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From Valkyrie to CBE - the saga of Agnes Nicholls
by Charles A. Hooey  

It is a mystery why only fifteen of the sixty-two known takes made by the English dramatic soprano Agnes Nicholls were ever released.

One possible reason could have been that she was very critical of her recordings. More significantly, few major singers have left a legacy of recordings which is so unrepresentative of their repertoire. There are few recordings of the opera and oratorio in which she excelled. There is no Wagner, no Mozart and few recordings of oratorio. Her discography is comprised mainly of popular songs of the day and, possibly for this reason, she is somewhat neglected, even by collectors.

Her scant discography is regrettable, because Agnes Nicholls was unquestionably an accomplished singer and a beloved figure in English music. Close scrutiny of her few records will reveal, in her softer passages, an incredible sweetness, while elsewhere she sounds wonderfully firm and assured. Undoubtedly, she reached many in a very special way. Indeed her nation rewarded her handsomely for her achievements. An article is long overdue.

Agnes Helen Nicholls" was born on 14 July, 1876 in Cheltenham, a smart Regency spa town nestled on the picturesque Cotswolds, about 85 miles west of London. Her parents were Albert Chapman Nicholls, a draper, and Fanny Elizabeth Nicholls, née Vent. "My father and mother were both great lovers of music,” she recalled years later (The singer’s comments here, and later, are taken from her ‘A Vignette’ in Opera, July 1923).

“They both sang and my father played the oboe and the English horn. It was my father's relaxation and he spent most of his evenings after his return from business in working at new things and enjoying old ones. I am told my cradle was often in the drawing room, and I slept peacefully through most things, occasionally startling the party by crawling out! I am also told I could sing French country songs taught me by my French nurse before I could speak English. I started to learn the violin at five, and at eight I played in a children's orchestra. My father did not think it wise for girls to sing, so I worked at the violin and piano, these being my `extras' during schooldays, but I always sang if I got an opportunity, learning things by myself, and then suddenly announcing at the most inauspicious moment, that I could do them!"

"When I was fourteen, I went to London with my father and was introduced to opera at Covent Garden - Lohengrin with Jean and Edouard de Reszke, Emma Eames, Giulia Ravogli, and I think, Plançon. That was a night in fairy-land but I never thought I should one day be on that same stage myself. I continued my violin and piano, and began harmony, and I was very happy at the Bedford High School when my father allowed me at fifteen to have singing lessons with Dr. Harding."

Student days
Quick to recognize his daughter’s musical gifts, Albert Nicholls agreed that Agnes could attend London’s Royal College of Music, in 1893, as a student of the violin with piano as a second study. When he died suddenly, she decided to seek a scholarship for singing.

"I tried for it, won it, and held it for five years with dear Albert Visetti as my master. It was a curious thing to come to London, knowing no one and to start this new kind of life at seventeen, but it was tremendously interesting. Things now moved very quickly--I worked hard, but loved it, and in a very short time, indeed in my second term, I was already a College personality! I think the reason for this was that I could read at sight and also was a quick study. In my first year at College, I appeared before her late Majesty Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in opera.”

Her Britannic Majesty so enjoyed the young soprano’s performance that she invited Agnes back to Windsor to display her oratorio skills on two occasions.

Among the earliest references to Nicholls traced is from The Musical Times of 1 April 1895, which reported on a student performance at the RCM of Brahms German Requiem:

"The solo in No. 5 ‘Ye now are sorrowful,’ was taken by a young scholar, Miss Agnes Nicholls. We have never heard it interpreted more satisfactorily. She not only sang in tune - no easy feat in this trying piece - but with just the expressive simplicity and avoidance of all affectation and of striving-after effect which the words and the sublime music demand. Miss Nicholls is a pupil from whom much may be expected."

More from the lady herself:
"These events brought me notoriety and before the year was out, I was already beginning to earn."...such as singing Dido in Purcell's opera at the Lyceum Theatre, showing in the process great versatility, "Once F. R. Benson (now Sir Frank Benson) heard me and offered a tour. I went as the "Singing Fairy!" The College authorities allowed me leave of absence, and the experience gained of the stage was wonderful. I was very sad when the tour ended, but other things called and I had to go, for there seemed so much to be learnt.

During the holidays of these last two College years, I had spent a good deal of time abroad, and it was mostly in Germany that I gained my knowledge of opera. I had only the money I earned to spend, so I used to buy my return ticket, put away enough money for my pension and my expenses on the return journey and then spend the rest on opera. I think my pleasantest memories are of Dresden; there I got to know many of the artists and the great Therese Malten was most kind to me. To watch rehearsals in such an opera house is a revelation to us in England; the amount of rehearsals and the detail with which they are done is amazing; of course, it can only be done in a State-aided place or where there is unlimited money. Another thing that struck me very forcibly was that no position had to be kept up by the artists. I remember my astonishment at seeing Frau Wittich going to sing Isolde, riding in a tramcar with her hair all screwed up ready for her wig, and a bundle of sandwiches in her hand! and she, at that time, was one of the idols of Dresden.

One winter I visited Prague where there were two opera houses; the standard was not so high though it was interesting to compare the two languages. Vienna, Munich, Berlin and Dresden were my favorite places for opera. I never saw Bayreuth - the cost was prohibitive in those days and later it was never convenient."

So far we've heard mainly from the lady herself, and in her words, there appears a picture of a sensitive, down-to-earth person, one who could easily make friends amongst peers, colleagues and folks in communities she visited. This was especially evident in the city of Hull. After she sang there first as a student on 3 March 1896 in Parry's oratorio Judith, she was invited back on seven separate occasions. The next visit came on 18 December for the Christmas Messiah. Her Messiahs were legion and for a sampling, see Appendix A.

At this time, Jamaica-born composer/conductor Sir Frederic Cowen (1852- 1935) held sway in Manchester’s musical life. Writing some year later he recalled, “Among the vocalists were several young artists, since become very prominent figures in our musical life: notably, Clara Butt, Agnes Nicholls and Muriel Foster; the two latter, nearly, if not quite, began their career under my direction in a performance of Parry's Judith." Recalling those happy times she recorded two of Cowen's songs, "At the Mid Hour of Night" and "A Bride Song." Parry, who was noted mostly for his choral works, also admired Nicholls and would compose material especially for her.

