Cylinder of the Month

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From 1898, a beautifully recorded piano solo, on a Bettini cylinder, of a Chopin Nocturne played by Joseph Pizzarello.

(Chopin) Nocturne

Company Bettini Phonograph Laboratory
Cylinder # 9
Category Piano solo
Title (Chopin) Nocturne
Performed by Joseph Pizzarello
Circa 1898
Announcement "Chopin Nocturne, F sharp, played by Mister Pizzarello."

A very rare 19th Century recording of a piano solo on an extremely rare record from Gianni Bettini's New York City phonograph laboratory.

To hear (Chopin) Nocturne   —

To hear an excerpt   —  
For help playing these sounds, click here.

In the 1890's, the brilliant and inventive Gianni Bettini operated his New York phonograph laboratory (110 Fifth Avenue) into which he was able to bring many of the city's greatest social and artistic luminaries.   Hundreds of priceless recordings were created in his studios using his customized recording equipment.   Only a very few of his premium-priced commercial recordings survive today.   Bettini brought many of his best records with him to Europe, where it is believed most were destroyed during the first World's War.

Practically a fixture for accompaniment purposes, during this time the piano was seldom highlighted in solo recordings.   In part, this was due to a feeling that the piano recorded weakly, especially in the lower ranges – a perception that Bettini, who with his characteristic Italian accent announces this selection, demonstrates was not necessarily so.   In this copy, the cutting (duplicate) phonograph was switched off before the final note had finished, creating an accelerating pitch effect.

— This cylinder is from the collection of The Library of Congress —


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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