29 May 2012

Jean Sibelius. The Seven Symphonies, etc - Kajanus, Beecham, Schneevoigt, Koussevitzky, Boult, Heifetz, etc. - HMV Sibelius Society / Columbia 1930-1939

Symphony no.1 in E minor, op.39      /      Symphony no.2 in D major, op.43      /      Karelia, op.11 - Intermezzo & Alla Marcia 
Belshazzar's Feast, op.51*   Oriental Procession  ~  Solitude  ~  Night Music  ~  Kadra's Dance        4 files zip FLAC  Mega Download  
Royal Philharmonic Society Orchestra  / *London Symphony Orchestra  conducted by  Robert Kajanus   
Vol.I:  Symphony no.5 in E flat major, op.82    /    Pohjola's Daughter, op.49    /    Tapiola, op.112        
Vol.II:  Symphony no.3 in C major, op.52
London Symphony Orchestra  conducted by  Robert Kajanus                           4 files zip FLAC  Mega Download  
Symphony no.7 in C major, op.105     - BBC Symphony Orchestra  conducted by  Serge Koussevitzky    
Vol.III:   Symphony no.6 in D minor, op.104     - Finnish National Orchestra  conducted by  Georg Schneevoigt      
Quartet in D minor, op.56     see Sibelius Chamber Music post                          2 files zip FLAC  Mega Download 
Vol.IV:  Violin Concerto in D minor, op.47  (Jascha Heifetz, violin)     /    The Oceanides, op.73*        
Night Ride & Sunrise, op.55*   [78's]   see below
Vol.V:  Symphony no.4 in A minor, op.63      /     Lemminkainen's Return, op.22/4      
The Tempest, op.109 -  Prospero - Miranda - Caliban's song - Intrada & Berceuse - The Oak Tree - Humoresque    [78's]  see below
Vol.VI:  In Memoriam, op.59       /      The Bard, op.64       /      En Saga, op.9                     7 files zip FLAC  Mega Download
From original 78's  Vol.IV:  Night Ride & Sunrise*   /   Vol.VI:  Pelleas & Melisande, op.46, nos 7,3,8   /   Valse Triste, op.44
The Tempest, op.109a - Prelude + Vol.V:  6 excerpts   +   Finlandia, op.26 (Columbia)           5 files zip FLAC  Mega Download  
London Philharmonic Orchestra  conducted by  Sir Thomas Beecham    /   *BBC Symphony Orchestra  conducted by  Adrian Boult     

Symphony no.4 in A minor, op.63    /    Luonnotar, op.70*
*Helmi Liukkonen, Soprano  - Finnish National Orchestra  conducted by  Georg Schneevoigt   
Andante Festivo, op.117a    - Finnish Radio Orchestra  conducted by  Toivo Haapanen  (or Tauno Hannikainen)  
3 files zip FLAC  Mega Download
EMI World Records  SH 133 / 173-4 / 191-2 / 207 / 237    78 Transfers by Anthony Griffith.  (original 78's by me....)

More Sleeves + sleeve-notes + recording dates >>>

The Recordings:
Symphony 1: 21/22 May 1930, Columbia LX 65-69     /    Symphony 2: 27/28 May 1930, LX 60-64   /   Karelia: 28 May 1930, LX 54 (Central Hall, Westminster)
Belshazzar's Feast: 24 June 1932, HMV DB.3937/8 (EMI Studio 1, Abbey Road)
Symphony no.3: 21 June 1932     /     Symphony no.5: 21 June 1932   
Tapiola: 29 June 1932     /      Pohjola's Daughter: 29 June 1932     /     Symphony no.6: 3 June 1934  ( EMI Studio 1, Abbey Road)
Symphony no.7: 15 May 1933
 (live @ Queen's Hall)  
Transfers from my 78 discs:  
Volume FOUR:  "Night-ride and Sunrise", op.55.    BBC Symphony Orchestra  conducted by  Adrian Boult   (23 Jan.1936)
Volume SIX & FIVE:   "The Tempest". Incidental music, op.109 - Prelude    (15 Nov. 1938)
Prospero - Miranda - Caliban's song - Intrada & Berceuse - The Oak Tree - Humoresque    (1 Nov. 1937)
Volume SIX:    "Koulema" - Valse triste, op.44    (15 Nov. 1938)     /       "Pelleas et Melisande". Incidental Music, op.46:   - 7: Entr'acte ~ 3:  Spring in the Park ~ 8: The Death of Melisande    (23 June / 7 July 1939)
"Finlandia", op.26    (1 Feb.1938 - Columbia LX 704)
London Philharmonic Orchestra  conducted by  Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart.     Rec: EMI Studio 1, Abbey Road

......other dates below   


  1. Thanks a lot for these beautiful transfers! Very glad to hear those early Sibelius recordings!

    1. Hello Satyr.

      Sibelius 1 was extremely time-consuming due to vast amounts of retained A.C.Griffith 'ticks' (and bad edits): I think my Laminated pressings of this would have been easier (but the 2nd is fine).

