Reconstruction :: Concert Hall and Musical Masterpiece Society - The Early Days

Research and text by Rudolf A. Bruil. Page first published on the web on August 11, 2010.


Concert Hall Society, Inc., New York, and Musical Masterpiece Society



As early as 1950, Concert Hall Society, Inc., advertised in Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog, the new monthly publication for music listeners and record collectors published by W. Schwann (William). Initially the advertisements were on half pages but from December 1950 on these were full page ads on the first page of the catalog. The ads say that Concert Hall is located at 250 West 57th St, New York 19, NY. Concert Hall was the record company of two brothers, Samuel and David Josefowitz, two well educated people - David studied the violin.

Early Earnings

Eric Goldberg writes: "I have several records which were derived from Concert Hall Society and issued by The Record Hunter, a store in NYC on 5th Ave between 42 and 43 Streets.
The label was Rarities Collection and I purchased quite a few including Handel's Israel in Egypt with Goehr (which I don't think was CHS), Shostakovich' Preludes and Fugues performed by the composer, and La Bohème with Bamberger. In the Lower right hand corner it says LIMITED PRESSING. I have several of the MHS records both 10" and 12".

Handel Society

In the June 1952 issue of Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog, a full page advertisement of the Handel Society appeared instead of the Concert Hall ad. The Handel Society was located at the same address and was a sister label of Concert Hall and was of course maintained by the brothers Samuel and David Josefowitz.
The Handel Society label had been introduced in the fall of 1951 and in December of that year the first two releases with references HDL-1 and HDL-2 were listed: Israel in Egypt and Acis and Galatea respectively, conducted by Walter Goehr and with singers Margareth Ritchie (soprano), William Herbert (tenor), Richard Lewis (tenor), and Trevor Anthony (bass). Performances of various Handel Societies in the US, Great Britain and the Netherlands were recorded.

Chamber Music Society Licensed by Concert Hall Society

In May 1952 a third label was introduced, Chamber Music Society (Long Play True Sound Transcription). The label was first listed in Schwann of June 1952. The label stated 'licensed by Concert Hall Society for Noncommercial Use'. Like the early Concert Hall Society pressings, the Chamber Music Society disks were pressed on red vinyl. On CM-4 Beethoven's Quintet Op. 29 is released with the Pascal Quartet and Walter Gerhard (2nd viola). But a few years later this same recording was issued on Concert Hall CHS 1214 despite the fact that the Chamber Music Society label continued to be listed in the record catalogs.

An oddity in the Chamber Music Society catalog, I found, is the recording of cellist Janos Starker performing the Sonata for Violoncello and Piano No. 1 in E minor Op. 38 of Johannes Brahms with, on Side One, Violin Sonata No. 1 Op. 78, performed by Louis Kaufman. Kaufman is accompanied by pianist Helene Pignari. Starker's pianist is Abba Bogin. Both The Long Player and Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog do not mention this record.
A Starker recording with Bogin is first mentioned in the Spring of 1954, and that one is released on the Period label, reference SPL 593. When Starker started recording for Period, either the CMS recording was bought from the Chamber Music Society or the Sonata No. 1 was recorded anew.
I still have to check if the recording of the First Sonata on Period is that of the early Chamber Music Society disk. The Period recording of the Cello Sonatas of Brahms were available in Great Britain on the Nixa label (PLP 593). These same performances were eventually issued by Everest on SDBR 3235 (in electronic simulated stereo) and on the Saga label (XID 5164).
Janos Starker also appeared on the Chamber Music Society 3 LP Set CMS-32, with violinist Agi Jambor and altist Victor Aitay, performing the complete Mozart Trios. Also this set is never listed as a Chamber Music Society recording, but is already available in the Spring of 1951 as Period 521/2/3. Could it be that the Chamber Music Society borrowed these recordings to press a short run as a special offer for buyers of Chamber Music Society LP's?

"Shellac" Recordings

Concert Hall existed already in the 78 RPM shellac era.
According to The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music (New York, 1948), the label did not make recordings with Walter Goehr or the Pascal String Quartet in the early years. Goehr then recorded for Victor and Parlophone (Columbia in USA), the Pascal String Quartet for Odeon and Lumen. The Winterthur Municipal Orchestra could be found on His Master's Voice, and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra was on Decca. Violinist Ricardo Odnoposof appeared on Columbia and on Victor. Pianist Robert Goldsand recorded for English Decca as did pianist Noel Mewton-Wood. On Decca K 1038/40 Mewton-Wood plays Carl Maria von Weber's Sonata No. 1 and Chopin's Tarantella. On Decca K 959 he accompanies violinist Ida Haendel in Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 8 (Op. 30, No. 3).

First Editions

The 78 RPM records are not too many as David and Sam Josefowitz had just started their company (mail order business) and the listings in the Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music (1948) are of the first year of the business. What is different is that the company will turn out only 2,000 copies of each album as it presses the records directly from the master matrix, eliminating the "mother" and "stampers" as was reported by Time Magazine on Nov. 25, 1946. Furthermore Concert Hall will specialize in uncommon, previously unrecorded material. The records can be obtained by subscribing to a series of 12 titles. An advantage of the plastic was of course that shipment was less hazardous if compared to sending shellac discs to subscribers. The great advantage for the brothers Josefowitz was that shellac was a scarcity in those days.


The recordings are not easily spotted in the Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music, 1948 edition.
These 78 RPM albums have somewhat odd reference numbers indicating a specific series. Violinist Daniel Guilet (who played music of Brahms for Vox and later founded the Beaux Arts Trio) is already contracted by Concert Hall in the 78 RPM era. He and his fellow musicians - Jac Gorodetsky (violin), Frank Brieff (viola), and Lucien Laporte (cello) - recorded Bartok's String Quartet no. 4, issued with reference A8. The Guilet Quartet also played the 4th Quartet of Paul Hindemith on discs with reference B2, and Schubert's Unfinished String Quartet No. 10 has reference AE. These were all 78 RPM records of course.