For years, she was a fixture at the Three Choirs Festival, first experiencing the thrills at Gloucester whilst still a student when the attraction was an appearance in Elijah by Canadian diva Emma Albani. "I was behind a pillar and was bitterly disappointed at being able only to hear and not to see!" In 1897, she became a performer herself at Gloucester, and subsequently replaced Albani as the nation’s leading oratorio soprano (See Appendix B)

In 1898, she made two visits to Hull, the first on 8 March to sing Elijah with Jessie King, Tom Child and David Hughes, the second on 18 November to perform the challenging but melodic music of The Voyage of the Maeldune with Muriel Foster, Dan Price and the Welsh lyric tenor Hirwen Jones under the works composer Charles Villiers Stanford.

In Newcastle, she helped locals soak up the glory of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on 24 November 1899 alongside Muriel Foster, Joseph Reed and Dan Price under Hans Richter, who would soon exert major influence over her career. Then, in Manchester, she rounded off her studies with John Acton.

After accumulating so much precious experience, she finally found the doors of the Royal Opera open to her. The year was 1901. She made her début there as the Dewman in Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel with Martha David and Frieda Felser as the intrepid youngsters. She also sang the small role of Tyndaris in Isidore de Lara's opera Messaline on 2 July, alongside luminaries Emma Calvé, Francesco Tamagno and Paul Seveilhac. The London-born composer had seen his opera about a voluptuous Roman Empress and a mighty gladiator Helion (Tamagno) premièred at Monte Carlo in 1899 and then succeed amidst a wild scandal at La Scala, Milan, the first opera by a British composer to be given there. This early experience proved quite enough for Agnes, who decided to devote herself to oratorio and concert work over the next three years.

Soon, however, she found her true fach in the works of Richard Wagner. "I always feel I owe much to the help and encouragement of Dr. Hans Richter. He liked my voice and my work, but after hearing so much opera in Germany, I came to the conclusion I could not attempt Wagner." These doubts Richter eventually dispelled and, before her career ended more than twenty years later, she would portray practically every soprano character Wagner created. "When I used to play the first Rhinemaiden in concerts with the Hallé, as Richter passed to go to his rostrum, he would say to me, `nicht schleppend' for I had a bad habit of so enjoying the music that I sometimes dragged it out.  

Singing Wagner’s music did cause problems, “I must not omit the late John Acton, singing teacher,” she wrote in ‘A Vignette’. “When I began all this heavy work, I found that it affected the poise of my voice, and it was he who helped me to readjust it and use it without forcing the tone.”

In other music, for a Gentlemen's Concert on 20 October 1902 as part of a Hallé season, Richter offered music by Bennett, Elgar and Handel and then he accompanied Agnes in "Caro nome" from Rigoletto.

He hurried to participate in the Norfolk & Norwich Musical Festival, held in St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, on 24th October. The programme contained, amongst solos and trios, Gounod’s The Redemption, famous for its ‘O Divine Redeemer’. It was a busy time on the Saturday (25th) when a “Popular Concert’ involved her along with Robert Radford, William Green, Kate Moss and Louise Kirkby Lunn. Nicholls sang ‘When the heart is young’ (Dudley Black) and April Morn (Robert Batten) and joined the others in Liza Lehmann’s song cycle The Daisy-Chain.

Returning to Hull on 21 November, she performed the music of Parry’s Judith, sharing the platform on this occasion with Charles Saunders, Alice Lakin and Robert Radford.

For British music, the most notable event of the season of 1903 came at the Birmingham Festival on 14 October, when Elgar introduced his oratorio, The Apostles. It was Agnes's turn two nights later with Muriel Foster, William Green and Andrew Black to sing Bruckner's Te Deum, conducted by Richter. Then, in Manchester on 27 October, he led a concert with the second half devoted to an abbreviated Fidelio with Agnes in the title part.

The following year was memorable in several ways. On 15 March 1904, during an Elgar Festival at Covent Garden, she had the pleasure of offering Londoners their first taste of The Apostles with Kirkby Lunn, Ffrangçon Davies, Coates, Rumford and Black. Next, she packed her bags and sailed for America bound for the world famous Cincinnati Summer Festival. There, on 11 May 1904 she appeared in Bach's Mass in B Minor with Ernestine Schumann-Heink, William Green and Robert Watkin Mills. Then, on the 13th, she joined Muriel Foster, Green and Mills in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, offering as an encore, ‘Abscheulicher’ from Act I of Fidelio. On the 14th, she sang in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Schumann-Heink, Green and Mills. After this successful visit to the USA, she arrived home in time to return to Covent Garden as Micaëla in Carmen with Calvé, the tenor Gustave Dufriche and the Escamillo of Antonio Scotti. Sharing Micaëla in later performances were Hildur Fjord and Suzanne Adams.

Years after her brief American sojourn, she recalled "I had an offer to go to reside in America to sing in one of the New York churches, I couldn't make up my mind about it, so I journeyed over to see - but came home again. I didn't like the idea of having to appear every Sunday and lead the choir and sing solos...England appealed to me more at that time!"

Hamilton HartyThe real excitement came though on 15 July, when she married twenty-four year old Herbert Hamilton Harty (pictured) at the church of St. Luke's in Kentish Towns in north-west London. A native of Hillsborough, County Down, the Irish composer/conductor was already a shining light in English musical life and naturally he would often accompany his wife.

Agnes returned to the Covent Garden stage in May, 1905 in two cycles in German of Wagner's Ring given in Grman. She appeared in Die Walküre on 2 May with Carl Burrian, American bass Allen Hinckley as Hunding, the Wotan of Clarence Whitehill and Katharine Fleischer-Edel and Marie Wittich sharing Sieglinde, the latter now removed from her rattling Dresden tram. "My role was Helmwige, one of the Valkyries, and to my horror we were put on what were called the `machines', enormous things, I don't know how high, and we stepped out from a platform into an iron bodyholder, high in the air and supported on a sort of wooden truck. An iron band went round our waists, things like stirrups were for our feet, there were two things round our knees - and we were strapped tight. There were four men below who pushed us about, and we had to sing, swaying high above the stage. The machines were draped in green material to look like water." On 6 May she one of the three Norns in Götterdämmerung. However, "One of my greatest joys was singing Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Destinn, Caruso/Constantino, Gilibert, Scotti, Journet, Donalda and Marcoux - a fine cast!" These three performances began on 1 July and continued on 7th and 17th of that month.

