Johannes Brahms wax cylinder recording (1889)

Johannes Brahms wax cylinder recording (1889)

On December 2nd 1889, Theo Wangemann (who worked for Thomas Edison) recorded Johannes Brahms performing two segments at the piano in the home of Dr. Fellinger.  The works recorded were a paraphrase of Strauss’ Libelle and part of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance no.1 in g minor.

For a time it was thought that the wax cylinder had been lost.  It was re-discovered in the 1980s.  Unfortunately the recording was almost entirely masked by noise.  Wax cylinders get more and more worn each time they are played.

In the 1990s, Jonathan Berger and Charles Nichols (two PHD students at Stanford University) were able to remove some of the noise masking the music in the recording.  Here is the wax cylinder recording that Brahms made in 1889.  You will need to turn up the volume on your speakers to hear what little  remains of the recorded music on the cylinder and use your imagination to fill in what is missing.  Enjoy!