Historical Reissue Classical CDs, LPs, 78s,
Related Books & Ephemera
Auction Number 147 - AUCTION Closing Date: Wednesday, 18 May, 2016
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(Closing Date: Wednesday, 18 May, 2016
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Section IX: English Vocal 78rpm records: Nos. P1140 - P1197
P1140. EDYTH WALKER: The lost chord (Sullivan).
10” flush black Wien G & T G.C.- 3436 [976x], POM-1902, announced.
A, beautiful copy has long lateral lam, audible during initial inch. MB 35
P1141. EDYTH WALKER: DAS RHEINGOLD - Weiche, Wotan /
TANNHÄUSER - Allmächtge Jungfrau. 12” black Hamburg Pre-Dog
043093/94 (349/355s), recorded 1907. A-, lovely copy has faintest rubs, inaud.;
Sd.2 only has 2 tiny scrs, very faintly audible two turns; Sd.1 label has tiny nr; uncommonly bright labels. MB 65
“Edyth Walker studied with Aglaia Orgeni in Dresden after years of teaching school and singing in a church choir. Her operatic début (1894) was as Fidès in LE PROPHÈTE at the Berlin Opera and at the end of the season she became a member of the Vienna opera, singing leading contralto roles and coaching with Marianne Brandt. In 1896 she sang Magdalena in the Vienna premiere of Wilhelm Kienzl’s DER EVANGELIMANN and sang Donna Elvira in DON GIOVANNI at the Salzburg Festival (1901). She appeared throughout Europe before making her Metropolitan Opera début (1903) as Amneris in AÏDA. Her roles ranged from Brünnhilde in DIE WALKÜRE to Orlofsky in DIE FLEDERMAUS. As Leonora in LA FAVORITA (1905) she sang with Caruso, Scotti, and Plançon, which was one of her greatest achievements. After three seasons singing both soprano and mezzo roles, she terminated her contract with the Met to pursue European engagements. In 1908 she sang Ortrud and Kundry at Bayreuth, and in the same year appeared as Isolde in London. She created Klytemnestra in the first London performance of ELEKTRA at Covent Garden (1910), and in 1912 she joined the Munich Royal Opera and remained there until 1917.”
- Ward Marston
P1142. PERCEVAL ALLEN: JOSHUA – Oh! Had I Jubal’s lyre (Handel).
10” black London G & T G.C.-3673 [8487b], only form of issue, 1907.
A to M-A, bright copy has faintest rubs, inaud. MB 35
P1143. PERCEVAL ALLEN & EDNA THORNTON:
LES CONTES DHOFFMANN – Barcarolle (in English) (Offenbach).
10” black HMV G.C.-2-4013 [11690b], POM-13 May, 1910.
B, very decent copy has rubs & few minor scrs, very ltly audible 3 or 4 turns. MB 10
“PERCEVAL ALLEN’s operatic début in 1908 at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden featured her GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG Brünnhilde under Hans Richter, then again in 1910 under Sir Thomas Beecham. She was heard again at Covent Garden under Beecham as Lia in the staged premiere of Debussy’s L’ENFANT PRODIGUE. She toured in 1913 with the Quinlan Opera Company in Australia as Brünnhilde in the RING. The Quinlan Opera Company then toured in North America where she sang Brünnhilde and Erda in the RING Cycle, Brangäne in TRISTAN UND ISOLDE and the main role in Arthur Sullivan’s IVANHOE. She appeared in Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston.”
P1144. EDNA THORNTON (C): God’s garden (Lambert).
10” black HMV 3915, POM-13 Nov., 1911. M-A, superlative copy. MB 12
P1145. EDNA THORNTON (C): Abide with me (Liddle) [A deeply moving rendition.]
12” dark green Zonophone Z-043003 [8790f], POM-28 Oct., 1909.
A-, lovely copy has faint rubs & minuscule scr, positively inaud. MB 12
P1146. EDNA THORNTON (C): The songs my mother sang (Grimshaw) /
LURLINE – Gentle troubadour (Wallace). 10” black HMV E 248, POM-1922/’23, resp.
A to M-A, gorgeous copy has, Sd.1 only, microscopic dust scrs, positively inaud. MB 12
P1147. EDNA THORNTON (C): One perfect night (Sachan) / Barbara Allen.
