Cylinder of the Month

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From 1898, a fast-paced Italian tarantella dance written by John Philip Sousa for his operetta The Bride Elect.

Tarantella from The Bride Elect
Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 647
Category Orchestra
Title Tarantella from The Bride Elect
Performed by Edison Grand Symphony Orchestra
Circa 1898
Announcement "Tarantella from the opera Bride Elect, played by Edison's Grand Symphony Orchestra."

The versatile "March King", John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), also composed over a dozen operettas.   Although Sousa's march from El Capitan (see the October 1998 Cylinder of the Month) is perhaps the most well-known selection from one of his operas, this month's wax cylinder of the tarantella ("The Dancing Girl") from Sousa's 1897 three-act comic operetta The Bride Elect is also well-remembered.

The Columbia Encyclopedia defines a tarantella as a "Neapolitan folk dance that first appeared in Taranto, Italy, in the 17th century.   It had rapid 6/8 meter with an increasing tempo and was thought to cure the bite of the tarantula, which supposedly caused the disease tarantism."

To hear Tarantella from The Bride Elect  

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