"PLAY IT AGAIN,

MR. BACH"

(Roy Hempley and Doug Lehrer)

 

 

References:

(1)  The Contributions To Brass Instrument Manufacturing of Vincent Bach, Carl Geyer, and Renold Schilke (thesis), Gary Gardner Fladmoe, University of Illinois, Urbana, 1975.

(2)  The Life and Work of Vincent Bach (1890-1976)  (two-part article), Andre Smith, International Trumpet Guild Journal, Vol. 19, Nos. 2 and 3.

 

This is the authors' fourth article in a series of articles that are mainly focused on Vincent Bach's New York trumpets and cornets.  In this article, however, the authors take a detour and discuss some of the less well-known aspects of Bach's career.  The journey began when the authors discovered two records made by him.  While investigating how they fit within the context of Bach's career, the authors also came across some information related to other things Bach tried.  Some of that information is included in this article as well.  Even so, the main focus of the article is on the records.  As an added feature, the authors thought that some readers might want to lend an ear to the music he offered, albeit belatedly.  (Download instructions are located in the last section of this article.)

 

Bach was a performer before he began manufacturing instruments.  As will be seen, his playing career was interrupted continually by events that he simply could not control.  Even while trying to get some continuity in his playing career, he also took up composing, publishing and recording.  Some of these endeavors surprised the authors.  All were related to performance to varying degrees, but each one took time and involved activities and skills other than being ready to play his instrument when the baton went down.

 

BACH'S OTHER ENDEAVORS

 

            SOURCES AND DISCLAIMER

 

Most of the information in this section is paraphrased from Reference (1).  A limited amount came from Reference (2).

 

In preparing his Ph.D. thesis (See Reference 1), Dr. Gary Fladmoe was one of the last people to personally interview Vincent Bach before his death.  He also had support from Bach's daughter, Nancy Jallade.  Andre Smith (See Reference 2) had support from her in writing his articles as well.  Ms. Jallade's support alone is sufficient to make these the most authoritative articles on Vincent Bach that have been published so far, but Fladmoe's personal interviews with Bach add a rare dimension to the information contained in that work.

 

There's another reason why these two works are important.  Both sources were based, to varying degrees, on Vincent Bach's own written recollections of his life.  Those recollections are contained in a document that was cited in Reference 1 as Musicus Vacabundus, an unpublished autobiography, Hartsdale, New York.  As a result, Bach's unpublished autobiography became the basis for many of the observations in this article, although in a secondary way.  The authors did not have direct access to this work.

 

In this article, the authors do not try to present a date-by-date chronology of Bach's life.  Rather, they try to relate certain activities and events cited in the above sources to conditions that might have influenced Bach's career choices.  To get a better sense of the details of Bach's life, the authors recommend interested readers review both References 1 and 2.  Reference 1 is available through an inter-library loan and Reference 2 is available through the International Trumpet Guild.

 

The authors find it convenient to talk about Bach's non-manufacturing career in two periods, his European experience and his American experience.  The former lasted from around 1910 into 1914.  The latter lasted from 1914 into 1928.

 

IN EUROPE (1910 - 1914)

 

From an early age, Bach wanted to become a performer.  He eventually did, but he had a difficult time launching his playing career and an even harder time maintaining it once it got started.  His family did not support him in his ambition, but there were also external pressures that created problems for him.  Those pressures will be discussed, to a limited degree, in this article.  He certainly had a great desire to become a performer.  Without that, he more easily could have settled into another career path, simply because he had technical training and was encouraged to pursue a more conventional vocation.

 

Bach had some early training on various instruments, including the violin, but he eventually developed a liking for the cornet.  When he was 15 years old, he bought his first brass instrument.  It was a rotary valve trumpet.  By today's standards, that got him off to a pretty late start in learning to play, but start he did.

 

In addition to his normal studies, Bach studied and practiced music during his five years of technical schooling.  He graduated in 1910 when he was 20 years old, but by that time he had begun to play semi-professionally.

