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pga

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About pga

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    Berliner discs, etc
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    Scotland

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  1. pga

    June Honri

    Many thanks! I've now sent him an email. Peter
  2. pga

    June Honri

    Does anyone know if Peter Honri's widow is still alive? and whether she is contactable? I want to find out if the family still have Percy's 1949 recording with Fred Gaisberg, as presented in excerpt with Peter's 1973 book Working the Halls. EMI Archives apparently do not have a copy of the 1949 disc. Thanks, Peter
  3. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    These facsimiles are indeed extremely old, probably dating back to the 1960s, and were sold by the City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society -- I must have got my copies in the very early 1970s. The flexi-disc does not give 'Happy Darkies' (by Arthur Godfrey) as on Berliner 9107 but 'Coon's Delight' (unknown composer -- probably Honri?) on 9116 -- the names simply got mixed up after 50 years. The 1898 original disc is (not unexpectedly) played too fast (78rpm) but the 'recreation' is of course at the correct pitch. As your Zonophone recording is apparently of the same piece, then it might well have been renamed by Honri if he was the composer, perhaps to avoid confusion with some other piece (eg, 'Coon Delights' by Victor Arnold). I hope that clarifies things a bit! Peter
  4. Thanks, Wes -- I've now 'unilaterally' decided on C major, equivalent to playing the disc at a very reasonable 70rpm. Peter
  5. Does anyone know of the music for W T Gliddon's 'The Coral Pearl' (Gavotte) as advertised on the inside front cover of Maccann's The Concertinist's Guide? I would like to know what key is specified, as it's one of the pieces that Maccann himself recorded. Thanks, Peter.
  6. pga

