An uncommonly talented duo team up to perform Blue Bell.
Edison's National Phonograph Company
Bells & xylophone
Albert Benzler & Frederick W. Hager
"Bell and xylophone duet, Blue Bell. Edison record."
The only bells and xylophone duet Edison recorded on two-minute cylinders.
Note the 'in-your-face' sound engineering job on the xylophone here.
Multi-talented musicians and composers Albert Benzler (playing the bells) and Frederick W. Hager
(on the xylophone) were each prominent figures in the early recording industry.
Benzler was featured in dozens of popular recordings
usually playing either the bells or the xylophone.
He also recorded the few piano solos, and one organ solo Edison produced on two-minute wax.
Moreover, Benzler is heard in literally hundreds of other recordings as
piano and organ accompanist, a role he assumed after the passing of Frank P. Banta
in 1903 (see the
November 1999 Cylinder of the Month).
Hager was a widely recorded bandleader for several record companies.
His "Hager's Band" and "Hager's Orchestra" appeared on many dozens of
Zonophone disk recordings.
For a time, according to the October 1903 Edison Phonograph Monthly,
he directed the Edison Concert Band.
In this recording of Blue Bell, we get a rare hearing of Hager as
To hear an excerpt
For help playing these sounds, click here.
October 1904 Edison Phonograph Monthly [announcing the November & December records]
No. 8829, "Blue Bell," is something new in
the way of a Phonograph Record.
It is a bells and xylophone duet by Albert Benzler and Frederick W. Hager,
with orchestra accompaniment.
This is a most excellent Record of one of the most popular airs
published in some time.
The tune is carried by the bells, the xylophone plays a variation of
the air and back of this is a fine orchestra accompaniment.
We predict that this Record will sell as well as the vocal Record of
the same selection, the demand for which has exhausted our
capacity to manufacture it ever since it was listed.
The composer of "Blue Bell" is Theodore F. Morse.
To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the
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