The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes
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.