Here is a recording of the earliest surviving wax cylinder of Thomas Edison. This performance of G.F. Handel’s “Moses and the Children of Israel” was recorded on June 29, 1888 at the Crystal Palace in London, England. There were 500 musicians in the orchestra, around 4000 voices in the choir, and 23,722 people in the audience. You can just make out some of the choir singing. After the 1888 recording is played, you can hear a modern recording done in 2014 of the same chorus by G.F. Handel.
Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the choir and orchestra in the 1888 recording. I also don’t know who was performing in the 2014 recording. The amazing thing about the 1888 recording is that it exists. That was recorded at a time before airplanes and there were few cars at the time. Life was a lot more primitive then it is now. I hope that you enjoy this very old recording.
Eric Whitacre (1970 – )
Eric Whitacre is a Grammy award winning American composer and conductor who is known for his choral, orchestral, and wind music. He is also well known for his “Virtual Choir” projects which bring together people from around the world into a big online choir. in 2016 he became The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s first artist-in-residence at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Here is a beautiful choral piece Eric Whitacre wrote called the Seal Lullaby. It is performed by Eric Whitacre and the Eric Whitacre Singers. I hope that you enjoy this music.
Sir Anthony Hopkins (1937 – )
Sir Anthony Hopkins is a Welsh actor, director, producer and a composer. He started taking piano lessons when he was six years old. Hopkins worked hard at the piano. When he was 12 years old he began improvising on the piano with dissonant chords and began working on developing melodic lines which he would then write down on manuscript paper. In 1964 Hopkins was working as an actor at the Playhouse Theatre in Liverpool. He would often arrive early before everyone else in the morning when the cleaning ladies were there. There was an old piano in the theatre and he would sit down and improvise melodies. One day he came up with a waltz tune. Someone heard him and asked who wrote the tune. Hopkins said that he made it up. For years the piece was never premiered because Anthony Hopkins didn’t think the piece was good enough. In 2008 he scored the piece entitled “And The Waltz Goes On” for full orchestra. Hopkin’s wife Stella contacted violinist André Rieu and sent him the score. On July, 3rd, 2011 it got its premiere (50 years after its composition).
André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra
André Rieu is a Dutch violinist and conductor from Maastricht who is well known for his famous Johann Strauss Orchestra. He graduated from the Brussels Conservatory with a first prize in violin. While he was studying music at University, he performed Franz Lehár’s Gold and Silver Waltz. The audience reaction was wonderful and he decided to play more waltz music. in 1978 he created the Maastricht Salon Orchestra and played with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. in 1987 he formed the now famous Johann Strauss Orchestra as well as his own publishing company. The orchestra and Andre Rieu are very popular and regularly give sold out performances. André Rieu sets up the stage and the lighting before each concert and spends a lot of money making sure everything looks perfect. At some of his concerts they even serve real champagne in wine glasses to the audience members.
Here is a performance of André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra performing Anthony Hopkin’s “And the Waltz Goes On”.
The Quintet of the Hot Cub of France
The Quintet of the Hot Club of France was an acoustic string band formed by violinist Stéphane Grappelli and gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. The group made hundreds of recordings before World War II. The group split up when the war started and got back together after the war in 1946. They played together until Django Reinhardt’s untimely death in 1953.
Here is a rare video of the quintet performing the tune J’attendrai a popular French song first recorded by Rina Ketty in 1938. It became a big hit during World War II. Listen to Grappell’s smooth lyrical style of playing and watch Reinhardt’s impressive finger work with his two working fingers of his left hand. The remaining three fingers were bent and unusable because of burns he suffered in a caravan fire when he was 18. Django Reinhardt had to re-learn how to play the guitar.
Elaine Rodrigues – pianist
Pianist Eliane Rodrigues was born in Rio de Janeiro. She was a child prodigy who began composing music when she was 3 years old, played her first recital when she was 5 years old, and performed concertos with an orchestra when she was 6 and 7 years old. She won prizes at many regional and national piano competitions and won the special prize at the Van Cliburn Competition when she was 18. She has performed in many major cities including Antwerp, Brussels, The Hague, Moscow, New York, and St. Petersburg. For over 20 years Eliane has been invited to De Doelen in Rotterdam to perform a Chopin recital on Boxing Day.
Here is a video of an unusual recital she gave at De Doelen in Rotterdam. It is unusual because the pedal on the piano wasn’t working. She handled the situation very well and what happened was quite humorous. I hope that you enjoy watching this.
Ginette Neveu (1919-1949)
Ginette Neveu was a French classical violinist. She became famous after she won first prize in the Henryk Wieniawski violin competition at the age of 16 beating Russian violin virtuoso David Oistrakh (who won second place). She won a touring contract which took her to Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union, United States, and Canada. Her performing tours were interrupted during most of world war II but resumed in 1945. She often toured with her brother Jean-Paul who accompanied her on the piano. With her brother she travelled to Prague, Australia, South America, and the United States. They made some recordings together as well. In 1949, Ginette was on am Air France flight and it crashed into a mountain in the Azores. Both she and her brother were killed. She was only 30 years old.
Here are a couple of recordings of Ginette Neveu with pianist Bruno Seidler-Winkler playing violin/piano arrangements of Christoph Wilibald Gluck’s Melodie and Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor. I hope that you enjoy this music.
El Choclo (tango)
El Choclo is one of the most popular Argentinian tangos. It was written by Ángel Villoldo, an Argentinian musician. It is named after the owner of a nightclub. El Choclo had its premier in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1903. It has since been recorded by many dance orchestras in Argentina and famous musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, and Julio Iglesias.
Katica Illényi is a Hungarian violinist, singer, and theremin player. She is a classically trained violinist that plays several different genres of music including tangos, folk music, klezmer music, and Manouche jazz (or gypsy jazz). She has won many awards including the Artist of Merit of Hungary Award and the Franz Liszt Award from the Franz Liszt Academy. She organizes her own concerts and her YouTube channel gets millions of hits on a regular basis.
Here is a live performance of Katica Illényi (violin) and her sister Anikó Illényi (cello) performing the tango El Choclo with a group of other musicians. I hope that you enjoy this music.