      This orchestra (RPSO) was really very fine - and the performances could scarcely be bettered (IMO).

  2. What treasure. Many thanks indeed.

    1. Will attempt to upload The Lot in a timely fashion; but, as per usual, manually removing relatively obtrusive 78 ticks slows things down.

      They are all top class performances - also will include a few additional instrumentals from SH 285 (which contains the String Qt: Budapest String Qt - Vol.3) - by Telmanyi/Ignatius/Jensen.

  3. Dear Frank,
    Let me add my thanks. I have heard of but never heard these recordings. Most generous of you to transfer them.

    1. Hello Joe.

      Only fairly recently got the two double-albums (the same performances/78 albums never been played) - but had the single LPs for some 30 years - mostly the Beechams - and they really are good - extremely-well transferred..so thought they may be Competitive - despite the various later transfers - especially as Griffith could work from original matrices.

      Have A Pile of new Beecham 78s - so might give some a transfer if I can figure-out how to domesticate them!

  4. Wonderful transfers of some spectacular performances, especially Kajanus & Schneevoigt, but all of these conductors really have something interesting to say about Sibelius's music, matching emotional appeal with intellectual content. Thank you so much for these and I look forward to other transfers, especially the Quartet in D.

    1. Yes, the Kajanus are, as Robert Layton states in his reviews, A Revelation... its only because mine were on 78s that I had never heard them previously (nor would those have the general lack of background noise!). The Luonnotar will be re-uploaded without much further editing (as done, very slightly, for the Schneevoigt no.4 / Oceanides from last year) due to the intense retained shellac noise: but I will probably be able to Match that with my transfers from 78 of those items not on LP!

      The String Qt is my 1982 copy: for some reason it has become infested with Noises - so will take some little (sic) time: so there may be a gap until the next uploads (also will probably have to forget scans of the 4 album book/lets with comprehensive analyses by Ernest Newman due to Foxing of some pages (all from original issue HMV albums): also only have the Columbia Sym.2 booklet for the 2 earlier Kajanus albums.

  5. Thanks a lot for transfer and share these superb recordings!!! Great work!!!

    1. Dont forget they are, essentially, someone elses transfers.
      Apart from removal of some defects/faulty edits (mostly near-inaudible) plus numerous small crackles, etc - especially when the recording was otherwise near silent-background, I did feel that the Koussevitsky was too lacking in Information: maybe that was a fault of the live-relay - but might be tempted to try a transfer from 78s of some sides: but they mostly point to the advantages of a 78 restorer working from vinyl copies of metal-masters - rather than inflicting lots of izotope NR, etc, in an attempt to get a similar result.

  6. These are great. I've always wanted to hear these performances, and they're every bit as good as I expected.

    But I'm new here: what is the "other 'historical' blog" that you refer to?

    Thank you for doing this.

    Philip in Canada

  7. The other Historical blog is 'Collectors Corner' - linked near the page bottom - which preceded this: but is now only used (extremely infrequently) for shellac-derived dubbings: but thought I might add the remaining 'not on LP' Sibelius items there: however deciding exactly what degree of 'de-noising' to apply to crackly British Shellac is difficult, as am unhappy if detail is being sacrificed for a smooth surface.

    When I get round to transferring these items, in toto, they will be linked to that blog - assuming thats where they end up...

  8. Thanks for more uploads!

    Like others have said, the transfers are remarkable. The sound is so noisefree, vibrant and dynamic for such early recordings.

    1. I must admit that the LPs cost almost nothing (nobody wanted them!): 99pence for each 2LP set plus another Beecham 4 given 'free' (I used the original pressing of that + the later transfer for the smaller works).

      The Kajanus Tapiola/Pohjola are really splendid..

  9. I've been away for several months so have only just got around to downloading these, and some of your other posts. I'm so glad I did. I have had the WRC LPs soon after they appeared, probably at bargain price since they were not much appreciated at the time and I think they soon went into the sale box at Henry Stave, and I also later acquired the Finlandia Kajanus CD set, which was somehow never quite satisfactory. This is one of those cases where that much overused adjective 'essential' is entirely apt: no matter how many recordings of Sibelius symphonies one owns these have to be heard to understand how they 'went' for the first interpreters, and presumably the composer.

    We are all indebted to you for your considerable effort.

    As far as the Massenet/Bizet LP is concerned, I agree the perfomances and timbres are absolutely evocative of their era, but for me the Suite Napolitaine falls into the category of "justly neglected".

    best wishes, and thanks again

    Andrew Smith

    1. The Suite Napolitaine became 'a download hit', early-on; possibly as it has been 'justly neglected' by the recording-companies: thus was a 'must hear this curiosity'!

      I can't recall whether these (as part of a large WRC 'sell-off') were amongst those in Direction, Dean St in Jan.1982 (I bought quite a few: though not, sadly, the Mozart Symphonies/Beecham LPO box) - but, if they were, then I probably considered the Decca subscription Maazel/VPO box ('Opus Records', 1972) was all that I required; and, I must say, that perception still stands for the whole LP era: Collins/LSO not being as-good-as-claimed: the Halle/Barbirolli being 'fallible'.

