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.
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
from the start,
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.
One important musicologist and writer was Dr.
Sigmund Spaeth (April 10, 1885, Philadelphia - November 12, 1965, New York).
Spaeth started off 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'.
Spaeth was one of the composers who wrote music for the movies 'Show Boat' and
'The Trespasser', and he wrote the score for 'The Magic Flame'. These films were
made when 'the talkie' was launched. He himself appeared in the movie 'Frankie
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.'
At around the age of 66, Dr. Spaeth started his involvement with Remington Records
writing the liner notes for several 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.
The cover of Masterseal
MSLP 5008 has Spaeth's notes for Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Schubert's
Symphony No. 8, conducted by Kurt Wöss. The recording was later re-released
in a Masterseal cover as Remington R-199-246 around 1958. His notes also appear
on Masterseal MSLP 5012 with Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. That release
mentions Kurt Wöss as the conductor while the recording is the one by Karl
Rucht and the RIAS Symphony Orchestra.
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.
Spaeth's notes from Remington releases were reprinted on various other Masterseal
the exploitation of the full Masterseal catalogue had started, 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:
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.
are twenty recordings in Volume I. Whether there was also a Volume II
is not sure.
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.
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 VC81046 (See
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.
Verdi: Rigoletto Vocal Highlights - Ivan Petroff with the Orchestra of the Maggio
Musiale Fiorentino, the chorus of Teatro Communale / Erasmo Ghiglia
Puccini: La Bohème Vocal Highlights.
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.
R-199-111/2 Rossini: Stabat Mater - Salzburg
Mozarteum / Josef Messner.
R-199-143 Recital and Encores - Pierre Luboshutz
and Genia Nemenoff.
R-199-160 Saint-Saëns: Carnival of Animals, Tchaikovsky:
Swan Lake - RIAS Symphony / Jonel Perlea.
R-199-166 Liszt: Piano Concerto
No. 1 and Todtentanz - Edward Kilenyi, RIAS Symphony / Jonel Perlea.
Léhar: The Merry Widow, Strauss: One Night in Venice - RIAS Symphony Orchestra
/ Gerhard Becker.
R-199-178/3 Verdi: Aida (the complete recording)
- Teatro la Fenice / Franco Capuana
R-199-192 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.
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.).
a writer on music and provided program notes for opera companies. He also compiled
catalogs like 'The American Record Index' and 'The Catalogue of Opera on Records'.
wrote the liner notes for the Cosi fan tutte recording on R-199-117/3.
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
(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.
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 a somewhat 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.
Kolodin's 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:
'The Mozart Handbook' (1975), 'Masters of the Orchestra
from Bach to Prokofiev' (1969) and 'The Analytical Concert Guide' (Doubleday).
He was also the co-author, with Robert Bagar, of 'The Concert Companion'. He was
a music critic for The New York World-Telegram and Sun. And then he wrote liner
notes for RCA releases.
Biancolli wrote 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.
R-199-130 Borodin: 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 Hambro,
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.
Schumann: Symphony No. 2 - RIAS Orchestra / Otto Matzerath
Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini, Theme and Variations - RIAS Symphony Orchestra
/ Anatole Fistoulari
R-199-209 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.
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 for
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)
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
R-199-187 Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.
2 - Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra / Thor Johnson.
Concerto No. 1 - Conrad Hansen / Wolfgang Sawallisch (On Masterseal MSLP a long
paragraph of the original liner notes was left out.).
5th Symphony - RIAS Symphony Orchestra / Jussi Jalas
Rumanian Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2, Villa-Lobos: Choros No. 6 - Georges Enesco and
R-199-208 Delibes: Sylvia and Coppélia -
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
R-199-134 Flamenco - Carlos Montoya, guitar, and Lydia Ibarondo,
R-199-139 Songs of Spain - Lydia Ibarrondo and pianist Miguel
R-199-140 Baritone Mack Harrell: Recital and Encores, with
Brooks Smith at the piano.
R-199-171 Carlos Montoya - Spanish Gypsy
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).
S. Harrison wrote the notes for these Remington Records:
R-199-136 Scarlatti, Bach and Couperin by harpsichordist Sylvia
R-199-202 Couperin by Sylvia Marlowe, harpsichord.
Wagnerian Overtures - RIAS Symphony / Georges Sebastian.
Offenbach/Rosenthal: Offenbachiana - RIAS Symphony Orchestra / Manuel Rosenthal.
R-199-188 Brant, Glanville-Hicks, Rudhyar - Jonel Perlea.
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 -
Templeton wrote the notes for his own recording
of Improvisations on R-199-158. Note: There is no author mentioned on the
cover of his recording 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.
Rudolf A. Bruil - Page first published June, 2003