Historical Vocal Recordings

I have included all the discographical information I have about the recordings below.

Arrangement is alphabetical by singer, then chronological by recording date or my best guess at the recording date.

Unless otherwise noted, transfers are by me from records in my collection.


Enrico Caruso

Richard Crooks

Charles Gilibert

Heather Harper

Marcel Journet

Marjorie Lawrence

Lucy Isabelle Marsh

John McCormack

Philip Lieson Miller

Philip Lieson Miller (1906-1996) was for many years chief of the Music Division of the New York Public Library. He studied at a number of schools, including the Manhattan School of Music and the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School). In addition, he was, at one time or another, president of the Music Library Association (MLA) and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC).

The recordings presented here were lot 4183 on Lawrence F. Holdridge's auction that closed January 5, 2014. They are instantaneous recordings on two double-sided aluminum Speak-O-Phone blanks. There is no writing on the discs, nor was there information about the selections recorded, the date or other circumstances of the recording, or the name of the accompanist. I speculate--and I emphasize that this is a guess--that they were recorded in the mid-1930's, when Miller was a student at the Institute of Musical Art.

I transferred them at 78.26 rpm using a 2.8 mil truncated elliptical stylus, which, of the stylii I have available, sounded best, with bass turnover of 500 Hz and 10 KHz rolloff of 5 dB. I have not processed them in any way; these exactly what came off the preamplifier.

I present them in arbitary order, since I have no idea in what order they were recorded.

My profound thanks to Lynn Melton and Suzanne Jerosme, both of the Stadttheater Aachen, for identifying the Exaudet piece. André-Joseph Exaudet (1710-1762) wrote the minuet in 1751. Within ten years of its composition three composers used the tune in their operas. After being included in numerous collections, such as this one, it came to be regarded as a folksong.

Here are pictures of the front and back of one of the discs. The other record looks nearly identical. Here are pictures of the front and back of the envelope in which they came.

Sigrid Onegin

Pol Plançon

Ernestine Schumann-Heink

Eleanor Steber

Richard Tauber

Georges Thill

John Charles Thomas

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Created: 30 Sep 2017
Changed: 12 Oct 2018