18 Feb 2011

Hamilton Harty conducts... Elgar. Cello Concerto (W.H.Squire) & Enigma Variations - Columbia 1930/1932

Sir Edward Elgar:
Concerto for Violoncello & Orchestra, in E minor, op.85     (W.H.Squire, cello)  
Adagio - Moderato ~ Allegro molto ~ Adagio ~ Allegro molto - Moderato - Allegro ma non troppo         
Recorded: 30 November 1930 - Free Trade Hall, Manchester.  (Columbia DX 117-20 - matrices: WAX 4410-7)
FLAC  Mega Download
Variations on an original theme, op.36     
Recorded: March 1932 - Central Hall, Westminster.  (Columbia DX 322-25 - matrices: WAX 5852-8)
FLAC  Mega Download
The Hallé Orchestra  conducted by  Sir Hamilton Harty 
Cambridge Records  IMP 1   Issued 1981.   Transfers by Bryan Crimp: (a) Shellacs - BBC Library - (b) Vinyls from metalwork (penultimate side is a Columbia dubbing).  Hundreds of troublesome 78-surface 'blips' (+ numerous bad edits) have been removed.   Re-edited August 2012
(This W.H.Squire transfer is superior (more detail/lack of muffling/muddying) to the August 2013 'Pristine' dubbing  by Obert-Thorn) 


  1. Thank you! Much better transfer than Allen Stagg's on an old BBC CD.
    May I ask whether you have the LP 'The Miniature Elgar' conducted by Elgar's friend, Collingwood? Only about half of this wonderful record has made it onto CD (The Lighter Elgar) and his way is so much better than most. Many thanks!

  2. There was a 'negative' comment re: Bryan Crimps abilities just recently on RMCR - but he did extract quite some detail in these particular files.
    Yes - I actually have the very first pressing of CSD 1555. A few years since I listened, but recall some superb (Abbey Road) sound quality at side beginnings which wasn't maintained to the ends.
    At this rate these will be British Music blogs (!) - but I did recently mention Frederick Harvey (who sings songs from Starlight Express) was on a Greensleeve re-issue - with various accompaniments.
    Also have the old Collingwood/LSO LP (33SX + MfP reissue) of Nursery suite, etc: but that received a transfer on 'Big 10 inch Record' blog some time ago - but would consider uploading that too.

  3. If you could, that would be appreciated. Then we would have all Collingwood's Elgar, which has barely been heard since the days of LP.

  4. Can I obtain a copy for broadcast on my "The Music Treasury" program at Stanford Univ? I am planning an all-Harty tribute or two. ..

    Gary Lemco
    504 Northlake Drive
    SAn Jose, CA 95117 USA

  5. Hi.
    Well - you can download/use these/this (I could also upload my retained .WAV's) which will - due to my removal of so many 'blip-edits' left behind by Bryan Crimp - be superior to the LP's (also as I don't utilize any 'noise-reduction' other than tedious manual editing).
    Just let me know what you require! (ie|: I'm not too certain...).

  6. The Harty/Hallé Enigma recording is fantastic, much better than the Barbirolli/Hallé. Would you mind if I rebroadcast some of your posts on my YouTube channel? I am a former violinist turned quadriplegic due to a bicycle accident in 2000. I now collect and enjoy pre-50s classical recordings and enjoy sharing the best on my channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/2ndviolinist?feature=mhsn. I have gotten permission from Bryan Bishop, Damian Rogan, "Satyr", Bill Anderson, and others. I give credit and a link to sites. Let me know.
    Doug Tabony
    BTW, what is your name, if I may ask?

  7. Hello.
    I've no objection so long as an 'attribution' is made to this blog (especially as it took rather more than a few hours to make a very substantial number of 'edits': and not just 'blip residue' left behind by Bryan Crimp: - who deserves a mention, too!).

    I retain the WAV files - so may upload them - possibly after another 'editing session'.

    I don't have the time to visit YouTube more than very infrequently: either as 'Tin Ear' - or me: Frank Martin...

    Was only just listening to Beecham's RPO 'Enigma' on Philips 10" LP (have 2 differing transfers) - which seem slightly better than the mid-70's CBS Classics LP: but 'no idea' how they compare to any CD
    I may add some more Beecham generally - but not on this blog, I suspect as most material seems (or was) available on CD; so - only if 'the transfer' is the important aspect.

  8. Will do. Great playing deserve to be heard by as many people as possible in this day of abysmal performance. I will gladly give credit to you and Bryan and always post links. I just took hours trying to stitch together and match the pitch of 6 sides of a friend's recording of the Kreisler Beethoven mvt 1 recorded by microphone from a high-quality original 78 player. The finished product is still not perfect but at least it's not jarring. I really appreciate the work you guys put in. It is an honor to be able to have recordings in my collection I wouldn't have dreamed of even hearing 35 years ago when I started buying LPs of old recordings.

