Classical 'Society' Records by Nick Morgan
This wiki is devoted to classical 'society' records, labels and editions of the '78 rpm' (short-play,) record era.
It aims to document:
- the records themselves
- the artists who performed on these records
- the organisations which published these records
- the individuals who founded and ran these organisations
- (where possible and relevant) the contemporary reception of these records by the societies' members, critics and others
It is compiled and published by Nick Morgan, using the open-source package.
It is not a 'true' wiki. You cannot edit pages (sorry), but you are of course very welcome to send in corrections, additional information and constructive criticism.
This is the main or home page. It summarizes the wiki's genesis, aims, scope, structure, sources, quirks and so on.
Once you've read this page, and if you intend to revisit this wiki, you might find it might be more useful to bookmark the list of all this wiki's pages (also in the menu to your left).
For dates of creation and latest update, please see 'Page information' in left sidebar.
The N.G.S. apparently pioneered the 'society' model of record production in 1924; no earlier instance is known of a label which financed recordings by subscription, and sold them solely or principally to subscribers and/or members.
From 1931, this model was taken up by the ), (first issue in 1935) and (first issue in 1936); all of these were more or less successful, some running to several volumes. In late 1935, launched a 'Purcell Club', but it was not funded by subscription, nor were its issues for sale only to members; after this, nothing more was heard of the Purcell Club or of any planned future issues.of Great Britain, for 'society' editions on its labels (H.M.V.; first issue in 1932
Many of these later 'society' editions became classics of the gramophone, and some are still available today in transfers on modern media. Much less well known are the small, independent labels, initially in Japan and the USA, which also adopted the N.G.S.'s 'society' model. These labels do not seem to have been studied or documented in any detail; they, along with the N.G.S., are the subjects of this wiki.
Finally, after World War II, subscription and 'club' labels became a mainstay of the new market for long-playing records, a development outside the scope of this wiki.
- To document its subject
- To contribute to the historiography of classical, (mostly) instrumental music on record
- To help music-lovers, students and collectors find recordings they may not know of, or may not have been able to track down
- To experiment with discographical content
- To experiment with publishing online
Originally, this wiki was intended as a collection of label discographies, with brief histories of each and basic information about artists. Over time, though, the artist entries have grown into full biographies, and the same treatment extended to those who ran 'society' labels. In particular, artists' histories of performance - in concert, on stage or in broadcasts - are charted in sometimes tedious detail. This process gave rise to a conviction that discography can no longer be divorced from the context of artists' and entrepreneurs' careers. Whether this wiki's partly discursive, partly documentary pages make for easy or enjoyable reading, and on a computer to boot, is very much open to question. Still, they are the best that could be done with limited coding skills and imagination. What is needed is probably something like- but so are a lot of time and intelligence to learn and master it.
Publishing online has obvious advantages: web pages can be created, corrected and updated more easily and cheaply than printed pages. Perhaps most importantly, they can be searched, and searched for. (An advantage claimed for printed reference works is that leafing through them leads to serendipitous finds; but so does browsing websites.) And they can make better use of the resources of the internet: wherever possible, this wiki links to online resources: reference sources (including Wikipedia, though not, haters will be relieved to learn, as a discographical source), digitized historical documents, images, sounds and so on.
None of the above is intended in anyway to disparage existing printed discographies, of which many are justly famous, highly respected and unlikely to be surpassed. But print publishing is not the way forward, and discography both old and new is moving online.
What were record 'societies'? They have not been studied in depth, academically or for a general readership.
For the purposes of this wiki, they can can divided into two types:
- societies formed by owners and users of records and record-players, so as to further their knowledge and enjoyment of both
- societies which commissioned and/or published recordings for their members' benefit
The second grew out of the first, and is the principal subject of this wiki.
