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ARSCLIST  March 2006

ARSCLIST March 2006

Subject:

Re: Which U.S. Orchestra Recorded First?

From:

George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 28 Mar 2006 02:37:52 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (79 lines)

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 
beyond ARSClist!!
 
> 
> 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 
the Strohs.

----- 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" 
Ginn studio.

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,


George

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