The suite of musical sketches on this
record is the result of a new and fascinating field of exploration by the British-borm
composer, Harry Revel. Inspired by the heady scents of the famous French Corday perfumes,
it is probably the only successful attempt to capture and reproduce with musical
instruments and human voice the "sounds" of fragrance and scent.
Revel attributes the development of the sketches to a chance meeting he had with an attractive Frenchwoman in the bar of the Hotel George V in Paris late in 1936. "The fragrance of her perfume," the composer relates, "transposed itself in my mind to a melodic theme. I was curious to know what the scent was and she explained that it was a famous perfume made by Corday - "Toujours Moi". It occurred to me then that if one fragrance could inspire a melody there must be others that could do the same. Before leaving Paris I visited the offices of Corday and told them of my experience. They were intrigued by the event and suggested I visit Grasse, in Southern France, where Corday secures the oils and materials which go into the making of their perfumes. While in Grasse, and later, back in Paris, I spent many hours sampling perfumes and finally the idea for a suite became fixed in my mind. Before I returned to the States I had set down the first draft of a series of sketches which I titled 'Perfume Set To Music'."
MAGIC OF THE THEREMIN
"In the years that followed, I attempted to put the finishing touches to the sketches but was disturbed by my inability to score them in such a way that they would convey the actual ethereal quality of rare perfume.
"It was not until I attended the premiere of the motion picture 'Spellbound' and heard its magnificent score which employs the Theremin that I found the answer to my problem. The Theremin is a difficult musical instrument to describe. From it comes a sustained sound which is drawn out by moving the hands before the sounding board without touching it. The moment I heard its subtle tones I knew that in this instrument lay the key to the scoring of my suite."
Shortly thereafter, Revel completed the suite and the actual recording took place at the RCA Victor studios in Hollywood. Dr. Samuel Homan [sic], who participated in the sound track recording of "Spellbound" played the Theremin, with the orchestra and chorus under the direction of Leslie Baxter.