Above: 1860's litho. covers from the Marshall - Morrow Collection.
Music of the 1860's
From the Marshall - Morrow Collection
Last year we received a generous and most important donation of sheet music from the Marshall - Morrow families of Alexandria, Virginia. This unique donation included sheet music from the period 1839 to 1870 and includes some of the most incredible lithograph covers we've seen from that period. We first introduced you to the collection with our article about music from the American Civil War period, then later with an overview of the collection that we published in December 2008. Then in March, 2009 we published a feature about music of the 1840's from the collection and then music of the 1850's in June of 2009. To complete the review of the decades represented by this collection, this issue will look at music from the 1860's in America from the collection. Though the Civil War issue represented the 1860's as well, the scope was limited to only music related to the war. This issue explores some of the other wonderful music from that decade.
As in the previous three articles, we are continuing to include the full cover art in the Scorch versions so you can enjoy them in more detail than our thumbnail images allow. As a result, the Scorch files are much larger than usual so expect some delay in downloading. In some cases, the download file size exceeds 2mb so some will take quite some time depending on your type connection. The wait will be worth it!
The music has been in the Marshall- Morrow families since it was first acquired by Mrs. Elmira Wood of New York City. For the history of this important collection, see the above linked December, 2008 article.
The decade of the 1860's was one of turmoil and social upheaval. The first half of the decade was consumed by the war and the second half by the reconstruction after the war. Not only was America in an upheaval but The 1860s were an extremely turbulent decade in the world, also known as the decade with numerous cultural, social, and political upheavals in Europe and America. Revolutions were prevalent in Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Worldwide events during this decade included; The First Transcontinental Railroad in the USA was completed, the Suez Canal opened in 1869, Alfred Nobel created dynamite, the Salvation Army was established and the Seventh Day Adventist Church was founded in 1863. Of course the Civil war and assassination of Abraham Lincoln were the most consuming issues in the US.
Fashions in America
Women's fashions: By the early 1860s, skirts had reached their ultimate width. After about 1862 the silhouette of the crinoline changed and rather than being bell-shaped it was now flatter at the front and projected out more behind. Day dresses featured wide pagoda sleeves worn over undersleeves or engageantes. High necklines with lace or tatted collars or chemisettes completed the demure daytime look.
Evening dresses had low necklines and short sleeves, and were worn with short gloves or lace or crocheted fingerless mitts. Large crinolines were probably reserved for balls, weddings and other special occasions. Skirts were now assembled of shaped panels, since gathering a straight length of fabric could not provide the width required at the hem without unwanted bulk at the waist; this spelled the end of the brief fashion for border-printed dress fabrics
Men's fashions: Men's fashion of the 1860s remained much the same as in the previous decade. Shirts of linen or cotton featured high upstanding or turnover collars, and neckties grew wider and were tied in a bow or looped into a loose knot and fastened with a stickpin. Heavy padded and fitted frock coats, were usually single-breasted and knee length, were worn for business occasions, over waistcoats or vests with lapels and notched collars. Waistcoats were generally cut straight across the front and had lapels. The loosely fitted, mid-thigh length sack coat continued to slowly displace the frock coat for less-formal business occasions.
The slightly cutaway morning coat was worn for formal day occasions. The most formal evening dress remained a dark tail coat and trousers, with a white cravat; this costume was well on its way to crystallizing into the modern "white tie and tails". Full-length trousers were worn, generally of a contrasting fabric. Costumes consisting of a coat, waistcoat and trousers of the same fabric (called a "ditto suit") remained a novelty at this time.
Overcoats had wide lapels and deep cuffs, and often featured contrasting velvet collars. Top hats briefly became the very tall "stovepipe" shape, but a variety of other hat shapes were popular. (Details of period dress extracted from Wikipedia)
America's music also continued the transition that began in the 1840's from music dominated by the classics and European composers to an emergence of American composers and uniquely American performance styles. Minstrelsy continued to be popular and was the dominant form of stage entertainment during this decade.War music during the first half of the decade dominated the popular music scene and many of the war songs continued to be popular and made their way into the popular repertory after the war (Battle Hymn of the Republic, When Johnny Comes Marching Home for example). In the post war years much of the music turned to social issues such as temperance and immigrants but the themes of music changed to more personal rather than social or public issues. For example, songs related to love, family, children and issues such as aging. Stephen Foster's incredible run ended with his death in 1864. Despite that, for a few years on into the decade, previously unpublished songs by him were published as posthumous with great fanfare. Vaudeville started its first steps with the opening of Tony Pastor's Opera House in 1865. Vaudeville would eventually become more popular than minstrel shows and of course reached its peak in the late 19th century into the early 20th. The songs we have selected for this issue are representative of these trends and are exemplar of America's music during this decade.
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The Scorch player allows you to not only listen to the music but to view the
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allow printing of some of the sheet music featured so for those of you who play
the piano (or other instruments) you'll be able to play the music yourself.
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Richard A. Reublin, August, 2010. This article published
August, 2010 and is Copyright © 2010 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor
Songs Association, Inc. Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part
or in total without express written permission of the author or a company officer.
Rock Me to Sleep, Mother.
