Unlike the accepted view that Anne and Webster were losing popularity because of the rise of American entertainers and rock ‘n roll, they still had plenty of work from 1953 to 1956. Through no fault of their own they were struggling with the Inland Revenue so decided to move to South Africa in July of 1956.
Webster Booth was the guest of Roy Plomley on Desert Island Discs on the BBC Home Service on 3 April 1953.
Anne and Webster sailed to Cape Town on the Pretoria Castle on 12 July 1956. They had been having trouble with the Inland Revenue because of unpaid tax on American record sales. This had not been settled by the accountant acting for their agent, Julius Darewski. By the time the fault was discovered Webster told the Inland Revenue that he could not afford to pay the full amount and they were facing having some of their belonging being taken by the taxman. They therefore decided to immigrate to South Africa.
They fell in love, although at the time he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior and had a son, Keith, by his first marriage. Four years later, after his divorce from Paddy in times when divorce was not as common or acceptable as it is today, Anne and Webster were married on Bonfire Night in 1938.
Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth first met during the filming of TheFaust Fantasy in 1934/35
Anne Ziegler, the widow and singing partner of Webster Booth, died in Llandudno, North Wales, on 13 October 2003, at the age of 93. Her death brought an end to an era in British entertainment before and after the Second World War. Her death brings an end to an era for me also.
I was seventeen when I first met them at the end of 1960. They were already middle-aged, in the same age group as my parents, their top-flight stage career in Britain behind them. I was too young to have seen them at the height of their fame, but even then I thought them a shining couple, as I still do over fifty-nine years later.
Although I was too young to have seen them on stage in the days of their great success in the forties and early fifties, I believe their success was due to the wonderful blend of the voices, creating a special, instantly recognisable sound, and their contrasting good looks, she beautifully gowned, he in full evening dress. Above all, they were instantly likeable with charming personalities, and possessed an elusive ability to make people adore them.
In their day, in the thirties, forties and fifties, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were stars of stage, screen, radio, concert halls and variety theatres, and made over a thousand 78 rpms, either as duets or solos. Webster was also in demand as tenor soloist in oratorio: Handel’s Messiah, Jephtha, Samson, Acis and Galatea, Judas Maccabbeus, and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, to mention but a few. Before the Second World War, he had sung Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast in full Native American costume, and in 1955 on the occasion of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert, Sir Malcolm requested particularly that he should be the tenor soloist in the same work.
Webster became a Mason, and was a proud member of the Savage Club, where he often sang at their legendary Saturday night entertainments. These entertainments were arranged by Joe Batten, the eminent sound recordist and producer at Columbia Records. When Webster had something important to do he always wore his distinctive striped Savage Club tie to bring him luck. While still in his early thirties, Webster was made a Life Governor of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
Webster was also in demand as tenor soloist in oratorio: Handel’s Messiah, Jephtha, Samson, Acis and Galatea, Judas Maccabbeus, and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, to mention but a few. Before the Second World War, he had sung Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast in full Native American costume, and in 1955 on the occasion of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert, Sir Malcolm requested particularly that he should be the tenor soloist in the same work.
By the time he met Anne Ziegler during the filming of the colour film Faust in 1934, he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior. He had divorced his first wife, Winifred Keey in 1931 after she had deserted him and their small son, and married Paddy Prior, a talented dancer, comedienne and soubrette in October 1932. The couple’s marriage was happy in the beginning and they appeared together in several concert parties, the Piccadilly Revels, Scarboroough in 1933 and Sunshine at Shanklin in 1934.
Shortly after he met Anne Ziegler he took the lead in an ill-fated production of Kurt Weill’s A Kingdom for a Cow at the Savoy Theatre. His leading lady was the well-known French singer Jacqueline Francel. In Anne and Webster’s joint autobiography, Duet, he said that the play was probably ahead of its time in its handling of complex social issues, which made it too heavy for audiences of the day, who expected lighter fare in musicals. Apart from the unusual subject matter, rehearsals were stormy and the direction contradictory, so despite Weill’s pleasing music and a strong cast, the play closed after just three weeks. The London Dramatic Critic from The Scotsman gave the piece a good review, and mentioned that “Mr Webster Booth as the hero also deserves praise for his fine singing”.
Webster and Paddy Prior, his second wife.
Sadly, his marriage did not last after he met Anne. Paddy divorced him, naming Anne as co-respondent. He and Anne were married on Bonfire Night in 1938. Webster Booth soon formed a duet partnership with his wife in addition to his extensive recording, film, oratorio and concert work.
Webster was contracted to HMV for over twenty years and recorded more than a thousand solos, duets, trios and quartets. His lighter recordings include selections from Ivor Novello musicals with Helen Hill, Olive Gilbert and Stuart Robertson; Theatreland at Coronation Time with South African soprano Garda Hall, and Sam Costa; excerpts from Snow White with Nora Savage, conducted by George Scott-Wood, the composer of Shy Serenade. He made many anonymous recordings as a member of the HMV Light Opera Company. He was the “with vocal refrain” on a series of records made with Carlos Santana and his Accordion Band on the Brunswick label, and on a record of Chappell Balladswith Jack Hylton’s band. Carlos Santana was one of the many aliases used by Harry Bidgood. His better known alias was Primo Scala, the leader of another accordion band, but he did many other things like conducting film music and arranging music and while he was still at school he had written the music for his school song.
His recordings of the late nineteen-thirties and nineteen-forties encompassed oratorio, opera and ballads, as well as duets with Anne. Webster’s more serious recordings were often under the baton of Malcolm Sargent, Lawrance Collingwood, Basil Cameron or rwick Braithwaite with the Hallé, the Liverpool Philharmonic or the Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. His recordings with piano accompaniment were nearly always with the eminent accompanist Gerald Moore.
Webster enjoyed telling the story of a particular recording session with Gerald Moore. They had one more song to record before the session ended. The song was Phil, the Fluter’s Ball, and Gerald Moore suggested that they should see how fast he could play it and how fast Webster could sing it with clear diction. This was no problem for the finest accompanist in the world and for a singer who had spent four years performing Gilbert and Sullivan with the D’Oyly Carte Company. His oratorio recordings are particularly fine. The solos in Samson from the moving recitative O loss of sight and the following aria,Total Eclipse, to the fiery Why does the God of Israel sleep?, with its unrelenting Handelian runs, demonstrate how easily he moved from one mood to another, always singing with flawless technique and clear diction.
He made recordings with other distinguished singers of the day in operatic ensembles, such as the quartet from Rigoletto, with Noel Edie, Arnold Matters and Edith Coates, to the trio from Faustwith Joan Cross and Norman Walker. He sang duets with soprano Joan Cross and baritone Dennis Noble from La Bohème and the Miserere from Il Trovatore with Joan Cross. He recorded duets with the baritone Dennis Noble from the Victorian and Edwardian Excelsior and Watchman, what of the night? to the brilliant extended scene in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. He recorded the duet in Madame Butterfly with Australian soprano Joan Hammond.
When Joan Hammond first arrived in England from Australia, she had a sweet lyrical soprano voice. She sang her first Messiahin England with Webster as tenor soloist under the baton of Sir Thomas Beecham. But by the time they recorded the Madame Butterfly duet, several years later, Joan Hammond had become a dramatic soprano and her voice was very much bigger than it had been when she first arrived in England. Joan had to stand much further away from the microphone than Webster in order for the sound engineer to get the balance for the duet right. Webster also sang excerpts from Carmen with the Sadler’s Wells chorus and orchestra, with Dennis Noble, and with Nancy Evans, Anne’s old friend from Liverpool, as Carmen.
At the beginning of the Second World War, he recorded The Lost Chordat the Kingsway Hall in London, accompanied by the organist Herbert Dawson. As they were reaching the end of the song, the All Clear siren sounded, which meant they had to redo the recording to cut out the sound of the siren. There had been no air raids at that early stage of the war so presumably the sirens were being given a trial run. The blitz was yet to come and would destroy Webster’s beloved Queen’s Hall.
ANNE ZIEGLER (1910 – 2003)
Anne was born Irené Frances Eastwood in Liverpool on 22 June 1910. From over two hundred other hopefuls she was chosen for the part of Marguerite for the film, the Faust Fantasy: no doubt her blonde good looks and charming personality counted for nearly as much as her attractive lyric soprano voice. It was in the making of this film, which commenced shooting in December 1934, that she met Webster Booth, playing opposite her as Faust.
During the making of the film they fell in love , although at the time he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior, and had a son, Keith, by his first marriage to Winifred Keey. Four years later, after his divorce from Paddy in times when divorce was not as common or acceptable as it is today, Anne and Webster were married on Bonfire Night in 1938.
During those intervening four years, Anne was an overnight success on radio in The Chocolate Soldier, sang in a concert party in 1935 called Summer Smiles during the summer season at Ryde, an engagement she did not really enjoy much. There she acquired her first devoted fan, a girl aged 15, who kept in close touch with her for the rest of her life.
She played principal boy in her first pantomime, Mother Goose, at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool, which starred George Formby. In this pantomime she met Babs Wilson-Hill, the principal dancer in the show, who was to remain her closest friend for most of her life. During the 1936 pantomime season she and Babs appeared in another highly successful pantomime, Cinderella, in Edinburgh, this time with the Scottish comedian Will Fyffe as the star attraction.
Anne and Webster were both extremely popular and prolific broadcasters on the BBC, as well as the various European commercial broadcasting stations geared to the British market, such as Radio Lyons, Radio Luxembourg, Radio Normandy and Radio Eireann. Glancing through copies of The Radio Pictorial, commercial radio’s equivalent of The Radio Times, one sees frequent articles about them. Radio stars in the thirties obviously held the equivalent status of pop stars today.
Despite Anne’s success on stage and radio, recording companies had not shown any interest in putting her voice on record. She made a test recording of the Waltz Songfrom Merrie England in 1935, a recording which Webster managed to obtain from HMV. Eventually she did make a few solo recordings and sang in a Noel Coward medley with Joyce Grenfell and Graham Payn, but the bulk of her recordings were duets with Webster. My favourite solo recording of Anne’s is Raymond Loughborough’s ASong in the Night, which she sang on a Pathé film short in 1936.
