Arbiter of Cultural Traditions is a 401c3 non-profit arts organization founded in 2002 as a means to continue the work of the former Arbiter Recording Company by saving performances of musicians whose work embodies our classical music at its height. Our efforts are critical as the aging survivors of past  traditions are not long for this world and decaying media threatens to lose its sounds: our cultural heritage often hangs by a thread. Western classical musicians we have saved such as as Roman Totenberg, Mieczyslaw Horszowski and Ignace Tiegerman played at the highest musical level of their time, of any time. We spare no effort to locate such music-making wherever it survives.

World Arbiter seeks authentic traditional music from  cultures beyond Western European classical music. The late Teresa Sterne who created Nonesuch’s legendary Explorer series was our guiding light in the beginning. Sterne personally intervened to sharpen and define our methodology. Our vital examples document  traditions with scholarly texts to serve as a musical guide and reference work. Multimedia CD projects go beyond music with extensive PDF and video files when placed in a computer.

After a pause we have resumed offering downloads through internet sources. Some CDs contain bonus tracks, many of which were previously unpublished. All are available only as downloads; many CDs also have been completely remastered with new software provided to our studio through a grant. All discs and bonus tracks are listed below in the catalog.

Latest Arbiter Records Release

Latest World Arbiter Release

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Bali 1928, vol. II: Tembang Kuna • Songs from an Earlier Time

  • 1st release on CD of rare unaccompanied vocal recordings. Volume Two of the 1928 Balinese recordings features vocal genres bearing a lost art. All lyrics receive their first English translations in the liner notes (see download link below), coupled with an extensive analytic article by Edward Herbst (see link for ‘Additional Notes’ below) included as a PDF (accessed by computer) and hosted online by World Arbiter.

Latest from the Blog

Nicholas Milroy (Etelka Freund’s son) in action

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A fascinating, erudite polyglot, Nicholas Milroy (1911-2000) saved the recorded and written legacy of his mother Etelka Freund (1879-1977), a pianist who was privately taught by Brahms, esteemed by Busoni, and an early friend and champion of Bartók. When the Baldwin Piano Company learned that their artist Bartók was ill, they requested he return the piano they gave him as one of their featured performers. Milroy learned about him being without an instrument and within twenty-four hours, a modest upright appeared at Bartók’s West 57th Street apartment. Milroy never mentioned this: it was Bartók’s son Peter who related it in his remarkable memoir “My Father”

Milroy was an intelligence officer for the U.S. Army during World War II and afterwards served as a diplomat in Morocco, Burundi and elsewhere. A paper of his “office work” came to light some time ago and is worth a glance.

<< LITERATURE OF THE HOLOCAUST Search for a (single) word: FILREIS HOME | NEWS ———————————————————————— U.S. report details close Swiss-German war ties —————————————————————— From: C-reuters@clari.net (Reuter / William Scally)

Subject: U.S. report details close Swiss-German war ties

Date: Tue, 17 Dec 1996 19:20:56 PST WASHINGTON (Reuter)

– An official U.S. report written after the second World War and made public Tuesday detailed economic and financial penetration of Switzerland by Nazi Germany that increased during the war years.

The report, newly unearthed in the U.S. National Archives, said gold deposits in Swiss banks doubled between 1939 and 1945, on gold looted by the Nazi regime.

It said Swiss industry was almost totally geared to the German war effort; Swiss banks were used for unfettered financial transactions by German financial interests, and Swiss railroads were “forced into the service of the German war economy.”

The 1945-46 report by State Department official Nicholas Milroy was released by Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, a New York Republican who has taken the lead in demanding that looted money in Swiss banks deposited by Jewish Holocaust victims be handed over to their families.

Amid pages of dry statistics, the report made these points:

* “Swiss industrial manpower, as well as her production facilities and products, were almost totally geared to the German demand.”

* “Swiss banks served as a safe haven for all kinds of deposits belonging to German firms and individuals … It is obvious that the tremendous amount of gold transferred by banks, firms and individuals to Switzerland could only result from looting.”

* Swiss machine factories were frequently paid twice or overpaid by German firms or clients so that new German-owned factories could be established under Swiss names or a credit balance created that could be used to deliver products years later.

In releasing the report, D’Amato said: “Switzerland was obviously not the neutral country they would wish the world to believe they were during the second World War.”

The report noted that German influence in Switzerland resulted from geographical and ethnic factors and Switzerland’s dependence on Germany for raw materials.

It showed that in 1939 Swiss imports from Germany totalled 440 million Swiss francs, or 23.31 percent of total imports. In 1942, at the height of the war, these imports rose to 660 million francs, or 32.22 percent.

In 1939 Swiss exports to Germany totaled 192 million francs, or 14.76 percent, growing to 656 million francs or 41.72 percent in 1942.

Swiss gold reserves totalled 2.374 billion Swiss francs in 1939. By March 1945 this these had risen to 4.672 billion, due almost entirely to German deposits, the report said.

It said the German government and business used Swiss professional secrecy laws to cloak their business interests around the world by creating a chain of holding companies in various neutral countries.

Although Swiss assets were blocked in the United States and Britain, Swiss banks operated freely in other countries ”allowing the financial transactions between the cloaks of various German interests to take place unhampered,” the report said.

It added: “Apart from these transactions aiding the German war economy and German interests in general, the Swiss banks served as a safe-haven for all kinds of deposits belonging to German firms and individuals”. —————————————– http://dept.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/nazi-swiss-dealings.html

When we met in 1980, Milroy was reluctant to allow the radio broadcasts he recorded of his mother to be published, concerned about an intrusive announcer truncating one work, and some occasional wrong notes during the live broadcasts. For more than a year we collaborated weekly to translate the memoirs of Uncle Robert, Etelka’s older brother who had studied piano with Moscheles, Tausig, and Liszt. Brahms was in his hands when Freund and two other pals of the composer’s brought him to Italy on his 60th birthday. Freund taught in Zurich for many years and retired to Budapest where Bartók often visited with new compositions and wax cylinders he recorded in villages. A future entry on the Music Resource Center will contain our full translation of Robert Freund’s memoirs.

Milroy eventually allowed Etelka Freund’s performances to appear on CD: two works she learned from the composer are on our Brahms compilation.

To get an idea of his character, one may listen in to Milroy’s dark deep voice, one that graced Radio Free Europe’s Hungarian network during the Cold War, his sole appearance on New York radio to discuss his family’s musical life: