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Vox 78s - The 2 Metropolis Singles

Introduction

In an email posted to the 78 RPM Records mailing list on 10 June 1998, dealing with a discussion on the earliest released movie soundtrack, it was stated that: "The earliest film score on records known .... is the music for [Fritz] Lang's Metropolis on two German Vox 12" discs......." Whilst this claim is open to debate, as there were perhaps earlier talkies and music films produced before WWI which had sound on discs (M. Koerber pers. comm), this reference to Metropolis recordings is nevertheless intriguing.

Apparently the music on these 78s was based on the original Gottfried Huppertz score penned for the film's Berlin premiere in January 1927. The discs were released during February 1927. The original Vox catalogue numbers were given as 8386 and 8387. One record was music only, whilst the other was music plus a speech by Fritz Lang. The German film archivist Martin Koerber, in an email to 78 RPM Records dated 11 May 1999, provided the following further information with regards to the two recordings:

"These records feature a speech by Fritz Lang on his then recent film Metropolis, as well as excerpts from the original score, played by an orchestra conducted by the composer, Gottfried Huppertz. Numbers of the records are, according to the Vox catalogue:

* 08386E - Speech by Fritz Lang

* 08386R - Backside: Main theme from Metropolis

* 8387E - Waltz from Metropolis

* 8387R - Backside: Phantastic Dance and Danse Macabre from Metropolis."

It is known that copies of both records survive in private collections in Europe. The following is a cover of Vox disc number 8080, perhaps similar to the two Metropolis items:

Further information on these items can be gleaned from a detaled listing (in German) of the Vox recordings, to be found at the Birgit Lotz Verlag website: Online Discography - The Vox Label. A description of the two Metropolis 78s is contained at Vox Recordings 8200 - 8399. An extract from this listing is reproduced below:

     
R.08386-A Leitworte 1289-2AA
  Leitworte zu dem Film „Metropolis" (NE 02/1927)
  Fritz Lang  
   
R.08386-B Musikalische Hauptmotive 1286-1AA
  Themen zu dem Film „Metropolis" (NE 02/1927)
  (G. Huppertz)  
  G. Huppertz mit grossem Orchester  
   
R.8387-A Walzer  
  zu dem Film „Metropolis" (NE 02/1927)
  (G. Huppertz)  
  G. Huppertz mit grossem Orchester  
   
R.8387-B a) Walzer  
  b) Phantastischer Tanz (NE 02/1927)
  c) Totentanz  
  zu dem Film „Metropolis"  
  (G. Huppertz)  
  G. Huppertz mit grossem Orchester  
     

Abbreviations

M = Musik, music or composer
T = Text , lyrics or lyricist
NE = Neuerscheinung, date of first release
K = Katalog, catalog in which the item was listed
Prefix 0 = 30cm disc
Suffix -A or -B = acoustic recordings, not takes
Suffix -AA or -BB or any other suffix: electrical recordings, not takes

Acknowledgements

The aforementioned information was provided by Aitam Bar-Sagi, Martin Koerber and the 78 RPM Records mailing list.

Site last updated: 5 March 2001.


Metropolis Bibliography - Introduction Metropolis Bibliography - Books, Articles and Manuscripts Metropolis Bibliography - Internet Web Sites Metropolis Bibliography - Artwork, Posters and Photographs Metropolis Bibliography - Music Metropolis Bibliography - Film Metropolis Bibliography - Videos, Quicktime, DVD Metropolis Bibliography - Reviews 1927 Metropolis Bibliography - Australia 1928 Metropolis Bibliography - Posters