Webster went to New York with her, hoping to find some stage work of his own, but, despite his great voice, he did not make any impact on the cut-throat American musical world. He attended various auditions in New York as an unknown, while in England he was already an established performer in oratorio, recording, films, and the West End stage. He returned to England, crestfallen at his lack of success, and resumed his numerous engagements. Anne, in the meantime, was hailed as a Broadway star and offered a film contract in Hollywood, with the idea that she would be the successor to Jeanette McDonald. The offer was tempting, but she turned it down to return to England and marry Webster Booth when his divorce from Paddy Prior was made final.
For most of her life Anne maintained that marriage to Webster meant more to her than any Hollywood contract, although in later years she sometimes reflected on what her life would have been like had she accepted the contract and become a Hollywood star.
Even before Webster’s divorce was made final they formed a duet partnership on stage, in addition to their solo work. From April 1938 they were singing together for Clarkson Rose. This is an advert from September of 1938, the month before Webster’s divorce was finalised.
Their first duet recording was made in the year after their marriage in 1939 – If You were the Only Girl in the World, with A Paradise for Two on the flip side. Before this official recording she had sung with him as an anonymous soprano voice in a radio series in 1937 called The Voice of Romance. In this series he too was anonymous, but by this time, most people would have recognised his distinctive voice.
In 1940 they accepted an offer from agent Julius Darewski to join the variety circuit. The money was good and they were well received on the variety halls, always doing their act without the aid of a microphone. If Webster Booth’s voice filled the Albert Hall when he sang the tenor part in Coleridge-Taylor’s Hiawatha in Native American dress under the baton of Malcolm Sargent, the same voice, in harmony with his wife’s, filled the variety theatres from the London Palladium to all points of the United Kingdom.
They were the epitomé of glamour and romance. He was tall, dark and handsome. He was always in immaculate evening attire, she in a range of crinoline gowns, some designed by Norman Hartnell. Their act was interspersed with what seemed like off-the-cuff banter, but every word and move was meticulously planned, and the lighting plot carefully worked out for the most telling impact.
Apart from the usual operatic arias and musical comedy duets, Anne and Webster sang and recorded a number of ballads, arranged as duets, and an interesting and difficult arrangement of Chopin’s famous Nocturne in C sharp minor, arranged by Maurice Besley. As often as not Webster would arrange the duet part himself if none had been written.
The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Appreciation Group on Facebook has acquired most of the recordings made by Webster and Anne. Until we come across some of the missing recordings (only about 10 sides to go now) I have been creating medleys for the group. Most of them last about half-an-hour and feature AZ-WB recordings and recordings by artists associated with them. Click on the links to listen to them and please let me know what you think of them.
The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Appreciation Group on Facebook has acquired most of the recordings made by Webster and Anne. Until we come across some of the missing recordings (only about 10 sides to go now) I have been creating medleys for the group. Most of them last about half-an-hour and feature AZ-WB recordings and recordings by artists associated with them. Click on the links to listen to them and please let me know what you think of them.
2 January 2020 Oratorio medley for birthday : Acis and Galatea, Samson and Judas Maccabeus. Webster Booth https://clyp.it/zi1pmall
6 January 2020 Serenade in the Night Medley: La Serenata (Tosti), Serenade in the Night (WB), Heimwee (S. le Roux-Marais), Toselli’s serenade (WB), Trees piano and (WB), Jealousy (Gade) https://clyp.it/czh5a0qt
21 January 2020: Serenade from Frasquita Robert McDonaugh, Liebestraum (WB), Caré Selve (Zanta Malan), Love passes by (WB), Merry Widow waltz, Show me the way (WB) Ragamuffin (Mantovani) https://clyp.it/1ekbbq4t
31 January 2020 February 2020 medley: Deep River (Alfredo Campoli), Nazareth (Webster Booth), Estrellita (AC), A Perfect Day (WB), Only My Song (AC), I Love Thee (WB), Tell Me Tonight (AC), If You Had but Known (WB), Summer Garden (Charles Williams) https://clyp.it/0mzdht0r
February 2019 Webster Booth, Japie Human, Salon Orchestra
Serenade (Frasquita) WB, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (Japie Human), Just for Today (WB), Fascination (JH), Show Me the Way (WB), Dreaming (Salon Orchestra)
6 February 2020 Welsh medley, Ah, sweet mystery of life (WB), Sweet William, Sweet melody of night (WB), To a Wild Rose, Along th road to dreams (WB), Nimrod, Sylvia (WB), Savoy medley https://clyp.it/5c3nwjaz
March medley 2019 Alfredo Campoli, Anne, Webster, Fred Hartley
Poupée Valse Alfredo Campoli, Slumber Song (Schumann) AZ, Arioso (Bach) Campoli, I love thee (Grieg) WB, My Star (Bassett Silver) WB, Mystic Beauty (Fred Hartley) https://clyp.it/ezoipuro
March medley (2) 2019 Alfredo Campoli, Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler. Softly awakes my heart (AC), Bless this house (WB), The Poplar Tree (AZ), Gypsy Moon (AC), You are my heart’s delight (WB), Tell Me Tonight (AC). https://clyp.it/3xfdjwvd
6 March 2020 Scherzo Caprice (Leon Goossens/Templeton), Friend o’ Mine (WB), Longing (Haydn Wood), Show Me the Way (WB), Song of Summer (Ketelby) Sweet Melody of Night (WB) Fingerprints (Engleman quintet) https://clyp.it/cyivrbtb
10 March 2020 10 March 2020 Tango medley: Golden Autumn (Ketelby), My Star WB (Bassett Silver), Fascination, O, Dry Those Tears WB (del Riego), Tango, ‘Tis the Day WB (Leoncavallo), Vienna, City of My Dreams.https://clyp.it/30tppqhh
18 March 2020 Song of Paradise medley: Song of Paradise (AZ/WB) Song of Paradise (Albert Sandler), Marigold (Mayerl) Fred Hartley quintet, Music for Romance (AZ/WB), Without your love (AZ/WB), Music for Romance (Campoli), Teddy Bears’ Picnic (Campoli) https://clyp.it/5fvgrebh
18 March 2020 Dusk medley: Romance (Rubinstein), Bird Songs at Eventide (WB), None but the lonely heart (Tchaikowsky), Homing (WB), Jeanie with the light brown hair, If you had but known (WB), Dusk (Armstrong Gibbs), Sylvia (WB), Flower show (Charles Williams) https://clyp.it/huae4vte
May medley 2019 Loch Lomond medley (Debroy Somers) Love is the key to all glory (AZ/WB) Greensleeves (WB), Gay Vienna (Robert Naylor) Sweethearts/One Day When We Were Young (WB) Dear Miss Phoebe selection ( Parr-Davies) I am grateful to Mike Taylor for several of these fine restorations. https://clyp.it/yv0yjszk
Mid-May medley 2019 Musette (Hartley), Come Back My Love (WB), Lehar medley (WB/AZ), Pomone Waltz (Albert Sandler), Show Me the Way (WB), Fledermaus fantasy (Rawicz and Landauer) https://clyp.it/3tt4axbh
Medley 29 May 2019: Horse Guards Whitehall, Giannina Mia WB, No, My Heart will Never Sing Again, Autumn Dream (Sydney Torch), May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You (WB), White Horse Inn medley (Peggy Cochrane) https://clyp.it/o5fiemig
June medley 2018 Gypsy Moon, Still as the night, Loch Lomond, We’ll Gather Lilacs, Ivor Novello medley, Waltz Medley, ‘Tis the Day, featuring Alfredo Campoli, Anne and Webster, Fred Hartley, Rawicz and Landauer. https://clyp.it/olllrro1
4 June 2019 The Three Musketeers, WB Because, Peter Dawson The Floral Dance, Fred Hartley Bonnie Dundee, AZ WB Here in the Quiet Hills, WB Macushla, Harold Williams Lords of the Air https://clyp.it/fw1t4t05
22 June. Always (Leslie-Smith) Dearest of All (Vernon Lathom-Sharp) Old Folks at Home (Campoli), I Hear You Calling Me, Tchaikowsky waltz (Rawicz & Landauer), Homing (del Riego) Throw Open Wide (May), Mignon (Nocetti) https://clyp.it/osk1chdz
27 June 2019: Down the mall (Charles Shadwell), May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You, There is no Death, A Love Song, (Charles Williams), Just for Today, Dusk (Armstrong Gibbs), Homing, Music Everywhere (Coates), Webster Booth and bands.
28 June 2019: Hornpipe medley: Hornpipe (Eric Coates), Say That You are Mine, Glow Worm Idyll (Paul Linke), Sylvia, The Whistler and His Dog (Harry Mortimer), Trees, Rendezvous (Brooklyn Ensemble) Danny Boy, Nights of Gladness (Harry Mortimer https://clyp.it/giu4fb5d
July medley 2018 All the world is waiting for the sunrise (Seitz), played by P. Sears from YouTube, Castles in the air (WB), Dance of the Wooden Dolls, Side by Side (Melville Gideon from the Co-optimists), Always (WB), Poor Butterfly (Hugo Rignold), Drinking song (WB).