    Raphael And The Matusewitch Family

    While poking around (as ever) I have found mentions of Raphael dying 21 November 1942, aged 56. Billboard gives him as pianist and concertina player, with command performances for Russian and British royalty, as well as vaudeville and movie appearances: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OQwEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT26&lpg=PT26&dq=%22Raphael%22+concertina+hollywood&source=bl&ots=XlXCd2a3E4&sig=PCDWd82L7LgKthE1xeX8tjQ7d14&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwivjcv7uNrXAhXE66QKHZOqDYIQ6AEITzAK#v=onepage&q=%22Raphael%22%20concertina%20hollywood&f=false Note that his name is given as 'Raphael, Raphael' which is very probably just re-duplication of the simple 'Raphael' for the purposes of standardised obituary entries! However his age might rather rule out this being the 'M. Raphael' on concertina in Paris in 1899 -- or indeed on 'marbrophone', recorded the same year, which is why I was pursuing him... He might of course have been a very young performer; indeed his marbrophone performance leaves a lot to be desired! We might even have had 'Raphael Raphael Raphael' -- see the note here referring to his widow Ida Kataeva Raphael: http://streamline.filmstruck.com/2012/06/25/marriage-hollywood-style/ And more: "In 1946, Raphael's widow Ida, married comedy actor Stan Laurel in Yuma, Arizona." This is from a source I can't actually access fully online... "The Stars of Hollywood Forever - Page 1978" It's also mentioned here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5BBsCiUH-xwC&pg=PT60&lpg=PT60&dq=%22Raphael%22+concertina+roosevelt&source=bl&ots=egylrb0ZXG&sig=uguzuovRCH1SJsHHXTBbY7P85jQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj3tLjBvNrXAhUF26QKHQYfDfUQ6AEIQjAI#v=onepage&q=%22Raphael%22%20concertina%20roosevelt&f=false That's enough poking around! Peter
  7. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    New information about Maiden Lane: 'tradition' has it (since 1973!) that the Gramophone Company's first recording studio was 'in the basement' at 31 Maiden Lane -- something that has always bothered me, judging by the two famous surviving photographs of the time. From these two pictures, architects' plans of the building, and two old accounts (including the well-known one by Landon Ronald re Emma Calvé), I have now proved that the studio was not in the pokey basement but in the very large room with tall windows overlooking the street -- on the first floor. My article is in CLPGS journal For the Record 56, Winter 2015, pp.448–456.
  8. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    Well, we now have a confirmation (Gaisberg's boat in 1898) and some new information (the Gramophone Company's Steinway). I went to the National Archives armed with some contrary evidence and after several minutes' persistent argument eventually managed to persuade them that their online database was indeed incorrect, due to muddled digitised images or even muddled original documents. They then had to admit that they would have to order up the originals in order to check, which they have now done, confirming that the online images are muddled (and hence also the database entries). So Gaisberg's boat was indeed the Umbria, as he stated (and as I confirmed in 1995). The Archives say also that Ancestry acknowledge the problem -- but I can well see that the Archives will now be faced with the unhappy task of ensuring the integrity of their scanned image collection online... I also went along to Steinway Hall, and looked at their ledger book for this period: and there it was -- Gramophone Company! Unfortunately (but understandably) it seems that the piano was at first only hired, and then marked as 'Sold from hire' with the only date marked being as late as 1902 and no date of first hire being given. However, the piano had come over from Hamburg in May 1898, so it was certainly available to the GramCo from the start of studio operations. Some remaining doubt naturally attaches to the timing of its delivery at Maiden Lane: it seems to me quite possible that Gaisberg had to make do with the hotel piano to start with (perhaps one already left in the hotel's 'old smoking-room') and so the arrival of the new (hired) piano could well coincide with a visit by Percy Honri, as Christopher Stone reported. Gaisberg would surely have insisted on having a piano of impeccable reliability -- and American, to boot -- and so a spot of 'jamming' could well have been his celebration of its arrival Alas, I think it very unlikely that we'll find anything at Hayes to record piano hire, and it seems even less likely that a change of piano would be discernible via the primitive 1898 recording quality! So we'll have to be content with a partial result, I'm afraid...
  9. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    Well, it used to be dead easy: when I once had the privilege of physically seeing the vast store of EMI's discs while they were at Uxbridge in a large warehouse with movable shelving, they were all in very long rows in catalogue number order. I don't know how they are currently stored back at Hayes, but it would not surprise me to know that they are 'split up'. The archive apparently had some interesting delays in moving because the shelving designed for the metal parts (shells, etc) started to collapse -- the designers had fondly assumed that the loading would be so many tons per bay, rather than per shelf Since I was involved slightly in the original email correspondence on E9105, I gather that one of the problems when looking for it was originally that the archive people were looking for 9015, which should be (and indeed proved to be) a piccolo recording: the KCL information seems incorrect? mis-transcribed? At that time (February 2014) EMI did come up with a scan of E9105, showing that they had certainly had a copy of it to hand at some stage.
  10. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    Oh, I do! I do! ... Alan and I used to correspond frequently, and I sent him lists of corrected/additional info on many early discs: but nowadays contact seems to be one-way, and I never know whether he's reacted appropriately or simply forgotten, amidst the piles of stuff he gets sent relating to other GramCo listings. Apart from (now) old age, his difficulty with these discs is that he (with Perkins and Ward) collected and decoded catalogue and matrix details very many years ago from the holdings at Hayes and he is no longer able to go and re-check things if something like this turns up. Sometimes I resort to sending him a scan, but...
  11. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    PS: re Honri's E9111 'Medley of popular airs' -- I've just spotted an earlier posting on this thread that gives the date of E9111 as 11 October rather than 17 October 1898. I suspect that this has been a suggested 'conflation' in order to gather it together with the earlier Honri session (as there are no other 'Honri' specified on the later date) and it would certainly slightly tarnish my point about E9255 'In a village church'. But the date on E9111 is clear enough -- the '7' might conceivably be read as a tightly malformed '9' or a messy '1' but in fact it matches well the definite '7' in the date (10.17.98) shown on E9255. The adjacency of the two daily matrix numbers certainly helps, too. The title on E9111 shows the additional word 'English' to the right just below 'popular airs', so that the full title might conceivably be read instead as 'Medley of popular English airs'. Wrong and/or corrected/amended titles were not unknown on these early discs!
  12. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    It would be good to find a Steinway ledger entry for around August 1898 -- might be for the Gramophone Company, or some named individual in the company (Williams? Owen? Royal? Gaisberg? Birnbaum?), but anyway for delivery at 31 Maiden Lane; and it would be an upright model. The model (eg 'F') and/or serial number would be good -- and the price, if available... Following an old photo, I have had suggestions made of a Model K, but that was apparently not in production until 1903; the suggested Model F seems also incorrect, but a model similar to those two is likely. I have unearthed another most likely but anonymous Percy Honri recording, a record billed only as 'In a village church'. This consists of (orchestral) bells followed by a hymn, played not on an 'organ' but on a concertina. (This befits the title, as late 19C rural churches often had to resort to concertina-players with the loss of other musicians to city life...) The disc is number E9255, and the daily matrix number is 4, adjacent to Honri's E9111 'Medley of Popular Airs', matrix 3 made on the very same date, 17 October 1898. The chances of it being somebody else on the concertina seem rather remote, I think! The Gram Co didn't get their hands on a reed organ for 'church scenes' until February 1899, when they recorded a few hymns with a small choir (very probably from the RC church just along the street). Lastly, J Collis Bird: I have never encountered his disc, or even mention of a copy, but the Archive at Hayes will have it on their shelves...
  13. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    PS: 'Happy Darkies' is indeed the apparently very popular barn dance by Arthur Godfrey, published in various arrangements. I checked the 1892 piano solo score at the British Library... No sign of 'Coon's Delight' so that remains a tentative candidate, I think.
  14. pga

