Happy American Independence day!

In the early days of the Gramophone Company the British founders worked closely with their American counterparts. A lot of the initial success can be attributed to one of the first sound and recording engineers – American Born Fred Gaisberg. He began working on the newly invented gramophone in the late 19th century and wasContinue reading “Happy American Independence day!”

Joe Batten’s Book: The Story of Sound Recording

SOTH would like to thank our latest contributor Michael Lloyd-Davies for his insightful review on the memoirs of Joe Batten – pioneer recording manager.    By Michael Lloyd-Davies    In his foreward to Joe Batten’s memoirs, Joe is described by Sir Compton McKenzie as “that other great recorder” bracketed with Freddy Gaisberg. Joe Batten’s story isContinue reading “Joe Batten’s Book: The Story of Sound Recording”

The bass-baritone Peter Dawson (1882–1961)

  By Tony Locantro Courtesy of  © EMI Group Archive Trust The bass-baritone Peter Dawson (1882–1961) came to the UK from his native Australia to study singing in 1903. His lessons with Sir Charles Santley stood him in good stead for a career that lasted almost 60 years and encompassed every kind of music, from the oratorios ofContinue reading “The bass-baritone Peter Dawson (1882–1961)”

The Paris Match: Gaisberg and Clarke make discs and cylinders side by side in 1899

Gaisberg’s first continental recording trip with William Sinkler Darby had begun in Leipzig in May 1899, where Thomas Birnbaum the Managing Director of the German Gramophone Company, joined them to travel to Budapest, Vienna and ultimately the dazzling musical city of Milan. The trip had been a mixed bag; lots of fun, some successses butContinue reading “The Paris Match: Gaisberg and Clarke make discs and cylinders side by side in 1899”

Gaisberg’s first recording trip goes Pasta Milano. 1899.

Gaisberg and Sinkler Darby arrived in Milan from Vienna in July 1899. The musical city made a great impression on Gaisberg as he later recalled. “My first visit to Milan..in 1899 was rich in experiences…I often saw Verdi (below) who would regularly take an afternoon drive in an open landau drawn by two horses. PeopleContinue reading “Gaisberg’s first recording trip goes Pasta Milano. 1899.”

Recording pianists, gypsies and tenors…in Leipzig, Budapest and Vienna

Fred Gaisberg and side-kick William Sinkler Darby were sent from London to the Continent to make more recordings for the Gramophone Company in 1899. The new Gramophone technology was in great demand and the company was struggling to keep up with it. The company had established a new disc manufacturing plant in Hanover that wasContinue reading “Recording pianists, gypsies and tenors…in Leipzig, Budapest and Vienna”

Publicity photos of the early Gramophone stars #3: Florence Austral, Warrior Queen and proud Australian

This is the third in a series of publicity shots from the early years of the recording business that our friends at the EMI Archive Trust have made available to us. This photo is of Florence Austral who was an Australian soprano who lived between 1892 and 1968. She changed from her original name ofContinue reading “Publicity photos of the early Gramophone stars #3: Florence Austral, Warrior Queen and proud Australian”

Recorded music sales are growing exponentially. Supply can’t keep up with demand….

….in 1898! We followed how the Gramophone Company and its German sister company had some significant teething problems with the production of discs during the first year of business in 1898. Whilst the English company was dependent upon its discs coming from Germany it had also agreed to source its gramophones from the American manufacturingContinue reading “Recorded music sales are growing exponentially. Supply can’t keep up with demand….”

Memoirs of a Musical Dog – Edison to The Beatles

As part of their Omnibus series, The BBC made a documentary about the history of recording in the late 1980’s which was called Memoirs of a Musical Dog. It aired on Friday May 27, 1988. It’s very good and thanks to the power of youtube, you can see it here: Part One Early years ofContinue reading “Memoirs of a Musical Dog – Edison to The Beatles”