Quite a few record companies and labels included terms akin to 'society' in their names. Very few were 'societies' in the sense used here. For instance, France's  as far as is known, it recorded standard, mainstream repertoire of its time (1906-1910), and the records it produced were marketed through normal retail channels without restriction, even if they sold in small numbers. (A later example of such an 'artist-owned' label, from the long-playing record era, was the Society of Participating Artists, founded by the conductor .)(APGA) was in effect a commercial company, formed by a coalition of artists (mainly singers) who wished to control their recording activities and remuneration;
In several languages, words commonly translated into English as 'society' also have the more narrowly commercial meaning 'company'. So, for instance, Germany's  Examples from other countries include the Société éditrice musique sacrée (France; widely known as 'Musique au Vatican'), the Sociedad fonográfica española Hugens y Acosta (Spain), and the Schweizerische Tonkunstplatten-Gesellschaft or Société Suisse des Disques Phonographiques d'Art (Switzerland).(DGG) was, during the 1920s, a limited (joint-stock) company.
What the organizations documented in this wiki had in common was that they restricted their operations in some way, most obviously by choosing repertoire which appeared too narrow in appeal to be commercial. To achieve this, three of them financed their recordings by subscription, and sold them principally to the subscribers, although some of those recordings were also made available (at the time or later) to non-subscribers. These issues were also limited editions, which in principle would not be re-pressed once they had sold out, although this principle also proved flexible. All these organisations contracted out the production of their issues to fully-fledged commercial record companies.
The Friends of Recorded Music operated as a society but did not finance its productions by subscription. Nevertheless, it is included in this wiki, because it specialized in previously unrecorded repertoire, and overtly modelled itself on the National Gramophonic Society. It also seems likely that, again like the N.G.S., it was not a legally constituted commercial entity, but merely a subsidiary activity of its parent business, a record review magazine. Likewise, the two smaller societies documented here almost certainly had no legal status. Thus, subscription, and/or restricted repertoire, and/or limited editions, and/or a non-commercial, informal constitution, are the main distinguishing features of society labels. Even the global companies' society editions shared some or most of them, apart from the last.
The societies documented in this wiki issued mainly chamber and solo instrumental music, and only a relatively small amount of vocal music. There are various reasons for this. It so happened that Compton Mackenzie, founder of the N.G.S., was especially fond of chamber music, and especially outraged by what he perceived as its neglect by commercial record companies. He was not wrong: until the later 1920s, chamber music did form a very small proportion of commercial catalogues of 'classical' records, whereas vocal music had been one of their mainstays from the beginning. Mackenzie founded the N.G.S. as a remedy for this imbalance. Although he mooted art and folk songs (but no choral music) for possible recording by the Society, it issued just 7 vocal sides out of a total of 332. Luckily, instrumental music was relatively easy and inexpensive to record (though this was also true of, say, vocal solos or duets); undeniably, too, chamber music had a certain 'highbrow' cachet, which made it attractive to those interested in conveying or affirming status and taste, desired or real.
In Japan, the N.G.S.'s earliest imitator initially followed its lead by commissioning first a solo instrumental album and then a string quartet. It then went to the opposite extreme and issued (but probably did not commission or pay for) Beethoven's Missa solemnis in D major Op.123, by far the most substantial work documented in this wiki. Of just 4 discs issued by the Chicago Gramophone Society, two were solo instrumental and two vocal; had the Society not folded, it might well have gone on to issue some chamber music, and very probably more instrumental solos. The output of The Friends of Recorded Music more closely resembled that of the N.G.S., with more than two thirds of issued sides containing solo instrumental music, followed by a fifth with chamber music and a tenth with vocal music (The Friends also issued one private disc of vocal music).
Why then exclude societies like the I.R.C.C. and H.R.S. (see below), which issued only vocal music? These were fundamentally different: their members wanted records of specific singers, often in specific roles, whereas members of the societies documented in this wiki were interested almost exclusively in repertoire (only very rarely did they suggest or request recordings by named performers). Vocal connoisseurship dominated the early practice and discourse of classical record collecting, and still does; conductors, violinists and pianists come next in (rough) order of popularity, while collectors of chamber music were and remain a very small coterie.
Initially, this wiki intends to document the following labels:
- the National Gramophonic Society (N.G.S.)
