MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Great Singers and Musicians in Copenhagen: 1931-39
Various artists
Detailed tracklist at end of review
DANACORD DACOCD 691-696 [6 CDs: 460:48]

Experience Classicsonline
Collectors will, I am sure, remember the two LP boxed sets called ‘Great Singers in Copenhagen’ and ‘Great Musicians in Copenhagen’ that were issued in 1983. As the brief booklet note reminds us, part of the latter set has already appeared on CD [DACOCD 303]. Now they both appear, in full, on six CDs augmented by some other material into the bargain.

The instigator of the LP project was the late Hans Hansen. However it’s necessary to go back to Emil Holm (1867-1950) who was Denmark Radio’s Head of Operations, and then to Frederik Heegaard, an engineer of high skill who used a German Neumann double turntable and disc cutting lathe to make recordings of broadcasts. These were replayed for broadcast but only lasted a few runs; then they were melted down. However to posterity’s great debt he kept copper-plated matrix stampers. In effect then he re-recorded things. 1,000 discs were made, of which 150 contain classical music. The bulk is here, in these six discs. Holm didn’t know about the recordings until he entered the lab unannounced and found the evidence. In 1937 Holm left DR but the recording project had in any case ceased, on his instruction.

That’s the background to these remarkable performances and recordings. They contain tantalising glimpses into performances of the time – leading international singers and instrumentalists and conductors; eminent native musicians. It forms a remarkable portfolio of performances from the early 1930s – such as makes one wish that other organisations or individuals had managed, surreptitiously or not, to record their own broadcasts with as much acuity.

Naturally the frustrating element is that many recordings are fragmentary and some are a touch unevenly preserved. One hears arias largely intact, but obviously the instrumental component is more problematic. However one can say that this set, primarily of interest to specialists of course, offers a hugely impressive example of ‘time and place’ listening – one gets a feel as to the programming of concerts, the kind of invited soloists and instrumentalists employed; the affinity of the various conductors.

Thus, turning to the vocal music making first, we find Konetzi strongly moving in her Fidelio extract. Melchior – of course – sings Parsifal with Malko conducting, whilst soprano Zdenka Zíková (1902-1990), one of the perhaps less well known artists in the collection, proves fresh voiced in Smetana. Bruno Walter accompanies Viorica Tango in Mozart but the lighter muse also reigns in this first disc: Tenna Kraft and Holger Bryding prove charming – he entreating, she commanding - in the Heise extract whilst Helge Rosvaenge essays Grothe’s film music. Kraft meanwhile is to the fore in the three extracts from Don Carlo, where Egisto Tango is the conductor.

Standard repertoire begins the second disc; Il Trovatore, Manon, La Damnation de Faust. But it’s Viorica Tango in Tacea la notte from the first, Enzo de Muro Lomanto in the second – a rare example of this tenor’s art – and Georges Thill and André Pernet in the Berlioz. There are excerpt from Verdi’s Requiem - Tango again, Ingeborg Steffensen, and Emanuel List (not on Wagnerian duty). One of the pleasures in this set is to listen to such as Steffensen and to Niels Hansen, a tenor who trained with Jean de Reske and whose career was largely centred in the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. He is expressive in Lensky’s aria (in Danish) from Eugen Onegin, but is too much of a good thing in Recondita armonia, again sung in the native language. To finish this disc we have a long, 14 minute extract of the Credo from Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcello that attests to Mogens Wöldike’s high standards and those of the Palestrina Choir.

The third disc takes us to orchestral and instrumental performances. Fritz Busch starts with Dvorák’s Carnival overture, one of his few avowed areas of interest in the composer’s music. This is followed by Piatigorsky’s recording of the first movement of the Czech composer’s Cello Concerto with Malko a distinguished collaborator. The cellist made a later admired recording of the work with Munch but this early sighting preserves a most interesting rather stolid tempo – a stately tread with nobility and strongly applied rubati. There’s a six minute extract from the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto with Horowitz and Malko but a far longer, indeed complete example from the first movement of Beethoven’s G minor Piano Concerto where Rudolf Serkin joins Busch. One can measure this outstanding performance with the pianist’s fine live 1936 Toscanini performance (not the 1944; that’s poor). Serkin’s two Chopin Etudes obviously derive from a different concert but are equally excellent. Milstein tosses off two Paganini Caprices in dazzling style; Szigeti performs the G major Beethoven Romance – not part of his commercial discography, though there is a live broadcast with Szell doing the rounds; Landowska plays the second movement of Poulenc’s Concert champêtre with the tireless Malko.

