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Encyclopedia of Disc Music Boxes 1881 - 1920
       A History,
          Catalog Raisonné,
                and Appreciation.
                          By Q. David Bowers
                                     An AMICA-International Publication

Q. David Bowers has collected, studied, and enjoyed automatic musical instruments, beginning in 1960. In the intervening years he has written several books on the subject, including A Guide Book of Automatic Musical Instruments (1966), Put Another Nickel In (1968), Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments (1971), and Treasures of Mechanical Music (co-authored with Arthur A. Reblitz, 1981). He has contributed many articles to the journals of the Musical Box Society International and AMICA (Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors Association), and is one of just four recipients of the Musical Box Society International’s Lifetime Service Award. The author, whose main business over the years has been as a dealer in rare coins, has traveled extensively through America and Europe seeking information relating to automatic musical instruments.


SIGMUND SPAETH SPEAKS OF THE AMPICO

Contributed by Emmett M. Ford

From the AMICA, Nov/Dec 1990

Sigmund Spaeth, in his interesting book Fifty Years With Music, told of one of his many jobs in the 1912 era. It was as he wrote: "my next station turned out to be the American Piano Company, which needed first, an educational director, and then a promotion manager, for the electric player known as the Ampico. Seven years of this work not only started my habit of public talks on music (illustrated by Ampico records) and early radio appearances, but created many memorable contacts with the world of serious music and great musicians. I have unforgettable recollections of Rachmaninoff, Leopold Godowsky, Victor Herbert. Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Walter Damrosch and Henry Hadley: turning pages for Richard Strauss through a concert of his own works at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, broadcasting with "Roxy" Rothafel, playing chess with Mischa ESman and bridge with Amata Bodanzky and Erno Rapee.

On the lighter side there was Paul Whiteman, Vincent Lopez, John Philip Sousa, W C. Handy, Sigmund Romberg, Rudolf Friml, Rudy Vallee, eventually Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Irving Berlin, Morton F. Gould, Meredith Wilson, Cole Porter and others." Later he states: "Several personal meetings with Richard Strauss remain in my memory ... as a promotion manager of the Ampico (electric player piano) I had occasion to use some of the record rolls made by Strauss, especially his accompaniments to such songs as Zueignung (Devotion), Allerseelen (All Souls' Day) and Traum durch die Dammerung (Dream in the Twlight). At home I even sang for my own pleasure with these accompaniments, always feeling as though Strauss himself were at the piano and that the quality of my voice was of no importance."

 

 

©2016 AMICA International
Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association,
a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.


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