Hupfeld Helios III/39 Orchestrion
Volumes I, II, III & IV
from the Yaffe Collection

About These CD Albums
by Terry Hathaway


$11.99 each

Illustration of the Hupfeld Helios III/39 CD Album and Compact Disk.This colossal Hupfeld Helios III/39 is amongst the largest surviving of all the Helios models, and it is no less impressive today then it was circa 1911-1912 (a penciled date of 1911 was found on the back side of a side-wing glass panel), when it was brand new. It is one of only two known Hupfeld Helios category III specimens, the other one being a model Helios III/42 that is yet unrestored, and no category IV or V machines, which were significantly larger, are known to have survived. But even in the heyday of large orchestrions, a Helios Model III series machine was an uncommon sight, due to its large size and relatively high purchase price. So, imagine the excitement that must have filled the air when this spectacular Helios III/39 orchestrion was installed new in a dance hall in Chemnitz, Germany (during the forty years of the German Democratic Republic, after World War II, Chemnitz was renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt). Fortunately, against almost impossible odds, this particular large Helios did somehow survive, and was discovered and removed from the dance hall by Werner Baus circa 1980.

The musical specifications of the Helios III/39 are indeed quite impressive, let alone the utterly spectacular lighting effects and its overall gorgeous visual appearance. Using the same basic tracker bar layout as the smaller Helios I and II type machines, the type III layout differs mainly in regards to its use of much more extensive multiplexing, which is necessary to control the larger and more varied array of pipework, as well as other features not found on its smaller brethren. The musical complement is as follows:

52-Note Chromatic Scale
25-note Melody; 15-note Accompaniment; 12-note Bass for a total of 296 pipes.

An Aeoline pipe rank is a string stop (in the violin family) of very soft tone, i.e., equivalent to soft violin in the Hupfeld Helios.
A compound rank in this Helios is herein defined as two (or more) separate ranks of pipes that act or operate as a single rank, i.e., turned on or off simultaneously, and that tend to reinforce the overall loudness (as opposed to a single rank), while building up the tonal richness due to minute differences in the various pipes (rather than relying on "slightly dissimilar celeste tuning").
 Extensive register control multiplexing permits many ways of operating certain pipe ranks and/or combination of pipe ranks. This means that a certain register operation might, for instance, simultaneously turn on a rank in the melody and accompaniment sections, and perhaps maybe include the bass section, too. Thus, under certain circumstances a particular register control, clarinet, for instance, might also simultaneously activate the posaune (horn) rank, as well as some combination of accompaniment and/or bass pipe ranks.

The restored Hupfeld Helios III/39 orchestrion.Discovered in an old dance hall by Werner Baus circa 1980, the instrument was removed and hauled to Werner's workshop, where he reportedly did enough repair work on the big Helios to get it into playing condition. Then, circa 1985, the Helios was sold to Q. David Bowers, who then sold it to Jasper Sanfilippo circa 1990-91. While in the Sanfilippo collection the giant Hupfeld was put on display, but about the only restoration work done on it was to have Art Reblitz work on the register box. Bob Gilson supplied beautiful silk-screened celluloid reproduction labels for the little register stop knobs, to replace the ones that had become lost and that had been crudely replaced with cutout paper circles bearing lettering that had been inked in with a ball-point pen.

Then, during the year 2000, the Helios III/39 was sold to Mark Yaffe, who had the good foresight to recognize the long term value of a thorough and meticulous restoration. Soon after acquiring ownership, Mr. Yaffe commission Ron Cappel to restore the magnificent machine, both mechanically and cosmetically, so as to return it to like new condition. To this end, Ron Cappel (and his assistant, David Sorrow), of Atascadero, California, worked for some two years on the mechanical portion of the huge instrument. Meanwhile, John and Steve Gonzales, Pico Rivera, California, began the rebuilding of the piano action and soundboard, as well as initiate the long process of painstakingly repairing and refinishing the massive and ornate casework. This extensive and careful restoration was completed a few weeks prior to the recording the Helios on Minidisk in November of 2002.

Top center pipework in the Helios III/39, with accompaniment on the left side and melody pipework on the right.A good deal of care was taken in the selection of music rolls to be used during the recording sessions. This is partially because not all Hupfeld Helios music rolls are cut to play correctly on the large category III Helios models, and it was also thought important to utilize music that was likely heard and enjoyed by the citizens of Chemnitz when the Helios was new. Of the four CDs offered here, two favor popular dance melodies and marches, while the other two lean toward long standing classical favorites, all performed with a maestro's touch -- except, perhaps, for an infrequent but minor blunder due to manufacturing imperfections in the actual music rolls themselves. But even these infrequent errors are original to the sound of the big Helios. All in all, each of the four CDs offered provide a splendid glimpse into the wonderful world of mechanical music and the wondrous technological feats achieved almost 100 years ago, during the bygone days of a long, long ago yesteryear.


