Twilight Of The Gods 1

phonograph_16x9_620x350-from-cbcToday [2013-07-21] I listened to Part One of Twilight Of The Gods, about how Edison’s invention of a recording device change everything. Though he tried, Edison failed to see his invention’s commercial appeal–he considered popular music lame and jazz a fad, failed to recognize star-power, and thought his cylinder design would triumph. but along came Eldridge Johnson, who made flat records with the biggest music star of the day, Enrico Caruso, and started a company that would eventually become RCA-Victor. He recorded popular music, knew ladies would desire it for the parlour and so sacrificed sound quality for beauty, HisMastersVoice-from-wcand commodified what was an ephemeral, celebratory, public event that few could enjoy to make it a canned, private thing for the masses. As was pointed out, you could make love while listening to St Matthew’s Passion. Music came on a disc in an ‘album’, then ‘the concept album’, but after a century, the idea of ‘the album’ is fast waning. Is this a bad thing? Music is both ephemeral and eternal. I played in pubs. I created and taught music. I bought LPs and 45s. Now I listen online. Bach and Mozart worked for nobility. Later composers worked for publishers. In the 20th century musicians worked on getting a record contract. Nowadays, thanks to digital recording and internet distribution, a creative genius doesn’t have to work for anybody. He or she can work alone in the basement.

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