- Dainippon Meikyoku Records Seisaku Hanpu Kwai (大日本名曲レコード制作頒布会)
- the Chicago Gramophone Society
- The Friends of Recorded Music
For future inclusion
- the Cherubini Society
- the Croydon Celebrity Recording Society
- the Handel Society
- the Isis record society of Oxford University
- strangely, even the Gramophone Company's celebrated 'society' editions, and Decca's sole 'club' edition, have been documented only rather haphazardly, in discographies and general histories, and by being transferred to other media, but no dedicated monograph or discography has charted in detail their genesis, production, issue, life in the catalogues, reception and after-life. In future, if time and resources allow, these editions will perhaps be added to this wiki
At the time of writing (autumn 2018), it is not known if the following labels qualify for this wiki:
- Schallplatten-Volksverband ('People's Record Club'), published from 1931 to 1942 by the German company Clangor-Schallplatten; unlike the labels listed above, it adopted a business model familiar from 'book of the month' clubs, and was itself an offshoot of a pioneering and well-known German . The repertoire issued by the Schallplatten-Volksverband was, in the main, very much mainstream commercial material. The label apparently aimed to compete with existing distribution channels rather than to publish repertoire that was not commercially viable or available from other commercial sources
- DeBeGe, another German label likewise affiliated with a , as do (Deutsche Buch-Gemeinschaft, 'German Book Association'), and which remains to be investigated
- Bu-Scha (Bund deutscher Schallplattenfreunde, 'League of German Record-Lovers') and
- Volksverband der Musikfreunde (V.d.M, 'People's Club of Music-Lovers'), both poorly documented German mail-order 'club' labels
Finally, if previously unknown society editions or labels are discovered, they will also be added.
- New Music Quarterly Recordings (later New Music Recordings), founded and run by  , and underwritten by . This label, like the N.G.S. an off-shoot of a magazine, has been authoritatively documented by Rita H. Mead and David Hall
- the Haydn Society was both a music publisher and a record label, founded in Boston in early 1949 by a group including the musicologist and champion of Haydn  ; funded initially by an uncle's bequest to Robbins Landon, the Society planned to use subscriptions to finance its publications and releases, and to reward subscribers with discounts, but its recordings sold so well that this apparently became unnecessary and the label operated as a standard commercial concern. It has been well documented by Robbins Landon's friend and colleague
- the International Record Collectors' Club (I.R.C.C.), founded in 1932 and active into the LP era, issued re-pressings of historical vocal records (some previously unissued)
- the Historical Record Club, a rival of the I.R.C.C.
- Dahlemer Musikgesellschaft zur Förderung junger Künstler (Dahlem Music Society for the Promotion of Young Artists), set up in 1947 in the American-occupied sector of Berlin, as a joint venture between US and German cultural officials. Its main activity was the promotion of concerts, but a small number of records of modern German music was issued under its name. These were distributed to US libraries, universities, music critics and institutions, and so do not fall within the scope of this wiki. They are due to be documented by Peter Adamson in a forthcoming issue of , the journal of the
- Det danske Selskab (the Danish Society; since 1989, the ), set up in 1940 to promote Danish culture and subsidised by the Danish government, has sponsored recordings of Danish classical music by various labels, and has never operated as a private or subscription society
- Club français de discophilie and Société française de discophilie, whose relationship to each other is unclear, appear not to have issued any records and remain to be investigated
- societies devoted to repertoires other than classical music, such as the United Hot Clubs of America (U.H.C.A.) and Hot Record Society (H.R.S.), are not documented in this wiki
Unissued recordings made for labels documented in this wiki are also included, where known.
In principle, the period covered by this wiki is the '78 rpm' era. In practice, as of late 2018 it documents activities from late 1923, when the N.G.S. was first mooted, to late 1940, the date of the last known issue by The Friends of Recorded Music.
All records listed in this wiki are lateral-cut discs. In recent years some record societies have issued new or historical recordings on cylinder (e.g. the CLPGS's), but no such issues by historical societies are known. Disc sizes are are noted in all discographical entries.
Records were made using both acoustical and electrical recording systems of various types. Where known, these are noted in discographical entries.
This wiki is an assemblage of the following types of pages:
- label pages, documenting a 'society' label
- label discographies, listing on one page the entire output of a 'society' label
- issue pages, documenting each issue in more detail than the label discographies, and listing some (but not necessarily all) institutions holding copies of the discs and transfers to other media
- artist pages, documenting the life and career of an artist or ensemble recorded by a 'society' label; all members of ensembles also have individual artist pages
- personality pages, documenting the life and career of a person involved in a 'society' label as founder, officer, member etc.