      Only this evening was re-listening to the Kletzki/Philharmonia #1 (+ with Karajan/Philh the original 33CX's only miss-out #3: have all new original LP's) - and that I like - but the Underground intrudes quite a bit..also the Ormandy mono 4/5 + stereo #1 are good (and his sleeve-note mentions that 'interpretations' had changed since his first recording of #1)..but I would happily live with the Columbia/HMV Society albums - with the possibly exception of #7 (& have Koussevitsky's Boston #2 on shellac) - and particularly appreciate Schneevoigt's #6..

  10. Ah yes, TE, Direction Dean Street - you may be right. My memory is becoming fallible; perhaps I left the price labels on the sleeves so I can check if I ever find my way around my collection (I've moved house a couple of times since then and somehow have been too lazy to shelve them in proper order). I agree about the Maazel - a fine set on LP (the VPO and the Decca sound, not reproduced adequately on the CDs, helped a lot), and the sheer weight and beauty of string tone on the Ormandy 4th (on LP anyway) reinforced Beecham's opinion that it was a romantic symphony. Now I think of it, Davis in Boston was perhaps the most all-round convincing LP set.

    I've just discovered that the Radio 3 Forum has a thread about record shops: I must read it. I will stop now before this turns into a nostalgiac wallow.


    1. I don't burden the R3Forum with my 'thoughts' - but know the thread you mention - mostly the same folks (and comments!!) as were on the R3 MB a few years previous - and which I did 'contribute' towards (as did Jonathan Swain..).

      I've long been meaning to make a transfer of the Ormandy 4/5 (have a mint '6-eye' US pressing) as it is very impressive for transfer quality - and am quite certain it will prove very superior to you-know-who's effort from a Philips LP... :)

      BTW: the Direction 'sale price' was £1.99/LP

  11. So gold here. Any chance of getting the Budapest's "Voces Intimae" at some point?


  12. Maybe i'm not seeing it, but is the String Quartet included in one of the zips here? i think it's the only piece of these that i'm lacking...

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    1. As mentioned above, the Qt LP has acquired various surface-noises: I have it saved additionally as an Audacity 'project' - so occasionally remove a % of them - but still haven't got half-way. I could just do an autmated 'de-click'.....
      The performance is really superb (so is the Griffith's transfer).

  13. Thank you very much for this treasure trove. I have followed your blog for several years. Missed this somehow. Recently "discovered" Kajanus and Schneevoigt, a truly ear opening experience. I had been looking hard for the Kajanus recording of the 3rd (for less than $50 for a used CD) and finally the correct search words led me here. May I "rebroadcast" some of your posts on my YouTube channel? I was a professional violinist until a bicycle wreck left me a quadriplegic. I have been collecting CD and online recordings from the pre-1950 age of recording and have quite a collection. I upload works posted by Satyr (Rolf), Schellackophile (Brian), Neal, Damian Rogan, and others with their permission. I give credit and the site's link. Let me know at doug@tabony.net. My YT channel is 2nd violinist, https://www.youtube.com/user/2ndviolinist.
    Thanks, Doug

    1. Hello Doug: I refer you to the February 2011 Harty/Elgar post, and some November 2011 comments...

      Might now 'have a go' at my two new 1930 Kajanus albums of Symphonies 1/2 as they are the (presumably scarce) Columbia laminated pressings; though see that the Koussevitsky/Boston of no.2 is on Internet Archive: mine is the HMV set - hence noisy compared to Victors..

      Sorry the first is such a big file - but when Hotfile was zapped, a month back, I decided to amalgamate numerous older files; thus all the Kajanus got lumped-together..

      NB: I suppose you could mention that FLAC/WAV files hereabouts sound better than heard via YouTube !

  14. Frank, thanks very much for this treasure trove of items. I am a bit confused about whether or not you have actually provided either the LP transfer (SH-133, whose cover you show on this page) or your 78 transfer of Lemminkainen's Return, a 1938 item. I have obtained all the files and do not seem to have it.

    1. Hello,
      Lemminkainen is from SH 133 (and recall, in the comments, I mentioned it was from a recut side two of that LP as it had slightly wider groove-spacing/dynamics).

      In any case, I've shown the Vol.IV & Vol.V 78's >>in Italics<< prior to the 5 file separate section of my 78 transfers.
      I've no idea if I could improve on those 78 dubs as tend to mention I've EMI shellac to contend-with (excepting my new Columbia laminates of Sym.1/2).

      Have just downloaded the 7 file zip - in case there was an error in compiling the new zip last December after all the Hotfile files were 'lost' - and it's there as:

  15. Not sure if i'm missing something, but at least apparently according to the notes Andante Festivo is conducted by the composer, not by Hannikainen.

    1. A mix-up. This was the recording of a warm-up for the live Sibelius-conducted version.
      A 'Sibelius expert' stated it was conducted by Tauno Hannikainen - but a later suggestion (2013/14) was it could be another Finn: Toivo Haapanen
      ..have updated the 'credits'

    2. i see - thanks for clearing that up.