7 August 2019 For You Alone (WB), Demande et Reponse (Albert Sandler), Somewhere a voice is Calling (WB), Two Sleepy People (Carroll Gibbons), O, Maiden, My Maiden (WB), Ma Curly-Headed Baby (Gershon Partington Quintet). https://clyp.it/vibxlrb1
20 August 2019 20 August 2019 Abide with me (WB), Harry Parr-Davies instrumental (Philip Sear), Count Your Blessings (Olive Groves) Burlesque Montague Philips (Philip Sear), Indian Summer (WB), Bal Masque https://clyp.it/w34xrguq
September medley 2018 Rawicz and Landauer, Webster Booth, Peter Dawson, Fred Hartley, Anne Ziegler feature in the September medley. https://clyp.it/guoyneoa
20 September 2019 WB medley: Love is a many splendid thing (Fred Hartley), Smilin’ through (WB), Smoke gets in your eyes (Billy Mayerl), Star of my soul (WB), Chanson (Albert Sandler), Somewhere a voice is calling (WB), Gypsy Baron, One day when we were young (WB), Softly awakes my heart (Albert Sandler) https://clyp.it/fxnepncy
1 October 2019 October medley: https://clyp.it/4c3bn22xWood Nymphs (Eric Coates), The Rose of Tralee (WB), Love in Bloom (Billy Mayerl) The Shannon River ((John McCormack), Ivor Novello Medley (WB and Helen Hill), ‘Appy ‘Ampstead (Albert Ketelby)
19 October 2019 medley: https://clyp.it/5fw0hirc Parade of the pirates (Alfredo Campoli), Toselli serenade (WB), Carmen (Rawicz & Landauer), Ah yes, I remember it well (WB/AZ), Mary of Argyll (Scott-Wood), If You are There (WB), Laughing Cavalier (Haydn Wood)
15 November 2019 Handel in the Strand (Grainger), Bless this house (WB), A Quiet Stroll (Williams), Drink to Me Only (WB), Just a Corner of Heaven to Me (Peter Dawson), Indian Summer (WB), Gipsy Princess (Lehar) https://clyp.it/yqp0s5gb
November Medley 2018 A medley featuring Webster Booth, Alfredo Campoli. Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life (Campoli), Serenade from The Student Prince, Ay, ay, ay, Phil, the fluter’s ball, (WB), clyp.it/3ifexoar
1 December 2019 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Billy Mayerl), Ah, Moon of My Delight WB (Lehmann), popular tunes (Billy Mayerl), In the Shade of the Palm/Queen of June (WB), Butterflies in the Rain (Fred Hartley), Sweet Melody of Light (WB) Dancing Fool.https://clyp.it/user/3dacarmv
December Christmas broadcast 2015 #Christmas2015 A broadcast featuring Rawicz and Landauer, Webster Booth White Dove, and Anne Ziegler, Maurice Elwin – Josephine, At the end of the day, Little Road to Bethlehem, WB, Lift up your hearts (AZ/WB) Sylvia (WB) Silent Night (AZ/WB). O, Come All Ye Faithful (WB) Presented by me https://clyp.it/o5z5ttsu
Christmas Medley 2016 Albert Sandler, Rawicz and Landauer, Fred Hartley (piano), Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler. https://clyp.it/2cxcbsvt
Christmas medley 2018 When Big Ben Chimes, The Holy City, The Little Road to Bethlehem, Silent Night (with Anne Ziegler), The Star of Bethlehem, O, Come All Ye Faithful.https://clyp.it/b0zdg31t
December 2018 medley Campoli, Webster Booth, Rawicz and Landauer, Harold Williams, Malcolm McEachern in a selection for December https://clyp.it/emymfc1r
December 2019 Christmas medley The Lord’s Prayer, Nazareth, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful (Webster Booth, Anne Ziegler), Poeme Op41 – 14 (Alfredo Campoli) https://clyp.it/b2jbz4wj
25 December 2019: 25 December 2019 Medley – Marche Loraine, Azulao (de los Angeles), Moths around the candle flame, Snow Bird (Dawson) Just for today (Booth) Melodie d’amour, Just a Corner of heaven for me (Dawson) Mignon https://clyp.it/yfj4nw5l
27 December 2019 27 December 2019 – medley for 2020: Over to you, Greensleeves (WB), Deep in the heart of a rose (WB/AZ), Dancing Fool, Everywhere I go (WB), Music everywhere, When Big Ben Chimes (WB), Nights of Gladness https://clyp.it/xgctoskc
List compiled: 15 March 2020, Jean Collen
Alfredo Campoli, Webster Booth
Songs I Like, by Webster Booth. 14 September 1938. Broadcast. Not all the songs from the broadcast have been located. https://clyp.it/zhlyqgut
Morgen (Strauss)/Come into the Garden, Maud (Balfe) Recorded in January 1945 HMV C3418. Webster Booth, accompanied by Ernest Lush and Alfredo Campoli. Both records restored by Mike Taylor. https://clyp.it/2sfecfdh
Song of the Vagabonds (WB), Smilin’ Through (WB), Laat Ons nie van Liefde Weer Praat nie (WB/AZ), Showboat medley (Billy Mayerl), Just a Little Love, a Little Kiss (WB), Shine Through My Dreams, Love is My Reason (WB) https://clyp.it/giydvsrz
April 2019 medley: Scipio march (Mortimer), Let Me Dream in Your Arms Again (WB), Love is My Song (WB), Demande et Reponse (Albert Sandler), Stay with Me Forever (WB) (If You are There) Scottish medley (Debroy Somers) https://clyp.it/4utgof3k
May 2019 Loch Lomond medley (Debroy Somers) Love is the key to all glory (AZ/WB) Greensleeves (WB), Gay Vienna (Robert Naylor) Sweethearts/One Day When We Were Young (WB) Dear Miss Phoebe selection ( Parr-Davies) I am grateful to Mike Taylor for several of these fine restorations. https://clyp.it/yv0yjszk
https://clyp.it/3tt4axbh May 2019 Waltz Time medley (Hans May) Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth (1945/1947) Albert Sandler on Violin.
Mid-May Medley: Musette (Hartley), Come Back My Love (WB), Lehar medley (WB/AZ), Pomone Waltz (Albert Sandler), Show Me the Way (WB), Fledermaus fantasy (Rawicz and Landauer)
1934. North Regional -Sunday -7.0-7.45 STABAT MATER, by Pergolesi (for Female Voices, string orchestra and Continuo); the Liverpool Ladies’ Choir (by permission of the Liverpool Music Society); the Northern String Orchestra (leader, John Bridge), Conductor, John Tobin; Tilly Connely (Harpsichord)’ Emily Evans (Soprano); Doris Walker (Soprano); Nancy Evans (Contralto); Irené Eastwood (Soprano). Irené changed her name to Anne Ziegler when she moved to London to go on the stage.
29th January 1935 -Following a reading of Scottish poetry by CRM Brookes, a modern fairy tale, by James Dyrenforth, with music by Kenneth Leslie-Smith, entitled LOVE NEEDS A WALTZ, will be relayed. Among those taking part in this are Bruce Carfax, Ernest Sefton, Gordon Bailey, Sam Browne, Ben Welden, and Anne Ziegler.
Anne was hailed as a ‘Radio Nightingale Discovery’.
19th February 1935 -Scottish National – 8.0 THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER, a Comic Opera, adapted for Broadcasting from Stanislaus Stange’s English Version of the Libretto by Adolf Bernauer and Leopold Jacobson; Music by Oscar Strauss; adapted and produced by Gordon McConnel, with Anne Ziegler, Amy Augarde, Betty Huntley-Wright, Horace Percival, Franklyn Kelsey, Percy Heming, Jan van der Gucht, the Wireless Chorus and the BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader, Montague Brearley), Conductor Stanford Robinson.
RADIO THEATRE February 1935 -Prince Edward Theatre. Anne Ziegler, with Stannelli, Richard Murdoch, Claude Dampier, Billie Carlyle and Elsie Sterndale.
RADIO MUSIC HALL 1935 –Anne Ziegler, with Claude Hulbert, Muriel George and Ernest Butcher and Mario Lorenzo.
15th May 1935 -Scottish National – 10.00 THE MAY REVUE; music by Jack Strachey; produced by C. Denis Freeman, with Nelson Keys, Sylvia Leslie, Patrick Waddington, Hermione Gingold, C Denier Warren, Max Kirby, Anne Ziegler; the Radio Three; the BBC Variety Orchestra, directed by Mark H. Lubbock.
1st June 1935 -Scottish National Saturday 8.30 BITTER SWEET, a Romantic opera by Noel Coward, adapted for the microphone by Henrik Ege, with Evelyn Laye, Serge Abranovic, Betty Huntley-Wright, Patricia Burke, Patrick Waddington, Tessa Deane, Rose Hignell, Anne Ziegler, Phillip Cunningham, Norah Howard, Effie Atherton, Hermione Gingold, Gerald Nodin, Leslie Perrins, John Cheatle, Elaine Inescort, Winifred Davies, Billy Milton, Philip Desborough, Dimitri Vetter, Hector Abbas, Dorothy Tetley, Stanley Vine, Gwen Williams; the BBC Theatre Orchestra; Mantovani and his Orchestra; the BBC Revue Chorus, conducted by Stanford Robinson; Assistant Conductor Arthur Wood. 9.30 Time, Weather, and News Summary; 9.45 BITTER SWEET (Act 2)
20th June 1935 -The radio version of Owen Hall’s THE GEISHA, with Huntley Wright in his original part and Anne Ziegler as O Mimosa San, will be reintroduced by Marie Tempest in the Scottish National programme tonight at 8.0.
8.0 Marie Tempest introduces THE GEISHA, a broadcasting version of Owen Hall’s story of a Tea House; Lyrics by Harry Greenbank; Music by Sidney Jones; Pidgin English by Clifford W. Collinson; adapted and produced by Gordon McConnel with William Stephens, Lawrence Baskcomb, Colleen Clifford, Huntley Wright, Ewart Scott, Arnold Matters, Gladys Young, Anne Ziegler, Ian Glennie, Betty Huntley-Wright; the BBC Chorus, the BBC Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Stanford Robinson.
The Scotsman, 29th June 1935, page 20 -Sunday 6.30 – 7.45 The BBC Theatre orchestra conducted by Stanford Robinson; Anne Ziegler (Soprano)
12th November 1935 -Scottish 3.00 The Torquay Municipal Orchestra, Conductor Ernest W Goss; Anne Ziegler (Soprano)
—————————————————————————————————————————————– 1936 – 1940 This was one of the most prolific broadcasting periods for Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. They appeared in separate broadcasts until January 1938 when they began singing together. They were married on 5 November 1938.
Excerpts from Mother Goose – Regional Programme Northern, 1 January 1936 19.00 –presented by TOM ARNOLD (for Julian Wylie Productions, Ltd.) Relayed from The Empire Theatre, Liverpool Book by J. Hickory Wood and Dan Leno , Jnr. Music composed, selected and arranged by James W. Tate and E. W. Eyre
Ballets, Musical Number and Ensembles staged by John Roker, J. W. JACKSON ‘S SIXTEEN ENGLISH DANCERS, TWENTY-FOUR EILEEN ROGAN CHILDREN, Chorus and Ballet, Produced by TOM ARNOLD
George Lacy is one of the finest dames of modern times and a great artist. His change of appearance from his comedy make-up of the early scenes to the beauty that invests Mother Goose after she has bathed in the Magic Pool is as wonderful as the pathos of his acting when beauty leaves her.
