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RIAS Symphony Orchestra - Remington, Bertelsmann, Tefifon



























Conrad Hansen is soloist tchaikovsky















Schumann Symphony No. 2 RIAS Symphony Orchestra
















































Very well played and extremely well recorded: Saint-Saëns (Carnaval des animaux) and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake) conducted by Jonel Perlea: R-199-160.































The original R-199-11 Scheherazade recording of H. Arthur Brown which was to be replaced by the Karl Rucht performance.





















The second cover was used for both the H. Arthur Brown and Karl Rucht releases with the same reference number.





















Sibelius: Origin of Fire and Pohjolah's Daughter.











































































R-199-254, the release of R-199-172 in a new cover.



























































































































Sigurd Rasher around 1950.















On Bertelsmann Schallplattenring 8135 a variety of Remington artists can be heard: Wolfgang Sawallisch, Alexander Jenner, Karl Rucht and Laszlo Halasz.







































  Search The Remington Site




































































































































































Johanna Martzy plays Violin Concerto of Antonin Dvorak on LPM 18152
























Rossini Stabat Mater - Zoltan Kodaly Psalmus Hungaricus conduycted by Ferenc Fricsay

Rossini 'Stabat Mater' and Kodaly 'Psalmus Hungaricus' on 2 LPs: 18 203/04 LPM

A later release of Kodaly 'Psalmus Hungaricus' on a single disc coupled with Symphony of Psalms - LPM 19073







Ferenc Fricsay around 1952. Image taken from the back of the early LP 18012 - with blue linen spine - of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra.













'Zigeunerweisen' (Gypsy Airs) Op.20 (Pablo de Sarasate) and 'Hejre Kati' (Jenö Hubay) on 45 RPM - 30 089 EPL and on 17 071 LPE (coupled with Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor - Borodin)





When in the September 1954 edition of High Fidelity Magazine the first Remington record with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra was reviewed, many a critical collector was surprised that an orchestra of this stature was recording for Don Gabor's Remington Records. Ka boite a joujouxThe orchestra was conducted by Jonel Perlea and played La Boîte à joujoux (Claude Debussy) on R-199-159. Reviewer J.F. Indcox wrote: "Jonel Perlea directs a sensitive performance and we get some really excellent orchestral sound from Remington."

The RIAS Symphony (Symphonie-Orchester) had actually been Ferenc Fricsay's orchestra and, since 1948, had been molded and shaped by this great Hungarian conductor into an excellently sounding and performing group of musicians. By 1953 the orchestra had already made recordings for the Deutsche Grammophon label and was going to make many more.

What were the circumstances leading up to the appearance of the RIAS Symphony Orchestra on a budget label like Remington Records?


Ferenc Fricsay conducting - RIAS Symphony - Radio Symphonie-Orchester Berlin



In Berlin, on the 7th of February 1946, the 'Drahtfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor' (DIAS=Wire Broadcasting in American Sector) is founded. Initially radio broadcast programs are transmitted via the telephone cable. But many telephone lines had been destroyed. So it is decided that as of September of that same year the programs are being broadcast over the air, and DIAS is renamed RIAS (Radio In American Sector / Radio im Amerikanischen Sektor). This radio station is in need of orchestras for broadcasting music programs, not only for popular music, but for the classical repertory as well.

After World War II, in all regions (States, Länder) of Germany existing orchestras are being regrouped and new orchestras are founded on the instigation of the Allied Forces which are in control of public life and many institutions.
In Hamburg Das Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks, or NDR Sinfonieorchester (also known as 'Sinfonie-Orchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks' as is printed on the cover of Telefunken LE 6505 from 1954). That orchestra is founded in 1945 and its conductor is Hans-Schmidt-Isserstedt. Not to be confounded with Die Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie (based in Herford) of which Wilhelm Schüchter is the conductor from 1953 till 1955 and makes many recordings issued on the Imperial label.

An early image of Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt and "his"
NDR Symphony Orchestra.
It is obvious that on this edited image - taken from the cover of the recording of Dvorak's New World Symphony from 1954 (Telefunken LE 6505) - Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt is the conductor. The same photo was printed on the cover of the LP edition of Eroica Symphony (Beethoven) with Willem Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw Orchestra. recorded on 11 to 13 of November, 1940 (LSK 7006).
'Die Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie' under Wilhelm Schüchter made recordings for the Imperial label with Max Kayser (violinist), Xenia Prochorowa (pianist), Siegfried Palm (cellist), and
Heinrich Geuser (clarinettist).

The above image is taken from the cover of ILP 116 with works by George Gershwin, Richard Addinsel and Morton Gould.

In Stuttgart the new orchestra is the Symphony Orchestra of the Southwest Radio (Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR - Südwestfunk). In Bavaria it is the Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks) founded in 1949. Its first conductor is Professor Eugen Jochum.
Just to mention a few.

In Berlin the 'RIAS Symphonie Orchester' is founded on the 15th of November 1946. It is the radio orchestra which has its home in the American Sector of Berlin and it is financed by the Americans, in fact by the US governement. After nearly a year of selecting musicians and rehearsing, the first concert is given in the Titania Palast. The conductor is Walter Sieber, a known composer, especially of many film scores. Some time later Sergiu Celebidache conducts 'an all Gershwin program' which immediately puts the orchestra on the map.

This edited picture of a RIAS microphone was taken from the cover of Europäischer Phonoklub Opera release 3112. It is the recording of violinist "Adolf Wreege mit seinem RIAS-Orchester". It is a Neumann CMV 3 condenser microphone well known as 'bottle microphone'.

Director of the classical music division of the radio station is Elsa Schiller, a pupil of Ernö Dohnányi. She was soon to become the famous recording producer for Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft and it is Schiller who persuades Ferenc Fricsay to come to Berlin. In 1948 he signs a contract with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra and practically at the same time a contract with Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft.

Ferenc Fricsay not only has a taste for the works of a variety of classical composers - and especially Beethoven and Mozart - but he also is the man who establishes a modern repertory with compositions of Béla Bartók, Alban Berg, Boris Blacher, Paul Hindemith, Zoltán Kodály, Arnold Schönberg, Igor Stravinsky, Gottfried Von Einem, Werner Egk, Frank Martin and Alexander Tcherepnin.

Thus the RIAS Symphony Orchestra also becomes the exemplary institution to perform what was then regarded as "contemporary music". No wonder that works of most of these composers can be found on early recordings of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft label. Already in those days several recordings are taped in the Jesus Christus Kirche, not just because of its acoustics but also because that is most probably the only alternative to the Titania Palast which is also in use by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ferenc Fricsay performs with his RIAS orchestra in concert with pianists Géza Anda, Claudio Arrau, Walter Gieseking, Friedrich Gulda, Margit Weber, and Clara Haskil; with violinists Yehudi Menuhin, Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Tibor Varga; with violoncellist Pierre Fournier; and with singers like Maria Stader, Rita Streich, Josef Greindl, Ernst Haefliger and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

 In 1947 Yehudi Menuhin performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. This performance by a Jewish violinist just two years after the war had ended and of all places in Berlin, the center of the former NAZI government, was regarded as very controversial and received severe criticism. 1947 is also the year that Wilhelm Furtwängler had been cleared from the allegation to have collaborated with the NAZIs.