When Mendelssohn's Elijah was given early in 1906 by the Royal Choral Society at the Royal Albert Hall, the event witnessed "an impressive interpretation by Agnes Nicholls who, of late, has made significant advances in her art, and who sang the solos with feeling and purity of voice." The other soloists were Phyllis Lett, Herbert Brown, William Green with Sir Frederick Bridge as conductor. On 27 February, during a Wagner concert with the Philharmonic Society conducted by Felix Weingartner, she sang the final scene from Die Walküre with baritone Frederic Austin. That same year she joined the roster of artists signed by the newly-formed Ibbs & Tillett agency, filling concert engagements throughout the British Isles.

On 28 June, during the Handel Festival in Crystal Palace, Nicholls sang selections from Israel in Egypt with Ada Crossley, Kirkby Lunn, Watkin Mills, Charles Saunders and Kennerley Rumford. The event was an artistic success thanks in a large measure to Frederic Cowen. That season she was busy at the Garden as well, having appeared as Woglinde on 4 May (Das Rhinegold); Helmwige the next day; the Woodbird on the 7th and Woglinde in Götterdämmerung on the 9th. An important appearance at Covet Garden during 1906 was as Venus in Tannhäuser.

With another impressive cast: George Anthes (Tannhäuser), Anton Van Rooy and Clarence Whitehill alternating as Wolfram, Paul Knüpfer as Hermann, with the role of Elisabeth shared among Milka Ternina, Marie Knüpfer-Egli and Anna von Bahr-Mildenburg! When she repeated her Donna Elvira on 17th July she railed against the Don Giovanni of Mattia Battistini and shared her misfortune with Enrico Caruso, in one if his rare appearances as Don Ottavio, a role he seems to have sung only at Covent Garden.

Several months later, at the 42nd Birmingham Festival, on the morning of 3 October, all eyes were on Elgar as he led the première of The Kingdom, with a hand-picked cast: Muriel Foster, John Coates, William Higley and Agnes as the Blessed Virgin. That evening, Richter gave the first airing of Josef Holbrooke's "The Bells," which offered music composed to a text by Edgar Allan Poe, a piece Agnes followed with an aria from Mozart's Entführung aus dem Serail.

Her next appearance at the Royal Opera came early in 1907 during a month-long season which was largely devoted to German opera. The engagement witnessed her most important work to date. She followed Aïno Ackté as Elsa in Lohengrin during January and February, Helmwige on 22 January, and repeated on 13 February. In April, Nicholls travelled to Reading in Berkshire to sing the music of two old friends, joining Frederic Austin in Parry’s De Profundis and Stanford’s Elegiac Ode. Then in April and May, she repeated her usual parts of Woglinde, Helmwige and the Woodbird and followed Destinn as Venus on 28 May, while on the other nights (20 May and 5 June) she sang the Shepherd. That role on the 28th was given by Caroline Hatchard.

Then on 15 June, the soprano participated in an Elijah at a Festival in Crystal Palace, which boasted Ada Crossley, Ben Davies and Charles Santley under Cowen’s direction. Later in the year, at the Cardiff Festival she had the pleasure of helping her husband give the premiere of his magical setting of Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale, a work for soprano and orchestra that took her through a delicate pianissimo opening to room-shaking climax. Hay, as Harty was known to family and fiends, was beginning to fulfill his promise as a composer.

Richter's English Ring 
This was a fruitful time for British artists at Covent Garden in particular those who were part of the historic, first-in-English presentation of Wagner's complete Ring. Agnes appeared as Sieglinde in The Valkyrie on 28 January 1908. Reminiscing fifty years later, she recalled, "The first act went wonderfully and we all enjoyed it. So evidently did the audience, for we had ten curtains at the end of that act. I thought they were never going to let us off the stage." Two nights later, she sang Brünnhilde in Siegfried and later Sieglinde in the second cycle, meeting with a warm critical reception. After all the excitement at the Garden, she went to Hull to unwind on 12 February, appearing at a concert organized by Willem Janssen. But on 2 June, it was time to bow to the Meister again at the Garden when "as Sieglinde, she sang very finely, the freshness and purity of her voice increasing the pathos of her part."

The success of the English Ring had not gone unnoticed by musical societies all over the British Isles and soon many were clamoring to hear portions in concert. Thus it was that, in February 1909, Richter obliged the cities of Leeds and Manchester, presenting Agnes, Hyde and Radford in Act I of The Valkyrie. For other music lovers, the most intriguing new work was Alick Maclean's oratorio, The Annunciation, first heard at Queen's Hall on 15 February when the soloists were Agnes, Gervase Elwes, Edna Thornton and Robert Barnett with the composer stewarding the forces of the London Symphony and the much-feted Sheffield Choral Union.

Beecham - the first encounter 
Though for six years she had been having the time of her life at the Garden, much of that time was spent on the sidelines watching foreign artists reap the glory. Now, like many of her British confrères, she found herself drawn into the artistic world of Thomas Beecham, the dynamic thirty-one-year-old conductor from St. Helens who had shaken up London's musical scene in May by introducing opera-in-English at His Majesty's Theatre in Haymarket. Staging a mini-Mozart Festival, Beecham cast Agnes as the Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro on 22 June with Lewys James (Figaro), Beatrice La Palme (Susanna), Maggie Teyte (Cherubino) and Robert Maitland (the Count). The work was repeated three times.  

With the ageing Richter moving to the sidelines, Beecham also featured Agnes in his concerts. At Covent Garden on 30 October, she sang the ‘Liebestod’ from Tristan und Isolde and ‘Dove sono’ from Act III of Figaro, returning on 20 November to perform ‘Absence’ by Berlioz and the Act I Duet from Die Walküre with Walter Hyde.

Late in April 1911, at the Sheffield Festival, she joined Louise Kirkby Lunn, Thorpe Bates and Robert Radford in Ruth, a cantata by Professor Georg Schumann. Although its première was much anticipated, the unmistakable influence of Wagner robbed the work it of any semblance of originality. It was back to the "real thing" in a packed St. George's Hall in Bradford as Agnes sang excerpts from the Dutchman, Tannhäuser and Lohengrin in company with Hyde and Richard Evans in a concert to honour her mentor, the illustrious Herr Doctor Richter.  