Words and Music by: Leslie
Words by: Florence Percy
Cover art: Litho. not attributed
This sweet song is a good example of a "personal" song (see above) though it was written in the early years of the decade. The song tells the tale of a person aging and missing the love of their mother. The melody is just as sweet as the sentiment of the words. Like many songs of the period, the song was written with solo verses and then a chorus for four voices (SATB - Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass or Baritone). Of course since music in the 19th century was the main form of home entertainment, much of it was written so the whole family could participate. I guess it was a bit like the karaoke of the times. I've sequenced the song so that it plays back using "voices" synthesized by the scorch or midi player. Hearing these old songs in their original style (or as close as we can do electronically) adds some depth and charm. Hearing the harmonies against the piano always makes for a pleasant listening experience.
"Leslie" was most probably the English composer Henry David Leslie (1822 - 1896) Though many American composers were developing by this time, much of our music was still deeply rooted in England and to a lesser extent, Europe. In this case, it appears that Leslie wrote the melody and Mrs. Percy. Florence Percy was a pseudonym for the American poet, Elizabeth Akers (1832 - 1911). The poem (of the same title) accompanying the music was first written in 1860 and is Akers' best known poem. Akers was born Elizabeth Anne Chase, she grew up in Farmington, Maine, where she attended Farmington Academy. She began to write at the age of fifteen, under the pen name Florence Percy, and in 1855 published under that name a volume of poems entitled Forest Buds. In 1851 she married Marshall S. M. Taylor, but they were divorced within a few years. In subsequent years she traveled through Europe; in Rome she became acquainted with the feminist Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis. While in Europe she served as a correspondent for the Portland Transcript and the Boston Evening Gazette. She started contributing to the Atlantic Monthly in 1858. She married Paul Akers, a Maine sculptor whom she had met in Rome, in 1860; he died in 1861. In 1865 she married E. M. Allen, of New York. In 1866 a collection of her poems was published in Boston. Leslie was a very prominent and successful conductor and composer born in London. His parents were John Leslie, a tailor and enthusiastic amateur viola player, and Mary Taylor Leslie. He had eight brothers and sisters. He attended the Palace School in Enfield Town and worked with his father. As a teenager, he studied the cello with Charles Lucas and later played that instrument in concerts at the Sacred Harmonic Society for several years. Leslie began to compose music, and was best known for his large scale choral works (operettas, and oratorios), his conducting and his many successful popular songs.
Hear this lovely parlor song (Scorch format, be patient, all the Scorch files this month are very large file sizes, this sheet music is printable using the Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version
Music by W. Künner
Arr. by Claudio S. Grafulla.
Cover art: Unknown Litho.
The interest in European dance forms continued unabated during this period with the Polka being one of the most popular forms. Usually the polkas were imported as written from Europe however some American composers tried their hand at composing in the polka form and some arranged familiar American melodies for dance. This particular title was written by a composer more known for his marches and brass band music and it appears he titled it accordingly to maintain his military music connection. Further, the fact that he mentions that it was "as performed by the "Seventh Regiment Band" ( 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard) shows that Grafulla did not venture far from his central core of composition.
The music begins with a flourish in a simulated bugle call. Immediately, we feel the "march" influence. After the introduction, the music flows into a more standard polka form, in principle, a 4-theme structure; themes 1A and 1B as well as a 'Trio' section of a further 2 themes. The 'Trio' usually has an 'Intrada' to form a break between the two sections. In this case we do see the 1A and B themes, both repeated but then a return to theme A as the intrada to the Trio. After the trio, with another military flourish, we return to the first themes as the Coda. The piece is interesting through the combination of traditional classical polka melodies and form and the military march genre.
Claudio S. Grafulla (1810-1880) was a composer in the United States during the 19th Century, most noted for martial music for regimental bands during the early days of the American Civil War.
Grafulla was born in 1810 on Minorca, a Spanish island off the coast of Spain. At the age of 28, he emigrated to the United States, where he became a French horn player in Napier Lothian's New York Brass Band in New York City. This band was attached to the 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard, which was honored in 1922 by John Philip Sousa's The Gallant Seventh march. In 1860, he added woodwinds to a reorganized band and continued to serve as its director (without pay) until his death in 1880.
A quiet, unassuming man who never married, his whole life centered around his music. His remarkable technical and musical skills allowed him to become well known as a composer, often writing music on order, and as an arranger. The hallmark Port Royal Band Books were composed and arranged for the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment Band, when it was formed for service during the Civil War. As a director of the 7th Regiment Band, his fame spread widely.
