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CLASSICAL  February 2009

CLASSICAL February 2009

Subject:

Les Urnes de l'Opera

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 18 Feb 2009 17:44:38 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (54 lines)

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/02/16/arts/opera.php

   From a vault in Paris: The sound of opera in 1907
   By Alan Riding / Herald-Tribune / Feb. 16
   
   PARIS: On Dec. 24, 1907, a group of bewhiskered men gathered
   in the bowels of the Paris Opera to launch a project which,
   by definition, they could never see to fruition. First, 24
   carefully-wrapped wax records were placed inside two lead
   and iron containers. These were then sealed and locked away
   in a small storage room, with instructions that they remain
   undisturbed for 100 years.
   
   The man behind this musical time-capsule was Alfred Clark,
   a New Yorker who headed the London-based Gramophone Company
   and provided the records.  And, in truth, once the ceremony
   was over, he had achieved his primary objective of drawing
   attention to his company and to the new flat disc records
   that it was promoting to compete with better known cylinder
   records.
   
   "I know of no other case where a commercial firm has obtained
   so much free publicity as we have," he wrote to a colleague
   two days later.
   
   The Paris Opera displayed a more elevated sense of history.
   Through this selection of opera arias and instrumental
   pieces, it announced, future generations could discover the
   musical taste and the quality of sound recording of the
   early 20th century.
   
   French officials also predicted radical changes in recording
   technology.  So, in 1912, when they added 24 records and
   two more containers to the trove, they included a new
   hand-cranked gramophone, along with instructions on how it
   worked and a score of spare stylus needles.
   
   The 100 years were up more than a year ago and, after lengthy
   examination, cleaning and digitizing of the records, EMI,
   the heir to the Gramophone Company, is reissuing them in
   three CD's. The collection will be released in France later
   this month as "Les Urnes de l'Opera" and in the United
   States in early April with the English subtitle, "Treasures
   from the Paris Opera Vaults." <snip>

Janos Gereben
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

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