Touring with Denhof and Quinlan 
With the arrival of Spring, she joined the ebullient German impresario Ernst Denhof for an Operatic Festival he staged, that began in Leeds. Agnes joined in Manchester on 5 April to sing Brünnhilde in Siegfried with Coates, Thornton and Austin. She carried her role through into Twilight of the Gods two nights later, and on 15 April, repeated the process north of the border in Glasgow.

Irish promoter Thomas Quinlan, a colourful and easy-going type, had a more ambitious undertaking in mind - a worldwide operatic tour, no less. For Agnes, that would mean singing the first of seven Isoldes in the UK on 3 November with John Coates as Tristan, Edna Thornton as Brangäne, Robert Parker as Kurwenal and Charles Magrath as King Mark. Early in 1912, the company sailed for South Africa bound for Cape Town. In Johannesburg, Agnes sang Aida on 8 March, Isolde on the 11th and Elsa in Lohengrin on the 14th, each time with John Coates.

Then Quinlan and his entourage sailed to Australia, arriving in Melbourne. Agnes was called upon on 10 June to sing Elisabeth in the Paris version of Wagner's Tannhäuser, proving "herself a consummate artist in her method of subduing an expansive figure to Elisabethan requirements. Her voice, though not large, was praised for its exceptional purity and brilliance, sweetness and evenness throughout its range and she was admired for the warmth and intelligence of her acting." She sang her first of five Isoldes on 14 June, the occasion being the Australian première of Wagner's Tristan and Isolda. Another antipodean "first" came the following afternoon in Debussy's The Prodigal Son with Agnes as the Mother. In an Aida on 18 June, the first of five performances, "the principals, all excelling in the clarity of their diction, were the strongest the company could provide: Nicholls and Coates, Thornton and Parker, the two pairs singing and interacting with passion and conviction."

During the second week she sang well in The Valkyrie "but it was generally agreed that Brünnhilde did not suit...despite the artistry of her singing and acting - she was too gentle for a "war-maiden," though her annunciation of death and final scene were moving. In Gounod's Faust, because of her ample proportions, it was found that her Marguerite was "another complete triumph of art over matter" - surprising, perhaps, for those who know the lady as a gifted Wagnerian artist and who probably never gave her credit for even thinking of Gounod's heroine, usually done by singers who lean to the lighter operatic roles." Quinlan moved on to Sydney for more of the same until 16 August.

He then brought his artists home but not to discharge them; instead he took a second swing through the U.K. Agnes, however, other commitments, notably the Bristol Festival, where on 23 October a concert version of Wagner's Ring was presented in which she joined Perceval Allen, Marion Beeley, Edith Clegg, Clarence Whitehill, Robert Radford, Morgan Kingston, Lloyd Chandos, Peter Cornelius and Hans Bechstein. She then went to Nottingham with Beecham - recently returned from delighting audiences in Vienna - and his orchestra on 21 November to sing ‘Dove sono,’ offering the aria and ‘Ocean, thou mighty monster,’ from Oberon as an encore.

Next she caught up with Quinlan in Hull where the welcome mat was firmly in place during the week of 16 December. Old friends flocked to hear her sing Sieglinde in The Valkyrie with John Harrison, Gladys Ancrum and Edna Thornton and to hear her as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser. When the tour ended on 18 January 1913, Quinlan’s weary band of world troupers was left to patch up their interrupted careers. Agnes headed into action with the upcoming Proms season.

With so much talk of war, she skipped Quinlan's follow-up tour to stay, choosing to remain in the U.K. as part of Denhof's next and most optimistic venture. She appeared as Senta in The Flying Dutchman, as the Marschallin in Rosenkavalier and, on 5 November 1913, as Brünnhilde in Siegfried. In Manchester, "Strauss's witty Rosenkavalier under Schilling-Ziemssen was a perfect foil (for the previous Wagner)," avowed The Musical Times, "Here Mesdames Agnes Nicholls, Caroline Hatchard, Elizabeth Schiller and Mr. Arthur Pacyna bore away the palm. How the first named conveyed the pathetic beauty of the Indian Summer of a woman's life (at the close of Act II) must be seen and heard to be believed. It came to most Manchester musicians as an astounding revelation." In Newcastle, illness kept Agnes from appearing in The Flying Dutchman so Cecily Gleeson-White sang, and quite admirably too. How Denhof's dream dissolved and how Beecham performed a miracle rescue is another story. A distressing adventure it was!

Immersed in diversity
Reminiscing years later, Agnes wrote of her career in Europe and work with Quinlan. "I have also sung in Germany, and have very delightful memories of a month's tour in Holland," she recalled, and with Quinlan, "such interesting and delightful countries and such hospitable people; indeed one can be too much entertained to be good for one's work, but such audiences are a perfect joy to work for."

As conditions in Europe worsened, Agnes and her musician friends sought a meaningful role in matters of the day. She sang the soothing music of Delius at a Proms concert on 8 June 1914 in Duke's Hall at her alma mater, the Royal Academy of Music, and performed the finale of A Village Romeo and Juliet with Frank Mullings. To Beecham's piano accompaniment, she sang ‘The violet,’ ‘In the Seraglio Garden’ and ‘The Bird's Story.’ Delius was present and "warmly applauded" at the close.

Always ready to join the fight to promote the under-appreciated merits of English artists, in this cause she gave a superb recital in Bournemouth on 21 October 1914, then journeyed north for a performance of the Verdi Requiem with the Halifax Choral Society, which took place on 5 November under H.A. Fricker, when "the singing of Miss Agnes Nicholls and Madame Kirkby Lunn was most artistic and dramatic, while they had able colleagues in Mr. Lenghi-Cellini and Mr. Ranalow." Then on 7 November, she pleased a Saturday matinee crowd in Leeds.

Her versatility was evident in a Subscription Concert at the Albert Hall on the 11th, which found her offering Butterfly’s Act 2 aria, and three of Herbert Hughes’s Irish Country Songs (‘The lover’s curse’, I know where I’m going’ and ‘A Ballynure Ballad’). She then joined Phyllis Lett, Frank Mullings, Robert Radford and Marie Hall for the remainder of the programme, a quartet from Edward German’s Merrie England.

