Month: April 2020

The Sound of the Hound #6: The last castrato

Fred and his brother William travel to Milan in 1902 with the aim of convincing opera superstar Enrico Caruso to record for them. However Caruso is busy and non-committal, so the men seek out other forms of sound to record while they wait for an answer. Aiming high, they approach the Pope to ask if… Read more »

The Sound of the Hound #5: Russian revolutions (part two)

After the mixed success of the recording trip to Russia in 1900, it is a curious decision of Fred’s to return to the country the following year. But back he goes – twice ­– with a point to prove. Still waiting for that elusive breakthrough, The Gramophone Company has diversified into typewriters and Fred’s not… Read more »

The Sound of the Hound #4: Russian revolutions (part one)

The first of two episodes following Fred on recording expeditions to Russia. In early 1900, with their bosses dissatisfied with what they’ve recorded to date, Fred and his colleague Sinker Darby are under pressure to find fascinating sounds. Their agents in St Petersburg, charged with finding singers and musicians, are useless and corrupt so Fred… Read more »

The Sound of the Hound #3: The first propaganda record

In the early days of recorded sound, no one can quite figure out the purpose of gramophones. Are they serious bits of kit for replicating music or are they toys? Should gramophone discs play music or comedy or something else entirely? One man trying to work out this conundrum is an American actor called Russell… Read more »