But by performing in the destructed city of Berlin with the de-nazified Furtwängler, Yehudi Menuhin sent a strong message to the world: We have to look forward. Not only that, but he certainly indicated that many had suffered during the years of the Third Reich and were opposed to the fascist regime. In 1949 Yehudi Menuhin again performed in Berlin, but now with the RIAS Symphony on August 23, when he played the solo part in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, Ferenc Fricsay conducting. This historical performance was a radio broadcast. It was later issued on LP No. 29 in the Italian series produced by Longanesi Periodici 'I grandi Concerti'.

His recordings for Electrola (EMI) of the Beethoven Violin Concerto in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Mendelssohn Concerto recorded in May 1952 with the Berliner Philharmoniker, both conducted by Wilhelm Furtwaengler, were a natural consequence of his stance. Both performances were of a high caliber. The above photograph shows Yehudi Menuhin and Wilhelm Furtwaengler listening to a playback. The photograph was taken by Alice Pashkus whose walking stick (that she used after she had been in a car accident) shows up in the photograph as a shadow on the wall. (Image courtesy Yorgos Manessis from Greece.) - R.A.B.

However, it appears that maintaining the RIAS Orchestra is a costly affair, even if the general economic situation is somewhat improving. The orchestra has an enormous financial deficit. On top of that the Americans do realize that their RIAS Symphony Orchestra is in fact the only orchestra which is subsidized by the American government. Subsidizing an orchestra is simply not done in the USA.

In July 1953 it is decided that the budget should be cut. In fact the US is to stop financing the orchestra alltogether. That is why Ferenc Fricsay is forced to give up his post of principal conductor because the orchestra is simply no longer in the position to pay his salary. In early 1954 Fricsay takes up the post of conductor of the Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio (Sinfonieorchester / Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks) which was founded by Eugen Jochum in 1949 in Munich. Now several musicians leave the RIAS orchestra and those who remain get paid by the hour for rehearsal time and performances.

Rita Streich sings with the RIAS Children's Chorus (Kinderchor) and the RIAS Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kurt Goebel "Von Hirten und der Heiligen Nacht" on Deutsche Grammophon 45 RPM Variable Grade (Extended Play) 30062.
Another recording of Rita Streich with the RIAS Symphony on a 7" Deutsche Grammophon 30 401 EPL is of "Schon ein Mädchen von fünfzehn Jahren" (Mozart, Cosi fan tutte - Herbert Sandberg conducting). "Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen" (Weber, Der Freischütz - Artur Rother, conductor), and "Gleitender Mond" (Dvorak, Russalka - Kurt Gaebel conducting).

The only way to keep the RIAS Symphony Orchestra alive is by hiring guest conductors for singular concert performances and by earning extra money by way of making commercial recordings with record companies. One of these is the Hannover-based Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft who continues to make recordings with the orchestra, generally with Fricsay, but also a few with Herbert Sandberg, Artur Rother, Wolfgang Rennert, Ferdinand Leitner, Richard Kraus, Vilnus Komor and Kurt Goebel.

Herbert Sandberg conducts Suite Aus Holbergs Zeit (From Hoberg's Time) on Deutsche Grammophon 17046 LPE.

A few recordings are made by Telefunken, again with Artur Rother (Liszt, Mendelssohn, Verdi).

A rare recording is Deutsche Grammophon LPM 18 222 with Fritz Lehman and cellist Enrico Mainardi playing the Cello Concertos of Robert Schumann (with RIAS Symphony Orchestra) and Joseph Haydn (with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). The Schumann recording is later attrubuted by some to Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, probably because this recording was issued in 1956 when the name of the orchestra had already been changed.

The RIAS logo designed by Rolf Schloesser as it was printed on the cover of Kilenyi's recording of works by Franz Liszt.



Strange as it may seem, there is another record company who makes use of the RIAS Symphony and that is Don Gabor's Remington Records Inc., New York. Gabor was tipped by US government people, probably a Senator who represented a New York county, or the entire state, about the possibility to hire the orchestra by the hour and making quality recordings for relatively low fees. Every strong dollar is worth a lot in the destructed Germany.

Fact is that Don Gabor does not buy ready tapes, and if he buys a tape, it is not of obscure and illegal origin, as so many music lovers, competing companies end critics suspected. In those early years of the long playing record, Gabor's Remington Records is one of the largest independent labels (if not the largest independent label) with a significant turnover. Gabor is well able to hire this genuine and well trained, virtuoso orchestra of professional musicians. Furthermore able conductors and soloists are hired by the new Recording Director Laszlo Halasz who knows most of them personally.

Naturally the recordings are made under the supervision of Laszlo Halasz who, after a disagreement with the board of directors, left the New York City Opera Company in 1952, the company he himself had founded in 1943. Although Halasz was involved in earlier Remington productions, he now officially is Recording Director of Remington Records. Many a recording session is also attended by Donald Gabor himself.

Heinrich Köhler is principal cellist of the RIAS Symphony Orchestra from as early as the season of 1949/50 and he stays with the orchestra until 1995. He witnesses the artistic rise of the orchestra under Ferenc Fricsay, the financial troubles from 1953 on, and the resurrection of the orchestra as Radio Symphonie Orchester (RSO Berlin). Mr. Köhler remembers the many recording sessions for Deutsche Grammophon, and of course also those for the Remington label. He recalls that in a three hour session at least one hour ready music was to be rehearsed and recorded on tape by the Remington people. This tight schedule led - at least at one time - to a more or less hilarious happening with conductor Günther Wand. Mr. Köhler recalls:

"In a three hour session at least one hour ready music should be recorded on tape. Unknown conductors acquitted with difficulty their tasks. At one time Günter Wand stood in front of the orchestra; already at that time he was a feared perfectionist. He explained a lot of the music while rehearsing and he shaped every detail. (Even at his old age his interpretations are mind-blowing.) When Günter Wand wanted to record the same passage again because he wanted a better take, recording director Laszlo Halasz had enough of it and said: "Hey man, we already have that on tape". Günter Wand put down his baton, took his hat and coat, and left.
The recording sessions for Remington records had a rather business like character. For example a work was played through and recorded in the same session and the title was ready: The next piece please!" - Heinrich Köhler

Halasz knew of course many colleagues and performing artists. In collaboration with Bertelsmann Schallplattenring he hires a host of conductors and soloists. Relatively unknown to record collectors in the early mono days are Wolfgang Sawallisch, Manuel Rosenthal (1904-2003), George Sebastian (1903-1989), Georg Ludwig Jochum (1909-1971; brother of famous Eugen Jochum and less famous Otto Jochum who was a composer), Otto Matzerath (1914-1963), and Jussi Jalas (1908-1985; born Armas Jussi Veikko Blomstedt, changed his name to Jussi Jalas in 1943 and married Margareta, daughter of Jean Sibelius).
The only real veterans are Jonel Perlea (1900-1970), Anatole Fistoulari (1907-1995) and Leopold Ludwig (1908-1979), one could say.
After the first sessions have resulted in satisfactory recordings, Laszlo Halasz - like so many other artists and conductors - signs Heinrich Köhler's scrapbook.