With the Empire now at war with Germany, in order to assist Clara Butt raise funds for the Three Arts Women's Unemployment Fund, with Robert Radford and others, she took part in a Sunday Evening concert in Queen's Hall. Next, Beecham summoned her to Manchester for an all-Wagner concert on 11 March, in which she sang Senta in Act III of The Flying Dutchman with Ranalow as the Dutchman and Hyde as Erik. She also appeared as Eva in the Quintet and Final Scene of Die Meistersinger. During this period, Sir Edward Elgar had been working on music that was destined to involve Agnes Nicholls significantly.

For the Festival of British Music held in Queen's Hall on 13 May, she sang "The Wilderness and the Solitary Place" from Bantock's "Christ in the Wilderness" and Graham Peel's "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," with Harty at the piano. On 29 May at a Proms Concert in the Royal Albert Hall, she sang ‘Ah! fors' è lui’ from La Traviata - an aria she was called back to encore along with Harty's ‘Sea Gypsy’ and Peel's ‘Soldier, I wish you well.’ A review of the above programme tends to support a view long held by British researcher Dennis Foreman, who in a letter to the author observed, "When I was going through The Musical Times for my John Coates article I came across many reports of her song recitals. Far ranging and innovative they seemed for their time."

Looking back years later, Agnes remembered those wartime years as rather barren. " contracts were all broken. I was just preparing for another tour through Australia and Africa, and this time Canada was to be included but I learnt to cook instead and did very little work until 1918, when Sir Thomas Beecham brought me back from the wilds of Scotland, where I was canteening, to work for him. I loved coming back to his work; (though I was very fond of my sailor boys), we had such good times at His Majesty's in his 1910 season, and I stayed with him till he gave up his company in 1920."

Elgar takes centre stage 
This period of "very little work" did, however, include a pair of important recordings of music by Elgar. He had composed incidental music for The Starlight Express, a fanciful fairy tale first introduced at the Kingsway Theatre during the 1915 Christmas season of 1915. Alas, it closed a month later, leaving Elgar crushed and despondent. His spirits were raised though when a recording was proposed in February 1916. At Elgar's insistence, Agnes was asked to sing the music of The Laugher rather than Clytie Hine, the stage ‘creator.’ Charles Mott who would soon die on the Somme, the Organ Grinder on stage, was retained for the recording. Eight excerpts were recorded, three involving Agnes. Issued two months later, The Starlight Express was well received and sealed Elgar's love affair with the gramophone. 

She had concert activity too. On 9 March 1916 in another Beecham-organized event, an all-Wagner concert in Manchester, she led off in Scenes from Act 3 of Die Götterdämmerung as a Rhinemaiden with Hyde as Siegfried and Radford as Hagen. Then she intoned the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and sang Eva in the quintet and finale of Meistersinger with Frederic Austin as Sachs, Hyde as Walther and Radford as Pogner. A recital on 11 March in Bournemouth "arranged by Graham Peel afforded great delight by reason of the exceedingly artistic singing and pianoforte playing of Miss Agnes Nicholls and Mr. Frederick Dawson."

Elgar had a second project in the works, a wartime trilogy, known as The Spirit of England. He composed the second song (To Women) and the third (For the Fallen) in time for Agnes and tenor John Booth to sing them during one of Clara Butt's wartime charity fund-raising events. Butt had organized a week long series of concerts in London beginning on 6 May, 1916 with Elgar's Dream of Gerontius as its centre-piece with the great lady as The Angel, Elwes as Gerontius, Herbert Brown as The Priest and Charles Mott as Angel of the Agony. Elgar conducted his Spirit songs at each concert. The week in London was preceded by tryouts in Leeds on 3 May and in Bradford the next day. It worked like clockwork, each concert being a huge success. Of Agnes's effort, Clara Butt said she "had never heard more perfect singing."

In June Agnes took part in that first recording of Liza Lehmann's In a Persian Garden which proved a challenge for the recording team. Apropos the problems in committing the work to wax, the late Wayne Turner, a basso and vocal record aficionado, argued, "It seems strange HMV chose Agnes Nicholls, a renowned Wagnerian soprano but hardly suitable for music like this. It is not surprising she had many attempts to record the soprano songs; the top C I'm afraid is pretty dire. George Baker told me she had to stand well behind the other is difficult to get a blend..." That said, Lehmann's exotic tale is well worth hearing and remains a fine work with sterling singing by Hubert Eisdell and Edna Thornton.

Although she was simply filling in for New Zealand soprano Rosina Buckman, Agnes probably felt more comfortable at the Manchester Proms on 29 December, singing an aria from Il Trovatore and Act 3, Scene 1 of Lohengrin with d'Oisly. Elgar's unfinished Spirit of England had struck a chord amongst the beleaguered populace so, when she went to Manchester on 15 March 1917 for more Wagner with the Hallé forces, she was urged to include Elgar's work. After singing in two scenes from Act I of Lohengrin with Hyde, Radford, Gwladys Roberts and Powell Edwards and the Walküre Act I Love Duet with Hyde, ‘by special request’ she added ‘For the Fallen.’ The next day in Bradford, the group gave much the same concert, although here Agnes led off with both Spirit songs. Oddly Beecham left others to conduct the Elgar on both occasions.

When Elgar finally completed part one of the Spirit, ‘The Fourth of August,’ the world première of the complete work took place on 4 October 1917 in Birmingham with soprano Rosina Buckman and an orchestra led by Appleby Matthews. Agnes's turn to sing the music came in Leeds on 31 October. Then, on 24 November in the Royal Albert Hall with Gervase Elwes, she "had scope especially in the third part, of which a beautiful little phrase `We will remember them' lingers in the memory." Agnes, Caroline Hatchard and one or two others showed an affinity for this music, so they had “the task and privilege of revelation throughout Britain of the loftiest musical thought uttered in these fateful years."

On the occasion of its Centenary Concert in Victoria Hall on 14 March 1918, the Halifax Choral Society had hoped to have Agnes sing The Spirit of England with Webster Millar, but she was taken ill and Caroline Hatchard sang instead. Fully recovered, on 29 March, Agnes was able to join Beecham at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester for a Good Friday concert with Walter Hyde and Robert Parker when she sang ‘Senta's Ballad’ and ‘Elsa's Dream.’