    Thank you,

  9. 2ndviolinist says: "The Harty/Hallé Enigma recording is fantastic, much better than the Barbirolli/Hallé."

    I don't think I'd go that far - in fact, to know just how far I'd go I'd need to know which
    Barbirolli/Halle recording you are talking about: I know of three and, for my money, his 1956 recording
    is the finest account on record.

    1. I happened to listen to sections of the 1956 recording (ie the PYE/Mercury) as it has been offered (for a price) just recently - in combination with the 1954 Elgar Sym.2 (HMV ALP): which I also have.

      I would hesitate to upload that recording (have on 2 LPs - mid 70s PYE/late 70s Readers Digest) which sounds rather poorly balanced/'confused' - and gives an 'impression' that the Halle played with insufficient unanimity of attack.

  10. "I would hesitate to upload that recording (have on 2 LPs - mid 70s PYE/late 70s Readers Digest) which sounds rather poorly balanced/'confused'"

    Not having heard either of those LP transfers I can't comment directly, but the recording was made by the Mercury team (Cozart/Fine/Lawrence) and its (only?) CD appearance, on EMI's Phoenixa label, sounded quite superb. (As does the 24-bit version you refer to above).

    1. It was not '24bit'..

      If taken from LP, the Pristeeny would suffer, as always, from inherently lower resolution: below that of the LP - due to low-level information being removed in 'the processing': further faked-up with equalisation (particularly treble harmonics over the instruments range (say 8kHz) will be boosted by anything up to 6-8dB (a virtual doubling of volume) partly to disguise the loss of information - and low bass will be removed.

      However a Mercury pressing (if used) may be superior: but, presumably, PYE would have retained the original master-tape/s.

      If it was genuinely 'superb' then that could only derive from a direct copy of the original tapes - assuming there had been no obvious deterioration over the years...so that Phoenixa CD may well be the source (it wouldn't be the first time)..

  11. Thank you for all your heroic work. Is there any chance of sharing the Harty Elgar recordings again using another service? Good luck with your current imbroglio. We are all pulling for you. Many thanks.

    1. Ha Ha!! " The Silent Majority" !! ;~((

      Given the sheer number of 'killed files' it's difficult to know what to do, as, whilst Sendspace seem OK to deal with, files are retained for just 30days unless downloaded; and recently needed to re-upload some of the Schnabel/Fournier Beet: Cello files (get 7 days notice of impending deletion) - and am quite aware people preferred to use MediaFire due to far quicker speeds.
      Hotfile is problematic...and there doesn't seem much else that is useable - so am tempted to adopt a position of (a) 'no longer care' (b) 'I'll upload to Sendspace - but then will allow the file/s to be deleted'.
      Getting continuing downloads/traffic also depend on uploading new material: 'The Hamster-in-a-locked-Treadmill' scenario...

      Re: the Harty: these I'd considered re-editing - but time is always on the short side if also attempting to add new material.
      Will re-upload them - but may not re-edit (the Mengelberg's are those I would prefer to check again).

      There were no 'unpopular' files (vast hundreds to several thousand in most instances) - so folks will have to 'request' them to get them 'faster'..but am now nervous about 'music-copyright': hence, if continuing, would prefer to have them on a 'private' site.

      I may have to decide to delete many files/re-organize the main blog: but have no intention/s of continuing 'as before'..as I mentioned end-June - especially as the 'net is close to outliving its main purpose for me (eBay purchases..'mission accomplished'..).

  12. Thank you. The Harty recordings of the Cello Concerto and Enigma Variations are among the very greatest ever.

  13. The Enigma sounds great on Sendspace. Look forward to hearing the Cello Concerto when you have the opportunity. Many thanks again.

    1. Crimp's transfers have tremendous detail but the various 'warts'n'all' defects would lead 'anyone-else' to use considerable noise-reduction on this LP...but I wish to retain the detail/emotional involvement - not have some 'pointless' noise droning-out of the speakers!

      There are over 100 additional edits: just a few tiny 'flaws' remain (~9:30 on the Enigma had 2 editing flaws - now mostly removed, but the transition to the next Variation is still 'unsatisfactory').

  14. Thank you again for your terrific transfer of what is, in my humble opinion, the greatest ever recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto.

    1. I tend to agree with both those compliments!

  15. Thank you for this transfer - this is i think my favourite Enigma (not yet very familiar with the CelloC), and the sound really is quite all there. Nice that you have quite a bit of Harty available, most of it new to me.

    1. What's here is likely nearly all of the LP reissues - with rather scratchy surfaces (have a 45 disc of 'Nymphs and Shepherds', etc).
      Looking at a 1935 Columbia catalogue there's Schubert no.9 (I have the 'Rosamunde' discs) - Mozart 35 / Haydn 101 / Mendelssohn 4 (the Beethoven 4 mentioned on CC blog was probably deleted by then).
      Also have 78s of Water Music + R-K C.Espagnol + some single disc works + the acoustic set of Bach Suite 2.