Top 10 Aussie Sopranos

By Roger Neil Someone started a thread on the unofficial BBC Radio 3 message boards asking for nominations for the top ten sopranos. It seemed to me that the emerging lists were filled with the usual suspects, and since I’m currently in the process (with Tony Locantro) of finishing up a 4 x CD setContinue reading “Top 10 Aussie Sopranos”

Recording Pioneers- Part 6

Frederick William Gaisberg 1873 – 1951 “Fred was clearly one of those Children with a natural talent for the keyboard, and his mother made the most of this opportunity from the moment she began to teach him when he was four.” -Extract from ‘A Voice in Time’ – Jerrold Northrop Moore  Name:      Continue reading “Recording Pioneers- Part 6”

Nellie Melba and The Star Spangled Banner

The Hound is pleased to welcome our newest contributor Roger Neill      By Roger Neill As we all know, a vital ability in life is to respond creatively to an unforeseen threat quickly and decisively. The great Australian diva, Nellie Melba, was set to sing Rosina in The Barber of Seville in San FranciscoContinue reading “Nellie Melba and The Star Spangled Banner”

Captain Scott’s Desert Island Discs. A flavour of what were the happening sounds in Antarctica 100 years ago

This article was written by Jasper Rees and published on theartsdesk 11 April 2012   The gramophone on which Scott and his men listened to music hall and opera at the bottom of the world   Centenaries are sizeable business in 2012. It just so happens that the Olympics are coming to the United Kingdom for theContinue reading “Captain Scott’s Desert Island Discs. A flavour of what were the happening sounds in Antarctica 100 years ago”

Publicity photos of the early Gramophone stars #3: Florence Austral, Warrior Queen and proud Australian

This is the third in a series of publicity shots from the early years of the recording business that our friends at the EMI Archive Trust have made available to us. This photo is of Florence Austral who was an Australian soprano who lived between 1892 and 1968. She changed from her original name ofContinue reading “Publicity photos of the early Gramophone stars #3: Florence Austral, Warrior Queen and proud Australian”

Russell Hunting day #4: Patriotic recordings

This week we are planning to run a five day series of blog entries about Russell Hunting, a maverick who was involved at the start of the very start of the record business when its pioneers were searching to find the best business model to capitalise on the new sound-recording and playback technology. Hunting triedContinue reading “Russell Hunting day #4: Patriotic recordings”

Publicity photos of the early recording stars #1 Gluck & Homer

Musicians at the start of the twentieth century weren’t just having to learn how to deal with the new recording technologies, they were also called upon to help publicise their discs. They appear to have taken to the PR side of things with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success. This is the first of aContinue reading “Publicity photos of the early recording stars #1 Gluck & Homer”

“That faint perfume of the salons” The Gramophone Company moves into Opera. 1902.

In the early days of their UK business (i.e. before 1900), Gaisberg and the Gramophone company made good headway in persuading music hall stars and comedians to record with the new Gramophone technology. They found it much more difficult to persuade the great Opera singers of the day to condescend to do so. To tryContinue reading ““That faint perfume of the salons” The Gramophone Company moves into Opera. 1902.”

Peachy. Dame Nellie Melba was born 150 years ago today.

Today marks the 150th birthday of Helen Porter Mitchell. She was born in Melbourne, Australia, on May 19th 1861 and was destined to become the leading opera singer in the world during the “Golden Age of Opera”. She also became a household name – Dame Nellie Melba. There were a number of special qualities thatContinue reading “Peachy. Dame Nellie Melba was born 150 years ago today.”

Nellie Melba. Born 150 years ago, buried 70 years ago.

Nellie Melba is one of those huge musical stars from the turn of the last century whose name remains very familiar today – although sadly her music is less well known. She died just over 80 years go on February 23rd 1931 and you can see how significant she was at the time from this clip ofContinue reading “Nellie Melba. Born 150 years ago, buried 70 years ago.”