Here you can find five scripts, from the BBC Written Archives at Caversham, of radio programmes in which presenters discussed and played records. The speakers range from expert commentators to amateur enthusiasts, and their tone from authoritative to conversational, with speakers reflecting the social and musical attitudes of their time.

Desmond Shawe-Taylor reviews recent issues: 26 August 1945 (pdf file)

Includes Dennis Brain in Mozart, a comparison of British and American recordings of Beethoven symphonies, and a recent ENSA discovery, Arthur Grumiaux.

Desmond Shawe-Taylor reviews discs of the year: 30 December 1945 (pdf file)

Includes Britten’s new Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, and an Agadio for strings by the young American composer Samuel Barber, which Shawe-Taylor expects people will like if they hear it often.

Helen Henschel, ‘Lucky Dip’: 10 May 1946 (pdf file)

A selection of Henschel’s favourites including Genette Neveu, Sir George Henschel (Helen’s father), Reginald Kell and Nellie Melba, with personal memories.

Philip Garston-Jones, ‘The Man in the Street’: 9 October 1945 (pdf file)

Record favourites of ‘quite oridinary folk’ he’s met on his travels, including a theatrical landlady from Derby and a tool-maker from Staffordshire, whose choice surprised him.

Arthur Leech-Wilkinson, ‘Personal Choice’: 15 May 1938 (pdf file)

From local West of England radio, a personal choice by a doctor [identified here as an organist and composer, since broadcasting by identified doctors was then thought to constitute unethical advertising]. Includes Stokowski conducting Haydn, Elisabeth Schumann singing Strauss, and part of the 1937 Coronation service. Audio reconstruction read by Peter Day (flac file) (80Mb flac file).


CHARM is extremely grateful to the broadcaster Peter Day for recording ‘Personal Choice’. Also to the Estate of Desmond Shawe-Taylor for permission to reproduce his scripts. It has so far proved impossible to trace the Estates of Helen Henschel and Philip Garston-Jones, but we acknowledge their copyright and would be glad to hear from them.