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First Classical Music Recording

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message 1: by Héctor (new)

The earliest known musical recording is made in 1888. The piece, Georg Friedrich Handel's Israel in Egypt, is recorded on a paraffin cylinder. Israel in Egypt, assigned the catalog number HWV 54, is an oratorio, a form in which Handel excelled. Like his more famous Messiah, Israel in Egypt is composed using biblical passages, mainly from Exodus and the Psalms. Unlike the Messiah, however, it didn't enjoy much of a reception when it premiered in 1739. As a result, Handel shortened the work and inserted a few Italian arias to lighten the mood a bit. Nevertheless, it was selected by Col. George Gourand, Thomas Edison's foreign sales agent, for the first musical recording. Gourand made his recording in London's Crystal Palace, using Edison's yellow paraffin cylinder -- candle wax, essentially.

See The 1888 Crystal Palace recordings

Händel - Israel in Egypt (conducted by August Manns)

message 2: by Florita (new)

Florita (ms_rita) | 220 comments Mod
That is amazing!

Crystal Palace park is very close to where we live, at a place called Sydenham in south London.

The Crystal Palace itself was, of course, built for the Great Exhibition of 1851, conceived by Prince Albert.

The huge structure was moved to Sydenham in 1854 and was a popular attraction until it was destroyed by fire in 1936. The wreckage of the Crystal Palace is still there - all overgrown now.

Héctor, you have excelled yourself!

Another idea for me to steal for brightcecilia! x

message 3: by Florita (new)

Florita (ms_rita) | 220 comments Mod
More Crystal Palace information and pictures

message 4: by Héctor (new)


More information, my friends, in: Michael Musgrave, The Musical Life of the Crystal Palace. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

message 5: by Florita (new)

Florita (ms_rita) | 220 comments Mod
Brilliant - thank you. If you ever come to London, we will take you to the Crystal Palace Museum. But it is only open about two days a month!

message 6: by Héctor (last edited Sep 01, 2008 12:14PM) (new)

Héctor And Abbey Road...

... and the British Museum!!

message 7: by Florita (new)

Florita (ms_rita) | 220 comments Mod
And both Tates too!

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