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interesting note about record societies from July 1933

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:21 pm
by rgodridge
I thought this was interesting and it underscores something I've always wondered about!
THE SOCIETIES. (To the Editor of THE GRAMOPHONE.) DEAR Sm,-Although I have been a regular reader of your most excellent paper since 1925, I have never yet had occasion to write to you.
But now I feel that I must write to you on the subject of the " Society" movement a nd i ts effects on the ordinary record collector.
I realise that most of the points were cited in a letter from Mr. Cameron last September, but no one else seems to have taken up his case.
When the Hugo Wolf Society was first formed i t seemed to be a very sensible way of obtaining recordings of songs which otherwise we could not obtain.
However, the Beethoven Sonata Society was announced before the first issue of the Wolf appeared, and I , for one, saved my money for the newer society which I preferred, knowing that I could not afford both.
Within three months the Haydn and Sibelius societies had appeared-and now several others are being proposed.
This method of obtaining guaranteed subscriptions is all right as far as our wealthier fri ends are concerned, but hardly fair on the more impecunious of our brotherhood.
Before the society movement was started we might not be able to buy a ll the complete works we wanted as soon as they were issued, bu t we knew that they would be generally available for two or three years at least before being deleted from tho catalogue. And, moreover, i f financial considerations were severe, i t was always possible to obta.in them, one or two records at a t ime.
Now, under the society regime, unless we payout our two guineas at a t ime we do not get a look in anywhere.
I t may well be argued, as l \ i r. Walter Legge has done, that all the four societies do not appeal equally to all music lovers, and that we should subscribe to the one which we personally prefer. Well, I do not think that my tastes are radically different from those of hundreds of collectors, but I , for one, would willingly have subscribed to all the present societies, including the" Forty Eight," if I could afford i t .
To take the Sibelius as an example, I would very much l ike to possess the Fifth Symphony and" Pojola's Daughter," but I did not care greatly for "Tapiola," and in the present financial crisis I cannot afford to pay for records which may only be appreciated after many hearings.
I r ealise that the societies need their 500 original guarantors to make them financially possible-but would i t not be possible to make the records available to a wider set of collectors by issuing them, say six months after original publication, on a Connoisseur Catalogue and , perhaps, at a slightly enhanced price?
I suppose that this sugges t ion, which has been put forward before, will not appeal to the people who l ike to have" l imited editions" of works, but after all the gramophone has been, up to the present, the" man·in·the·street's" only method of actually possessing the great masterpieces of music which surely are the h eritage of a ll music lovers and not just of the few.
I realise that thi s letter sounds rather se lfish, but I know that there are many other collectors situated similarly to myself who cannot afford to join the societies however much they may l ike the composer or the works offered; therefore I make no apologies for wTiting in this strain and would ask you through the medium of THE GRAMOPHONE to try to obtain a system which would give a l i t t le more chance to the average music lover who also collects gramophone records.
Harpenden.
Yours faithfully,
T. N. H. GODFREY.

Re: interesting note about record societies from July 1933

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:35 pm
by Gmemg
that's a very interesting article - i have read it in the actual magazine but it would have taken weeks to copy it into a form you could read - it highlights some very interesting points form long ago , how many of us would even consider that some recordings would ONLY be available as limited editions to those who could pre - order and only those who could afford to buy the whole lot ?

I think those of us with tens of thousands of records often forget that the rather pathetic capacity record cabinets found in collections were for the original owners ALL they had and often all they needed as records were very expensive and most incomes were rather small, a collection of 200 records was a LARGE collection and very few wanted or could afford many classical records and those would be the heavily cut "selections" from Opera or just one Movement , again heavily cut of a symphony usually by a Military Band so a complete set of Beethoven Piano Sonatas would be a revelation

Re: interesting note about record societies from July 1933

Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:14 pm
by donjohnson24
Gmemg wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:35 pm
that's a very interesting article - i have read it in the actual magazine but it would have taken weeks to copy it into a form you could read
I'm not sure if you are referring to the poor visual quality of the article, or to the process of translating print into electronic text, but if it is the latter, if you have a scanner, may I recommend the use of Free OCR

It can be downloaded at http://www.paperfile.net/, and takes only a little time to learn.

At the risk of being boring, may I explain that I actually use it mainly for scanning hymns from Hymns Old and New which I output to Word. I export each file from Word in .odt format, then import those into Calibre to be saved in MOBI format. These files get exported to a Kindle, which is used by a lady with sight difficulties, but who also has arthritic problems which prevent her holding a large text version of the hymn book at services on Sundays. The lightweight Kindle, set to largest print size, enables her to read the words of the four or five hymns. Luckily, the same hymns tend to be used annually, so once having stored the Kindle versions for a year's services, I only have to remove the previous week's hymns and add four or five from my Calibre library each week.

Re: interesting note about record societies from July 1933

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:16 pm
by Gmemg
Interesting, i do have a machine which prints & scans but i've never used the latter function as i just wanted a printer and it did both jobs for the same price !

I shall try and do that - i did recently have to go to the British Library and they have a wonderful photocopier which has instead of a flat glass plate a sort of glass pyramid which you place the book on and it will copy both pages - that may well be rather ancient technology but it impressed me

Wasn't that book once called "hymns Ancient & modern" ? or have the brought out some sort of woeful happy - clappy version now ?

Re: interesting note about record societies from July 1933

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:51 pm
by donjohnson24
Gmemg wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:16 pm
Wasn't that book once called "hymns Ancient & modern" ? or have the brought out some sort of woeful happy - clappy version now ?
Thankfully not! :roll: