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Latest Issue

Elsa Bland

For the third issue of Volume 63 (September 2018) we are delighted to publish a superb biography of the German soprano Elsa Bland (1880-1935). This is the research of a new contributor to this journal, the German collector and author Hubertus Thoma. Bland was a figure of the first importance in the great days of the Mahler company at the Vienna Court opera. Her career was meteoric in its rise and her lirico spinto voice proved to be exactly what Mahler needed for his company. For a number of years, she portrayed leading German and Italian roles with such greats at Slezak, Ernst Kraus, Leopold Demuth and Richard Mayr. Hubertus paints a picture of a massively talented soprano but one with a career not without its problems, who became something of a victim of the political scene at the time. It is a fascinating story and an absorbing insight into the politics of the German houses in which she sang.

The biography is further enhanced by a new discography, which has been contributed by the German researcher, expert in discography and transfer engineer Christian Zwarg. Bland left a relatively small discography of recordings of her greatest roles for a number of companies many of which are very fine. Despite her great fame she is somewhat undervalued by collectors. We hope that this new issue will serve to redress that.

Kathleen Howard

For our second article we present one of the last works produced by the late, lamented author Jim McPherson. Jim, who passed away in 2002, left an article on the contralto Kathleen Howard (1879-1956). It remained unpublished awaiting completion but is now ready for publication. Howard, although primarily a comprimario (though she did sing certain major roles), nevertheless sang with greats such as Caruso and Patti and will go down in operatic annals for her part in the world première of Gianni Schicchi. Towards the end of her career Howard began to appear in films playing avuncular, character roles and notched up over forty.

Howard's discography consists solely of recordings for Edison and Pathé and, consequently, her recordings have remained relatively obscure. Her's was an interesting story and anyone who sang with many of the finest singers of her generation is surely worth remembering.Ten-inch Berliner

Little has been written about Berliner recordings. Most collectors only ever encounter a few and usually they are the 7-in. size. However, for a short period, the company produced a far rarer 10-in. version, which contained recordings of such eminent artists as Sobinov, Agussol, Corradetti and Labinsky. We have pleasure in presenting an article entitled "How Many Ten-inch Berliners?", which gives the history of these issues. Our subscriber Mark Quilliam has written a valuable insight into these rarities and actually asks that question.


With further articles about Birgit Nilsson, Renée Doria, a valuable dating table for English Vocalion issues and the regular record and book reviews this is a very full and fascinating issue indeed.

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