Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Francesco Tamagno 1850-1905...The first Otello and the first to record sections of it in 1903-04


A 1904 pressing of Tamagno's Morte d' Otello recorded in 1903. Note that it is number 899. Tamagno asked to have the number of his records sold listed so each record was numbered as to the sales of his records. So he would know what his royality would be...

He was very careful to his finance with his recording career..Sadly it was very short. But he was the original in the role created by Verdi. Also one of the first in the field of celebrity recording..

He was the first real star to make records that sold in large amounts.
Caruso's career proceeded his but Caruso was not a big name as of yet.

The recordings had been made in Tamagno's castle by the Gramophone and Typewriter Company in Italy.
He was not very healthy, and suffering from heart trouble. The end result was that all of the recordings were pitched down. To make it easier on him and his weak heart.

The recordings were very successful, even though the records cost $5.00!!!! In 1904 that was near a weeks pay! But as you can see on the record listed here, it is numbered 899. So, 899 people had paid $5.00 for one of his records.

His performance is quite good, specially when they are played at the right speed. It seems his recordings were recorded at around 65 to 68 RPM's...Sadly re recordings of his records were transferred at 78 RPM's making him sound weird...If played at the right speed you hear a very different voice. An older voice yes, but still a good voice.
His recording of Morte d' Otello is really quite an amazing performance.

The record that you see here is a Victor Talking Machine pressing from 1904. You will see that it is marked very loudly "IMPORTED"...On the top of the record is the conditions of the sale ,,That it could be sold in only north and south America. When he died in 1905, he was advertised as singing from the grave! His family made money from his recordings for years after that. One of the great successes of the early recording industry ...

1 comment:

Stefan said...

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