10” black HMV E 248, POM-1921. A to M-A MB 12
P1148. EDNA THORNTON (C): Land of Hope and Glory (Elgar) /
FAUST – Faites-lui mes aveux (in English). 10½” pale green & white
English Odeon 66128/66070 (Lx 2199-2/2090-3), POM-1907. A-, lovely copy has
very faintest scrs & rubs, faintly audible only during a very few turns. MB 12
“Edna Thornton had a long career with the major British opera companies, particularly as an interpreter of Wagner. She sang at Covent Garden from 1905 to 1910, appearing in the RING cycles of 1908 and 1909, conducted by Karl Richter, and her roles were Erda and Waltraute. She toured with the Quinlan and Beecham companies, returning to Covent Garden between 1919 and 1923. After the BNOC was established she worked with it extensively. Other roles in her repertoire for which she was noted included Dalila and Amneris as well as Brangäne. She also appeared in the premiere of Holst's comic opera THE PERFECT FOOL at Covent Garden in 1923.”
P1149. ANDREW BLACK: Thou'rt passing hence (Sullivan). 10” flush black & silver
Col. 25120, announced & only form of issue, 1903. B-C, very fine copy has various
very lt.scrs & lt.grey on peaks, thus somewhat ‘hazy’ tops; minor label scuffs. MB 25
P1150. ANDREW BLACK: Annie Laurie [1905 Version, w.pf. acc.].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2328 (2486e), only form of issue, 22 Aug., 1905.
A-, lovely copy has lt. rubs, inaud. MB 15
P1151. ANDREW BLACK: Annie Laurie [1906 Version, w.orch. acc.].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2653 (1907), only form of issue, Jan., 1906.
A-, lovely copy has lt. rubs, inaud.; uncommonly bright label. MB 15
P1152. ANDREW BLACK ACIS AND GALATEA – O ruddier than the cherry (Handel) [1906 Version, w.orch. acc.]. 10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2331 (2489e),
only form of issue, Jan., 1906. B, very decent copy has many rubs, inaud. MB 15
“[Andrew Black was] one of the best male singers Scotland has ever produced, the possessor of a superbly resonant voice, and notably impressive in music calling for pathetic sentiment and declamatory vigour.”
- Herman Klein, THIRTY YEARS OF MUSICAL LIFE IN LONDON, p.468
P1153. PETER DAWSON: Anchored (Watson) [w.orch. acc.].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2467 (8709b), only form of issue, 14 Feb., 1906.
A-B, very decent copy has rubs, inaud.; uncommonly bright label. MB 15
P1154. PETER DAWSON: Three for Jack (Squire). 10” black London
G & T G.C.-3-2338 (2503e), only form of issue, 24 Aug., 1905.
A-B, lovely copy has faintest rubs & very lt.scr, inaud.; faintest label nr. MB 15
P1155. PETER DAWSON: Let me love thee (Arditi) [1906 Version, w.orch. acc.].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2483 (3558e), only form of issue, 1906.
Dawson’s sole recording of this song. A-, superb copy has faint rubs &
2 infinitessimal scrs, inaud.; uncommonly bright label. MB 15
P1156. PETER DAWSON: Hybrias the Cretan (Elliott) [1905 Version, w.orch. acc.].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2319 (2496e), only form of issue, 24 Aug., 1905.
A-B, very decent copy has rubs & lt.scrs, inaud.; uncommonly bright label. MB 15
P1157. PETER DAWSON: The Shipwright. 10” black London G & T
G.C.-3-2797 (9847b), only form of issue, 24 Jan., 1907.
A-B, very decent copy has rubs & lt.scrs, inaud.; uncommonly bright label. MB 15
P1158. PETER DAWSON: I fear no foe (Pinsutti) [2nd 1907 Version].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2791 (9844b), only form of issue, 24 Jan., 1907.
A-, lovely copy has faintest rubs & wee scr., inaud.; uncommonly bright label. MB 15
P1159. PETER DAWSON: The Gallants of England (Gatty) [1905 Version].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2311 (2367c), only form of issue, 27 July, 1905.
A-, lovely copy has faintest rubs, inaud.; faintest label nr, barely visible. MB 15
P1160. PETER DAWSON: Land of Delight / Up from Somerset (both Sanderson).
12” dark green Eng. Zonophone A 128 (7547/49) only form of issue, 15 Oct., 1913.
A-, beautiful copy has faintest rubs & very occasional minuscule scr., inaud.; uncommonly bright labels. MB 15
P1161. PETER DAWSON: TANNHÄUSER – O du mein holder Abendstern
(in English) (Wagner) [1906 Version, w.orch. acc.].
10” black London G & T G.C.-3-2396 (3274e), POM-4 Jan., 1906.