With best wishes to a great orchestra and hope for a long and happy association - Sincerely, Laszlo Halasz, Febr. 20. 1954.

The date Halasz writes is February 20, but it is suspected that recording was already started in the Fall of 1953 as other entries in Köhler's scrapbook show.

Not well known is conductor Karl Rucht. And the name of André Gabriel was for a long time surrounded by mistery.

Tossy Spivakovsky plays Glazunov?
(Photo Everest)

Label and cover of the disk with Glazunov's Violin Concerto mention André Gabriel as the performing violinist, but the name cannot be traced and connected to a specific artist. There are no catalogs that list André Gabriel. The name appears to be a pseudonym, but for who? For violinist Janine Andrade - who later made a recording in Germany with conductor Hans Jürgen Walter of the Tchaikovsky Concerto Op. 35 and also of Mozart Concertos with Kurt Masur? Or maybe Gerhard Taschner? Or Rudolf Schulz, first violinist (leader) of the RIAS Symphony who may be the violinist in the Remington Swan Lake and Carnival of Animals recordings with Jonel Perlea and is of course the violinist in the Fricsay recording of Scheherazade? But attributing this thoroughbred performance to him would not be logical. Sure is that the unknown violinist would have been an artist who did not want his name mentioned because of personal or legal (contractual) issues.

Rudolf Schulz plays Glazunov?

Remington's Catalog (Complete Alphabetical Listing By Composer) issued in the Fall of 1953 could give a hint in this matter. On the last page it is mentioned that there are plans to make recordings with Tossy Spivakovsky, with harpsichordist Sylvia Marlowe and singer Mack Harrell. Recordings with Sylvia Marlowe and with Mack Harrell were made and released. But a Spivakovsky disk labelled as such cannot be found. Spivakovsky - who had come to live in the US (first in New York) in 1940 - may have been contacted by Recording Director Laszlo Halasz.

Initially my research did not result in a definite conclusion because there was no Glazunov Violin Concerto issued on the Bertelsmann label, nor on the Opera label on which at least Albert Spalding's Remington Recital with Anthony Kooiker was released in Europe. And there is also no Glazunov Violin Concerto on the Tefifon Schallbänder (Sound Film), the medium that bore many of the Bertelsmann-Remington recordings. No Spivakovsky or Gabriel (or any other name mentioned above) is printed in the catalogs of these German firms.

Although It is plausible that Spivakovsky is the soloist, there is yet another possibility and that is Bronislaw Gimpel. His style of playing comes somewhat close to that of André Gabriel. Yet there are differences.

Years ago my first guess was Roman Totenberg who toured Europe at the time the RIAS recordings were made. Muza and Heliodor recordings were proof of his traveling through Europe. Heinrich Köhler's scrapbook was signed in 1954 by both Bronislaw Gimpel and Roman Totenberg as Doris Köhler, daughter of the cellist, told me. She sent Roman Totenberg's entry from February 1st, 1954 in Heinrich Köhler's scrapbook. And Georg Ludwig Jochum did sign the book on the following day. Seen the differences in execution, I suspected that Totenberg could be the soloist on R-199-191 which was first released in the Spring of 1955.

Mr. Heinrich Köhler with best wishes and many regards, Roman Totenberg, Berlin, 1 February, 1954
Herrn Heinrich Köhler, mit besten Wünschen und vielen Grüssen, Roman Totenberg, Berlin, 1 Feb 1954

The first pressings (ED 1) of the Concerto have a black-gold label like similar to all earliest MUSIRAMA recordings. The later pressings had red and even blue labels..

The Remington disc contains a wonderful and also fascinating performance. It is not a dragging account with too many phrases played legato as if most of the concerto has to be executed in one endless stroke as some recordings evoke. The Remington performance has a wonderful dramatic concept and architecture with depth and detail. The result clearly shows a thourough understanding of the work, not only by the virtuoso violinist but also by the very able conductor Georg Ludwig Jochum. His structured rendering of the score is in contrast to the somewhat less firm approach of Ferenc Fricsay with Erica Morini and that while Morini's Bruch with Fricsay on the same Deutsche Grammophon disc - later reissued on Heliodor - is full of passion, is like fireworks. Vaclav Smetacek's rendition with Ida Haendel is also less than Totenberg's performance. The Glazunov Concerto is not a standard and for a recording most violinists have to study the score more intensely or even for the first time. Michael Rabin's recorded performance, announced at the time and released in October, 1955, (in Great Britain on Columbia 33cx1281 and in the USA on Angel 35359) to which the Totenberg had to compete, is not at Totenberg's level either. Totenberg is also in contrast with the lyricism of Nathan Milstein and William Steinberg, or Milstein in his later recording with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Like Steinberg, Georg Ludwig Jochum understands very well the orchestral part though Jochum is more strict, better organized. And Roman Totenberg knows how to re-create the score in a very expressive and at times humble, yet effective way. Totenberg's cadenza proofs that he knows his Bach also very well. This is the old - but magnificent - school talking to the listener. - R.A.B.

Click here for a Sound Clip of Cadenza and the beginning of the Third Movement of the Glazunov Violin Concerto

On January 9, 2012, Allan Evans of
Arbiter Records, who interviewed Roman Totenberg extensively and prepared the 2 CD set "The Art of Roman Totenberg from Bach to Webern", confirmed that the Remington recording is indeed of Roman Totenberg. He wrote:

"Totenberg laughs about how he had to coin this pseudonym in order to have an extra recording out. He was an Allegro artist then, and couldn't have his name on Remington. The original tape is with German radio (...)".

This explains why the sound has the typical characeristisc of Frequency Modulation Radio (FM) which differs substantially from the other Musirama recordings made with the RIAS Orchestra. As early as 1950 FM radio was in use. The sound characteristic means that this recording was not done by the Remington-Bertelsmann team, although Laszlo Halasz may have attended this Radio In American Sector recording as well. It is not a live recording. - R.A.B.

Roman Totenberg who was born on January 1,1911, in Lodz, Poland, passed away on May 8, 2012.

The Remington recordings with the RIAS Symphony are all in the new MUSIRAMA presentation except for one which is not presented as such and that is the new recording of Rimsky-Korsakoff's Scheherazade. On Remington R-199-11 originally an early recording of the Viennese Symphonic Society Orchestra conducted by H. Arthur Brown (founder of the Tulsa Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor from 1948 till 1958) is released. When problems arise between Brown and the union, Gabor stops the pressings of Brown's Remington recordings and some of these are shifted to the Plymouth label. Now it is time to acquire a new Scheherazade recording as no record label can do without this best selling score. The new recording is the one with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra under Karl Rucht.

