well played and extremely well recorded: Saint-Saëns (Carnaval des animaux)
and Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake) conducted by Jonel Perlea: R-199-160.
original R-199-11 Scheherazade recording of H. Arthur Brown which was to be replaced
by the Karl Rucht performance.
second cover was used for both the H. Arthur Brown and Karl Rucht releases with
the same reference number.
the release of R-199-172 in a new cover.
Rasher around 1950.
Becker made several recordings in the
Bertelsmann Schallplattenring 8135 a variety of Remington artists can be heard:
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Alexander Jenner, Karl Rucht and Laszlo Halasz.
Martzy plays Violin Concerto of Antonin Dvorak on LPM 18152
'Stabat Mater' and Kodaly 'Psalmus Hungaricus' on 2 LPs: 18 203/04 LPM
later release of Kodaly 'Psalmus Hungaricus' on a single disc coupled with Symphony
of Psalms - LPM 19073
(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 music lover
was surprised to find that an orchestra of this stature was recording for Don
Gabor's Remington Records. 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 orchestra on a budget label like Remington
Berlin, on the 7th of February 1946, the "Drahtfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor"
(DIAS) is founded. Initially the programs are broadcast via the telephone cable.
But most telephone lines were distroyed. 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 The American Sector/Radio im Amerikanischem Sektor). This radio
station is in need of an orchestra for broadcasting music programs.
World War II in all regions ("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.
'das Sinfonie-Orchester des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks' with conductor
Hans-Schmidt-Isserstedt is founded.
early image of Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt and "his" NWDR Symphony Orchestra.
Edited image from the cover of the recording
of Dvorak's New World Symphony -
Telefunken LE 6505 from 1954.
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). Just to mention two.
Berlin it is the 'RIAS Symphonie Orchester', 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 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, composer of many film scores.
Some time later Sergiu Celebidache conducts "an all Gershwin program"
which immediately puts the orchestra on the map.
edited picture of a RIAS microphone was taken from Europäischer Phonoklub
Opera release 3112. It is the recording of violinist "Adolf Wreege mit seinem
RIAS -Orchester". The microphone is probably a Neumann CMV3.
Director of the
classical music division of the radio station is Elsa Schiller who later
became the famous recording producer for Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. She
persuades Ferenc Fricsay to come to Berlin. 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 Bartók, Berg, Blacher, Hindemith, Kodaly, Schönberg, Stravinsky, Von Einem,
Egk and Tcherepnin. And 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 were made in the Jesus Christus Kirche, not just because
of its acoustics but also because that was probably the only alternative to the
Titania Palast which was 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.
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 the former center of the NAZI government,
was regarded as very controversial and received severe criticism. But by performing
in the destructed city of Berlin, Yehudi Menuhin sent a strong message to the
world: We have to look forward. Not only that, but he certainly indicated that
many suffered 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 with the Berliner Philharmoniker,
both conducted by Wilhelm Furtwaengler, were a natural consequence of his
stance. The image shows
Yehudi Menuhin and Wilhelm Furtwaengler listening to a playback. (Image courtesy
Yorgos Manessis from Greece.)
it appears that maintaining this orchestra is a costly affair, despite the fact
that the general economic situation improves somewhat. The orchestra has an enormous
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. So in July 1953 they
decide to cut the budget. In fact they stop financing the orchestra. That is why
from 1954 on 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. 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.
Several musicians leave the RIAS orchestra and those who remain get paid only
for rehearsal time and performances.
The only way to keep the RIAS Symphony Orchestra alive is by hiring guest conductors
for singular concert performances and by earning extra money through commercial
recordings with record companies. One of these is the Hannover-based Deutsche
Grammophon Gesellschaft who continue to make recordings with the orchestra,
generally with Fricsay, but also a few with Wolfgang Rennert, Ferdinand Leitner,
Richard Kraus, Vilnus Komor and Kurt Goebel. A few recordings are made by Telefunken
with Artur Rother (Liszt, Mendelssohn, Verdi). A remarkable and rare recording
is the Deutsche Grammophon issue with Fritz Lehman and cellist Enrico
Mainardi playing the Cello Concerto of Robert Schumann. This recording is
later attrubuted to the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, probably because this
recording was issued in 1956 when the name of the orchestra had been changed.
However, the original Deutsche Grammophon disc LPM 18 222 mentions RIAS Symphony.
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 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 Germany.
Fact is that Don Gabor does not buy ready tapes, and in no case tapes of obscure
and illegal origin, as so many music lovers and competitors always suspected.
In those early years of the long playing record, Gabor's Remington Records is
one of the largest (if not the largest) independent label with a significant turnover.
He 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.
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.
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 recorded on tape by gthe Remington
people. This tight schedule led - at least at one time - to a more or less hilarious
happening with conductor Günther Wand. Mr.
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".
