Sound Fountain





What is it about Remington Records?




The name Remington is linked to the arms production company.
At one time Remington was also the name of a piano manufacturer. There are the typewriters. And there were the Remington Morse records during the 78 RPM shellac era.


But what is it about Remington Records?
It is about the link between Europe and America.
It is about 'music-making Europe' and 'music-loving America'.
It is about the time before World War Two, the war years, and the years after the war, the 1940s, and early 1950s when the world was recovering from a devastating conflict.
'Recorded in Europe', it says on many a cover.


It is also proof that America is the country of possibilities and opportunities. Even if this is in part due to the vastness of the land and the many inhabitants. Remington Records shows that a ripple in a pond can become a wave.


Today we are used to large-scale industrial operations encompassing continents. The world has opened up and become internationalized more than ever before. But in the days of the founder of Remington Records, Donald H. Gabor, international operations had many restrictions that represented challenges to any entrepreneur. Yet Gabor connected to many foreign places, first to Vienna and Salzburg in Austria; and to Paris, France.


His contacts evolved from Austria - and also Italy - to Berlin, cooperating with German firms. He even licensed his recordings to a small Australian record label named Festival. He pressed and distributed LPs in Canada, Germany, and The Netherlands, thus broadening the scope and adding to the importance of his records, which carried the label 'A Don Gabor Production'.

His international aspirations, which had their origins in Europe - he was born in Budapest - is what he has in common with the founders of Concert Hall and Musical Masterpiece Society, the two brothers Samuel and David Josefowitz, who had come from Europe as well and were eager to seize any opportunities. Although Gabor did not start a subscription series like the Josefowitz brothers, nor a record club, he always contemplated new ideas and was executing new projects. He got to know Béla Bartók - also a refugee - and making recordings of this famous Hungarian was one of the earliest projects Gabor undertook when he started producing for his first label, Continental Records.


What is it about Remington Records?
Remington Records is also about the creativity it takes to promote a record label in style. It is truly remarkable that Alex Steinweiss, who started his career as a designer working for Columbia Records, helped Donald H. Gabor in order to give his product its distinctive look, and by doing so, Steinweiss and his co-designers put Remington’s appearance on par with the big labels of the early LP era. Gabor, who was Steinweiss's senior by five years - and that could have helped - hired the prominent designer already during his second year of operations to create the new label’s distinctive image.


These aspects, the artists and orchestras he recorded, and of course the unusual, cheap vinyl mix that he used for pressing records with 'Music for Millions', all add up to the uniqueness of Remington Records.


Rudolf A. Bruil


Original text written for and inspired by Fowl Feathered Review - Issue 4 - Summer, 2013


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