Various Artists

Pianist Rudolf Firkusny apparently left VOX to make records for Concert Hall before he switched to Columbia and to Capitol in the LP era. He is the soloist in Concertino for Piano, Strings and Wind Instruments (Janacek) on 4x 12" discs, Reference B10. Shura Cherkassky, who recorded Glinka, Ljadov, Medtner, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Liszt for the VOX label, could now be found on 4 x 12" CH-AM performing Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 44 of Tchaikovsky with Jacques Rachmilovich and the Santa Monica Symphony. This recording was later issued on LP with reference CHC-3. Cherkassky's recording would later be replaced in December 1951 (according to the December 1951 edition of Long Playing Record Catalog) by the recording of Noel Mewton-Wood and Walter Goehr on CHS 1125. You can listen to a sound clip of pianist Noel Mewton-Wood and Walter Goehr performing Tchaikovsky on The Treasure Trove
































From Schumann to Schuman

There is also pianist Ray Lev who recorded Brahms's Sonata No. 1 and Two Chorale-Prelude Op. no. 122 issued on CH-A7. From her hands are also Prokofiev's Children's Pieces (CH-AC) and Schubert's Unfinished Sonata in C Major (from 1825) on 4x 12" discs (CH-B3). Russian cellist and Casals pupil Raya Garbousova (Garbusova) had been a Victor artist but now she recorded for Concert Hall. She is the soloist in Samuel Barber's "Capricorn" Concerto with the Saldenberg Little Symphony (A4). She plays Barber's Cello Sonata accompanied by Erich-Itor Kahn (B1), and Debussy's Minuet and Cello Sonata (A10). Edvard Grieg's A minor Sonata is accompanied by pianist Artur Balsam and is on reference AD. Like so many recordings from the early years, also Garbousova's recordings were later reissued on the Concert Hall 33 RPM Long Playing label. Debussy's Cello Sonata landed on the Chamber Music Society label. Pianist Paul Loyonnet accompanies flutist René le Roy who blows Haydn's Sonata in G Major on 4x 12" discs with reference B8. Loyonnet also recorded Robert Schumann's Humoreske Op. 20, issued on 3x 12" discs, reference A1, and Couperin's Suite du Sixième Ordre on B14. Symphony for Strings by American composer William Schuman is recorded by the Concert Hall Symphony Orchestra (whatever collection of musicians that may have been) conducted by Edgar Schenkman on 4x 12 inch discs, reference AL1. Schuman's String Quartet No. 3 is played by the Gordon String Quartet (led by violinist Jacques Gordon) on AB.

78 RPM Vinyl Records

While 78 RPM records generally were pressed on black shellac, the disks on the newly founded Concert Hall label were pressed on vinyl. Samuel Josefowitz recalls in an interesting article, written by Michelle Owens and published in Rensselaer Magazine, that his father was offered a load of plastic at a very low price. That triggered the idea to make and distribute records.
In hindsight the plastic they acquired was a gift. While other record manufacturers struggled with the scarcity of shellac and started using a mix of shellac and plastic to cut the price of manufacturing, as Don Gabor of Remington Records did for the records pressed in the pressing plant of his Record Corporation of New England, the Josefowitz brothers were extremely lucky. Some records were pressed on black vinyl and others on red vinyl. No doubt that the red color was chosen for publicity reasons so the Concert Hall disks could easily be distinguished and could help improve sales.
Yet, Samuel says in the article, “For the first two years it was a hobby. We didn’t make any money. Then, with the arrival of the long-playing record, our business took off."


An asset in this respect was the knowledge of David Josefowitz. He had not only studied the violin in Berlin (Europe), but after he had come to live in the United States he studied chemistry and chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Insitute of Technology (MIT) and later at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. And Samual had received a degree from Rensselaer in industrial engineering.












The first Concert Hall Long Playing record is of Louis Kaufman (Violin) and Henry Swoboda (Conductor) performing The Four Seasons of Vivaldi on CHC-1 (on the label) / CHC-A (on the cover).

Long Playing Record

After the introduction of the Long Playing record, Concert Hall switched to the new medium and expanded the catalog with many recordings made in Europe as so many American record companies did in those days. Vienna, Zürich, Winterthur, and Hilversum became the recording venues where various orchestras and groups of musicians were hired: Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra, Winterthur Symphony Orchestra, Utrecht Symphony and Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, and on occasion Haarlem Symphony Orchestra (Haarlemse Orkest Vereniging). The fact that these records are being listed in the editions of Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog suggests that they were available in shops and therefor they were reviewed in High Fidelity Magazine.
 Principal conductors were Otto Ackermann, Victor Desarzens, Henry Swoboda, Carl Bamberger, and foremost Walter Goehr. There were several conductors of Dutch origin like Henk Spruit and Paul Hupperts.


The one conductor that was hired only for recording the Cello Concerto of Edouard Lalo with cellist Bernard Michelin was Toon Verhey (Verheij) who himself had studied the cello and played in various orchestras before he became principle conductor of the Residency Orchestra (The Hague) and later of "De Haarlemse Orkest Vereniging", renamed "Provinciaal Orkest" in 1952.  Yet cover and label of CHS 1162 mention Haarlem Symphony Orchestra.
The hiring of Verhey and his orchestra was probably for reasons of convenience. On that same disc Michelin plays Elégie by Gabriel Fauré with the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Hupperts.

The name Ignaz Neumark is not a mystery name as is sometimes thought. Neumark appeared on Concert Hall, conducting Symphony No. 7 of Franz Schubert (Utrecht Symphony Orchestra). Neumark was born in Poland in 1888, studied at Leipzig and Warsaw conservatories, left for Norway and came to live in the Netherlands in 1921, in Hilversum to be more precise, next door - so to speak - to the Tesselschade Church and the church of the Reformed Apostolic Congregation. (In these churches many recordings were taped as Rolf den Otter once wrote.) Like George Singer, Neumark stayed in Palestine during the Second World War. He returned to the Netherlands in 1945 where he died in 1959.
And pianist Ray Lev continued to make recordings also. Existing 78 RPM recordings of Artur Balsam and others were dubbed to LP and new performances were taped.

Carnival of Animals (Camille Saint-Saëns) performed by Jean Antonietti and Isja Rossican, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Walter Goehr, coupled with Piano Concerto No. 3 (Camille Saint-Saëns) played by Pina Pozzi and the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra, Victor Desarzens conducting - CHS 1178.





Releases and covers came in a variety of styles and designs. Below the cover of the American "Release No. CHS-61" with Fritz Busch conducting the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra in Symphony No. 5 in B Flat Major of Franz Schubert, and Scherzo in G Minor Op. 20 of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. This cover is similar to the M-series with the same oval Concert Hall Society emblem printed in orange.


Hall in
Great Britain

Editions of The Gramophone Long Paying Classical Record Catalogue show that - as early as 1952 - Concert Hall Society issues were released in England on the Nixa label by the company that also dealt with Vanguard recordings. The prefix for 12 inch records was CLP, a prefix later used by HMV. Nixa stopped pressing Concert Hall records in the second half of the 1950s, probably around 1956. From then on Concert Hall was registered as a label. The Concert Hall editions differed in style from the US issues. At right the label of a relatively late issue, reference CM-LE-16, with works by Ernest Bloch (Four Episodes for Chamber Orchestra), Schönberg (Begleitmusik), Berg (Seven Early Songs and Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano) performed by conductors Thomas Scherman, Charles Adler, Walter Goehr, soprano Kathryn Harvey, clarinetist Herbert Tichman, and pianist Ruth Budnevich. Seven Early Songs and Four Pieces had earlier been issued in the US on Release C-12.
CM-LE-16 contained a program of relatively modern music. The liner notes were written by composer Nicholas Maw.
The cover indicated "A first edition of 3,000 copies" and "This record bears the number 1953."


