The Late 1920s – The Symphony

Another exclusive orchestral mix, available as a podcast for patreon backers.

This one has classical / orchestral music recorded between 1927 and 1929, and features a section in stereo!

0:00:00 Dajos Béla and His Dance Orchestra – Jalousie (1927)
0:02:44 Hotel Commodore Ensemble, directed by Bernhard Levitow – Clair de lune- suite Bergamasque (1927)
0:06:49 Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski – Toccata and Fugue in D minor (1927)
0:15:25 Fritz Kreisler – Dvorak – Indian Lament (1928)
0:19:46 Grigoras Dinicu – Hora Staccato (1928)
0:22:31 Sergei Rachmaninov & The Philadelphia Orchestra – Piano Concerto N°2 in C minor Op.18 – III. Allegro scherzo (1929)
0:33:25 Sergei Rachmaninoff – Schumann Carnaval Op.9 Sphinxes (1929)
0:33:56 Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski – Stravinsky ‘Rite of Spring’ (1929)
0:41:25 Victor Symphony Orchestra feat. George Gershwin – An American In Paris (1929)

Elsewhere in 1929

January 6 – King Alexander of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes suspends his country’s constitution
January 10 – The first appearance of Hergé’s Belgian comic book hero Tintin, as Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, begins serialization in Le Petit Vingtième.
January 17 – The comic strip hero Popeye first appears in Thimble Theatre
January 29 – All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues), by Erich Maria Remarque, is published in book form.
February 9 – ”Litvinov’s Pact” is signed in Moscow by the Soviet Union, Poland, Estonia, Romania and Latvia, who agree not to use force to settle disputes between themselves.
February 11 – The Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See of the Catholic Church sign the Lateran Treaty, to establish the Vatican City as an independent sovereign enclave within Rome, resolving the ”Roman Question”.
February 14 – In the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, five gangsters (rivals of Al Capone), plus a civilian, are shot dead in Chicago.
March 4 – The National Revolutionary Party (Partido Nacional Revolucionario) is established in Mexico, by ex-President Plutarco Elías Calles. Under a succession of names, it will hold power in the country continuously for the next 71 years
April 14 – The inaugural Monaco Grand Prix is won by William Grover-Williams, driving a Bugatti.
May 16 – The 1st Academy Awards are presented in a 15-minute ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, honoring the best movies of 1927 and 1928, Wings (1927) winning Best Picture.
May 20 – The Wickersham Commission begins its investigation of organized crime, following alcohol Prohibition in the United States.
June 8 – Ramsay MacDonald forms the United Kingdom’s second Labour government.
June 21 – An agreement brokered by U.S. Ambassador Dwight Whitney Morrow helps end the Cristero War in Mexico.
July 25 – Pope Pius XI emerges from the Apostolic Palace, and enters St. Peter’s Square in a huge procession witnessed by about 250,000 persons, thus ending nearly 60 years of self-imposed status by the papacy as Prisoner in the Vatican.
August 8–29 – German rigid airship LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin makes a circumnavigation of the Northern Hemisphere, including the first nonstop flight of any kind across the Pacific Ocean
August 16 – The 1929 Palestine riots break out between Palestinians and Jews in Mandatory Palestine, and continue until the end of the month. In total, 133 Jews and 116 Palestinians are killed.
August 31 – The Young Plan, which sets the total World War I reparations owed by Germany at US$26,350,000,000 to be paid over a period of 58½ years, is finalized.
September 30 – Fritz von Opel pilots the first rocket-powered aircraft, the Opel RAK.1, in front of a large crowd in Frankfurt am Main.
October 12 – In the Australian federal election, The Labor Party, led by James Scullin, defeats the Nationalist and Country Coalition Government, led by Prime Minister Stanley Bruce, who loses his own seat
October 24–29 – Three multi-digit percentage drops wipe out more than $30 billion from the New York Stock Exchange
October 29 -William C. Durant joins with the Rockefeller family and other financial giants to buy large quantities of stocks, but their efforts fail to stop the large decline in prices.
November 7 – In New York City, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) opens to the public. The first exhibition Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh and Seurat (November 7 – December 7) is seen by 47.000 visitors
December 27 – Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin orders the ”liquidation of the kulaks as a class”
December 28 – Black Saturday in Samoa – New Zealand colonial police kill 11 unarmed demonstrators, an event which leads the Mau movement to demand independence for Samoa.

