From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Hello Steve and other readers
> My just-published article referred to in the subject line expands and rewrites
> the history of American orchestral recording.
----- congratulations, it was high time, and it spreads the message far
> Part one was retitled by the magazine, "Classic Record Collector" as "Strohs
> in the Wind." Even if you get the English magazine and glance at the table of
> contents, you'd be hard pressed (cut?) to know this was the topic.
----- you were also shortchanged on the picture side. The Stroh instruments
that are shown in detail in no way resemble those that were used at
orchestral sessions. Googling brings you much truer results (but perhaps
reproduction rights to pay). Mauricio Kagel in his "1898" used an Austrian
variety that also was a far cry from those used in recording orchestras.
In 1986 I acoustically recorded an acoustic piano trio in period pieces and
with period Stroh instruments (the piano was an upright): a Stroh violin and
a normally stringed Stroh cello (both from the Musical History Museum in
Copenhagen and restored by violin restorers Emil Hjorth & Sons in
Copenhagen). At the ARSC annual meeting in New York in 1986 I showed pictures
of these. Just to complete the story I should report that the recording horns
were horns I had been able to borrow from the EMI Music Archives.
> This research brings the timeline back to the 1880s. It changes the dates and
> sequence of orchestras which made non-commercial and commercial recordings and
> will untangle, in part 2, to appear this summer (?) a number of misascriptions
> made for reasons not quite clear.
----- I am still a bit uncertain about your personal definition of an
"orchestra". It seems that one criterion you use is "massed strings", but
several criteria are imagineable. Another could be that at least one
instrument per voice in the original score should be represented in the
recording personnel. A third could be that the players are all chosen from a
well-known orchestra, albeit reduced, with corresponding arrangement, but
under one of their regular conductors. What is an orchestra?
We do know for a fact that in the Victor Orchestra (conductor Walter Rogers)
in 1905, all the first and second violin & viola were Stroh instruments. A
trombone for 'cello part and another trombone for the trombone part, and a
Helicon bass for the bass part. Calvin Child said "We have been unable to use
the local musicians [i.e. musicians not from New York] to any advantage, as
their style is extremely loggy and heavy". For this reason I doubt that
technical recording staff were mixed in with the proper musicians to handle
----- you mention a mirror used by some of the players to see the conductors.
One may actually be seen in front of the French horn player in the "manned"
The "von Beulow" cylinder mystery is solved
> and some press reports whose subject is early recordings are degarbled.
----- incidentally, I also reported on one "igloo" situation in 1986. However,
that was in connection with a discussion of VTMC's remarkable DR recording
setup. Is there any connection here?
> You can't download it, so you'll have to read all about it in the magazine.
> I'm hoping part two will be accompanied by examples posted on the magazine's
> web site. It's in England, where such early recordings are pd, unlike in
> another country I could mention.
----- I was not aware that CRC made examples available in connection with
their articles; do you have the web address for that? Also, may we hope for a
bibliography as well as a "black disc discography" at the end of part two?
Kind regards, and thanks,