- composer pages, documenting either the life and career of a composer recorded by a 'society' label, and who is too obscure to be covered in easily accessible reference sources, or the involvement in a 'society' label of a composer well documented elsewhere, such as John Alden Carpenter
This is a quixotic and possibly naive attempt to promote all these people and aspects of discography, concert and recording history as equally important.
You can start by viewing the list of all pages in this wiki. (This is also accessible via the link in the left-hand side-bar on every page.) Because this list is generated automatically by MediaWiki, it is organized by the first letter of each page's name. As the wiki grows, this list may become a bit unwieldy, so other ways to navigate or search the wiki, listed below, may become more useful.
You can also view a list of recent changes in this wiki (again, also accessible via the link in the left-hand side-bar on every page). It's not very pretty, but it could be useful, although important changes should be announced in a blog.
MediaWiki's 'Category' feature allows pages to be meta-indexed. At the bottom of each page is a list of the 'Categories' which that page belongs to. Clicking on a 'Category' will open a list of all pages in this wiki belonging to that 'Category' (e.g. 'Pianists', 'Chicago Gramophone Society', etc.). You can also browse 'Category' pages by typing the following into the 'Search' box:
The search box at top right will drop down a list of 'Category' pages to choose from, e.g.
Category:Chicago Gramophone Society
To search this wiki, type one or more terms, such as an artist's name, into the 'Search' box at top right. If one or more pages matching your search term(s) exist, the search box will drop down a list of prompts for you to choose from. If no matching page exists and you press
Enter, MediaWiki will generate a list of pages containing one or more of your search terms, for you to choose from.
So, to find a label, type its name into the 'Search' box, e.g.
National Gramophonic Society or
The Friends of Recorded Music
To find an ensemble, do the same: e.g.
Spencer Dyke Quartet or
Modern Chamber Orchestra
To find an artist, composer or other person, it's better (though not imperative) to start with the surname and to use initial capitals: e.g.
Roberts, Marion or
Carpenter, John or
Pollak, Robert (contrary to the practice of e.g. Wikipedia, page titles in this wiki invert first names and surnames).
To find a disc, it's probably easiest to open to the label's discography page and click on an individual issue for detailed information. You can also type a label name, followed by an alphanumeric catalogue identifier, into the 'Search' box: e.g.
Chicago Gramophonic Society 50016-P or
National Gramophonic Society Q or
Friends of Recorded Music 4
Note: Dainippon Meikyoku Records Seisaku Hanpu Kwai branded its discs not with its own name but with that of its commercial partner, Polydor; so, to search for its records, type into the 'Search' box: e.g.
Polydor 1 or
To find a matrix number, type a continuous alphanumeric string, leaving no space(s) between characters, into the 'Search' box: e.g.
GS20 (The first of the above examples is a US Columbia matrix recorded using the Western Electric system; unfortunately, although the Western Electric matrix logo Ⓦ can be displayed by MediaWiki, it cannot be searched for, and so is not used in this wiki.) Although matrix numbers are presented in this wiki as continuous alphanumeric strings, to aid searching, this is not the case for take numbers; thus, the first of the above examples was pressed from take -2, which is presented in this wiki as W91729-2. Other producers used different methods (or none) for denoting takes; on issue pages, these notations are presented both as originally used and, where known, in their numerical equivalents.
In general, this wiki is very prodigal with links, so you should never be far away from a link to a page you might be interested in.
MediaWiki's wild card character is:
*. It can be used only at the end of a search string, not at the beginning or in the middle. It is probably not of great use in this wiki.
MediaWiki normally distinguishes 'internal' links, which are coloured blue and get underlined when pointed at, from 'external' links, likewise blue and underlined, but also followed by a small arrow . That arrow is suppressed in this wiki, as it makes text very cluttered.
Links in red are 'internal' links to pages in this wiki which have not yet been created.
This wiki was composed using Mozilla's Firefox browser, on a largish, landscape-orientation desktop monitor, and is best viewed and navigated on a similar screen. Unfortunately, the skills and manpower required to format it for all screens, devices and browsers are lacking.