In 1861Grafulla composed Washington Greys for the 8th Regiment, New York State Militia. This work has been called a march masterpiece, a band classic, and the prototype of the concert march. Showing the stylistic influence of both German and Italian marches, the march has a marvelous balance of technique and melody in a continuous flow of musical ideas. (From Wikipedia)
Hear this military polka
(Scorch format, be patient, long load time)
listen to MIDI version
Lyrics (There are no lyrics for this work)
Music by: Helmsmüller
Cover art: Litho.not attributed
This song is dedicated and written expressly for one of the most prominent female singers of the 1860's, Isabella Hinckley (1840 - 1862). Isabella Hinckley was a soprano from New York. In 1857 she made her Florence debut. Hinckley's opera debut was in Amsterdam in 1860 as Adalgisa in "Norma." Finally Hinckley made her New York debut in 1861 at the Academy of Music as Lucia. The singer married Signor Susini, also an opera singer, in 1861. Hinckley died tragically of puerperal fever at age twenty-two, just one year after this song was written. The cover image is in my opinion, one of the best images of Hinckley from the period showing her beauty as well as her stage presence. She seems to exude confidence and professionalism. Photographs of her that I have seen tend to portray her as less "regal.". The inset photo is an example.
Once again we have a musical style imported from Europe and another of the wildly popular dance forms that flourished in America during the mid to later 19th century. The Galop, named after the fastest running gait of a horse, a shortened version of the original term galoppade, is a lively country dance, introduced in the late 1820s to Parisian society and popular in Vienna, Berlin and London then later in America. The galop was a forerunner of the polka, which was introduced in Prague ballrooms in the 1830s and made fashionable in Paris. The galop was particularly popular as the final dance of the evening. An interesting aspect of the music is that the Galop was written on themes from an Italian opera, Un Ballo in Maschera by Verdi.
As for F. B. Helmsmüller, despite what seems like hundreds of galops, waltzes, marches (several paying homage to Lincoln), Schottisches and other works listed all over the internet, I've been unable to find a word about his origins and life. If anyone out there can enlighten us, please do.
Listen to and watch
the score ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in, long load time)
Listen to MIDI version
(There are no lyrics to this work)
Bridal Eve Polka
Music by: Harry Sanderson
Cover art: Litho. not attributed
Are you beginning to think that Polkas and Galops were all the rage during the 1860's? You would be very right. A large number of the pieces in this collection represent the dance forms that were so popular at the time. The main forms of entertainment in homes during the 19th century was music, in many forms. It was often in even the least wealthy homes that a piano or other instrument was always at hand for singing and dancing or just listening to music.
This work is a bright and gay representation of the composer's view of a bridal eve. I can't help but wonder what event caused him to write the work; was it his own marriage or someone else, or was he just enjoying a flight of fancy? The work is highly danceable and you can just imagine the bridal party and guests fluttering about the dance hall full of spirits and good cheer. I very much like this one.
Harry Sanderson; Sanderson was a fairly prolific writer of Polkas, Schottisches, Galops and other dances as well as a smattering of a few songs. His composing period extended from around 1850 well into the 70's. Sanderson and Gottschalk were close friends and Sanderson was more well known as an accomplished piano virtuoso than a composer. We gain some insight into Sanderson's talent from an article published in the Wall Street Journal on December 14, 1864:
"Mr. HARRY SANDERSON. -- It is not altogether a happy conjunction of circumstances that induces this well-known pianist to seek, each returning Winter, both profit and health in the torrid regions of the West Indies. At most, it is but fortunate that his talents enable him thus to affect two objects at once, for without health there are no riches. Mr. HARRY SANDERSON sails to-day for Havana, and in all friendliness we wish him good speed. He is in every respect a remarkable artist. Without possessing the routine-technical ability of the schools, he yet commands a facility of his own that is almost unattainable by others. His execution is as singularly brilliant as it is original. No one who has heard Mr. SANDERSON play his "Study in Octaves," can withhold from that gentleman the largest measure of applause and astonishment. It is in passages where this specialty can best be exhibited that he takes the conceit out of more pretentious performers, but it is not alone here that he is meritorious. His touch is good, and in certain compositions of his own he plays with a certain small-muscled American vigor and vivacity that are thoroughly irresistible. Wherever Mr. SANDERSON exhibits his powers he captivates the audience at once, and has never, to our knowledge, failed in obtaining an encore. This, we are aware, is no criterion of his merit, but it illustrates at all events the dash and spirit of his style, and how happily it accords with the desire for those qualities. As a composer, Mr. SANDERSON has already attained a leading position. His ideas are clear and good, and his inborn sense of effect enables him to express them in the best possible manner. The "Electric Polka" is one of the most brilliant pieces of the kind ever published, The subject is catching, yet elegant, and the elaboration bold and commanding. Among other works which we have only time to mention, but which we hope will become better known, are "A Lullaby," a "Transcription from Rigoletto," the "Irving Quickstep," and the "Bridal Eve Polka."
Mr. SANDERSON's personal qualities are known to his friends and appreciated by them. It is a large circle and we join them in the hope that this amiable young American artist may speedily return to us rich both in health and in pocket."
Hear and see the score
to this song (Scorch format, be patient for images to load)
Listen to MIDI version
(There are no lyrics to this piece)
Words and Music by: Stephen C. Foster
Cover art: Litho. Sarony & Co.
Now here is a ballad! Written by none other than the master of popular song of the mid 19th century, Stephen Foster. Though we have seen songs by foster appear earlier in this series, by the 1860's he was a household name and arguably the most famous songwriter of the century. His appeal has lasted till modern days though unfortunately, less often heard these days. I remember singing this song as a child in grade school with my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Forward playing the piano for us. This song may well be one of the more definitive songs of Foster along with a few others.
