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«Melodiephon-Record» is often called the “Russian Fonotipia”. Indeed, its label strikingly resembles the label of Italian records «Fonotipia». Such “mimicry” was common technique in “piratical” business, but in most cases pirates tried to make their records resembling «Zonophone» - look at «Zolophone», one variation of «Tonophone», «International Parlophon Record» and even «Luxophone Record» - the early label of quite lawful company «Metropol-Record», so «Melodiephon-Record» can be considered as kind of “exception to the rule”.

The known history «Melodiephon-Record» begins at July, 26 1906 when, as it is poetically written by Alexander Tikhonov in his article [1] “the technician Multop removed from press the first record, manufactured on the new St.-Petersburg’s pressing plant”. Next we learn that the full company name was the American Anonymous Company «Melodiephon», and that the introductory price was set to 4 Rubles for double-sided giant, 2 Rubles 20 Kopeks for grand, however the giants were never pressed because the company was incapable to do it. At that time the single-sided giants and grands of «Gramophone Company» were sold for the same price.

“The Company owners planned to open a public recording studio. The price was set to 50 Rubles for 12 records with recorded own voice, but it’s all was just a smoke-screen – the main stake was on counterfeit production.”[1].
According to A.I.Zhelezny [2], in 1910 «Melodiephon-Record» was transformed into «Orpheon Record», and after passing the «Copyright Law» in 1911 it was transformed into “Russian Stockholders Company of Gramophone (RAOG) . Since the head of both companies was David Aleksandrovich Finkelstein, we can safely assume that «Melodiephon-Record» was also his creation.

Cat No▲
(Mx/Ctr No)
TakeTitle Name (Composer)Artist(s), AccompanimentRec Date
Rec Place
Label(s)Order No
[xRef Nos]
ItalianBaritone with Orchestra
Germont’s aria "Di Provenza il mar" (Opera «La Traviata») (Giuseppe Verdi, lyrics by Francesco Maria Piave, based on: Alexander Dumas (son): The romantic novel «The Lady of the Camellias»)
Titta Ruffo, Conductor Carlo Sabajno10-1906
Melodiephon-Record, Gramophone Co.2-52529
Italian, Polish
Fin la stanotte (Opera «Mefistofele») (Arrigo Boito, based on: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The tragedy «Faust»)
Adamo Didur, Giovanni Zenatello, acc. orchestra20-02-1906
Melodiephon-Record, Fonotipia39509
(xPH 1631x)
Italian, Polish
Ballad of the world (Ecco il Mondo) (Opera «Mefistofele», act 2) (Arrigo Boito, based on: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The tragedy «Faust»)
Adamo Didur, acc. orchestra20-02-1906
Melodiephon-Record, Fonotipia39510
(xPH 1628)
ItalianTenor with Piano
Do not wake me up (Ah, non mi ridestar) (Opera «Werther», act 3) (Jules Massenet, lyrics by Edouard Blot, Paul Mille, Georges Artman, based on: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: The novel «The Sorrows of Young Werther»)
Alessandro Bonci, acc. piano01-07-1906
Melodiephon-Record, Fonotipia39698
(XPh 1993)
ItalianTenor with Piano
Flower Song (Il Fior che aveni a me tu dato) (Opera «Carmen», act 2) (Georges Bizet, lyrics by Henri Meilhac, Ludovic Halevy, based on: Prosper Merimee: Novelette «Carmen»)
Alessandro Bonci, acc. piano16-06-1905
Melodiephon-Record, Fonotipia39240
(XPh 307)

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