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Music from the Disc, Evening Post, Volume CXI, Issue 74, 27 March 1926
Music from the Disc
The new arrivals from H.M.V. this month include; in addition to a splendid recording of Wagner's Festival opera, "Parsifal," a number of excellent discs. The favourite, "0, Sole Mio," is sung by Tito Schipa, the companion number being two traditional airs, "La Farfalletta" and "La Girometta." "0, Sole Mio," is v song that hWs attracted many of the world's greatest singers, including the immortal Caruso himself. Schipa not only is the possessor of a voice and a technique that secure him a place apart even in a generation so rich in fine tenors as our ■own, but he has interpretative powers that may without exaggeration be described as unique. This is especially true in Jilie matter of rhythm, that first essential of musical art. It is the making of the two little songs on the other side of the disc. "La Farfalletta" means "The Butterfly"; the strange hesitations, the. sudden darts, the characteristic movements of the most graceful of insects, all are suggested by Schipa's subtle rhythm, and the result is not only a marvel of artistry but a revelation of sparkling loveliness. One of the most popular of the lighter pieces played by the Regimental Band of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at the Dunedin Exhibition was the "Poem" of Fibich, with its suggestion of the slow and dreamy waltz. This little favourite, the work of a living but now old Czechoslovak composer, is perfectly played by the J. H. Squire Celeste Octette, recording exclusively for Columbia. It was also played here in New Zealand as a violin solo by Tovanovitch Bratza, another Columbia artist. On the reverse of this popular, piece is another that seems to have become a fixture in English melodies that endure, "Love's Old Sweet Song." In the recording _of these pieces some different technical process seems to have been'tried, for the richness of tone in both of them is a strong feature, especially the 'cello solo in '' Love's Old Sweet Song." Aiken's setting of the fine old Shakespearian song, "Sigh No More, Ladies," and Howard Fisher's "Spanish Gold" and George Baker's contribution to this month's baritone section. "Spanish Gold'"' is a stirring ballad that is sure to become a universal favourite. George Baker obtains the effect in the best way possible, by a strong emphasis on the , rhythm. In "Sigh No More, Ladies," he adopts different means and gives us such an inspired piece' of pure singing that he easily persuades us that this music of Aiken's to the famous poem is fully equal to that of the better known setting.
Two well-played examples of the lighter forms of classical music will be found on the latest of the Cherniavsky's records for Columbia of Dvorak's "Danse Slav," in E minor, and the "Valse Triste" of Sibelius. As pieces they form an excellent contrast, and the accomplished trio —Leo (violin), Mischel ('cello), and Jan (pianoforte) handle them with all the musical skill and artistic feeling of which they are capable. Those are excellent records with which to begin to build up a collection of the lesser classics.
Stanley Holloway and Melville Gideon are the " co-optimistß" in two excellent discs from H.M.V. this month. It would require very confirmed pessimism to enable anyone to resist the charm of the "Co-optimists.^' These records will fascinate, for in them is caught something of that air of gaiety which was a major factor in the "Cooptimists" popularity. The songs as here presented by two of the company, are representative. Melville Gideon appears as a singer, an accompanist, and as a composer, and as he does all three on one record you will find it full measure! No one can sing the sort of songs Gideon sings in quite the same, whimsical manner, any more than Stanley Holloway can be approached in his own particular style. These two re-_ cords are brightly sung and are really tuneful, fitting companions of that wonderful record of Melville Gideon's "You Forgot to Remember" (B. 2119), issued previously.
Travellers returning from holidays in Australia report well of "Katja the Dancer," and hopes are high here that it will como to New Zealand. That is for the high theatrical authorities to decide; but there is nothing to prevent a foretaste of the attractive music. This is liberally provided for by Columbia in its records from the original Gaiety Theatre artists, those who have made the play the huge success it is, and created the Australian interest in "Katja." "Just for a Night" and "Leander" are to be obtained as fox trots recorded from a brilliant performance by the Hannan Dance Band. The original Gaiety stars, Ivy Tresaud, Gene Gerrard, Lilian Davies, Reno Mallory, Bobbie Comber, and Gregory Strand, have all recorded for Columbia in gems from "Katja," and a spirited orchestral selection has been -written and arranged for the Gaiety Theatre Orchestra, l>y its conductor, Arthur Wood.
