The British Institute of Recorded Sound


Limited edition* of 78s by great singers

AT LAST there is a chance lor students of great singing to acquire 78 rpm pressings (not LP dubbings),  some never belore available, made by EMI Irom their original masters, and pressed on modern high quality unbreakable material

The first series of 20 double-sided records (listed inside) has been selected by an expert advisory panel (The Earl of Harewood, Richard Bebb, J.H.Freestone,  Vivian Lilt,  Andrew Porter and Desmond Shawe-Taylor)

These records are available by subscription only. An edition of each record will be made which exactly corresponds to the number ot prepaid Orders received. No further stocks will be held. Orders accompanied by remittance must reach \\\c BIRS by 30 June 1971.  The records ordered will, it is hoped  be sent to purchasers m October

MATT1A BATT1STIN1  (1856-1928)  HMB 5

Superb vocal powers, a complete mastery of technique and a style that combines theatrical brilliance with extreme refinement these were the qualities that made Battistini for so long the undisputed king of Italian baritones  Among his rarest records are this pair, made in 1913 containing the complete Act 4 duet from II Trovatore

OLIMPIA BORONAT  (1869-1935)  HMB 20

A soprano of Spanish-Italian origin whose career lay almost wholl) in Tsarist Russia. Boronat was an exquisitel) touching and delicate artist, with a vein of fragile pathos all her own. These recordings come irom her Milan 1908 group,  which are even rarer than her first St Petersburg batch of 1904.

FERNANDO DE LUCIA  (1860-1925) HMA 2

Though onh thirteen )ears older than Caruso De Lucia represents a more remote epoch in the history of singing, his effortless technique and blithe, self-confident display of temperament and of vocal graces are as telling in these slight Neapolitan songs as in his well-known anas and duets from the operas of Rossini and Bellini.

LUCIEN FUGERE  (1848-1935) HMB 14 (see HAHN)

The lamous and extraordinary series of recordings made in his eightieth year by the incomparable and ageless star of the Opera Comique include this hitherto unpublished excerpt from Act 4 of Louise, in which he created the role of the Father there in 1900.


The Scarpia of the world premiere of Tosca  was a dramatic baritone of great authority and power. Though he unfortunately recorded nothing from Totca, the two lago arias show clearly that he possessed the sinister elegance demanded by both roles.

REYNALDOHAHN  (1875-1947) HMB 14 (see FUGERE)

Hahn was a man of amazingly diverse talents:  composer, conductor, pianist, critic, essayist – also a drawing-room singer equipped with a thread of beautifully trained voice, exquisite enunciation and a command of the most subtle rubato.  This unpublished record of Byron’s famous poem in Gounod’s setting – an interpretation for which Hahn was celebrated – is his only English-language recording.

SELMA KURZ  (1574-1933)  HMB 6

Selrr.a kurz was lor long the idol of Vienna, and became scarcely less popular at Covent Garden. Her relaxed, almost indolent style and famous trill are both evident in these examples of ner recorded legacy, both very rare in their original form.

FELLA L1TVINNE  (1560-1933) HMB 10

Litunne was a rr.agnificent dramatic soprano of Russian origin, whose world-wide career began in France; she was the sister-in-law of Edouard de Reszke. and (like both Jean and Edouard) became famous in Wagnerian roles, while remaining as these 1905 recordings show, a complete mistress of the Italian style.

MARIA NEMETH  (1597-1967) HMB 13

This s_pe:b H.nganan singer was the leading dramatic soprano of Vienna from 1924 to 1945. A voice of compelling power and accuracy is matched b a rare agility and sensitivity.

EVA VON DER OSTEN  (1881-1936) HMB 16

The creator of the role of Octavian in Per Rosenkavalier was one of the major stars of the Dresden Opera in its greatest years. No more serene or pure version of the two Lo.-en^ri”. arias nas ever been recorded.

LCTTE SCHOENE  (born 1891)  HMB 19

T-.:s ic^el’. \ ;ennese soprano. whose career took her later to Berlin, and eventually to Pans, made many excellent records. Her voice is full of gentle appeal; though t-e anas were recorded in German, the\ are sung with a delicacy that few French sopranos could match.

DMITRI SMIRNOV  (1851-1944) HMB 7 4 8

Smirnov was one of the finest oi all the great Russian tenors. His Huguenots ana. though sung in Russian,  has a good claim to be thought the unest version ever recorded; and t-.e two excerpts from Russian operas have the further attraction of unfamiliarity.

H1NA SPAN!  (1596-1969)  HMA 3

Trjs fine Argentinian dramatic soprano has always been a great favourite among collectors, her recordings of Spanish songs are particularly rare.

CONCHITA SUPERVGA  (1595-1936) HMA 1 & HMB 11

At. -ntimel. death in childbirth cut down this adorable singer at the height of her career, and her fame among record collectors has grown ever since. Nobody displays a rr.ore infectious joy in the sheer act of singing. Of these four hitherto unpublished sides the two English-language songs are particularly delightful examples of her very personal style.


Tr.e trumpet tones and heroic utterance of Tamagno, to whom Verdi entrusted the first performance of Otello, are evident in all his records. Even though different takes of tnese uues were published, there are points of difference, and now and then of superiority, in these unpublished takes, which have the further advantage of deriving frorr unworn stampers.

MAGGIE TEYTE  (born 1898)  HMB 15

T-ese cr.aracteristic recordings of French son^s were actually assigned a catalogue number,  but for some unknown reason remained unpublished, although they are excellent examples of the an of a charming singer and great interpreter.

VANNI-MARCOUX (1871-196?)  HMB 12

Vanm-Marcoux possessed a voice of absolutely individual timbre, and his records disDlay the art of a great singing actor. Capable of challenging Chaliapln even in tr.e role of Boris Godunos, Vanm-Marcoux was unnvalled in the French repertoire.


Many collectors will Know well the famous records (HMV Archive Series, VB 17 & 8) of Zenaiello in the role of Otello, recorded live at Covent Garden in 1926. Two previous unpublished sides provide further evidence of an intensely dramatic performance.

EUGENIA ZBRUYEVA  (1867-1936)  HMB 18

Unnnown to Western audiences, this Russian contralto something of the authority and vocal prowess of Schumann-Heink. Even the stirring music (Vanya is a pan ) will be unfamiliar to many collectors, since Glinka’s opera is so seldom performed outside Russia.

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