Donald Gabor had established his major LP-label Remington, in 1950, he was the
man who exploited its growing catalog to the full. Not only by changing and improving
the covers in order to give the records a new appeal and thus stimulating the
sales, but also by releasing the same recordings on his other labels like Merit,
Etude, Webster, Pontiac, Plymouth and Masterseal. A few Masterseal re-releases
were already listed in 1951. But these were the luxurious gatefold editions mentioning
Prawy as the producer. The other labels are listed in the September 1953 Schwann
LP Catalogue. 'The Long Player', the other important record guide in those days,
only listed the Remington recordings.
way to stimulate sales of his classical recordings was by producing series aiming
at specific target groups: children, students, educators and collectors. This
idea materialized in a special series like
Violinist's Edition supervised by Theodore and Alice Pashkus, but also in
the Music Plus! Series, edited by famous musicologist Dr. Sigmund Spaeth, who
later supervised the Music Appreciation Library Series for Gabor's Palace label.
At right the cover of the issue of Hen Gates and his Gaters in the Music Appreciation
Library Series which was released before on Masterseal MSLP 5005 together with
other jazz songs and also on Plymouth P12-144.
himself had many original ideas, he also copied ideas from others. The name Music
Appreciation Library was inspired by the existence of the Music Appreciation Recordings
of the Book of the Month Club. And since 1952 David and Josef Josefowitz
of Concert Hall operated their record subscription series named
Musical Masterpiece Society and
that with great success.
At right an advertisement of the Book of the Month
Club's Series with the recording of the 6th Symphony of Tchaikovsky (Pathétique)
conducted by Leonard Bernstein, and the release of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony
(with an analysis by Thomas Sherman) and Britten's Young Person Guide to the Orchestra
(narrated by Alfred Wallenstein).
Right from the
Gabor wanted that Remington was a label to be reckoned with. He not only
saw the necessity of quality artwork for the covers, but found that the liner
notes were important as well. In the first year there were lists of available
recordings printed on the back of the covers. But soon informative liner notes,
mostly written by noted critics and journalists (and supposedly in some cases
by Don Gabor's cousin George Curtiss), explained the music. A writer for early
releases was Herman Neuman.
the looks of the covers improved Gabor hired famous critics and musicologists
like Dr. Sigmund Spaeth, John W. Freeman and Irving Kolodin, along with
other writers and music critics who were either newcomers or already had established
their names in the world of newspapers, magazines and the recording industry:
Louis Biancolli, Betty Reinman, Max de Schauensee, Irving Sablosky, Jerome
Boehm (most of the time spelled Bohm), Bertram Stanleigh, Herbert Weinstock,
Jack Urbont, Sheldon Soffer and Jay S. Harrison. Some wrote the liner
notes for one specific release, others took responsibility for several albums.
Despite the valuable and professional work of these writers, sometimes their
names would not appear on a cover and often the liner notes were replaced by listings
of other Remington records accompanied by quotes from critics and reviewers. This
was especially the case when Remington records had become a commodity of department
stores and petrol stations and the label had lost its credibility with the serious
collector and reviewer.
Dr. Sigmund Spaeth, musicologist (April 10,
1885, Philadelphia - November 12, 1965, New York), started of as a folklorist
collecting American songs. He published his findings in 'Read 'Em and Weep' and
'Weep Some More, My Lady'. He is also the author of 'History of Popular Music
in America', 'The Common Sense of Music', 'The Importance of Music', and 'Stories
Behind the World's Greatest Music'. He was one of the composers who wrote the
music for the movies 'Show Boat' and 'The Trespasser', and he wrote the score
for 'The Magic Flame', all films made when the talkie was launched. He appeared
in the movie 'Frankie and Johnnie'.
Dr. Spaeth is quoted on the back of several
Remington-covers: 'Across the country, Remington's low priced long play classical
high fidelity records are staging a full scale cultural invasion.'
65 Dr. Spaeth wrote the liner notes for several Remington recordings. An example
is R-199-87 with Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and 1812 Festival Overture
performed by the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kurt Wöss.
On Masterseal MSLP 5008 are Spaeth's notes for Beethoven's Symphony No.
5 and Schubert's Symphony No. 8 conducted by Kurt Wöss which was later re-released
in a Masterseal cover as Remington R-199-246 around 1958. Masterseal MSLP 5012
with Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov) mentions Kurt Wöss as conductor while
the recording is that one by Karl Rucht. The liner notes are written by Spaeth.
