The song was one of the very earliest pieces of recorded music - it may indeed have been the first ever. It is of interest because of its insight into what was then leading edge technology.Thomas Edison had sent a 'perfected' phonograph machine to one George Gouraud in London, who recorded a programme and presented it at a press conference in August 1888. The press then sent a copy of the programme to Edison, which reinforced his thought that such recordings could become a replacement for written mail (and we think e-mail is modern!)
Later, Sullivan attended one of Gouroud's 'phonograph parties' and recorded a notably prophetic message, which was sent to Edison. In part it said:
' ...astonished at the wonderful power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record for ever .... But all the same .... I congratulate you with all my heart on this wonderful discovery. '
On 29 April, 1912 it was performed by Enrico Caruso , at The Metropolitan Opera house, a concert for the benefit of families of the Titanic disaster victims.Continued page 5/6