A-B, very decent copy has rubs & lt.scrs, inaud.; uncommonly bright label. MB 15
“Peter Dawson was one of those musicians who resist classification; American singers who occupied a similar (but by no means identical) niche include John Charles Thomas, Lawrence Tibbett, and Nelson Eddy. Under the care of a lesser singer, most of his songs would be mere sow's ears, risible additions to today's concert programs. Dawson's glorious voice and enormous personality, however, make them sound like silk purses, except silk is too fine a material with which to characterize this frankly macho singer. Of other singers I've heard, only John Charles Thomas had a similar ability to take absolutely embarrassing material and make it masterful. Dawson's range encompassed more than two octaves, and his voice remained masculine and timbrally attractive no matter how high (or low) he sang. It's no wonder that millions upon millions of record-buyers and concert-goers loved him.”
- Raymond Tuttle
P1162. OWEN BRANNIGAN, w.Gerald Moore (Pf.):
The Palatine’s Daughter (arr. Hughes) / Ethiopia saluting the colours (Wood). [Deliciously wonderful charachterizations, quite redolent of John Charles Thomas!]
10” PW plum HMV B.10252, only form of issue, 1952. M-A, as New. MB 12
P1163. OWEN BRANNIGAN, w.Gerald Moore (Pf.): Off to Philadelphia (Haynes) / Widdicombe Fair (arr. Jacob). 12” PW plum HMV C.3946, only form of issue,
7 Oct., 1949. M-A, great copy has faintest rub, naturally inaud. MB 12
“One of the leading English basses of his day, Owen Brannigan became strongly associated with the operas of Britten and Mozart. He also sang and recorded a number of roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and while he made numerous appearances abroad, his greatest successes were at English opera houses, most notably Sadler's Wells, Glyndebourne, and Covent Garden. He appeared regularly in concert and recital as well. Brannigan possessed a rich, powerful voice….It was at Sadler's Wells that Brannigan appeared in two important premieres of Benjamin Britten operas: PETER GRIMES (1945), as Swallow, and THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA (1946), as Collatinus.”
- Robert Cummings, allmusic.com
P1164. SAMUEL BARBER, w.Curtis String Quartet:
Dover Beach (Sung by the Composer), 2s. 12” Scroll V 8998,
only form of issue, 13 May, 1935. M-A, Pristine copy. MB 25
"Samuel Barber, the baritone, is a lineal descendant of vocal greatness, for his aunt was the late contralto, Louise Homer. As a pupil of Emilio de Gogorza, Barber learned the arts of subtlety of line and clarity of enunciation to a degree that would have opened for the now-established composer an equal position as a singer, had he chosen that easier career."
- Paul Hume, THE WASHINGTON POST-TIMES HERALD
P1165. NAN MERRIMAN, w.Ralf Linsley (Pf.): Estrellita (Ponce) /
My Message (d'Hardelot). 10” RCA 10-1550, only form of issue, 1950.
M-A, gorgeous beveled copy has, Sd.1 only, faintest rub, inaud. [Most uncommon, especially
in this rare 78rpm issue. If the Koshetz rendition of ‘Estrellita’ is Nirvana, wait until you hear Merriman!] MB 15
P1166. NAN MERRIMAN, w.Ralph Linsley (Pf.): Si mes vers avaient des ailes (Hahn) /
TROIS CHANSONS DE BILITIS – La chevelure (Debussy).
10” RCA 10-1521, only form of issue, 1950
. M-A, as New. MB 15
P1167. NAN MERRIMAN, w.Weissmann Cond.: LA FAVORITA – O mio Fernando, 2s.
12” RCA 11-9793, only form of issue, 1948. M-A MB 8
P1168. NAN MERRIMAN, w.Weissmann Cond.:
ORFEO Che farò senza Euridice / MIGNON – Me voici dans son boudoir.
12” RCA 12-0067, only form of issue, 1948. M-A MB 8
P1169. NAN MERRIMAN, w.Spitalny Cond.: Time on my hands, you in my arms (Youmans) / You and the night and the music (Schwartz).
12” V 11-8813, only form of issue, 1945. M-A MB 10
P1170. NAN MERRIMAN, w.Stokowski Cond. Hollywood Bowl S.O.:
EL AMOR BRUJO (de Falla), 6s. 6-12” S/S shellac Special RCA Test Pressings
for RCA 11-9393/95, POM-14 Aug., 1946. MINTMB 35, the Set.
P1171. NAN MERRIMAN & THOMAS L. THOMAS: CAROUSEL - If I loved you / THOMAS L. THOMAS: June is bustin out all over (Richard Rodgers).
