Saturday, 4 February 2012

First Schubert recording - 1890 out now!

First ever Schubert recording? It's 1890 but out now. In the photo is Thomas Edison, with an early phonograph machine - revolutionary technology! It was an experiemntal technique, so Edison marketed it by recording famous people and sounds. The Schubert recording (Wohin) was made on 23rd January 1890 in Cologne. Franz Lachner, who knew Schubert personally had died just three days before in Munich, so it's feasible that there might have been others around who remembered Schubert himself. Performers are Karl Mayer (1852-1933)  baritone, and Franz Wüllner (1832-1902)  piano. The Wagnerian friend who sent me details adds "Wüllner was the conductor of the first ever Rheingold and Walkuere and teacher of Mengelberg, von Schuch, Andreae, Oestvig and many others. A unique document if only it could be heard.!" because the sound quality is hardly bearable. You can hear voices in the background, and the singer seems to wait til it's OK to start.

The audio engineer was Theo Wangemann who worked for Edison in Europe. He also recorded Otto von Bismarck singing the Marsellaise, and Helmut von Moltke reciting Goethe and Shakespeare at Kreisau. A lost world! The cylinders were discovered in 1957 but some were only made available this week.   Here is the link, scroll down and enjoy. SACD it ain't but who cares? Just imagine  those people huddled over state of the art technology, not knowing we'd heard them 122 years later.

Wangemann also recorded Johannes Brahms, playing Brahms, Hungarian Dance no 1, recorded 2nd December 1889. Listen HERE, scroll down.   There are lots of archaic recordings around, which I've written about here many times, including Mahler plays Mahler, Grieg plays Grieg , Grainger playing Grieg, Schoenberg conducting Mahler in 1934, Anton Webern conducting Schubert and the first recording of the Habanera from Carmen. Lots of archive early film including Edison in China 1898. I really should organize all the pieces I've done on this site so they're easier to find.

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