Monday, 2 April 2012

OK two posts in two day - this will not last

Well being a bit of a truculent old soul at the best of times its a wonder I can get anything done whatsoever.

Beethoven : Leonora Overture No.3, Op.72b. 
New Symphony Orchestra conducted by Landon Ronald 
HMV 0701, 0702, 0703
[Ac5598f, Ac5599f, Ac5600f]
Recorded: Saturday, 21st October 1911 

This recording was, I believe, the second attempt at a full orchestral performance on 78s, the first, which I have not heard, was issued in Germany on the Anker label in the middle of 1911.

Landon Ronald was the conductor of the New Symphony Orchestra from 1911 to 1914. As musical advisor from 1900 and latterly chief house conductor to The Gramophone Company until his death in 1938 he was the most likely and willing person  to attempt a recording of a large scale orchestral piece in the cramped studio conditions of the acoustic recording period. The records lasted in the HMV catalogues until 1926 when they were superseded by Ronald electric recording of on HMV D1051-52.

I have downloaded the relevant pages of the HMV supplement for January 1912 available from the British Library as it is interest to see how this piece was marketed. Incidentally the writer mistakenly names the orchestra as the London Symphony Orchestra and indeed this recording may well have had a mixture of best players from various London orchestras.

The original 78s are somewhat battered, the first side has about 30 seconds when one side of the groove has been damaged, probably by a piece of swarf splitting off from a steel needle  ClickRepair software has done what it can but I feel it is better to leave the noise in.

I have joined the three sides together into one Flac file, HERE at Mediafire. [about 34Mb]. Score and Wikipedia [Fidelio] entry.


  1. The Ronald Leonora is great to have, and despite the cut strikes me as more energetic and attentive than his electrical remake. Nearly everything I hear of Ronald impresses with the excellent results he achieved with relatively primitive technology. And thanks for your fine transfer, too. It's great that you have this new site -- keep the good stuff coming!

    1. Yup, I really like LR and everything he does and I'm really glad you like it too

  2. Yes, I'll second Peter's thanks, Jolyon: I've really enjoyed listening to this performance. It struck me as a genuine interpretation, not just a makeshift, as such early recordings are so often misrepresented to be. And vividly captured. I'm very happy with your transfer, too. Now if someone would just post the Anker version we'd have a really interesting comparison. Best wishes, Nick

    1. As you ask I fear I have never yet clapped eyes on the Anker version but as a makeshift I have uploaded an earlier version yet, if not exactly a full orchestra it pretty good all the same, Jols