Rejoins the Beecham Company 
With Mignon Nevada and Rosina Buckman on the sidelines, Beecham needed a soprano so he urged Agnes to join his forces at London’s Drury Lane Theatre. She arrived just as the season was drawing to a close and at the matinée on 6 April, the last day, she displayed her wares as Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. Up to this point, the role had been owned by Miriam Licette, who was now busy singing Louise and Constanze. Beecham immediately penciled Agnes's name into his future plans. When the Company went to Birmingham and Manchester, she was heard as the Countess and as Micaëla in Carmen. In the Paris version of Tannhäuser in Manchester on 13 May, Mullings and Gladys Ancrum marched truly to Beecham's beat but "one's chief criticism of Agnes Nicholls in the part of Elisabeth would be that she showed less of this rhythmical resilience while displaying such ample vocal resource." A more positive reaction came at Drury Lane in June when she was deemed "A great acquisition whose experience and fine voice were brought to bear on the part of Elisabeth in Tannhäuser."

That summer Isidore de Lara was doing the nation a valuable service by organizing concerts to raise funds for war-related charities. In June to aid the Italian Red Cross, he presented three concerts at Queen’s Hall under the banner of a "Festival of Italian Music." At the first on 6 June, Agnes joined Edna Thornton in Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Returning to a Teutonic repertory at Drury Lane on 8 June, she sang Elisabeth to the Tannhäuser of Frank Mullings and the Herman of Norman Allin, and on 14 June, with a "finely represented" Brünnhilde, she helped ensure The Valkyrie was "the most notable event of the season." After a Pamina in The Magic Flute on the 24th, Italian Opera beckoned so she supplied an Il Trovatore Leonora. She returned to Queen's Hall on the 29th for de Lara's third concert, a performance of the Verdi Requiem with Ethel Peake, Alfred Heather, Frederick Ranalow and the Alexandra Palace Choir under Beecham. Then at Drury Lane on 2 July, she assumed the role of Constanze in Il Seraglio with d'Oisly as Belmont and Radford as Osmin.

With Elgar's Spirit of England much in demand, Agnes and tenor William Hayle sang the music with the Glasgow Choral Union on 16 November 1918, when Parry's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day was also given. Illness kept her from repeating the work in Bradford on 22 November and in Manchester the following evening.

At Drury Lane in the Spring of 1919, her assignments included Pamina on 25 March, Elisabeth at a matinée performance of Tannhäuser led by Eugène Goossens Sr., a Countess in Figaro (on 2 April), with Beecham, and on 3 May, at season’s end, Mistress Ford on 4 July, returning the following evening for an Aida with Frederick Blamey and Edna Thornton.

During his Winter season at Covent Garden, which got underway on 3 November 1919, Beecham presented Agnes in six productions. On the 6th, she was Mistress Ford in Falstaff with the title role taken by Frederick Ranalow in a performance the maestro conducted. Then, in three performances of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, she shared Santuzza with Elsa Stralia while d'Oisly and Blamey took turns as the reckless Turiddu. She was also scheduled for a concert in Bradford on 22 November but she became so ill that her doctor forbade her to appear. She was fully recovered on 24 February as Beecham resumed at the Covent Garden in what would be his last hurrah. She sang a single Constanze in Il Seraglio and shared Elisabeth in seven Tannhäusers with Elsa Stralia and Rosina Buckman, also the Countess role in The Marriage of Figaro with Miriam Licette in three performances. Next in the sequence came Isolde in Tristan and Isolde, and here her individuality drew praise along with her "pure tone and absence of sprechgesang." The curtain came down on Beecham’s current contribution to London’s musical life on 10 April 1920. Five months later a receiving order in bankruptcy was offered against Sir Thomas Beecham, and the Beecham Opera Company went into voluntary liquidation.

The singers went their separate ways. Agnes had no worries for her calendar contained many entries such as the famous Handel Festival at the Crystal Palace on 19 June and undoubted pleasures with the Huddersfield Music Club on 15 December, singing songs with Paul Kilborn at the piano.

She had been absent from Hull (then England’s largest fishing ports) for some time, so it must have been gratifying for all concerned when she joined the city’s Vocal Society on 19 January, 1921 to sing in Elgar's King Olaf, with Webster Millar and Charles Knowles. On 17 November, she shared a rousing evening with the Choral Society of Carlisle and a band and chorus of two hundred and fifty at the Drill Hall. With Dr. F. W. Wadley conducting, she sang Schubert's `Song of Miriam' and Mendelssohn's `Hear my prayer' while the chorus let loose in Elgar's The Black Night.

The soprano and Herbert Brown sang Wagner's music in Middlesbrough on 16 February 1922 at a concert that celebrated the retirement of Dr. Killburn, who had just entered his eightieth year, after forty years of service to music. Then at a Hallé concert - family affair - "A Beethoven programme was offered on 3 March, 1922, demonstrating the contrast between Beethoven in his first Symphony (C Major) and his last (the Choral). Mr. Hamilton Harty missed some of the sublimity of the opening of the latter, but gave a superb reading of the scherzo. The choir had the greatest triumph, its tone being rich, fine in substance, and the extreme pitch was reached easily. Miss Agnes Nicholls, Miss Sonnenberg, Mr. Herbert [sic] Eisdell, and Mr. George Parker were the solo quartet, and Miss Nicholls sang the air `Ah! perfido'..." 

In April, she visited Columbia studios to record, with her husband at the piano. The session captured the exquisite "Have you seen but a whyte Lillie grow" and "Come my own one, come my dear one," from George Butterworth's collection of Sussex folk songs. Collectors will be interested to know that she also recorded ‘Vissi d’arte’, her only example of Italian opera. Regrettably this recording was a disaster. She was placed far from the horn, and the voice sounds both distant and weak. It was never published. Two of these un-issued discs appeared on an Agnes Nicholls LP produced by Symposium Records in 1987, transferred from test pressings. Thankfully the ‘Vissi d’arte’ has survived. Let us hope it will appear on a future reissue.

By this time, the British National Opera Company (BNOC) which had been formed by the conductor Percy Pitt and other sponsors was rapidly taking the place of the defunct Beecham Company. During the organization’s initial visit to Covent Garden, Agnes sang the first of three Aidas on 10 May 1922 with Mullings and later Hughes Macklin as Radames. She added Sieglinde in The Valkyrie on 16 May with Hyde, Thornton, Whitehill and Florence Austral in her debut as Brünnhilde. As the season progressed, she sang in Siegfried on 1 June, Tannhäuser on 10 June and The Marriage of Figaro on 13 June.

