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Great Masters LPl
"Welte Legacy of Piano Treasures"
and LP containing performance by Alexander Scriabin
by Richard Simonton, Jr. (001210 MMD)

The "Welte Legacy of Piano Treasures" series of LP records was "Produced and directed by Walter S. Heebner under exclusive license from Richard C. Simonton."  Distribution was apparently done from Walt Heebner's home in North Hollywood, also known as Recorded Treasures, Inc.

The rolls came from several sources, but they were mostly from my father's collection and often were the "master" rolls.  They were recorded at Radio Recorders' Sunset Studios in Hollywood in 1962 and 1963 (I was there), with a Vorsetzer belonging to Ken Caswell playing Steinway Concert Grand No. 261.

Two stereo Ampex model 300 tape recorders were used and one mono machine, which just happened to be Ampex model 200 serial number 1 from 1948.  The studio space was unflattering, the microphone array was bizarre, the recording quality was dull and lifeless, but the music is certainly worthwhile and represents the cream of the Welte roll library.  A three-disc set released by Book-of-the-Month Club was condensed from the same sessions, as was a later series of Ampex prerecorded tapes.

Mr. Massimi asked about recordings by Scriabin.  Welte Legacy record number 681 contains the following Scriabin compositions as played by the composer in 1905:

  PRELUDES, Op. 11, No's. 1 and 2    [roll 2067]
  POEME, Op. 32, No. 1               [roll 2068]
  PRELUDES, Op. 11, No's. 13 and 14  [roll 2069]
  DESIR, Op. 57, No. 1               [roll 2071]
  ETUDE, Op. 8, No. 12               [roll 2073]
  PRELUDE, Op. 22, No. 1             [roll 2072, part 1]
  MAZURKA, Op. 40, No. 2             [roll 2072, part 2]

At least four of those rolls were original masters.  The ETUDE also appeared in the Book-of-the-Month set.  The Telefunken set (25 discs) from Germany in the late 1950's contains no Scriabin.  I only have three Columbia records from 1950 (recorded at the home of Karl Bockisch in 1948), but likewise no Scriabin rolls; perhaps on one of the other two discs.

Richard Simonton, Jr.
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 10:31:22 -0500

Your father certainly loved the music, Richard!  I added the Welte-Mignon roll numbers above, which I found in the Welte rollography by Charles Davis Smith.  This book says that Welte-Mignon rolls which bear numbers 1937-2171 were recorded in 1910 in Russia. The list above shows all the Welte rolls recorded by Scriabin which appear in the Smith rollography.  No data is shown for Welte roll 2070.   -- Robbie

12 December 2000

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