The Dolmetsch Story
Layton Ring has been rediscovering the compositions of Rudolph Dolmetsch, Arnold Dolmetsch's older son who was lost at sea during the Second World War.
Some of the very earliest recordings of early music were made by the Dolmetsch Family. Some of the recordings were published; some were test pressings that were never issued. A few have been reissued using various modern transfer processes and may be obtained through commercial outlets. Others have been issued as commemmorative recordings. Our archive is summarized here.
Teri Noel Towe, an American early recording specialist, has written recently about the 2003 membership gift for the American Bach Society. The title is Bach in Britain in the 1920s.
"One of the most elusive sets of Bach recordings is the first complete traversal of the Brandenburg Concertos, which was recorded by English Brunswick in 1929. The conductor was Anthony Bernard, and the keyboard continuo in all of the Concertos, except No. 5 in which the keyboard solo is played on the piano by Walter Gieseking, was played by Rudolph Dolmetsch. No complete set of the recordings is known to exist, and there are those who argue that none of them ever was actually published. I have managed to obtain copies of sides that contain movements from Nos. 4 (all of the Presto) and Nos. 6 (part one of the first movement). Rudolph's continuo realizations are fantastic, to say the least, and another vivid reminder that his death during World War 2 was an especially grievous loss to classical music in general and early music in specific.
I also plan to include four items from the Arnold Dolmetsch 1933 Bach "48" series (Chromatic Fantasia, WTC 1, Nos. 5, 10, and 22, WTC, No. 1), plus a real treasure that was put into my care many years ago by Arnold Dolmetsch's pupil, Hugh Gough. Hugh Gough told me that he found it in a second hand record store in London. It is a test pressing for the first movement of the Bach Toccata in G, BWV 916, recorded on the harpsichord by Arnold Dolmetsch in 1920. His natural and superbly idiomatic playing is absolutely spectacular! I shall send you a copy of the set, of course, for the Dolmetsch archives, when ithe limited edition is published in the autumn. It really is sad that none of the 11 sides that Arnold Dolmetsch made for HMV at Hayes in 1920 has ever been published. I have never seen a "repertory list", but I gather that he recorded on many different instruments."
Andrew Mayes' book about 20th century recorder works commissioned by, dedicated to or inspired by Carl Dolmetsch entitled Carl Dolmetsch and the Recorder Repertoire of the 20th Century is now available; (see also the monograph by Ross Winters entitled The Dolmetsch Legacy - recorder works written for Carl Dolmetsch); many are studying the correspondence of Arnold Dolmetsch with members of the Arts & Crafts Movement, and of Arnold Dolmetsch with major figures of the early twentieth century music including Percy Grainger and Ernest Ansermet.
Among the works dedicated to Carl Dolmetsch and performed by him are about sixty that have never been published. Jeanne Dolmetsch, in conjunction with Peacock Press, is preparing and publishing critical editions of all these works which began appearing in print in the Summer of 2001.
Margaret Campbell's book on the life and work of Arnold Dolmetsch and Mabel Dolmetsch's biography of Arnold Dolmetsch, both available from us, remain the central published sources on this extraordinary pioneering family.
Books & Articles
Dolmetsch: the man and his work by Margaret Campbell (Hamish Hamilton, 1975)
Personal Recollections of Arnold Dolmetsch by Mabel Dolmetsch (reprint available from The Dolmetsch Workshops)
The Interpretation of the Music of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by Arnold Dolmetsch (1915) (reprint includes Appendix of Musical Examples) from Dolmetsch
Scanned copy of The Interpretation of the Music of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by Arnold Dolmetsch (1915) in pdf format
The Early Music Revival - A History by Harry Haskell (Thames and Hudson, 1988)
'Vers Libre and Arnold Dolmetsch' by Ezra Pound, in Literary Essays, ed. T.S. Eliot (Faber & Faber, 1974)
Carl Dolmetsch and the Recorder Repertoire of the 20th Century by Andrew Mayes (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2003)
'The Six Early Clavichords of Arnold Dolmetsch: Their Construction and Inspiration.' by Jenny Nex and Lance Whitehead (The Galpin Society Journal 53, April 2000: pp 274-300).
'Arnold Dolmetsch, The 1890's' by Brian Abel Ragen; An Encyclopedia of British Culture, ed. George A. Cevasco (Garland, 1993), 165-66.
