THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Sound and vision blog

5 posts from December 2009

31 December 2009

Happy New Year! Hear 'Auld Lang Syne' sung 111 years ago

Is this recording of "Auld Lang Syne", made in 1898, the first ever made of this song?  Here it is being sung during the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Strait, between Australia and New Guinea.  The song, recorded on an Edison phonograph, can be heard in the second half of the recording:

Ethnographic-wax-cylinders

You can hear 240 other rare Torres Strait cylinder recordings from the World and Traditional Music collections of the British Library Sound Archive. Read more about this unique collection.

30 December 2009

Recording of the Week: Quentin Crisp at the ICA

Author, raconteur and gay icon Quentin Crisp talks to Adam Mars-Jones about the difference between British and American codes of etiquette in this recording at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1984 discussing Crisp's book 'Manners from Heaven: A Divine Guide to Good Behaviour':

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=024M-C0095X0122XX-0100V0.xml

ICA-talks 'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item was selected from the Institute of Contemporary Arts talks collection by Stephen Cleary, Curator of Drama & Literature recordings at the British Library Sound Archive. The ICA talks collection has 1,000 hours of recordings of events held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, in the Mall, London, recorded over the period 1981-1994.

21 December 2009

Recording of the Week: traditional English Christmas songs

It’s the season for goodwill, so there are two selections this week, both traditional English Christmas songs. The first recording, made by Peter Kennedy, is of a fine performance from East Sussex by Bob and Ron Copper, famous for their unaccompanied performances of English folk songs, of The Twelve Days of Christmas:

http://sounds.bl.uk/World-and-traditional-music/Traditional-music-in-England/025M-C0903X0198XX-1700V0

The second is an unpolished but spirited rendition along with pub sounds and banter of We Wish You a Merry Christmas by unidentified singers in The Fountain Inn at Ingbirchworth, between Sheffield and Leeds, Yorkshire. The track was recorded in December 1973 by Bill Leader:

http://sounds.bl.uk/World-and-traditional-music/Traditional-music-in-England/025M-C0903X0097XX-0100V0

You can find similar recordings by entering ‚ÄėChristmas‚Äô or related words into the search box on the Archival Sound Recordings website.  Remember that for licensing reasons, not all recordings on this website are publicly accessible, so unless you are at a licensed UK higher or further education institute, select the checkbox ‚ÄúRestrict search to recordings everyone can play‚ÄĚ.

Traditional-music-in-England 'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's items were selected by Richard Ranft, Head of the British Library Sound Archive, from the Reg Hall collection of over 400 hours of songs, instrumental music and customs from around the UK. The collection itself forms part of the Traditional Music in England collection at the British Library. With over 20,000 field recordings of traditional music, including popular ballads, children's skipping songs, customs, music hall, soldiers' songs, folk tales and interviews, the Traditional Music in England collection is the largest aggregation of unique recordings on the Archival Sound Recordings website.

15 December 2009

Recording of the Week: English sounds

In this 1929 recording for the Linguaphone language learning company, Prof. A. Lloyd James demonstrates English vowel sounds and dipthongs, incidentally creating some incongruous juxtapositions of examples, my personal favourite being 'ginger banana'.

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=024M-1CS0011608XX-0100V0.xml

Early-spoken-word-recordings 'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item, part of the Linguaphone language series 'English Sounds', was selected from the  Early spoken word recordings collection by Stephen Cleary, Curator of Drama & Literature recordings at the British Library Sound Archive.

10 December 2009

Recording of the Week: Gull in a Gale

You can't help but sympathize with the young Herring Gull featured in this recording. The typical calls we associate with this confident seaside regular have been replaced by some rather pathetic cries as the individual is constantly buffeted by an unrelenting wind. Conditions must have been absolutely atrocious!

http://sounds.bl.uk/View.aspx?item=022M-W1CDR0001420-1200V0.xml

British-wildlife-recordings

'Recording of the Week' highlights gems from the Archival Sound Recordings website, chosen by British Library experts or recommended by listeners. This week's item was selected from among 640 tracks in the British Wildlife Recordings Collection by Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife sounds at the British Library Sound Archive. The recording was made by British sound recordist Lawrence Shove who in the 1960s was one of Britain's best known nature recordists.