MUSIC / Upbeat: Into the Woods

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The Independent Culture
AN UNKNOWN set of debut recordings by Henry Wood has been discovered by a student in the basement of the Royal Academy of Music in London, writes Norman Lebrecht. The 1908 acoustic discs were found in a cupboard by Jonathan Dobson, who was working as a library assistant to help pay his fees. The records had been left to the Academy in Wood's will in 1944, but had never been catalogued or identified.

The earliest batch consists of Victorian ballads sung by Wood's first wife and star pupil, the Russian Princess Olga Ouroussoff, with her husband at the piano. Of the 16 sides recorded, only six were ever issued, in an edition of extreme scarcity. At the end of the session Wood belted into the recording horn a sentimental ballad, The Lotus Flower, in his own bold baritone. Other items include a Wood orchestral rehearsal and 80 sides of unreleased material. A selection will be broadcast by Dobson in a Radio 3 documentary on 27 December.