The melody is sublime and the accompaniment quite simple but the sentiment is warm and full of love, a hallmark of Foster's style. Though we have two verses followed by title phrase, the song is through composed rather than in a shorter format with repeats. That particular format was more common during this period than the later notation that liberally used repeats to play verses and chorus. This song, though simple is clearly a masterpiece perhaps proving the old saw that "less is more." It seems to take you to another place, a wonderful one, as you allow the music to waft over you. Foster died the year this piece was published making it one of his last. Later, you will see and hear a song published after his death, My Angel Boy (the last song in this article).
Though Beautiful Dreamer was published shortly after his death, it was not the last song of his published.
C. Foster ( b. 1826, Lawrenceville, Pa -d. 1864,
New York, NY )
One of the first of America's great early songwriters. Despite showing a talent and
enthusiasm for music while still a young child, Foster received no formal training.
He taught himself the flute, a rather difficult instrument to "self teach."
His deepest musical influence, as a child, was hearing the Negro spirituals
when a household servant would take him to a Negro church whenever his parents
were away. He attended high school years were spent at Athens Academy at Tioga
Point, PA. While there, in 1841 he composed his first song, Tioga Waltz
which was performed by the school band. Upon graduation, Foster enrolled in
Jefferson College, at Canonsburg, PA. It was to be a short enrollment. Foster
had absolutely no interest in higher education, and spent all of his time loafing
about, composing tunes, day-dreaming, and playing his flute. Just a few days
after his enrollment, he left the college, his academic training ended. After
this, he was to devote his full time to composing music.
In 1844, Foster's first song Open Thy Lattice, Love was published, with
lyric by George F. Morris. At this time, Foster was holding small gatherings,
in his home, of some young friends. He composed several songs for presentation
at these informal meetings. Among these songs, were: Old Uncle Ned, Oh, Susannah!, and Lou'siana Belle. Around 1846, Foster moved to
Cincinnati, and began working for his brother's commission house, as a bookkeeper.
Foster interested a Cincinnati music publisher who paid nothing for some of
his songs and gave Foster a mere $100 for the rights to Oh, Susannah! which
went on to become one of America's most popular songs and lead to Foster's loss
of untold income. Copyright law at that time was virtually nonexistent and songwriters
were often taken advantage of. Though he managed to make a good living from his
music, he lost the equivalent of millions through his own mismanagement and
predatory publishers who took advantage of him.
In his prime, Foster wrote so many lasting American hits that his enduring
output has eclipsed virtually every other composer from that period. As well,
his music was so different (compare this work and his others to Ho For The
Kansas Plains for a stark contrast) that he set the nations music on a completely
new course. His 1848 Oh, Susannah!, is almost as well known today as
when he wrote it.
After Foster quit as bookkeeper and moved to Pittsburgh, PA. be met the famous
black face minstrel show owner, Ed Christy. Christy began using Foster's songs
in his own Minstrel Show, oft-times listing himself as the composer. But times
were changing for Foster. He received a contract from a New York Publisher who
offered him Royalty Payments in lieu of an outright purchase. Some of the benchmarks
of his career are; 1850 Camptown Races 1851 Old Folks At Home,
aka "Swanee River". Foster had never seen the Swanee river when writing
this song he wanted to use a river name in the tune. He originally thought of
the Pedee river. Looking at a Florida map, he noticed the Suwanee River, and
altered the name for the Swanee sounded much better. Can you imagine singing,
"way down upon the Pedee river?" Minstrel Ed Christy paid Foster $15.00
for the privilege of introducing the song, and to allow him to place his name
on the music as composer, but with all royalties from the sheet music sales
going to Foster. Inside of 6 months, Foster had earned royalties of over $1500.00.
Foster, realizing the error of allowing someone else's name to appear on the
sheet music as composer, wrote to Ed Christy. "Therefore, I have concluded
to reinstate my name on my songs and to pursue the Ethiopian business without
fear of shame and lend all my energies to making the business live, at the same
time that I will wish to establish my name as the best Ethiopian writer."
In pursuit of his goal to become the greatest "Ethiopian" songwriter,
Foster composed: 1852 Massa's In De Cold, Cold, Ground and in 1853 My Old Kentucky
Home. Both were great hits, earning him combined royalties of over $2000.00.
On July 22, 1850, Foster married Jane Denny McDowell. (She was the person who
later inspired the ballad "Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair".) It
was to become an unhappy home. Jane was a hard-nosed, practical, devout Methodist.
She had no use for his friends, his drinking, his music, and his association
with the theater. Still, despite his home life, Foster continued writing. Among
his songs written during this period are
Old Dog Tray (1853), Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair (1854), Ellen Bayne (1854), Hard Times Come Again No More (1854), Willie, We Have Missed You (1854)
Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming (1855), Gentle Annie (1856) and Old Black Joe in 1860, his last Negro song.
