The Ashkenazi brothers Hermann and Julius Blumenthal (pictured here) served ca. 1902-1903 as representatives of the International Zonophone Co., Turkey. Their next assignment was as representatives of the International Talking Machine Company (Odeon) in Turkey and Egypt.(source: Gronow.) While their principal focus was Turkish repertory by such luminaries as Tanburî Cemil Bey, they also oversaw the label's initial Sephardic releases. The brothers founded Blumenthal Talking Machines in 1910 and diligently set about releasing 78s on their Orfeon and Orfeos labels. Shortly afterward, the brothers opened Turkeys first record factory, in Feriköy.
The firm contracted "with many of the outstanding artists of the period, foremost among whom was Tanburî Cemil Bey, as well as Hafız Âşir, Hafız Osman, Arap Mehmet, Hanende İbrahim and Tamburacı Osman Pehlivan." (Duygulu)
They wasted no time addressing the Sephardic market in the Ottoman Empire, releasing 45 songs by the Turkish club singer Haim Effendi from 1911 to 1913.
In 1925, the firm sold its factory to Columbia, and subsequent re-releases issued on that label. When Columbia and Gramophone merged in 1931 to become EMI, the Gramophone agents "were chosen to continue representing the company. Columbia's old agents, Blumenthal Frères, were unceremoniously dropped." (Vernon)
Kalyviotis, Aristomenis, 2002.
Vernon, Paul, "Empire State",
Duygulu, Melih Cemal Ünlü, "Turkeys Musical Life
During The Past Century: History, Genres, Voice Recordings, Sectoral
I know of no surviving Orfeon catalogs with Sephardic content. See an image from the Catalogue Général No 1 de Disques Double Face Orfeon here.
Copyright 2008 - 2012, Joel Bresler