Centuries of Sound on Cambridge 105 Radio – Episode 14 (1906)

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Time: 8pm BST, Saturday 14th September 2019

Place: Cambridge 105fm

Another journey back in time with James Errington bringing you original historic recordings, this time from 1906, the year of the San Francisco earthquake. We have a brace of songs from the brilliant Bert Williams, plenty of music hall and vaudeville, and a performance of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag from Sousa’s Band.

Listen to the show on 105fm in Cambridge, on DAB digital nationwide, on the Cambridge 105 website here, or on any good radio apps – or, as it is now too late to do any of these things, listen using the facility below.

1906 in Art

Pablo Picasso - Self-Portrait with Palette

Pablo Picasso – Self-Portrait with Palette

Henri Matisse Self-Portrait in a Striped T-shirt

Henri Matisse – Self-Portrait in a Striped T-shirt

Paula Modersohn-Becker - Self-Portrait on the sixth wedding anniversary

Paula Modersohn-Becker – Self-Portrait on the sixth wedding anniversary

Edvard Munch - Self-portrait with a bottle

Edvard Munch – Self-portrait with a bottle

André Derain - Charing Cross Bridge

André Derain – Charing Cross Bridge

Claude Monet – Water Lilies

Claude Monet – Water Lilies

Jean Metzinger - La dance (Bacchante)

Jean Metzinger – La dance (Bacchante)

Robert Delaunay – L'homme à la tulipe

Robert Delaunay – L’homme à la tulipe

Mikhail Nesterov - Portrait of E. P. Nesterov

Mikhail Nesterov – Portrait of E. P. Nesterov

Franz von Stuck – Salome

Franz von Stuck – Salome

Joaquín Sorolla - Señora de Sorolla in Black

Joaquín Sorolla – Señora de Sorolla in Black

Ishibashi Kazunori – Lady Reading Poetry

Ishibashi Kazunori – Lady Reading Poetry

Albert Chevallier Tayler – Kent vs Lancashire at Canterbury

Albert Chevallier Tayler – Kent vs Lancashire at Canterbury

Interior, Sunlight on the Floor 1906 by Vilhelm Hammershoi 1864-1916

Wilhelm Hammershoi – Interior

1906 in Film

Three American Beauties

Aladdin and His Magic Lamp
The Story of the Kelly Gang
The Merry Frolics of Satan
Dream of a Rarebit Fiend
The Magic Roses
A Lively Quarter-Day
The Hilarious Poster
The ‘?’ Motorist
A Visit To Peek Frean and Co’s Biscuit Works
The Mysterious Retort
Three American Beauties
A Winter Straw Ride
Whitsuntide Fair At Preston

The best laid plans

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Humorous Phases of Funny Faces

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Not the first animation ever, not exactly the first on film (Pauvre Pierrot holds this record, though it was figures projected on painted backgrounds), “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces” is nevertheless the inception of the animated short.

With a framing device of the artist drawing on a blackboard, it prefigures artistic animation rather than the commercial sort due to take off a couple of decades later. Still, it was fun enough to keep both me and my 3-year-old son entertained for four minutes, and 112 years later I’d consider that to be a mark of quality.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

April 18 – The San Francisco Earthquake (estimated magnitude 7.8) on the San Andreas Fault destroys much of San Francisco, California, killing at least 3,000

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the East coast of the USA, it would be amiss not to mention what happened across on the other side of the continent 112 years  ago. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 remains vivid in a culture that has built (and built fairly high) on the ruins left behind after the 7.9 magnitude quake and (more importantly) the subsequent fires which killed up to 7000 people.

This clip shows quite what level of devastation the city suffered

…and this is perhaps the best documentary about the event, from PBS.

James Dalessandro – 1906

1906

I don’t have my own phonograph, and it’s impossible to have physical representations of my collection of antique mp3s, but at least I now have a bookshelf full of books about years. Unbelievably, this is only the second or third* one I’ve come across so far (the number is due to go up quite a lot in the 1910s) except it isn’t about the year, it’s a novel set before, during and after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. So basically the kind of thing I’m not reading. But since I bought it, why not give it a go?

Did I like it? Not really. it’s a perfectly serviceable, regular novel, with a standard storyline which doesn’t do much to surprise, though it does its best to mildly shock. The historical context has obviously been thoroughly-researched, but something just doesn’t ring true. The dialogue and inner monologues just don’t seem convincing, everything seems like the voice of the author with imitations of ethnic accents on top. It may just be that I’ve been listening to the cadences of progressive-era speech for too long, but I simply can’t suspend my disbelief.

Here is a scene where the protagonist describes listening to a phonograph recording of Caruso. It’s a good illustration of how factually right and how tonally wrong I found it.

1906 excerpt

So, yes, I didn’t really like it. But if that’s your sort of thing then you can apparently buy it at Amazon for 1p here.

*depending on whether we count ‘London, 1900’