Sources and references
This wiki uses MediaWiki's inbuilt reference system. Almost all sources cited or quoted can be found in the References section at the foot of each page, as for instance on this page. On discographical pages, some sources are listed in the body of the text.
Some pages have very many footnotes. MediaWiki allows you to toggle between the main text and footnotes, but doing this can be annoying and distracting. So this wiki uses an additional gadget called 'Reference Tooltips', which shows the content of a footnote in a small pop-up bubble when you hover over the footnote's number. If you don't like this, click on the little wheel in the top right-hand corner of any pop-up and a 'Reference Tooltips options' dialogue box will appear. It should allow you to disable the gadget on your browser, or tweak the gadget in other ways.
This wiki does not use a widely-adopted method for citing a source repeatedly in MediaWiki, which results in an unsightly sequence of superscript symbols and lists sources out of citation order. Instead, no matter how many times a source is cited on any page in this wiki, it is always listed in full in each footnote.
Likewise, this wiki does not use ibid. (etc.) across references, only within them - i.e., only if a source is given twice within a single reference will the author or publication be replaced with id. / ead. or ibid.
If a source is available online and can be consulted without payment, a link to that source is given where possible and practicable. It is recommended to open such links in a new browser tab, to avoid having to reload the original page and possibly losing one's place on that page (in principle, if you do reload a page after following an external link, your browser should return you to your place on that page).
This wiki has no separate bibliography listing all sources used, since the vast majority of them are newspaper articles whose relevance or interest would not be apparent out of context.
An exception are historical and modern discographical sources for this wiki, which are listed in a Discographical bibliography.
Types of sources
Briefly, the types of sources consulted for and cited in this wiki include:
- historical newspapers, consulted from original printed copies and, more commonly, in online repositories, both commercial - e.g. , - and public/open - e.g. , and other US state newspaper archives, (Spanish national digital newspaper archive), (Brazilian national digital newspaper archive) etc.
- historical and modern periodicals, consulted from original printed copies and, more commonly, in online repositories, both academic/commercial - e.g. , - and public/open - e.g. , , etc.
- personal civil and military documents, census returns, travel records, city and trade directories, school and university yearbooks, consulted online at and
- books, articles, websites etc., devoted to composers, artists, and other figures
- personal reminiscences, written and oral, by private communication
- original recordings, both physical copies (including associated printed inserts) and later transfers to other media (including images of inserts, labels and manufacturing marks)
- historical commercial record catalogues and supplements, both original copies and later reproductions
- historical and modern discographies, both printed and online, e.g.
- catalogues and union catalogues of institutional holdings, usually consulted online, e.g. British Library , Yale University Library , , etc.
- musical scores, consulted from original printed copies and, more commonly, in online repositories, mainly and Eastman School of Music
Why so many newspapers?
This wiki cites a very large number of articles from historical, mainly US newspapers. This might surprise anyone who has not used this extraordinarily rich resource. Well into living memory, but especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, newspapers in large cities and small towns alike reported the doings of local citizens and visitors in great detail. The private life, education, and public career of an artist like Mina Hager or a figure like Vories Fisher, neither of whom has been the subject of a biography, could not be investigated to any useful degree without historical newspapers or access to personal papers; an artist as obscure as Lora Orth Kimsey could not be documented at all. As it happens, are publicly accessible, but consulting them entails travelling to Chicago and visiting the Newberry Library in person; and it seems unlikely that even they contain, for instance, details of Hager's public performances in childhood and adolescence, or her appearances in circuit Chautauqua.
Music periodicals, of course, yield plentiful and sometimes detailed reports of artists' lives and careers, but surprisingly few have been digitized or made available online. The National Recording Preservation Board of the US Library of Congress has done valuable work, scanning and making available online (free, via the) recorded music periodicals such as the , H. Royer Smith Co's and , and ; and the John R. Dover Memorial Library of Gardner-Webb University has filled a lacuna by making freely available online (with less than optimal search capabilities, it must be said). But where are , the , , Music News, the Musical Observer, Musical West, the American Music-Lover and Music Lovers' Guide? Some volumes are available in the HathiTrust's , though again with an extremely cumbersome search interface. There is still much work to be done before the internet's self-evident promise and advantages to researchers are fully realised.
