REVIEW POTPOURRI: Stanley and Macdonough

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Stanley and Macdonough

O Morning Land

recorded June 8, 1908; side 2, the Haydn Quartet – God Be With You Till We Meet Again, recorded June 12, 1905. Victor Record, 16399, ten-inch shellac, acoustically recorded 78.

Frank Stanley

Baritone Frank Stanley (1868-1910), who died of pleurisy at the age of 41, duetted with tenor Harry Macdonough (1871-1931) on the hymn, O Morning Land. Both men recorded a number of sides during the acoustic years, and they had magnificent voices, Macdon­ough’s tenor having astonishing high notes that would have given his younger, more well-known contemporaries, Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) and John McCormack (1884-1945), some competition.

Side 2’s Haydn Quartet consisted of four singers who founded the group in 1896. By 1905, one singer had been replaced and the line-up for the recording session consisted of tenors John H. Bieling (1869-1948) and Macdonough, baritone S.H. Dudley (1864-1947) and bass William F. Hooley (1861-1918). The well-known hymn, God Be With You, was given the kind of well-honed performance that has made records of the Quartet highly prized collector’s items to the present time.

Harry Macdonough

In researching old 78s, I have found out that the same catalog numbers on records were often used for different takes of the same selections, sometimes a different selection and different artists. The original wax or metal masters would get worn out from copying discs and new recordings would be necessary. For example, one collector of old John McCormack 78s told me that McCormack recorded the same title three different times over a ten-year period for the same Victor catalog number. The particular number of the take would have a tiny inscription inside the groove between the playing surface of the record and the pasted label. One of the takes was a priceless rarity while the other two were relatively easy to find.

The online 78 research database on Google mentions my record as having two different releases with inscription numbers to match. The one on my copy, 4366, was for the first takes, while a different quartet, the Orpheum, was utilized for the re-recordings.





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