He also wrote the notes for these discs:
R-199-94 - Bartok plays Bartok
- Bela Bartok at the piano.
Palace M-601 -Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet
Overture, Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, said to be conducted by Kurt Baumann,
but these are in fact the recordings conducted by Kurt Wöss and H. Arthur
No Remington disc with this coupling conducted by Wöss could be found. Beethoven's
Fifth was released on a 10" disc (R-149-9) with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra
conducted by Hans Wolf and Schubert Eighth was originally a recording with conductor
H. Arthur Brown (R-149-15). The name Wöss seems a convenient substitute,
especially when Brown had fallen from grace.
He also wrote the liner notes for the Masterseal release of Scheherazade with
conductor Kurt Wöss (?), and his notes from Remington releases were reprinted
on various other Masterseal albums.
Before the exploitation of the full Masterseal
catalogue, Don Gabor had asked Sigmund Spaeth's collaboration to set up
the Remington Music Plus!-Series. Existing recordings from the Remington
catalog were selected and Dr. Spaeth wrote the liner notes. He also read his own
commentaries and introductions which were recorded and put at the end of each
record side explaining the history and form of the compositions. The cover states:
This is a special recording in the series Music Plus, selected by Sigmund
Spaeth whose voice is heard in recorded comments on each number. These comments
appear on additional bands towards the center on each side. For home use it is
suggested that the music always be played first, after which Dr. Spaeth's remarks
can peruse a second hearing and be reviewed from time to time as desired. For
schools, colleges, clubs and broadcasts the introductory material should naturally
preface the playing of each selection, adding the printed backgrounds if needed.
In order to simplify such public performances, an accurate timetable is appended,
covering the Spaeth comments as well as the music itself.
There are twenty
recordings in Volume I. Whether there was also a Volume II is not
1 (The labels bear the reference numbers MP-100-1 to MP-100-20):
Symphony No. 1 - MP-100-1 - H. Arthur Brown.
Beethoven: Symphony 6
- MP-100-2 - Kurt Wöss.
Dvorak: Symphony No. 5 (9) - MP-100-3
- George Singer, conductor.
Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream
- MP-100-4 - H. Arthur Brown
Tchaikovsky: Festival Overture + Nutcracker
- MP-100-5 - Kurt Wöss.
Johann Strauss: Overtures and Waltzes
- MP-100-6 - conductor Kurt Wöss.
Franck: Symphony in D - MP-100-7
- Hans Wolf conducting.
Haydn: Military + 88th Symphony - MP-100-8
- conductors Fritz Weidlich and Paul Walter.
Wagner: Arias + Piano
Sonata - MP-100-9 - Astrid Varnay and pianist Felicitas Karrer.
Capriccio Espagnol + Coq d'Or - MP-100-10 - with conductors Ernst Melich and
Debussy: Prélude a l'apres midi d'un faune + Preludes
- MP-100-11 - Jean Morel conducting; Edward Kilenyi, pianist.
Moments Musicaux + Symphony 8 - MP-100-12 - Jörg Demus piano; H. Arthur Brown.
Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik + Symphony No. 35 - MP-100-13
-Fritz Weidlich and Hans Wolf conducting.
Liszt: Hungarian Fantasia
+ Les Preludes - MP-100-14 - Edward Kilenyi/Felix Prohaska and George Singer.
Chopin: Waltzes - MP-100-15 - Edward Kilenyi, piano.
- MP-100-16 - Erasmo Ghiglia.
Schumann: Piano Concerto - MP-100-17
- Céliny Chailley-Richez piano, Robert Heger conducting.
Messiah - MP-100-18 - Joseph Messner, conductor
Bach: Prelude No. 15
& 16 + Partita 6 - MP-100-19 - Jörg Demus, pianist
Don Juan + Rosenkavalier Waltzes - MP-100-20 - H. Arthur Brown, conductor.
Billboard Magazine of September 18, 1954, announced that Remington had started
the distribution of the records in the Music Plus! series, although some Nos.
1, 13, 16 and 18 were released in July 1953.
Born in New York City in 1928, graduated at the Phillips
Academy (Andover) and received a BA in English at Yale College. He followed private
studies in music theory, counterpoint, harmony and piano. In the summer of 1948,
when he turned twenty, he was a member of the composition class at Tanglewood
in Lennox, Massachusetts, with Darius Milhaud as teacher. Freeman is a composer
of chamber music and vocal chamber music. Known is his Suite for Wind Orchestra
which was recorded under the direction of Johannes Somary. His First String
Quartet as performed by the Koeckert Quartet, recorded in Germany, was meant
to be released on a MUSIRAMA disk but this never happened as the contract with
Bertelsmann had been canceled. Tom Null discovered the recording when searching
the archives with Remington tapes and released the recording on Varèse-Sarabande
Varèse-Sarabande). John W. Freeman co-authored
'The Golden Horseshoe', and 'Toscanini', he wrote 'Metropolitan Opera Stories
of the Great Operas' (Vol. 1& 2) and translated Guiseppe Tarozzi's 'Puccini'.