1929

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It’s rare for a decade to top and tail itself as well as the 1920s does. Ten episodes ago we saw the introduction of prohibition, gangsters and speakeasies, Mamie Smith, classic female blues and the race records boom. By 1929, whatever the feeling on the ground, everything sounds very different on record. We have sound film, radio stations and electrical recording technology. No longer is the record industry confined to New York – engineers are now travelling around the USA, recording sounds, spreading their influence across the world. And while we are not operating at quite the pace of 1927 now, as we head into 1929 there are few signs that anything is slowing down.

It is unlikely that most of the musicians here were watching the stock market, but as with all the other external factors above, it was about to have a huge impact on their work. In the summer of 1929 some financiers warned that the market was slowing down, though this was not thought to be a cause for great concern. Economist Irving Fisher, featured in this mix, commented that “stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” By September, however, there was a clear downward trend, with the London Stock Exchange crashing on the 20th. On the 24th October, now referred to as Black Thursday, the New York Stock Exchange also crashed, though it was the still-unmatched 25% two-day fall of the 28th and 29th which saw the most damage done.

The effect on the music business was devastating. Some analyses have record sales falling by 95% over the next couple of years – and there was no way that the majority of labels were going to survive that sort of shock. For the majority of performers, for whom this was already a part-time gig, this was the end of their professional careers. Some would manage to move to radio, or the movies, the two still-profitable fields of entertainment during the great depression, but for many of these artists, these are the last records they would make.

So it’s tempting to think of the music in this mix as something of an end-of-term party, but it isn’t really true. As far as anyone was concerned, it was business as usual, and if anything most artists seem a little more polished, and in some cases even restrained – though there is still plenty of passion here. The relentless innovation and experimentation of the last two years is still present, but it’s being recorded in a more careful, more deliberate way – from small-scale almost field recordings to professional studios, this is the absolute peak of engineering for quite a few years to come.

So that was the 1920s, then – maybe not the best decade for recorded music overall, but easily the one with the greatest improvement from start to finish.