For a long time it was not certain if this recording was the same as the Urania 7133 (=Urania 7-19) recording with 'Symphony Orchestra of Radio Berlin'. This recording was already listed in 'The Long Player' of December 1953 while the Remington with the RIAS Orchestra under Rucht was released in the following year. Ernst Lumpe who investigates many recordings bootlegged by Eli Oberstein and released on Allegro-Royale, compared the Urania Scheherazade to the Remington RIAS and found that these are different recordings.

Apparently to keep the appealing Steinweiss cover as it originally was used for the recording with H. Arthur Brown, no MUSIRAMA emblem was printed on it in the right lower corner as this would have spoiled it. Also the label does not have the MUSIRAMA lettering.
Rucht and the RIAS Symphony give a far better rendition than H. Arthur Brown does with the orchestra from Vienna - not only because the RIAS seems a superior orchestra, but also because Brown takes tempi far too slow and it seems that he does not completely understand what the music is about. It is likely to assume that the violinist in the Rucht Scheherazade is Rudolf Schulz. When the Rucht version was later released on Masterseal MSLP 5012 for conductor the name of Kurt Wöss is mentioned instead of Karl Rucht.

The change of the name is probably made because the contract that stipulates that the recordings are for release by Remington in the USA and that Bertelsmann owns the rights for Germany (even though the Bertelsmann Schallplattenring division was only founded in 1956). Obviously the contract had been breached by Gabor when he issued recordings on the Diamant label in Germany. A later re-release with the name Rucht was unlawful and could have had consequences if discovered.

Karl Rucht

 Initially I only found Karl Rucht listed in early editions of Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog conducting Scheherazade on Urania. In a French catalog he was listed on Concerteum CT 263/4 (later issued on Musidisc 842/843) conducting Bach's Brandenburg Concertos played by the Berlin Chamber Orchestra. There is also Urania 7146 (Request Series) with Polovetsian Dances from Prince Igor, and Urania 7149 with Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1 performed by pianist Helmut Roloff (coupled with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Op. 15 with eminent Beethoven pianist Hugo Steurer and conductor Gerhard Pflueger). And there are also Remington R-199-218 with Liszt and Brahms, and a Masterseal release with excerpts from Gayaneh by Khatchaturian. Heinrich Köhler, first cellist in the RIAS Orchestra told me that Karl Rucht was a trumpeter in the Berlin Philharmonic who started to take up conducting.
Conductor Karl Rucht
(Image taken from Berlin Philharmonic catalogue of concerts. Image supplied by Ernst A. Lumpe.)

The Scheherazade on the Remington Musirama edition not only shows excellent ensemble playing but also a good recording technique (which applies to all MUSIRAMA recordings made in Berlin). Not just for Remington standards but it is in principle also superior if compared to the recording technique used by Deutsche Grammophon at the time. A later recording was of the Hungarian Rhapsodies (Liszt) and Hungarian Dances (Brahms) on R-199-218.


Karl Rucht (trumpet) in Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (Bach) with Erwin Milzkott (flute) and Max Michailoff (hobo). Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of Radio Berlin is Herbert Haarth. Concerteum CT 263. In the USA Period SHO 310.

Recently more data regarding Karl Rucht have been published and it appears that Karl Rucht (1918-1994) was more than the trumpet player in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra from 1944 till 1949. He was chief conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Pfalz (Philharmonisches Orchester der Pfalz) in Mannheim (later renamed Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz) from the beginning of season 1951/1952. He was conductor of the Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra (Philharmonisches Orchester der Stadt Heidelberg) from 1954 until 1960. This means that he led two orchestras simultaneously from 1954 till 1957. Being the conductor of these two orchestras in the same region made it possible to perform large orchestral works by "borrowing" musicians from either orchestra. - R.A.B.

The virtuoso quality and discipline of the RIAS Orchestra can also be witnessed on many other Remingtons, but in particular the Jonel Perlea disc with excerpts from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky) and Le carnaval des animaux (Saint-Saëns) in which Heinrich Köhler plays the cello part (The Swan/Le cygne).
Georges Sebastian's 'Symphony fantastique' (Berlioz) is also a very skillful and sensitive performance. And the recordings by Edward Kilenyi of works by Liszt do have the right intensity and the perfect balance between soloist and orchestra.
However, in the first notes of the Glazunov Violin Concerto played by André Gabriel which was issued by Remington, there is some wow in the recorded sound. It is possible that the tape did not reach the correct speed when the recording was tranferred to the tape that was sent to the Remington headquarters in New York. Or the tape had not reached the nominal speed yet when the lacquer was cut.



Recordings made with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra and released on the Remington MUSIRAMA label:

R-199-11 Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov) - Karl Rucht, conductor.

R-199-159 La boîte à joujoux - The Box of Toys (Debussy) - Jonel Perlea, conductor.

R-199-160 Carnival of Animals - Carnaval des animaux (Saint-Saëns)) and Excerpts from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky) - Jonel Perlea, conductor.

It is not known who the pianists are in Carnival of Animals on R-199-160. The Saint-Saëns recording with Jonel Perlea conducting was not issued on Tefifon or Bertelsmann. These companies had already a different recording with pianists Sondra Bianca and Herbert Drechsel with the 'Hamburger Bach Orchestra' conducted by Robert Stehli.

Click here for a Sound Clip of 'Le cygne' (The Swann) from 'Carnival of Animals' performed by cellist Heinrich Köhler.

With the highest admiration for the very excellent Rias orchestra,
Jonel Perlea, August 27, 1953

Mit höchster Bewunderung für das ganz vorzügliche Rias Orchester, Jonel Perlea, 27. August 1953


R-199-164 Piano Concerto No. 2 (Brahms) - Edward Kilenyi, pianist andJonel Perlea, conductor.

R-199-166 Piano Concerto No. 1 and Totentanz (Liszt) - Edward Kilenyi, pianist and Jonel Perlea, conductor.

R-199-170 Orchestral medleys from The Merry Widow (Lehar) and One Night in Venice (Strauss) - Gerhard Becker who was in his early thirties then was the conductor. Gerhard Becker (1919–1973) was also a composer and arranger in the lighter trade. He composed music for tv-series and movies and made several recordings in the nineteen sixties as well. One of these is ofFranz Lehar's operetta Paganini with soloists and the Fürsten Feldbruck Orchestra and the RIAS Chamber Choir, and Max Kayser playing "Paganini's violin".

Gaité parisienne (Offenbach) - Manuel Rosenthal, conductor. Later released in a new disguise as R-199-254. The same recording was issued on Rondolette A8 around 1958. Were the tapes acquired via Don Gabor? Or was Rondolette another of Don Gabor's labels or (partly) owned by him?

R-199-174 Orchestral excerpts from Wagner operas - George Sebastian, conductor.

Picture of George Sebastian taken from an advertisement for Remington MUSIRAMA releases.