Concert Hall
in The Netherlands

The recordings were also licensed to one or two record companies abroad. Many a Concert Hall recording appeared in France on the Classic label and the available records were listed in the French catalog "Disques de longue durée" published in the fall of 1955. Ready pressed records were exported to small foreign markets like the Netherlands. On the ochre Dutch cover of CHS 10 with pianist Noel Mewton-Wood playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 together with Walter Goehr conducting the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, the following New York address is printed, 250 West 57th St. This means that this Dutch issue is from before 1953, before Concert Hall moved to 507 W 56th St. Name and address of the importer for the Netherlands is printed underneath the Concert Hall address in the US. The importer was M. Stibbe & Co., Amstel 222, Amsterdam-C, Telephone K 20-41260.

Ffor Dutch readers: K meant "kengetal" = numerical code. So K 20 was Amsterdam (which is 020 today).

At age 19, Wim van Es, who is originally from Amsterdam, first started working for a jazz store named DISCOTONE in Amsterdam. In 1956 he was employed by the company of Mr. Stibbe. "Then", he remembers, "Concert Hall was no longer represented by Stibbe & Co. The labels he imported were Erato, Cetra, Odeon, Parlophone, Discophiles Français, Metronome, Prestige and Savoy. In 1956 when I joined the company, Concert Hall had disappeared from the list."


Enter Musical Masterpiece Society

In 1951 and 1952 when David and Sam Josefowitz launched their Handel Society and Chamber Music Society labels, they had the brilliant idea to start the MMS subscription label in the US. Potential clients were lured into buying a sampler disc at an affordable introductory price, or were offered a selection of records at $ 1.00 a piece or even just one dollar.
In the early advertisements the series is named Musical Masterworks Society. Like Don Gabor with his Masterworks label, obviously also the Josefowitz brothers were told by Columbia that the word "Masterwork" could not be used in the name. "Masterworks" had been in use by Columbia already since the nineteen thirties and was registered. Gabor changed Masterworks into Masterseal. The Josefowitz brothers changed Masterworks into Masterpiece and the undertaking is then called Musical Masterpiece Society.

The success of MMS makes it necessary to find larger offices. Maintaining a series with a growing number of subscribers asks for more administrative office work and also for manual labor. And eventually more space for storing records was needed. The move is effectuated a year later in the spring of 1953. The new address is 507 West 56th St. The growth of the company leads to another move two years later. Then the offices are relocated to a building at 45 Columbus Ave. In 1957 the address did change again. Now it was 71, 5th Avenue.





The cover of the recording of Piano Concerto No. 1 and Variations Serieuses of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy performed by Frank Pelleg and Walter Goehr conducting the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra on CHS 1127. As a Concert Hall Society recording it was removed from the catalog in 1953 so it could reappear later on the new label.


Starting a subscription series In 1952 was not so much a new idea. Record Clubs and subscription series had existed all along and had been selling esoteric  material (as Concert Hall did), or children's records, Billboard Magazine explained. But the idea of selling the standard repertory was quite new and it inspired many an American entrepreneur to start a record club: Greystone Press, Book of the Month Club, Music Treasures of the World, World Record Club, and various other series which had a longer or shorter life, came into existence. Even Columbia had a Record Club.

At right a Musical Masterpiece Society advertisement from 1954 offering 8 Masterpieces on two discs for the price of $1.00. The ad reads, Send Coupon at Once, and the buyer will receive the Masterpieces on record and a brochure, Music in Your Home, written by famous critic and musicologist Olin Downes. The address, 43 W. 61st St., is obviously the warehouse from where the discs are being shipped.

Olin Downes

Famous critic and writer Olin Downes began his introduction of Music in Your Home as follows:
"A boon to humanity has been the extraordinary development of the recording of music which in the course of the first half of this our twentieth century has incalculably changed and enriched the culture of the world. These records by scientific process of catching and transfixing invisible sound upon tapes and discs, have put virtually all the music that we know today within the reach of everybody, And this establishes the democracy of music as it never could have been attained by any other means. In the past we had to assemble professionally skilled performers to evoke from the pot-hooks on music paper the composer's short-hand, the exquisite sounds that he had envisioned and created for us. (...) It is no longer so."
The brochure contains one of the last writings of Olin Downes. It mentions Copyright 1954. Olin Downes died the following year.






At left the release of Music Treasures of the World with works by Tchaikovsky (Overture 1812) and Borodin (Symphony No. 2) performed by the Leipzig Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gert Pflüger - MT 551-44, Variable Pitch. Another release was Grieg's Piano Concerto Op. 16 playd by Marjorie Mitchell and the Music Treasures Philharmonic Symphony conducted by William Strickland, coupled with La Mer (Debussy), conducted by Ernest Borsansky - MT 30 - Variable Pitch. Marjorie Mitchell also performed Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2 Op. 18 on MT 26, with Strickland, coupled with Georges Enesco's Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 conducted by Hans Swarowsky.


MMS Goes Europe

An article in Billboard Magazine of March 26, 1955, says that "Concert Hall with its Musical Masterpiece Society, Opera Society and Jazztone is operating in virtually all European countries: Holland, France, Germany, Italy. The biggest operation is in West Germany. There most of the records are pressed".
Concert Hall claims a memberships stateside of 300,000 and a European membership of 250,000.
The article suggests that Musical Masterpiece Society was set up in Europe in 1954 which is substantiated by the MMS listings in "Discopedie 1955" compiled by Dutch journalist and reviewer Ralph N. Degens who gave the year of release of many recordings. The 1955 catalog contains several MMS recordings released in 1954, yet Concert Hall Society recordings were still listed in this first edition of "Discopedie". However in the 1956 supplementary edition no Concert Hall discs were listed and obviously they were no longer available.

The Jazztone label followed the same marketing technique

In early 1955 the brothers Josefowitz bought the jazz catalog of Ross Russell's Dial label. Russel started making records in 1946 in the shellac era. The Dial label contained recordings of promiment jazz players Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Buck Clayton, Slam Stewart, Red Callender, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Erroll Garner, Billy Taylor, Milt Hinton, Joe Newman, and Jonah Jones. After Concert Hall acquired the recordings of these artists they were released on discs with prefix CHJ, Concert Hall Jazz. They all can be found on the fine grooved 10 inch Jazz Sampler with material taken from 12" LPs. The thinly pressed record was of course aimed at the jazz afficionados who were invited to subscribe to the club and order from the Jazztone catalog more or less every month or whenever new and old releases were on offer.