 

After graduating from technical school, Bach couldn't get started on any career right away, playing or otherwise.  He first had to enlist for his conscripted tour of duty in the military, an episode that all young men in the Austro-Hungarian Empire faced.  He was inducted into the navy and held a "regular" job; that is, he was not a military musician.

 

At the end of his military tour, Bach bowed to family and, perhaps, financial pressures by taking a "day job" in an elevator factory.  The authors have no idea how long Bach might have endured this career, but it was soon called to a halt when the Empire called him to a second tour of military duty.  This time it was because of flare-ups related to age-old disputes between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire and to more immediate problems involving the latter's claims over parts of the Balkans.  Bach was 22 years old.  During this tour Bach served as a musician in the Empire's (Austrian) Marine Band.  This position at least gave him some playing opportunities that finally helped to launch his career as a performer.  He did not return to a "regular" job.

 

The astute reader might note that early in the 20th Century the Austro-Hungarian Empire was a somewhat turbulent area for a young man to live in.  Sure enough, no sooner had Bach gotten out of the military the second time and begun his playing career in earnest than, in 1914, the Empire declared war on Bulgaria.  This was the first of a series of events that helped launch World War I, a war that eventually engulfed all of Europe as well as the United States.

 

Bach was pursuing his playing career in England at the time World War I finally broke out in earnest; that is, when England declared war on what was to become known as the Central Powers.  Unfortunately for Bach, the Central Powers included the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Being caught in the "enemies'" country was dangerous, and Bach quickly immigrated to the United States.  It appears that it was easier for him to get to the United States than it was to return home.  At age 24, Bach sailed for the United States using the name Peterson.

 

Looking over the events of his life during the four years between the time Bach graduated from technical school and the time he left Europe for the United States, it's difficult for the authors to see how he had much of a chance at establishing a solid performance career.  He had already served two military tours, and he was about to enter the military again if he returned home from England.  His chances to continue his performing career had to be better in the United States, or so it might have seemed.

 

            IN THE UNITED STATES (1914 - 1928)    

 

Bach arrived in the United States with very little money, but he was determined to continue his career as a playing professional rather than take up a technical job again.  After a short period attempting to make a living in vaudeville and other venues, he was offered a position in the Boston Symphony, and he played with that orchestra for the better part of a year.

 

After the 1914/15 orchestral season with Boston, Bach alternated between being a soloist and a member of other orchestras.  Again his plans were interrupted by world events when World War I expanded across the Atlantic Ocean to include the United States.  The United States entered the war in April 1917.

 

The years between Bach's arrival in the United States and the beginning of World War I were interesting in terms of gaining some insights into Bach as a young man.  During this three-year period, he tried several additional moneymaking endeavors.

 

As with other performers, Bach tried to enhance his income by endorsing instruments.  In his case, he chose to endorse Holton trumpets and cornets.  The authors have asked the G. LeBlanc Corporation, the current parent company of Holton instruments, if it has any records regarding Bach's association with Holton, but none were reported to exist.  The authors have seen Bach's endorsement statements for Holton in several places, however, and they think that the arrangement lasted from sometime in 1914 until World War I changed his situation again.

 

            The authors have researched documents Bach copyrighted.  Among them they found some solos that he wrote during this period before World War I.  On March 15, 1916, Bach copyrighted a solo entitled "Ungarische Melodien: Phantasie Brillante" ("Hungarian Melody") (for cornet solo and piano).  On May 15, 1916, he copyrighted a second solo entitled "Austriana: Konzert Fantasie" (for cornet solo with piano accompaniment).  To write a solo is one thing, to get it published is quite another.  Without publication, there could be no income.

 

            It's interesting to note some things about these publications.  Both of them were written with piano accompaniment, but both were offered with band and orchestral accompaniment as well.  This implies that either Bach was a skilled composer and arranger, or he had help.  Either way, his efforts went far beyond writing down noodlings on a sheet of music manuscript paper.  (Both of these compositions refer to a third one, "Scene Hongroise", which Bach may have published but apparently did not copyright.)

 

Bach was shown on the covers of these solos holding a trumpet even though they were advertised as cornet solos.  That trumpet was a Holton Revelation trumpet, which was relatively new to the Holton instrument line at that time.