George Formby , brilliant son of a brilliant father, needs no introduction to Liverpool audiences. Like his father, he is Lancashire’s own comedian Anne Ziegler is Liverpool born and bred, and sang in concerts there under her own name of Irene Eastwood. She decided that musically her own name would not get her anywhere; changed it to Anne Ziegler, and won fame on the air. She is slim, blonde, and beautiful. Anne as principal boy in her first pantomime.
Last, but not least, of a brilliant cast is George Queen, who plays the goose. Priscilla with an amazing fidelity to life.
Sunday – 6.0 Up North for Pantomime: Anne Ziegler, Principal Boy in Tom Arnold’s Pantomime, MOTHER GOOSE at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool.
29th February 1936 – 10.0 The BBC Theatre Orchestra; Conductor, Stanford Robinson; Anne Ziegler (Soprano)
Anne sang A Song in the Night by Loughborough on Pathé. Unfortunately, this excerpt is missing its soundtrack, but click on the link to hear the recording: https://clyp.it/dk0yxd2i
Comic Opera-5 – National Programme Daventry, 26 March 1936 20.30. A Programme of Songs and Scenes from LA POUPÉE, English lyrics by ARTHUR STURGESS; Music by EDMOND AUDRAN.THE ROSE OF PERSIA English lyrics by BASIL HOOD; Music by ARTHUR SULLIVAN and THE POLICEMAN’S SERENADE – A Grand Little Opera Words by A. P. HERBERT; Music by ALFRED REYNOLDS
Artists: GEORGE BAKER (Baritone) ANNE ZIEGLER (Soprano) APPLETON MOORE (Baritone) BERNARD ANSELL, IAN GLENNIE, IVAN GOLDING, IRENE BRIGHTMAN, JOHN DUNCAN, THE B B C REVUE CHORUS and THE B B C THEATRE ORCHESTRA, Conducted by STANFORD ROBINSON, The Programme arranged by GORDON MCCONNEL (the Producer) and MARK H. LUBBOCK. This was broadcast in the Regional programme last night.
6th June 1936 – Aberdeen Sunday 9.0 UP NORTH THIS WEEK: Anne Ziegler, accompanied by the Buxton Spa Orchestra: Conductor: Maurice Mies from the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton.
HARRY GORDON OF INVERSNECKY AND HIS COMPANY – Regional Programme Scotland, 13 July 1936 21.30 – from the Beach Pavilion, Aberdeen.
This year Harry attains his majority in the Beach Pavilion, having begun there twenty-one years ago at a salary of £2 a week. Eight years later he became lessee of the Pavilion, since when he has managed and produced a long succession of amusing shows, in addition to undertaking the work of principal comedian. Assisting him tonight are Murray Stewart and his Orchestra Mascotte, Joan Coleridge , Anne Ziegler, Fred Yule, Jack Holden, Jack Key, Four Paramount Tiller Girls, and Alice Stephenson.
6th August 1936 LOTS OF LOVE 10.5, An Improper Story of Four Centuries (very properly cut to an Hour) by HOLT MARVELL. Music by JACK STRACHEY, ANNE ZIEGLER (Soprano), CAVAN O’CONNOR (Tenor) and THE RADIO THREE, GORDON LITTLE (Baritone), THE B B C VARIETY ORCHESTRA, Conductor, STANFORD ROBINSON, ORCHESTRA: Hungarian Souvenir, GORDON LITTLE: Can This Be Love? ANNE ZIEGLER AND CAVAN O’CONNOR: Two Songs from Lots of Love 1. Vienna in the Spring; 2. Moon of Romance.
GORDON LITTLE: A Night in November. ANNE ZIEGLER AND GORDON LITTLE: Ghosts of My Lovers.
ORCHESTRA: Suite, Three Cameos 1. The Little Waltz; 2. Polka, Grand-mamma Goes Gay; 3. Ascot Parade. ANNE ZIEGLER AND GORDON LITTLE: Holiday Abroad.
ORCHESTRA – Selection from the Monthly Revues.
Of those who are to sing some of his numbers tonight, Anne Ziegler first broadcast in Love Needs a Waltz, Cavan O’Connor won fame as the Vagabond Lover, and Gordon Little, another well-known broadcaster, played in Stop Press at the Vaudeville last year.
Lots of Love (Repeat) – National Programme Daventry, 13 October 1936 20.00 Radio broadcast. Anne Ziegler and Cavan O’Connor, with Adele Dixon, Greer Carson, Bruce Winston, Eric Portman.
Radio Pie – Regional Programme London, 5 November 1936 19.30. Written, composed, and concocted by THE TWO LESLIES: (LESLIE SARONY and LESLIE HOLMES).
Ingredients: TOMMY HANDLEY, TESSIE O’SHEA (By permission of George Black ), THE SINGING PORTER, MARIO DE PIETRO, ANNE ZIEGLER, HUGO STEFFANI AND HIS TWENTY-ONE SILVER SONGSTERS.
TV BROADCAST 1 December 1936, 9.45 10.00 pm. BBC TV Anne appeared with Gilbert Webster (xylophone).
9th December 1936 Scottish National Regional 9.0 The BBC Theatre Orchestra conducted by Harold Lowe; Anne Ziegler (Soprano); Michael Collins (Violoncello)
Round the Pantomimes—2 – Regional Programme Scotland, 29 December 1936 21.00 Cinderella with WILL FYFFE, JOAN COLE, ANNE ZIEGLER, WINNIE COLLINS etc. from the Empire Theatre, Edinburgh (By permission of George Black ) Continuity by P. I. KEITH MURRAY and R. E. KINGSLEY
HUNTLEY WRIGHT as Wun-Hi in THE GEISHA – National Programme Daventry, 4 January 1937 19.45
This was one of the first broadcasts in which Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler appeared together. Webster was still married to Paddy Prior, but a divorce was pending.
A broadcasting version of Owen Hall ‘s Story of a Tea House – with some additional pidgin English by Clifford W. Collinson , F.R.G.S; Lyrics by Harry Greenbank, Music by Sidney Jones – Composer of A Greek Slave, An Artist’s Model, A Gaiety Girl. The BBC Revue Chorus and The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Conducted by Harold Lowe, Adaptation and production by Gordon McConnel with technical assistance of Rex Haworth. The Geisha will be repeated in the Regional programme on Thursday at 8.45
Police-Sergeant Takemini (attendant on the Marquis): Franklyn Kelsey
Marquis Imari (Chief of Police and Governor of the Province): Lawrence Baskcomb
Juliette (A French Tea Girl): Colleen Clifford
Wun-Hi (Chinese Proprietor of the Tea House): Huntley Wright
Officers of H M S Turtle: Lieutenant Cunning: Ewart Scott
Lieutenant Reginald Fairfax: Arnold Matters
Lady Constance Wynne (a Wealthy Englishwoman): Gladys Young
O Mimosa San (A Geisha): Anne Ziegler
Lieutenant Katana (of the Imperial Japanese Artillery): Webster Booth
Molly Seamore: Billie Baker
THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER – Regional Programme Scotland, 30 March 1937 20.45 A Comic Opera adapted for broadcasting by Gordon McConnel from Stanislaus Stange’s English version of the libretto by Adolph Bernauer and Leopold Jackson. Music by Oscar Straus, The BBC Revue Chorus and The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Conducted by Mark H. Lubbock. Production by Gordon McConnel and Rex Haworth. (From Regional).
Nadina Popoff, Daughter of Colonel Popoff: Anne Ziegler
Aurelia, Wife of Colonel Popoff: Gladys Parr
Mascha, Her Cousin: Betty Huntley Wright
Bumerli, Lieutenant in the Servian Army: .Horace Percival
Massakroff, Captain in the Bulgarian Army:.Franklyn . Kelsey
Kasimir Popoff, Colonel in the Bulgarian Army: Dick Francis
Alexius Sparidoff, Major in the Bulgarian Army: . Jan Van Der Gucht.
DANCING THROUGH – National Programme Daventry, 14 May 1937 20.00 Geraldo won fame for his non-stop music when he broadcast his first programme of ‘ Non-Stop Dance Music ‘ in 1934. In this fifth edition of Dancing Through he is trying to beat his record of 152 tunes which he played in the last (in December, 1935), and he will probably succeed. The vocalists are all well-known broadcasters.
Monte Rey , who has broadcast so often with Geraldo himself, Lily Morris of Music-Hall fame, Anne Ziegler, associated with radio musical comedy and operetta, and Wilfrid Thomas and Eve Becke , who were both so often with the Air-do-Wells. At the organ is the brilliant organist who succeeded Reginald Foort at the Paramount, Tottenham Court Road, Al Bollington, who gave a broadcast on the BBC Theatre Organ on Christmas Eve.
PADDLE STEAMER – BBC Television, 17 June 1937 15.35 Down River in 1850 with Sebastian Shaw and Anne Ziegler, Dances arranged by Wendy Toye, To Music by John Gardner, Produced by Dallas Bower. In this unusual production a leading rôle will be taken by an actor who, though he has been on the stage since 1914, when he was nine years old, has made a number of exceptionally notable hits in the last year in the film world, one of his latest parts being the leading male role in Farewell Again. His stage appearances include The Constant Nymph, The Sacred Flame, Precious Bane, Double Door, and repertory work at Stratford-on-Avon, and in Liverpool and Hull. Anne Ziegler is, of course, one of the most constant favourites in television programmes. Her numerous visits to Alexandra Palace include an appearance as a solo artist on June 2.
Wendy Toye, the brilliant twenty-year-old actress and dancer, who has arranged the dances in this programme, produced a ballet at the Palladium when she was only ten years of age. She studied dancing almost from infancy, and has appeared with the Camargo Society and toured with Anton Dolin and Alicia Markova.
AMERICA CABARET AND BROADCASTS 1937. While Anne starred in Virginia at the Center Theater, New York, Webster did a few broadcasts with Will Rogers and sang at the Rainbow Room, New York.
6th January 1938 – Scottish 8.45 THE GEISHA, a broadcasting version of Owen Hall’s story of a Tea House, with some additional pidgin English by Clifford W Collinson: lyrics by Harry Greenbank; music by Sidney Jones; Adapted and produced by Gordon McConnel, assisted by Rex Haworth, with Huntley Wright, Fred Yule, Lawrence Baskcomb, Colleen Clifford, Ewart Scott, Arnold Matters, Gladys Young, Anne Ziegler, Webster Booth, Billie Baker; The BBC Revue Chorus and the BBC Theatre Orchestra; Conductor, Harold Lowe.
