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 Post subject: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:24 pm 
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Victor O
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Location: Syracuse N.Y.
I am curious to find what was the earliest complete symphony to be recorded. It would of have to be recorded over multiple discs and likely have minor cuts. And acoustical recording had its limitations.

I have the record set on Victor 35243 and 35244 of Haydn's Surprise Symphony recorded with some truncation but essentially complete. Search the DAHR and the Library of Congress has it available on line. It was recorded 12 November 1912 in Camden I believe with freelance Philadelphia Orchestra players.

1912 is before Artur Nikisch's 1914 Beethoven's Fifth. Some provincial European orchestra must have attempted a recording (with minor truncation) of a major symphonic composition? Or did they?

What was done before 1912?

Note that the 1912 Victor Surprise Symphony recording sides were all mixed up. Even the Library of Congress have listed the order of the sides mixed up. The proper listening order is:

C12608 First Movement
https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/ ... e_symphony

C12609 Second Movement https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/ ... e_symphony

C12606 Third Movement
https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/ ... e_symphony

C12607 Finale
https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/ ... _symphony_


Last edited by Governor Flyball on Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:37 pm 
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Victor I
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:51 pm
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Odeon recorded Beethoven’s 5th in 1910. It’s on YouTube.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:46 pm 
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Victor V
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dennis wrote:
Odeon recorded Beethoven’s 5th in 1910. It’s on YouTube.


Incorrect date assigned. Odeon recorded recorded Beethoven's 5th and 6th in 1913.
Those are the first more more less complete symphonies put to wax.

There is for example some things that the Gramophone Co. did a little earlier, but with cuts.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:59 pm 
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Victor O
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I believe the Odeon Beethoven Fifth is from 1913. I have not seen a complete Symphony on the Gramophone Company's offerings before 1912 only shorter concert pieces. It has to be a complete (or nearly complete) symphony in more than one movement.

To me this makes this American recording from 1912 the first complete symphony on record.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:25 am 
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Victor II
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Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
The ensemble which recorded Haydn's Surprise Symphony for Victor also did a similar version of Mozart's No. 41 (Jupiter). I do not know which came first; the Jupiter matrices date mostly from August 1913. Walter Rogers, Victor's studio director, conducted. I did not know that the players were drawn from the Philadelphia Orchestra, although the one disc of the Haydn which I have (an H.M.V. plum-label version) shows that the players, especially the winds, were of excellent quality. There is a Schubert Unfinished by the same performers from May 1913, somewhat abridged on four (rather than the usual six) sides.

It is strange that Roland Gelatt, in The Fabulous Phonograph, does so little justice to the enterprise of his fellow-countrymen in recording orchestral music during the acoustic era. For example, the first more or less complete recording of an orchestral work by Bach (the Suite No. 3 in D) dates from August 1917, five years before anybody in Britain or Europe attempted anything comparable. This again is a Victor recording, with the conducting shared between Joseph Pasternack and Rosario Bourdon.

Oliver Mundy.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:50 am 
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Victor II
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I consulted with a friend who's made something of a specialty of acoustic complete sets, and here's what he had to say:

The first "complete" symphony set is usually held to be a 1910 Odeon version of Beethoven's Fifth, played by something called the "Grosses Odeon Streich-Orchester" without any conductorial attribution. It can be heard here in a truly execrable transfer:

https://archive.org/details/BeethovenFifth1910

The attribution to Friedrick Kark is due, I think, to the fact that this gentleman was German Odeon's house conductor at the time.

The same forces did, one year later, the Beethoven "Pastorale", but I've never encountered this anywhere. Around 1913 followed the same group's versions of Haydn's "Surprise" and Mozart's 39th and 40th, before (presumably) WW1 cut off this ambitious program.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:48 pm 
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Victor O
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It is interesting the assertion of 1910 for the Odeon Beethoven Fifth. I would like to see the exact date as the date remains in dispute.

So far the Surprise Symphony has an authenticated 12 November 1912 recording date.

It is interesting to note that the entire symphony was recorded in one take. Also the finale recording has a distinct mechanical error: the recording turntable speed fluctuates and can be heard as a waver in the sustained strings. Not much thought to such a historic event. It seems that the recording was made as an after thought and was rushed through.

Nevertheless, unless the date of the Odeon Fifth can be firmly established, I feel the Americans can claim the first complete symphony on record.


Last edited by Governor Flyball on Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:00 pm 
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Victor O
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Menophanes wrote:
It is strange that Roland Gelatt, in The Fabulous Phonograph, does so little justice to the enterprise of his fellow-countrymen in recording orchestral music during the acoustic era. For example, the first more or less complete recording of an orchestral work by Bach (the Suite No. 3 in D) dates from August 1917, five years before anybody in Britain or Europe attempted anything comparable. This again is a Victor recording, with the conducting shared between Joseph Pasternack and Rosario Bourdon.

Oliver Mundy.


I will second that. I was listening yesterday to the marvellous Camden recording by Victor on three sides of Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D Major with Efrem Zimbalist and Fritz Kreisler recorded April 1915. My Gramophone Company copy dates from the late 20's which means it remained in the catalog well after electrification.

Credit is due to some of the excellent early American offerings.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:57 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:12 pm
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Well, this thread has given me new purpose. I have for the most part skipped recordings of classical music on 78s, preferring the sound quality of much later performances. But the technical challenges that had to be overcome--including revising the original orchestration--to record pieces of length greater than 3 minutes make these early classical recordings very interesting. I assume a metronome could be used to set time between cuts.

So I asked myself, when was the 9th first recorded, it being one of the longer symphonic works of the Classical period. Wikipedia provided no information. But Youtube did. One recording, a German recording, dated from 1921 (Weissmann and Moerike) and another from 1923 (Bruno Seidler-Winkler). Both claim to be the first by whomever uploaded them.


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 Post subject: Re: Earliest recorded symphony
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:53 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
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Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
As I understand it, Seidler-Winkler's version of Beethoven IX just preceded the one made for H.M.V. with Albert Coates conducting, but technically the former is not complete, since the repeat of the scherzo after the trio is not included. (To play the movement as Beethoven intended, you have to go back to the beginning of the previous side, let the scherzo run again, and snatch the needle off the record before starting an extra repeat of the trio! Much the same thing happens as late as 1936 on a recording of Bruckner's fourth symphony conducted by Karl Böhm.) The 1921 version of the Beethoven has some considerable cuts.

Coates's orchestra had forty players, although they were never all active at once; they included four double-basses who play only on the first side of the finale, so that their role is finished long before the entry of the trombones and the cymbals.

Oliver Mundy.


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