The list of instrumentalists continues in the fourth disc. There’s evocative Gaubert playing his own Nocturne with Paul Paray lending authentic Gallic support. Hindemith is represented by two brief extracts from his Kammermusik 5. It reminds us what we have lost through the destruction of live German broadcast material – acts of deliberate vandalism. Then, rather frustrating this but still fascinating, Szymanowski plays the piano part in a nearly eight minute segment (two excerpts to be accurate) of his Fourth Symphony – with Fitelberg (January 1933). Stravinsky does likewise in the Capriccio for Piano and orchestra – heroic Malko accompanies. The conductor can be heard in Petrushka and other items such as Rimsky’s Tsar Saltan. But it’s Fritz Busch who accompanies his brother Adolf in the finale of Bach’s E major Concerto. The violinist also plays (incomplete) the G minor solo violin sonata; he left no commercial recordings of it and it’s triply valuable as a result, not least because the playing is so nobly conceived and executed.

There is a stellar trio of vocalists for the three extracts from Haydn’s The Creation that grace disc five; Erna Berger (who gropes for notes occasionally), Julius Patzak and Alexander Kipnis. The conductor here is Fritz Busch who employs a piano continuo. The extract from the Missa Solemnis – the whole of the Sanctus - is slightly longer and is again conducted by Busch. This disc also contains an abridgement of Nielsen’s Hymnus Amoris under Tango in 1934, and two other useful adjuncts to anyone’s armoury of this composer’s music; the Prelude to Act 2 of Maskarade under Tango and - excitingly – the Helios overture under Busch (April 1934). Tango encourages some lavish portamenti in his Maskarade extract whilst Busch proves a highly engaging and exciting Nielsen exponent. To end this disc we have something of an anomaly really in the context; cellist Louis Jensen’s performance of Vivaldi’s sonata RV46 in an arrangement for cello and orchestra.

There is more Nielsen in the final disc. This just happens to be rather a remarkable artefact; the first ever recording of a Nielsen symphony, the Fifth, conducted by Georg Høeberg. In the immediate post war period of course things were to change dramatically with commercial recordings of No.2 by Jensen and No.4 by Grøndahl, and Tuxen with No.5. But this February 1933 off-air performance of the Fifth is the first known example. It happens to be a splendid performance, well recorded, and is a hugely important document of a performance by a composer-conductor (1872-1950) who was a slightly younger contemporary of Nielsen. The composer’s Memorial Concert was held on 19 October 1931 and parts of it were recorded. Ten minutes exist of a performance of the Espansiva [No.3] directed by Launy Grøndahl.

The bonus items in this set come from Salzburg and Bayreuth performances which were recorded by the intrepid engineers on the sly, in much the same way that they recorded the rest of this material. Conjecturally these recordings may have been used as tests; they predate the Nielsen Memorial Concert by a couple of months and are the earliest items here.

It hardly needs stating that these performances are of astounding documentary and musical interest. I ran A/B tests of these latest transfers with their LP predecessors. The sound has been brought forward to a significant degree and what was once cloudy has now been made substantially clearer, brighter and far more immediate. De-clicking has also dealt with many of the pops that afflicted the LP sets. One demerit, if such it is, is that sometimes the results can sound just a touch aggressive. That seems to me to be the case with parts of Busch’s and Landowska’s Bach. But in the balance I would much rather the immediacy of tonal qualities with the potential to tame the higher frequencies than listen to the earlier muddiness.

The booklet notes are concise and twelve pages long, so they only concentrate on potted biographies of some of the less well known singers and instrumentalists; and there is appropriate background information on the whole project.