I hope to announce new pages and other additions and changes via a blog.
Additions, corrections and suggestions are warmly welcomed. Please.
If this wiki is cited or quoted in an academic publication, a reference in whatever form is preferred would be most welcome.
The greatest debts of gratitude are owed to:
- Michael H. Gray, for discographical help and advice over many years, including information vital to this wiki, and for the invaluable
- , collector, connoisseur and , for generously sharing his forensic knowledge of early records, and for MediaWiki lessons
- , Emeritus Professor of Music, King's College London, for extraordinarily kind, friendly and patient guidance, and for setting an inspiring example to all in his own research, writing, teaching and lecturing
- Dr. David Patmore, historian of the recording business and proprietor of , for incitement to and successful supervision of a PhD, and for cheerfully sharing an obsession with music on and off discs
- Jonathan Summers, curator of , , London, for expert access to the Library's collections and unstinting support, advice and good humour
- , Professor Emerita of Music History, , for her interest, help and encouragement, not least to sign up to , and above all for her scholarship
- my partner Lucy, for putting up with so much for the sake of this wiki
Many others, who have also kindly provided help and information (including useful 'negatives'), are named and thanked on individual pages.
- Morgan, Nick The National Gramophonic Society, Sheffield: , 2016
- Hugo Wolf Society Volume I, 19 songs performed by (mezzo-soprano) and (piano), recorded 4, 5, 6 & 9 November 1931, issued spring 1932 in album of 6 discs DB 1615-20 (12-inch), with translations and notes by
- Columbia's first fully-fledged 'Society' edition appears to have been the English Music Society Volume I, containing instrumental and small-scale vocal works by
The previous year, Columbia had produced an album of 17 songs by , performed by the composer at the piano, with baritone Mark Raphael (1900-1988) and other instrumentalists, recorded on 27, 28 and 29 November 1934, 7 sides remade on 6 and 13 December 34, issued on RO 73-78 (10-inch), housed in an album with an insert signed by Quilter, distributed in January 1935; subscriptions for this 'Roger Quilter Subscription Portfolio' appear to have been managed by Columbia, at whose office address the Secretary was nominally based, although Quilter is reported to have drummed them up himself, see Langfield, Valerie Roger Quilter: His Life and Music, Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2002, p.89 (Langfield states she was unable to find any information about the so-called Roger Quilter Society in whose name it was issued), and 'Roger Quilter' in 'Lazyarm' 'Just About People and Things', The Gramophone, Vol.XII No.135, August 1934, pp.107-11 (on p.108); the portfolio was a limited edition but, unlike all other 'society' editions, its constituent discs were soon issued individually in Columbia's standard domestic 10-inch series, from October 1935 to August 1936, leaving the status of this venture somewhat unclear
The earlier International Educational Society series of 100 'gramophone lecture-records', produced and ultimately managed by Columbia, and issued from June 1928 to November 1932, was aimed at schools, colleges and universities, although also for sale to the general public; it does not appear to have been financed by subscription or a limited edition, see Anderson, W.R. 'Lectures for All', The Gramophone, Vol.VI No.62, July 1928, p.48, and Ridout, Herbert C. 'Behind the Needle - XXXV', ibid., Vol.XX No.240, May 1943, pp.170-71 (on p.171) performed by the International String Quartet, violinists and , baritone and others, recorded on 19 and 20 September, 1 October and 7 November 1935 and issued in December 1935 on 8 discs, RO 82-84 (10-inch) and ROX 131-35 (12-inch)
- The Songs of Modeste Moussorgsky,
For contents and review, see Holt, Richard 'The Moussorgsky Song Album', The Gramophone, Vol.XIII No.152, January 1936, p.332