Jazztone recordings were also released in the 7 inch 33 RPM format as shows the label of J-722 with the Joe Newman Sextet

Conzert Hall in Germany

The Jazztone label as such existed untill 1960 - in any case in Europe - according to Gerhard Klussmeier from Germany who researched the register of the Chamber of Commerce of the city of Frankfurt. Gerhard Klussmeier sent me an advertisement from the late 1950s offering a sample record with six important works for free "So you can discover the true magic of high fidelity" (Damit Sie den wahren Zauber der High-Fidelity entdecken können). The subscription label is still named Concert Hall (misspelled in the body text as CONZERT HALL) and on top of that the ad pictured the MMS label! Gerhard Klussmeier has a long list of books and articles to his name. Recently he published Die "Jazztone Society"-Story, written in German (ISBN 978-3-944487-95-3).

Guilde Internationale

The name Musical Masterpiece Society could easily be used in many countries, except in France, for the French are very culture conscious, and still are, even if they like speaking "franglais" today. If MMS would be translated into French, it would be called "La société musicale du chef-d'oeuvre" or something similar. That sounds rather haughty and is not very much inviting to join the club. However, the word "club" could not be used as in France there existed "Le club français du disque" and "Club national du disque" (CND). So a brilliant, yet somewhat similar label name was thought up and in France the MMS recordings were released on "Guilde internationale du disque", a name which had a nice flavor that suggested importance and quality. The license agreement with the Classic label was terminated. Yet the original Concert Hall recordings released on the Classic label were still listed in the French catalog "Disques de longue durée" issued in the fall of 1955.


In France the establishment of the subscription series started already in 1954, according to Jean-Pierre Mathieu from Paris who grew up with the records bought by his parents and the gramophone offered by the "Guilde internationale du disque" which they acquired in 1958. The French subsidiary was opened in 1954. The records could also be bought directly in shops. Every important city had one or more Guilde du Disque shops. The most famous shop in Paris was at 222, rue de Rivoli, Paris 8ème. The success of La Guilde Internationale du Disque resulted in 1967 in opening a huge center in Evreux in Normandy. The Paris address was still operating in the early 1980s and in 1986 La Guilde merged with Edition Atlas, Mathieu told.
The success of Guilde internationale du disque was immense and may have inspired other entrepreneurs to start around 1958 La Guilde Européenne du Microsillon which issued popular and classical music as well. The label lasted into the 1960s. It is not sure if G.E.M. found its origin in "Les mélomanes francais" which had pianist Serge Petitgirard on their rostrum.

Club Internacional del Disco

The Josefowitz enterprise also landed in Spain where on the 5th floor of the building at Calle Alcalá No. 45, Madrid, "Club Internacional del Disco (España)" held office. The Spanish label did not have much in common with the Concert Hall and Musical Masterpiece Society label design. It looked as if somewhat inspired by RCA's French label design as you can see below. At right the box of Beethoven's First Symphony, Jena Symphony and Ninth Symphony - Novena Sinfonia con Coro - with Walter Goehr conducting Coros y Orquesta Filharmónica Néerlandesa and singers Corry Bijster, Elisabeth Pritchard, David Garen, and Leonard Wolovsky. The records were pressed by IBEROFON S.A.


Ten Inch Records

The MMS discs had the small ten inch format and they were extremely thin if compared to the heavy 12 inch Concert Hall pressings. So the MMS discs were cheaper to manufacture as less plastic was involved. For the covers a standard lay out was designed. Only the names of the composers, the titles, and the performers had to be printed on this 'generic' sleeve. Thus another vast saving was made as no additional well chosen art work had to be commissioned - as illustrated by the Concert Hall cover of CHS 1155 with El Cid (Massenet) and Tzar Sultan Suite (Rimsky-Korsakov) conducted by Henk Spruit and the Saint-Saëns program on CHS 1178. Furthermore it was decided that no full color printing was necessary as music lovers did not have to be persuaded through artistic covers to buy this or that recording. The low price of the product and the convenience of receiving the discs in the mail were the main incentives. At right label and cover of MMS-30, the lightweight MMS release of the original heavy Concert Hall Society disc of the Mendelssohn recordings with Frank Pelleg.































Below is the cover of the German release of the Firebird and Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments (Stravinsky) with Walther Goehr aconducting and Noel Mewton-Wood as pianist (MMS 64A).


Starting the Handel Society label in 1951 was probably inspired by the existence of the Haydn Society from Boston. The Handel Society was not a strict American affair in that respect that only a few recordings were made with conductors Robert Hull and Maurice Abravanel as the advertisement at the beginning of this web page tells. Judas Maccabaeus with Maurice Abravanel conducting the Utah University Chorus and Orchestra was issued on Handel HDL-12. This recording was released in France on the Classic label and in 1955 in the Netherlands on Concert Hall HDL 12. Alexander's Feast was recorded with Prof. Robert Hull conducting the Cornell University Chorus and the 'Handel Society Orchestra'. This issue was also released in France on the Classic label. Harpsichordist Frank Pelleg performed the Handel concertos for harpsichord on the label. Pelleg was accompanied by Walter Goehr conducting the Orchestra of Radio Zürich.
The Handel label did not flourish, probably because all the energy went into the main activities of the MMS subscription series. And of course the number of specific collectors who would consult a list of Handel's music was too small, no doubt, to keep the label economically alive. As a result, in Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog of June 1957, the Handel Society listings were marked with a small diamond which meant that the recordings were - as the catalog stated in the legend - "to be discontinued by mfr. as soon as supply is gone; will be dropped from future issues of this catalog".