Tracks

0:00:20 Movietone Newsreel – Trooping the Colour (Excerpt 1)
0:00:38 Various – Early Sound Footage of Kyoto, Japan (Excerpt 1)
0:00:57 James Joyce – Anna Livia Plurabelle (Finnegans Wake) (Excerpt 1)
0:01:03 Victor Symphony Orchestra feat. George Gershwin – An American In Paris (Excerpt 1)
0:01:56 Burns and Allen – Lambchops (Excerpt 1)
0:02:24 Duke Ellington & His Cotton Club Orchestra – Cotton Club Stomp
0:04:46 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 1)
0:04:54 Fats Waller – Handful Of Keys
0:07:35 Laurel & Hardy – Unaccustomed As We Are (Excerpt 1)
0:07:47 Bessie Smith – Kitchen Man
0:09:24 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 2)
0:09:36 Bing Crosby – Spell Of The Blues
0:11:59 Walter Ripman MA – Good Speech Lecture (Excerpt 1)
0:12:07 Jack Payne BBC Dance Orchestra – Riding On A Camel In The Desert
0:14:45 James Joyce – Anna Livia Plurabelle (Finnegans Wake) (Excerpt 2)
0:14:58 Messrs. Vyas Bros. – Jalatharangam-Mandolin Duet- Bhupali
0:18:02 David Lloyd George – Unemployment (Excerpt 1)
0:18:06 Don Azpiazu & His Havana Casino Orchestra – El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor)
0:21:34 Domingo Aguirre – El Gato De Aguirre
0:22:36 Horacio Paolantonio and Alfredo Pelaia – Uruguayita
0:23:28 Agustín Barrios – La Catedral
0:24:43 Movietone Newsreel – Trooping the Colour (Excerpt 2)
0:24:51 Sekiya Toshiko – Field Thorns
0:27:15 Various – Early Sound Footage of Kyoto, Japan (Excerpt 2)
0:27:27 Sato Chiyako – Beniya no Musume
0:28:05 Various – Early Sound Footage of Kyoto, Japan (Excerpt 3)
0:28:33 Hotaru Koi – Sekiya Toshiko
0:29:59 Various – Early Sound Footage of Kyoto, Japan (Excerpt 4)
0:30:32 Blind Willie Dunn – Jet Black Blues
0:33:32 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 3)
0:33:50 Jelly-Roll Morton and His Orchestra – Burnin’ The Iceberg
0:35:39 Laurel & Hardy – Unaccustomed As We Are (Excerpt 2)
0:35:54 Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra – Ain’t Misbehavin’
0:38:32 John Carson & Moonshine Kate – Okeh Medicine Show (Excerpt 1)
0:38:41 Charlie Poole – If The River Was Whiskey
0:40:00 AA Milne – Reads from Pooh’s Corner (Excerpt 1)
0:40:31 Bert Ambrose – Tip Toe Through The Tulips
0:41:58 Ramsay MacDonald – Unemployment (Excerpt 1)
0:42:04 Blind Sammie – Travelin’ Blues
0:45:05 Robert Wilkins – That’s No Way To Get Along
0:46:12 Freeman Stowers – Railroad Blues
0:47:44 Jimmie Rodgers – Waiting For A Train
0:50:25 Eddie Mapp – Riding The Blinds
0:51:13 British Pathe – Monologue from Henry V (Excerpt 1)
0:51:24 Tampa Red’s Hokum Jazz Band – My Daddy Rocks Me With One Steady Roll
0:53:47 Emmett Miller & Bud Blue – Okeh Medicine Show (Excerpt)
0:54:48 Ethel Waters – Get Up Off Your Knees
0:57:32 Burns and Allen – Lambchops (Excerpt 2)
0:57:57 Alberta Hunter – My Particular Man
0:59:37 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 4)
0:59:48 The Jungle Band – Jungle Jamboree
1:02:46 David Lloyd George – Unemployment (Excerpt 2)
1:02:49 Jabbo Smith’s Rhythm Aces – Jazz Battle
1:04:47 John Carson & Moonshine Kate – Okeh Medicine Show (Excerpt 2)
1:05:22 Andy Kirk 12 Clouds Of Joy – Mess-A-Stomp
1:06:06 Jelly Roll Morton – Pep
1:07:45 Fats Waller – Numb Fumblin’
1:08:16 James Ensor – Discours prononcé à l’occasion de son exposition rétrospective au Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles en 1929 (Excerpt 1)
1:08:25 Amadie Breaux, Ophey Breaux & Cleoma Breaux – Ma Blond Est Partie
1:09:45 James Ensor – Discours prononcé à l’occasion de son exposition rétrospective au Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles en 1929 (Excerpt 2)
1:09:53 Bartmon Montet – Je Me Suis En Alle
1:10:35 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 5)
1:10:44 Fred Sugar Hall – I Faw Down And Go Boom (vocal – Arthur Hall)
1:12:02 Burns and Allen – Lambchops (Excerpt 3)
1:12:33 Fred Rich – Singin’ In The Rain
1:14:54 Song Mei-Ling – Newsreel Speech
1:15:00 Nicholas DeHeer – Ewuri Beka