Jonathan Woolf

Detailed tracklist

CD 1
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
"Fidelio" - Abscheulicher wo eilst du hin, 1. Act [7:24]
Anni Konetzni, soprano
Hans Weisbach, conductor
Rec. December 7, 1933
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
"Parsifal" - Amfortas die Wunde, 2. Act [7:07]
Lauritz Melchior, tenor
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. September 28, 1939
Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884)
"The bartered Bride" - O jaky zal, 3. Act [5:33]
Zdenka Zikova, soprano
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. September 23, 1934
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
"Le Nozze di Figaro" - Dove sono, 3. Act [6:44]
Viorica Tango, soprano
Bruno Walter, conductor
Rec. November 17, 1934
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
"Guillaume Tell" - Accours dans ma nacelle (in Italian), 1. Act [4:26]
Thyge Thygesen, tenor
Spartaco Marchi, bass
Ingeborg Steffensen, mezzo-soprano
Viorica Tango, soprano
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. April 6, 1933
"Drot og Marsk" (King and Marshall) - Hvor er Fru Ingeborg?, 2. Act [12:14]
Tenna Kraft, soprano
Holger Byrding, baritone
Launy Grøndahl, conductor
Rec. June 1, 1933
Giovani Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736)
"La Serva Padrona" - Stizzoso mio (in Danish) [2:11]
Tenna Kraft, soprano
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. October 19, 1933
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
"Der Zigeunerbaron" - Wer uns getraut, 2. Act [3:52]
Adele Kern, soprano
Julius Patzak, tenor
Fritz Mahler, conductor
Rec. November 24, 1932
Verlieb dich nicht am Bodensee (Film) - Heute ist für mich die ganze Welt [3:34]
Helge Rosvænge, tenor
Ove Peters, piano
Rec. November 1, 1935
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
"Tosca" - E Lucevan le stelle, 3. Act [2:30]
Beniamino Gigli, tenor
Umberto Berettoni, piano
Rec. May 20, 1933
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
"Don Carlo", Excerpts in Danish - Che mai si fa nel suol francese (Fontainebleu Scene), 2. Act [6:37]
Tenna Kraft, soprano
Ingeborg Steffensen, mezzo-soprano
Holger Bruusgaard, baritone
O don fatale, 4. Act [4:47]
Ingeborg Steffensen, mezzo-soprano
Tu che le vanita, 5. Act [9:15]
Tenna Kraft, soprano
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. November 1, 1934
CD 2
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
"Il Trovatore" - Tacea la notte, 4. Act [3:33]
Viorica Tango, soprano
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. February 16, 1933
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
"Manon" - En fermant les yeu (in Italian), 2. Act [3:52]
Enzo de Muro Lomanto, tenor
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. February 16, 1933
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
"La Damnation de Faust", Excerpts - Ville entors, Sc. 9 [2:32]
Merci doux crespule, Sc. 10 [4:12]
Esprit de flames inconstantes, Sc. 12 [2:34]
Devant la maison de celui qui t´adore, Sc. 12 [2:05]
George Thill, tenor
Andre Pernet, bass
Danish Radio Choir
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. November 2, 1933
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
"Requiem", Excerpts - Recordare Jesu pie [3:52]
Confutatis maledictis [2:44]
Domine Jesu (incomplete) [2:58]
Hostias [4:42]
Sanctus [2:35]
Viorica Tango, soprano
Ingeborg Steffensen, mezzo-soprano
Jose Riavez, tenor
Emanuel List, bass
Danish Radio Choir
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. April 1, 1932
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Stabat Mater - Quando corpus (quartet a capella) [2:53]
Viorica Tango, soprano
Ingeborg Steffensen, mezzo-soprano
Julius Patzak, tenor
Josef von Manowarda, bass
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. January 11, 1934
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
"Carmen", Excerpts in Danish - Pres de ramparts de Seville, 1. Act [4:19]
Ingeborg Steffensen, soprano
La fleur que tu m'avais jetee, 2. Act [3:52]
Pytor Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
"Eugen Onegin" - Lenski's Aria, 2. Act (in Danish) [6:33]
Rec. September 7, 1934
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
"Tosca" - Recondita armonia (in Danish), 2. Act [3:45]
Niels Hansen, tenor
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. August 31, 1933
Tujotin tilehen kauam, Op. 2 [5:14]
Rarahu [3:54]
Hanna Granfelt, soprano
Georg Schneevoigt, conductor
Rec. January 5, 1933
Giovanni Pierluigi de PALESTRINA (c.1525 – 1594)
Missa Papae Marcello - Credo [11:41]
The Palestrina Choir
Mogens Wöldike, conductor
Rec. March 30, 1934
CD 3
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Carnival Overture, Op. 92 [9:14]
Fritz Busch, conductor
Rec. November 23, 1933
Cello Concerto No. 2, B minor Op. 104 1. movement [16:43]
Gregor Piatigorsky, cello
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. October 13, 1932
Pytor Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Piano Concerto No. 1, B flat minor Op. 23 3. movement [6:05]
Vladimir Horowitz, piano
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. October 18, 1934
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Children's Corner - No. 3. Doll's Serenade [3:00]
Vladimir Horowitz, piano
Rec. October 3, 1933
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto No. 4, G major, Op. 58 1. movement [17:33]
