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MMD > Archives > July 2006 > 2006.07.14 > 03Prev  Next

Artrio-Angelus Artist Ethel Leginska
By Albert Petrak

[ Paul Murphy, in 060713 MMDigest, inquired about preserving
 [ a favorite piano roll played by Ethel Leginska.

Reference is to the note about the music of Theodor Leschetizky,
probably the best-known teacher of some of the celebrated pianists,
including Ethel Liggins, as she was born, whose "nom du combat"
was urged on her by a patroness.

The Artrio-Angelus rolls from Wilcox and White are among the most
interesting, and her contribution is one of the outstanding ones.
When you access the URL quoted in the text, you get a "version" of the
"Rollography" section of the Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation, without
explanation or proper presentation.  Better to access and
go to "Rollography" at

I have found that, with the exception of Dave Krall, and perhaps an
unknown collector on the West Coast, there are few sizeable collections
of these rolls.  It would be splendid to have a program of scanning,
although we are faced with the problem of a suitable piano, such as
the one in the picture, showing the celebrated Gottfried Galston at
the keyboard.

I mention an unknown collector because I was apprised of an evening
spent with Leopold Godowsky III who, equipped with the score, sat
entranced by his grandfather's recording of the "Triakontameron" the
group of 30 pieces in waltz tempo (8177-8182).  They had four of the
five rolls he made (missing, as I recall, No. 8181), splitting the work
into parts of five pieces.  No recording (as far as I know) however,
was made.

Personally, I have always had a special fondness for this company's
rolls because of the extensive representation of the artistry of Beryl
Rubinstein, Head of the Cleveland Institute of Music when I attended in
the 50's.  Again it is Dave Krall who has the most of his contribution
(also, of course, listed complete in the Rollography).  I suggested to
the present head that a CD should be made and offered for sale there as
a tribute to this artist.  His reply was that 99% of the current
student body would not even have any idea who was being honored, and
wouldn't bother to acquire it.  As a gift to older former students, for
donations to the current elaborate rebuilding of the school, it might
have some value.  Still a good idea, if we ever locate the total number
of rolls he made, including a probably misguided (as he was not a
"jazz" pianist) recording of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue."

Returning briefly to Mme. Leginska, here is an account of her sad fate:

In 1935 friends raised $5,000 to have her opera "Gale" put on by the
foundering Chicago Civic Opera.  Four nights before its only
performance, conducted by the composer, nothing had been done about
staging it, and in the final event the principal, John Charles Thomas,
had not bothered to learn his part.  Leginska spent her last thirty
years teaching piano in Los Angeles.

There are "thousands of stories" (as the old TV show used to proclaim)
which could be told, and we do have some of them.  They should be
shared with our most valued and prized MMD audience.

Albert M. Petrak, Founder
The Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation

 [ Would it be feasible to convert the Artrio-Angelus expression codes
 [ to Duo-Art or Ampico or Welte, so that Leginska's works could enjoy
 [ a larger audience?  -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 14 Jul 2006, 12:27:10 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Artist, Artrio-Angelus, Ethel, Leginska

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