O.J.'s Trumpet Page Artists and personalities

Arban on an Edison phonograph-cylinder

Edison Phograph
Edison Phonograph

In a newspaper from Finnland, Helsinki's Hufvudstadsbladet, (no. 96, from 11.4.1890, p. 2), a recording by  Arban is mentioned. 
The next day, April 12, 1890 a longer report tells more about this first presentation of the Edison Phonograph.

J. B. Arban apparently made a phonograph-cylinder recording for the Edison Co. shortly before his death. The piece he recorded was called "Fanfare d'Edison".

Facsimile from page 2 of Helsinki's Hufvudstadsbladet, no. 96, 1890 :

(click on image for larger!)


Translation of the text:

Phonograph: Today Mr. Gillin and Droese will give the first two phonograph shows in Helsinki. The lecture and demonstration of Edison's phonograph will take place in F. B. K.'s assembly hall at 2 and 8:30 [p.m.] with an admission fee of 2 [Finnish] marks.

Edison's phonograph will make its debut with us today with a rich phonograph repertoire such as speech, song, musical instrument solos, vocal and orchestral phonograms [i. e. recordings, translators' note].

Among the phonograms a particular one must be mentioned: a solo on cornet à pistons, played by the famous French virtuoso, Monsieur Arban, called “Fanfare d'Edison;” [another is] a phonogram for large orchestra, “Marche d’Exposition Universelle 1889” by Olivier Métra. This march was played by 60 military musicians in the presence of Edison when he visited the Exhibition [Universelle] in Paris last year. Further, a solo on the piccolo-flute, played by Monsieur Damaré, member of the orchestra of the large opera in Paris; duet on two English horns, variations on Dutch dances, played by two military musicians belonging to her Majesty's Horse Guards (Queen Victoria’s Cavalry Guard Regiment) on a séance at the court in London.

Among the curiosities that "Mister Phonograph" offers, the presenters even mention the song "Klara stjerna" [“The Clear Star”], sung by a Swedish baritone singer in Petersburg, Mr. D-st. [It would be interesting if some historian of singing could identify this person!]  This song was performed false by Mr. D., that is, in all possible keys, since Mr D. would convince himself if the phonograph is capable to accurately reproduce all the vocal errors that he could blame on himself.
Mr Gillin has stated "that it would be very nice if some of our singers would be so kind as to sing a Swedish song, which on this days session will be played back by the phonograph in the presence of the audience and later will later travel through the other cities of Finland when the phonograph leaves Helsinki."
Today’s program consists of 10 to 12 different music phonograms, except for the two wax cylinders that are meant for speech and song.
The sound from the phonograph is made audible for the listeners through an apparatus resembling a giant trumpet, which is attached to the phonograph and enables the whole auditorium to hear it simultaneously.

Original text in Swedish:

Fonografen: I dag gifwa hrr Gillin och Droese de första twå fonograf – seancerná  i Helsingfors. Föredraget och förewisningen af Edisons  fonograf kommer att försiggå  i F. B. K:s festsal kl. 2 och half 8 c. m. med ett entrèpris af 2 mk.

Edisons fonograf “debuterar” hos oss i dag med en rikhaltig fonograf-repertoire såsom tal, sång, musikinstrumentsolos, vokal- och orkester-fonogram.

Bland fonogrammen må nämnas särskildt: solo på cornet a piston, speladt af den berömda franska virtuosen monsieur Arban och kalladt “Fanfare d’Edison;” stort orkesterfonogram “Marche d’Exposition Universelle 1889” af Olivier Metra. Denna marsch spelades af 60 militärmusikanter i närwaro af Edison, då han i fjol besökte utställningen i Paris. Widare solo på piccolo-flöjt, speladt af monsieur Damare, medlem af orkestern wid stora operan i Paris; duett på twå engelska horn, variationer på Holländska [?] danser, spelad af twå militärmusikanter tillhörande regementet her Majesty's Horse Guards (drottning Victorias kavallerigarde regement) på en seance wid hoffet i London.

Bland kuriositeter som "Mister Fonograf" bjuder på, nämner dess förewisare äfwen sången "Klara stjerna", som sjungits af en swensk barintonsångare i Petersburg, hr D-st. [It would be interesting if some singing historian could identify this person!]  Denna sång har sjungits af hr D. falskt, d.w.j. i alla möjliga tonarter, emedan hr D. wille öfwertyga sig om fonografen är i stånd att noggrant återgifwa alla de vokaliska fel, som han gentom gjorde sig skyldig till.
Hr Gillin har bedt att få framfördt, "att det wore mycket angenämt om någon af wåre sångare wille wara så gentil och sjunga en swensk sång, hwilken på dagens seancer komme att återgifwas af fonografen i publikens närwaro och sedermera göra turen genom Finlands öfriga städer, då fonografen lemnar Helsingfors."
Dagens program omfattar 10 till 12 olika musikfonogram, oberäknad de twå wax-cylindrar, som äro bestämda för tal och sång.
Ljudet från fonografen göres förnimbart för åhörarne genom en apparat, liknande en jättetrumpet, hwilken är fäst wid fonografen och åstadkommer, att hela auditoriet kan samtidigt åhöra densamma.

In the report next day there is no mention of Mr Droese. We can read about Mr Gillin and Mr. Cohl. It is more likely that the journalist who attended the show the next day got the names right.

F. B. K.'s assembly hall. F.B.K. is short for "Frivilliga Brand Kåren" (Voluntary fire brigade). In 1889 a new F.B.K. building was inaugurated in central Helsinki. This building had a spacious festive salon.

Thanks to:
Eric Roefs, who first discovered the newspaper articles!
Edward H. Tarr for info, facsimile and corrections of my translation!
Jörn Lundsten, Hufvudstadsbladet, Finland for info about the F.B.K. building!

Any information about Arban's recording, the event in Helsinki in 1890, etc, would be very much appreciated.
Send email to: O.J.