VARIETY – National Programme Daventry, 26 January 1938 19.15. Clarkson Rose: Comedian, Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler : Musical Comedy Duets, A Motoring Episode by Charles Hayes and George Barker, Leonard Henry :Comedian, The BBC Variety Orchestra conducted by Charles Shadwell, Compere, Charles Hayes.
MONDAY AT SEVEN – National Programme Daventry, 14 February 1938 19.00, Presented by – Harry S. Pepper and Douglas Moodie. Singing Commere, Judy Shirley, Ernest Butcher and Muriel George, The Odyssey of a Valentine written and told by Valentine Dunn. Inspector Hornleigh Investigates, S. J. Warmington as Inspector Hornleigh)
No. 28, The Javanese Goddess by Hans W. Priwin, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth with the BBC Revue Chorus, The BBC Variety Orchestra conducted by Charles Shadwell.
CABARET– BBC Television, 22 February 1938 15.20 -with Anne Ziegler, Jane Carr, Edna Squire Brown, the Cafe Anglais Glamour Girls. Ian Grant as compere. The BBC Television Orchestra, leader Boris Pecker , conductor Hyam Greenbaum. Presentation by D. H. Munro.
7th April 1938 Scottish National 8.0 MILESTONES OF MELODY, Geraldo and his Concert Orchestra (by permission of the Savoy Hotel Ltd), presented by John Burnaby with Anne Ziegler, Monte Rey, Patrick Waddington, Eve Becke, Cyril Grantham, The Top Hattes and the Geraldettes, The BBC Male Revue Chorus, Al Bollington at the Theatre Organ.
DANCE CABARET – Regional Programme Western, 21 April 1938 21.15
from the Royal Bath Hotel Ballroom, Bournemouth
Douglas Byng the stage and cabaret star
Jane Carr stage, screen, and radio favourite Webster Booth the romantic tenor Anne Ziegler the lyric soprano
Arthur Askey comedian, and compere, and dance to Billy Bissett and his Canadians with THE CANADIAN CAPERS and ALICE MANN. MILESTONES OF MELODY – Regional Programme London, 18 April 1938 20.20 Geraldo and his Concert Orchestra (By permission of the Savoy Hotel, Ltd.) with Romance and Rhythm: Anne Ziegler, Eve Becke, Monte Rey, Cyril Grantham, Patrick Waddington, The Top Hatters, The Geraldettes,The BBC Male Revue Chorus.
21st April 1938 At 9.15 there will be a DANCE CABARET with Douglas Byng, Jane Carr, Anne Ziegler, Webster Booth, and others.
9.15 Dance Cabaret; Douglas Byng (stage and cabaret artist), Jane Carr (stage, screen and radio artist), Webster Booth (tenor), Anne Ziegler (soprano), Arthur Askey (comedian and compère); Billy Bissett and his Canadians with the Canadian Capers, and Alice Mann from the Royal Bath Hotel Ballroom, Bournemouth
MILESTONES OF MELODY – Regional Programme London, 6 May 1938 20.00 Geraldo and his Concert Orchestra (By permission of the Savoy Hotel, Ltd.) with Romance and Rhythm: Anne Ziegler, Eve Becke, Monte Rey, Cyril Grantham, Patrick Waddington, The Top Hatters, The Geraldettes,The BBC Male Revue Chorus.
THEATRE COMPOSERS National Programme Daventry, 29 May 1938 21.05 LIONEL MONCKTON – The Man and his Music. A programme arranged by M. Willson Disher. Music selected by Mark H. Lubbock. Production by Gordon McConnel. The compere, Bertram Wallis.Dennis Noble, Betty Huntley-Wright, Anne Ziegler, The BBC Theatre Chorus and the BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader, Tate Gilder ), conductor, Stanford Robinson. MILESTONES OF MELODY (Series) – National Programme Daventry, 1 June 1938 20.00 Geraldo and his Concert Orchestra (by permission of the Savoy Hotel, Ltd.) with Romance and Rhythm. Anne Ziegler, Eve Becke, Monte Rey, Cyril Grantham, Jack Melford, The Top Hatters, The Geraldettes. Section of the BBC Male Chorus, Al Bollington at the BBC Theatre Organ. Presented by John Burnaby. GEORGE EDWARDES – Regional Programme London, 15 June 1938 18.00 Part 1 – The Guv’nor of the Gaiety. An illustrated biography compiled and written by S. R. Littlewood. Produced by Gordon McConnel in collaboration with Mark H. Lubbock. The cast will include Sir Seymour and Lady Hicks (Ellaline Terriss), Robert Nainby, Willie Warde, Horace Percival, Betty Huntley-Wright, Stuart Robertson, Anne Ziegler, Bertha Willmott, Denis O’Neil. The BBC Theatre Chorus and The BBC Theatre Orchestra. Leader, Tate Gilder. Conductor, Stanford Robinson. The Compere, S. R. Littlewood . Should circumstances prevent Sir Seymour and Lady Hicks from taking part in the actual broadcast, their contributions to the programme will be recorded.
THE BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 18 October 1938 13.15 Leader, Tate Gilder, Conducted by Mark H. Lubbock, Anne Ziegler (soprano).
Anne Ziegler on the cover of Radio Pictorial (1938) She is wearing a diamond solitaire engagement ring a month or so before Webster’s divorce was finalised.
Scottish National – 8.00 MILESTONES OF MELODY, Geraldo and his Concert Orchestra (by permission of the Savoy Hotel Ltd), presented by John Burnaby with Anne Ziegler, Monte Rey, Patrick Waddington, Eve Becke, Cyril Grantham, The Top Hattes and the Geraldettes, The BBC Male Revue Chorus, Al Bollington at the Theatre Organ.
PRINCESS CHARMING – National Programme Daventry, 24 August 1938 19.30
A romance with music adapted from the Hungarian by Arthur Wimperis and Laun Wylie. Lyrics by Arthur Wimperis music by Albert Sirmay and Jack Waller. Adapted for the microphone by Reginald Burston and Martyn C. Webster
The Midland Revue Chorus, The Midland Revue Orchestra, leader Norris Stanley , conductor Reginald Burston. Production by Martyn C. Webster. (From Midland) Naval Officer (attached to the Svlvanian Embassy): Cedric Johnson, Baron Sigman (Sylvanian Ambassador): Lester Mudditt, Marie (stenographer at the Embassy): Dorothy Leake, Albert Chuff (Continental Manager of the Colossal Assurance Co ): Hal Bryant, Captain Torelli (of the Cruiser Fire Eater): Webster Booth, Princess Elaine (of Novia): Anne Ziegler, A young Lieutenant (of the Fire Eater): John Morley, Wandu Navarro: Yvette Darnac, Ivanoff (leader of the rebellion): Godfrey Baseley, The Lord Chamberlain (of Sylvania): Godfrey Baseley, King Christian 11 of Sylvania: Leslie Bowmar, The King’s Aide-de-Camp: John Morley, The Attorney General: Cedric Johnson, The Story Teller: Stuart Vinden.
FOORT-ISSIMO -National Programme Daventry, 17 September 1938 19.30, A Light-Hearted half-hour in which the audience will join with Reginald Foort at the BBC Theatre Organ with Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. Production by Max Kester.
THE BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA – National Programme Daventry, 18 October 1938 13.15 Leader, Tate Gilder, Conducted by Mark H. Lubbock, Anne Ziegler (soprano).
19th October 1938 – 10.30 DANCE CABARET: Douglas Byng (Cabaret Artist); Webster Booth (Tenor); Oliver Wakefield (The Voice of Inexperience); Anne Ziegler (Lyric Soprano); Cliff Cooke (Compere); Dance music played by Billy Thorburn and his Music, with Eddie Guery and The Royal Bath Hotel Singers, from the Royal Bath Hotel Ballroom, Bournemouth.
A month after Webster’s divorce from Paddy Prior was finalised, Webster and Anne were married on 5 November 1938.
ALL DOWN FOR THE FINALE! – Regional Programme Midland, 3 December 1938 21.10 Bill White, call-boy of the Theatre Royal recalls memories of The Belle of New York, Florodora, The Merry Widow,The Lilac Domino. Anne Ziegler, Webster Booth, George Gibbs, Fred Forgham, Denis Folwell, The Midland Revue Chorus, The Midland Revue Orchestra, Leader, Norris Stanley, Conductor, Reginald Burston. Presentation by Martyn C. Webster.
The call-boy’s cry ‘All down for the finale!’, familiar to those who have taken part in big musical-comedy productions, gives the title of this programme. The finales from famous musical comedies will be preceded by a dramatised section, beginning with reminiscences and then going on to unfold the plot of the show up to the finale chosen.
CHARLES ERNESCO AND HIS QUlNTET – National Programme Daventry, 11 December 1938 18.30 with Anne Ziegler
9th February 1939 – Scottish National 6.0 SCRAPBOOK FOR 1909, presented by Leslie Baily and Charles Brewer; Compere Patric Curwen, Producer: Charles Brewer. A programme in the Scrapbook series. Arthur Wimperis, ex-Inspector JH Jarvis, Miss Muriel Matters, Captain GP Philips; cast also includes Dorothy Holmes-Gore, Anne Ziegler, Ivan Samson, Horace Percival, Ernest Shannon, Eric Lugg, Bryan Powley, Johnnie Singer, and the recorded voices of Christabel Pankhurst and George Graves; Louis Bleriot (BBC disc); Cmdr Robert E Peary; Rt. Hon. HH Asquipth MP; Prime Minister in 1909 (all commercial discs). the BBC Revue Chorus and the BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Louis Levy.
IVOR NOVELLO LOOKS BACK! – Regional Programme London, 17 February 1939 20.15 A biography of his life in words and music, introducing some of the people who have been associated with him: Ivor Novello, Mary Ellis, Dorothy Dickson in a scene from Henry V. Madame Clara Novello-Davies, Peter Scott, Anne Ziegler, Gordon Little, Frank Bird and supporting cast. The programme will also include a short glimpse of the new Ivor Novello musical play The Dancing Years, now in rehearsal. The recorded voices of Fay Compton, Jack Buchanan, and Jack Hulbert with The Welsh Ladies’ Choir, under the direction of Madame Clara Novello Davies.