 

Both of Bach's 1916 copyrighted solos indicate that they were "Published by Vincent Bach, New York, N.Y."  On the copyright applications, Bach listed his address as 210 W. 107 St; NY, NY.  Perhaps this heretofore-unreported business address was his first one.  Rayner Dalhelm & Company, Music Printers and Engravers did his printing in Chicago.

 

The authors observe that at this time, Bach had been in this country for only about a year and a half.  While it may not have been uncommon for performing musicians to compose, it was fairly uncommon for them to publish their own music.  This was no small achievement for Bach, particularly since he was a recent immigrant.

 

            Today, Bach is well known for a pamphlet that he wrote entitled "The Art of Trumpet Playing".  These interesting little documents remain sought after both by performers and collectors alike.  The most common one is 48 pages long and was copyrighted in 1925.  A few people know that there was another one, 15 pages long, copyrighted in 1920.  Very few people know that the first version was published in 1916 during Bach's music-publishing flurry.  It was not copyrighted. 

 

The authors have not seen one of the 1916 pamphlets.  They have only seen references to it in other Bach writings.  Even so, its reported existence is an indication of the expanse of ideas that Bach tried while getting himself established in this country.  Picture a very young man (age 26) whose native language was Austrian writing a "how to" pamphlet in English just two years after immigrating.  Even with help, this had to be difficult.  Bach, by the way, also published this pamphlet himself.

 

            Composing, writing, publishing: these were not enough for him.  Bach also tried to launch a recording career during this period.  He recorded two tunes for Thomas A. Edison, Inc. and was paid a total of $75 for his efforts.  This is one of the primary reasons for writing this article.  More will be said about it in the next section of this paper.

 

            By April 1917 when the United States declared war against the Central Powers, it did not have sufficient manpower to engage in war.  To raise an army, the United States turned to its many immigrants and inducted them into the military.  A very large number of these inductees were from New York, and most of those were inducted into the U. S. Army and trained at Camp Upton on Long Island.  (Reference 1 identifies this as Camp Union, but that camp was located in California.)

 

Readers will recognize right away that Bach was surely to be caught up in the military again.  The inductees at Camp Upton were formed into the famed 77th Division that was ultimately sent to fight in France.  Bach was among the inductees, and he became the director of the 306th Artillery Regiment Band, which was part of the 77th Division.  He did not accompany the band to France.

 

(The authors have a notion about why Bach was not sent to France with the 306th Artillery Regiment Band.  Many of the immigrant inductees became naturalized citizens of the United States prior to being sent to Europe to fight.  Unlike these inductees, Bach did not become a citizen at Camp Upton.  He was not naturalized until 1925.  The authors surmise that the United States would not contemplate naturalizing a citizen of another country with which it was at war and then send him back to Europe to fight against his country of origin.)

 

To be sure, Bach was in the music field when he was at Camp Upton.  Not only was he a director of an U. S. Army band, he also held a position as head of a bugle school.  (So far, the authors have not turned up any of the records of Army bugle schools despite some substantial research help from U.S. Army personnel as well as some bugle enthusiasts.)  Even though Bach was in charge of two music organizations, this was not the best thing that one could imagine bolstering a playing career in his new country.

 

Bach began his manufacturing career in 1917 while he was still in the Army.  He had begun making mouthpieces because he needed some for himself, but, later on, he made some for his buglers.  The authors don't doubt for a minute that Bach soon considered manufacturing as a career enhancement move.  First, he had had a difficult time getting into a consistent playing career.  It also may have become obvious to him that there was "business potential" in his new country that was not apparent before he immigrated.

 

            After his discharge from the Army, Bach continued to play in orchestras and as a soloist, but, in 1921, he gave all of this up and turned more seriously to mouthpiece manufacturing.  From this point on, Bach was a manufacturer first and a performer second.  He began instrument manufacturing in 1924.

 

            In 1926, Bach temporarily took a final orchestral position.  In addition to income, this also gave him the perfect place to test his new instruments.  His business demands became too great, however, and he found himself hiring substitutes so he could concentrate on his business.

