Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ernst Albert Couturier - Lullaby from "Jocelyn"

This is the lullaby from Jocelyn, the opera by Benjamin Godard (pictured above), as performed by Cornetist Ernst Albert Couturier. Recorded in 1916 and released as Edison Blue Amberol #2929.

Though Couturier seemed destined for greatness - he was a musical child prodigy despite being half blind, classically trained at the New England Conservatory, and went on to perform at the St. Louis World Fair in 1904. But he made some errors in judgment, such as turning down a chance to join John Philip Sousa's band, and was reluctant to do much recording at a time when making records was propelling nobodies to fame. By the 1920s he had drifted into the Vaudeville scene, and eventually had a mental breakdown. He died insane in the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in Wingdale, N.Y.

He's perhaps best remembered today because his name is inscribed on many an antique high school band cornet floating around amongst collectors. Couturier filed many patents on conical-bore improvements he'd made to wind instruments.

Ernst Albert Couturier - Lullaby from "Jocelyn" (mp3)

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