MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...

MusicWeb - "A Beacon of Probity and Integrity" - Ralph Moore

Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

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

Email Howard Friedman

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


A new "unlettered" series of matrix numbers was begun on November 1, 1898 in London, where some 2,089 seven-inch recordings on wax-coated zinc plates were made between that date and May 10, 1899. These were given sequential serial numbers from 1 to 2089, and catalog numbers with prefixes were assigned according to the system described above, which remained in use until sometime in 1921, when a simplified system was introduced and used until the end of the acoustical recording era. The same information was entered into the ledgers at the various processing plants. An additional 2,550 recordings were made in Europe through June 1900.

Unlettered Series
January 12, 1899
January 13, 1899

As early as February 1899 the Recording Angel trademark was added to the left of the spindle hole. Some time in early 1900 the Berliner logo, Angel trademark, and the assigned catalog number begin to appear raised on the record surface, indicating that these were all entered onto the shell or stamper, rather than onto the original recorded plate. The disc on the left above, Berliner 1109, matrix 4405, was recorded on January 12, 1899, while that on the right was recorded one day later. The matrix number is 835, while the record or catalog number is 1058, or more correctly E1058, denoting an English language recording. Note the difference in the handwriting, as well as the difference in the company logo, as well as the fact that Fred was now entering the date in American style. These London recordings show an early use of the Recording Angel trademark, which the Gramophone Company and its successors was to use in one form or another throughout the last one hundred years or more. The trademark was designed by Theodore Birnbaum, a Londoner who was appointed Managing Director of the Berlin branch of the company in 1898. European discs generally did not show the five patent dates, but merely indicated that these existed or were applied for.

The Berliner disc below is also from the "unlettered" series, which was the last series using wax-coated zinc plates. It was recorded under the supervision of Fred Gaisberg on April 6, 1899 by the violinist J Jacobs, who also made the earliest known 10-inch wax recordings in April 1901. Note that the label area is a full four inches in diameter. The matrix number 1855 can be seen just below the recording date at the upper right. One can see also a very early use of the Recording Angel trademark, as well as the phrase REPRODUCED IN HANOVER on the reverse. 

Berliner 7921, April 6, 1899, 102 mm.

The disc below, Berliner 52561, matrix 2796, was recorded by Fred Gaisberg or William Sinkler Darby in Milan on the first foreign tour. The three discs below are among the last made in Madrid by Fred Gaisberg on the first foreign tour. The matrix numbers 3461, 3498, and 3582 can just be seen to the right of the spindle holes. Both discs belong to the unlettered series, and are among the first Gramophone Company recordings to indicate the language or region and the vocal range of the artist on the label. 

Berliner 62585
Berliner 62562
Berliner 62559
matrix 3461
matrix 3498
matrix 3852

Madrid, August 1899


Berliner 52561, Milano, July, 1899

The disc below, Berliner 24, from the "unlettered" series, bears the serial number 3865, which may be seen to the right of the spindle hole. Recorded in October 1899, it shows REPRODUCED IN HANOVER on the reverse. It seems probable that not all of these recordings have survived or were ever issued.  

Berliner 24, October 1899

The records below appear to be interesting hybrids. Both have the Berliner imprint generally used on London issues in the unlettered series, and also show the Canadian patent numbers and dates. The label on the right shows the matrix number just to the right of the spindle hole. The significance of the numbers 118 and ─109─ is not clear. Note that the Canadian patent number on the right was entered upside down. Canadian patent numbers have also been seen on American Berliners. [Author’s note: Montague Borwell made one of the earliest recordings of a Gilbert & Sullivan selection with Winifred Marwood on November 1, 1898.]

probably 4109, matrix number 4236  Berliner 2147Z, matrix 4370
London, early November 1899

The disc above is an early wax tablet recording. The high relief Angel trademark almost completely obscures the date, showing only 900. An extremely complex matrix number beginning with 8 can be seen to the right of the spindle hole. Both the company logo and the catalog number are raised.

Berliner 50049X matrix 898

Milan, July 1900

The recording date 24-8-00 on the upper disc below is inscribed at the 10 o’clock position to the left of the company designation. The two figures on the left below appear to show distinct differences in the sizes of both the Recording Angel and the Company designation whereas in fact the two Angels and the company logos are each identical in size. The apparent difference is due to the fact that the central area on the upper disc is only 80 mm, while the lower disc is 103 mm. This can be seen more readily in the figures below.

Berliner 32907 Paris, August 24. 1900

Berliner 661 London, November 24, 1900

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 Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

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

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano




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.