N.B. Richard Holt was closely involved in proposing, devising, marketing and producing this issue, and wrote an accompanying book with notes, translations and transliterations of the sung texts (tenor), (piano), recorded 10 & 11 April 1935, issued in Parlophone Album P 13 (discs SW 1-6)
- The Purcell Club, Volume I: Purcell Bernard (later Boris) Ord (harpsichord), , Decca X 101-07, recorded 9 & 10 October 1935
For analytical review, see A[lec].R[obertson]. 'The Purcell Club', The Gramophone, Vol.XIII No.151, December 1935, pp.283-85 , Dido: (contralto), Belinda: Mary Hamlin (soprano), Aeneas: (baritone), Sorceress: (contralto), First Witch: (soprano), Second Woman/Second Witch: Gladys Currie (soprano), Sailor: (tenor?), Spirit: Olive Dyer (soprano), A Capella Singers, (chorus master), Orchestra,
- 'The Decca Company is spending £20,000 on the great enterprise of recording Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas without cuts.' 'The Purcell Club', in 'Turn Table Talk', The Gramophone, Vol.XIII No.150, November 1935, p.228
Concurrently with Volume I, Decca Records issued a leaflet promoting the Purcell Club, which was described as 'A Society of Music-Lovers interested in the preservation of Henry Purcell's Masterpieces, in the best possible performance, by means of Gramophone Records'; a section entitled 'The Future of The Purcell Club' explained, 'All plans for future records of Purcell must depend upon the desire of the public. A membership and order form is therefore subjoined for the initial issue of Dido and Aeneas, and a space is specially reserved for suggestions of works that each member particularly wishes to have recorded. Further announcements will be made from time to time, and it is much hoped that the public response will be such that an immediate and comprehensive plan may be made and issued.' The leaflet included this 'Membership and Order Form', designed to be cut out and posted, and which read, 'To the Decca Record Company Ltd., 1-3 Brixton Road, S.W.9. I desire to enrol as a member of the Purcell Club, and enclose remittance for 35/- for the first issue of Dido and Aeneas, seven 12 in. records in an album. I shall be glad to hear of further records as they are made. I note in the space below my special wishes for works by Purcell to be recorded.' (I am grateful to Peter Adamson for images of this leaflet, personal communication, 30 September 2018)
- Classical 'society' issues are mentioned, briefly, in standard histories of recording, e.g.:
- Gelatt, Roland The Fabulous Phonograph 1877-1977 (2nd, revised edition), New York: Collier Books, London: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1977, pp.259-61
- Gronow, Pekka and Saunio, Ilpo (translated Moseley, Christopher) An International History of the Recording Industry, London: Cassell, 1998, pp.661-62
- Day, Timothy A Century of Recorded Music: Listening to Musical History, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000, pp.67-73 (more extensive, covering the National Gramophonic Society)
- Bryant, Eric Thomas The Gramophone Society Movement: a history of the gramophone societies in Britain, including their links with public libraries [MA thesis], Queen's University Belfast, 1972 (N.B. does not mention the National Gramophonic Society)
- Brooks, Tim 'A Survey of Record Collectors' Societies', ARSC Journal, Vol.16 No.3 (1984), pp.17-36
- 'A propos de l'APGA (Association Phonique des Grands Artistes): c'est une société créée en 1906 qui produit ses propres enregistrements et permet aux interprètes de toucher un pourcentage sur les ventes, alors que les grandes marques ne proposent qu'un cachet unique par enregistrement. En 1911, cette grande idée prend fin, le conseil d'administration est poursuivi pour fraude. Pathé rachète le fonds et négocie avec les 80 artistes lyriques et de café-concert qui avaient signé des contrats d'exclusivité avec APGA. Pathé édite les enregistrements de l'ex APGA en reversant tout de même aux interprètes concernés 10 centimes par disque vendu.' Fauconnier, Alain 'Le Café-concert (1870-1914)' (lecture given on 12 April 2007), [Bulletin of the] Société des Amis des Arts et des Sciences de Tournus, Vol.CVI, 2007, pp.185-218 (on pp.