A Party of Welsh Miners. The BBC Revue Chorus and the Augmented BEC Variety Orchestra conducted by Charles Shadwell. Orchestrations by Jack Beaver. Interviewer, F. H. Grisewood. The programme devised and written by Howard Thomas. Production by Archie Campbell. This programme will be broadcast again tomorrow (National, 5.0)
DANCE CABARET – National Programme Daventry, 1 March 1939 22.35 from the Grand Hotel, Torquay. Norman Long – A song, a joke, and a piano, Bennett and Young – Comedians, Anne Ziegler – The lyric soprano, Webster Booth – The romantic tenor, Raymond Bennett – Compere, and dance to Harry Evans and his Band.
18th March 1939 Among those appearing in MUSIC HALL at 8.0 are Anne Ziegler, Webster Booth and Leonard Henry. Scottish National 8.0 MUSIC HALL, presented by John Sharman, with Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth in musical comedy selections; Yorky and Scotty, Al and Bob Harvey (Canadian comedians), Leonard Henry (comedian), Ted Ray (Fiddling and Fooling); Pat Hyde (Radios sweetheart); The BBC Variety Orchestra, conducted by Charles Shadwell.
MELODIES FROM THE COMEDIES – Regional Programme Midland, 23 March 1939 21.05, A contrast in styles with Gordon Little, Anne Ziegler, John Bentley, The Rhythmettes, The Midland Revue Orchestra, Leader, Norris Stanley, Conductor, Reginald Burston, Compere, Martyn C. Webster.
THEATRE COMPOSERS – No. 6 National Programme Daventry, 9 April 1939 21.05 Jerome Kern – The Man and his Music. A programme arranged by M. Willson Disher. The music selected and the programme produced by .Mark H. Lubbock Anne Ziegler, Patricia Burke, Gordon Little, Ronnie Hill. ompere, Charles B. Cochran. The BBC Theatre Chorus and The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Leader, Tate Gilder. Conducted by Mark H. Lubbock.
Here is a programme in narration and music, surveying the work of one of the most versatile jazz composers ever born. It is perhaps surprising to reflect that as long ago as 1905 Jerome Kern was writing song hits, and that he has kept up a steady output ever since. Who does not remember such numbers as She didn’t say Yes, Who? Silver Lining, Dancing Time, and, more recently Smoke gets in your eyes? C. B. Cochran was responsible for putting on two shows that between them contained some of Kern’s finest works, namely The Cat and the Fiddle and Music in the Air.
DANCE CABARET – Regional Programme Western, 6 May 1939 21.00 from the Polygon Hotel, Southampton. Anne Ziegler the lyric soprano, Leonard Henry comedian and compere, Suzette Tarri in comedy cameos, Jack Train in character comedy and dance to Fred Ballerini and his Dance Band.
The first broadcast of cabaret from the Polygon Hotel was made last December. Programmes have been broadcast on several occasions since then, and each time the artists have included Fred Ballerini and his dance band, the combination that is appearing this evening.
Dorothy Dickson in FAREWELL TO JUAN – National Programme Daventry, 23 May 1939 20.00 or Lots of Love – An Improper Story of Four Centuries (very properly cut down to one hour) Written by Eric Maschwitz , to music by Jack Strachey. The Storyteller, Edwin Styles, Gibb McLaughlin as The Barman, Elizabeth Maude as Laura Vanelli, Dorothy Dickson as Iris Flame, Richard Ainley as Don Juan, Ruth Maitland as Minnie, Singers: Heddle Nash, Anne Ziegler, The Cavendish Three, The BBC Theatre Orchestra, (Leader, Tate Gilder ) Conducted by Mark H. Lubbock , Rae Jenkins and his Schrammel Quartet, At the piano, Alan Paul, Orchestrations by Julius Buerger, Wally Wallond , and Jack Beaver. Trio arrangements by Kay Cavendish. Production by Archie Campbell.
RADIO NORMANDIE 18 June, 1939. Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, with George Formby, Tommy Handley, Jack Warner, Vic Oliver, Bebe Daniels, Leonard Henry, Olive Groves, Donald Peers, Phyllis Robins and Reginald Foort. SATURDAY AT NINE-FORTY-FIVE – National Programme Daventry, 22 July 1939 21.45 Music for Films sung and played by Anne Ziegler, Heddle Nash and The BBC Theatre Orchestra. Leader, Tate Gilder, Conducted by Mark H. Lubbock . With a descriptive commentary by C. A. Lejeune.
30th August 1939 10.20 DANCE CABARET, with Warden and West; Fanny and Biddy (the Two Dames); Anne Ziegler (Lyric Soprano); Webster Booth (Tenor); Suzette Tarry (Comedy Cameos), and Harry Evans and his Dance Band, from the Grand Hotel, Torquay.
Webster joined the staff of the variety section of the BBC in Bristol at the outbreak of war. Not long afterwards, Anne was allowed to join him and they rented a flat in Bristol while they were working there.
5th October 1939 – 6.45 MUSIC FOR FILMS sung and played by Anne Ziegler, Heddle Nash, John Nash, John Stevens, and the BBC Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Reginald Burston; descriptive commentary written by CA Lejeune, spoken by Cathleen Cordell.
Sunday 22 October, 1939. 18.35 THE BBC VARIETY ORCHESTRA. Leader, Frank Cantell. Conductor, Charles Shadwell with Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, (Solo trumpets, Alf Lewis and Leslie Uzzell ), Charles Woodforde (solo Cello), Arthur Sandford (solo piano).
Tuesday, 24 October 1939, 12.15 MUSIC IN THE MORNING A programme of light music with Anne Ziegler, Webster Booth, and Dorothy Carless. All arrangements by Alan Paul, Presented by John Burnaby and Alan Paul. This programme is notable for the fact that two of the broadcasters are the wives of radio celebrities. Anne Ziegler is the wife of Webster Booth, and Dorothy Carless the wife of Eugene Pini , whom she married on the eve of the outbreak of war.
Tuesday, 7 November 1939. 12.00 MUSIC IN THE MORNING. A programme of light music, with Anne Ziegler , Webster Booth, Dorothy Carless , and the strings of the Television Orchestra, All arrangements by Alan Paul,Presentation by John Burnaby and Alan Paul.
21st November 1939 12.30 MUSIC IN THE MORNING, with Anne Ziegler, Webster Booth, Dorothy Carless, and the strings of the Revue Orchestra.
Thursday, 4 January 1940. 22.35 ENTERTAINMENT MUSIC played by the BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader, Tate Gilder ), Conductor, Stanford Robinson with Gwen Catley and Webster Booth, Wilfrid Parry and Charles Groves (pianofortes) and the BBC Theatre Chorus (trained by Charles Groves).
MUSIC IN THE EVENING – BBC Home Service Basic, 15 January 1940 18.35 with
Alan Paul – A programme of music of a quiet nature .Singers: Dorothy Carless, Three in Harmony, Webster Booth.The Players: Jean Pougnet , David Wise, Frederick Riddle, Anthony Pini , Victor Watson , John Cockerill , Arthur Gleghorn , Leon Goossens, Reginald Kell, Andrew Walkowski , Dennis Gomm. All arrangements by Alan Paul, devised and presented by John Burnaby and Alan Paul
Selected by Mark H. Lubbock and played by the BBC Theatre Orchestra – leader, Tate Gilder,conductor, Stanford Robinson. Gwen Catley ,Webster Booth, Wilfrid Parry and Charles Gloves (pianofortes), the Alfredo Campoli Trio, BBC Theatre Chorus (trained by Charles Groves)
The story of the Popular Song with Marjorie Westbury, Webster Booth, John Rorke, The BBC Theatre Chorus (trained by Charles Groves), The BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader, Tate Gilder). The programme presented and conducted by Mark H. Lubbock.
Evelyn Dall (by permission of Bert Ambrose), Webster Booth, and John Bentley in General Release – Songs from current and forthcoming film issues with the Radio Graces, the BBC Theatre Chorus (trained by Charles Groves), BBC Theatre Orchestra (leader, Tate Gilder) The programme arranged and conducted by Reginald Burston, Compere, Hugh Morton.
Keen filmgoers, as well as many other listeners, will be interested to know that for this programme Reginald Burston has persuaded the producers and Jack Hylton to release the original scores of the new Band Waggonfilm, and Alexander Korda has released the original score of the incidental music for The Four Feathers. Another point of interest about the production is that Evelyn Dall , the popular dance-band vocalist, is entering a new field, so far as sound broadcasting is concerned.
THE STORY OF THE POPULAR SONG – Forces Programme, 21 February 1940 21.45Devised and written by M. Willson Disher with Marjorie Westbury, Webster Booth, John Rorke, The BBC Theatre Chorus (Trained by Charles Groves), The BBC Theatre Orchestra (Leader, Tate Gilder), The programme presented and conducted by Mark H. Lubbock.
The music by Robert Stolz. Adapted for broadcasting from the English version by Holt Marvell, Hassard Short, Desmond Carter, and Reginald Purdell. The BBC Theatre Chorus (trained by Charles Groves). The BBC Theatre Orchestra, Leader, Tate Gilder, Conducted by Reginald Burston, Production by Martyn C. Webster.
Wild Violets was originally produced at Drury Lane in 1932. Set in Switzerland and involving all the best ingredients of melody and romance, it has one of the most tuneful scores written for the theatre during recent years, as most will agree who remember such numbers as You, just you, A girl has got my heart, and Don’t say good-bye.
Augusta: Dorothy Paul
Hans: Ernest Butcher
Greta, their daughter: Meg Titheradge
Otto Bergmann: Frank Drew,
Paul Hoffman: Webster Booth
Carl Hoffman, Paul’s son: Dudley Rolph
Erik Schmidt: Patrick Waddington
Madame Hoffman, Headmistress of the Chateau Violette: Dorothy Summers Mile.
Yvonne Duprez, assistant mistress at the Chateau: Yvette Damac.
