Phonograph Monthly Review, Vol. 3, No. 5 (1929-02)

Record Details:

Something wrong or inaccurate about this page? Let us Know!

Thanks for helping us continually improve the quality of the Lantern search engine for all of our users! We have millions of scanned pages, so user reports are incredibly helpful for us to identify places where we can improve and update the metadata.

Please describe the issue below, and click "Submit" to send your comments to our team! If you'd prefer, you can also send us an email to with your comments.

We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) during our scanning and processing workflow to make the content of each page searchable. You can view the automatically generated text below as well as copy and paste individual pieces of text to quote in your own work.

Text recognition is never 100% accurate. Many parts of the scanned page may not be reflected in the OCR text output, including: images, page layout, certain fonts or handwriting.

The Phonograph Monthly Review 167 February, 1929 A BENEDICTION Editor, Phonograph Monthly Review : I wish to answer F. M.’s question as to whether a whole- sale reduction in price of Victor, Columbia and Brunswick records would be advantageous. Wholesale reductions are out of the question. Brunswick need not be mentioned be- cause it is impossible to sell good records for less than their present prices. As for Columbia, I always thought them reasonable and perhaps I expected too much when I asked why they charged for album sets more than for single high grade orchestral discs. As for Victor, they still maintain a somewhat higher level, which may be justified under certain conditions. I am perhaps not so much interested in the subject of prices as some would believe, but before dropping it en- tirely, I cannot help pointing to the specific example of the recent Victor Muck album. I do not recall where Victor ever charged more than $1.50 for a foreign orchestral record. When I saw that they were asking $2 for these records, I pe- sumed that they felt justified in so doing because of Dr. Muck’s reputation. My mind reverted, however, to those magnificent Muck recordings made in Bayreuth, for which Columbia was satisfied to ask $1.50. While I have yet to hear the Victor numbers, I cannot for a moment believe that they are superior to the others. I know that $2 worth of pleasure can be gotten out of them, but is it not conceivable that other people will be struck with the same thought? Nobody is compelled to buy anything they believe too ex- pensive. I trust that F. M.’s question is answered. His apology is very graceful and I appreciate it, though I did not feel the need of it at all. Your readers no doubt felt the same elation I experienced when I read in your January issue the Victor special New Year’s list. I noticed that there were included two num- bers I have been agitating for, the Brahms Variations on a Theme of Haydn and the Rosenkavalier set. Now let all of us who have taken up space in your valuable columns put shoulders to the wheel and show our sincerity by supporting Victor in its generous enterprise. The entire list is full of good things, including fare for the highbrows. I noticed in The Gramophone that some of their readers are submitting lists of six favorites they would like to see recorded. Six is a very small number, and in fact, some of the masterpieces submitted have since been recorded. Little by little, the old war horses are being gotten out of the way and then we may expect to have better things. I re- call, when I started reading your magazine, that a voting contest of this kind was about ending. No doubt it had results, but inasmuch as we cannot all be satisfied at one time, I am submitting a somewhat similar idea, which may be a bit far-fetched to some. Let your readers submit a small list and then pick out a few which receive the most votes, or else you pick a representative list and let the readers submit their first, second, third, etc., choices, adding their assurance that they will purchase them if recorded. The entire cor- respondence then could be submitted to the leading recording companies, and they will perhaps feel encouraged to ex- periment with a few, knowing that they are assured of a certain number of sales. We can in this way hasten the production of what may otherwise take several years to bring about. I have first in mind a complete recording of what I con- sider a work of heavenly inspiration, the Brahms Piano Con- certo No. 2 in B Flat. It would be a feather in the cap of the company which would undertake this work, but it would be extremely disappointing if it were to be made with any cuts. I also suggest Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto complete. We may also hasten the recording of a Sibelius, Bruckner or Mahler symphony. We ought to have at least one of each. For a complete recording of a short opera, how about Hansel und Gretel, an acknowledged mas- terpiece. As yet, no American catalogue contains mention of an electrical Schumann Piano Concerto. Here is Colum- bia’s chance: Myra Hess will satisfy us. The early acoustic Columbia albums are very rich in musical content. Why not remake them a little more rapidly? They are better than some of the more recent releases. Can we not persuade Brunswick to follow up its good work by bringing over from England the Dvorak No. 4, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and the Brandenburg Concertos of Bach, which The Gramophone announced in its columns? My last request is the H. M. V. French recording of De Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain. These all are unhackneyed gems but have ' ■ — ■!! . 