10" RCA 10-1174, only form of issue, 18 June, 1945. M-A MB 10
"Once again, Toscanini provided the initial boost to propel a young singer on her way….[Toscanini] simply liked her warm musical manner and the appealing smoky sound of [Merriman’s] mezzo-soprano. In fact, Toscanini used Merriman in more NBC broadcasts than any American singer other than Jan Peerce….The incisive attack, throbbing vibrancy, and wide expressive range of her voice were probably heard to best advantage in the song literature. EMI recorded her in two LP discs of French and Spanish music during the mid-fifties, records that never lasted long in the commercial catalogues but soon became collectors’ items among vocal connoisseurs. Presumably satisfied with a quiet yet fulfilling career, Merriman retired in 1965, her voice and artistry still in peak condition."
- Peter G. Davis, THE AMERICAN OPERA SINGER, p.453
P1172. THOMAS L. THOMAS, w.Hinschen Cond.:
A perfect day (Bond) / The Rosary (Nevin). 12” Canadian RCA 11-9190,
only form of issue, 17 Sept., 1945. M-A, as New. MB 10
P1173. THOMAS L. THOMAS, w.Maximillian Pilzer Cond.:
CAN'T HELP SINGING - More and more / Any moment now (Jerome Kern).
10" V 10-1136, only form of issue, 4 Dec., 1944. M-A, as New. MB 10
P1174. THOMAS L. THOMAS, w.Edward Vito (Harp): Counting the goats /
Idle days in summertime (Welsh Traditional Songs) (in Welsh).
10” plum HMV B 10238, POM-26 Feb., 1942. M-A, as New. MB 12
P1175. THOMAS L. THOMAS, w.Edward Vito (Harp): All through the night /
Men at harloch (Welsh Traditional Songs) (in Welsh). 10” plum HMV B 10206,
POM-26 Feb., 1942. A to M-A, lovely copy has faintest rubs, inaud. MB 12
“In 1937 Thomas became the youngest singer and only Welshman to have won the Metropolitan Opera's annual radio auditions. He made his début there on 15 May, 1937 as Silvio in PAGLIACCI. Despite success, Thomas decided to turn down a Met contract and return to a concert career instead. In 1941, he made one exception to his abdandonment of the opera stage, when he sang the title rôle in Walter Damrosch's opera CYRANO, after Ezio Pinza had withdrawn from the production less than a month before the opening night. At his career’s peak, Thomas sang 60 concerts a year in the United States and further afield in Canada, Wales, England, Germany, and Australia, as well as performing on weekly radio broadcasts, one of the highest paid concert artists in the United States.”
- Ned Ludd
P1176. ELLEN BEACH YAW: LES NOCES DE JEANNETTE – Au bord du chemin (Massé)/ LE TIMBRE D’ARGENT – Le bonheur est chose légère (Saint-Saëns).
12” mauve & gold HMV AGSB 202, POM-1907,
Sd.2 from Unpublished Matrix. MINT MB 8
P1177. ELLEN BEACH YAW: LUCIA – Ardon gl’incensi (‘Take’ 2).
12" S/S vinyl pressing of C4834-2, POM-25 Sept., 1907,
from Unpublished Matrix. MINT MB 25
P1178. ELLEN BEACH YAW: LA PERLE DU BRÉSIL – Charmant oiseau /
LUCIA – Ardon gl’incensi (‘Take’ 1). 12” mauve & gold HMV AGSB 66,
POM-1907, both from Unpublished Matrices. MINT MB 12
“Ellen Beach Yaw was an American coloratura soprano, best known for her concert singing career. She had an extraordinary vocal range and could produce unusually high notes. Known as ‘Lark Ellen’ or ‘The California Nightingale’, she was reportedly the only known soprano of her era who could sing and sustain the D above high D. She was also able to trill in major thirds or fifths (trills usually involve rapidly alternating notes over an interval of a minor or major second).In 1898 and 1899, Yaw was singing in private concerts in London, and at one of these she so impressed Sir Arthur Sullivan that he prevailed upon the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company to cast her as the Sultana Zubedyah in his comic opera THE ROSE OF PERSIA, which opened on 29 November, 1899 at the Savoy Theatre in London. Sullivan went so far as to write a special high cadenza for her song 'Neath My Lattice’, a cadenza that only she could sing. Yaw gave a single performance of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR at the Metropolitan Opera on 21 March, 1908 (after which she was described by the Met's manager as ‘the world’s greatest coloratura soprano’). Yaw was much in demand as a recording artist, and her first records were made in May 1899. By the time she went to Marchesi in 1900, Yaw had already been touring Europe for five years, her most significant moment arriving in 1899, when she created the role Sir Arthur Sullivan had written for her in his last completed operetta, THE ROSE OF PERSIA.”
