Posted at 09:10 AM ET, 05/11/2011

America gets a pre-1925 iTunes (RECORDINGS)

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Harry Connick Jr. performs at the Library of Congress, in Washington, May 10, during a ceremony to introduce a Web site called the National Jukebox, which offers more than 10,000 historic sound recordings free of charge. (Jacquelyn Martin - AP)
The first ever jazz release. Yodeling. George Gershwin compositions. A reading of “Casey at the Bat.”

Metro reporter Justin Jouvenal reports that 10,000 pre-1925 recorded gems like these are now available for streaming at the just-launched National Jukebox, thanks to the Library of Congress and Sony.

“Call it America’s iTunes,” Jouvenal writes.

Patrick Loughney, the man who oversees the library’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, told Jouvenal that the absence of these recordings has “created a sort of cultural amnesia.” James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, called the recordings: “the foundation of the American sound.”

Here are a few of the recordings:

Famed operatic tenor Enrico Caruso’s beautiful “Angelo casto e bel,” recorded Jan. 7, 1915. Listen:

The crackly quality only adds to this recording of “I Want to Love You While the Music’s Playing,” by the Heidelberg Quintette with Will Oakland, recorded April 15, 1912. Listen:

“Little David Play on Yo’ Harp,” by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet, recorded December 8, 1909. Listen:

Listen to more recordings here. Read Jouvenal’s full story here.

By  |  09:10 AM ET, 05/11/2011

 
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