Unfortunately, the tide began to turn for Foster. In 1860, he took his wife
and daughter to New York City, where he found despair and frustration. His type
of song was falling out of public favor, and he was forced to write lesser material
to keep his home together. Shunned by the public and by his publishers, he often
didn't have the price of a decent meal. He lived in poor surroundings in the
Bowery section of New York. When his family left him, - they returned to Pittsburgh,
his moral and physical disintegration became complete. He sought refuge in alcohol,
living in an inebriated stupor for long periods of time.
One day he collapsed while at his wash basin. Discovered, bleeding, by the
chambermaid, he was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he died on Jan. 13, 1864.
In his pockets, they found a a slip of paper on which had been written, "Dear
friends and gentle hearts", - possibly the title of a new song, and three
cents. He was 38 years old.
(Adapted from Foster biography at the Tunesmiths Database at http://nfo.net/.CAL/index.html and on a biography of Foster in Popular American Composers by Ewen, see
our bibliography for
Listen to and view this Foster favorite ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in, be patient, sometimes a long load time due to graphics)
Listen to MIDI version
Moonlight & Starlight
Words and Music by: James G. Clark
Cover art: un attributed Litho.
Dedicated to "Misses Laura and Nettie Tremaine of Brooklyn N. Y." this piece is a larger scale song though still musically simple. The larger scale is the use of solo and chorus voices with a repeat then a bridge to a Coda passage. That format for a mass consumption vocal work is somewhat unusual. The Tremaine women had other songs dedicated to them including; The Angels Told Me So. Duet & Chorus. Words by Rev. Sydney Dyer. Music by Horace Waters. Arranged for the
Piano Forte by Augustus Cull. To Misses Laura & Nettie Tremaine. (New York: Horace Waters, 333 Broadway. 1857.) so they must have been quite special however aside from the references in music, all I could find was a marriage record of Nettie marrying an Edward Brockway in 1865. I'd love to know who they were and what merited such musical attention.
The song begins with a pleasant introduction to the melody and then to the first verse. The accompaniment again is the standard bass-chord-chord-etc. form but the harmonies are very pleasant and despite the simplicity the sound seems more complex than usual. As in the older style, the chorus is written in four part harmony so that a family group or group of friends could all pitch in and take part in the performance. The second verse follows the chorus and then loops back with a Fine at the end of the second chorus. Listening to the melody and sentiment, it is no wonder this song was such a hit.
James G. Clark. In researching Clark, I encountered an 1880 edition of Potters American Monthly, an illustrated magazine. Potter devoted several pages to Clark's life and career as an American composer. The article is somewhat lengthy but in my opinion, merits re-publication here to shed light on an otherwise forgotten composer and to enjoy the style of writing of the period.
"No introduction to the readers of the 'MONTHLY' will be necessary for the subject of Mr. James G. Clark. As poet and recitationist, song composer and vocalist, he has made himself heard and known from one end of the land to the other. For many years he has recited his own poems and sung his own songs throughout nearly every State in the Union, until with them, his face and voice have become familiar and home-like. To this acquaintance already made, it is but natural that the public should feel interested in adding some knowledge of the former life of one who bas done so much to give them entertainment and enjoyment.
So, the man received heaps of praise in this article and prognostications of lasting fame but who among us recall him, his songs or his poetry?
James G. Clark was born in Constantia. Oswego County, New York State; and there. on the shores of the beautiful Oneida Lake he spent his early years: until he attained his majority.. His father was a prominent farmer and surveyor, and the: son's boyhood was passt'd between his studies and assisting about the farm. It is to his mother perhaps that he owes principally his poetical and musical tastes and inclinations, as they are to some degree inherited. She was of a highly sensitive, poetical and musical organization, and was a remarkably sweet and expressive singer. While attending to her household duties she was constantly singing,. and her children were born with her gift, and were natural musicians. When be was but three years old she taught James, seated upon her knee, to sing Kirke White's "Star of Bethlehem" to the air of " Bonnie Doon ", reciting every word distinctly - a trait, by the way, that still marks his public entertainments. 'Tis pity that it should be an uncommon one.
He was first led to compose music, or rather to improvise it, by becoming acquainted with poems that he longed to sing, but for which he knew no tune. Among them were many of Tom Moore's. These lyrics he would commit to memory, and at work or at play, at home, in the woods. or on the lake. he would sing them to melodies of his own invention; for the music already set to them was unknown to him. The poems of Tom Moore and of Ossian, in little pocket volumes, were constant companions of his toil, and made all labor seem light. After satisfying himself with the melodies he bad set to his favorite poems, be would try their effect upon his companions and then upon his parents and an elder sister, Mrs. Haynes, to whom he was devotedly attached. At home he seems to have met with every encouragement, the. family considering his efforts something remarkable for a boy of sixteen, as he then was. Of this time he writes, "My parents and this noble and beloved sister saw promise in my crude efforts at composition, and were always ready to lend me their aid and sympathy. The idea of ever publishing any of my improvised tunes had not entered my brain. I was fascinated with the wealth of imagery and of melody expressed in the poetry, and sang them almost involuntarily, simply because they seemed. to burst into melody of their own accord as I repeated them over and over in solitude or in company with other boys." The songs of Moore that charmed and haunted him most were " Araby's Daughter," "Dear Harp of my Country," "The Minstrel .Boy," "Let Erin remember the Days of Old," "O Breathe Not his Name" and that exquisite lyric referring to Robert Emmett's betrothed, "She is far from the land where her young Hero sleeps."