 

Bach had a difficult time keeping his company afloat financially.  He appears to have done everything he could to turn his company into a viable business.  He advertised, to be sure, and one of his advertisements took the form of a record promoting his Stradivarius Model cornets.  Bach recorded two tunes for this promotion, and the resulting record constitutes the second major reason for writing this article.  More will be said about that in the next-to-the-last section of this paper.

 

Despite his heavy workload, Bach played trumpet solos on various radio shows from 1927 into 1928.  (The authors wonder if some of these shows still remain in the recording archives of radio stations, even though this was two or three years before radio archives became routine.  They have not been able to locate any of them.  They do know that the most likely station to maintain such archives, WNYC, has none.)  In May of 1928, Bach cancelled all further radio commitments.  This, in essence, appears to have ended his playing career except, perhaps, for occasional appearances.

 

            As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the authors have learned that Bach made at least two records.  The Thomas Edison Company, Inc. produced one of them.  The other was a Stradivarius Model cornet promotional record.  These were exciting discoveries, and the authors have acquired copies of all four tunes from those records.  The records will be discussed in the following sections of this article, and readers will have an opportunity to download all four tunes from the Selmer Company's Web site.  The recordings have been digitized and processed.  Nonetheless, the authors would welcome discussions with any recording specialists who might volunteer to improve them.  This effort would not be undertaken for commercial purposes, however.  (See information at the end or this article about contacting the authors.)

 

BACH'S RECORDINGS

 

            EARLIEST KNOWN RECORDING: EDISON DIAMOND DISC

 

            In the following material, the authors refer to Thomas A. Edison, Inc. (the company) as Edison.  When referring to the inventor and owner of the company, they use his first and last names, i.e., Thomas Edison.

 

            While Bach was a member of the Boston Symphony, he sent his "repertoire" to Edison's Recording Department in New York.  The authors don't know how Bach and Edison made contact, but Edison ultimately responded with a contract offer to record two tunes.  The details are contained in a letter to Bach dated March 3, 1915.  (See Reference 2, Vol. 19 No.2, Figure 22.)  Edison offered Bach $75 to make two perfect masters of each of two selections.  The selections were "Ah! Could I But Once More So Love" by Wilhelm Aletter and "The Nightingale Song" by Carl Zeller.  Edison told Bach that if he did not have an orchestration available, the company would provide one in his chosen key.  Edison viewed the recordings as potential material for an Edison Diamond Disc.  The masters probably were made in Edison's New York studio, as that was Edison's custom.

 

(By the time Smith wrote the articles in Reference 2, he did not know of the existence of the recordings.  The following information uncovered by the authors adds to his work.)

 

Bach had to work a little overtime to earn his money.  It appears from Edison files that two recording sessions were required.  The first recording session was held on March 18, 1915.  It was considered by the studio to be a "Fall Down" (labeled FD in Edison's records).  In Edison vernacular, that meant that the session was unsuccessful, but the reason was not recorded.  Fall Down or not, the orchestra had to be paid.  It received $25 for the FD session.

 

Bach tried again the next day, March 19, 1915.  That session was successful.  Although contracted to make two recordings of each tune, he actually made three recordings of “Ah! Could I But Once More So Love”.  For that session, the orchestra received an additional $43.75.  As there were no residual payments in those days, Bach’s total pay was the contracted $75.

 

For Edison Diamond Disc enthusiasts, Bach's disc is number 50241.  (See Figure 1)  The authors had access to various recordings of the two tunes.  The Edison matrix numbers for the five recordings available to the authors of "Ah! Could I But Once More So Love" were 3654-C-x-x.  The matrix numbers for the four recordings of "The Nightingale Song--You Remember Love" were 3655-B-x-x.

 

Figure 1: Edison Diamond Disc
(Click the Image to View Full Size in a New Window)

 

In 1915, agreeing to a recording session for Edison didn’t guarantee that you would become one of its recording artists.  Edison still had some decisions to make regarding its newly developed property.  Edison finally made decisions to put Bach’s tunes on an Edison Diamond Disc on August 16, 1915 (the R side) and on October 19, 1915 (the L side).  (The "R" and "L" designations of Edison discs refer to the "right" and "left" sides of the discs as they were organized standing on their edges.) 

