MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around   2022
 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

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

The Collectorís Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Email Howard Friedman

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

Spanish and French HMV Labels

The two recordings above were made in Paris in December 1902 and in April 1903, probably by Cleveland Walcutt.

The disc at the left above was recorded by Fred Gaisberg on July 26, 1904, despite the fact that it bears a matrix number 3467F, which should have belonged to Cleveland Walcutt, the recordist located in Paris. The disc on the right was recorded in Paris on March 1, 1914 by Charles Scheuplein.

Spanish label, October 16, 1908
French label, early 1908

The matrix number of the disc on the left below is 7217F, while that on the right is 7530F. In their original article in The Record Collector, Vol. XXIII, Nos. 3 & 4, May 1976, Perkins, Kelly and Ward cite many of the Walcott recordings before 1908 has having been made in various cities, e.g., Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Brussels, Amsterdam, and The Hague. In a note following those listings, they proposed that all of this series before 1908 were probably recorded in Paris, despite the other city locations shown on the labels. Now some thirty later, Kelly believes that the city locations shown on the labels and the 1976 listings are indeed correct. Although under the ægis of the Paris branch, the factory at Ivry was not opened until 1907, while the plant in Barcelona was opened in 1908.

Barcelona, 1902
Lisbon 1903
Brussels 1903
Madrid pre-DOG, October 16, 1908
Berlin, June 1906
Madrid, December 17, 1908

The disc on the left above has a pre-DOG label, and was recorded in Paris in 1908. That on the right reads "Disque fabriqué par La ▬▬▬▬▬ Cie Française du Gramophone" in an arc below the outer ring. It was pressed some time after 1924, when the Gramophone Company decided to reissue Carusoís recordings on double=sided discs.

Paris, HMV double-sided

The manufacturing plant in Barcelona was completed in late 1907 or early 1908. The labels used by that plant had two similar but slightly different designs. The four labels below all have the phrase Fabriccado por la Compañia Francesa del Gramophone: Barcelona above the trademark. The dates are those of the recordings.

26 Nov 1911

27 December 1911

Both discs were manufactured in the Barcelona plant

December 27, 1911
February 10, 1919

The disc on the lower right below was recorded and manufactured in Milan on February 16, 1917, as part of a complete opera recording of La Bohème on 19 single sides. This was the fourth in a series of seven more or less "complete" operatic recordings made by Fred Gaisberg between March 1915 and April 1919. The statement below the outer ring reads, "Fabriccado in Italia della SOCIETÀ NAZIONALE DEL "GRAMMOFONOí Milano", which indicates that there was a record manufacturing plant somewhere in Italy, most likely in Milan at that time. A letter addressed to Fred Gaisberg at The Società Nazionale di Grammofono, Vie Orefici, 2, Milano, and dated 10th August 1918 displays the subject as MILAN PROCESSING PLANT. [Authorís note: The Gramophone Company had been making "complete" recordings of operas and operettas as early as 1906, beginning with sixteen 10-inch and one 12-inch side of Gilbert and Sullivanís The Mikado.]

10-inch November 1905
Paris 12-inch October 15, 1908
Paris, January 3, 1914
Milan, 16 February 1917
Barcelona, August 25, 1917
London, 19 December 1921

Arabic Recordings

Around 1900, Cairo was a cosmopolitan city of more than a third of a million people, over 80 per cent Egyptians, but the balance made up of Greeks, Italians, French, Austrians, English, Germans and Turks. Cairo became the centre of all Arab recording activity throughout the first 30 years of the past century. Artists travelled to Cairo from Syria and the Lebanon, from Damascus and Jaffa, to record for the major European companies. Cairo was, strategically and economically, the hub of all commerce between Western Europe and the Arab countries. The great novelty of that era, the talking hine, was therefore in a prime position to take a handsome slice of new business.

As early as 1894, talking machines and records, available by mail from London and Paris, had been advertised in the Cairo press. The records offered the standard mix of Opera, military bands, cornet solos and popular European song. It became clear to the early record companies that much greater success could be gained by making records of what they themselves referred to as 'Native Music'. In the spring of 1903 the London-based Gramophone Company sent engineer Franz Hampe to Cairo where he made 165 single sided recordings. Later that same year, his endeavours having been manufactured in London and shipped back to Cairo, the first catalogue of Arab music was presented to an eager public. As in India, where similar events were occurring at the same time, the Egyptians took to the gramophone with an enthusiasm that caused smiles of satisfaction to cross the faces of record company executives in England.

In 1905 the expert W. Sinkler Darby was sent to Cairo, where he made nine 7-inch, 138 ten-inch, and twenty twelve-inch recordings of genuine traditional music. Classical, improvisational, poetic, theatrical and popular styles were all represented, and the musicians were almost always people who brought a deep understanding of the idiom to their art. Yusuf al-Manyalawi, the most important of the early singers, had been a court musician to King Abd al-Hamid and when first recorded by the Gramophone Company, in about 1905, he was already 65 years old.

Cairo, pre-DOG, 1907
Cairo, Cupid Concert January 12, 1912

The record on the left above was recorded by George Dillnutt in 1907 under the supervision of Fred Gaisberg. The disc on the right was recorded by Arthur S. Clarke.

As the public demand for authentic music grew, the nature of the gramophone itself began to alter the character of the music. Because it was only possible to record a maximum of three and a half minutes on one side of a 78 rpm record, many early Egyptian records are at least two parts, and sometime four spread over two discs. However, the musicians had to stop every time a side finished and then start again. Not used to these restrictions, some found difficulty in adjusting to the technology and remained little recorded. Others, Manyalawi included, adapted well and prospered as a result. The music itself bent to the restrictions of the fledgling industry. Shorter, through-composed pieces were produced specifically for recording purposes, and larger instrumental ensembles, difficult to record accurately in the early acoustic days, were pared down to quartets and trios.

Fred Gaisberg arrived in Cairo in March 1906 and again in late September 1906, at which times he made 162 and 272 ten-inch recordings, respectively. An additional 40 12-inch recordings were made during October. Arguably, then it can be said that the gramophone itself altered the course and character of Egyptian music. What we hear today in old records has much to do with the technical limitations of early recording as it does the music itself. That said, what is left constitutes a remarkable legacy.

Previous page  



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




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

Return to Book Index

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.