Victor Red Seal 78 RPM Records

Before Victor introduced its Red Seal (Label) line in 1903 the phonograph was considered simply a novelty, not a serious medium by which to enjoy music. Technological progression was making records longer with better sound but one crucial factor was still missing, high talent. Well-established artists, especially the Classical and Opera ones, felt the phonograph couldn't reproduce their performances with justice. The earliest field was thus left to a generation of unknown performers who became famous through the phonograph. As the new century dawned, the record companies sent representatives out to change that.

Victor's affiliate in Europe, the Gramophone and Typewriter Company, was the first to record known celebrities on a major basis. They also came up with the Red Label idea in order to highlight this distinguished series, with a steeper retail price of course. Victor adopted this idea, patented it in the States and even kept other companies from using a red label for some time. The earliest Red Seals were imported from G&T but a studio was soon set up in Carnegie Hall to produce some domestics before production commenced at Victor's regular studio. Francesco Tamango, Nellie Melba and Antonio Scotti were among these earliest artists with Tamango commanding a whopping $5 for his records. Other impressive prices were had, topping out at $7 for a celebrity gathering in the "Lucia-Sextet". Yet, new talent was still welcome and promoted. Enrico Caruso, a heretofore-unknown Opera singer from Italy, first recorded in 1902 and quickly became the most celebrated artist of the Red Seal line, the Acoustic Recording Era and of the whole Opera world in the Twentieth Century. He and other Red Seal artists were largely responsible for finally making the phonograph a respectable medium.

Victor's Red Seal line was well served by the twelve-inch disc and was produced in abundance as such until nearly the end of the 78 RPM Era. However, ten-inchers are common too. Eldridge R. Johnson and Victor resisted making double-sided Red Seals until 1923, when all were doubled-up, because they felt the music was so exclusive. They were made in the 33-1/3 RPM format starting in 1950 and eventually found their way to Compact Discs and the modern formats of today. For the purpose of this section and website though, 1933 is the cutoff date. That's not a special year for this kind of music but it syncs with the end of the Jazz Age and changing landscape of the Great Depression.

This page covers the 74000 series from 74001 to 74831 with release dates ranging from 1906 to 1923, though a few sides were recorded before then. These discs are twelve-inches in diameter and single-sided. They retailed for $1.50 for most of their history, except briefly for $1.75 during the early 1920s due to a shellac shortage and at their end for 90 during the 1925-26 clearance of acoustic recordings.

Encoded Speed: 192 Kbps

Souvenir de Moscow (Blank)
Mischa Elman
Victor 74051
Matrix# 670c, Take 1
June 14, 1906
London, England

All Through the Night
Evan Williams
Victor 74100
Matrix# C-4870, Take 6
June 25, 1915
Camden, New Jersey

Mischa Elman
Victor 74163
Matrix# C-8799, Take 5
May 17, 1911
(maybe Take 2; April 6, 1910)
Camden, New Jersey

Romance from Concerto, No. 2, op. 22
Maud Powell
Victor 74179
Matrix# C-9009, Take 3
May 27, 1910
New York, New York
Note: Slight volume flucuations on the recording itself at 1:35 and 2:23.

Meditation (Intermezzo Religieuse) from "Thas"
Fritz Kreisler
Victor 74182
Matrix# C-8944, Take 3
May 13, 1910
New York, New York

Open the Gates of the Temple
Evan Williams
Victor 74198
Matrix# C-9487, Take 2
September 28, 1910
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Worn.

Carry Me Back to Old Virginny
Alma Gluck and Male Chorus
Victor 74420
Matrix# C-15397, Take 1
November 13, 1914
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Worn.

Romeo e Giulietta - Valse
Amelita Galli-Curci
Victor 74512
Matrix# C-19148, Take 1
January 31, 1917
Camden, New Jersey

Aloha Oe
Alma Gluck
Victor 74534
Matrix# C-20093, Take 3
June 26, 1917
Camden, New Jersey

Angels Ever Bright and Fair
Alma Gluck
Victor 74559
Matrix# C-20679, Take 2
September 18, 1917
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Worn.

Invitation to the Waltz
Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra
Leopold Stokowski, Conductor
Victor 74598
Matrix# C-22821, Take 2
May 9, 1919
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Worn.

Valse in E Flat Major
(Chopin, Op. 18)
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Victor 74679
Matrix# C-24903, Take 1
January 21, 1921
Camden, New Jersey

Song Without Words (Goens, Op. 12, No. 1)
Hans Kindler
Victor 74682
Matrix# C-24764, Take 6
December 31, 1920
Camden, New Jersey

Reinald Werrenrath
Victor 74719
Matrix# C-25562, Take 7
September 30, 1921
Camden, New Jersey

Nocturne in B Flat
Ignace Jan Paderewski
Victor 74765
Matrix# C-26600, Take 1
June 1, 1922
New York, New York

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