The cylinders from the Becko Collection take us back to the very beginnings of sound recording, enabling us to discover a sound universe far removed from that of the present day. Because of the limited range of tone that could be captured, these recordings were not popular with violinists (whose extreme frequencies could not be reproduced), but they could and did capture the sounds of the human voice with great precision. Cylinders also managed to render the high-pitched tones of brass instruments with both considerable presence and astonishing realism.
The limited length of time available for cylinder recordings was also an important constraint regarding the repertoire and recording artists were often obliged to cut out certain parts of a piece.
Some of the cylinders in this collection contain extracts of works recorded by the very first recording artists. Such is the case for Princesse d’auberge (Herbergprinses) by Jan Blockx (1851-1912), recorded by Maurice Decléry (1873-1957). As the leading comic opera baritone at the Brussels opera house La Monnaie, between 1903 and 1923, Decléry played the role of Rabo in the world première of the French version of this work on 14 December 1898.