Rare gramophone records "SATURNE". Part IX
Gramophone records “The Vogue Picture Record” were rarely issued in the United States between the Vogue Company's crisis in 1947 and the late 1960s, but in the same years several series of records with illustrations were produced in Europe and Japan, such as the French "SATURNE". The French label "SATURNE" in the early 1950s was an eclectic musical mix of opera, traditional Jewish music and documentary spoken word.
Unfortunately, while visually appealing, the "SATURNE" records, in the words of sound engineer Tony Baldwin, had "just a terrible sound". Baldwin's note on the reissue of Henri Renaud “Complete Legendary SATURNE Picture Discs” (Paris Jazz Corner PJC 222008, 2001) described how difficult it was to create something pleasing to the ear from these "badly damaged" recordings: one particular 15-second piece of music required 90 manual edits. Nevertheless, for many vinyl lovers, a little extra noise in the signal was a sacrifice worth making for the beauty of the record. In addition, the manufacturing techniques used to produce picture discs had improved over the years, making it easier to maintain optimum sound quality.
One of the rare gramophone records of the French label "SATURNE" is posted in the museum Sound Library. On both sides of this record are recorded Compositions performed by Géori Boué are on both sides of this record. She is accompanied by the Orchestre des Concerts Pasdeloup Biem. Conductor Albert Wolff.
Below is information about those involved in the recording of this unique record.
André Charles Messager (1853-1929) was a French composer and conductor. He studied at the Louis Niedermeyer School in Paris; studied composition with Saint-Saëns. From 1874 he worked as a church organist, from 1898 to 1901 as a conductor at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. From 1901-1907 he was a conductor at the Covent Garden Theatre in London, and from 1907-1914 at the Paris Grand Opera. In 1915-1918 he conducted in the USA, in 1919-1920 he again served at the Opera-Comique, and from 1924 he was a member of Sergei Diaghilev Ballets Russes.
Franz (Ferenc) Lehár (1870-1948) was a Hungarian and Austrian composer and conductor. Along with Johann Strauss and Imre Kalman, he was the greatest composer of Viennese operetta, the founder of its "Neo-Vienna period" period in the early 20th century. Сomic opera “The Merry Widow” by Franz Lehar, an aria from which is featured on this rare record, brought the composer international fame and has been staged all over the world. In the three and a half years since the premiere of “The Merry Widow”, there have been more than 18,000 productions throughout Germany, England and America. Twenty years later, the audience of this comic opera already numbered millions of fans. Remarkably, “The Merry Widow” was even performed in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and China. With its freshness, inventiveness and the splendour of its orchestral score, “The Merry Widow” opened a new era in the history of Viennese comic opera.
Géori Boué (1918-2017) was a French opera singer, soprano, whose voice is recorded on both sides of this disc. Theatrical career of Boué is mainly associated with the French operatic repertoire. Hence she also sang in classical operetta (“La Belle Hélène” by Jacques Offenbach, “The Merry Widow” by Franz Lehar). Critics noted the singer's vivid timbre of voice, her delightful diction, thoughtful approach to the interpretation of images and special artistic talent. On one of the sides of the presented record the singer performs a duet together with her husband - French baritone Roger Bourdin.
The oldest active French orchestra, which bears its founder's name today, was founded in 1861 by Jules Pasdeloup. After graduating from music school in 1852, Jules Pasdeloup founded the "Society of Young Artists", which recruited musicians from conservatoire students to participate in concerts, which were quite successful. Encouraged by the results, Jules Pasdeloup created a new orchestra, selecting the best musicians, and on 27 October 1861 began giving "Public Concerts" at the Circus Napoleon in the Boulevard du Filles du Calvaire. The performance was a great success and the "Public Concerts" became an important event in musical life, playing a leading role in introducing audiences to the Austro-German musical repertoire.
Albert Louis Wolff (1884-1970) was a French conductor and composer of Dutch origin. Most of his artistic career was spent on European stages, with the exception of two years when he was serving as conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and a few years in Buenos Aires during World War II. Albert Louis Wolf is best known for his several years as chief conductor of the Opéra-Comique in Paris. In 1925, he became the second conductor of the Orchestre des Concerts Pasdeloup Biem, greatly expanding his activities in the sphere of orchestral music; subsequently he held the positions of Principal Conductor and Director of this orchestra.