- Peter G. Davis, THE AMERICAN OPERA SINGER, p.194
P1179. HOLMAN WILLIS: THE PSALTREE SERMON (Negro dialect)
(Read by the Author), 2s. 12” EL RCA vinyl of Mx. CS 057395/96, POM-1940.
[This purports to illustrate the ‘true Negro dialect of the time of Uncle Remus’ in the form
of a religious sermon.] A-, lovely copy has lt. rubs & occasional mk, only occasionally & faintly audible. Rare, private issue pressed for Willis by RCA. Extremely rare! MB 45
P1180. MORDECAI BAUMAN (Bar.), w.Ernst Victor Wolff (Harpsichord):
An Album of Shakespearean Songs, 6s. 3-12” PW Col.69837-39-D,
in Orig.Album M 402, only form of issue, 1940, w.Brochure. [Mordecai Hirsch Bauman was granted a fellowship to the Juilliard Graduate School of Music during his freshman year at Columbia College in 1930, the first (and only) student to attend both institutions concurrently. At Juilliard, he studied voice with Francis Rogers. He had an exceptionally naturally beautiful baritone voice]. M-A, as New. MB 25, the Set.
P1181. MORDECAI BAUMAN (Bar.), w.Elie Siegmeister (Pf.):
The Strange Funeral in Braddock (Acc. by the Composer), 2s.
12” lime green New Music Quarterly 645/46, only form of issue, 1935-37. M-A MB 15
“…composed by Elie Siegmeister to a poem by Mike Gold, the piece featured vocalist Mordecai Bauman and Siegmeister’s own piano; the subject matter is the horrible factory death of a steel worker reflecting on his homeland and family in the moments leading up to his demise. Bauman, filled with emotional fervor, offered a powerful voice to the poetry of Gold. The music is befittingly angular, with discordant harmonies, striking rhythmic pouncing and a foreboding, atmospheric chordal accompaniment, often in the form of tone clusters. Bauman could be heard making use of the German ‘sprechtgesang’ style—semi-sang/semi-spoken—in many places.”
- John Pietaro, OUT OF THE RED MEGAPHONE, 14 Dec., 2010
P1182. MORDECAI BAUMAN (Bar.), w.Albert Hirsch (Pf.): 6 Songs (Charles Ives), 2s. 12” pale blue New Music Quarterly 1412 (NMQR 16/17), only form of issue, 1935-37.
M-A, lovely copy has, Sd.2 only, faint rubs, inaud. Rare Musicraft Issue. MB 15
“Mordecai Bauman was a politically motivated artist who was at the far left wing of progressive politics in the 1930s. A baritone singer, he graduated from the Juilliard School of Music and went on to introduce many important works of the 20th century. He championed the music of his contemporaries, including Charles Ives, and founded the innovative summer arts school, Indian Hill, with his wife, Irma.”
- Jamée Ard, A PASSION FOR MUSIC
P1183. HANNS EISLER (Pf.), MORDECAI BAUMAN (Bar.), Lan Adomian Cond.
The New Singers: Rise Up / MORDECAI BAUMAN, w.MARC BLITZSTEIN (Pf.):
IN PRAISE OF LEARNING (Eisler). 10" ‘Art Label’ (Communist Union Workers)
Timely 530/527, only form of issue, 1936. [A fantastic document of leftist history.]
B-C, very decent copy has faint pap.rubs & minuscule pap.scr, inaud. MB 45
P1184. MORDECAI BAUMAN, w.MARC BLITZSTEIN (Pf.):
UNITED FRONT / FELIX GOVEMAN, w.MARC BLITZSTEIN (Pf.):
The Soup Song (Hanns Eisler) (w. Lan Adomian Cond. The New Singers, both sides).
10" ‘Art Label’ (Communist Union Workers) Timely 525/528, only form of issue, 1936. [Another fantastic document of leftist history.] B-C, very decent copy
has faint pap.rubs & minuscule pap.scr, inaud. MB 45
“…written in 1934 after the rise to power of Nazism, [reflecting] Brecht’s conviction that only a united front of the working class could lead to social progress. Eisler’s simple arrangement, together with the march-like beat, means it can easily be sung by people without musical training.”
“The above unique 78s include music by Hanns Eisler recorded around the time of his first visit to the United States in early 1935. These valuable documents have labels with beautiful graphics and contain communist songs featuring a chorus conducted by Lan Adomian, baritones Mordecai Bauman and Felix Groveman, and alternately Marc Blitzstein and Eisler himself at the piano.”