The Grcsham Singers should be welcome in their newly-arrived records of "Lassie o' Mine" (E. J. Walt) and "Piccaninny Lullaby" (Macv). Them is nothing abstruse about these two part songs, whose titles give a fair indication of their contents. Thf uncompromising "high-brow" will pass them by, but the uncompromising "highbrow" is a very rare bird.and those less haughty (but not necessarily less musical) will extract much pleasure from these simple settings of simple words and from the masterly singing. The way in which the melody of the '' Piccaninny Lullaby is thrown from one voice to another may perhaps be singled out as a particularly engaging feature of the rendering. Frenchman as he was in body, soul, spirit, and predilietion, Massemet'was able to interpret the spirit of the Spanish dance to perfection. Thia is made perfectly plain in his ballet music to hiß opera "Le Cid." Two of these by turns exciting and alluring dances are finely recorded by Columbia from a performance of the Queen's Hall Orchestra, Sir Henry Wood conducting. The dances are "La Castillane" and "l'Aragonaiss." Traces of the East are discernible in the music, and Massenet was not the man to miss this obvious influerice over most Spanish music. • De Groot and the Piccadilly Orchestra in Coleridge-Taylor's "Yetito Suite de Concert" (No. 1), "La Caprice de Nannette" (No. 2), and "Demande et Response," are very enjoyable. This very characteristic "Suite" is one of the many, charming examples of light music from the pen of the composer of "Hiawatha." De Groot's record of it. adds another to the list of his happy inspirations and the addition of the clarinet to his usual orchestral forces leads in particular to some delightful effects, notably the sole near the beginning of the second side.
Of "Martial Moments" by the band of the Coldstroam Guards (just arrived) it is said: "One of the most remarkable facts that emerged as a result of the recent army manoeuvres was the magnificent marching powers of tho troops engaged. Listening to this splendid record we can easily understand it; when a fine band plays with such tremendous rhythm as this it is hardly possible to keep still."
Vienna was always the home of dance music, and it Mill leads the Continent in this respect. Admirable examples of waltzes, played by the Geiger Dance Orchestra, are among the latest issues from Columbia studios. They are entitled "On the Beautiful Green Narenta" (Komzak) and "Moonlight on the Alster" (Tetras). These waltzes, both on the one record, should be heard in the audition 'chamber, for they afford a welcome variation from t*lie strenuous dance music of the moment.
The Court Symphony Orchestra can always be relied upon for sound performances of the. lighter operatic masterpieces. It has just been recorded by Columbia in the overture to "Cavalleria Rusticana," of which it gives a sympathetic and competent interpretation. This record is warmly recommended to possessors of vocal se-
lections from "Cavalleria" and instrumental records of the "Intermezzo," and 'other outstanding arias in the work.
Columbia is not neglecting tho interest of the little ones. No well-equip-ped nursery or playroom is without its gramophone, and cabinet of records. "The Inkwell Fairy" is one of the latest works to issue from the Columbia ateliers. It is in six parts and describes "the Journey to Jungletown," "The Jazz Band," "In Toyland," and "Bobbie, Joan, and the Fairy." Billy Grey is very successful in his description of the fairy adventures. "Tell me another story," that most imperious yet irresistible request can be met by turning on some section of the "Inkwell Fairy." Besides, the "Jazz Band" and some other records in this series will amuse the grown-ups as well as the little ones. Negro spirituals appear in the latest budget of new H.M.V. records. The sin°ers are Paul Robeson and Lawrence Brown, and the numbers "Bye and Bye" and "Were You There?" Bobeson is one of the foremost negro actors of the day, and his fine bass voice, of exceptionally rich timbre, is heard to wonderful advantage in these two negro spirituals. The negro spiritual is really based on the Afrfican negro folk songs, sophisticated by the American negro, and used in the white heat of his, religious fervour as a vehicle to express his emotions. There is rhythm and melody in these two spirituals that Robeson has recorded which'you will find particularly attractive. . Jim Miller and Charlie Farrell present (with mondola and guitar accompaniment), "Hay, Hay, Farmer Gray " and "By the Light of the Stars." "Hay, Hay, Farmer Gray" is very reminiscent of a little nursery rhyme we used to sing, but it is nona the less attractive and has a decidedly catchy tune. On the other side is a more dreamy song with a particularly haunting melody—a melody which is the more haunting because of its accompaniment of mandola and guitar. In the dance section of the new H.M.V. list are the riot "I Miss My Swiss," by Paul Whiteman's Orchestra with a vocal rendering on the jeverse side of "The Happiness Boys ; the Savoy Orpheans's "Panama" (foxtrot), and "Hong Kong Dream Girl j and Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders in "The Promenade Walk" and "Cecilia" (fox-trot).
Music from the Disc, Evening Post, Volume CXI, Issue 74, 27 March 1926
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