Forgotten Recordings and Unknown Artists

Not only all Handel Society recordings were deleted from Schwann, but also a number of Concert Hall disks. At the same time new recordings were listed, like CHS 1501 with pianist Philippe Entremont and conductor Carl Bamberger performing Symphonic Variations (César Franck) and Piano Concerto No. 2 (Sergei Rachmaninoff) with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. This one and other new recordings were also listed in the small catalog accompanying the 12" Sampler from 1957. Such a sampler for the American market was quite a luxurious item if compared to the light weight and flimsy Dutch sampler with music of Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Berlioz. A thin 10 inch disc was already much more than the usual 7 inch disc named "Klassiek Kompas" with Szymon Goldberg conducting the Nethelands Chamber Orchestra in Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik used by Philips for promotional purposes.
Several American Concert Hall disks were reissued later on the MMS label, like the Beethoven Quartets and those of Mozart performed by the Pascal String Quartet.
Also a series of recordings originating from Russia with David Oistrakh, Emil Gilels, Leonid Kogan, Sviatoslav Richter, Kyrill Kondrashin, Alexander Gauk, Samuil Samosud were deleted; now they were available on the French Chant du Monde label. When checking the deletions in Schwann June 1957 edition many familiar names and recordings came up. But also a few lesser known musicians and works:

1137 - Artur Balsam - MacDowell Piano Concerto
1197 - Hannes Kann - Moszkowski Piano Concerto
1071 - Louis Kaufman (violin), Artur Balsam (piano) & Pascal String Quartet - Chausson Concerto for Violin and Piano Quartet
1249 - Robert Goldsand - Rachmaninoff Preludes
39 Tossy Spivakovsky (violin) & Artur Balsam (piano) - Bartok Sonata
1201-13 - Pascal String Quartet - Complete Beethoven String Quartets
1174 - Max Rostal (violin), Frank Pelleg (harpsichord), and Antonio Tusa (cello) - Bach/Biber/Tartini
1117 - Louis Kaufman (violin), Marçal Cervera (cello), Artur Balsam (piano) - Dvorak Trio
1137 - Alfred Gallodoro (clarinet) and The Stuyvesant Quartet - Brahms Clarinet Quintet
40 - Jascha Bernstein (violin) - Bach Violin Concerto
1244 - George Coutelen (clarinet) & Winterthur Quartet - Reger Quintet for Clarinet and Strings
1162 - Bernard Michelin (cello), Lalo Cello Concerto (Haarlem Symphony Orchestra, Toon Verheij) and Fauré Elegie (Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, Paul Hupperts)

HDL 1 - Israel in Egypt (Walter Goehr)
HDL 2 - Acis and Galatea (Walter Goehr)
HDL 3 - Harpsichord Concertos (Frank Pelleg/ Walter Goehr)
HDL 4, 5, 6 and 7 - Harpsichord Suites (Frank Pelleg)
HDL 12 - Judas Maccabeus (Maurice Abravanel)
HDL 13 - Alexander's Feast (Robert Hull)
HDL 14 - Apollo and Daphne (Walter Goehr)
HDL 15 - Saul (Brock McElheran)
HDL 16 - St. John's Passion (Bernard Henking)
HDL 17 - Chandos Anthems (Jack P. Loorij)
HDL 18 - Julius Ceasar (Walter Goehr)
HDL 19/20 - Italian Cantatas (Jack P. Loorij)












Sale of
Concert Hall to Crowell-Collier

Susan Nelson wrote to me that she had done research on the subject and had found that the Concert Hall catalog was sold to Crowell-Collier Publishing Company according to Billboard and New York Times. She writes that in July, 1956, Concert Hall Society and its various American offshoots were purchased by the Crowell-Collier Publishing Company (publisher of Collier’s and many other magazines as well as Collier’s Encyclopedia) which had its own record club division. The following year, New York’s Record Hunter advertised Concert Hall Society recordings at a reduced price ($1.97) noting that "These 12” singles and albums have been discontinued by the manufacturer, and may never again be available from the manufacturer at any price . . .” (New York Times, 24 February 1957, p. 119).

Pre-recorded Tapes

I found that the sale to Crowell-Collier was also mentioned in High Fidelity Magazine of September, 1956, page 51. Billboard magazine had already reported on the deal in their August 4, 1956 issue were it was stated that "Crowel Collier purchased the American record interests of the Josefowitz family. These included the Concert Hall Society label and five mail-order record club operations: Musical Masterpieces Society, Opera Society, Jazztone Society, Chamber Music Society and Handel Society. The deal (...) involved an amount of seven figures (...)." Spelling of Masterpieces with 's' is Billboard's.
The deal also included an immediate entry in the pre-recorded tape business which had already been planned by the brothers. After Collier will release 12 tapes immediately, 6 new tapes will be issued each month. This deal only effected the American market. In Canada the brothers continued as usual and they will continue to be involved in the business in Europe. There the Josefowitz brothers do not run the business directly but own a substantial number of shares. They also will be involved in the American Crowell Collier enterprise as advisors.

Roland Gelatt in High Fidelity Magazine

In High Fidelity Magazine of September, 1956, Roland Gelatt wrote on his Music Makers page about the sale of the Concert Hall label and added that Concert Hall's chief fall program centered on its new series of binaural tape recordings. As several Concert Hall recordings appeared on the Musical Masterpiece Society's label, it is clear that not all tapes and plates were sold to Crowell-Collier. An example is the Mendelssohn-Pelleg recording. The sale may have prompted the editors of Schwann Record Catalog to stop listing the label, while the competitor The Longplayer continued listing Concert Hall in the 1959 editions of their catalogs.










High Fidelity Magazine of September, 1956, page 51.



Reviews in Record Magazines

Early on a number of MMS disks was reviewed, at least in the Netherlands. An example was Paul Tortelier's recording of Dvorak's Cello Concerto on MMS 13. The reviewer complained about the technical aspects of the recording (bad microphone placement and "hard" sound), but in the end he praised Tortelier for his playing. When it was clear that the records could only be obtained through membership of the club, the MMS disks were no longer listed in record catalogs and magazines. One exception is that they were listed in "Discopedie", but this was a publication by a Dutch reviewer, but not an official catalog issued on a regular basis.
Dutch record monthly "Luister...!" refused to review the MMS releases when they were only available to members of the "Klassieke Luisterkring" (Classical Listening Circle) which issued a monthly magazine "De Kring" which was in fact a small 8 page booklet. It listed the records on offer accompanied by "reviews" written by the MMS sales department. If the records would have been positively reviewed in magazines, it would have been mere advertising for MMS by urging the reader to subscribe to the club. That would give MMS an advantage over regular record labels.


Every month a list of records was sent to each and every member of the club who could chose the recordings he or she was interested in. Then these records were sent to the member's home and even then members were allowed to return some or even all of the records offered. Only if over a longer period of time no records had been bought, MMS would cancel a membership. The small magazine featured also a few world music titles. Also jazz recordings were offered from time to time, issued on the Jazztone label.