- Loeb Music Library, 30 Jan., 2014
“The [above] records made more than musical history, for several significant, socially aware artists of the day contributed the cartoon labels: William Gropper, Phil Wolfe, Hyman Warsager, and Russell T. Limbach.”
- Eric A. Gordon, MARK THE MUSIC, p.114
P1185. MARC BLITZSTEIN (Pf.), w.Olive Deering, Lloud Gough, Norma Green,
Carol Channing, Michael Loring, Curt Conway, Coby Ruskin, Hester Sondgergaard & Martin Wolfson: NO FOR AN ANSWER(Acc. by the Composer), 10s.
3-10” & 2-12” Keynote K508/512, only form of issue, 1941, in Original Keynote Album #105. MINT [Most extraordinary for another rare issue, but NB: 1st disk (10” K508) has a large piece missing! Noteworthy is that this was the second U.S. Original Cast Recording, the first having been OKLAHOMA! This is also Carol Channing’s first professional appearance. Premiered at New York’s City Center, 5, 12 & 19 January, 1941, in a series of three Sunday Night Performances.] MB 95, the Set of 5 disks.
P1186. MARC BLITZSTEIN (Pf.), w.Orson Welles’ Original Mercury Theatre Cast:
THE CRADLE WILL ROCK(Acc. & Narrated by the Composer), 14s.
7-12” Musicraft 1075/81 (GM 321/34), only form of issue, 1938.
M-A, extraordinary copy has, Sd.2 only, faintest rub, inaud.
Most extraordinary for this rare issue! MB 150, the Set of 7 disks.
“When Marc Blitzstein’ came into the room the lights got brighter. He was an engine, a rocket, directed in one direction which was his opera [THE CRADLE WILL ROCK] – which he almost believed had only to be performed to start the Revolution’.
The idea of THE CRADLE WILL ROCK had been suggested to Blitzstein by Bertolt Brecht, and the notorious circumstances of the work’s première made Blitzstein’s name famous across the nation. Set in Steeltown, USA, CRADLE is an allegory of corporate greed and corruption. The production was originally subsidized by the Federal Theatre Project, but at the last moment armed government agents surrounded New York’s Maxine Elliott Theatre, padlocked the doors, and impounded the costumes, scenery and props – even the leading man’s toupee. The ostensible reason for the shutdown was budget cuts, but it was almost universally believed that whoever was signing the checks objected to the left-leaning slant of the material. Without missing a beat, director Orson Welles, producer John Houseman, and Blitzstein rented a piano and the much larger Venice Theatre. Cast and audience marched through the streets from one theatre to the other, gathering more audience members (for free) along the way. Blitzstein narrated the entire piece from the piano, while cast members spoke and sang their parts from seats in the house, as they were not allowed by Equity rules to perform on stage. It was reported – by Archibald MacLeish, for one, who was there – to be one of the most moving theatrical experiences in memory.
Welles and Houseman, prompted by their triumph, went on to form The Mercury Theatre Company. Under these new auspices, the production reopened at the Windsor Theatre in January 1938 and played a total of 108 performances. Soon after its Broadway run, students at Harvard, led by young Leonard Bernstein at the piano, staged their own production, and from that first encounter Blitzstein and Bernstein formed a friendship of tremendous musical and personal importance to them both. Blitzstein turned out two more political works, a radio play dedicated to Welles - I’VE GOT THE TUNE (1937) and a quasi-opera, NO FOR AN ANSWER (1941) – before joining the Army Air Force for the duration of World War II.”
- LEC, Masterworks Broadway
P1187. HAROLD ROME & BALDWIN BERGERSON (Pfs.), w.RUTH RUBINSTEIN: PINS AND NEEDLES – Chain Store Daisy / w. KAY WEBER & SONNY SCHUYLER: Sing me a song with social significance (both Acc.by the Composer).
10” red Decca 23161, POM-1937. A to M-A, choice copy has,
Sd.1 only, wee dust cluster, positively inaud. MB 15
P1188. HAROLD ROME & BALDWIN BERGERSON (Pfs.),
w.MILLIE WEITZ: PINS AND NEEDLES – Nobody makes a pass at me /
w. KAY WEBER & SONNY SCHUYLER: One big union or two (both Acc.
by the Composer). 10” red Decca 23160, POM-1937. A to M-A MB 15
“PINS AND NEEDLES (1937), was one of Harold Rome’s most successful revues. It was typical of his work as a whole in that it reflected his concern with social issues. Written originally for members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, PINS AND NEEDLES presented a series staunchly pro-union skits (devised by various writers along with Rome, including Marc Blitzstein). Despite this unlikely premise for a smash hit, the musical was a huge success; it ran for 1,108 performances and was for several years Broadway’s longest-running show.”
