Cylinder of the Month

See also the Cylinders of the Month Archive.

For June 1999 . . .

This month:   An early brown wax recording of a most unusual nature – from 1892, The Esquimaux Dance.


The Esquimaux Dance
Company New Jersey Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 426
Category Clarinet solo
Title The Esquimaux Dance
Performed by William Tuson
Circa 1892
Announcement "The Esquimaux Dance – This is a religious rite performed by Esquimaux after the rising of the sun."

It is difficult to overstate the oddness of a piece written for clarinet, piano, anvil, and dog.

To hear The Esquimaux Dance  —

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

This recording was made on a so-called "cuff"-length cylinder, 3-5/8" long, as compared with a standard-sized cylinder of 4-1/8".   Cuff-length cylinders were common in the early 1890's.


A 3" mini-cuff-length, 3-5/8" cuff-length, and 4-1/8" standard brown wax cylinder.

Although one would expect these smaller cylinders to generally contain shorter recordings, they were oftentimes recorded at fewer revolutions per minute (RPM).   Whereas a standard-sized cylinder of this era might typically be recorded in the 115 to 130-RPM range, a cuff-length cylinder might run from 90 to 125-RPM.   In this case, The Esquimaux Dance appears to have been recorded at 102-RPM.

The 1892 New Jersey Phonograph Company record catalog shows a list of 20 clarinet solos, "by the popular soloist and composer, Mr. William M. Tuson", concluding with the following entry:

426
The Esquimaux Dance, With jingling of bells, barking of dogs, etc
Based on other listings in the catalog, I would be willing to bet that the pianist is none other than Edward Issler of Issler's orchestra!


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

                                       


To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the


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