R-199-176 Symphonie Fantastique (Berlioz) - George Sebastian, conductor. In Germany released on the Diamant label, reference BL 733. The recording was probably made in the Fall of 1953.

To my good friends and colleagues of the wunderful, magnificently sounding RIAS orchestra. My thanks for making harmonious music together and all best wishes for a great future. January, 1954, Berlin. Georges Sebastian.
Meinen lieben Freunden und Kollegen des wunderbaren klanggrossartigen RIAS Orchester (...). Dank für harmonischem Zusammen Musizieren und alle besten Wünsche für eine grosse Zukunft. Januar, 1954, Berlin. Georges Sebastian.

To my dear RIAS Orchestra - with sincere thanks for professional music making. November/January 1953/54. Otto Matzerath.
Meinem lieben Rias Orchester - mit herzlichen Dank für professionelles Musizieren. November/Januar 1953/54. Otto Matzerath.

R-199-177 Wagnerian Overtures - Leopold Ludwig, conductor.

R-199-180 Symphony No. 1 (Schumann) - Otto Matzerath, conductor - released Spring 1955

R-199-181 Light French Opera Overtures: Von Suppé, Adam, Aubert, Maillart - Gerhard Becker, conductor.

R-199-183 Music by Offenbach "Offenbachiana" arranged and conducted by Manuel Rosenthal.

 R-199-188 Sinfonietta (Rudhyar), Gymnopedia (Glanville-Hicks) - Jonel Perlea, conductor (coupled with Henry Brant's Saxophone Concerto performed by Sigurd Rascher (saxophonist of the New York Philharmonic) here with the Cincinnati Symphony conducted by Thor Johnson) - released Fall 1955

R-199-189 Can Can (Offenbach) - Manuel Rosenthal, conductor (coupled with selections from the musical Can Can played by Tony Osborne and his orchestra).

R-199-191 Violin Concerto (Glazunov) - André Gabriel, violin and Georg Ludwig Jochum, conductor. This was a radio recording probably made in February, 1954, when Georg Ludwig Jochum signed the scrapbook of cellist Heinrich Köhler. The Violin Concerto was coupled with The Origin of Fire (Sibelius) with the Helsinki University Chorus and soloist Sulus Saarits, baritone, and Pohjola’s Daughter, Op. 49 (Sibelius).

A heartily thank you to the outstanding RIAS Orchestra for many and fine hours of faithfull following. Georg Ludwig Jochum.
February 2nd, 1954

Dem augezeichneten RIAS-Orchester einen herzlichen Dank für viele und schöne Stunden treuer Gefolgschaft. Georg Ludwig Jochum. 2. Februar 1954.

And he signed after conducting Symphony No. 7 of Anton Bruckner.
A. Bruckners VII. Symph. Herzlichst Ihr Georg Ludwig Jochum.
A. Bruckner's 7th Symphony. Heartily Yours Georg Ludwig Jochum.
The date is not mentioned.


 R-199-192 Orchestral medley from The Beggar Student (Millöcker) - Gerhard Becker, conductor.

R-199-194 Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 (Bach), Concerto Grosso No. 5 (Handel) - Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor.

R-199-197 Piano Concerto No. 1 (Tchaikovsky) - Conrad Hansen, pianist and Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor.

R-199-201 Symphony No. 5 (Sibelius) - Jussi Jalas, conductor.

R-199-203 Francesca da Rimini (Tchaikovsky) and Theme and Variations (Tchaikovsky) - Anatole Fistoulari, conductor.

All my thanks for the recordings! And You personally all the best for 1954! Yours Wolfgang Sawallisch.
Besten Dank für die Aufnahmen! Und Ihnen persönlich alles Gute für 1954! Ihr Wolfgang Sawallisch.


Heitor Villa-Lobos conducting.
Jussi Jalas recorded works of his father in law Jean Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 and 5 and Five humoresques for violin solo and orchestra with violinist Anja Ignatius. Only Symphony No. 5 was released on Remington.
Leopold Ludwig
R-199-205 Variations on a Theme by Haydn (Brahms) - Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting. Coupled with Tragic Overture (Brahms), Academic Festival Overture (Brahms) with conductor Otto Matzerath.

R-199-207 Choros No. 6 (Villa-Lobos) - conducted by Villa-Lobos himself, coupled with the older recordings of Enesco's Rumanian Rhapsodies Nos. 1 and 2, conducted by Enesco. The coupling probably in remembrance of George Enesco who died in 1955.

R-199-208 Suites from Sylvia and Coppélia (Delibes) - Anatole Fistoulari and George Sebastian, conductors. In 1967 these performances were reissued in 1967 on Everest 6116 (mono) and 3116 (stereo). This indicates that the recordings were made in stereo, though not on 35 mm film which most certainly was not used for the dubbing of the tape either. The Everest release not only shows that the sound of these recordings was basically excellent for those days standard, but also the performances are noteworthy.


R-199-218 Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 and No.14 (Liszt), Hungarian Dances No. 1 through 6 (Brahms) with Karl Rucht conducting; the same program of rhapsodies and dances was later re-released on the Paris-label (Album 12) and pressed on better vinyl. Although I saw the cover of 199-218 once, various Schwann catalogs, the 1956 Artist Listing and the Artist Issue of 1958 included, do not have this recording listed. It may have had a very short life span as a Remington release, because after the last releases starting at 200, the label soon was suspended and the recordings were released on Gabor's other labels like Paris, Buckingham and Webster and were not listed any longer in the serious record catalogs: Schwann and The Longplayer as they were now sold in convenient stores and gaz stations.

 In cooperation with Bertelsmann recordings were also made with the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Remington R-199-209) with works by Hindemith (Mathis der Mahler), Schumann (Manfred Overture), and Von Weber (Euryanthe Overture), all conducted by Leopold Ludwig.
And with the Dusseldorf Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Eugen Szenkar (1891-1977) released on Remington R-199-212, with works by Igor Stavinsky (Firebird Suite) and Sergei Prokofiev (Classical Symphony). These were also listed in the Tefifon catalog.




Tefi Schallbänder - Tefi Sound Films.

Many of the recordings made with the RIAS Orchestra are listed in the catalog of the Tefi Schallbänder (Tefi Sound Films).
Tefi Sound Films were to be played on the Tefifon and other special Tefi reproducers (Tefi Geräte).
The Tefi Schallband was an alternative to the gramophone record, the wire recorder, tape recorder and the Philips Miller Sound Recording System.

The Tefifon was invented by Dr. Karl Daniel (1905-1977). The sound was engraved on an endless film and was originally read by a crystal (seignette's salt) cartridge and after about 1960, by a ceramic (barium titanatecrystal) pick up cartridge. Moving Magnet cartridges were never incorporated in the designs, although hobbyists and researchers use MM cartridges with special needles to listen to the tapes and above all to transfer the music to digital formats as Klaus Holzapfel from Germany does. The principle of this system of sound recording had been devised by Oberlin Smith, the man who also had the idea for magnetic recording in 1889.