Liesel: Marjorie Westbury
Augusta, maid at the Chateau: Dorothy Paul
Hans,her sweetheart: Ernest Butcher
Mary Rutherford, the new girl from England: Heather Boys
Algernon Rutherford, her grandfather: Edgar Norfolk
Dr. Franck, music-master at the Chateau: John Morley
21st October 1940Programme for the forces. 11.0 William Murdoch (Piano), Webster Booth (Tenor), Josef Hassid (Violin), Bruce Dargavel (Baritone).
17 November 1940 BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA visits a West of England town. Popular concert by Stanford Robinson and BBC Theatre Orchestra supported by BBC Theatre Chorus, Olga Haley (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Jack Mackintosh (comet virtuoso)
for members of H.M. Forces (with their sweethearts and wives) given by The BBC Salon Orchestra, Leader, Jean Pougnet, Conductor, Leslie Bridgewater.
Margaret Eaves, Helen Clare, Webster Booth, and Fredric Bayco at the organ.
Introduced by Lionel Gamlin from a West-Country concert hall.
The first part of the oratorio by Handel. A performance by the Huddersfield Choral Society – Chorus Master, Herbert Bardgett. Janet Hamilton-Smith (soprano), Maud Heaton (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Keith Falkner (bass).
The Society’s Orchestra, Leader, Reginald Stead. Conductor, Malcolm Sargent,
From a Northern concert hall.
There are several reasons for the traditional popularity of Messiah in the North: first, the choruses offer a unique blend of opportunities for great team-work and, in the many magnificent runs and crescendos, for showing off. Secondly, from the religious point of view the plain-spoken chapel-going North welcomes, perhaps subconsciously, the Protestant theology of the oratorio, the familiar words of which are all taken direct from the Bible. Thirdly, the North likes it because it knows it so well and so thoroughly just in the same way that many thousands of people like
Gilbert and Sullivan. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt, but it is impossible for anyone to have contempt for such a masterpiece as Messiah.
Part 2 of Messiah will be broadcast next Sunday at 4.15 by the Halle Society conducted by Dr. Malcolm Sargent.
The second part of the oratorio by Handel. A performance by the Hallé Concerts Society, Isobel Baillie (soprano), Gladys Ripley (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Norman Walker (bass) Hallé Chorus, Hallé Orchestra – Leader, Laurance Turner, Conducted by Malcolm Sargent from a Northern concert hall.
under the direction of Tom Jenkins with Webster Booth in a tea-time programme.
Birmingham-born Webster Booth began his professional life as an accountant. When he was eighteen he met Richard Wassell , then conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra, who thought highly of his voice and taught him at the Midland Institute. Booth joined the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1923 and stayed with them for four years. He then settled in London, where he made a name for himself in leading stage roles and also in big musical films. He sang at Covent Garden in the International Opera Season, and has also appeared for most of the principal London and provincial choral and orchestral societies.
with Gwen Catley, Webster Booth, Appleton Moore. BBC Theatre Chorus trained by Charles Groves. BBC Theatre Orchestra – Leader, Tate Gilder. Programme arranged, and conducted by Reginald Burston. Compere, Desmond Davis
WHAT MANCHESTER THINKS TODAY – BBC Home Service Basic, 7 May 1941 21.20A second musically illustrated review of some Manchester first nights from Tom Jones (1907) to Happy Birthday (1940). The programme compiled by S. R. Littlewood. Arranged and produced by Gordon McConnel.
Joan Hammond, Webster Booth, Billie Baker, Bobbie Comber, The Three Radio Graces.BBC Theatre Chorus Trained by Charles Groves. BBC Theatre Orchestra – Leader, Tate Gilder, Conducted by Reginald Burston. Compere, Wilfred Pickles.
Leader, Tate Gilder, Conducted by Harold Lowe, with Webster Booth (tenor)
When Webster Booth was eighteen he met Richard Wassell , then conductor of the City of Birmingham Orchestra, who thought highly of his voice and taught him at the Midland Institute. Booth joined the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company in 1923 and stayed with them for four years. He has sung at Covent Garden in the International Opera season, and has also appeared for most of the principal London *and provincial choral and orchestral’ societies.
Romantic ballad opera by R. Vaughan Williams. Libretto by Harold Child. Produced by Stanford Robinson and Mark H. Lubbock BBC Theatre Chorus, BBC Theatre Orchestra:conductor Stanford Robinson. Narrator, Dennis Arundell
SINGING TO YOU – Forces Programme, 12 July 1942 15.30Story of Webster
Booth and his songs. Gramophone programme, compiled and written by Bettine
Rampton, and presented by Leslie Perowne
THE SHEPHERDS OF THE DELECTABLE MOUNTAINS – BBC Home Service Basic, 8 December 1942 21.40 Pastoral episode, founded upon Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, by R. Vaughan Williams. Ladies of the BBC Theatre Chorus, BBC Theatre Orchestra – conductor, Stanford Robinson.
Produced by Stephen Thomas in collaboration with the conductor.
The Stuff We Gave the Troops. Programme designed to reflect the more serious side of ENSA’s musical activities-featuring some famous singers of the day, including Webster Booth and Joan Hammond.Devised by Walter Legge. Presented by the Department of National Service Entertainment (NAAFI)
A Viennese pot-pourri by Julius Buerger, with Gwen Catley, Webster Booth, Dennis Noble (by permission of Jay Pomeroy)Winifred Davey (solo piano).BBC Theatre Chorus. BBC Theatre Orchestra.Conductor: Stanford Robinson. Narrator, Anthony Craxton.
Edwardian Melodies – A pot-pourri for broadcasting, arranged by Stanford Robinson, with special orchestrations by Julius Buerger and Leo Wurmser. Prelude, London chimes ; Pomp and Circumstance ; the Ballroom; Ballad Concert; Promenade and Bandstand ; Musical Comedy ; Epilogue, London chimes. Lorely Dyer. (by permission of Lee Ephraim ), Nancy Evans, Webster Booth, Stanley Pope Alfredo Campoli (solo violin). Narrator: Frederick Ranalow, BBC Theatre Orchestra : conductor, Stanford Robinson. (BBC recording)
Stanford Robinson (conductor)
Sunday Rhapsody – THE MUSIC OF ERIC COATES – BBC Home Service Basic, 8 October 1944 22.00A radio pot-pourri with Gwen Catley (soprano),Webster Booth (tenor), Roderick Jones (baritone) (by permission of the Administrators of Sadler’s Wells), BBC Theatre Chorus and BBC Theatre Orchestra. Conductor, Stanford Robinson.
11 October 1944 Guest stars:’KATHLEEN’ AND WEBSTER BOOTH.
A jubilee tribute to the composer, with Gladys Ripley (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor) BBC Theatre Chorus and BBC Theatre Orchestra. Orchestrations by Leo Wurmser. Chorus arrangements by John Clements. Conductor, Stanford Robinson
Teresa del Riego, who wrote the music of 0 dry those tears, Thank God for a garden, Homing, and many other familiar songs, this year celebrates her fiftieth year as a composer.
Orchestrations by Leo Wurmser. Ada Alsop , Winifride Ingham (by permission of Jay Pomeroy). Webster Booth, Frederick Harvey. Narration, written by Harold Nede and spoken by Christopher Stone. BBC Theatre Chorus and Orchestra: conductor, Stanford Robinson.
Sunday Rhapsody – EDWARDIAN MELODIES – BBC Home ServiceBasic, 11 March 1945 21.30Produced by Gwen Williams and Stanford Robinson.Orchestrations by Julius Buerger and Leo Wurmser, with Lorely Dyer, Nancy Evans, Webster Booth, Stanley Pope, Alfredo Campoli (violin).Script written by Desmond Davis.Narrator:Frederick Ranalow. BBC Theatre Chorus. BBC Theatre Orchestra:conductor, Stanford Robinson.
CITY OF MUSIC – Light Programme, 28 August 1945 13.15 A Viennese pot-pourri by Julius Buerger. with Gwen Catley, Webster Booth, William Parsons, and Winifred Davey (solo piano). BBC Theatre Chorus, and BBC Theatre Orchestra: conductor, Stanford Robinson. Narrator, Anthony Craxton.
Sunday Rhapsody VICTORIAN MELODIES (No. 2) – BBC Home Service Basic, 30 December 1945 21.30A potpourri produced by Gwen Williams and Stanford Robinson , including ballroom memories, part songs, and ballads. Special orchestrations by Leo Wurmser. Wth Doris Gambell (soprano). Marjorie Thomas (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Norman Allin (bass).
BBC Theatre Chorus and Orchestra. Conductor. Stanford Robinson.
Narration written by Harold Neden.Programme introduced by Christopher Stone.
Compiled by Jean Collen 2014.
Information from The Scotsman and the BBC Genome Project.
Duet, the autobiography of famous British duettists, Webster Booth and Anne
Ziegler, was originally published by Stanley Paul in 1951. Sixty-five years
later I have digitised the book and made it available as a paperback, epub and
pdf book. My sincere thanks to John Marwood who proofread the book most
painstakingly for me. Webster and Anne tell the exciting story of their rise to
fame, and their sensational romance. After Webster’s divorce from Paddy Prior,
his second wife, he and Anne married and became the most popular duettists of
their day, earning them the deserved title of Sweethearts of Song.
Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were versatile singers so it is difficult to
name just one duet or solo as an all-time favourite. Webster recorded far more
solo recordings than he did duets with Anne, although he is largely remembered
today because of the duets.
In Webster’s case there are light songs with British Dance Bands led by
Jack Hylton, Carroll Gibbons, Debroy Somers, Ray Noble, as the anonymous “with
vocal refrain” with the accordion band of Carlos Santana (one of the many
pseudonyms adopted by the equally versatile musician, Harry Bidgood), and the
popular Fred Hartley’s Quintet or Sextet. He also sang in medleys, sometimes on
his own or with singers like Janet Lind, Garda Hall, Magda Neeld, Marjorie
Stedeford, Stuart Robertson, Sam Costa, Olive Groves, and Nora Savage.
As his singing career progressed he began recording more serious songs,
and arias from opera and oratorio. In operatic ensembles he was partnered with
singers like Norman Walker, Dennis Noble, Joan Hammond, Joan Cross, Noel Eadie,
Nancy Evans, Arnold Matters and Edith Coates. Conductors of these recordings
included Warwick Braithwaite, Laurance Collingwood and Malcolm Sargent, and
accompanists included Gerald Moore, Herbert Dawson (organ), and John Cockerill
The duets recordings were generally of musical comedy, operetta and
popular songs of the day arranged as duets such as Dearest
of all by Vernon Latham Sharp and Too
tired to sleep by Alan Murray. There were also duet
arrangements of instrumental pieces by Chopin and Liszt, and a charming duet of
Mendelssohn’s lied “On Wings of Song”.