Historical information: Terry Hathaway, Ron Cappel, Q. David Bowers and Werner Baus
Photographs: Ron Cappel

Hupfeld Helios III/39 Orchestrion - Volume I

Popular Dance and Listening
19 Tracks -- Total Time: 64:50

Roll #
1.A - Z aus der Revue: `A - Z', MarschKlein u. Doelle#69 A
2.Copenhagen, Fox TrotCharlie Davis#2026
3.Original CharlestonC. Mack & J. Johnson#2052
4.Komm mit mir (nach Varasdin)Emmerich Kalman#1975
5.Lovable Eyes, Fox TrotJ. Schwartz#0004
6.Ich hab' das Fr�ul'n Helen' baden seh'n, Fox TrotFredy Raymond#H 2030
7.Wiener Boheme, Shimmy, Schlager-Ragout, Tanzrolle-Dancing RollRichard Fall#H 1958
8.Du machst mir schlaflose N�chte (aus:'Achtung! Welle 505!'). Valse BostonWalter Kollo#2028
9.Gl�ck bei Frauen, ShimmyRalph Benatzky#1936
10.Das haben die M�dchen so gerne, MarschJean Gilbert#1145
11.Madonna (Du bist sch�ner als der Sonnenschein), Shimmy - BluesDr. Rob Katscher#2044
12.Black Bottom, Neuer GesellschaftstanzRay Henderson#2117
13.Angora (aus:'Sie und ihre Meitzekatz'), ShimmyFrank Stafford#1948
14.Katinka hat ein H�s'chen an, ShimmyG�ber & Rhode#2008
15.Am Bosporus, Rheinl�nderPaul Lincke#359
16.Bestimmung (Destiny), Valse LenteS. Baynes#1523
17.Der Rose Hochzeitszug, Charakterst�ckLeon Jessel#1028
18.Old Becomes NewArr. Maarten Van der VlugtNew
19.My Fair Lady, PotpourriArr. Maarten Van der VlugtNew



Hupfeld Helios III/39 Orchestrion - Volume II

Classical Favorites
8 Tracks -- Total Time: 63:59

Roll #
1.Ballet De Naila (The Dance of Flowers)Leo Delibes 
2.Die Italienerin in Algier, OvertureGioachino Rossini#1974
3.The Gipsy Baron, WaltzJohann Strauss#1153
4.De Barbier van Sevilla, Overture, Vit. 40G. Rossini 
5.La Traviata, PotpourriGiuseppe Verdi#72
6.Rigoletto (Zeer Schoon)G. Verdi#43
7.Tosca, FantasieG. Puccini#464
8.William Tell OvertureG. Rossini#134


Hupfeld Helios III/39 Orchestrion - Volume III

Popular Dance and March
21 Tracks -- Total Time: 63:21

Roll #
1.Windsor, Fox TrotCarl Robrecht#2014
2.Heut' geh'n wir morgen erst ins Bett ! Heut' tanzt Mariett'!, Lied und Fox TrotRudolph Nelson#H 2192
3.Gruss an Bern, Marsch, Tanzrolle-Dancing RollCarl Freidemann#1995
4.Grenadier - Marsch ("Fridericus Rex"). Armeemarsch No. 198, Tanzrolle-Dancing RollFerdinand Radeck#1843
5.Du, nur Du!, Lied u. Blues (aus der Operette "Nur Du")Walter Kollo#H 2166
6.Yes, We Have No Bananas, Fox TrotSilver & Cohn#2065
7.Ich K�sse Ihre Hand, Madame, Lied und TangoRalph Erwin#H 2213
8.Was machst Du mit demKnie, Leiber Hans?, Paso Doble #2038
9.Heinzelm�nnchens Hochzeit, Charakterst�ckOtto K�pping#H 2169
10.Yorkscher Marsch (Altpreu�ischer Armeemarsch Nr. 37) #2086
11.Hindenburg - Marsch, MarschS. Elsner#1376
12.Nur keine Angst, mein Schatz! (aus:'Achtung! Welle505!'), Fox TrotWalter Kollo#2027
13.Deta Ein deutscher TanzWalther Bransen#2171
14.Ukulele Lullaby (Mein Kaffebraunes M�dchen), Fox Trot #2108 B
15.Mondscheinwalzer (Clair de Lune, Valse -- Moonshine Waltz, Tanzrolle-Dancing Roll #H 1501
16.Mein Fritz macht winke-winke, Fox TrotFranz Stra�mann#2123
17.Oh Katharina ! (Gr�� dich Gott), Tanzrolle-Dancing RollRichard Fall#H 1972
18.King Cotton - Marsch  
19.Electric Girl - Shimmy - Fox Trot  
20.Saloon Keepers MarschKutschera 
21.Carousel, WaltzArr. Maarten Van der VlugtNew


Hupfeld Helios III/39 Orchestrion - Volume IV

Light Classical
16 Tracks -- Total Time: 63:00

Roll #
1.Mars Der Medici, MarchArr. Maarten Van der VlugtNew
2.Heinzelm�nnchens Hockzett, Charakterst�ckOtto K�pping#H 2169
3.Einmal sagt man sich 'Adieu' (Stunden, die nicht wiederkehren), WalzerW. Schmidt-Gentner#2265
4.Lustspiel - Overt�reKeler Bela#137
5.Im Walde, MazurkaE. Waldteufel#5 A
6.Csardarf�rstin, WalzerE. Kalman#1488
7.Der Negersklave Op. 54 Nr. 40, WalzerMoritz Peuschel#1456
8.Der Zigeunerbaron Wer hat euch denn getrautJoh. Strau�#116
9.Die Hochzeit des Figaro, Ouverture (Figaro's Wedding - Overture)W. A. Mozart#1037
10.An der Sch�nen, Walzer, Op. 314 (blauen Donau - Blue Danube)Joh. Strau�#17
11.La Marseillaise, French National Song (Rouget-de-I'Isle) #214
12.Ungarischer Marsch (Hungarian March)E. Ohlsen#482
13.Carmen, Marsch #2209
14.Menuett - WalzerP. Hertel#121
15.Nimm mich mit, Rheinl�nderPaul Lincke#4 B
16.Mignon, OuvertureAmbroise Thomas#237


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