Günther 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
knew of course many colleagues and performing artists. In collaboration with Bertelsmann
Schallplattenring he hires a host of able 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), 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
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 satisfying recordings, Laszlo Halasz
- like so many other artists and conductors - signs Heinrich Köhler's scrapbook.
best wishes to a great orchestra and hope for a long and happy association - Sincerely,
Laszlo Halasz, Febr. 20. 1954.
date Halasz writes is February 20, but it is suspected that recording started
already by the end of 1953.
Not well known is conductor Karl Rucht.
And the name of André
Gabriel is surrounded by mistery.
Spivakovsky plays Glazunov?
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. André Gabriel appears to be a pseudonym, but for who? For Roman
Totenberg? Or was the 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? 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.
Catalog (Complete Alphabetical Listing By Composer) issued in the Fall of 1953
may 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 could
not 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. A definite
conclusion cannot be drawn because - as far as my research goes - 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 mentioned
in the catalogs of these German firms.
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. 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 autogram from February 1st, 1954. And Georg Ludwig Jochum did sign
the book on the following day. Seen the differences in execution, I do - for the
time being - suspect that Totenberg is the soloist on R-199-191. The record was
released in the Spring of 1955.
It is 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 modern recordings evoke. The Remington performance
has a wonderful, lyrical and dramatic concept with depth, detail, and 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
fine rendering of the score is in contrast to the somewhat less structured approaches
of Ferenc Fricsay with Erica Morini and Vaclav Smetacek with Ida Haendel for instance.
Jochum and the soloist know how to re-create the score with its varying moods
in a very expressive and at times humble, yet effective way. Here the old - but
magnificent - school is talking to the listener. - R.A.B.
for a Sound Clip of Cadenza and the beginning of the Third Movement of the Glazunov
On January 9,
2012, Allan Evans of
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 characeristic of Frequency Modulation Radio 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. -
Totenberg who was born on January 1,1911, in Lodz, Poland, passed away on May
recordings 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.
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
compared the Urania Scheherazade to the Remington RIAS and found that these
are different recordings.
to keep the appealing Steinweiss cover as it originally was used for the Brown
recording, 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 that are 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. The change of the name is probably
made because the contract with Bertelsmann had been breached and had ended prematurely.
A later re-release with the name Rucht was unlawful.
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 told me that Karl Rucht was a trumpeter in
the Berlin Philharmonic who started to take up conducting..
(Image taken from Berlin Philharmonic
catalogue of concerts. Image supplied by Ernst A. Lumpe.)
on Remington Musirama not only shows excellent ensemble playing but 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.
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 in the years 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 his other orchestra. - R.A.B.
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).
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
there is some wow in the recorded sound. It is possible that the tape did not
reach the correct speed when the recording started or the cutting lathe did not
yet reach the right speed when the laquer was cut and no second laquer was cut.
made with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra and released on Remington records:
Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov) - Karl Rucht, conductor.
La boîte à joujoux - The Box of Toys (Debussy) - Jonel Perlea, conductor.
Carnival of Animals - Carnaval des animaux (Saint-Saëns)) and Excerpts
from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky) - Jonel Perlea, conductor.
for a Sound Clip of 'Le cygne' (The Swann) from 'Carnival of Animals' performed
by cellist Heinrich Köhler.
the highest admiration for the very excellent Rias orchestra,
Mit höchster Bewunderung für das ganz vozügliche Rias Orchester,
Jonel Perlea 28/8/53
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Brahms) - Edward Kilenyi, pianist and Jonel
Piano Concerto No. 1 and Totentanz (Liszt) -
and Jonel Perlea, conductor.
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 (19191973) 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 of Franz 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?
Orchestral excerpts from Wagner operas -
George Sebastian, conductor.
of George Sebastian taken from an advertisement for Remington MUSIRAMA releases.
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.
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.
vielen 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.
my dear RIAS Orchestra - with sincere thanks for professional music making. November/January
1953/54. Otto Matzerath.
lieben Rias Orhester - mit herzlichen Dank für professionelles Musizieren.
November/Januar 1953/54. Otto Matzerath.
Wagnerian Overtures - Leopold Ludwig, conductor.
Symphony No. 1 (Schumann) - Otto Matzerath, conductor - released Spring
Light French Opera Overtures: Von Suppé, Adam, Aubert, Maillart - Gerhard
Music by Offenbach "Offenbachiana" arranged and conducted
by Manuel Rosenthal.
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
Can Can (Offenbach) - Manuel Rosenthal, conductor (coupled with selections
from the musical Can Can played by Tony Osborne and his orchestra).