The disc sold for $1.00 in 1916.

 

            It's interesting to know a little about the Edison recording company because it sheds a little light on its interest in Bach.

 

Prior to 1912, Edison sold music only on cylinders.  Upon seeing the growing popularity of recording discs, Edison was determined to get into that lucrative field as well.

 

Edison developed what it considered to be a higher-quality recording process that relied on, among other things, vertical groove movements and thicker platters formed by a special process.  The resulting discs were called Edison Diamond Discs.  Recorded at 80 revolutions per minute (rpm), these were relatively long-playing discs compared to the competition's discs.

 

In 1916, Edison applied for a trademark on the name Re-Creations and added this term to the name of the discs.  The word Re-Creations was chosen to convey a marketing idea that the recording process was so good that it "re-created" live performances, and Edison used various clever marketing schemes to make this point.

 

Trying to sell wholesome entertainment as Thomas Edison himself saw it, Edison chose recording artists very carefully.  Some Edison employees and even some family members often disagreed about what might be marketed as such.  For a long time, Thomas Edison argued against producing jazz discs, for example, but others eventually carried the day on this point.

 

Vincent Bach was among the artists Edison thought met its standards.  The only other Edison cornet- and trumpet-playing "personalities" of the early period (before jazz) that the authors have uncovered were Vincent Buono, Ernest A. Couturier, Bohumir Kryl, Edna White and Jules Levy, Jr.

 

The authors don't know in which Edison catalog Bach's disc first appeared, but they have acquired a copy of a portion of an April, 1916 supplement for Edison Diamond Disc Re-Creations that lists it.  The two tunes are listed on page 16 (See Figure 2).

 

Figure 2: April 1916 Supplement
(Click the Image to View Full Size in a New Window)

 

            The two tunes were also listed in another supplement that the authors were given.  That supplement from February 1918 not only contains a listing of the disc; it also contains a picture of Bach playing his cornet (See Figure 3).

 

Figure 3: February 1918 Supplement
(Click the Image to View Full Size in a New Window)

 

The authors don't know how many of Bach's discs Edison made.  They do know that the tunes remained listed in Edison catalogs until January 21, 1920.

 

Edison continued making cylinders after it started producing discs.  These cylinders were durable and had very good sound.  They were called Blue Amberol Records.  Edison’s sales of cylinders continued until the late 1920s.

 

From internal Edison records, it appears that 80 cylinders were made of Bach's rendition of "The Nightingale Song".  (See Figure 4)  Each one cost $0.50, exactly half the price of the disc, which contained the same tune.  The last recorded entry in Edison's Blue Amberol stock card used to keep track of the inventory of Bach's cylinders shows that the last sales were made in December of 1918 and that about 26 of them were left at that time.

 

Figure 4: Blue Amberol Cylinder

 Owned by David Sager
(Click the Image to View Full Size in a New Window)

 

The authors do not own either an Edison Diamond Disc or a Blue Amberol cylinder of Bach’s recordings.  Production discs are still held at the Edison National Historic Site in East Orange, New Jersey.  The Recorded Music Section of the Library of Congress holds two production discs.  The Selmer Company has a tape recording made from what is presumed to be one of Bach's personal discs, but the location of the disc itself is unknown.

 

These recordings were made before Bach began manufacturing his own instruments, so it’s interesting to consider which cornet he might have used for them.  There is fairly strong evidence to suggest that Bach used Holton instruments from the time he became a member of the Boston Symphony at least until he joined the U.S. Army during World War One.  Since that period spanned the time Bach recorded for Edison, the authors think that it's quite possible that he used a Holton instrument for the recording sessions.

 

The picture below (See Figure 5), scanned from the back page of one of his solos, shows that Bach endorsed Holton instruments during this period.