1:15:49 Victor Symphony Orchestra feat. George Gershwin – An American In Paris (Excerpt 2)
1:18:03 Henry Newbolt – Vitai Lampada (Excerpt)
1:18:27 Stokowski – Stravinsky ‘Rite of Spring’
1:19:33 Alfred Hitchcock – Knife scene from Blackmail
1:19:57 Lizzie Miles – I Hate A Man Like You (+ Jelly Roll Morton)
1:21:42 Henry Newbolt – Drake’s Drum (Excerpt 1)
1:21:58 Ricardo Borges de Sousa, João de Matos & Eduardo Alves – Fado Espanhol E Alexandrino
1:23:12 G. de Sousa & S. Freire – Variações sobre o fado corrido
1:25:20 Maria Alice – O Louco
1:27:13 João Pernambuco – Sonho De Magia
1:28:13 João de Matos & Eduardo Alves – Fado de outros tempos
1:29:39 Margaret Bondfield – Speech (Excerpt 1)
1:29:59 Abd-ol-Hoseyn Shahnazi – Mavara’-an-Nahr (Rast!Panjgah)
1:30:14 The Jungle Band – Tiger Rag
1:33:06 Burns and Allen – Lambchops (Excerpt 4)
1:33:11 Seven Gallon Jug Band – Wipe Em Off
1:35:46 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 6)
1:35:58 The Bubbling Over Five – Don’t Mistreat Your Good Boyfriend
1:37:18 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 7)
1:37:34 Bowman Sisters – Old Lonesome Blues
1:38:35 Alabama Sacred Harp Singers – Present Joys
1:39:23 Rev. D. C. Rice and Congregation – In The Battlefield For My Lord
1:41:29 Rev. J.M. Milton – The Black Camel of Death
1:43:56 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 8)
1:44:21 Big Chief Henry’s Indian String Band – The Indian Tom Tom
1:45:26 Roy Harvey & Leonard Copeland – Lonesome Weary Blues
1:48:17 John Carson & Moonshine Kate – Okeh Medicine Show (Excerpt 3)
1:48:27 Dallas String Band with Coley Jones – Shine
1:49:44 James Joyce – Anna Livia Plurabelle (Finnegans Wake) (Excerpt 3)
1:49:57 The Carter Family – John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man
1:51:49 AA Milne – Reads from Pooh’s Corner (Excerpt 2)
1:51:56 Gid Tanner & His Skillet-Lickers – It Ain’t Gonna Rain No Mo’
1:53:03 Emmett Miller & Moonshine Kate – Okeh Medicine Show (Excerpt)
1:53:13 Earl Hines – Everybody Loves My Baby
1:54:28 Walter Ripman MA – Good Speech Lecture (Excerpt 2)
1:54:37 Arthur Miles – Lonely Cowboy Part 1
1:54:56 Luis Russell – New Call Of The Freaks
1:57:04 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 9)
1:57:17 Joe Venuti – Running Ragged (Blue Four)
1:59:22 Ramsay MacDonald – Unemployment (Excerpt 2)
1:59:56 Bessie Smith – St.Louis Blues
2:01:47 Margaret Bondfield – Speech (Excerpt 2)
2:02:01 Clara Smith – It’s Tight Like That
2:05:10 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 10)
2:05:28 Roosevelt Sykes – Boot That Thing
2:07:32 Meade Lux Lewis – Honky Tonk Train
2:09:30 Walter Ripman MA – Good Speech Lecture (Excerpt 3)
2:09:45 Rudy Vallee – Baby Oh Where Can You Be?
2:12:56 James Joyce – Anna Livia Plurabelle (Finnegans Wake) (Excerpt 4)
2:13:01 Frank Stokes – I Got Mine
2:14:25 British Pathe – Monologue from Henry V (Excerpt 2)
2:14:31 Walter Page’s Blue Devils – Squabblin’
2:17:31 Burns and Allen – Lambchops (Excerpt 5)
2:17:55 Karol Stoch – Na Lysej Polanie (On Lysej Polana)
2:19:37 Julie Marsellaise – Yama Na Chauf Haja Tegennen
2:20:51 Mussolini – Movietone Speech 29 Jan 1929
2:21:13 Blind Blake – Hastings Street
2:22:27 Melvin Dupree – Augusta Rag
2:23:12 Interviews With Elderly People Throughout The US (Excerpt 11)
2:23:31 Louis Armstrong And His Savoy Ballroom Five – Mahogany Hall Stomp
2:26:41 Movietone Newsreel – Trooping the Colour (Excerpt 3)
2:26:49 Irving Fisher – Speech
2:26:56 Sergei Rachmaninov & Philadelphia Orchestra – Piano Concerto N°2 in C minor Op.18 – III. Allegro scherzo
2:28:12 Eddie Cantor – Tips On The Stock Market (Excerpt 1)
2:28:23 Jabbo Smith’s Rhythm Aces – Till Times Get Better
2:30:10 Eddie Cantor – Tips On The Stock Market (Excerpt 2)
2:30:28 Victor Symphony Orchestra feat. George Gershwin – An American In Paris (Excerpt 3)
2:30:43 James Joyce – Anna Livia Plurabelle (Finnegans Wake) (Excerpt 5)
2:30:54 Movietone Newsreel – Closing Theme