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     Wagner: GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG   [Includes RealAudio Selections]      Table of Contents     		   APPENDIX A

The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes

- Libretti


This side contains a variety of marginal material that has been excluded from the main sequence, mostly on the grounds of audibility. Many of these were among the cylinders found at the Mapleson Music Library, which have survived in poor condition. Six selections were sufficiently audible to be included in the main listening sequence (see "M" numbers in the table in Appendix A), two proved totally unplayable, and the remainder will be found on Bands 3, 4, 6-8, 10, 11, and Band 12 (e). In most cases, texts and translations have not been included, as words are generally indistinguishable and a score is necessary for even minimal decipherment.

Band 1

Unidentified repertory

Unidentified chorus & orchestra (?)

Date unknown

[Seltsam 68; probably matches a Glackens entry.]

This selection remains unidentified, despite David Hall's diligent research in the obscure corners of the Met's repertory during the Mapleson seasons.

Band 2

Gounod: ROMÉO ET JULIETTE--Act I: Juliet's Valse excerpt: "Je veux vivre"

Nellie Melba (s), Juliette

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli

March 9 (matinee), 1901

This is the new transfer of the surviving part of the cylinder given complete on Side 3 from the 1941 Library of Congress transfer. Although incomplete and less "listenable" because of further deterioration of the cylinder (notably a widened crack resulting in untrackable groove skips), this version has a wider frequency response and truer hall ambience. For synopsis and text, see Side 3/Band 4.

Band 3

Bizet: CARMEN--Act I: Habanera excerpt

Emma Calvé (s), Carmen

Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra--

Phillippe Flon


[Glackens 97: "Calvé Habanera," with no date. Flon conducted all of Calvé's Carmens; possible dates are December 30, 1901, and in 1902, January 10, February 1 (matinee), 12, 20 (matinee), and March 8. The speed matches neither of the other Carmen cylinders (see Side 4/Bands 1, 2).]

This cylinder contains one stanza (impossible to determine which one) of the "Habanera." At first, nothing is decipherable, but eventually the choral reprise of the opening strain can be faintly detected, and the choral interjections in the refrain ("Prends garde à toi!"--they do seem to be in French!) are fairly clear; towards the end, Calvé herself is also audible.

Band 4

Donizetti: LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR--Act III: Mad Scene excerpt

Nellie Melba (s), Lucia

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli

March 18, 1901

Glackens 82; the container now holding Side 3/Band 8 from Le Cid has Mapleson's notation: "Mad. Melba Lucia Mad Scene, March 18, 1901, weak connection." The recording speed matches the cylinder from the later part of the scene found on Side 4/Band 7.]

The beginning of this cylinder is totally obscured by noise; about a minute and twenty seconds in, we are definitely at the line "Ogni piacer più grato," in the slow part of the "Mad Scene." Since it takes Melba just about as long to reach this point in her 1910 Victor recording of the passage, which begins at "Ardon gl' incensi," we may surmise that Mapleson began his recording at that standard starting-place. The noise gradually mutes, so that the phrases at the top of the staff, at least, can be made out, but the excerpt breaks off just before the interpolated cadenza written for Melba by Mathilde Marchesi (heard in Melba's studio recordings of the passage). This is the performance without chorus.

Band 5

(a) Massenet: LE CID--Act II: Infanta's Alleluia fragment

Nellie Melba or Suzanne Adams (s), L'Infante

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli

or Phillippe Flon


This fragment is found at the end of the cylinder containing the Suzanne Adams Faust Trio recording (Side 1/Band 10)--indeed, the sonic difficulties of that recording probably result from its having been recorded over an imperfectly shaved cylinder. Though not from the January 16, 1901 Cid performance (see Side 3/Band 9), this could be from any of four others: in 1900-01, the matinee of January 19 (Melba/Mancinelli) or the evening of February 8 (Adams/Mancinelli), or from the following season, February 19 and March 4 (both Adams/Flon).

(b) Arditi: Parla Vals excerpt: Introduction

Marcella Sembrich (s) or Fritzi Scheff (s) (?)Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--(?)