During all this time he never supposed that he should subsequently set music to his own poems. and sing them and hear them sung by others in all parts of the land. In fact, he seems to have had no ambition in that direction, never having made any attempts in the way of poetry until after e was seventeen years old. It was then the "spirit manifestations began to appear and make themselves felt, and resulted in innumerable verses on "Time," "The Tempest," "Lost Ships" and kindred topics. They were crude enough, as may be supposed, but always musical, for his ear was so attuned that he could not write otherwise. These he generally submitted to his fa!her, who had some taste for poetry, and a rarely intelligent and critical mind; but as for music, he never learned but three tunes in his life, and those his wife taught him, after many trials that be might join in the family worship. To quote again from a letter of Mr. Clark: "My good father, of blessed memory, always found something to commend as well as criticize in my efforts. and like my mother and elder sister. always encouraged me. At last I wrote a poem of some three hundred lines" called "The Maiden of the Wave, an Indian Tale of Oneida Lake." It was mostly composed as I walked up and down the shores of that beautiful sheet of water 'by moonlight alone.' After rewriting and revising the poem, I took it to Syracuse. New York, and offered it in person to the Daily Standard for publication. It is now an influential Republican newspaper. but was then a little sheet, of limited circulation, edited by Moses Sommer's, who is one of the most genial and generous of men, treated the verdant and embarrassed young poet with great kindness and consideration, and after reading a few lines of the production, accepted it with thanks. It was published. and made me for a time quite famous among tube readers of the paper and in my native village."
Soon after this his father began to think it about time he should choose some business pursuit, and, to that end, he apprenticed him to a country merchant, Mr. H. S. Conde in the village of Central Square, some ten miles west of the old farm. Mr. Conde, an excellent and intelligent man, who perfectly understood his business, did his best to make of the young clerk a. successful merchant; but all his efforts were of little avail. It wasn't in our budding poet to keep store for a living. Nothing pleased him better than to be excused from business and to stroll off by himself through the beech and maple grove at the edge of the village and dream over the poems and songs that, in spite of work, seemed striving for expression within him. And besides, he had something else to dream about. Yes he was in love. But let him give his reminiscence in his own words: "I was in love with Deacon Mcfarlane's sweet·faced adopted daughter, Mary. Between Mary in my heart, and the poetry in my head, I contrived to be but a poor clerk for Mr. Conde. One night after the store was closed, an intense longing came over me to see my ladye love. She was only ten miles away like Sheridan. It was moonlight in June, and Mr. Conde's gray mare was in the barn. Asking no questions, for conscience' sake, concerning my right to appropriate the steed without permission, I saddled the creature and galloped off. I reached the house of Mary at about midnight, and, as was my romantic custom, awoke the good Scotch family with a serenade. Mary dressed herself as speedily as possible and came down to the front door to meet me. After we had watched the moonlight on the lake for an hour or so, I bade her good-night and returned to my place of business. It was after three o'clock in the morning before I and Conde's mare were safely stabled. The face of my employer looked serious when I met him in the morning. It seems that one of the other clerks had seen my departure and arrival and had told of it. The good hearted merchant took me to one side, and without once alluding to my escapade, quietly suggested that he had grave doubts about my being able to make a success of mercantile pursuits, and that I had better give it up. I agreed with him, as I had long been of the same opinion, but did not care to 'break it to him suddenly.' His action saved me the trouble. He was more than just to me in our settlement, and we parted good friends."
And so ended the attempt to make a business man of him. He now had time and opportunity to devote to his studies, that had been for some time neglected; and also to take thorough musical instruction under good masters, of which he eagerly availed himself. It was about this period that he wrote the beautiful and familiar hymn, "The Mountains of Life." His mother had suggested to him to write a hymn, and it was to gratify her that he undertook to do so. For months the subject haunted him, and at last the three stanzas were committed to paper, and presented to his mother for a first reading. "I shall never forget." he writes, "the effect they produced upon her, she read them over several times and literally baptized them in tears. It would seem as though the blessing she imparted to that poem was prophetic of its future career." "The Mountains of Life" was first published in the Syracuse Journal, and has since gone all over the land through the press, and in educational works and church tune books. It has been plagiarized by a dozen hymn-writers, and, as an eminent doctor of divinity has expressed it, "been seed corn for the production of more than a score of popular hymns and revival songs."
It was not long after this that he composed both words and music, that ever popular song, "The Old Mountain Tree." It was published by Oliver Ditson, of Boston, who gave great encouragement to its young and inexperienced author, just started in life, and for which he still feels grateful. The song was received with great favor; and his ambition once fired by the spark of success, he had not long to wait for a new inspiration. "The Rover's Grave" was his next song, and equally well received; and then he followed "The Rock of Liberty," and "Meet Me by the Running Brook."
