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From 1903, the renowned French tenor Agustarello Affre sings La Favorite - "Ange si pur" on an uncommon 3" 'salon' cylinder.

La Favorite - Ange si pur

 
Company Pathé Frères Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 3505 (3½" diameter)
Category Tenor
Title La Favorite - Ange si pur
Performed by Agustarello Affre
Circa 1903-1904
Announcement "La Favorite - Ange si pur, chante par Monsieur Affre, de l'opera."
Agustarello Affre, ca. 1910

Agustarello Affre was the premier tenor of the Paris Opera House from the 1890s through the 1910s.

This recording, and others, announced by Affre typically sound so rushed (to my English ears) that he seems to pronounce his name "Aff".

The Pathé Phonograph Company's process of producing records involved recording their artists on huge wax master cylinders from which sub-masters were copied usually pantographically (sometimes horn-to-horn), then copied again to the final format.   And Pathé had lots of formats.   One of the more unusual was their intermediate, or "salon", size cylinder: Larger diameter than the standard (2¼") cylinder and smaller than the concert (5") size, the 3½" salon size was intended to fill a price and volume gap.   (Generally, the larger diameter cylinders were capable of playback at greater volumes – however, not greater playback length: each size providing a 2 to 2½ minute recording.)   Of course, to play the salon cylinder, you would need a phonograph capable of handling the larger cylinder . . .   The salon cylinder format, introduced around 1902, continued until perhaps 1910.

Comparison of the Pathé salon and the standard size cylinders.
Comparison of the Pathé intermediate ("salon") size cylinder and the standard size.

The sound of the pantographic copying process employed by Pathé can be clearly heard rumbling along in the background throughout the recording.

Many thanks to Art Guenther, David Winter, and Christian Zwarg for their assistance with this cylinder of the month.

To hear La Favorite - Ange si pur  —

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

This aria, Ange si pur ("Angel so pure"), is from the 4th act of "La Favorite", Gaetano Donizetti's French opera composed in 1840.

To learn more, see:

                             


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the


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