Warsaw, Berlin, London: Acid, Ladies and a stiff wrist (Fred Gaisberg’s diaries of 110 years ago. Continued)

After failing in his attempt to record the voice of Czar Nicholas in Russia, Fred Gaisberg and side kick William Sinkler Darby began the long journey back to London.   They stopped off in Warsaw where they found a “finer set of artists than we had met in St Petersburg” to record but found themContinue reading “Warsaw, Berlin, London: Acid, Ladies and a stiff wrist (Fred Gaisberg’s diaries of 110 years ago. Continued)”

If you are ever irritated by those teenagers sharing an ipod’s headphones and ignoring everything around them LOOK AWAY NOW!

They were far more “sharey” in the 90’s. That’s the 1890’s, of course. We stumbled across this photo the other day  but we don’t know much about it. It’s apparently a group of listeners trying out the new fangled phonograph on headphones, treating it like a sort of communal ipod. We think this was probably a wayContinue reading “If you are ever irritated by those teenagers sharing an ipod’s headphones and ignoring everything around them LOOK AWAY NOW!”

Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #4

  This is the Excelda portable gramophone which is a fabulous piece. It’s one of the first playback machines designed to be portable; a proto-ipod. It was Swiss made by a company called Thorens in 1930. Thorens was formed in 1883 and originally made music boxes and, like many early, clocks. They continue to make high end audio equipmentContinue reading “Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #4”

Gaisberg pursues an opportunity to record the Czar. More extracts from his field recordings of 1900.

(Fred is in St Petersburg recording local artists……) On April 9th 1900, Fred Gaisberg returned to his hotel after watching the performance of Demon and flirting with Rodina to find a message asking him to “prepare to give a recording exhibition before the Czar’s secretary that evening”. This was news he had been hoping for. AfterContinue reading “Gaisberg pursues an opportunity to record the Czar. More extracts from his field recordings of 1900.”

Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #3

This little beauty from the EMI Archive Trust collection is an Oratiograph Phonograph which was made by John Schoenner in Germany in 1902 Its described by the Trust as:   “…a is a fascinating small machine about which not much is known. They were made in Germany by the John Schoenner Factory in the early years of the 20th Century.Continue reading “Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #3”

April 8th 1900: What Fred did next

If you can remember from our last visit to his diaries of exactly 110 years ago, roving proto-field recordist Fred Gaisberg and sidekick William Sinkler Darby were in pre-revolutionary Russia in 1900 buying bear skin coats to ward off the harsh St Petersburg weather. (If you can’t remember you can read about it here.) On April 3rd 1900 FredContinue reading “April 8th 1900: What Fred did next”

Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #2

This is a seriously cute piece; it’s another Phonograph called ” Le Mervilleux” (Meaning =  “Wonderful”) and was made by Henri Lioret around 1894. Our friends at EMI Archive Trust, who own it, describe it thus: “Henri Lioret was a respected clockmaker before turning his attention to phonographs. This unusual phonograph was made from around 1894,Continue reading “Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #2”

Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #1

This is the first of a series of early playback devices that are owned by the EMI Archive Trust. Its actually not a gramophone; its a phonograph. An Excelsior Pearl phonograph which was made in Cologne, Germany, in 1904 This is how the Trust describes the piece “Excelsior phonographs were produced by the Excelsiorwerk of CologneContinue reading “Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #1”

Gaisberg in Russia: April 1st 1900

One hundred and eleven years ago today Fred Gaisberg was in the middle of his third big recording expedition. He’d travelled to continental Europe over the summer of 1899 and the British Isles over the autumn of that year and had already made hundreds of the world’s first recordings. In spring 1900 he and hisContinue reading “Gaisberg in Russia: April 1st 1900”

Fred Gaisberg. The World’s First A&R man.

Imagine a world where nothing yet has been recorded.  Almost nobody on the planet has heard sound played back to them. Radio doesn’t exist. Music is played live and exists only for as long as the notes hang in the air. And imagine then that somebody has developed a technology for recording sound and you have been given theContinue reading “Fred Gaisberg. The World’s First A&R man.”