P1189. ROBERT H. GORDON Cond. Entire Cast of PINS AND NEEDLES 1939:
PINS AND NEEDLES – The Red Mikado (Harold Rome & Joseph Schrank).
12” red Labor Stage R-2147, POM-1939. A to M-A, lovely copy has lt rubs. MB 15
“PINS AND NEEDLES Opened 27 November 1937 at the Labor Stage Theatre; Second edition (PINS AND NEEDLES 1939) opened 20 April 1939, moved 26 June 1939 to the Windsor Theatre; renamed PINS AND NEEDLES 1939 in August 1939, renamed PINS AND NEEDLES 1940 in September 1939; Third edition (NEW PINS AND NEEDLES) opened 25 November 1939, and closed 22 June 1940 after a total of 1108 performances. Skits spoofed everything from Fascist European dictators to bigots in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Word-of-mouth was so positive that the cast abandoned their day jobs and the production expanded to a full performance schedule of eight shows per week. New songs and skits were introduced every few months to keep the show topical.”
P1190. EARL ROBINSON (T): Grey Goose / Horace Greely (both Sung by the Composer). 10” ‘Art Label’ (Communist Union Workers) Timely 501, only form of issue,
1935-37. [Ultra Rare Left Wing Political Songs with Music And Singing by Earl Robinson] B-C, very decent copy has rubs & various lt. scrs, positively inaud. MB 35
“Earl Hawley Robinson was a folk music singer-songwriter and composer remembered for his music, including the songs ‘Joe Hill’, ‘Black and White’, and the cantata BALLAD FOR AMERICANS, which expressed his left-leaning political views. He was a member of the Communist Party in the 1930s. In 1934 he moved to New York City where he studied with Hanns Eisler and Aaron Copland. He was also involved with the depression-era WPA Federal Theater Project, and was actively involved in the anti-fascist movement and was the musical director at the Communist-run Camp Unity in upstate New York. In the 1940s he worked on film scores in Hollywood until he was blacklisted for being a Communist. Unable to work in Hollywood, he moved back to New York, where he headed the music program at Elisabeth Irwin High School, directing the orchestra and chorus. Robinson's musical influences included Paul Robeson, Lead Belly, and American folk music. He composed BALLAD FOR AMERICANS (lyrics by John La Touche) which became a signature song for Robeson.”
P1191. PAUL ROBESON, w.Count Basie Orch.: King Joe (Earl Hawley Robinson), 2s.
10” purple Okeh 6475, POM-1 Oct., 1941. A to M-A, choice, w.faint rubs, inaud. MB 25
P1192. PAUL ROBESON, w.Charles Lichter Cond.:
Anthem Of The U. S. S. R. / The United Nations. 12” Keynote 1200,
only form of issue,1944. A-, fine copy has lt.grey on peaks. MB 20
P1193. PAUL ROBESON: FREEDOM TRAIN ( Langston Hughes) [Likely recorded in New Orleans for the SOUTHERN CONFERENCE FOR HUMAN WELFARE. A rare single-sided issue related to the early Civil Rights struggles in America offering a poem by one of the great African American poets of the 20th century narrated by one of the great voices of that era.] 10” S/S Southern Conference for Human Welfare (New Orleans), unnumbered. A-, excellent copy has lt.rubs &
few faintest scuffs, absolutely inaud. MB 25
“In 1947, the American Heritage Foundation arranged for the original Declaration of Independence and other historic national documents to tour the country on a red, white, and blue Freedom Train. Paul Robeson recorded a poem Langston Hughes wrote about the train. Although this project was endorsed by President Truman and sponsored by the Attorney General of the U. S., the American Heritage Foundation refused to guarantee the exhibition would not be segregated. Langston Hughes, the internationally renowned poet, responded to the outrage felt by the African-American community about the contradictions evident in an exhibit emphasizing constitutional ideals of freedom and justice which was touring a society where legal segregation was a daily occurrence. Hughes' poem ‘Freedom Train’ was the result, and Paul Robeson soon recorded the piece. Robeson recited ‘Freedom Train’ many times at his concerts, and it was a staple of his public performances.”
- Stanley Booth
P1194. PAUL ROBESON & ERNST BUSCH:
FIVE SONGS FOR DEMOCRACY – Broadcast of 17 Sept., 1940, 6s.
