Thank you, Steve, for these memories, and for clarifying their business
model. I note this (poor) listing of their records on the web --
it doesn't even include the one I am asking about.
Also, as you probably know, there is a Urania CD label in Europe which
reissues old classical recordings. But they have reissued none of
the American-made Urania releases.
On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 10:11 AM, Steve Smolian <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> At one point, maybe 1962-3, Urania physically combined its distribution
> warehouse with that of Haydn Society. The same staff packed and shipped
> orders for both labels. I visited this warehouse then, in the company of a
> friend who was running Haydn Society for its owners and had arranged this
> During various conversations at about this time, it was clear that tapes
> were a small market for Urania. They were more focused on LP records by a
> long shot. Their extensive catalog of wartime and postwar German radio
> performances supplied by an entity in East Germany was the backbone of its
> The issue of the day was less about tapes than if mono records should be
> made in fake stereo as well and if it was necessary to describe them as
> mono originals that had been altered to give this effect- an ethical
> problem for all manufacturers at the time and worth of study.
> Tapes for Haydn Society and Urania were duplicated by Julie Koenens (sp?)
> at Dubbings, a small facility that I visited about this time. If there was
> more than one employee, doing secretarial services, I didn't see him. I no
> longer recall if they were made in real time or double speed, but it was
> deliberately slow compared with other duplication houses to get better
> quality. These were 2 track, of course.
> The Paul Price records (I think there were two) were issued and reissued
> many times, increasingly as cheaper products as Urania changed hands. A
> history of the company appeared in Classic Record Collector in multiple
> The Price, the Kansas City Philharmonic and other U.S. made recordings
> were of such nature that I always thought they were privately
> underwritten. From casual conversations at the time I know the company
> had no capital for this kind of adventure on its oiwn.
> Steve Smolian
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of David Lewis
> Sent: Monday, January 18, 2016 9:22 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Craft Urania "Ballet Mécanique" -- anyone got the t
> I have here the album "Percussion!" (Urania UX 134; the mono version)
> which opens with George Antheil's "Ballet Mécanique" as performed by the
> late Robert Craft and what is called the "Los Angeles Contemporary Music
> Ensemble," recorded in 1959 or so. Urania would have issued this also as a
> stereo LP, but their main activity was in manufacturing open reel tapes for
> high end hi-fi audio equipment -- the LPs were something of an afterthought.
> So this LP of "Ballet Mécanique" is unique and interesting in that it
> begins at about letter "C" of the 1954 Weintraub edition of Antheil's
> piece; that's kind of like issuing a recording of Beethoven's Fifth
> Symphony without the "dat da da dahhh" part, and it's missing about the
> first three minutes of the work.
> But I wonder if the tape is complete and the missing three merely trimmed
> off the LP for lack of time? So, if anyone has that tape, I'd like to know
> if it opens with "dat dat dat dat dat dat (!crash) dat dat dat dat" rather
> than the lead-in to the first "Oh, my baby" canon, as it does here.
> Uncle Dave Lewis
> Hamilton, OH