The Three-Disc Symphonion and Other Victorian Musical Boxes

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
The English label Saydisc has devoted a significant part of its catalog to high-quality recordings of vintage mechanical instruments, covering a wide range of machines thanks to its long association with the now dispersed Roy Mickleburgh Collection. One of the very best of Saydisc's collections of this kind is The Three Disc Symphonion & Other Victorian Musical Boxes, an early 1984 CD compilation of recordings made of various devices in the Mickleburgh and Tony Sheriff Collections made between 1965 and 1983. The star of the show is the three-disc symphonion named in the title, a gigantic music box made around 1900 that is shaped like a grandfather clock, and when ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
The English label Saydisc has devoted a significant part of its catalog to high-quality recordings of vintage mechanical instruments, covering a wide range of machines thanks to its long association with the now dispersed Roy Mickleburgh Collection. One of the very best of Saydisc's collections of this kind is The Three Disc Symphonion & Other Victorian Musical Boxes, an early 1984 CD compilation of recordings made of various devices in the Mickleburgh and Tony Sheriff Collections made between 1965 and 1983. The star of the show is the three-disc symphonion named in the title, a gigantic music box made around 1900 that is shaped like a grandfather clock, and when its front door is closed, appears to be one. However, the clock mechanism is only in the head of the cabinet; the rest contains three 13" discs that work in concord, playing different elements of an arrangement. You can use "A," "B," and "C" discs to get the full orchestration, or just three copies of an "A" disc to get the most basic arrangement, only SUPER LOUD. That is the basic premise of this compilation, focusing on machines that make use of multiple elements -- two or three combs, overlapping discs, external attachments as a drum or even a zither -- to deliver highly sophisticated arrangements of the popular fare usually heard on music boxes. The arrangers who designed the punched-out discs or pinned cylinders that served as software for these devices really understood the capabilities of their instruments. The anonymous piece that opens the second medley of tunes played from the cylinder box by Paillard, Vaucher & Fils is scored in a multi-dimensional manner that makes effective use of negative space and alternating voices, not only to provide a novel effect, but also to enhance the quality of the composition. About the only thing wrong with The Three Disc Symphonion is the slight variability of the sound -- understandable owing to the long historical compass of the source recordings -- and, in reviving this CD after a lengthy period of unavailability, it is a pity that Saydisc did not return to readdress the content. Much of the titling and information about pieces probably reflects how they appear on the source software -- the three-disc symphonion's "Liberty Bell" is -- as any fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus would know -- more properly "The Liberty Bell," a march by John Philip Sousa. Fanciers of sacred song, however, will recognize the first of the "three unidentified titles" on the Nicole Freres interchangeable cylinder box as the once-popular hymn "Safe in the Arms of Jesus." Apart from these things, no one with even a middling interest in "old-time" mechanical instruments can fail to be impressed with the great variety of machines and tunes compiled on Saydisc's The Three Disc Symphonion & Other Victorian Musical Boxes.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/25/2006
  • Label: Saydisc
  • EAN: 5013133434623
  • Catalog Number: 346
  • Sales rank: 389,032

Album Credits

Technical Credits
Pietro Mascagni Composer
Gioachino Rossini Composer
Gef Lucena Producer, Liner Notes, Engineering
David Wilkins Engineering
Lefevre Composer
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