1- H the elements of popularity. Let ’em come. I think that the Bayreuth recording of Tristan und Isolde will prove one of the new year’s biggest efforts. Undoubtedly, a very good beginning has been made and I again express the hope that enough music lovers will come forward with their support to justify the enterprise of the manufacturers. With best wishes for a prosperous New Year. New 7 York City, N. Y. Emil V. Benedict SOME HISTORICAL POINTS Editor, Phonograph Monthly Review : I note one slight error in the very interesting article about the Boston Symphony Orchestra, published in the January issue. The acoustic records by the Boston Symphony were not put on the market in 1914, as stated in the article, but instead were released in December, 1917. Speaking of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, I believe I may have discovered another record besides those of this organization’s with which we are already familiar. Today, while looking over a very old Victor catalog in which records were listed numerically, I found the following entry: 16054 Kerry Dance, Boston Symphony Orch—Trombone Qt. From this is appears that in i908 the Victor issued a record of James Lyman Molloy’s composition, “The Kerry Dance”, played by a diverting combination consisting of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, greatly assisted by a trombone quartet (!) Of course, what is more likely is that the number was recorded by a trombone quartet formed from ’members of the orchestra. The other side of the black label record was “The Chapel,” by the Victor Brass Quartet. Unfortunately, I was able to secure no more information about it, for it is not listed in any alphabetical record catalog of mine. Mr. Levy’s letter, as I remarked in a letter to you several weeks ago, I consider the most interesting ever to appear in the Correspondence Columns, and I, for one, being a ‘bug” about historical records, w;ould appreciate his writing at more length about the earliest days of the industry. As I have often remarked, I believe the greatest single im- provement that could take place in the phonograph business would be the establishing, by every company, of a white label service so that special pressings of cut out records could be secured. At present only Victor furnishes such service. More than long playing records, improved electric motors or any other development, is needed a system of supplying copies of discontinued records to those who want them. A record once issued should be eternally available. I wonder if Mr. Levy, Mr. Oman, Mr. Gerstle, or my own good friend, Mr. Franck, all of whom seem to be authorities on historical records, can clear up two points that long have puzzled me. The first is, who was the sonorous toned gentleman who used to “announce” on the very earliest Edison cylinder records? In the pioneer days, it was the usual thing to have this man, whose voice was strongly reminiscent of that Biblically attributed to the bulls of Bashan, roar out the title of the selection, and the name of the artist and the recording company. If anyone knows who he was, I think his name should be recorded in these columns so he may not be entirely forgotten. The second question is, What kind of a phonograph was the Busy Bee? In ancient Sears-Roebuck catalogs, after listings of disc records and both the two and four minute varieties of the cylinder type, was printed the warning: “These records will not play on the Busy Bee machine.” What sort of a phonograph was it that would play neither the disc or cylinder records? The best I have been able to do is to think that perhaps it was one which used lateral cut cylinder records. I have good news, from reliable authority, that Edison will soon begin issuing needle-cut records and will probably enter vigorously into the “classical records” competition. This, together with Sonora’s promise of a good long play- ing record and intention of issuing good records should prove welcome to all music lovers, for when it comes to putting out worth while music our sentiments should be the more the merrier. Both Sonora and Edison have made worthwhile progress in recent months, the one with the Sonora Melodeon and the other with the New Edison electrically amplifying phonograph and radio. Marion, Va. Ulysses J. Walsh