Violin Concerto (Glazunov) - André Gabriel, violin and Georg Ludwig
Jochum, conductor (coupled with The Origin of Fire (Sibelius) with the
Helsinki University Chorus
and soloist Sulus Saarits, baritone, and Pohjolas Daughter, Op. 49
(Sibelius). Probably recorded in February, 1954, when Georg Ludwig Jochum signed
the scrapbook of cellist Heinrich Köhler.
heartely thank you to the outstanding RIAS Orchestra for many and fine hours of
faithfull following. Georg Ludwig Jochum. February 2nd, 1954
augezeichneten RIAS-Orchester einen herzlichen Dank für viele und schöne
Stunden treuer Gefolgschaft. Georg Ludwig Jochum. 2 - 2 - 1954
Orchestral medley from The Beggar Student (Millöcker) -
Gerhard Becker, conductor.
Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 (Bach), Concerto Grosso No. 5(Handel) -
Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor.
Concerto No. 1 (Tchaikovsky) -
Conrad Hansen, pianist
and Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor.
Symphony No. 5 (Sibelius) - Jussi Jalas, conductor.
Francesca da Rimini (Tchaikovsky) and Theme and Variations (Tchaikovsky) - Anatole
my thanks for the recordings! And You personally all the best for 1954!
Dank für die Aufnahmen! Und Ihnen persönlich alles Gute für 1954!
Ihr Wolfgang Sawallisch.
on a Theme by Haydn (Brahms) - Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting. Coupled
with Tragic Overture (Brahms), Academic Festival Overture (Brahms) with conductor
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. Below Leopold Ludwig.
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.
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.
were also recordings made in cooperation with Bertelsmann 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.
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).
Tefi Schallband was an alternative to the gramophone record, the wire recorder,
tape recorder and the
Philips Miller Sound Recording
Tefifon was invented by Dr. Karl Daniel (1905-1977). The sound was engraved
on an endless film and was originally read by a crystal pick up cartridge and
in later years by a moving magnet (MM) cartridge incorporated in the designs.
The principle of this system 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).
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.
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
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.
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, just to mention a few.
The collaboration with
Bertelsmann 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.
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. 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.
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 (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 is that the contract with the RIAS Orchestra and Bertelsmann is prematurely
ended. That is why 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
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
Coppelia - George Sebastian
*Glinka: A Life for The Tsar Overture -
*Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture - Otto
*Glinka: Waltz Fantasy - Anatole Fistoulari
Ballet Music from Margarethe - Wolfgang Sawallisch
Symphony No. 4 - Otto Matzerath
*Ponchielli: Dance of the Hours -
Russian Easter Overture - George Sebastian
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
*Strauss: Don Juan - Otto
*Strauss: Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks - Otto Matzerath
*Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italien - Anatole Fistoulari
Marche Slave (Slavomic March) - Karl Rucht
*Tchaikovsky: Serenade for
Strings - H. Charlier
*Weber: Invitation to the Dance - Otto Matzerath
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 Karajan's Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
She could have been the first woman in that famous sound body (Klangkörper)
but conductor, management and members wanted to keep the Berliner Philharmoniker
strictly a men's affair and Helga went to live in Sweden to play in the orchestra
of Göteborg. She played with the RIAS Youth Orchestra conducted by
Willy Hanuschke. That performance was coupled with Brandenburg Concerto No. 4
performed by the RIAS Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch - Bertelsmann
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").
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 Viennese disc with "conductor
X" - was made at the time of Lucia di Lammermoor and of music by American
composers Brant, Glanville-Hicks, etc..
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 and 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
the covers 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
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 more for fun 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.
After Columbia Records had won the case against Don Gabor, 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, many records were
released with the Remington style labels and the Masterseal logo was erased from
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.
Bertelsmann founded the Ariola division, many of the "Remington recordings"
were released on their Classique label. To mention a few:
- Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Conrad Hansen and conductor
16 087D - Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.
3 conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch.
13153H - Hindemith: Matthis
der Mahler performed by the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by
made with the RIAS Symphony Orchestra and released on Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft
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
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.
Fricsay (August 9, 1914 -February 20, 1963)
(Photo Copyright Schumacher/Deutsche
the homepage maintained by Ferenc Fricsay's daughter
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:
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), Bartok's 3rd Piano Concerto with Monique Haas (18223
LPM), his 'Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta' (LP 16074), and
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.
and Dance Suite (LPM 18153), 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), 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 20, 32 and 35 (18066 LPM), Nos. 41 and 29 (18290
LP), 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).
Like Winnifred Atwell, who wanted to record Grieg's Piano Concerto, 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).
All the original releases of these recordings - except the Variable Micro Grade
78 RPM pressings - had gatefold covers. Initially these covers had the compartments
taped at the edges with blue linen tape. The later releases had the stitched compartments
which then became the the trademark of Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft for many
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.
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.
thanks to Mr. Heinrich Köhler, cellist of the RIAS Symphony Orchestra, 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 and providing the
signature of Roman Totenberg from February 1st, 1954. 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.I
also thank Mrs. Marta Dobay-Fricsay, for linking to this page. She built and maintains
a stylish website in honor of her late father, conductor Ferenc Fricsay.
and research Rudolf A. Bruil - Page created August, 2001.and expanded since.