    James Collis Bird - 1898 Concertina Record

    I am not a concertina-player, but I do know a thing or two about the early discs, so I thought it worthwhile to put in a few 'tuppence-worths' about points already raised -- and I've joined the forum on that basis. The Gramophone Company (by then 'Ltd') became the Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd in December 1900. They started putting paper labels on 10" discs towards the end of 1901 (there are a fair number of 10" discs in Berliner format from up to October 1901 or so) but the 7-inchers had to wait a while longer to get paper labels. Indeed the latest disc I have in Berliner format was recorded as late as early summer 1902, issued that autumn. So being in a 'G&T' catalogue doesn't necessarily mean having a paper label! I've not seen any sign of Honri's discs being re-recorded, so we're confined to his late 1898 output, all Berliners and quite possibly not converted to paper label format. (Any earlier Berliners converted to paper labels tended to become cheap green Zonophones rather than G&Ts, as far as I can tell.) The December 1946 'Daily Mail' article quoted by Peter Honri is, frankly, a bit of a mess: how much was garbled by Percy H, how much by Fred Gaisberg, and how much by Christopher Stone is open to speculation, of course. The name of the 'old' hotel in Maiden Lane was the Cockburn (one of a small chain so named), and the recording-machine was brought over by Fred from the USA, not from Germany. I have no idea who is meant by "the German operator"; the German connection would at this stage have been confined to onward arrangements for processing and pressing discs (in Hanover). The studio piano was (it seems) a Steinway rather than a Bechstein. And 'Happy Darkies' is probably the piece by Arthur Godfrey (1892), not the outcome of a 'jam session' -- it appears on other later recordings (eg by bands). 'Coon's Delight' might be a candidate for this honour, and certainly that is the record (not 'Happy Darkies') that was played for the floppy 7-inch LP that comes with Honri's book, along with the 1949 remake excerpt from the same piece. But then again, they went and played the Berliner disc far too fast, at 78rpm, which makes it a tone sharp! Lastly, Fred did definitely come over on the passenger ship 'Umbria', as he states in his autobiography, embarking on 23 July 1898 (he bought his 'steamer ticket' on 22 July, according to his diary) and arrived in the UK on 30/31 July 1898. Fred and Jerrold Northrop Moore (in his retelling of Fred's career) between them make rather a meal of this (along with the 'first artist' that Fred recalls). But the passenger lists in the National Archives make it clear enough -- or rather they did... Since I saw the physical records at Kew in 1995, the passenger lists have become garbled, at least online and possible also physically, presumably at the time of digitisation. My mother always used to say that you mustn't believe everything you read in newspapers; but it is true also of things online, even (alas) from National Archives, it would seem. If you do a passenger-list search for Alma Hall (also coming over on the Umbria and evidently friendly with Fred for a while...) you'll find her and her mother and some other passengers apparently on two other transatlantic ships instead... I hope that this helps to clear things up a bit! Peter Adamson
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