Item of the Week: "Too much futuristic music"

Published: July 29, 2011

In March 1930, our founder William Andrews Clark, Jr. sent several aluminum dictation disks home to Los Angeles from onboard the ship Ile de France, which was bound from France to New York City.  These contained his audio letters to Caroline Estes Smith and Cora Sanders, his deputies at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Library, respectively.  In the 1990s, these files were transferred to audiotape, and we have recently had them transferred again into digital formats so that we can listen to them more easily (thank you, Michael Sherk!).  Here, you can listen to a portion of Clark’s message to Caroline Smith, largely concerning his dislike of “futuristic” jazz music which conductor Arthur Rodzinski wanted to perform for the Phil’s next season.  “I am getting tired of these primadonna conductors,” he complains.

Near the end of the recording, Mr. Clark says, “I trust that you will put this on your phonograph and get some little excitement out of it.  It is rather amusing to dictate this way than to write letters.”

Indeed, Mr. Clark, indeed!

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Barbara Fuchs on

The effect of immediacy is unbelievable. I feel like I can now conjure our founder so much more concretely. What a great post!

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