 

Figure 5: Holton Factory with Bach Endorsement
(Click the Image to View Full Size in a New Window)

 

Bach formed an association with Holton while he was a member of the Boston Symphony during the 1914/15 season as all trumpet players in that orchestra used Holton instruments.  Bach's association with Holton continued after he left the symphony, however.  He was listed as a featured endorser of Holton products in a 1916 "Holton Harmony Hints", a periodic catalog Frank Holton produced to advertise his company's instruments.  The photograph of Bach in that publication shows him holding a Holton Revelation trumpet, and it is the same photograph that he used on the front of his published cornet solos.

 

            One of Bach’s solos, "Austriana", was dedicated to "Frank Holton & Co., Manufacturer of the 'Revelation Trumpet and Cornet'".  That solo was copyrighted on May 15, 1916.  His endorsement says that he used Holton trumpets exclusively.  As the authors have never known a trumpet/cornet player to stretch the truth, they take this endorsement at face value.  Nonetheless, this was about a year after Bach made his recordings for Edison, so nothing conclusive can be determined about what brand of instrument he might have been playing a year earlier.  Still, the most likely choice was a Holton instrument.

 

(The authors have not done extensive research on Holton instruments from this period, but a smattering of old catalogs held by one of the authors indicate that Holton changed from the "New Proportion Cornet" of 1912 and earlier, to the "Revelation Cornet" around the time Bach became involved with that company, then to the "Holton-Clarke Cornet" around 1917 when Herbert Clarke joined the Holton Company and back again to the "Revelation Cornet" at a later time, presumably after Herbert Clarke and Frank Simon were no longer associated with them.  The Holton Revelation trumpet continued throughout this period.)

 

            Nothing the authors have uncovered proves that Bach used either a Holton Revelation cornet to make his recordings for Edison or any other Holton instrument for that matter.  It’s just reasonable speculation at this point.  The authors observe that Bach’s association with Holton probably lasted at least four or five years, spanning the period during which his Edison recordings were made.  The authors cannot resolve an apparent contradiction with the thoughts of some that Bach used a French Besson cornet until he began making his own instruments.

 

            The last section of this article contains instructions for downloading files to listen to Bach's Edison Diamond Disc.

 

BACH'S PROMOTIONAL/DEMONSTRATION RECORDING

 

            About two years ago, a friend noted that there was a Vincent Bach recording for sale on Ebay and contacted one of the authors.  Surprised at this, that author made a bid and bought the record for $28.  Unfortunately, that required spending a somewhat higher amount for a turntable to play it on.

 

The record was made to demonstrate Bach's Stradivarius Model cornet.  It was not too difficult to find information about Bach's recordings for Edison, so the authors had hoped to find concrete information on Bach's demonstration record as well.  They have found none so far, but they can make some judgements about the recording's origins.

 

This particular record has neither matrix number nor identifying label (See Figure 7).  The authors note that the record was made to appear as if it were made "by" the Bach Corporation rather than "for" it.  It displays the corporation logo from that period.

 

Figure 6: Bach Demonstration Record
(Click the Image to View Full Size in a New Window)

 

The authors originally thought Bach's record was a Victor Talking Record because the sheath it arrived in is a Victor Talking Record sheath.  After viewing the record label, Mr. Vince Giordano, the historian at BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group), the current owner of Victor Talking Records archives, assured them that it is not.

 

From limited research into the various recording labels that have existed in this country, and through some substantial help by Mr. David Sager of the Library of Congress, the authors have tentatively concluded that the recording was made by Pathe Records (or perhaps one of its subsidiaries).  This is based on several things.  First of all, the label on Bach's record used a format quite similar to Pathe label formats.  The shellac style of the record is similar to that of Pathe records.  The timing is right for Pathe.  That company, having established an American branch in New York in 1914, began electronic recording in early 1927.  This was not long after Bach began manufacturing cornets.  Finally, one of their recording studios was located only a few blocks from Bach's second factory.  If the authors' judgement about the recording company is correct, it helps to date the record.  Pathe ceased to exist in 1929 after being taken over by Columbia Records.

 

Given all of the factors involved, the authors assume that Pathe Records made Bach's demonstration record some time between early 1927 and 1929.