Date unknown

The opening bars of Arditi's waltz, recorded at the same speed as the coda (Side 4/Band 10) but in a different aural perspective, this is found at the beginning of the cylinder containing the Marilly Aida excerpt (Side 5/Band 6), which was presumably recorded over it, indicating that this bit of Parla must predate January 31, 1903. The only performance of Parla documented by the revised Metropolitan Opera Annals is by Fritzi Scheff, at a concert on December 14, 1902--but that would be the only known Mapleson recording before the first of the year, and from a season during which he is not otherwise known to have recorded Sunday-evening concerts. Other possibilities, probably undocumentable: Sembrich, from another performance of Fille, recorded from another perspective--or perhaps an unprogrammed encore from a Sunday-evening concert? Given that the singer doesn't even get one phrase out before the recording breaks off, this certainly ranks as one of the lesser Mapleson mysteries.

Band 6

Verdi: LA TRAVIATA: Ah fors'è lui excerpt: "A quell' amor, quell' amor ch'è palpito"... "delizia al cor"

Marcella Sembrich (?)

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Luigi Mancinelli (?)

February 27, 1903 (?)

The identification of performers and date is based on the assumption that this cylinder is the one inventoried as No. 26 by Glackens and Bishop: "Sembrich-Traviata-Ah fors (Feb 27 1903)" and described in their commentary as "Pretty clear except for low notes, worth saving." Heat damage has rendered most of the cylinder unplayable; the recoverable forty-five seconds represent the end of the aria, no longer "pretty clear," alas. The recording evidently begins at the turn to the major in Violetta's aria; the first really discernible phrase is "dell' universo, dell' universo intero," at the beginning of which the singer deploys a simpler ornament than is heard in Sembrich's three recordings of the piece. Note that the speed does not match the "Sempre libera" cylinder of the same date (Side 5/Band 4)--nor that of the Melba excerpt on Side 5/Band 3, the only Traviata during the Mapleson years not sung by Sembrich.



A quell'amor,
quell'amor ch'è palpito
dell' universo,
dell' universo intero,
misterioso, misterioso, altero,
croce, croce e delizia,
croce e delizia, delizia al cor.



To that love,
that love which is the heartbeat
of the universe,
of the whole universe,
mysterious and proud,
a burden, a burden and a delight,
a burden and a delight, a delight to the heart.

Band 7

Ponchielli: LA GIOCONDA -- Dance of the Hours excerpt

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra -- Phillippe Flon

March 2, 1902

[The Glackens-Bishop inventory lists two cylinders apparently from the "Dance of the Hours." No. 76, dated "March 2?, 19?," is described as "cracked"; No. 92 is "Gioconda galop -- March 2, 1902." This is presumably the second of two (though it does not include the final section of the piece, to which the term "galop" might be properly applied). Gioconda was not in the Met repertory during these years, and the piece was played only on the Sunday-evening concert of that date -- at which Mapleson may have also recorded some songs sung by Campanari and possibly the Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre (see Side 4/Band 14).]

The excerpt begins near the end of "the hours of day" (about eight measures before letter E in the Ricordi score), and continues through "evening" into "night." Two bars after letter G, Mapleson appears to have stopped his machine; at any rate, the transitional passage, with harp arpeggios, is missing; more curiously, when he resumes at "Andante poco mosso," the first eight measures of cello melody are repeated -- at which point the recording breaks off.

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Band 8

Wagner: TRISTAN UND ISOLDE: Act I finale excerpt: "Tristan! Isolde!"...

Milka Ternina (s), Isolde

Ernestine Schumann-Heink (a), Brangäne

Jean De Reszke (t), Tristan

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--

Walter Damrosch

March 13, 1901

[Glackens 112; the cylinder with the cadenza of the Roméo waltz was found in a container with a Tristan snake and Mapleson's notation: "Duet Jean, Ternina Act I Tristan March 13, 1901." The speed matches the other surviving cylinder from this performance (see below and Side 9/Band 5).]

This cylinder begins after Tristan and Isolde have drunk the potion, shortly before Isolde's first line; the choral entries and Schumann-Heink's vigorous intervention are barely distinguishable, the remainder is covered by steadily increasing noise. (We give the chorus words in German; it's impossible to tell whether they are sung in German or Italian.)





Treuloser Holder!

Seligste Frau!

SAILORS (without)
Heil! König Marke Heil!
Heil! König Marke Heil!
Heil! König Marke Heil!

Wehe! Weh!
ew'ge Noth
für kurzen Tod!
Thör'ger Treue
trugvolles Werk
blüht nun jammernd empor!





Faithless beloved!

Most divine woman!

SAILORS (without)
Hail! King Marke. hail!
Hail! King Marke. hail!
Hail! King Marke. heil!

Woe! Woe!
endless need
instead of sudden death!
The deceptive fruits
of foolish loyalty
now flourish in grief!

