by Terry Hathaway
In 1983 my good friend, Ron Cappel, a well known and highly respected restorer of automatic self-playing musical instruments, was putting the finishing touches on a beautiful Hupfeld Helios II/25 orchestrion that he had been restoring. Ron excitedly called me one day, telling me to come listen to the Hupfeld, that it was an exceptionally wonderful sounding instrument. He was right! When its first musical tones filled my ears, to be sure, I knew without any doubt that Ron had not exaggerated any of his jubilant praise. The beautifully restored Helios orchestrion spoke with authority and a musical joy that was instantly discernable, as its musical voices pleasantly blended and filled every corner of the spacious workshop with equal splendor. It was quite thrilling to see and hear -- a memorable moment for sure.
The musical instrumentation of the immense Hupfeld Helios II/25 consists of a large piano, with a harfe (reiterating mandolin) attachment, orchestra bells, xylophone, bass drum, snare drum, crash cymbal and pipe registers representing violin, viola, violoncello, bass viol, aeoline, flute, piccolo and clarinet. The beautifully ornate machine was originally located in the King Wilhelm IV Dance Hall in Purmurend, Holland, which is about eighteen kilometers north of Amsterdam. Over the many intervening years since the Helios was new (circa 1914) it played less and less beautifully as advancing age and mechanical wear caused more and more of the relatively fragile rubber, cloth and leather parts to fail. Thus, the once glorious Hupfeld eventually became little more than a derelict standing in shameful disrepair at one end of the old dance hall, a place that had once joyfully vibrated to its bright and charming melodies. Then, about 1968 it was re-discovered by Eugene DeRoy, a man who traveled around Europe looking for old orchestrions, and was sold to Dave Bowers in America. Next it became the property of Haning and White in Troy, Ohio, then back to Dave Bowers again, finally becoming a prized centerpiece in Ken Goldman�s collection in 1981. Once in the Goldman collection, the instrument was shipped to Ron Cappel for restoration, whereupon no effort was spared to return this magnificent self-playing musical machine to its original splendor, both cosmetically and musically.
Immediately upon hearing the magnificently restored Helios burst into song once again I made arrangements to record it. It was situated near the center of Ron Cappel�s large workshop. Hard, smooth, painted walls and a 16 to 18 foot high ceiling in the shop area created a very �live� presence, with an abundance of reverberation, making it a thrilling concert room in which to hear the big orchestrion. It was on May 7 and May 10, 1983, that I lugged a tape recorder and other supporting equipment to Ron�s workshop, whereupon I eagerly recorded the magnificent Hupfeld Helios II/25, while Ron Cappel changed the music rolls. I did not consider that the cassette tapes might still exist fifteen years later, or that they would ever be of any historic value, so there was no time spent on any retakes or in correcting music roll problems. Thus, there are a couple of late taping starts and one blaring final crescendo resulting from a torn music roll, all of which remain an integral part of these recordings. Nonetheless, the overall quality of this historic recording session is excellent, and genuinely captures the excitement and majesty of the mighty Helios II/25 orchestrion.
Click here for pictures and additional historical details about this instrument.
Volume 3 is the latest addition to this group of CD albums, and was added in November of 2001. The already processed and ready for CD mastering music recordings making up this third volume had lain unused since the time the first two Helios volumes were made up and released in 1998. Then, in November of 2001, while listening to the as yet unreleased Helios music, it was realized that these beautiful melodies should also be made available, which, for no reason other than there was not enough room on the first two volumes, had been mostly forgotten. Now, this "lost" music can be enjoyed, too.
|Hupfeld Helios II/25 Orchestrion|
Total Time: 40.26
|1.||De Troubadour||1.||Rheinlander||1.||Trink Trink Bruderlein Trink|
|2.||La Chaste Suzanne Waltz||2.||French CanCan||2.||Bianca|
|3.||Frida, Fox Trot||3.||William Tell Overture||3.||In Milano|
|4.||Hallelujah, Fox Trot||4.||March Der Belgisehe||4.||Ma Petite Foli, One Step (early tape cutout at end)|
|5.||La Traviata||5.||Play a Simple Melody||5.||Donnez|
|6.||Shangai, Fox Trot||6.||Tea Time Boogie (late taping start)||6.||Under the Bridges (early tape cutout at end)|
|7.||Frauen Ausdem Western||7.||Barbeur of Sevill||7.||Himalaya|
|8.||The Count of Luxemburg||8.||Weingeister, Waltz||8.||Castagnettes|
|9.||Figaro�s Wedding||9.||Schiebermaxe||9.||Die Scheidungsreise|
|10.||Die Lustige Witwe Weiber||10.||Glocken V. Cornevill||10.||Komm Mein Schatz|
|11.||That�s My Weakness Now||11.||Garibaldi March||11.||Estudiantina|
|12.||Kuss Walzer||12.||Eine Kleine Hochzeitsreise||12.||Helios Madness! (late taping start)|
|13.||Valentine||13.||Madi � Fox Trot||13.||Potpourri|
|15.||Whispering||15.||Silver � Fox Trot|
|16.||I Never See Maggie Alone||16.||Parapluie (music roll torn at end)|
|17.||Der Jongleur||17.||De Twee Verliefoe|
|18.||Blue Danube||18.||Shoone Waltz|
|19.||Wood & Straw|
|20.||The Gipsy Baron|
LISTEN TO A SAMPLE...
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