The Opera Society

Opera Society was another label issuing the existing opera catalog and adding new recordings. It is remarkable and amazing that so many standard repertory operas were performed in front of the MMS microphones. Of course, some performances - like the earlier Russian recordings - were remastered from tapes made available by other record companies or were obtained from radio broadcast corporations. But most of the time they were performed by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra renamed for the occasion "The Opera Society Orchestra". At right the 2x 10 inch LP gatefold (reference M141-OP24, Guilde internationale du disque SMS 141) of Puccini's La Bohème from 1955. Singers were Marilyn Tyler (soprano), David Garen (tenor), Leonardo Wolovsky (bass), Corry Bijster (soprano), Paolo Gorin (baritone), Gerard Holthaus (baritone), and Henk Angenent (bass). Conductor was Carl Bamberger. Bamberger also led the Nord Deutsche Symphony Orchestra and Radio Chorus in Fidelio (Beethoven) with Gladys Kuchta, Julius Patzak, Heinz Rehfuss and Melita Muszely (MMS 2120).
Familiar and unfamiliar voices could be found on the Opera and MMS releases: Annie Delorie, Heinz Refuss, Julius Patzak, Maria Stader, Ernst Haefliger, Uta Graf, Hedda Heusser, Mathias Schmid, Anneke van der Graf, Siemen Jongsma, Albert Kunz, Cora Canne Meyer, Rudolf Gonszar, Karl Liebl, Broc Peters, Margaret Tynes.
One of the designers of the covers for MMS and The Opera Society was
Curt John Witt. who also designed for the Allegro-Royale issues and for Don Gabor's Remington and Plymouth labels.

Performances of famous artists and conductors, who generally recorded for quality labels, appeared on MMS. Either recordings were made by MMS, or they were bought from radio stations or from other labels. The result was that recordings of conductors Antal Dorati (Minneapolis), Paul Paray (Detroit Symphony) and Carl Schuricht, pianist Vasso Devetzi, and cellist Pierre Fournier (accompanied by Dorel Handman), appeared on the label.

At left an invoice from 1967 and the corresponding giro card of the Dutch "Postcheque- en Girodienst" for the payment of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9: DFL. 11.50 plus DFL 1.00 for shipment make DFL 12.50.


Sound Quality and Number of Pressings

In early advertisements Concert Hall Society promised that "This recording was issued in a LIMITED EDITION of only 3,000 copies, of which this is number ...." No more than 3000 copies will be pressed of a specific record. They obviously mean that for every new batch of 3000 records a new plate will be used. The statement suggests that other manufacturers press more than 3000 records using the same plate. There are of course companies that did so. Remington Records is an example. But the technicians and production managers of companies that produce quality records of classical music and jazz know that in principle no more than 1500 or 2000 records at the most should be pressed using the same plate. Quality control is the only way to determine if a plate can be used for another few hundred records. The rule is if more records are pressed, the matrix will get dull and the records will sound adequately. It is possible to compensate for the loss of high frequencies and detail by applying equalization, by boosting the high frequency content and cut a disc with restricted dynamics resulting in a lean bass. In that way more music can be engraved per side and the high frequencies will be more prominent. Choosing a vinyl compound with a specific hardness can also give the suggestion of high fidelity when played on simple gramophones. The measures taken are audible in the final product. Most certainly in the records of Musical Masterpiece Society with its 450.000 members worldwide.

Amplifier Tone Controls

Already in the early Concert Hall LP days, when the discs were listed in catalogs and were reviewed in magazines, the music critics had much to say about the quality of the recorded sound, the orchestras and the final product spinning on their turntables. Sometimes the quality of the work of the recording technician, the pressings and the quality of the playing of musicians were confounded. But in general most knew well what they were writing about and were not always pleased with the Concert Hall discs. However in those days amplifiers had tone controls for bass and treble which often had to be used generously. An example. When reviewing The Orchestral Suites of Tchaikovsky, well directed by Walter Goehr, High Fidelity Magazine's J.F. Indcox wrote: "Concert Hall's sound is rather undernourished, lacking in resonance, and the balance is not always ideal."


Walter Goehr conducted Suites Nos. 1 (CHS 1121) and 2 (CHS 1122) with the Winterthur Symphony. There existed already a Westminster recording of Suite No. 3, therefor the Winterthur SO was renamed Concert Hall Symphony Orchestra for the Third Suite (CHS 1144). While the reviewer's description applied to the recordings of the Suites, the same quality could be encountered on several other Concert Hall discs with symphonic music and concertos. Chamber music recordings often favor a better sound. In High Fidelity magazine of December 1957 Harold C. Schonberg wrote about Schumann's Piano Quintet on MMS 41: "On a much cheaper 10 inch disc, Hannes Kann and the Pascal Quartet offer a well recorded, spirited performance that is without eccentricity. I would put this in a best-buy category." See also Dialing Your Discs.

Exit MMS

From 1956 on the Concert Hall label is no longer available in Europe.
In the Netherlands - in the nineteen fifties - the offices of MMS (Muzikale Meesterwerken Serie N.V.) are first located at Herengracht 536, Amsterdam, but a year later at Paulus Potterstraat 12, Amsterdam. For the convenience of the subscribers and for promoting the sales, there where four shops where one could register for membership and where members could buy records. In Amsterdam of course, at the aforementioned address, in Rotterdam at Westblaak 26, in The Hague at Torenstraat 136, and in Utrecht at Zadelstraat 17, to be precise.
When in September 1958 the stereo record was introduced more record companies and record clubs found it too much of an investment to set up a catalog with stereo recordings on short notice. One of them was MMS.
In the summer of 1959 the Concert Hall Society label was also deleted from The Long Player, the competitor of Schwann. The label name will reappear much later, in the nineteen seventies, presenting the Synchro Stereo issues.









David Josefowitz can also be found on Synchro Stereo disc SMS-2744. He conducts the Monte Carlo National Orchestra in works by Mussorgsky (Pictures From An Exhibition) and Glinka (Overtures to A Life For The Czar and Russlan and Ludmilla). At right the cover of the German release of Ricardo Odnoposoff's Magic Violin, M-2250.






Shown above is the Japanese Concert Hall Society release of Hungarian Rhapsodies (Franz Liszt) conducted by Hans Swarowsky.

Naturally MMS and Concert Hall Society records were also available in Israel. Offices were located at 63, Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel-Aviv. At left the label of the release of MMS 2207 with Vlado Perlemuter playing 24 Preludes, Op. 28 of Frederic Chopin. Above is the cover of Sondra Bianca's disc with the 21 Waltzes of Frédéric Chopin on MMS 2131.

At left the label of the German issue with Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 (conducted by Sir John Barbirolli) and Symphony No. 1 played by "l'Orchestre du théatre national de l'opéra de Paris", conducted by David Josefowitz.
The original German liner notes say:

"David Josefowitz, who conducts the captivating First Symphony of Mendelssohn, is not just a gifted violinist but also a conductor whose great musicality, feeling for refined sound, and firm sense of style, result in a remarkably tangible rendering of this youth composition. His many faceted work also extends to the field of sound research: many outstanding records, which found recognition with the international critics, originated under his musical and technical directorship."