The following year Agnes sang Sieglinde in The Valkyrie with Austral, Hyde, Parker and Radford/Allin on 17 May under Albert Coates followed by Harty. Then, again under the baton of her husband, the Countess in a pair of Figaros, with Lillian Stanford as Susannah, Maggie Teyte then Doris Lemon as Cherubino, Raymond Ellis as Figaro and, in the small role of Bartolo, the stalwart Robert Radford. Then, as part of the June Birthday Honours, King George V conferred upon her a richly deserved C.B.E. as “leading soprano in both oratorio and opera.” The award, Commander of the Order of the British Empire’, carried no title, but, after Harty was knighted three years later, she became Lady Harty C.B.E. Back at work, she took part in a series of five concerts in Manchester in October for the Wholesale Co-operative Society, sharing the platform with fellow songbirds Dorothy Silk and Miriam Licette.

Early in 1924, with the Hallé forces in Manchester, she sang in Act II of The Valkyrie with Rose Myrtil, Frank Mullings, Norman Allin and Clifford Moon, while in the Love Duet from Tristan, Agnes and Mullings "ventured into an intimate tenderness of style which was something of a revelation even to the most experienced Wagnerians in the hall." Notable during BNOC's 1924 season at Covent Garden was the presence of Melba, who would sing Mimi in La Bohème in support of opera in English. Before the first performance on 7 January, Sir William McCormick asked Agnes to present Dame Nellie with a tortoise shell manicure set with matching case, with initials `N M' in silver on the lid, "a gift to the greatest Queen of Song with the love and gratitude of the British National Opera Company." A month later a lone outing (1 February), as Sieglinde in The Valkyrie with Austral, Thornton, Hyde, Parker and Allin proved to be Agnes’s last performance with BNOC in London. However, there seemed no end to the succession of country-wide performances, for among the next, one traced was Mendelssohn’s St. Paul;, which took place in Preston, in North-West England, on the 20th with Edyth Kirbye, Walter Widdop and, most interestingly, Peter Dawson.

As one of the nation’s most celebrated artists she remained much in demand for opera, oratorio and concert engagements. In 1926 she intended to visit Belfast and Dublin for concerts organized by a friend of her husband, "People's Impresario" Wilfred Stephenson, but illness prevented the trip. She continued to sing in concerts until, plagued by a thyroid condition, she chose finally to retire, leaving the Ibbs & Tillett register in 1930. Two years earlier on 26 October 1928, during the BNOC's first performance in Edinburgh of Verdi's Falstaff. She bade farewell to the operatic stage as Mistress Ford under John Barbirolli.

In the mid-1930s, Harty began to experience bouts of weakness and eventually a brain tumour was diagnosed. He underwent painful radiation treatment that cost him an eye but he was able to resume his music making. By the time World War Two broke out, his health again began to fail. After their home in London was bombed, they took a flat in Brighton and there, on England’s south coast, Sir Hamilton Harty passed away in 1941.

Years before, Agnes had established herself as a successful teacher of voice. "As a person," wrote Parry Jones, "she was the essence of kindness and joviality. I remember her with gratitude the many lovely lunches we had together, in company with her pupil Rose Alper, the famous South African soprano. There was never a dull moment. She enjoyed everything the table had to offer with great relish. And she delighted in excellent conversation. There was no moping in her company."

In later years, she resided in St. John's Wood, a smart suburb where a number of fellow musicians lived. It was there on 21 September 1959 that Agnes, Lady Harty, C.B.E., died of heart failure at age 83. Earlier that year, she had reminisced at a meeting of London’s Recorded Vocal Art Society. Considering that she had suffered from rheumatic fever in childhood, Agnes Nicholls was blessed with a long life and a truly distinguished career, content to spend most of it in the vast reaches of an empire on which the sun never set.

It is only left for Parry Jones, a colleague since 1917, to add, "She was always an inspiration, tremendously alive. Her singing I remember as first rate in technique, but with technique as her servant, with great insight into the text, and style of the music; and a great personal gift of holding one's interest and keen attention. She had eloquence, and a great sweep, and never committed the unpardonable sin of being dull. I saw her last operatic performance as Mistress Ford in Falstaff. It was Shakespeare as well as Verdi."

The Editor of The Record Collector, Larry Lustig decided it would be informative to add an excerpt of a meeting in 1967 between P.G. Hurst and John Freestone in which Agnes Nicholls was discussed and a few of her records were played.

J.F. P.G. you knew Agnes Nicholls very well indeed, I know, and you introduced her to the Recorded Vocal Art Society when she came a few years ago (on 9 April 1959); the programme was ‘Life of a singer. Would you like to say something about her?

P.G. I remember the occasion very well, when I introduced her, and I greatly enjoyed it. I consider her the greatest and most accomplished of all English singers. I knew her very well in later years. In fact she came down to stay with us at Twineham [a village in Sussex] in 1940. In her heyday I heard her very often in opera and concert. I’d like to play Cowen’s ‘At mid hour of night’.

J.F. Now you heard that earlier in the afternoon. Before you play it, didn’t you think that she showed not her dramatic qualities, but other qualities? Was there anything you heard in the record that would convey to you the singing of Agnes Nicholls?

P.G. Well of course her style was the grand style really, not these small songs, things like ‘Ocean, thou mighty monster’, the big things. Even her treatment of this little song is so masterly that I think it worth playing for its own sake. But she didn’t make a great many at the time of what I call the heyday of recording.

J.F. The point I noticed in the singing again was the sustained quality of the high notes, which come off beautifully.

P.G Yes, and the steadiness. There was a kind of Melba quality… [the record is played].

APPENDIX A - a sampling of AGNES NICHOLLS in Messiah 
In Hull on Good Friday, 1903, she sang Messiah at the Alexandra Theatre with Belle Cole, Herbert Grover and Ivor Foster.

For the Royal Choral Society at the Royal Albert Hall a Messiah that signalled the arrival of 1908. Agnes was joined by Ada Crossley, Lloyd Chandos and Robert Watkin Mills.

She returned to the Royal Albert Hall for the New Year's Messiah in 1910 with Chandos and Watkin Mills again but with Gwladys Roberts now as contralto soloist.

To mark the coming of 1914, Agnes sang Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall with Louise Kirkby Lunn, Ben Davies and David Evans.

