Simonton (Richard) Collection of Welte system-recorded piano rolls Edit

Summary

Identifier
0176
Finding Aid Date
2010 August
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Dates

  • circa 1905-1920 (Creation)

Extents

  • 60 Linear Feet (Whole)
    60 boxes

Agent Links

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    Player piano rolls recorded with the Emil Welte system by prominent European and American musicians, 1905-1920; catalogs of the Welte Company in Freiburg, Germany. The collection was brought to the United States in 1948 by Simonton, and some of the performances have since been released on modern recordings.

  • Scope and Contents

    Player piano rolls recorded with the Emil Welte system by prominent European and American musicians, 1905-1920; catalogs of the Welte Company in Freiburg, Germany.

  • Historical note

    Richard Simonton (1915–1979), who also used the pseudonym Doug Malloy, was a Hollywood businessman and entrepreneur, known for his rescue of the Steamboat Delta Queen, his work in preserving the work of musicians in the Welte-Mignon piano rolls, and for founding the American Theatre Organ Society.

    The Welte-Mignon Reproducing Piano, a more sophisticated cousin of the player piano, was a mechanical instrument that could reproduce the subtleties of master pianists' styles on paper rolls. Invented by Edwin Welte and his brother-in-law Karl Bockisch in Freiburg, Germany, in 1904, the rolls, recorded between 1904 and 1932 on Welte Philharmonic-Organs, are now historically significant as evidence of the playing styles of many prominent musicians. These include Mahler, Debussy, Faure, Ravel, Scriabin, and others, playing their own compositions.

    The Welte firm and its founders suffered heavily in World War II. After the war, Simonton wrote to Edwin Welte in an attempt to locate music rolls for his pipe organ. Welte answered that he had only managed to save about sixteen organ rolls, but had managed to hide some more in a barn in the Black Forest. In 1948 Simonton travelled to Germany and worked with Welte and Bockisch to rescue the remaining rolls. They played the rolls on Bockisch's Steinway-Welte piano and Simonton recorded the sound onto a tape recorder, an invention which was also extremely rare at the time. These tapes were released as LPs by Columbia Records in 1950. Welte and Bockisch selected and sold the best of the rolls to Simonton in 1948 and he bought more from Bockisch's widow in 1952. After the initial purchase, Welte and Bockisch also found a Steinway-Welte piano for Simonton. Many of the rolls have since been re-recorded from that piano and issued on CD.

    [Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Simonton]

  • Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Richard Simonton Collection of Welte system-recorded piano rolls, Collection no. 0176, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

  • Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Instances

  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    52-54
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    49-51
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    55-57
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    40-42
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    34-36
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    37-39
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    46-48
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    60
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    28-30
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    43-45
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    31-33
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    22-24
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    25-27
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    16-18
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    19-21
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    10-12
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    13-15
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    4-6
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    7-9
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    1-3
  • Type
    player piano rolls
    Container 1 Type
    Box
    Container 1 Indicator
    58-59

Components