Sunday, June 29, 2014

Georg Frideric Handel - Israel In Egypt (oldest recorded music?)

Queen Victoria opens the Crystal
Palace in 1851.  Image via La Wik
On this day in 1888, Col. George Gouraud used Thomas Edison's parafin cylinder to record Handel's oratorio.  It captured the sound of several thousand singers performing at the Crystal Palace Handel Festival, and is perhaps the oldest recorded music that we can still listen to.  Col. Gouraud (recipient of the Medal of Honor in the American War for Southern Independence) is dead these hundred years or more; the Crystal Palace burned to the ground in 1936.  But the recording gives us the ghosts of 125 years ago, performing to as much enjoyment in their day as we have in ours.

The original recording is identifiable in the digitized version of the original parafin cylinder.

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