Category Archives: Performers and performances

A bewitched recording

Early phonograph recordings were a little rough.  In 1889, pianist Hans von Bülow was asked to play into a phonograph in America:

After playing upon a pianoforte, from which issued sounds compared to the soft and dreamy gurgle of a brook, the far-off sighign of the night wind and the roar of the cataract, he is described as placing the phonograph tubes in his ears: now a look of surprise creeps over his features, his face becoems ashy pale.  He staggers back from the machine exclaiming ""Mein Gott! It is bewitched.""  Recovering from what was almost a faint, he begs to be sent home at once, saying that his nerves are completely unstrung, and he must have rest.


Cited in: Scholes, Percy (1947) The Mirror of Music: 1844-1944.  London: Novello, p. 789.