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Space Age Music Maker

Henri Rene


  • Born 29 December 1906, New York City, New York
  • Died 25 April 1993, Houston, Texas

Rene was born in New York City, but his German mother and French mother soon moved back to Germany, and Rene grew up in Berlin. He received a thorough German education in classical music and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Berlin. In the mid-1920s, he spent several years in the United States, working with a variety of orchestras, but he returned to work as an arranger for Electrola, an RCA affiliated recording company in Berlin. Several years later, he became Musical Director for Electrola, as well as for the famed German movie studio, UFA.

Riot in RhythmIn 1936, he emigrated to the U.S. and became the musical director for the international branch of Victor Records. In 1941, he formed a continental-styled small orchestra, but broke that up when he joined the Army. After the war, he returned to RCA Victor as a musical director. He arranged and conducted a number of light classical singles releases, and backed a variety of singers.

Rene recorded under his own name on occasion. Although his Music for Bachelors is pretty tame stuff, it's a hot collector's item because of its cover, which features Jayne Mansfield posed seductively in a negligee (presumably calling her favorite bachelor to come over check out her hi-fi). Of more listening interest are Compulsion to Swing and Riot in Rhythm, which include Esquivel-ian arrangements and zany combinations of instrumentation. Rene retired from RCA in 1959 and worked as an independent after that. White Heat, on Imperial, rivals Compulsion and Riot, and includes a great version of "Woody Woodpecker." Rene returned to RCA in 1961 to record Dynamic Dimensions for the great Stereo Action series.


Recordings

  • Paris Loves Lovers, Decca DL74269
  • Passion in Paint, RCA Victor LPM-1022
  • Music for Bachelors, RCA Victor LPM-1046
  • Music for the Weaker Sex, RCA Victor LPM-1583
  • Compulsion to Swing, RCA Victor LPM-1947
  • Riot in Rhythm, RCA Victor LPM-2002
  • Listen to Henri Rene, RCA LPM-2076
  • Dynamic Dimensions, RCA Stereo Action LSA-2396
  • Portfolio for Easy Listening, RCA Camden CAL-130
  • In Love Again, RCA Camden CAL-312
  • Melodic Magic, RCA Camden CAL-353
  • White Heat, Imperial LP 9074
  • Swinging 59, Imperial LP 9096
  • They're Playing Our Song, Decca DL 74574
  • Music from "Man of La Mancha," Kapp LP
  • Living Strings, By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Other Country Favorites, RCA Camden CAS-2285


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