He was a music critic and a reviewer for Opera News and, from 1960 until 2000,
served as an Associate Editor of that magazine. In 1993 he was awarded the Belmont
Medal by the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
He was in his mid twenties when he
wrote the liner notes for many a Remington release.
W. Freeman wrote the liner notes for:
R-199-3 Grieg: Piano Concerto
- Felicitas Karrer, pianist / Kurt Wöss.
R-199-7 Beethoven: Symphony
No. 6 - Austrian Symphony / Kurt Wöss.
R-199-20 Tchaikovsky: Violin
Concerto - Michèle Auclair / Kurt Wöss.
R-199-96/3 A name
of a cover artists or of a writer of a commentary was sometimes (mostly unintentionally)
omitted on a release. I suspect that the liner notes for Mozart's Requiem conducted
by Joseph Messner.
R-199-103 Verdi: Rigoletto Vocal Highlights - Ivan
Petroff with the Orchestra of the Maggio Musiale Fiorentino, the chorus of Teatro
Communale / Erasmo Ghiglia
R-199-104 Puccini: La Bohème Vocal
R-199-105/2 Verdi: Requiem - Austrian Symphony / Gustav
Koslik (re-released around 1958 in a Masterseal cover as Remington R-199-238)
R-199-106 Dvorak: Slavonic Dances Op. 46 - Austrian Symphony / George Singer.
R-199-109 Etelka Freund plays music of Johannes Brahms: Sonata in F minor
Op. 5. and Intermezzi Op. 117 No. 2 and Op. 116 No 2.
Rossini: Stabat Mater - Salzburg Mozarteum / Josef Messner.
Recital and Encores - Pierre Luboshutz and Genia Nemenoff.
Saint-Saëns: Carnival of Animals, Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake - RIAS Symphony / Jonel
R-199-166 Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 and Todtentanz - Edward
Kilenyi, RIAS Symphony / Jonel Perlea.
R-199-170 Léhar: The Merry Widow,
Strauss: One Night in Venice - RIAS Symphony Orchestra / Gerhard Becker.
Verdi: Aida (the complete recording) - Teatro la Fenice / Franco Capuana
Millöcker: The Beggar Student - RIAS Symphony Orchestra / Gerhard Becker.
Paris Album 12 Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies, Brahms Hungarian Dances - RIAS
Symphony / Karl Rucht.
Masterseal MSLP 5010 Mendelssohn: Midsummer
Night's Dream, Debussy: Afternoon of a faun - Kurt Wöss, but these
works are probably conducted by H. Arthur Brown and Jean Morel respectively.
Masterseal MSLP 5014
Dvorak: New World Symphony - Austrian Symphony / George Singer. It is not clear
if the same liner notes had already been printed on the back of later editions
of R-199-4 (Dvorak's 5th Symphony (9th) with George Singer) and replaced
the notes written earlier by Herman Neuman.).
Lebov was a writer on music and provided program notes for opera companies
and he compiled catalogs like The American record index and The catalogue of opera
on records. He wrote the liner notes for the Cosi fan tutte recording on
Mrs. Ellen A. Lebow translated
many libretti and also the libretto for Cosi fan tutte which was included in the
box with the mention that it was a special printing for Remington Records, Inc.
Herman Neuman (Conductor,
Director of Music of WNYG,
Municipal Broadcasting System of New York City)
wrote the notes for the early
release of R-199-4 of Dvorak's 5th (9th) Symphony with George Singer.
Irving Kolodin (January 21, 1908 - April 29, 1988) was
the prolific author who is known for 'The Opera Omnibus', 'The New Guide to Recorded
Music', 'The Guide to Long Playing Records' and many other reference books on
music and records. He was a reviewer for Saturday Review. He is also known for
his writings for the RCA-label and in particular for the Rubinstein Chopin-recordings.
He had a rather clean and analytical style of judgment and was never overly enthusiastic
but always restrained in an intellectual manner, to such an extent that several
artists did not like his reviews of their performances.
