Raymond Roze

Raymond Roze (1875-1920) was the son of the renowned English soprano Marie Roze. He founded the British Symphony Orchestra in the summer of 1919 and recorded 4 issued sides for Edison Bell. He died prematurely on 30th March 1920, so the recordings were issued posthumously. One disc contained the overture to Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor, and the other the 2 Mozart overtures below.

Sir Henry Wood, in his autobiography “My Life of Music,” describes Roze:

My association with Marie Roze was again a happy one. She regarded us all as her big family and, as usual, went triumphantly from one town to another. She sang a concert version of Santuzza’s part in Cavalleria in the first half, the second being miscellaneous. One item was always a piano solo by her son Raymond, who was a dear boy but who never studied or worked. His professor (Arthur de Greef) would often write to his mother from Brussels saying he did not know what to do with young Raymond, for the boy spent all his time taking young ladies out to lunch, with, the result that his memory was of the very worst and his piano solos were becoming shorter and shorter.

I was the only one who knew this, and told his mother so. She would then sometimes sit behind a screen, listen, and severely admonish him for his evident want of study. Later on he began to fancy himself as a composer, but on looking through his songs (which his mother sometimes showed me) I could detect no talent for composition. His writing for orchestra was hopeless, for it was evident from his score that he did not know the correct compass of the instrument for which he wrote, at this early stage.

Yet, through his mother’s friendship with Irving and Tree, some years later, he became musical director to their London theatres and wrote incidental music for their stage productions. In 1913 he brought out his opera Joan of Arc at Covent Garden. I was naturally interested in his career and dropped in to several of his performances, but invariably came away with the impression of having spent half an hour with the well-known composers! Arthur de Greef, by the way, cannot be held responsible; he only taught Raymond the piano at Brussels.

Mozart – The Magic Flute – overture (abridged)
Mozart – Le Nozze di Figaro – overture
British Symphony Orchestra, Raymond Roze
Edison Bell Velvet Face 502
Matrices X1118, X1119 (take number symbols are not clearly decipherable)
Recorded 1919-20
Issued November 1921

The Magic Flute overture is severely and gratingly abridged to fit onto one side. The Figaro overture has one slight cut – the removal of a repeated passage near the end of the piece.

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