By the end of the nineteen sixties when stereo discs were marketed, in France La Guilde internationale du disque made available to its members a complete stereo set consisting of turntable, amplifier and two loudspeaker enclosures for an initial payment of FF 298 plus 11 installments of FF 100. The advertisement gave the details. The player had four speeds, the amplifier delivered 24 Watt per channel, and each loudspeaker was equipped with a 20 cm (8 inch) low-mid unit plus a 11 cm (4.3 inch) tweeter.

In order to recruite new members and to intensify the link with existing subscribers, the company offered gramophone record players (turntables with built in amplification) all at affordable prices. Above a picture of the mono player offered by Guilde internationale du disque in France in the mono days. The gramophone was manufactured by EDEN (Etablissements Marcel Dentzer) in Montreuil.

Images of the advertisement and of the record player (gramophone) submitted by Jean-Pierre Mathieu; edited by RAB.


Binaural Stacked Reel To Reel Tapes

From September 1956 on High Fidelity Magazine started publishing reviews of pre-recorded reel to reel tapes. In that section Concert Hall tapes (now issued by Crowel Collier) are also mentioned and often get positive reviews in case the sound quality is good and/or the performance is noteworthy. An example, in the issue of July 1957, Symphony No. 2 of Brahms in the performance of the Frankfurt Opera Orchestra conducted by Carl Bamberger, receives praise and is more or less preferred over the RCA Charles Munch recording. The Frankfurt Orchestra is less accurate, but Bamberger's performance is more individual, provocative, and dramatic. The Concert Hall recording gives "a boldly sculptured delineation" as the reviewer writes. Philippe Entremont's recording of Piano Concerto No. 2 is another release on tape. It was recorded before Entremont joint CBS (Columbia). There were other issues on tape. A few will be added later.

This reel contains the binaural (stereophonic) Concert Hall edition of Piano Concerto No. 2 of Franz Liszt performed by Philippe Entremont and the Radio Zurich Orchestra conducted by Walter Goehr. The reference number is CHT/BN-6. According to Discogs this recording was released in 1959.



Left and above the box of the reel to reel recording of Entremont's Liszt. Binaural means that from 1957 on - or even earlier - recordings were made in stereo which also explains the appearance of many an old recording as a Synchro Stereo issue in later years. Synchro Stereo meant in fact 'Stereo Compatible', the denomination used by the regular record labels, and in several cases it meant electronically enhanced to recreate stereo. The reel to reel tape machine pictured above is Grundig TK 245 Automatik from 1966.

The tape of Philipe Entremont's recording of Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major contains 'A NOTE ABOUT STEREO FROM CONCERT HALL SOCIETY'. The note mentions the use of Telefunken U-47 microphones and Ampex 350 S recorders. It also tells the listener about the difference between stacked and staggered play-back heads and gives advice of how the loudspeakers should be positioned for best results.








At left the cover of the Synchro Stereo LP release of Bernard Greenhouse's performance of the Cello Concerto of Antonin Dvorak - Hans Swarowsky conducting - on SMS-2322. His fellow member of the Guilet Trio and Beaux Arts Trio, pianist Menahem Pressler, made various recordings for the label of Sam and David Josefowitz, well before the trio started recording for Phonogram (as the Philips record company was then named). One of the first Philips recordings was the disk with the Complete (Two) Trios of Mendelssohn, still with Daniel Guilet, issued on 802 802 LY (1967).

On November 17, 2011, Menahem Pressler gave a very enlightening masterclass in the Small Auditorium (Kleine Zaal) of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Before he began his instructions, his biography "Always Something New to Discover - Menahem Pressler and the Beaux Arts Trio", was officially presented to him by Mrs. Cynthia Wilson. She had compiled and written the history of the Beaux Arts Trio.

When the masterclass had ended, I was privileged to converse for a short while with the eminent pianist while he was signing copies of his biography for eager visitors, and one for me too of course. He was very friendly and did not mind at all me asking him a few questions. I told him that at home we always listen to the wonderful recordings of the Beaux Arts Trio of the Trios of Joseph Haydn. I praised these recordings, not because I wanted to flatter him, but because these recorded performancers are exquisite and show not only the musicality of the Beaux Arts Trio but also the very beauty of the Trios as no other group could perform them.
I also asked the maestro about the Concert Hall Society label and also if he knew David and Samuel Josefowitz. "Knew!?", he said. "I know them!" he said with emphasis.
He also told me that in the early years the trio, of which he was the pianist of course, recorded a Mendelssohn Trio and Dvorak's Dumky Trio for the Concert Hall Society label. I asked him: "That was the Guilet Trio?". "Yes", he said, "with Daniel Guilet, he came from the Calvet Quartet, you know. And with Bernard Greenhouse. It was quite a hectic, three hour session in which we had to complete the recording. But later we received a Grand Prix du Disque for these performances!" Quite unexpectedly.
Apparently the execution had the right drive and intensity. If they had only known beforehand ... The recording was made in a church in France.
Pressler also told me that he recorded Chopin's Concerto No. 1 with David Josefowitz conducting. That too was a hectic affair. David conducted at a rather high tempo which Menahem Pressler did not like too much. He added as a sort of mitigating circumstance: "He is very fond of the Concerto, you know". The disc also contains Andante spianato & Grande polonaise. The reference number is SMS 2408.

When researching data and material for this page I had come accross another Concert Hall release of Menahem Pressler but now playing Piano Concerto in A, Op. 16, by Edward Grieg, with Jean-Marie Auberson conducting the Vienna Festival Orchestra (coupled with Holberg Suite played by the Ramat-Gan Chamber Orchestra conducted by Eliahu Inbal).
At left the blue label of M-2381.


Light Music SeriesOn an early MMS Light Music Series release with green label and reference POP-8 violinist Ricardo Odnoposoff plays Kreisler Favorites, accompanied by pianist Jean Antonietti.


The later Varieton edition of the same recording with the same reference number entitled KREISLER'S OLD VIENNA






Inspired by the LP boxed sets of Reader's Digest and RCA, the Concert Hall record label compiled their earlier released recordings and bought existing recordings from other labels to be issued together in thick and heavy albums. Dutch editions were: "De wereld van de opera" (The World of the Opera, pressed in Germany and issued there as "Zauberwelt der Oper"), and "De mooiste muziek van alle tijden" (The Most Beautiful Music of All Time, pressed in France by EMI). The booklet of the latter edition contained several pictures of artists.

