Einstein and music: the rare recording


Despite being known throughout the world, Einstein never made a secret of being reserved, so there is little sound evidence of his life except for those immortalized by the media. But in a casual conversation recorded more than 60 years ago, the scientist was captured while joking, discussing his love of music and thoroughly analyzed global politics.

Recorded in 1951 on vinyl records the intriguing conversation between Einstein and his friends Jack and Frances Rosenberg was preserved for a long time at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, and was never made available to the public, at least until now.

On Saturday (May 4th) at 12:00, the auction for a reel-wrapped magnetic tape containing the 33-minute conversation between Einstein and his two friends was opened on Heritage Auctions. Einstein was recorded while discussing in highly accented English. The serious arguments faced by the scientist were interspersed with laughter and jokes, this according to the description given by the announcement of the auction.

Einstein’s musical tastes

Einstein has never hidden his boundless love for music, and in the recording, he talked about his passion for Brahms, Schubert, and Beethoven. He also praised his favorite musical composition: the “Violin Concerto” by the Romanian composer George Enescu, saying: ” in my youth, I didn’t hear anything better “.

Einstein on the Rosenberg trial

Heritage Auctions wanted to share a 3-minute preview of the recording on their website, with Einstein’s reflections on the spying process on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, two US citizens who were accused in 1951 of sharing confidential information on nuclear weapons with ‘Soviet Union.

The case against the Rosenbergs was controversial. Prosecutors were looking for severe penalties for crimes that many have declared not to be supported by solid evidence, according to the Atomic Heritage Foundation. On the tape, Einstein hinted that it was ” unfair ” what was happening to the Rosenbergs and suggested that actions against the US citizen couple were ” imprudent “. However, the Rosenbergs were found guilty and sentenced to death. They were executed in 1953.

The atomic bomb

In the full record, Einstein also expressed regret over the role he played in bringing the United States closer to the development of atomic bombs. Einstein, in fact, in August 1939, sent a letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in which he invited him to conduct research in this regard.

“I think it was a great misfortune “, said the physicist, to then add: ” I regret a lot “. Einstein ruminated that if FDR had lived, he would never have used the atomic bomb. ” I’m convinced of that, ” he said.

At the same time, Einstein was of the opinion that it was good that even the Russians had developed the atomic bomb shortly after the Americans. For the scientist, in fact, he had benefited from “world well-being” because the United States was not the only nation to possess these terrible weapons. Probably this prospect would not have been very popular in America at the time of the facts, he then commented to Live Science Don Ackerman, the director of shipments in the Heritage Department of Heritage Auctions.

The registration of Einstein at auction

A copy of the recording is still preserved in the Einstein collection at the California Institute of Technology, but the auction offered aspiring buyers the opportunity to own an exclusive interview with the famous scientist “who is not available to the public,” Ackerman ruled.

The offers for the audio cassette started at $ 3,500 and the winner will also have to be given a CD containing the recording, this according to the Heritage auction website.

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