Rudolf Serkin, piano
Fritz Busch, conductor
Rec. February 23, 1933
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Etudes, Op. 25 - No. 1 A flat major [2:21]
No. 10 B minor [3:54]
Rudolf Serkin, piano
Rec. November 23, 1933
Niccolo PAGANINI (1782-1840)
Caprices, Op. 1 - No. 17, E flat major [3:24]
No. 5, E sharp minor [2:10]
Nathan Milstein, violin
Rec. September 28, 1933
Francis POULENC (1899 - 1963)
Concert champêtre (1928) 2. movement [4:32]
Wanda Landowska, harpsichord
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. September 27, 1934
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Romance No. 1, G major, Op. 40 [6:20]
Josef Szigeti, violin
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. March 22, 1934
Gaspar CASSADÓ (1897-1966)
(attr: Schubert) Allegretto grazioso [3:28]
Gaspar Cassado, cello
Folmer Jensen, piano
Rec. November 22, 1934
CD 4
Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941)
Nocturne [5:55]
Marcel Moyse, flute
Paul Paray, conductor
Rec. January 4, 1934
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Kammermusik 5, Op. 60 4. movement [2:56]
5. movement [2:28]
Paul Hindemith, viola
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. October 19, 1933
Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Symphony No. 4, Op. 60 - excerpts [4:06]
excerpts [3:42]
Karol Szymanowski, piano
Gregor Fitelberg, conductor
Rec. January 19, 1933
Igor STRAVINSKY (1892-1971)
Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra (1929) 3. movement [4:57]
Igor Stravinsky, piano
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. March 22, 1934
Petrushka (1911) [13:29]
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. March 9, 1933
Le Faune et la Bergère, Op. 2 - La Bergère [3:01]
Else Brems, mezzo-soprano
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. March 23, 1933
Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)
Tsar Saltan – Suite, Op. 57 [11:17]
Nicolai Malko, conductor
Rec. September 7, 1933
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Violin Concerto No. 2, E major, BWV 1042 3. movement [2:34]
Adolf Busch, violin
Fritz Busch, conductor
Rec. November 29, 1934
Violin Sonata No. 1, G minor, BWV 1001 - Adagio and Fuga [4:57]
Siciliana [4:39]
Presto [3:20]
Adolf Busch, violin
Rec. January 18, 1934
Italian Concerto, F minor, BWV 971 [6:56]
II. Andante [4:44]
III. Presto
Wanda Landowska, harpsichord
Rec. October 25, 1934
CD 5
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809):
Die Schöpfung, Excerpts - Auf starkem Fittige [4:36]
Nun scheint in vollem Glanze [4:30]
Mit Würd' und Hoheit angetan [4:20]
Erna Berger, soprano
Julius Patzak, tenor
Alexander Kipnis, bass
Fritz Busch, conductor
Rec. December 6, 1934
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Missa Solemnis, Op. 125 - Sanctus [16:15]
Erika Rokyta, soprano
Ingeborg Steffensen, mezzo-soprano
Koloman von Pataky, tenor
Alexander Kipnis, bass
Danish Radio Choir
Fritz Busch, conductor
Rec. February 14, 1935
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Hymnus Amoris, Op. 12 (abridged) [14:53]
Viorica Tango, soprano
Marius Jacobsen, tenor
Henry Skjær, bass
Einar Nørby, baritone
Copenhagen Boy's Choir
Danish Radio Choir
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. April 19, 1934
"Maskarade" - Prelude to Act. 2 [4:13]
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. April 26, 1934
Helios Overture, Op. 17 [12:49]
Fritz Busch, conductor
Rec. April 5, 1934
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Cello Sonata No. 6, B flat major, RV. 46 arr. for orchestra - Largo [2:33]
Allegro [1:29]
Largo [2:57]
Allegro [1:06]
Louis Jensen, cello
Egisto Tango, conductor
Rec. January 12, 1933
CD 6
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Symphony No. 5, Op. 50 1. movement [21:31]
2. movement [17:12]
Georg Høeberg, conductor
Rec. February 2, 1933
Symphony No. 3, "Espansiva" excerpts [7:02]
excerpts [3:49]
Johanne Karstens, soprano
Holger Bruusgaard, baritone
Launy Grøndahl, conductor
Carl Nielsen Memorial Concert
Rec. October 19, 1931
All items with
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra unless otherwise stated
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
"Die Zauberflöte", excerpts - O zittre nicht mein lieber Sohn. 1. Act (from Ein Bösewicht entfloh mit ihr) [3:25]
Marie Gerhardt, soprano
March der Priester. 2. Act (including Sarastro's recitation) [3:34]
Richard Mayr, bass
William Wernigl, tenor
Karl Ettl, bass
Wie? Wie? Wie? 2. Act (slightly abridged) [3:41]
Hans Fidesser, tenor
Karl Hammes, baritone
Luise Hellertsgruber, soprano
Anne Michalsky, soprano
Gertrud Rünger, mezzo-soprano
Wiener Philharmoniker
Bruno Walter, conductor
Salzburg Festival Performance
Rec. August 25, 1931
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
"Tristan und Isolde": Excerpts from 1. Act - Isoldes Erzählunghlung, Sc. 3 (from sicher Mann elend Sterben Lag – to – Das Schwert, ich liess es fallen) [3:14]
So reihte sie die Mutter – to – ans Land ihn zu begleiten, nicht werd. Sc. 3-4 [4:30]
Sc. 5 Müht euch die? – to – dass du nicht dir's (entfallen lasst!) [3:21]
Nanny Larsén-Todsen, soprano (Isolde)
Anny Helm, soprano (Brangäne)
Rudolf Bockelmann, baritone (Kurwenal)
Gotthelf Pistor, tenor (Tristan)
Bayreuth Festival Choir and Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler
Rec. August 18, 1931



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.