For French subscribers, La Guilde Internationale du Disque produced special historical documentaries. At left the linen album containing a book and 3 x 12" LPs of "La révolution française", the French Revolution. Reference M-2262. Actors read the commentary. André Charlin, the recording engineer who is famous for his use of electrostatic microphones, made the sound recordings of musical excerpts and pieces by Bécourt, Berlioz, Cambini, Catel, Cherubini, Dalayrac, Gaveaux, Gébauer, Gossec, Gétry, Lesueur, Mehul, and music by a number of anonymous composers. The French Revolution received a "Grand Prix - Académie du disque français".

Other releases were about World War One (La grande guerre - M 2344), Napoleon Bonaparte (M-2265), The Century of Louis XIV (Le siècle de Louis VIV). It is reported that no more than 5000 copies of each of these editions were made. They were probably also bought by schools.

What happened to the Concert Hall Society label in the end? Jean-Pierre Mathieu wrote: "In France, la Guilde Internationale du Disque was sold to Editions Atlas in 1987-88 who belong currently to the Italian Group Agostini. From time to time they reissue some recordings on CD." Does this mean that also original Concert Hall recordings are owned by Agostini? That needs further investigation.

Another edition with collected recordings was The Jazz Story - from New Orleans to modern Jazz with extensive notes in English and French (Le monde du jazz de la Nouvelle-Orleans au Jazz moderne). It was a 10 LP Box with historic recordings of many artists like Barny Bigard, Jack Teagarden, Paul Barbarin, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Dexter Gordon, Oscar Pettiford, Rex Stewart, Art Tatum, and artists who also can be found on Don Gabor's Continental label, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn, Red Norvo. And there are of course recordings of Charlie Parker made in 1946 and 1947 by Ross Russell for his Dial label catalog and the recordings of Mezz Mezzrow's King Jazz record label which were also acquired by Concert Hall Society.



Instrumentalists, Singers, Ensembles,
Conductors and Orchestras



The Pascal String Quartet
Jacques Dumont - 1st violin
Maurice Crut - 2nd Violin
Léon Pascal - Viola
Robert Salles - Violoncello
(Picture taken from the MMS advertisement which appeared in Discopedie (compiled by Raph N. Degens), 1956 edition)

"The biggest operation is in West Germany.
There most of the records are pressed."


Ray Lev - Pianist
Walter Goehr - Conductor
(Photo: MMS)
Jack P. Loorij - Conductor
Otto Ackermann - Conductor

Carl Bamberger - Conductor (Photo: MMS)
Carl Schuricht - Conductor
 Ricardo Odnoposoff - Violinist
(Photo: Fayer, Vienna)
Grant Johannesen - Pianist
(Photo MMS)
Louis Kaufman - Violinist (Photo: Concert Hall)
David Josefowitz - Violinist, Conductor, Producer (Photo: Concert Hall)
Ignace Neumark - conductor (Photo Atelier Frans Hals, Den Haag, 1927) Toon Verhey (image Radio Encyclopedie)


Utrecht Municipal Orchestra (Utrechts Stedelijk Orkest, originally written as "Orchest" with "ch").
A picture from 1949 when Willem van Otterloo was principal conductor.

Image taken from Radio encyclopedie, Breughel Amsterdam, 1949.

For several recordings the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of the Dutch Broadcasting Union (NRU - Nederlandse Radio Unie) was renamed Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra for the occasions when recording for MMS. This was Paul van Kempen's ensemble.
And from 1955 on Bernard Haitink was principal conductor.
Here a picture of the orchestra with Jean Fournet in one of the radio studios in 1956.
Image taken from Radio- en televisie-encyclopedie voor Nederland en België, Breughel Amsterdam - Mertens & Stappaerts Antwerpen, 1956.

Walter Goehr conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Note the interior of a church. There are monitor loudspeakers in the background and there is a microphone on a stand. (Photo: Concert Hall, edited by R.A.B.)
Three conductors taking their bows in 1949: Victor Desarzens (Concert Hall/MMS) with Hans Rosbaud (left; Deutsche Grammophon and Philips) and Ernest Bour (right). (Image edited by R.A.B.)


Artur Balsam - Pianist
(Photo: l'Oiseau Lyre)
Noel Mewton-Wood - Pianist
Livia Rev - Pianist
(Photo: Pathé)
Vlado Perlemuter - Pianist
(Photo: Concert Hall)
Hans Swarowsky - Conductor
(Photo Dutch HMV-Bovema)
Cora Canne Meyer - Mezzo-soprano
(Photo Dutch HMV-Bovema)
Pierre Michel Le Conte - Conductor
Gianfranco Rivoli - Conductor
(Photo: Concert Hall Society)
Pierre Fournier - Cellist
(Photo: Erich Auerbach)
Alexander Krannhals - Conductor (image taken from a Dutch publication).
Fritz Busch - Conductor (Image Remington Records)
Annette de la Bije - Soprano
Theo Olof - Violinist
(Image "Mens en Melodie")

Corry Bijster - Soprano

Frank Pelleg - Pianist/Harpsichordist
(Photo: Pye Records, 1964)
Friedrich Gulda - Pianist
(Photo RCA, 1954)
Sondra Bianca - Pianist
Edited image taken from her Schumann LP 30 MT 10.127
Carl Schuricht - Conductor
Lili Kraus - Pianist
(Image taken from "Radio Encyclopedie", 1949)
Philippe Entremont - Pianist
(Photo: Concert Hall Society)
Paul Hupperts - Conductor
Paul Kletzki - Conductor
Alexander Jenner - Pianist (Photo courtesy Alexander Jenner)
Henk Spruit - Conductor
Charles Munch - Conductor
Leopold Ludwig - Conductor
Boyd Neel - conductor
(Photo: Concert Hall Society)
Benedict Silbermann
(also written as Silberman) - conductor (Image taken from "Radio Encyclopedie", 1949)
Bernard Greenhouse- Cellist
(Photo: Mike Evans/ Philips Records)
Menahem Pressler - Pianist
(Photo: Mike Evans/ Philips Records)
Peter Rybar - Violinist
Israela Margalit - Pianist (Edited image taken from a Concert Hall cover)
Julius Patzak
(Photo MMS)
Gladys Kuchta (Photo MMS)
Heinz Rehfuss
(Photo MMS)
Melitta Muszely (Photo MMS)

In the Spring of 2011 John Hunt published the Concert Hall Society discography: conductors, singers, instrumentalists, labels, reference numbers, and - if known - recording venues and dates.

John Hunt Discographies


Click on the Image for More Info


Research and text by Rudolf A. Bruil.

Page first published on the web on August 11, 2010.
The paragraph about pianist Menahem Pressler was added on November 20, 2011.




Audio&Music Bulletin - Rudolf A. Bruil, Editor - Copyright 1995-2011 by Rudolf A. Bruil