February 14, 2010


(Compinsky Trio - Singleness or purpose - unfamiliar music, well played)

At the dawn of the Long Playing Album a number of small record companies sprang up, devoting themselves to music the major labels weren't recording or weren't interested in from a sales standpoint. The new medium made it possible to offer new and unfamiliar music at a reasonable price without the cumbersome problem 78's had caused for so many years. Plus the new medium of tape as a recording standard started to make its way into the studio, making sessions more economical to produce.

One such label also had the extra added bonus of being owned by a family of musicians. Alco Records was the brainchild of Alec Compinsky who was also co-founder of the Compinsky Trio, one of the premier performing bodies on the West Coast from the 1930's well into the 1950s. The Compinsky's were responsible for countless premiers of new works, as well as discoveries of neglected works and bringing them to the audiences attention. They had a weekly radio program and were well respected throughout the music community.

The label started in 1945, first issuing 78's on then-new vinylite pressing material (a substitute for shellac which was in short supply due to the War). It was a precursor to the lp and offered a superior surface to the older 78's. When lp's came on the market in 1949 Alco were one of the first small labels to take advantage of the technology and re-issued a large number of earlier albums in the new medium.

One of those was ALP 1025 featuring the String Trio of C. Michael Ehrhardt, a composer very active in the Southern California area in the 1940s. Ehrhardt is probably best remembered for his educational music study books and a program he did in the 1960s for Public Television on teaching yourself to play the piano. As a composer he is almost totally unknown today. This recording of the Trio is the only one as far as I know ever to be recorded. It hasn't been reissued and was recorded (as best as my guessing goes) around 1949. This transfer is from the original lp.


(C. Michael Ehrhardt - 1914-1999)

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