Band 9

Wagner: TRISTAN UND ISOLDE--Act II: excerpts:

(a) "[wo sie dein] Licht verscheuchte"--"sie zulöschen zag ich nicht!"

(b) "[O] Wonne der Seele"..."ewig, ewig ein! Wie lange [fern!]"

Milka Ternina (s), Isolde

Jean De Reszke (t), Tristan

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra--Walter


March 13, 1901

This is the new transfer of the passages from Act II of the same performance, presented on Side 9/Band 5 in a dubbing of the IRCC disc, which we judged to be slightly more intelligible, if more restricted in frequency range. See Side 9/Band 5 for text and translation.

Band 10

Unidentified repertory, performers, date

Some musical signal, as yet unidentified, is faintly distinguishable on this cylinder.

Band 11

(a) Unidentified repertory, performers, date

(b) comment by Lionel Mapleson (?)

This is the second half of the cylinder containing the cadenza to Juliette's "Valse" (Side 3/Band 3). Some musical signal is discernible if not identifiable (it does not seem to be the material immediately following the "Valse"--though it might just possibly be the beginning of an encore), and at the end a speaking voice is heard--presumably Mapleson's: "I wonder...recorded sound...."

Band 12


Scattered among the cylinders--and, distressingly, often recorded over Met performances--are "home recordings" of the Mapleson family, here gathered in a sequence. Pitching was necessarily approximate; they were re-recorded at speeds that resulted in normal speaking pitch.

(a) "Good morning, my dear little school." June 21, 19??

Recorded over the continuation of the Manru excerpt (see Side 7/Band 8 for the libretto of the music heard in the background).

(b) "...I want to build my own house with my own blocks!"

March 1(?), 1911

At the end of the Melba Faust "Jewel Song" (Side 1/Band 2).

(c) "...evening paper" ... "just come from a very windy walk on Brooklyn Bridge."

April 8, 1909

At the end of the second cylinder from the Africaine duet (Side 3/Band 3).

(d) "I have a new motto for my paper." November 5, 19??

At the end of Act II of Carmen (Side 4/Band 1). The music on this recording may be related to the following traditional round:
Thou poor bird,
mournst the tree,
where sweetly thou didst warble
in thy wand'ring free.
Ah, poor bird,
take thy flight
far above the sorrows
of this sad night.

(e) Christmas greetings

A complete cylinder from the Mapleson Music Library group (M-5).

(f) Au clair de la lune

On the cylinder with the undated "Te Deum" from Tosca (Side 7/Band 2).

(g) Onward Christian Soldiers

On the cylinder with the Sylvia excerpt (Side 4/Band 12).

The remaining three recordings are all undocumented and all badly distorted--in the second case, at least, evidently because Mapleson recorded a second "take" of the same music directly over an imperfectly erased first one. Presumably not from Met stage performances, they were probably recorded in the opera house, and possibly by singers known to history. (The soprano might conceivably be Lionel's wife Helen.) Included here for the sake of completeness, they are emphatically not recommended for recreational listening.

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Band 13

Gounod: Ave Maria excerpt: last 13 measures Unidentified performers (soprano, chorus?, piano), date

This is on the cylinder with the "Prize Song" (below, Band 15). The exact nature of the accompanying forces is difficult to discern--is that a chorus, or merely a phantom created by the distortion?

Band 14

Puccini: LA BOHÈME: Mi chiamano Mimì excerpt: second part of aria

Unidentified performers (soprano, piano), date

Band 15

Wagner: DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG: Prize Song excerpt: "Huldreichster Tag" end of solo section

Unidentified performers (tenor, orchestra?), date

Found on the same cylinder as the Ave Maria (above, Band 13), this is the Abgesang of Walther von Stolzing's "Prize Song," with a concert ending instead of the choral epilogue found in the opera (and therefore certainly not recorded at a performance of the opera). Again, distortion is so fierce as to obscure the exact nature of the accompanying forces (Tom Owen suggests that it may be simply a harmonium). If orchestrally accompanied, it might come from a Sunday-evening concert, possibly that of January 17, 1904, when Burgstaller sang and Mottl conducted (the same concert from which the Wagner Kaisermarsch on Side 10/Band 11 may come), or that of March 6, 1904, when Dippel sang and Hertz conducted.

[Begin Page 68]

     Wagner: GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG   [Includes RealAudio Selections]      Table of Contents     		   APPENDIX A