'James Joyce as a Tenor' from Intimations by Oliver St John Gogarty (Sphere Books, 1985) which records that "all he [Joyce] wanted was a lute made by Dolmetch [sic] and the proper English audiences."
Online (HTML and pdf format)
Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940) by Sharon Cogdill
Dolmetsch Archival Recordings
Dolmetsch Family Tree - incomplete
The Dolmetsch Family - Encarta
Arnold Dolmetsch - Oxford Dictionary of Music Entry
Arnold Dolmetsch - particularly related to his clavichords
The Clavichord in 20th Century America by Joan Benson
Arnold Dolmetsch's Clavichord-Making in the Years before 1914 by Peter Bavington - originally published in De Clavicordio VIII (Magnano, 2008)
Arnold Dolmetsch - Encyclopedia Britannica Entry
Arnold Dolmetsch - MSN Encarta Entry
Close harmony of viol bodies by Bayan Northcott
Arnold Dolmetsch - Dolmetsch and Ezra Pound
Arnold Dolmetsch - Wikipedia Entry
Hélène Dolmetsch (1878-1924) - Arnold Dolmetsch's oldest daughter
Rudolph Dolmetsch (1906-1942) - eldest son of Arnold Dolmetsch
Rudolph Arnold Dolmetsch (1906-1942) - Royal College of Music Entry
Cécile Dolmetsch (1904-1997) - Obituary
Carl Dolmetsch (1911-1997) - Obituary
Carl Dolmetsch (1911-1997) - Obituary on the web site of the UK Society of Recorder Players
Carl Dolmetsch (1911-1997) - An Appreciation by Ian White of the Viola d'Amore Society
Carl Dolmetsch Recordings
The British Clavichord Society at Haslemere: the work of Arnold Dolmetsch by Kenneth Mobbs
The Arnold Dolmetsch clavichord of 1896–7 in the Edinburgh University Collection: a restoration report by John Barnes
From William Morris to Morris Dancing
William Morris and Music - Craftsman's Art
Morris and Early Music: the Shaw/Dolmetsch Connection
On Ezra Pound's Canto 81
Olga Rudge and Ezra Pound which mentions Ezra Pound's Dolmetsch clavichord
The Countess Cathleen and the Revival of The Bardic Arts - Dolmetsch and Yeats (pdf format)
Percy Grainger photograph of Arnold Dolmetsch and his family
After A Dolmetsch Concert - Poem by Arthur Upson (1877-1908)
A Chest of Viols - Poem by John Todhunter (1839-1916) - inscribed to Arnold Dolmetsch
To Elodie - Singing an old English Air - Poem by John Todhunter (1839-1916) - addressed to Arnold Dolmetsch's wife Elodie
Narcissus - Poem by John Betjeman (1906–1984)
Arnold Dolmetsch and Georges Barrère (1876-1944)
Sol Babitz writes on The Landowska Approach
Violet Gordon-Woodhouse and Arnold Dolmetsch
Marco Pallis - pupil of Arnold Dolmetsch
Hommage à Antoine Geoffroy-Dechaume (1905-2000) - including his meeting with Arnold Dolmetsch
Scott Ross biography - his link with Antoine Geoffroy-Dechaume and Arnold Dolmetsch
The Robert ap Huw manuscript (B. M. Addl. MS 14905) - including reference to Arnold Dolmetsch's work in this area
Female Dolmetsch Family Musicians
The Horniman Museum Collections
Carl Dolmetsch, The Three-Holed Pipe and Cecil Sharp
A Short History of the Chickering Piano Co.
Chickering & Sons Piano Company Collection, 1864-1985 at the Smithsonian Institution
The Harpsichord in America 1884-1946 by William Lyman Johnson
The Treasure Room of Vassar College Department of Music - including a Chickering Clavichord made by Dolmetsch in 1909
Nicholas Comyn Gatty (1874-1946) - composer of Haslemere Suite for strings
Arnold Dolmetsch playing an alto recorder (taken in 1914) - by Alvin Langdon Coburn (b. US, 1882-1966)
Transcriptions of Musical Illustrations - including some by members of the Dolmetsch family
George Moore's Evelyn Innes: Zola's Pupil and His Tale of Love and Early Music in Fin de Siècle Dulwich
George Moore - author of Evelyn Innes drawn from the life and work of Arnold Dolmetsch
Dickens by G**rge M**re from A Christmas Garland by Max Beerbohm
The Dolmetsch Legacy - recorder works written for Carl Dolmetsch
Société des amis de A. Dolmetsch - an association based in Le Mans, France