first sounds – humanity’s first recordings of its own voice (1857- )

Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville was the first person to record his voice and send it into the future. David Giovannoni recounts how First Sounds discovered and played back these recordings 150 years later. This is a fascinating documentary! Goosebump-inducing.

rosalia chalia – i dreamt that i dwelt in marble halls (1901)

This is Rosalia Chalia (1863-1948) singing “I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls” from the opera The Bohemian Girl, composed by MW Balfe in 1843, recorded on wax cylinder in 1901…

… And here’s the incomparable re-recording engineer and archivist Ward Marston talking about this forgotten Cuban soprano, and the physical realities of trying to rescue recordings of her from obscurity — fascinating: