Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NOROPA Taalcursus Duitsch

A few weeks ago Patrick v. G. from The Hague contacted me because he had found a record of a TAALCURSUS DUITSCH at a shop specialized in recycled goods. He found the third record ( DUITSCH PLAAT III) of a language course and wanted to know more about it.
Duitsch voor beginners ( = German for starters)( May 1934) ( Hans Koert collection)
When the British Durium Products (G.B.) Ltd.

started to release its language courses in the fall of 1933. One of the first ones was a Basic English Course ( E-1041 up to 1044) ( just 4 records) and some more extensive 6 record courses, like the French ones, hosted by mr. E.M. Stéphan, a lecturer in French at the University College in London. From this course a French ones was released for Holland, edited by Prof. Dr. J. J. Salverda de Grave, Oud-Hoogleeraar in het Fransch aan de Gemeente-Universiteit van Amsterdam. ( = a profesor emeritus in French language at the University of Amsterdam).

It was released with 6 records with the NOROPA label and one text book with Dutch instructions. Also an English 6-record course was released at the NOROPA label edited by Prof. Dr. A.E.H. Swaen, also a professor emeritus in English at the University of Amsterdam. The German course was edited by Prof. Dr. J. Van Dam, then still active as a professor at the University of Amsterdam.
A NOROPA Taalcursus at a 1930s gramophone. (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)
All three series were sold in luxury boxes and contained 6 records and a Dutch instruction book. Also the covers of the records were written in Dutch. They were produced in the summer of 1934 by Dubrico and distributed by NOROPA.
The three luxury bozes with Taalcursussen. (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

It is rather strange that for the language courses English and French released in Holland the same records were used as for the "Danish" and "Italian" versions, but for the German language courses, two different courses have been made: One used in Denmark ( Matriches E-1261 up to E-1266) and one for Holland and Italy ( E-1282 up to E-1287). The records are different. The fifth one ( E-1265) released as a SUPER durium starts with the days of the week and the fifth ones (E-1286) starts with a trip by train. I wrote more about the
Italian version in a previous blog.
NOROPA TAALCURSUS DUITSCH - PLAAT 5 ( E-1286) ( summer 1934) ( Hans Koert collection)
In April 1934 the British Durium Products (G.B.) Ltd, based in Slough, a suburb of London, had to stop its activities. The weekly series of commercial records, like the EN-series ( popular English songs), in fact the European versio
n of the Hit of the Week was broken and had to stop. The amusement sector continued as new firms in some European countries, like Denmark, France, Italy and Sweden.
The trustees however decided that the advertisement and custom records division, like the language course, could be continued and so it started up again as a new firm named Sound Distributors. This company started somewhere in the second half of 1934 and up to that times, a kind of interim firm, Dubrico ( also based in Slough) continued business. All three NOROPA Taalcursussen, in the Netherlands, were distributed by NOROPA, based at the Herengracht 270 in Amsterdam. Up to now I haven't seen other products by NOROP

The editor, mr. J(an) van Dam, born in Amsterdam, October 1896 became professor in the Gotic and old-Germanic languages. During the 1930s he was a gifted sought after speaker, but also fascinated by the ideas of the National Socialism. During the war he became a censor, to edit school books and in November 1940 he became a senior-official at the Ministerie van Opvoeding, Wetenschap en Cultuurbescherming ( let's translate it as the Ministry of Education.). He was a member of the NSB ( = Nationaal Socialistische Beweging), the Dutch party that sympathised with the Nazis.
After the war he was adjudged and imprissoned and had to go to jail for several years. When he was released he didn't receive any pension or what so ever and had to work as one of the authors of the Kramers Duits Woordenboek up to his death. He passed away in The Hague, October 1979.
The covers of the NOROPA TAALCURSUS DUITSCH (photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

I wonder if someone ever learned a foreign language with these Durium or Noropa language courses. I think that you should have a great self-discipline to learn to speak German, English or French from these Taalcursussen. Fact is, that most NOROPA courses, that survived, seem new and un-used.

The manual on the cover of a NOROPA Taalcursus ( Hans Koert collection)

Cover of one of the records ( Hans Koert colectrion)

The discographical information:

(German Language Course)* // ......... (NOROPA TAALCURSUS) (noropa) // CORSI DI LINGUS Compilation de PROF DR J. VAN DAM ?
Recorded in London, ca. Spring 1934
E-1282-E (A 89 E)
Released as NOROPA TAALCURSUS 1282
released as DVRIVM 1282
released as noropa TAALCURSUS 1283
released as DVRIVM 1283
released as noropa TAALCURSUS 1284
released as DVRIVM 1284
Released as noropa TAALCURSUS 1285
Released as DVRIVM 1285
Released as noropa TAALCURSUS 1286
released as DVRIVM 1286
released as noropa TAALCURSUS 1287
released as DVRIVM 1287

(source: Durium Advertisement and Custom Records discography - Hans Koert)

Hans Koert
author of the Hit of the Week-Durium Discography

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings completed

Some days it happens ...... that you forget to give your love a hug because it's her birthday ......... It almost happened me. Last weekend I mentioned in the Keep Swinging blog, a weekly web log in Dutch and English to share my passion for jazz, jazz-related music, record collecting and other music projects that surprise me, that its fifth birthday will be celebrated next week. Thanks to Jo, my co-editor, I learned that our the Oscar-Aleman blog, dedicated to the music of the Argentine guitar player Oscar Alemán also had started 5 years ago. And guess .............. This Hit of the Week blog was born today five years ago. The first blog was published the 14th of February, 2006. Isn't that great?
Isn't it great to receive this weekend a mailing from Archeophone records, that reads: Release Notes: The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings, Vol. 4 is coming! Details to follow in our March newsletter.
In 2003 Doug Benson and I started to compile a set of four 2cd's with all, commercially, released Hit of the Week recordings, enlarged with a lot of extras, like test pressings, advertisement- and custom records. The first album was released in 2004, the second in 2005 and the third one in 2007. It is great to learn that the 4th one wil be released this year. We'll keep in touch !
Hans Koert