Dear visitor, welcome to this website!What is this?
A source book. A collection of scrapbooks on people.
A website containing files on over 450 individuals.
What kind of files?
Files on people who were and - in a few cases - still are active in the business of recording and reproducing sound (music and speech).
Call it a “Who's Who” of sound recorders.
And not only that: it also includes a number of people otherwise associated with the business. My own personal choice.
Can you be a bit more specific?
It is mainly about people who made sound recordings for commercial firms: the professional recording engineers.
Included also are people - professionals or amateurs - who made field recordings for academic or preservationist purposes.
What is the time frame?
The website roughly covers the period 1878 - 1940, the cylinder and 78rpm record era.
But I have not been too dogmatic about it and sometimes let people into the compound, who - strictly speaking - do not meet the time criteria, but happened to cross my path. Old friends, so to speak.
Theoretically all nationalities.
But since the expertise during this period was basically in the heads and hands of Americans, Englishmen (Britishers), Germans and Frenchmen, other nationalities are not as evenly represented as one would wish.
For whom is this website?
For specialists and other weirdos...
For people who are interested in the pioneers who made these historic(al) recordings of music and speech that have been passed down to us.
For people who want to find out more about the men and women who not only had to cope with capricious artists and life's vicissitudes, but also often had to travel to exotic out-of-the-way places to make their recordings. Men and women who often had to work under very primitive circumstances and were highly dependent on their own improvisational skills.
The real pioneers, as opposed to the white-collar workers...
What do these files ideally contain?
- information on a pioneer and his family (vital statistics)
- all kind of aspects of their lives and careers
- authentic documents (corporate or otherwise)
- official documents (passport applications, birth/death/marriage certificates)
- surveys of recording sessions
- illustrations of various kinds (old photographs, newspaper clippings)
- relevant articles (both comtemporary and present-day)
- data from censuses
- data from passenger lists
To provide original authentic carefully checked and double-checked source material to those interested in these matters.
Plans for the future?
Yes, of course...
First and foremost I shall continue emptying out cupboards, filing cabinets, drawers, boxes, folders. I am not even half-way yet...
So, please, let me finish that job first.
Secondly, I should like to add speech samples of pioneers.
I have the voice of Marcel Blumenthal (a short interview from the 1980s), the voice of his brother Bernard Blumenthal, who in 1914 read out a German poem on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah party (the only Orfeon recording that can be actually be dated to the day).
Hmmm, dunno yet....
I have an old BBC broadcast about pioneer Snouck Hurgronje's recordings on the Arabian peninsula...
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