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Subject: Historic recordings (Was Re: Another announcer - David Elliott (WHRB Boston))
From: Russ Geschke <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Russ Geschke <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:40:35 -0600
Content-Type:text/plain
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I wanted to get back to you, to probably close this thread. Yes, there's a 
lack of imagination and of a sense of history. At least Edison in the 1880s 
vastly improved his recording technology and then sent representatives to 
Europe to record various celebrities, which is why we now have recordings of 
Sir Arthur Sullivan, William Gladstone, Florence Nightingale, Alfred 
Tennyson and Peder Schram (1819-1895). And a cylinder (now lost) was 
recorded in Vienna by Marie Wilt. It seems that there were other such 
recordings, but they were not preserved for posterity. Personally, my 
biggest regret is that it seems that no attempt was made to record Marietta 
Alboni (1826-1894), reportedly the greatest contralto of the 19th century 
("the elephant that swallowed a nightingale" – Rossini) and who (according 
to Emma Eames) was still singing, privately, and well, in Paris right up to 
her death. Critics reviewing Clara Butt on her first visit to New York (in 
1852) referred to her having "the grandest contralto voice heard here since 
Alboni." We have Butt's records, but all we have of Alboni are descriptions 
of her singing and photographs, her head with its pleasant and regular 
features atop a Junoesque physique. Forgive me for rattling on but music 
history as preserved on records is just so endlessly fascinating.

----- Original Message ----- 

From: "Paul Ricchi" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:21 AM
Subject: Re: Another announcer - David Elliott (WHRB Boston)


I could not agree more, and I like the “sound sissy” term - these people
lack imagination.

We could have had sound recordings much earlier then 1877 - but Edison took
a break to perfect the electric light.

Much earlier all the technical necessities were present: spring motors
(clocks), the ability to attach a cutting stylus to a diaphragm, and a
medium to capture the vibrations. We could have known what Jennie Lind
sounded like, as well as the great castrati.

One who has not listened to these relics has an incomplete education about
singing.

Sent from Astro <https://www.helloastro.com> for iOS


On Feb 13, 2018 at 10:11 AM, Russ Geschke <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


According to information posted on the internet and just accessed, David
Elliott is a Harvard class of 1964 graduate, which makes him 76 or in his
76th year.
He apparently realizes that the vintage recordings he plays have a value
beyond being merely "scratchy recordings with faded voices." The earliest
recordings take the listener back 160 years to the mid-19th century, an
extraordinary bridge back into the past, and besides allowing us to hear
the
beaux restes of the voices of some legendary singers, also document singing
styles and performance practices. Wouldn't you be willing to accept a bit
of
surface scratch to hear a faded voice when the voice is that of for
example,
such a legendary and tremendously important singer as Adelina Patti
(1843-1919, recorded December 1905 and June 1906), the most acclaimed
singer
of her time, who had an international career up and running in the 1860s
and
was the admired friend of among others Rossini and Verdi? And reportedly
her
recording of Norma "Casta diva" incorporates ornamentation sung by the
first
Norma, Giuditta Pasta, which Patti had learned directly from Maurice
Strakosch, who had accompanied Pasta in that music in the 1830s/1840s. I
know that there are many listeners and opera lovers who can't bear the
sound
of old recordings – the "sound sissies" (I know, name calling, how not very
adult) – but that simply is an attitude I cannot understand given all the
history and beautiful singing contained in all those recordings, from the
earliest (even the aged Patti) right on up through Leider, Gigli and all
the
many others leading into the 1940s.




----- Original Message -----
From: "A Katalin Mitchell" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 8:00 AM
Subject: Re: Another announcer - David Elliott (WHRB Boston)


Another important detail about David Elliot... if you like the programming
he provides after the opera, it will no longer be on the air once he is
gone
There is nobody in all of Cambridge, much less at Harvard Radio, who has
his
enormous knowledge and interest in artists of the past, or even opera for
that matter. All those scratchy recordings with faded voices that he plays
may drive me batty (yesterday I could not even bear to tune in, I wanted to
keep those marvelous voices in my mind) but it is such an instructive and
wonderful program, and gorgeous once he gets into the 40s and 50s of course.
K


On 2/11/18, 8:45 AM, "A Katalin Mitchell" <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

Yes, I am quite sure he had a stroke. He is also old, I have met him 10
years ago and he already looked like someone in his mid 70s. He
practically owns the station (it’s a joke - he has run the classical
programming for almost half a century), so he will be on the air as long as
he feels like he is up to it. None of the young folk in charge of WHRB
would dare to ask him to step down.
And I am sure it gives him great pleasure to do it, even if it sounds
effortful.
K



Katalin Mitchell
Press and Media Relations Representative
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company/BabsonARTS
231 Forest Street / Sorenson Center / Wellesley, MA 02457
FEAR AND MISERY IN THE THIRD REICH | DEATH AND THE MAIDEN | OLD MONEY |
MACBETH | RICHARD III on the Boston Common

On 2/10/18, 11:23 PM, "Discussion of opera and related issues on behalf
of Jon Goldberg" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

As long as we're talking opera/classical announcers - does anyone
know what has happened
to the fantastic David Elliott on WHRB? He does a lead-in to the Met
every Saturday, plus an
extensive and always great "post vocal program" after the Met
broadcast.

But all this season, he's been very uncomfortable to listen to. With
my limited knowledge of
medical issues, it sounds like he has possibly had a stroke. His
words slur, he speaks slower,
and talking just sounds difficult for him - yet he bravely soldiers
on. But nothing, to my
knowledge, has been said about it - I don't believe he has, and I
don't believe the station
has. I keep wanting to email the station to ask something, but I
also feel uncomfortable
doing *that*. (Even typing this message is a bit awkward for me. I
just don't want to pry -
and yet I hope maybe someone knows what has happened.)

It's to the point where I just don't listen to his time on the air
anymore - and I used to love
that post-Met time. It's very hard to hear him struggle, especially
when it seems no one is
being upfront about his condition.

I want to wish him the best (and really I do), but I also wonder if
it's time for him to pass
on the torch?

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