Kolodin was already
a well known critic and musicologist when he was asked to write for - at least
three - Remington Musirama releases with the technically and interpretively better
recordings. From his hand are the notes for Mascagni's 'Cavaleria Rusticana'
with Teresa Apolei, Pina Geri, Antonio Spruzzola Zola, Piero Campolonghi, Letizia
Del Col and the 'Teatro la Fenice' conducted by
George Sebastian on R-199-175/2.
Kolodin wrote the notes for the release of Prokofiev's 2nd Piano Concerto
Bolet and Thor Johnson on R-199-182 which was a première recording;
apart from the 3rd only the 1st and occasionally the 5th concertos were played.
And from his hand is the text on the inside of the box of the Turandot
recording with Gertrude Grob-Prandl, Antonio Sprùzzola-Zola, Norman Scott,
Renata Ferrari-Ongaro, Angelo Mercuriali, Mariano Caruso, and Marcello Rossi,
Franco Capuana conducting the 'Teatro la Fenice' (Venice Opera Company) on the
Kolodin at the end of the nineteen forties.
courtesy William P. Gottlieb)
many a Remington cover a quote from an article by Irving Kolodin in the Saturday
Review is printed:
"Listen to the Remington-sponsored discs in a rapidly
growing catalogue selling at less than half of what is considered 'normal' LP
rates. Remington is worth every penny asked."
Biancolli is known for his collaboration with Kirsten Flagstad which
resulted in 'The Flagstad Manuscript'. Other books of his hand are:
Mozart Handbook' (1975), 'Masters of the Orchestra from Bach to Prokofiev' (1969)
and 'The Analytical Concert Guide' (Doubleday), and he was the co-author, with
Robert Bagar, of 'The Concert Companion'. He was a music critic for The New York
World-Telegram and Sun. He also wrote liner notes for RCA.
the liner notes for these Remington editions:
R-199-124 Keyboard Masters
of Old Vienna (Schubert, Mozart, Lanner, Strauss) - Hilde Somer, pianist.
R-199-126 Kreisler Encores played by violinist Michèle Auclair and pianist
Otto Schulhof - coupled with Ballet Music by Delibes (excerpts from Naila, Coppélia
and Sylvia performed by the Austrian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Max Schönherr.
R-199-129 Bizet L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1, Nicolai: Overture to The Merry
Wives of Windsor, Mendelssohn: Overture to Ruy Blas.
Overture and Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor, Mussorgsky: A Night on Bald
Mountain, Rimsky-Korsakoff: Capricio Espagnol - Austrian Symphony / Gustav Koslik.
R-199-135 Mozart: Sonata in A Major, Haydn: Sonatas Nos. 1 and 7 - Leonid
R-199-159 Debussy: La boite a joujoux (The Box of Toys) - RIAS Symphony
Orchestra conducted by Jonel Perlea.
Tatnall Canby - musician and musicologist, author of numerous articles
for Harper's Bazar, Saturdays Review and Audio Magazine, and he contributed also
to other record labels like Westminster and Nonesuch - wrote liner notes for:
R-199-79 featuring cellist Gaspar Cassado in Haydn's Concerto No. 1, Op.
101 coupled with Mozart's Symphony No. 35, K 385, both conducted by Hans Wolf.
R-199-84 Albert Spalding (Violinist) and Ernst von Dohnanyi (Pianist) perform
Johannes Brahms: Sonata No. 1 and Hungarian Dances Nos. 8, 9 and 17.
R-199-213 Schumann: Symphony No. 2 - RIAS Orchestra
/ Otto Matzerath
R-199-203 Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini, Theme
and Variations - RIAS Symphony Orchestra / Anatole Fistoulari
Hindemith: Matthis der Mahler, Schumann: Manfred Overture, Von Weber: Euryanthe
Overture - Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra / Leopold Ludwig.
de Schauensee (Rome, December 5, 1899 - July 24, 1982 in Philadelphia,
PA) was Music Editor of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and wrote The Collector's
Verdi and Puccini. (1978). Despite the fact that opera was apparently his main
subject, he did write the program notes for:
R-199-138 Bruckner: Symphony
No. 3 - Zoltan Fekete.
R-199-176 Berlioz: Symphony Fantastique - RIAS
Symphony Orchestra / George Sebastian.
Sablosky, music critic of Chicago Daily News is the author of 'American
Music' and 'What They Heard: Music in America, 1852-1881'. He wrote the notes
Biro's recording of Contemporary Piano Composers (Bartok, Kodaly, Kabalevsky)
A quote from a review by Sablosky in the Chicago Daily
News of Simon Barere's Carnegie Hall recording of the Liszt Sonata (R-199-85)
was printed in the 1953 Remington Records Catalog: "... fantastic, diabolical
virtuosity seldom met and never before, to my knowledge, captured thus on records."
