In this post, we take a look at a few new and newly-catalogued recordings from the collections, including a set of communist songs from the mid-1930s, reissues of early 20th century 78s by the Egyptian singer Yusuf Al-Manyalawi, and a test pressing of a Duke Ellington alternate take.
From among our Peggy Stuart Coolidge collection recently surfaced three unique 78s which 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 six 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. Songs include “United Front,” “The Soup Song,” “The Internationale,” “We’ve Not Forgotten,” “In Praise of Learning,” and “Rise Up.”
Label image, United Front, 528 Timely Recording Co. Record Coll. 78-36632
Label image, The soup song, 525 Timely Recording Co. Record Coll. 78-36632
- United Front; The soup song / Hanns Eisler. N.Y.C.: Timely Recording Co., [1936?]. 528 Timely Recording Co. 525 Timely Recording Co.
Record Coll. 78-36632
Label image, The internationale, 526 Timely Recording Co. Record Coll. 78-36633
Label image, Forward! We’ve not forgotten, 529 Timely Recording Co. Record Coll. 78-36633
- The internationale / music by Pierre Degeyter. Forward! We’ve not forgotten / music by Hanns Eisler. N.Y.C.: Timely Recording Co., [193-?]. 526 Timely Recording Co. 529 Timely Recording Co.
Record Coll. 78-36633
Label image, In praise of learning, 527 Timely Recording. Record Coll. 78-36634
Label image, Rise up, 530 Timely Recording Co. Record Coll. 78-36634
- In praise of learning; Rise up / music by Hanns Eisler. N.Y.C.: Timely Recording Co., [1936?]. 527 Timely Recording Co. 530 Timely Recording Co.
Record Coll. 78-36634
Complementing our collection of original Gramophone “Monarch” 78rpm recordings by Egyptian singer Yusuf Al-Manyalawi, we recently acquired this impressive box set produced by the Foundation for Arab Music Archiving and Research (AMAR). The Voice of the Nahda Era contains 10 CDs of recordings by Manyalawi made between 1907 and 1910, as well as two books, one in French and English by music historian Frédéric Lagrange and the other in Arabic by Prof. Muhsen Sawa and AMAR president Mustapha Said.
Cover, “The voice of the Nahda era”: Yusuf Al-Manyalawi: the works (1847-1911). Archive of World Music AC 43
- “The voice of the Nahda era”: Yusuf Al-Manyalawi: the works (1847-1911). Lebanon: Foundation for Arab Music Archiving and Research, .
Archive of World Music AC 43
Ellington Test Pressing
Next comes another recording from the year 1935. We recently purchased an original vinyl test pressing of one of Duke Ellington’s small group sessions. Take no. 2 of the tune “Indigo Echoes” was ultimately chosen for release, but this was an unissued alternate take (no. 1: matrix B-16976-1). Both were recorded in New York on March 5, 1935 and featured Rex Stewart, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Duke Ellington, Wellman Braud and Billy Taylor. You can hear this alternate take on the Mosaic set entitled Duke Ellington: The Complete 1936-1940 Variety, Vocalion and Okeh Small Group Sessions (Record Coll. AC 36801).
Label image, Duke Ellington’s Sextet, “Indigo echoes,” B-16976-1 Brunswick. Record Coll. 78-36631
We would like to remind those who will be alone on Valentine’s Day that the Music Library will be open from 9 am to 10 pm, and our audiovisual stacks offer a wide array of reminders that the course of true love does not run particularly smoothly. For the Taylor Swiftian who just knows that if you’re nice and helpful enough, your beloved is bound to leave hir current stormy relationship and start dating you, La Gioconda offers a warning (also a reminder that Les Miserables is far from the only bizarre Victor Hugo plot rendered into popular musical entertainment.) Take it from Lucia di Lammermoor‘s Arturo: if she doesn’t want to be with you, she really doesn’t want to be with you!
Found your perfect mate? Sure nothing can go wrong? Otello and his bride might have something to say about that. Elsa from Lohengrin would probably advise you to be happy with what you have and not ask too many questions, while Judith from Bluebeard’s Castle might modify that recommendation and suggest you ask the questions before you and your intended are isolated together in a gloomy stronghold. Does s/he have controlling, overbearing relatives? Does s/he have a problem with drinking, drugs, gambling or infidelity? Does s/he just have problems, full stop? And if you doubt the need for a pre-nup, consider the fate of Elisabetta in Don Carlo: don’t let your prospective father-in-law substitute himself for your bridegroom at the last minute.
If you and your Ms. or Mr. Right are thinking of having kids, Peter and Gertrud from Hänsel und Gretel would urge you to find competent and reliable child care. Asking Kostelnička Buryjovka or Azucena from Il Trovatore, for example, would be a bad idea. Make sure your babysitter clearly understands and follows all instructions. Bandits, pirates, enemy soldiers and other wanderers are everywhere, just waiting to seize your precious little bundle and raise him or her as one of their own. (And if you must split up, you’ll probably want a better custody plan than the one in Medea.)
If, on the other hand, your beloved just wants somebody who isn’t you (and you don’t feel comfortable stabbing, betraying or poisoning them) why not be like two of the greatest characters in all opera and graciously let them go? The beautiful music you get to sing, and the respect from other characters in the opera, might make the whole thing worth it! Happy Valentine’s Day!