|Founder||Dorle Soria, Dario Soria|
|Genre||Classical music, Broadway|
|Country of origin||US|
Angel Records is a record label founded by EMI. It was formed in 1953 and specialised in classical music, but included an occasional operetta or Broadway score. Additionally, the Angel mark was used by EMI, its predecessors, and affiliated companies since 1898. EMI's classical-music operations were sold to Warner Music Group in 2013. The status of which company owns Angel Records is undetermined at this time.
A recording angel is a traditional figure that watches over people, marking their actions on a tablet for future judgment. Artist Theodore Birnbaum devised a modified version of this image, depicting a cherub marking grooves into a phonograph disc with a quill. Beginning in 1898, the Gramophone Company in the United Kingdom used this angel as its trademark on its record labels and players, as did affiliated companies worldwide.
From 1909, Gramophone and related companies began replacing the angel with the famous trademark of a dog listening to a gramophone. The angel was retained in areas where the depiction of a dog was deemed offensive, and in countries such as the United States where the His Master's Voice (Nipper) trademark was controlled by RCA Victor.
In 1953 Gramophone successor EMI lost its U.S. distribution arrangement with Columbia Records, which had elected to make Philips Records distributor of U.S. Columbia recordings outside North America. In response, EMI established Angel Records in New York City under the direction of record producers Dorle Soria (December 14, 1900 – July 7, 2002) and her husband Dario Soria (May 21, 1912 – March 28, 1980). The couple concentrated on distributing EMI classical recordings in the U.S. market. They departed the label in 1957, having already accumulated a catalog of about 500 titles, when EMI merged Angel into its recently acquired Capitol Records subsidiary and moved from imported discs to U.S. production. However, Angel recordings such as Sir Thomas Beecham's famous 1957 performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, made in England in stereo with the Royal Philharmonic, were still imported to the U.S.
In the 1960s, EMI introduced the Seraphim Records label, primarily in the U.S., to compete with RCA Victrola and Columbia's Odyssey labels. Historic recordings, sometimes taken from 78-rpm originals, were featured. In 1967, as RCA Victrola reissued numerous recordings of Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, Seraphim reissued some of Toscanini's British recordings with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, made in London's Queen's Hall from 1937 to 1939. A number of albums featured Sir Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, including Beecham's 1959 stereo recordings, which were switched from the regular Angel label to the Seraphim one. Some historic EMI recordings have appeared in the U.S. on the Seraphim label on CD in recent years.
In 2001, Angel released newly remastered and expanded editions of the soundtracks of three Rodgers and Hammerstein films – Oklahoma!, Carousel and The King and I. The LP versions and original CD versions of these soundtracks had previously been released by Capitol Records.
In 2006, EMI reorganized its adult music operations and put Angel Records as well as EMI's other classical and jazz labels under the Blue Note Label Group.
- "New Records". TIME. November 23, 1953.
- "Angel at Two". TIME. December 19, 1955.
- "Singing Land". TIME. December 23, 1957.
- "Title Unknown". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.
- Dorle Soria papers, 1930-1991 Music Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.