Sheldon Soffer studied composition and later took an interest
in conducting and took up the post of assistant conductor of the Provincetown
Symphony Orchestra. From his experiences he had the idea to represent musicians
and artists and founded Sheldon Soffer Management in 1965. He wrote the liner
notes for R-199-174 with Wagnerian Favorites performed by the RIAS Symphony
conducted by Georges Sebastian, and the notes for Jorge Bolet's recording of Chopin's
Four Scherzi on R-199-161.
D. Bohm (Boehm)
Jerome Bohm wrote for the New York Herald Tribune.
R-199-165 Schumann: Carnaval, Chopin: Short Pieces - Edward Kilenyi
R-199-180 Schumann: Symphony No. 1 ("Spring") - Otto Matzerath
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2 - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra / Thor Johnson.
R-199-197 Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1 - Conrad Hansen / Wolfgang Sawallisch
(On Masterseal MSLP a long paragraph of the original liner notes was left out.).
R-199-201 Sibelius: 5th Symphony - RIAS Symphony Orchestra / Jussi
R-199-207 Enesco: Rumanian Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2, Villa-Lobos:
Choros No. 6 - Georges Enesco and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Sylvia and Coppélia - Georges Sebastian.
Stanleigh (November 3, 1921- January 25th, 2003) started as a music
critic and was a reviewer for a magazine like Audio. He wrote a critical essay
on Frank Zappa. In the 1960s he worked for the American Standards Association.
Famous is his parody "Safety Code and Requirements for Dry Martinis".
He ultimately moved on to work at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE) before retiring in 1986. He passed away on January 25th 2003.
He wrote the liner notes for one of the Musirama recordings made with the RIAS
Symphony in Berlin:
R-199-164 Brahms: Concerto No. 2 - Edward Kilenyi
/ Jonel Perlea
Weinstock (1905-1971), author of 'Music as an Art' and of 'Tchaikovsky,
Handel and Chopin: the Man and His Music' wrote the notes for:
Flamenco - Carlos Montoya, guitar, and Lydia Ibarondo, voice.
Songs of Spain - Lydia Ibarrondo and pianist Miguel Sandoval.
Baritone Mack Harrell: Recital and Encores, with Brooks Smith at the piano.
R-199-171 Carlos Montoya - Spanish Gypsy Airs.
S. Harrison, critic of the New York Herald Tribune, wrote noteworthy
articles. From his hand are Talk with Stravinsky: Composer Discusses His
Music, New York Herald Tribune, 21 December 1952, "Robert Craft and
His Unique Life", 20 December 1959, and many more. Quotes from his articles
can be found in many a biography of composers and musicians. He contributed to
the Book of the Month Club on The Messiah (Handel), Salome and Elektra (Richard
Strauss), and La voix humaine (Francis Poulenc). He wrote the notes for these
R-199-136 Scarlatti, Bach and Couperin by harpsichordist
R-199-202 Couperin by Sylvia Marlowe, harpsichord.
R-199-177 Wagnerian Overtures - RIAS Symphony /
R-199-183 Offenbach/Rosenthal: Offenbachiana - RIAS
Symphony Orchestra / Manuel Rosenthal.
R-199-188 Brant, Glanville-Hicks,
Rudhyar - Jonel Perlea.
R-199-181 Light French Opera Overtures by Suppé, Auber, Adam and Maillart.
RIAS Symphony conducted by Gerhard Becker.
Darack, music critic of the Cincinnati Enquirer, wrote the program
notes for Dvorak's 4th (8th) Symphony on R-199-168 - Thor Johnson.
Templeton wrote the notes for his own recording of Improvisations on
R-199-158. Note: There is no author mentioned on the cover of Gershwin's
Concerto in F.
Spalding wrote the notes for his own recording of the Brahms Violin
Concerto with Wilhelm Loibner (R-199-145), as is indicated on
VC 81059 which contains the re-release. This is not an invitation to assume
that Albert Spalding also wrote the liner notes for the issue of his recording
of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the same conductor on R-199-144.
These are probably written by any contributor like John W. Freeman, Irving Kolodin,
Sigmund Spaeth, or just one of those other writers mentioned above. The recording
of the Beethoven Voncerto was released after Albert Spalding had died.
A. Bruil - Page first published June, 2003