Each week our panel of experts picks a different National Jukebox selection to highlight.
This week’s selection:
"Kiss Me Again" performed by Victor Herbert’s Orchestra, recorded May 20, 1918.
This pretty melody, from Herbert’s operetta “Mlle. Modiste,” is played with a delicacy and musical touch that acoustical recording rarely achieves. Certain musical practices were changing in the early twentieth century; among them was the use of dynamics. It had been common to crescendo with an ascending line: as the notes go higher, they also get louder. The newer approach was the opposite—as the line reached its apex the performer would decrescendo, but keep or increase the intensity. This practice was generally not followed on acoustical recordings, due to the inefficiency of the recording horn and diaphragm. Notice the dynamics used by the violins at ten and twenty-one seconds in—the top note is played lightly and delicately. Also, ends of phrases are tastefully rounded, unlike typical recording orchestras of the time.