Tefi cassettes were available from 1950 until 1962. A great advantage of the system was that it was really a long play medium as one Tefi Schallband (sound tape) could easily have one hour of music at a speed of 19 cm/s. And it was also suitable for stereo. When stereo was introduced the ceramic cartridge was replaced by a better phono cartridge which then read the endless groove (loop). How it works is shown in this video by Techmoan on YouTube.

The Tefifon Schallband with the Second Symphony and Five Humoresques of Jean Sibelius, conducted by Jussi Jalas, with violinist Anja Ignatius as issued in Germany. The recording of the Five Humoresques was in fact the world premiere recording and was never issued by Don Gabor though he and Laszlo Halasz supervised these recordings in Berlin. J. Radnuz was the recording engineer.

(The above image of the Tefifon cassette and information on the Tefifon Schallbänder were submitted by Dr. Klaus Holzapfel from Germany.)

Only the recording of the 5th Symphony of Jean Sibelius was issued in the MUSIRAMA Series. The recording of the Symphony No. 1 was released together with Five Humoresques on Varèse Sarabande VC 81043 in 1978. Varèse-Sarabande mentions 'Radio Symphony Orchestra' instead of the RIAS Symphony. This is incorrect as the recordings were made in January of 1954 and the RIAS orchestra was renamed Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) only in 1956.

The Tefi Schallbänder catalog (Tefifon Schallband Katalog) shows several of the titles which also appeared on Remington:
Edward Kilenyi playing Franz Liszt's Concerto No. 1 and Brahms's No. 2 with Jonel Perlea, Conrad Hansen playing Tchaikovsky's Op.23 with Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Karl Rucht conducting Scheherazade, Hungarian Rhapsodies and Gayaneh, and Anatole Fistoulari conducting Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini.

A few titles with Tefi references:

TA/K 4012 Millöcker Beggar Student - Gerhard Becker
TD/K 4029 Strauss One Night In Venice - Gerhard Becker
TD/S 4082 Bach and Handel - Wolfgang Sawallisch
TD/S 4083 Tchaikovsky Swan Lake - Jonel Perlea
TD/S 4084 Liszt Concerto and Todtentanz - Edward Kilenyi and Jonel Perlea
TD/S 4085 Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade - Karl Rucht
TD/S 4086 Sibelius Symphony No. 2 and Humoresques - Jussi Jalas
TD/S 4090 Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1 - Conrad Hansen and Wolfgang Sawallisch
TD/S 4093 Beethoven Symphony No. 1 and Symphony No. 2 - Jonel Perlea and Georg Ludwig Jochum
TD/S 4094 Brahms Piano Concerto Mo. 2 - Edward Kilenyi and Jonel Perlea



The collaboration with the Bertelsmann Company in Germany officially started in 1953 and some 200 recordings were planned to be made in the new MUSIRAMA-technique with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra. In Germany they were of course released on Bertelsmann's Phonoring or Schallplattenring as well as on the Tefifon tapes. Don Gabor wanted to release the older recordings from Austria and several American recordings in Germany too. For that he created the German Diamant label already in 1953 right after the Bertelsmann deal had been signed.

The Diamant releases are pressed from Remington plates, probably in the Webster plant in Massachusetts, although there is mention in Billboard magazine that Gabor was setting up a pressing plant in Berlin. The dead wax shows a different font. From the way the covers are printed and manufactured, I assume that the covers are made in the printing division of Remington's Webster pressing plant as well because that would be cheaper than having them manufactured in Germany. On the label is printed "Licensed by Remington Records." The German covers had no liner notes. There was probably no time to write these, or a correct translation of the American notes would take up time and would make the releases more expensive. All covers have a standard pattern of yellow-light and blue-white colored stripes. On the front are printed the name of the composer, of the work(s) and the names of the performers, and there is a reference number for ordering the record, in German, "Best. Nr." (Bestell Nummer).

On the Diamant label appear older recordings made in Vienna like Franck's Symphony in D conducted by Hans Wolf (BL 743), Astrid Varnay singing Wagner arias (BL 737) and Gaspar Cassado performing Dvorak's Cello Concerto with conductor Kurt Wöss (BL 745). This is all as planned.
But also Symphony Fantastique (Berlioz) with the RIAS Orchestra under Georges Sebastian in the new Musirama sound is released as BL 733 while this recording is also released by Bertelsmann and on the Tefifon Band (celluloid tape). Distributing the Diamant releases in Germany is of course against the terms agreed upon between Gabor and the Bertelsmann firm. Cellist Heinrich Köhler told me that there was a law suit: Bertelsmann v. Remington (Don Gabor).
The outcome was that the contract with the RIAS Orchestra and Bertelsmann was prematurely ended. That is why many more recordings made with the RIAS Symphony are not issued in the US. Also the later stereo recordings were excluded.

The breach of contract with Bertelsmann prevented the release on Remington of many more recordings made with the RIAS Symphonie-Orchester which were released in Germany on Tefi casettes (Tefifon Schallbänder). If the cooperation had evolved satisfactorily, also recordings with other orchestras could have been made. The Tefifon recordings that were missed because they were never issued on Remington:

*Adam: If I were King - Gerhard Becker
*Auber: Fra diavolo - Gerhard Becker
*Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 - Georg Ludwig Jochum
*Berlioz: Ballet Music - Wolfgang Sawallisch
*Bizet: Sylvia - Anatole Fistoulari
*Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia - Anatole Fistoulari
*Delibes: Coppelia - George Sebastian
*Glinka: A Life for The Tsar Overture - Anatole Fistoulari
*Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture - Otto Matzerath
*Glinka: Waltz Fantasy - Anatole Fistoulari
*Gounod: Ballet Music from Margarethe - Wolfgang Sawallisch
*Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Symphony No. 4 - Otto Matzerath
*Ponchielli: Dance of the Hours - Wolfgang Sawallisch

 *Rimski-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture - George Sebastian
*Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre - George Sebastian
*Saint-Saëns: Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah - George Sebastian
*Schubert: Symphony No. 2 - Otto Matzerath (recorded on February 19, 1954, according to another entry by Laszlo Halasz in Heinrich Köhler's scrapbook).
*Schubert: Rosamunde Overture - Otto Matzerath
*Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 - Jussi Jalas
*Sibelius: Five Humoresques- Jussi Jalas (and violinist Anja Ignatius)
*Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 - Jussi Jalas

Listing in Tefifon Catalogue

Above is the entry in the Tefifon catalog of the One Hour Tape (Tefi-Stunden-Band) with the 2nd Symphony of Jean Sibelius played by the RIAS Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jussi Jalas and the Five Humoresques played by violinist Anja Ignatius.