These songs were first introduced by "Ossian's Bards," a very popular concert troupe, of which Mr. Clark himself was musical director, and the famous humorist, Ossian E. Dodge the organizer and proprietor. When "Ossian's Bards" were disbanded, Mr. Clark took to the field alone, and has given musical readings and ballad entertainments throughout the States ever since, with the exception of a few months in 1839, when he was again associated with Mr. Dodge, with Mr. Charles F. Browne ("Artemus Ward") as advance agent. On the tour he met Coates Kinney, editor of the Zenia (Ohio) News , and author of that beautiful song, ""Rain on the Roof." Mr. Clark set it to music, and the song became very popular, and has since gone into many music and glee books.
Mr. Clark's solo concerts, if they may be so termed, are in the form of musical lectures, combining lecturing, singing and recitation, so as to present a pleasing variety of sentiment, song and humor. They are in no way sensational, and never fail to attract and interest the more cultured and refined of the communities in which he gives hid entertainment.
His last tour with Mr. Dodge was cut short by a cold on the lungs which led to a severe attack of lung fever. His family were then located at Dansville, New York, to which place he hastened. On the morning after his arrival he was prostrated with congested lungs; and for six days he fasted in order to break up the fever. It was during those six days that he composed the words and music of "The Beautiful Hills," perhaps the best song he ever wrote. He says: "As I lay upon my bed, the words, melody, and harmony were all clearly and distinctly revealed to me as though a band of singers had been rendering them within my hearing; and before the impression left me, I had transferred it to music-paper. The song was afterwards published, and dedicated to Dr. James C. Jackson, in whose care I had been, and who had saved my life." Mr. Clark regards "The Beautiful Hills" as his most successful song, and one that has sold more largely than any other, unless it be "The Old Mountain Tree."
"Where Have the Beautiful Gone?" "'Tis Sweet to be Remembered," "Moonlight and Starlight," and "We Cannot Give Thee Up," a temperance song, were all well received, while "Marion Moore," one of the most perfect of his lyrics, was never generally popular.
Among his contributions to the songs of the war, and which were widely copied by the press, are; "Let Me Die With My Face to the Foe," "Freemont's Battle Hymn," "The Voice of the Army" (afterwards reissued as "Logan's Gathering," with a portrait of General Logan on the title page); and "The Children of the Battle-field."
Mr Clark almost invariably wrote the poetry as well as the music for his songs. Among the few exceptions, and which have been successes, might be mentioned the following songs, to which he composed the music; "When the Mists Have Rolled Away," by Anna Herbert; "Dare to Say No," by Horace M. Richards, and "Nowhere to Go," by Mary Sarvossa, both temperance songs; and "We've Drunk from the Same Canteen," a camp song by Charles G. Halpine ("Miles O'Reilly)."
Among Mr. Clark's latest popular songs are "The Isles of the By-and-By," and "Where is Home?" an exquisitely beautiful song, by Father Ryan, the "poet priest." He has also lately composed a campaign song, published by Root & Sons of Chicago called "The Solid North," which promises to be very popular as a political campaign song.
Perhaps Mr. Clark's more enduring fame will rest rather on facility as a songwriter and ability as a poet than as a composer of music. He says himself that his music is only the imperfect incident of sentiment embodied in lyric poetry by himself and others, and that he is never satisfied with his efforts at musical composition. However that may be, the people seem to differ with him in that respect, for few are those whose melodies carry with them a greater charm or give more real, unalloyed enjoyment, They never have the general flashy popularity of many for a time better known but ephemeral productions; but they live, and are in demand by the intelligent and thoughtful year after year, when as his publisher, Oliver Ditson has remarked, "the so-called 'popular songs' are forgotten."
Some of his poems excel in beauty of figure and expression, and will always retain for their author a place in future poetical anthologies. Among his best known poems, some of which travel annually through the press from one end of the Union to the other are "Leona," "The Boatman's Dream," a glowing and beautiful tribute to the Martyr-President, the length of which only precludes its reproduction here; "Art thou Living Yet?" "Marion Moore," "November," "The Mountains of Life," The Beautiful Hills," and "Going Home."
Mr. Clarks poems have appeared in collected book form, though many of them have place in collections and school readers. Several selections may be found accompanied by a graphic sketch of the poet in a volume lately issued by D. Lothrop & Co., Boston, entitled "Waifs and their Authors," edited by A. A. Hopkins of the American Rural Home, Rochester, New York.
He has lately written his most lengthy and important poem, called "The Mount of the Holy Cross," the subject being one of the Colorado mountains of that name, and composed while visiting in that region a short time since. The poem has not as yet been published, but is recited by Mr. Clark at his entertainments, receiving a gratifying reception, not the least of which being a complimentary letter from the poet Longfellow. It is Mr. Clark's intention to issue the ode in book form, illustrated, during the coming season.
Mr. Clark is a man of family, being blessed with a wife and two children living. His present home is at Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he is on the editorial staff of the Saturday Evening Spectator, a first class weekly, literary and family newspaper. At the age of sixteen he was confirmed in the Episcopal Church; but in a characteristic letter, he says, "In religion I am an Independent - a sort of guerilla, fighting error of all kinds, but working either outside or inside of organizations as circumstances may direct. I respect all beliefs through which people find help and inspiration, from the Roman Catholic to the most liberal; but do not choose to confine myself to any one method or set of methods, believing that they all contain a mixture of truth and error, and not wishing to place myself in such relations to them that I will be blinded to the faults or virtues of any."
