A Matter of Records - Fred Gaisberg  (Jerrold Northrup Moore)  0-8008-5176-5
Item# B1750
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A Matter of Records - Fred Gaisberg  (Jerrold Northrup Moore)  0-8008-5176-5
B1750. JERROLD NORTHRUP MOORE. A Matter of Records – Fred Gaisberg & The Golden Era of the Gramophone. New York, Taplinger, 1977. 248pp. Index; Photos; DJ. - 0-8008-5176-5


“Jerrold Northrop Moore is an American-born British musicologist, best known for a biography and other writings on the life and music of Sir Edward Elgar. He is also an authority on the history of the gramophone.

Moore was born in Paterson, New Jersey and was brought up in the United States. He studied at Yale University, taught at the University of Rochester from 1958 to 1961, and was Curator of Historical Sound Recordings at Yale from 1961 to 1970. He has lived in England since 1970 [at which time the late Richard Warren, Jr., greatly expanded the celebrated collection at Yale].”

“Caruso was the first of the world’s great singers to have his complete repertoire perpetuated by permanent records available to everyone and recorded when the singer was in the prime of life. I recorded him first, and that when he was on the threshold of a world career. He was the answer to a recording man’s dream….In order to produce good commercial records, all sorts of compromise were necessary to make good the shortcomings of sound recording. Surface noise, inherent in the process, was the most insurmountable problem: one solution was to cover or drown the noise by louder sound waves. The singers of that date sang into a small trumpet that collected the sound and directed the waves on to a small diaphragm which in turn activated the cutting stylus. If the voice was small and the singer had to stand close to the opening of the horn an unpleasant resonance would be set up and false, unmusical notes would result in the record. By selecting loud voices and standing the singer further away from the collector or horn the false tones could be avoided; at the same time the loud, rich voice covered up the surface noise inherent in the disc. Caruso’s rich baritonal voice, his effortless and even production, did all of this and more, too. He had the interpretative art of a born singer and a sense of pitch that nothing could shift. We recorders were always on the hunt for just this type of voice; whether we found it in an opera singer or narry we would not rest until we had acquired it for a gramophone record.”


“Frederick William Gaisberg (1 January 1873 – 2 September 1951) was an American-born musician, recording engineer and one of the earliest classical music producers for the gramophone. He himself did not use the term 'producer' and was not an impresario like his protégé Walter Legge of EMI or an innovator like John Culshaw of Decca. Gaisberg concentrated on talent-spotting and in persuading performers to make recordings for the newly invented gramophone.

Gaisberg began working in the recording industry in America as a young man, becoming a pioneer of early recording, and also worked as piano accompanist. In 1898, he joined the Gramophone Company in England as its first recording engineer. In 1902, he recorded music sung by the tenor Enrico Caruso and the recordings became a sensation. By 1921, Gaisberg was artistic director of HMV's international artists department. After 1925, he concentrated on artist management. In 1939, he retired from his position but continued as a consultant in the industry through the 1940s.

Gaisberg refused offers of a directorship of HMV, preferring to remain a link between the artists and the company. At the age of sixty-six, in 1939, Gaisberg retired; he remained a consultant to EMI and continued to have an important influence on the recording industry. In the late 1940s he argued in favour of long-play records, introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, and stereophonic recording, introduced after his death. His last gift to music was a project to build a recording space for classical recording, Abbey Road Studios.”

- Zillah D. Akron