Which ones are my favourites ? Why does the God of Israel sleep? from
the oratorio, Samson by Handel is one of my favourites. It
illustrates Webster’s amazing vocal technique and dramatic power. He was a
prolific recording solo artist and a highly regarded oratorio soloist.
Excerpt from an Australian newspaper – March 11 1950
Shortly after Webster began recording for HMV in 1929, critics in Gramophone magazine
praised his voice but thought he should be singing songs more worthy of
it. In April 1937, a critic wrote, “Gradually Webster Booth is finding his
rightful place as a member of the solo quartet in our concert halls, when the
choral masterpieces are given. Only the other day a severe critic of
English singing singled out Mr Booth as one of the very few elect.”
Most people remember Webster Booth for the romantic duets he sang
with Anne Ziegler on record, stage, screen and radio but several
derogatory comments have been made about his duet partnership with Anne, most
people claiming that he would be better regarded as a serious singer today had
he not formed the Variety Act with Anne in 1940. Anne was the first to
admit that she had a “ten-a-penny” soprano voice while his voice was in a
different category from hers. She was aware that many people thought she had
They went into variety because it paid far better than more serious
forms of entertainment and they had expensive family financial commitments.
Within a very short time they became very popular with those who enjoyed
hearing operetta and musical comedy duets sung by a very handsome and charming
couple. Anne and Webster were a romantic pair and their variety act took the
public’s mind off the daily grind of war for an hour or two. While Anne’s voice
might not have been in the same class as Webster’s, one cannot deny that they
sang the duets musically and their voices complemented one another.
Webster did not drop his oratorio singing and it was while he and Anne were
singing in Variety and Harold Fielding concerts that he made some of his finest
serious oratorio recordings. He was one of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s favourite tenors
and was chosen by Sir Malcolm to sing at his sixtieth birthday celebration concert
Webster was a lyric tenor with excellent diction and a wide vocal range.
Although his voice was light it filled the Albert Hall, a hall with a
notoriously difficult acoustic for singers. He had a pleasing baritonal quality
in the lower range of his voice and, in later years, fulfilled a long-held
ambition to sing the baritone solos in a performance of Elijah in Knysna, South
If one listens to his recordings of Mozart operatic arias and the
operatic duets with baritone, Dennis Noble in Puccini’s La
Bohème andRossini’s The Barber of Seville, and the extracts from Bizet’s
Carmen with Dennis Noble, Nancy Evans, Noel Eadie and the Sadlers Wells
chorus, he more than held his own among the foremost operatic singers
of the day. Perhaps he would not have managed heavier operatic roles on
stage but he had a voice ideal for Mozart, Rossini, Gounod, and Handel.
At that time it was the convention to record everything in English on
the HMV plum label, but I have a recording of him singing in an Italian which
sounds quite acceptable to me, so I don’t think singing in a foreign language
would have presented a problem to him. He was also a highly competent musician,
so he would have had no difficulty learning an operatic role. As a young man he
was keen to sing in opera, but opera did not pay as well as lighter forms of
entertainment. In 1926 Sir Malcolm Sargent told him that if he did not have a
private income he should leave opera alone. Webster’s older sister, Doris
(known as Nellie) was very disappointed that he did not make a career in opera.
I have an LP called Famous British Tenors in my collection. Webster sings the rather
to see a complete change of mood. He certainly was a versatile singer, but far from
being “A jack of all trades, master of none,” I suggest that he was a master in
command of every song he sang.
Once Anne and Webster’s recording contract with HMV was cancelled in 1951 they made a few recordings
for Decca and gradually their 78s were deleted from the record catalogues.
But in the late fifties several long playing records were issued, comprising their popular duet
recordings. Love Duets from Theatreland was issued by EMI in the UK, while, in South Africa, a similar
record, entitled Sweethearts of Song was issued, with sleeve notes by their friend, Leslie Green.
In 1959 they made an LP of their popular duets. The words had been
translated into Afrikaans and, instead of the orchestral accompaniment on the
78s, there was organ and piano accompaniment by Jack Dowle and John Massey.
This record was entitled Net Maar ‘n Roos (Only a Rose).
In 1963 they
made Nursery School Sing-Along (No 2). This time Heinz Alexander was the accompanist and
the Nazareth House Children’s Chorus was conducted by my piano teacher, Sylvia
Sullivan. Webster thought highly of Mrs Sullivan’s conducting and insisted that
she conducted all the songs for the record.
A recording of
Webster’s was included in Famous British Tenors issued in 1972. Webster sings the rather obscure aria, O,
Vision Entrancingfrom Esmeralda by Goring
Thomas, while his peers are heard in more popular arias. He was rather put
out about this as he thought the powers-that-be might have chosen a more
popular aria for his recording. Perhaps recording techniques had not been very
advanced for some of the other tenors on the recording sound rather thin.
Webster’s recording sounds very much better than most of the other
recordings by those who are spoken off in hallowed tones, while Webster is so
often dismissed as a light-weight, a mere romantic duettist!
Meanwhile, a solo recording called simply Webster Booth was issued by Rococo, Canada in
the late sixties. All the recordings had been taken from the collection of
Scott Sheldon. Webster played me this record when I visited the Booth home in
Knysna in 1973 and I was delighted to hear some songs I had not heard
He told me that EMI would never issue an LP of his more serious work until he was dead, but in
1977, just such a recording was issued. He was very pleased that he was alive to see it, but was rather put out because it was recommended that the record should be filed under the historical section of the catalogue!
The Booths returned to England in 1978 and EMI issued two duet LPs in the late seventies and early
eighties. Sweethearts in Song included the same recordings as those from the late fifties, while
the other, Music for Romance was a more interesting collection of their lesser-known
Webster Booth died on the day before Anne Ziegler’s birthday, 21 June 1984 in Penrhyn Bay, North Wales. A year or so later EMI issued The Golden Age of Webster Booth.
At about the same time the LP entitled The Golden Age of Ballads and Parlour
Songs, featuring Webster and some of his contemporaries was issued. Webster
sang Tosti’s Parted on this LP.
He was also featured in the Irving Berlin Centenary Celebration by the great British dance bands, singing two songs in aWaltz Medley, with Ray Noble conducting the New Mayfair Orchestra.
By 1989 Webster’s earlier recordings were coming out of their fifty-year copyright and solo and duet CD
compilations were issued by EMI and independent companies during the nineties.
Because these recordings were out of copyright, Anne did not receive any royalties from their sale.
Jeannie C 2010
Rehearsing for a broadcast with Sydney Jerome (1938)
I was interested to see the BBC4 archive on Desert Island Discs. Webster Booth was a
castaway on 3 April 1953. Unfortunately this episode is not yet available
as a podcast, but I am hoping that it might be added some time. Webster’s
choice of discs were, as follows:
Jean Sibelius: Finlandia, Philharmonia Orchestra
Irving Berlin: You Can’t Get A Man With A Gun (Annie
get your gun), Ethel Merman
Franz Liszt: Liebesträum
No. 3 in A flat major: vocal version sung by Tito Schipa
The Tito Schipa recording of Liebestraum was
the same arrangement as Webster himself had recorded.
Webster considered Australian baritone, Harold Williams to
be one of the finest singers of the role of Elijah in
Mendelssohn’s oratorio of the same name.
Kathleen Ferrier lived opposite the Booths in Frognal, Hampstead. Webster and Anne often visited her when she was
confined to her bed due to illness. Webster had admired her voice greatly and had been looking forward to singing a Messiah with her as
contralto soloist. Sadly she had to cancel this engagement due to ill health and she died less than seven months after this broadcast, on 8 October 1953.
At that time the copyright on Gilbert’s words was still in place, so it would only have been possible to play the overture of The
Yeomen of the Guard.
The BBC website lists the soloist in Comfort ye/Ev’ry Valley as Walter Booth rather than Webster Booth!
A number of the recordings Webster chose were conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Sargent was Webster’s champion and chose him for many oratorio performances. In 1955, on the occasion of Sir Malcolm’s sixtieth birthday, he personally requested that Webster should be the soloist at the concert to commemorate this event.
Castaways who chose recordings by Anne Ziegler and/or Webster Booth. Click on the Castaway’s name to listen to the broadcast (if available)
*Desert Island Discs marked with an asterisk do not have podcasts available in the BBC4 Archives search.
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Recordings not in my collection Someone asked me the other day how many Booth-Ziegler recordings I had in my
collection. Rather than count them up, I compiled a list of those which are not
in my collection. If anyone has any of these recordings, I would be delighted
to receive an MP3 of it and will gladly send them an MP3 of one of mine in
exchange. Decca F9921
Sanctuary of the Heart/Ketelby; He Bought My Heart At Calvary/Hamblen with
choir of St Stephen’s Church Dulwich, Fela Sowande (organ) June 1952 Test recording
Serenata, Macushla Reginald Paul, C Studio, Small Queens Hall, London, 20
November 1929 Recently acquired: Love Passes By and As I sit here B8476 I’m all alone/May; I’ll wait for you/ Feiner, September 1936 B9030 When You Wish Upon a Star/Pinocchio/ Harline; Rosita/Kennedy/Carr, 1939 B9271 Will You Go with Me?/Brandon-Park/Murray,Gerald Moore
JG282 Songs our boys sang/National savings sing-song/Sydney Burchall, Clarence Wright, Webster Booth B9502 All Soul’s Day/ Richard Strauss; Memory Island/ Harrison/ Gerald Moore, September 1946 C2814 Neapolitan Nights, Light Opera Company with Webster Booth C2827 Memories of Tosti/La Scala Singers with Webster Booth Ave Maria/Schubert, Ernest Lush (unpublished) – Also recorded on 11 August 1939 Here Comes the Bride Selection/Schwartz/Light Opera Company with Alice Moxon, Stuart
Robertson, Webster Booth, George Baker/Ray Noble/Studio C, Small Queens Hall,
London/Cc18897-4, 25 March 1930 (Number unknown)