Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mendelssohn: "Italian" Symphony (Harty)

This week, I present one of the last major recordings made by the Hallé Orchestra under the man who guided its musical fortunes for 13 years (from 1920 to 1933), the great Sir Hamilton Harty (1879-1941). This is their 1931 recording of Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony, an endearing reading full of vivacity and authentic string portamenti, in a splendid early Columbia "Vivatonal" pressing I was lucky enough to find recently:

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90 ("Italian")
The Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir Hamilton Harty
Recorded April 10, 1931
Columbia Masterworks Set No. 167, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 90.41 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 62.77 MB)

Included with the download is the original 16-page booklet of program notes, which even includes a listing of all Columbia Masterworks sets available up through the time of this release at the end of 1931. It reveals that even at this late date, no less than fourteen of Columbia's earliest acoustical sets were still available for sale.


  1. Alternate links:

    FLAC -

    MP3 -

  2. Many thanks for this, Bryan. My late father had the Columbia DX discs, recorded "in Central Hall Westminster" as the label informed us. A great performance!

  3. And a fine, fine transfer, Bryan!! Wonderful. What a great performance. A long time collector used to talk about the "Harty bounce"; a light, rhythmic pulse that so many of Harty's performances have, exuding technical brilliance and good humored music making. I honestly believe that no other conductor of his era seemed to enjoy making records as much as he did!

  4. Incredible! The quality of the sound and image transfers is phenomenal, as well as the historical significance of these recordings. Bravo, Bryan!