Pursuing its course of issuing works never before recorded, the United States Record
Corporation has released Beethoven's youthful Sextet for Two French Horns and String
Quartet (Op. 81b), Royale 622-623. This interesting work is played by the Royale Chamber
Orchestra, directed by Henri Nosco. The release of the sextet will not add appreciably to
Beethoven's fame among gramophiles, but the music contains many gracious passages and it
is, of course, always skillful. We preferred the adagio and the rondo-allegro to the
opening allegro. As a novelty and as a work for the footnotes of your Beethoven collection,
the sextet is recommended.
The New Orleans Times Picayune, August 25. 1940
This recording was released in 1940. At that time director (and probably first violin) Henri Nosco
was also associate concertmaster of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and assistant conductor to Arturo
Toscanini. From this it might inferred that the other players on the recording are also NBC
musicians, perhaps including horn players Arthur and Jack Berv. (Alternatively, the second horn
is possibly Harry Berv, however Arthur generally preferred Jack for second.)
The recording was released on two 12-inch 78 r.p.m. disks. Unfortunately only the second disk
(Royale 623) with movements 2 (Adagio) and 3 (Rondo - Allegro)
is available here.
(click to hear this disk)
Musical Quarterly, v. XXVI, n.4, 1940
Henri Nosco (1903 - 1962) was born in Paris on April 1, 1903.
Before coming to the United States he had performed as violin soloist with the Pasdeloup
Orchestra and under such distinquished conductors as Rhené-Baton (1879-1940) and
Camille Chevillard (1859-1923). In the 1927 and 1928 seasons he appeared as soloist with
the Roxy Symphony Orchestra of Omaha, Nebraska where he was a concertmaster. The following
season he was heard regularly over radio station WPCH, New York conducting his
"Orchestra de Paris". In 1937 he was selected as associate concertmaster and assistant to
Arturo Toscanini for the newly-formed NBC Symphony Orchestra.
On March 5, 1939 the "Henri Nosco Orchestra" performed on independent
New York radio station WHN, perhaps as part of the station's proposal to become the
flagship station for a new "NBC White Network" (joining the Red and Blue
networks), but NBC wasn't interested.
For its 1939-40 season he conducted the four concerts of the WPA New Jersey Symphony Orchestra,
in addition to his duties with the NBC Symphony. Throughout the decade he was heard frequently
on the radio conducting both the NBC and "his own" orchestra.
In 1944 Mr. Nosco made an album of eight light orchestral pieces titled "Music for Your Listening Pleasure"
with the "Classic Concert Orchestra" on the HIT label of the
Classic Record Co., New York. This
label, like Royale, was owned by flamboyant record producer, Eli Oberstein (see below).
In 1945 Mr. Nosco found himself in the midst of a legal battle,
when H. Leopold Spitalny
was replaced as NBC Symphony contractor by Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians.
Among other charges, Spitalny was accused of paying Mr. Nosco below scale for his duties as both
conductor and violinist. On appeal to the AFM's national board, Spitalny, the conviction by
Local 802 was reversed.
Later in the decade, maestro Nosco became the conductor of the group now known as the
Danbury Symphony Orchestra. Moving to Michigan he became the associate concertmaster of
the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. There he was given the use of a Guarnerius violin from
the Henry Ford Museum. He also became music director of three orchestras including the
Grosse Pointe Symphony. In 1957 he was the founding director of the
United Auto Workers' Choral Society in Detroit .
Henri Nosco died in March, 1962.
"Musicians meet in a torrent of French. Henri Nosco, left, assistant concert master, chats
with conductor, Paul Paray as the orchestra 'takes five' for a breather." October
The United States Record Company was created in 1939 by maverick record producer
Eli Oberstein (1901-1960). With $500,000 of backing
Oberstein purchased an old
six-story building in Scranton, PA and within six months had produced a million and a half
records under the Royale and Varsity labels. Oberstein was formerly a recording manager
with RCA Victor, and hoped that some of Victor's big name clients would follow
him. United States Record Company went bankrupt in a few years, but the indefatigable
Oberstein was soon back in business as the Imperial Record Company, marketing budget
records on the Elite label.
Elias Oberstein was born on December 13, 1901 to Morris Louis and Ella Simpson Oberstein. At age 18 he
was employed as a traveling clothing salesman.
Eli Oberstein and Ervin Litkei bought Rondo in November, 1954, and moved operations to
their home base in Union City, New Jersey. This marks the start of the second phase of
Rondo's history. Oberstein began issuing 12-inch albums in the A-1 series, starting with
a collection of Ken Griffin songs packaged as You Can't Be True, Dear [Rondo A-1]. By
1958, Oberstein started a new companion label, Rondo-lette, and later two subsidiaries,
Acorn and Evon.
Eli Oberstein died on June 12, 1960 in Westport, Connecticut.
The Light, San Antonio, Texas, October 21, 1936