A detailed contemporary account of APGA and the legal proceedings which led to its winding up can be found in 'L'Association Phonique des grands Artistes contre Messieurs Muratore et Parier', La Revue judiciaire, 2e année, No.7, 25 July 1909, pp. -224, and No.8, 25 August 1909, pp. -56 -89)
- The Society of Participating Artists (SPA) has been documented by Dr. David Patmore, in three articles:
- 'The battler from Saratoga', Classic Record Collector, No.40, Spring 2005, pp.38-43
- 'The Third shall be first', ibid., No.41, Summer 2005, pp.38-43
- 'A catalogue of intellects, ibid., No.42, Autumn 2005, pp.34-39
- Deutsche Grammophon AG, a subsidiary of the Gramophone Co., had been seized in 1916 by the German government as an enemy enterprise and sold in 1917 to Leipziger Polyphon Musikwerke AG; by the mid-20s, it was part of a group of companies owned by Polyphonwerke AG, see Fetthauer, Sophie Deutsche Grammophon: Geschichte eines Schallplattenunternehmens im "Dritten Reich", Hamburg: von Bockel, 2000, pp.49-50, 54
- A very sketchy attempt to document this label is Bonini, Eleonora Simi '"Rue de Paradis" Le edizioni discografiche di musica sacra della casa parigina SEMS', i suoni, le onde, , 2o semestre, 2011, pp.10-11
- A catalogue of Hugens and Acosta cylinders for the year 1900 can be viewed , and a selection of its issues
- Seemingly undocumented, this Swiss label is known mainly from copies of its issues held in institutional and private collections or offered for sale, see e.g. of the
- Morgan, Nick The National Gramophonic Society, Sheffield: , 2016, pp.39-41, 157-59
- 'Die Deutsche Buch-Gemeinschaft (DBG) wurde [...] im April 1924 gegründet. 1929 hatte die DBG 500.000 Mitglieder, darunter etwa 100.000 im Ausland, und lieferte pro Jahr etwa 14 Millionen Bücher aus. Im Rahmen eines professionellen Werbekonzeptes wurden in den dreißiger Jahren bereits Sonderprodukte wie Schallplatten, Plattenspieler und Radioapparate zu günstigen Preisen und mit besonderen Zahlungskonditionen angeboten, daneben aber auch verbilligte Eintrittskarten für Kino, Theater und Konzerte, ja sogar Urlaubsreisen.' Fischer, Ernst and Füssel, Stephan (eds.) Geschichte des deutschen Buchhandels im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert. Die Weimarer Republik 1918-1933. Teil 2, de Gruyter, 2012, p.265
NB It is unclear from the above statement if records issued on the DeBeGe labels were licensed from commercial companies or recorded exclusively for the DBG
- Mead, Rita H. Henry Cowell's New Music 1925-1936. The Society, the Music Editions, and the Recordings, Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1981; Hall, David , ARSC Journal, Vol.16 Nos.1-2, 1984, pp.10-27
- Raeburn, Christopher 'H.C. Robbins Landon and the Haydn Society: a pioneering musical adventure', in Biba, Otto & Wyn Jones, David Studies in Music History presented to H.C. Robbins Landon on his seventieth birthday, London & New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996, pp.227-33
- 'William H. Seltsam [1897-1968] of Bridgeport, Connecticut, founded the International Record Collectors Club (IRCC) and, over the next 20 years, was the main producer of these semi-private issues. From him they were obtained either by subscription or from fairly regular bulletins. In the earliest days, both Columbia and Victor in America pressed records for the IRCC, but by far the majority of his issues from original masters were done by the Victor Company and are therefore often referred to as IRCC Victors.' Peel, Tom & Stratton, John Seventy Years of Issues Historical Vocal 78rpm Pressings from Original Masters 1931-2001, Toronto & Oxford: Dundurn Press, 2001, p.8; see also the brief obituary in Shawe-Taylor, Desmond 'The Gramophone and The Voice', The Gramophone, Vol.XLVI No.551, April 1969, pp.1403-06 (on p.1406)
- 'From quite early on, Seltsam [...] had a rival in the person of William Speckin [1913-1990] of Chicago. He too, over a period of several years, produced similar-size runs of pressings, though seldom overlapping the IRCC production, under the aegis of the Historic Record Society (HRS). [...] Though the HRS produced quite a few records [...] the number was not as great in total as the IRCC issues.' Peel, Tom & Stratton, John Seventy Years of Issues Historical Vocal 78rpm Pressings from Original Masters 1931-2001, Toronto & Oxford: Dundurn Press, 2001, p.8