*Strauss: Don Juan - Otto Matzerath
*Strauss: Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks - Otto Matzerath
*Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italien - Anatole Fistoulari
*Tchaikovsky: Marche Slave (Slavomic March) - Karl Rucht
*Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings - H. Charlier
*Weber: Invitation to the Dance - Otto Matzerath

 Arrangements could probably also have been made for the release on Remington of the 2nd Violin Concerto of J.S. Bach played by then 23 year old violinist Helga Hussels who later (1969) was refused to be a member of Herbert von Karajan's Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). She could have been the first woman in that famous sound body (Klangkörper). However conductor, management and members wanted to keep the Berliner Philharmoniker strictly a men's affair. That was a weird experience, to say the least, she told me when I had contacted her in early January, 2012. She sent me a photograph of her sitting on a motorbike that looked like a Harley Davidson. The former owner of her house had left it in the barn. In return I sent her an MP3 of Fou Ts'ong playing Chopin's Mazurka dedicated to Emile Gaillard. She thought it was wonderful.
After the Berlin Philharmoniker affair she went to live in Sweden and made a career as a soloist and as a member of the Symphony Orchestra of Göteborg (Göteborgs Symfoniker) and Göteborgs Sinfonietta.
When she played Bach, the RIAS Youth Orchestra (named RIAS Symphony Orchestra on Tefifon Schalband TD/S 4082) was conducted by Willy Hanuschke. That performance was released on Bertelsmann LP 338089, coupled with Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 performed by the RIAS Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch. The recording of the Bach Concerto could have been released on Remington. Could have.
- Helga Gmelin-Hussels, 15 January, 1930 - 28 May, 2018

In the Tefifon catalog the youth orchestra is just mentioned as RIAS Symphony Orchestra. Conductor Hanuschke recorded also Georg Philip Telemann's Wassermusik which was released later on Classique 13 160G (10").
And there is also no Remington disc of Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 with Jonel Perlea conducting the Teatro la Fenice which was released in Germany on a Tefi cassette. This recording - which should replace the Remington disc recorded in Vienna with "conductor X" - was made at the time when Lucia di Lammermoor and music of American composers Brant, Glanville-Hicks, etc. was recorded. The vaults of BMG and the Berlin Radio could reveal many a historical treasure. - R.A.B.

It is likely that several tapes with these recordings - which were practically all supervised by Laszlo Halasz (in many cases together with Don Gabor) were taken back to the US or were shipped to Don Gabor's headquarters in New York but were not issued on record after the verdict of the court. They probably were not discovered by Tom Null when he was producing the Remington Series for the Varèse-Sarabande label, or - if he found them - were all in a bad shape and could not be used.

As is printed on many a cover of the Varèse-Sarabande Remington Series, most recordings were supervised by both Don Gabor and Laszlo Halasz, and the recording technician was J. Radnuz. Tape recorders with 30 IPS speed were in use to obtain high quality.

It is not sure if the orchestra was also conducted by Laszlo Halasz. The release of Bertelsmann Schallplattenring 8135 indicates that Laszlo Halasz conducted the RIAS Symphony in Hungarian Dance No. 6, which is of course one of the dances conducted by Karl Rucht. This same Bertelsmann disc has excerpts from recordings made by other Remington artists: Wolfgang Sawallisch, Alexander Jenner and Karl Rucht. It is possible that Halasz did conduct the Hungarian Dance and that his name was deliberately changed into that of Karl Rucht or the opposite may have been the case.

An oddity is the recording with Karl Rucht conducting Gayaneh by Khachaturian on a Masterseal release with the Remington Musirama label and Remington matrix numbers which were printed also on the label: 33 1637. I did not find a Remington Musirama equivalent. Columbia Records had won the case against Don Gabor, and the latter was no longer allowed to use the wording Masterworks and the label name "Masterseal" - which easily could be confounded with Columbia's Masterworks - was prohibited as well. Subsequently many records were released with the Remington style labels and the word Masterseal was erased from the covers.
On Webster ST12 Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake Suite with Jonel Perlea from R-199-160 is reissued together with Otto Matzerath's performances of Academic Festival Overture and Tragic Overture (Brahms) which were originally on Remington R-199-205.

When Bertelsmann a few years later founded the Ariola Division, many of the recordings were released on their Classique label. To mention a few:
13174H - Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Conrad Hansen and conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch.
16 087D - Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.
13153H - Hindemith: Matthis der Mahler performed by the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leopold Ludwig.

Around the same time 'Harold in Italy' (Berlioz) was recorded but never reached the Remington catalog though the performance was released on the Classique label in Germany. It is a beautiful and warm recording with Micheline Lemoine who plays the alto (viola). Classique 11034S.


Recordings of other famous conductors made with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra

From 1953 till 1956 there are many conductors who perform with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra, especially during this 'period of draught' (when the orchestra was short of finances): Karl Böhm, Georg Solti and Otto Klemperer, Leo Blech, Hermann Abendroth and Eugene Ormandy. And there were of course the lesser greats. One of them is Herbert Sandberg who conducts Edvard Grieg's Holberg Suite on Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft LPE 17046.

A noteworthy event was when the Scala Opera Company visited Berlin in 1955 and performed with the RIAS Symphonie-Orchester in Lucia di Lammermoor conducted by Herbert von Karajan with singers Maria Meneghini Callas (Soprano), Giuseppe di Stefano (Tenor), Rolando Panerai (Baritone), Nicola Zaccaria (Bass-Baritone), Giuseppe Zampieri (Tenor), Luisa Villa (Mezzo-soprano), Mario Carlin (Tenor), The Chorus of La Scala Milan.

And there are prominent soloists like pianist Michael Raucheisen. And there is cellist Enrico Mainardi who performs Cello Concertos of Haydn and Schumann with Fritz Lehmann conducting (LPM 18 222).
The conductors of the younger generation also swing the baton in front of the orchestra and Ferenc Fricsay continues to conduct the orchestra on various occasions, for concerts and for recordings as his discography shows.

Ferenc Fricsay

Ferenc Fricsay (August 9, 1914 -February 20, 1963)
(Photo Copyright Schumacher/Deutsche Grammophon)

See the homepage maintained by Ferenc Fricsay's daughter
Marta Dobay-Fricsay: Ferenc Fricsay.

A page about the RIAS Symphony Orchestra is certainly not complete if the recordings by the original and eminent conductor Ferenc Fricsay are not mentioned. He did make numerous recordings with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon. This is his RIAS discography:

Bartok's Violin Concerto with Tibor Varga (18006 LPM), Bartok's Two Portraits Op. 5 with Violinist Rudolf Schulz (22248 LVM 78 RPM Variable Micrograde, 78 Langspielplatte, 78 rpm long playing record) - coupled with Paganini Variations by Boris Blacher (16054 LP), Joseph Haydn's The Clock, Symphony No. 101 (LP 16013), Bartok's 3rd Piano Concerto with Monique Haas (18223 LPM), his 'Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta' (LP 16074), and 'Divertimento' and Dance Suite and Dance Suite (LPM 18153).

Bartok's Two Portraits Op. 5 with Violinist Rudolf Schulz (22248 LVM 78 RPM Variable Micrograde (78 UpM Langspielplatte, 78 RPM long playing record). These were also available on 16 054 LP with on the other side Boris Blacher's Paganini Variations.

