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Old 07-14-2012, 11:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Earliest surviving film and sound recording 1888

I find this profoundly fascinating.



It is quite otherworldly and a bit eerie. Not last century but the one before. More than a full decade left of the 1800s. 24 years before the Titanic. Brahms and Tchaikovsky were walking the earth, and Adolf was a fetus in Eva's womb. The low audio quality certainly gives the voices a "beyond the grave" feel since it's such a reminder of how everyone in the film and recording is dead and has been for quite a long time now. (Look at the little boy on the right hand side of the Leeds bridge scene -- think he maybe made it to 1960?)

Knowing this the actual thing, and not a more modern reproduction, is what makes it so cool; we're experiencing an actual glimpse of a few seconds of life in 1888, like looking into a time machine.

The recording took place at London's Crystal Palace, a gargantuan building designed for the Industrial Exposition of 1851. Every several years there was a "Handel Festival" there in which his music would be performed to an audience of more than 23,000. This being before loudspeakers, they used an orchestra of 500 and a choir of 4,000. The palace burned down in 1936.

Here is a more recognizable version of the music, this one from the ripe old year of 1934.


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Old 07-15-2012, 04:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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not to nitpick. but eva was adolphs lover, not mother
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You're right, I meant Klara
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