For Messiah at Christmas in Manchester on 20 December 1917, Agnes attended with Olga Haley, Maurice d'Oisly and Robert Radford with Beecham leading the Hallé Orchestra and Choir.

She took part in the Glasgow Choral Union's 1920 New Year's Day Messiah with John Coates, Margaret Balfour and Herbert Brown as Warren T. Clemens conducted the Scottish Orchestra. The work's appeal held true.

Of many Messiahs given at Easter in 1920, one singled out by Musical Times was by the Royal Choral Society at the Royal Albert Hall on Good Friday, led by Sir Frederick Bridge. "It attracted a great audience who were equally pleased by the choral singing and with the solo work of Mesdames Agnes Nicholls and Astra Desmond and Messrs Coates and Allin."

After her college days introduction in 1897, Agnes sang
in Hereford on 14 September 1906 in Elgar's The Apostles with Muriel Foster, John Coates, William Higley, Dalton Baker and David Ffrangçon Davies.

In 1907, it was a busy time in Gloucester: on 11 September she sang in The Kingdom with Ada Forrest, Coates and Ffrangçon-Davies. She was prominent in Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise and the season's effective novelty, Granville Bantock's cantata, Christ in the Wilderness in company with David Ffrangçon Davies. Finally there was an appearance on the 13th in Messiah with Coates, Forrest and Baker.

On 8 September 1908, Agnes visited Worcester to sing Elijah with Coates, Clara Butt and Charles W. Clark. The Kingdom followed on the 9th with Coates, Alice Lakin and William Higley. To conclude, there was Messiah in company with Coates, Butt and Radford.  

At Hereford in 1909 she sang in The Apostles on 7 September with Coates, Phyllis Lett, Higley, Baker and Frederic Austin. On the 8th she joined Coates in a scene from Act I of Die Walküre and on the 10th Messiah with Coates, Ada Crossley and William Higley.

In 1910 at Gloucester, on 7 September, she began by singing "Va! Je t'ai pardonne" from Romeo et Juliette with John Coates. On the 8th she sang Gethsemane by Granville Bantock with Coates, Simpson and Austin and in Hymn of Praise with Coates and Simpson. On the 9th, her Messiah partners were Coates, Lett and Radford.

On 12 September 1911 at Worcester, Agnes sang Elijah with Kirkby Lunn, Le Mar, Frederick Ranalow and Austin.

The 1914 season was cancelled due to the war, and the festival remained silent throughout the war years.

In 1921, she returned to Hereford on 6 September for Elijah with Coates, Lett and Radford and the next day in The Apostles with Coates, Lett, Radford, George Parker and Norman Allin.

On 6 September 1922 at Gloucester, she sang in The Apostles with Coates, Lett, Parker, Heyner and Allin and the next day in The Kingdom with Coates, Lett and Herbert Heyner.

The Festival in 1923 began on 4 September with Elijah with Agnes, Coates, Leila Megane and Heyner and the next day The Kingdom with the same artists.

In 1924, she sang Elijah on 9 September with Coates, Haley and Radford; The Kingdom on the 11th with Coates, Olga Haley and Heyner.

In 1925 she sang in The Apostles at Gloucester with Coates, Astra Desmond, Heyner, Horace Stevens and Allin.

In 1926 she joined Coates for further adventures: The Apostles on 7 September with Haley and Heyner, Stevens and Allin; the next day in The Kingdom and in Parry's War and Peace with Haley and Heyner.

This article originally appeared in the Record Collector, Vol. 53, No. 1, March 2008 and is available here through the cooperation of the Editor of that journal.

My original paragraphs 2 & 3 represent my wish to begin in a light-hearted manner. In his wisdom, my great friend, the Editor, opted to replace my words with far more appropriate text.

A question...why were forty-three of the fifty-eight records made by the English dramatic soprano, Agnes Nicholls, never released? Most claim this calamity was due to her enormous voice overloading the primitive recording apparatus, causing blasting and distortion and ruling out release. But Dennis Foreman, an authority on early vocal records, disagrees: "I can never understand all this guff that her voice was too powerful for the recording horn. If they could record an aging Tamagno, a fully fit Leon Escolais and Titta Ruffo, they should have been able to cope with Agnes Nicholls. More like incompetence I'd think"... But, Dennis, for so many discs? Surely that's a lot of incompetence!

A second theory argues that she was super critical so some "rejects" may actually have been "keepers." It is a controversy sure to endure. This is especially sad for Agnes Nicholls was unquestionably an accomplished singer and a beloved figure in English music. Close scrutiny of her few records will reveal, in the softer passages, an incredible sweetness while elsewhere she sounds wonderfully firm and assured. Undoubtedly, she reached many in a very special way. Indeed her nation rewarded her handsomely for her achievements. And yet, amongst the four singers who recorded Liza Lehmann's In a Persian Garden in 1916, Agnes was the least successful as listeners can easily tell. 

Two Centuries of Music in Hull by Norman Staveley, Hutton Press, 1999.

Harold Rosenthal: Two Centuries of Opera at Covent Garden.

Sir Thomas Beecham - A Calendar of his Concert and Theatrical Performances (1985) by Maurice Parker and Supplement (1998) by Tony Benson - UK Beecham Society

Most quotations stem from writings by the singer in "A Vignette" OPERA, 1923, OPERA FOR THE ANTIPODES by Alison Gyger, Currency Press, 1990, The Musical Times and Parry Jones's observations in his tribute in OPERA, Vol. 10, No. 11

" John Coates" by Dennis Foreman, THE RECORD COLLECTOR Vol. 38, No, 2

TRUE ARTIST AND TRUE FRIEND - a biography of Hans Richter by Christopher Fifield, Clarendon Press, 1993

Radio Times, 3 October 1957

MUSIC IN ENGLAND 1885 - 1920 by Lewis Foreman, Thames Publishing, 1994

In addition to those mentioned in the text, I would like especially to thank Paul Campion in London for his painstaking research into the Nicholls family background; also Dame Norma Major for background on British awards and Alan Turner and Graham Oakes for other useful information. I am also indebted to Michael Bott in Bermuda for taking an interest and for making many helpful changes and additions to the text, also to his secretary Sandy Gascoyne.
The editor also offered thanks to Michael Letchford, Michael Bott and Christian Zwarg for their further help with the discography.

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