Alois Reiser – 1936 Music Guild Awards – 2nd Prize – Weekend Gramophone
The 1936 Music Guild Awards, as broadcast on January 1, 1937. This is the second of three programs where the winners were announced and their compositions played for the first time to a network radio audience.
The second prize, and $500.00 went to Czech emigre Alois Reiser, who had relocated to the U.S. and settled in Los Angeles. At the time of this award, he was music director for the Los Angeles WPA Symphony as well as composing for several films. Born in Prague, and studied with Antonin Dvorak. Got his Doctorate in Music at the University of Prague and left for the U.S. – trained as a cellist, Reiser got work with two well known orchestras before coming to Hollywood to work in film as conductor. He won several other awards, including a prestigious New York Philharmonic, as well as the Hollywood Bowl and the Coolidge Festival of 1926.
The Reiser Quartet is played by the Roth Quartet, consisting of founder Feri Roth, Jeno Antal, Ferenc Molnar and Janos Scholz. Originally from Budapest, the Roth String Quartet also settled in the U.S. under the auspices of the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation in 1928 and joined the Faculty of Princeton. The quartet recorded extensively in the 1930s and 1940s before Feri Roth accepted a position with UCLA and later, with different personnel (but with Feri Roth as founder), the revised Roth String Quartet recorded well into the lp era.
The extra added bonus on this broadcast is the award acceptance speech from Alois Reiser, who delivers it from Hollywood. A rare example of the voice of Alois Reiser, it caps a rare performance by a legendary group or a work which, it appears, didn’t get a commercial release. I may be wrong – but if I am, this premier broadcast has never been issued.
So enjoy an extra bit of history.