Europe's sound heritage at your fingertips

The world’s oldest Mozart recording

In a climate controlled section in the basement of Statsbiblioteket, you can find a couple of old solid wooden boxes. These boxes used to contain some of the world’s oldest sound recordings on wax cylinders, called the “Ruben collection”. One of the cylinders contains what might be the oldest existing Mozart recording in the world: the famous Danish opera tenor Peter Schram (1819-1895) sings Leporello’s aria from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. Read more

Polyphony around Europe

Researchers who rely on field interviews for their work used to strive for their sources to be conserved not only for the preservation of evidence, but also to open the way to get feedback from other researchers or for the reuse of the recorded materials. Read more

First World War Experiences

2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches has a number of recordings relating to this conflict. Read more

The Written Note: An Online Exhibition of Manuscripts of Irish Music

In an oral-music tradition such as Irish traditional music, the centre of gravity is of course in live performance. Singers, musicians and dancers perform from memory, not from written scores, and make each time a new version of the original creation. The chief documents of the music are therefore at present sound recordings and video recordings, media which best convey the reality of live performance. But writing and print have also a crucial role to play in oral music: historically in the archival preservation and transmission of songs, tunes and dances, with a reach back into the centuries before sound recording was invented; and nowadays in learning and teaching, and in analysis and study. Read more

Musical treasures in Tuscany

In a recent post we got acquainted with the Viennese musical tradition of 17th century and its strong relationships with Italian musicians and composers. The cultural exchange became even stronger in 18th century, after the extinction of the Medici’s, as the House of Habsburg Lorraine took the title of Archdukes of Tuscany. Particularly Maria Theresia’s son, Archduke Peter Leopold – later Emperor Leopold II – carried on the patronage tradition of his family in musical field, enhancing the production of local composers and the activity of the Florentine opera houses. Read more

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