that the Phono Society were at an advantage in that they selected the music that should be played. The Edison Society listed the programme: Zampa overture, Sweet Spirit hear My Prayer, The Trumpeter, Menuett and Valse Bluette, O Paradiso, William Tell Fantasia, The Moon hath Raised her Lamp, Ave Maria, Andante Cantabile, The Admiral's Broom, and Stabat Mater.
There was no reciprocal admiration for the gramophone recordings noted by the Edison faction, rather the writer talked of "broadening the mind," and seemed satisfied with "the pleasure experienced at the delightful result of the phonographic reproduction."
The war was raging, so the meeting had opened with the Russian and French National Anthems, and concluded with the Belgian and British Anthems. It was not stated if these were played on the Edison Concert or a gramophone!
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