Columbia released a variety of series or society sets during the 1930's and 1940's - these included the English Music Society, The Art of Fugue, Bach Organ Society and the Delius Society albums conducted by Beecham.

 Other Labels in this series:

EVERY musician and every lover of music knows that since the advent of electrical recording “His Master’s Voice” have built up an unparalleled library of recordings of great music. In the “His Master’s Voice” general catalogue and what is called the Connoisseurs’ Catalogue together there are listed modern recordings of first class performances of all the acknowledged masterpieces of music for which there is a widespread demand, and of hundreds of works of more limited appeal. Every month brings new and invaluable additions to that incomparable treasure house of music.

But outside the repertoire of music that is in general demand and that it is economically prudent to record, is some of the greatest music, and it is to produce records of the highest possible artistic and technical quality of this unfamiliar music that the Society movement was organised. Its basic principle is self-help in music: under the auspices of “His Master’s Voice” and the guidance of the greatest authorities of the particular composers concerned, a number of enthusiasts for that composer band together to make possible the recording.

The first Society was formed in the September of 1931 for recording Hugo Wolf’s songs, and the response to that venture was such that Societies for recording all Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas, the best of Haydn’s String Quartets, of the music of Sibelius, the greatest symphonists since Beethoven, were soon formed. Since then other Societies have been added to that number; and working on the same basic principle limited Editions of certain works, not in themselves calling for the establishment of a special Society, have been published.

The records published by these means have established a standard by which are judged, not only all other records but in Mr. Ernest Newman’s words “by which other performances can and will be judged.” Their authoritativeness is beyond dispute or question; in every case the artist chosen for recording particular work is the best living artist for the task, and the recording is invariably as good as the latest developments of modern science can make it.

It is impossible to over-estimate the advantage of being a member of one, or better still of all, of the Societies and subscribing for these limited Editions with these records you are able to enjoy and study perfect performances of works that are rarely given in the concert room or by wireless, and in the course of a few days you can know even a Symphony by Sibelius as you would never be able to by concert-going. To quote Mr. Ernest Newman again “These Societies will do more in five years for the music they record than we musical critics could do in a century.”

Each Society depends for its ability to carry out its programme on the continued support of music lovers. With the enthusiastic and consistent support of the musical public the Society movement can and will enrich the world of music and the life of every lover of music to an unprecedented degree.

The Rules of the Societies :—

  1. There is no entrance fee.
  2. The subscription for each volume must be paid in advance.
  3. Records are available only to members.
  4. No records can be purchased separately. Should a member break or otherwise damage a record he must return the damaged record when applying for a replacement.
  5. The records will be delivered either direct to the subscriber or dealer with whom he enrols.
  6. The records and albums will be packed and delivered free of charge to any address in Great Britain but postage and custom charges abroad must be borne by the customer.

© 78rpm Collectors' Community 2015 - This database is copyrighted - The recordings used on this educational/research site are for illustrative purposes only.