The Weber Maesto Orchestrion featured on this Archive CD was bought by Q. Dave Bowers about 1965, from the late Mr. Eugene DeRoy of Brussels, Belgium. The instrument, still in immaculate condition, was probably originally located in Belgium, and very likely in Brussels itself. For those of you who may remember the luxurious Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., showroom, filled to the brim with rare orchestrions and music boxes, you will also remember the Weber Maesto, sitting prominently along one wall, sparkling with happiness, and surrounded by other large orchestrions. The Maesto, in the Weber Company's own words, was an "unequalled concert orchestra, dance and jazz band. An incomparable electro-pneumatic artistic orchestrion comprising a piano of the first order (by Feurich), violin, violoncello, flutes, clarinet, trumpets, saxophone, lotus flute, jazz trumpets, complete xylophone, and assorted percussion instruments including bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, triangle, castanets, wood block and cymbal."
Throughout its tenure as a prime display instrument at Hathaway & Bowers, Inc. the Maesto performed with near perfection, with only a few minor mechanical problems. This was remarkable inasmuch as the instrument, some forty-five years old at the time, had never been restored, and was in original condition with only minor patching and/or adjustment needed to keep it in good playing condition. Moreover, of the thousands of visitors to Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., this very instrument was probably the most remembered and revered, due to is lifelike musical arrangements and superb mechanical agility. To recall those exciting days of old, this Archive Series compact disc contains a generous selection of the many wonderful tunes that were enjoyed daily over many years, and that helped to inspire countless people to become collectors of automatic musical instruments during the late 1960s.
Recorded several times in the H&B showroom between 1967 and 1969, the original 1/4 inch analog stereo tapes for the music on this Archive CD were lost more than twenty years ago, making it necessary to capture the audio signal from mint condition vinyl LP's. These LP's were originally issued by Hathaway & Bowers, Inc., circa 1967-69, and were offered for sale up through the early 1970's. Once the audio from the source LP's was digitized, it was carefully processed to remove any impulse noise, such as pops and ticks, a commonplace problem for vinyl recordings. Next, the "cleaned" audio signal, free of impulse disturbances, was again processed to remove low frequency rumble, vinyl surface noise components and residual 60 Hertz hum introduced by the original recording equipment, as well as any objectionable mechanical motor and pump noise from the Maesto itself. Lastly, the audio signal was equalized to remedy any bias introduced by the vinyl LP recording process. The result of all this time consuming effort, using professional quality audio restoration software, is a clear and very enjoyable listening experience.
The selection of music consists of a mixture of popular tunes, with a few classical melodies to round out the musical program, providing a pleasant sampling that amply demonstrates the outstanding ability of the Weber Maesto to render a surprisingly lifelike performance. Most of the music for the Maesto was plotted and arranged by Gustav Bruder, and a co-worker, Otto Kern. It is no wonder that the Maesto is so superbly musical, when one considers the tremendous amount of effort that went into producing the music rolls. According to Gustav Bruder, it required about three-weeks to create a single four-tune music roll. Once the music notes were plotted on the master roll, about half the work was done, with an equal amount of time necessary to add in the complex register changes and expression. No other automatic musical instrument manufacturer ever put this kind of meticulous and time consuming effort into its music roll library, which is one of the reasons why the Weber Maesto was the most realistic sounding orchestrion (with the possible exception of the Weber Elite, for which none are known to be extent) ever to be made commercially available.
Weber Maesto Orchestrion
|1.||Medley from 1920s|
|3.||Ain't She Sweet|
|4.||I Want To Be Happy|
|7.||Every Little While|
|9.||12th Street Rag|
|12.||Toy Drum Major|
|13.||Swinging on a Star|
|14.||This is the Army Mr. Jones|
|15.||Under the Double Eagle|
|17.||Contemporary Xylophone Solo|
|18.||My Blue Heaven|
|20.||The Song is Ended|
|21.||Silver Threads Among the Gold|
|24.||Yes, Sir, That's My Baby|
|25.||Violin and Piano Medley|
|26.||Maesto Roll #542|
|27.||Flute, Strings and Piano Medley|
|28.||Orpheus in the Underworld|
Listen to a sample.....
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