 

            There is one other interesting bit of speculation about this recording.  The authors think that it's very likely that Esther Bach (Vincent's wife) played the piano accompaniment for the two solos.  Esther was a pianist and is reported to have played very well.  In a diary she maintained from 1927 until 1935 (see Reference 2), Esther often wrote of accompanying her husband during various engagements.  The authors suspect that Bach would have asked Esther to accompany him on this recording as well.

 

            Bach's demonstration record is a 10-inch record typical of the 1920s.  As was typical of Pathe recordings for the period, the authors think that the recording originally was made at 80 rpm.

 

Bach recorded two tunes for this record:  "The Rosary" by Ethelbert Woodbridge Nevin and "Machula" by Dermott MacMurrough.  Both are simple melodies that the authors suppose were chosen to illustrate the tonal qualities of the Stradivarius Model cornet.

 

            The next section of this article contains instructions for downloading files to listen to Bach's demonstration record.

 

            "PLAY IT AGAIN, MR. BACH"

 

1916 Release: Edison Diamond Discs went through some unfortunate periods before the technology used to make them matured.  Bach's disc was made during one of these periods.  The Selmer Company, the Library of Congress and the Edison Historical National Park all graciously provided the authors with copies of the best recordings they have available.  Unfortunately, none are free of noise.  After being digitized, various recording studios and individuals had opportunities to improve their sound.  The authors chose the results that bring Bach's cornet playing to the forefront, even at the expense of the orchestra's sound and the introduction of extraneous noises.  The choices were made after hours of listening.  The authors are aware that on certain portions of the solos, Bach sounds slightly "tinny", but the editing choices were based on the overall effect.  Without knowing exactly what Bach sounded like on his recording day in 1915, the authors can only guess at the suitability of the final product.

 

            Instructions are provided below to download Bach’s Edison Diamond Disc tunes from 1916 in the compact .MP3 format.

 

            “Ah! Could I But Once More So Love” (Aletter)

            To download this recording (MP3 format), click here. (3:35 min., 472 KB)

 

            “The Nightingale Song” (Zeller)

            To download this recording (MP3 format), click here. (3:53 min., 512 KB)

 

 

1927-29 Release: Bach's Stradivarius Model demonstration record is very scratchy.  It was also made during Pathe Records' early foray into electronic recording.  In the authors' judgement, the original recording did not capture the essence of an early Bach Stradivarius cornet very well.  As with Bach's Edison Diamond Disc, several recording studios and individuals tried to improve the overall sound quality while trying to retain the essence of Bach's playing.

 

            Instructions are provided below to download Bach’s Stradivarius Model demonstration tunes from 1927-29 in the compact .MP3 format.

 

            “The Rosary” (Nevin)

            To download this recording (MP3 format), click here. (1:53 min., 263 KB)

 

            “Machula” (MacMurrough)

To download this recording (MP3 format), click here. (2:24 min., 316 KB)

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

In writing this article and preparing the recordings, the authors came in contact with many interested and helpful people.  Among those are the following.  Gary Fladmoe granted permission to use material from his Ph.D. thesis (Reference 1).  Gary Mortensen, Publications Editor of the International Trumpet Guild granted permission to use material from the International Trumpet Guild Journal (Reference 2).  Raymond R. Wile made a major effort on the authors' behalf.  He has compiled and published a complete list of Edison recordings that the authors used extensively.  He also contributed greatly to the authors understanding of these recordings and provided the authors with important contacts at the Edison National Historic Site.  Mr. Jerry Fabris and Mr. Douglas Tarr, employees of the Edison National Historic Site provided considerable assistance.  They provided digitized versions of Bach's Edison Diamond Disc and other source material held by that organization.  David Sager of the Library of Congress provided digitized versions of the Library's copies of Bach's Edison Diamond Discs as well as other very helpful support in identifying the recording company of Bach's demonstration record.  Lawrence F. Holdrige provided copies of Edison catalog sections listing Bach's recordings.  David Suber, Product Services Manager of the G. LeBlanc Corporation, provided copies of catalog references to Holton instruments from the period as well as a copy of portions of "Holton Harmony Hints" featuring Bach's picture and his endorsement letter for Holton trumpets.  Vince Giordano, historian at BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group), provided research assistance on Bach's demonstration record.

 

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