John Malins
Cohuna, 16 February 1932

The Sun God is a mystery to me. I have never heard it and I have not been able to find any recording of it anywhere.

William G James is much more famous as the composer of a number of Australian Christmas carols. There are copies of the sheet music of The Sun God around but nothing about any recordings of it.

So what is my interest in this particular piece of music? Well, my father, Harold Cathcart Malins, was one of six children who grew up in a very musical family. They lived in the 1920s and 1930s in and around Cohuna, northern Victoria

In 1927, Dr Arnoldo Bertolini, an Italian operatic and concert baritone who was well known in Australia at the time, commented on the remarkably fine quality of the lad’s voice. Harold was 19 at the time and was attending the Conservatorium of Music Melbourne.

By November 1928, Harold was singing with the Melba Conservatorium Opera Society, Melbourne, and was part of the cast performing Cosi fan tutte under the direction of Fritz Hart, director of the Conservatorium of Music.

The Malins family performed numerous concerts around northern Victoria and were well known at the time. I have copies of two of their programmes.

One of those concerts took place on Tuesday 16 February 1932, after Harold had returned to Cohuna after his opera career. It is billed as a musical recital by Harold Malins, ACMM, Baritone and Flautist, at the Cohuna Memorial Hall. The programme included a number of items performed by Harold himself, singing or playing flute, either solo or supported by members of his family. The items were a mixture of familiar songs, operatic pieces and instrumentals.

The first item on the program is our mystery song, The Sun God by William James.

I have managed to find recordings of all the other items in the concert  – items such as Your Girl And My Girl,  Dio Possente Dio D’amour,  and There Was a Jolly Miller, but the mystery of The Sun God is still to be solved.

I am sure there are folks out there in the land of Stereo Stories who know about this piece of music, who may even have played it and who may have recorded it. I can’t wait to be enlightened about this mysterious piece of Australian musical history.

John Malins

The Sun God sheet music

William G James biography