3-12” Harry Smith professional acetates from WQXR broadcast.
[Paul Robeson sings throughout and narrates the entire program.]
A-, excellent copy has the usual foggy sufaces endmic to acetates of this era. The broadcast plays beautifully. MB 45, the Set of 3 disks.
“On radio, Robeson promoted respect and self-respect for black Americans. On programs such as FREEDOM'S PEOPLE in September 1941, and a special salute to black actor Canada Lee on WOR in June 1941, he helped trace the development of African-American culture. When he praised the defeated Loyalist side of the Spanish Civil War on a local special entitled FIVE SONGS FOR DEMOCRACY in September 1940, he made it clear that African-Americans had a duty to stand for freedom. The liberal lesson of World War II was not lost on network radio. In increasing numbers, national series and special broadcasts challenged the prejudices of the past.”
- J. Fred MacDonald, RADIO PROGRAMMING IN AMERICAN LIFE, 1920-1960
P1195. PAUL ROBESON, w. Liu Liang-Mo Cond. Chinese Chorus:
CHEE LAI, SONGS OF NEW CHINA, 6s. 3-10” Keynote 520/22,
only form of issue, 1941, in Original Album 109, w.Brochure. M-A, beautiful copy has very occasional faint rubs, positively inaud. Rare! MB 75, the Set.
P1196. PAUL ROBESON, w. Mario Casetta Cond. Howard Fast, Pete Seeger &
The Weavers: THE PEEKSKILL STORY, 2s. 10” vinyl People’s Artists &
Charter Records 502, only form of issue, 7 Sept., 1949. M-A, choice copy has,
Sd.2 only, faintest pap. scr, positively inaud. MB 25
“On July 8, 1949, former People's Songs Inc. members met in New York under a new umbrella organization, People’s Artists. It was not as ambitious as People’s Songs; primarily it served to sponsor hootenannies and concerts, book artists and encourage songwriters. Pete Seeger, Irwin Silber and Betty Sanders were the primary forces behind People’s Artists: Seeger later scaled back his involvement when the Weavers began achieving popular success.”
- Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, SONGS FOR POLITICAL ACTION, p. 166.
P1197. ALMANAC SINGERS: TALKING UNION, 6s.
3-10” Keynote K301/303, only form of issue, 1941, in Original Keynote Album 106.
A-, excellent disks have lt.rubs, inaud. MB 45, the Set.
“The Almanac Singers was an American New York City-based folk music group, active between 1940 and 1943, founded by Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie. As their name indicated, they specialized in topical songs, mostly songs advocating an anti-war, anti-racism and pro-union philosophy. They were part of the Popular Front, an alliance of liberals and leftists, including the Communist Party USA (whose slogan, under their leader Earl Browder, was ‘Communism is twentieth century Americanism’), who had vowed to put aside their differences in order to fight fascism and promote racial and religious inclusiveness and workers' rights. The Almanac Singers felt strongly that songs could help achieve these goals.
In late 1940 and early 1941 (before war had been declared) rearmament was putting an end to a decade of unemployment; and labor was at its most militant. As the CIO fought racial discrimination in hiring, it had to confront deep racial divides in its own membership, particularly in the UAW plants in Detroit where white workers sometimes struck to protest the promotion of black workers to production jobs. It also worked on this issue in shipyards in Alabama, mass transit in Philadelphia, and steel plants in Baltimore. The CIO leadership, particularly those in more left unions such as the Packinghouse Workers, the UAW, the NMU and the Transport Workers, undertook serious efforts to suppress hate strikes and to educate their membership. Those unions contrasted their relatively bold attack on the problem with the timidity and racism of the AFL.
Almanac members Millard Lampell, Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie began playing together informally in 1940 or 1941. Pete Seeger and Guthrie had met at Will Geer's ‘Grapes of Wrath Evening’, a benefit for displaced migrant workers, in March 1940. That year, Seeger joined Guthrie on a trip to Texas and California to visit Guthrie's relatives. Hays and Lampell had rented a New York City apartment together in October 1940, and on his return Seeger moved in with them. They called their apartment ‘Almanac House’, and it became a center for leftist intellectuals as well as crash pad for folksingers, including (in 1942) Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.
The Almanacs brought to their performances what Michael Rogin calls the ‘alternative, polyglot world’ of New York's entertainment culture, in which the children of Jewish immigrants found new cosmopolitan identities among Jews, other immigrants, children of old-stock Americans... and African-Americans as well’."
- Robert Cantwell, WHEN WE WERE GOOD:
The Folk Revival, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1996, pp. 138-141