Dvorak's 'New World Symphony' (18142 LPM), Stravinsky's 'Le sacre du printemps' (18189 LPM and 'Capricio' with pianist Monique Haas (18004 LPM), Préludes and Ballet Music from Carmen (17092 LPE), Stravinsky's 'Symphonie des Psaumes' and Frank Martin's 'Petite Symphonie concertante' (18035 LPM), Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony (18039 LPM), Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony (18012 LPM), Werner Egk's 'Kleine Abraxis-Suite' (30228 EPL) and 'Suite française pour orchestre' (LPM 8401), a program of well-known compositions by Berlioz (Danse des Sylphes from La damnation de Faust) and Borodin (In the Steppes of Central Asia), coupled with 'Marche hongroise' performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, and with the Lamoureux Orchestre (L'orchestre des concerts Lamoureux): Dukas (L'apprenti sorcier) and Mussorgsky (A night on Bald Mountain)(19061 LPEM), Stravinsky's 'Petrouchka' (LPE 17003), Liebermann's 'Furioso' and 'Suite' (30113 EPC), Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings (LPE 17036), Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies 1 and 2 (LPE 17055), Mozart's Symphonies Nos. 29 and 41 (18296 LPM), Dvorak's Violin Concerto with Johanna Martzy (LPM 18152), Haydn's 'The Seasons' (18025/28 LPM),  Haydn Symphonies 44 and 95 (18180 LPM) and 98 and 101 (18339 LPM), Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade (19075 LPEM), Hartmann's Symphony No. 6 (16401 LP), Rossini Overtures (19041 LPEM), Rossini's 'Stabat Mater' with Maria Stader and Kodaly's 'Psalmus Hungaricus' with Ernst Haefliger (18203/4 LPM, released in February 1955; the Deutsche Grammophon CD is not the passionate RIAS Orchestra performance recorded in mono but a later performance with slower tempi by Fricsay with the Radio Symphony Orchestra from a radio broadcast in stereo);Tchaikovsky's 'Overture Solennelle - 1812' Op. 49, with the Don Cossack Chorus/Don Kosaken-Chor, coupled with Wagner's Overture to 'The Flying Dutchman/Der Fliegende Holländer' (LPE 17022) - the complete opera with Josef Greindl, Annelies Kupper, Wolfgang Windgassen, Sieglinde Wagner, Ernst Haefliger and Josef Metternich, the RIAS Choir and Orchestra conducted by Ferenc Fricsay was released on AK (automatische Kupplung = automatic sequence):18063/65 LPM and NK:18116/118 LPM. Then there are Kodaly's Maroszek Dances and Dances from Galanta (LPE 17060), Respighi's 'La boutique fantasque' (LP 17054), Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' (LPM 18264/266 NK) and 'Exultate jubilate' (17027 LPE), Mozart Symphonies 26, 32 and 35 (18066 LPM), Nos. 41 and 29 (18290 LPM), Verdi's 'Messa da Requiem' with Maria Stader, Marianne Radev, Helmut Krebs, Kim Borg and the St.Hedwig Cathedral Choir (18155/56 or 18157/58 LPM), Preludes and Overtures by Verdi (17015 LPE).

Zoltan Kodaly: Maroszek Dances and Dances from Galanta Ference Fricsay and the RIAS Symphony Orchestra on LPE 17060.
Prokofiev's "Symphonie Classique". Ference Fricsay and the RIAS Symphony Orchestra
Helmut Zacharias plays Gypsy Airs (Sarasate) and Hejre Kati (Hubay) with Ferenc Fricsay and the RIAS Sinfonie-Orchester on LPE 17071, coupled with Borodin's Polovetsian Dances - with the RIAS Chamber Choir (RIAS Kammerchor).
Romantic Intermezzo: Helmut Zacharias is soloist and conductor of a program of popular classics. Hungarian Dances 5 and 6 (Brahms), Romance (Svendsen), Waltz (Tchaikovsky), Salut d'amour (Elgar), Ständchen (Schubert), Tango (Albeniz), Adagio (Bruch), Schön Rosmarin (Kreisler), Intermezzo (Mascagni),Souvenir (Drdla), Menuet (Bolzon), Cradle Song (Brahms).

Like Winnifred Atwell, who wanted to record Grieg's Piano Concerto with English Decca, also famous violinist Helmut Zacharias had a wish to record more serious compositions. He made a recording of 'Zigeunerweisen' (Gypsy Airs) Op.20 (Pablo de Sarasate) and 'Hejre Kati' (Jenö Hubay) with the RIAS Symphony conducted by Ferenc Fricsay, coupled with 'Polovetsian Dances' from Borodin's opera Prince Igor (LPE 17071). For the Polydor popular label he later recorded the Adagio of Max Bruch's Violin Concerto as well as the Romance (Romanze) of Swedish composer Johan Svendsen plus other gems on Polydor 237 335.

All the original releases of the recordings of Ferenc Fricsay had gatefold covers, except the Variable Micro Grade 78 RPM pressings. Initially the LP covers had the compartments taped at the edges with blue linen tape. The later releases had the stitched compartments with plastic lining which then became the trademark of Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft for many years to come.

Lateron these same recordings were re-released in single covers and the date on the back of the cover at the end of the fine print tells when a particular recording was pressed. Generally this is not the date of the actual recording or the date of the first release.

See the homepage maintained by Ferenc Fricsay's daughter
Marta Dobay-Fricsay: Ferenc Fricsay.

When in 1956 the orchestra becomes the official orchestra of "Sender freies Berlin" (SFB), the orchestra's name is changed to Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) Berlin and it keeps up its fine and high standard of music making, thanks to the devotion of Ferenc Fricsay who again is appointed as principal conductor in 1959, and thanks of course to the members of the orchestra. By that time Don Gabor has already stopped making recordings with the orchestra and also the recordings with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra and conductor Otto Matzerath are history. With the advent of the stereo record Don Gabor discontinues the Remington label altogether and starts to expand his Masterseal label of which the first productions had already been released in 1953.


My thanks to Mr. Heinrich Köhler, cellist of the RIAS Symphony Orchestra, for his recollection of the incident with Günter Wandt and for allowing me to publish several of the signatures he collected in his scrapbook of conductors who recorded for the Remington label.

Thanks also to Doris Köhler, the cellist's daughter, for searching her father's documents after he had passed away. She provided the signature of Roman Totenberg from February 1st, 1954.

And thanks to Mrs. Jutta Obrowski who was of great help in bringing me into contact with Heinrich Köhler.

I thank Dr. Klaus Holzapfel from Stuttgart, Germany, for providing the technical data about the Tefifon system and several Tefifon releases, the image of the label of the Sibelius recording as issued on Varèse Sarabande, and the image of conductor Jussi Jalas.

Text and research Rudolf A. Bruil - Page created and first published in August, 2001 and expanded since.




Copyright 1995-2008 by Rudolf A. Bruil