In the cause of good he has sung like a Sankey; in the cause of temperance he has talked like a Murphy. The portrait of Mr. Clark at the head of this article will give the reader a tolerably fair idea of his personal appearance. He is tall, nearly six feet in height, muscular and robust, weighing one hundred and eighty pounds, and well proportioned. His health is excellent and he prides himself on having always been a total abstinent from stimulants and narcotics. His admirable organization gives him a remarkable power of endurance, whether the call be made upon his intellectual or physical faculties. In conversation he is remarkable for graceful fluency and brilliant expression, while few are gifted with a more ready wit, or with better faculty for agreeable repartee."
Listen to and view one of Mr. Clark's favorites ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in, be patient, sometimes a long load time due to graphics)
Listen to MIDI version
Listen to this wonderful old song (Scorch format, be patient, long load time due to graphics)
Listen to MIDI version
Albert (or Say Not Adieu)
Words and music by Clara M. Brinkerhoff
Cover art: un attributed Litho.
With a very ornately decorated lithograph cover, this song, if this song is a bit of an oddity for the times having both English and Spanish versions of the lyrics. I was quite surprised to see this in a song written and published in New York. It is obvious that in her alternate capacity as translator, she believed including another language was a good idea. It certainly was a groundbreaking move for the times.
The melody is absolutely delightful and one of those "ear bug" kinds of ditties that stays with you. You'll be humming this one later and perhaps cursing us for publishing it! The sentiment of the lyrics is sadness over the departure of a loved one. What is a bit difficult to determine is whether or not the loved one is dying or simply leaving home to see the world.
Clara M. Brinkerhoff (1830 - ?) Born Clara M. Rolph in London, was a music teacher, soprano vocalist and translator. She performed actively in New York from 1855 to 1860. Brinkerhoff translated musical reviews from French and Spanish for the New York Musical World. The famous composer and pianist Louis Gottschalk composed a piece for her to sing as did several other notable composers of the day.
Interestingly, during this same general era, another woman with the identical name was an inventor of telegraphic equipment improvements.
I've had some difficulty finding other titles by Brinkerhoff but among those I could find were; Darling I am Sad, One Flag or no Flag
Charley, or, A Mother's Fears. Romanza (1864)
Listen to this early song (Scorch plug-in, be patient, long load due to graphics)
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Music Arr. by John P. Cooke, Esq.
Words by Dion Bourcicault, Esq.
Cover art: Litho. unknown
We've published much about Irish songs and songs about the Irish but few of these very early songs about the Irish. Interest (and often hatred) in the Irish was minimal until the Irish potato famine (ca. 1845 - 52) forced many Irish to leave their homes and seek their fortunes elsewhere. Over one million Irish fled their land and by 1850, the Irish made up a quarter of the population in Boston, Massachusetts; New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Baltimore, Maryland.
Initially there was a great deal of resentment but as with all emigrants who ultimately assimilate into American society, the Irish became accepted as an important part of American society.
Many of the early songs (1850's) were not particularly complimentary about the Irish, but over time song writers and performers saw the entertainment value in Irish themes and
lyrics. This was especially true in the minstrel shows of the day where performers would dance about the stage and sing in an Irish dialect. Minstrel performer Dan Bryant (1833-1875) a genuine Irish emigrant himself established a the minstrel troupe Bryant's Minstrels and he performed as a character known as The Irish Emigrant whose persona performed this song. As with many stage songs, the music became popular beyond the stage. The cover states "Originally sung with immense success by Mr. Dan Bryant in his inimitable character the Irish Emigrant at Wallack's Theater." The song has a rather simple melody and accompaniment and tells the story of Malloy who leaves Ireland for America and ultimately returns.
Dan Bryant (1833-1875) Bryant was christened Daniel Webster O'Bryant. He founded the Bryant Minstrel troupe and by the time this song was published had left minstrelsy and had taken to the stage to act in plays. Among the plays he performed in were, Handy Andy, Rory O'More, The Irish Emigrant and (of course) Pat Malloy.
Appropriately, all of the plays he performed in had room for a few Irish songs for Bryant to sing. Here is what The New York Times had to say about his performances: July 27, 1865
"WALLACK's THEATRE. -- Mr., DAN BRYANT's appearance here last evening attracted one of the largest audiences we have ever seen within the walls of this popular establishment Mr. BRYANT is already so great a favorite in another sphere of art, that the audience, reinforced with the lieges thus obtained, was kindly not only to the gentleman himself, but to all his surroundings. As the surroundings were not of the best, they have every reason to be thankful to the lieges.
Mr. BRYANT played in two pieces -- the "Irish Emigrant" and "Handy Andy," both of which have previously introduced the gentleman to a dramatic audience. They were played a few months since at the Academy of Music, on the occasion of a complimentary benefit which was tendered to Mr. BRYANT, who, we may now add, displayed then all the geniality that was noticeable in his excellent performance of last evening. We have many Irishmen on the stage, and the best are those who in their impersonations mark certain peculiarities of character in the Hibernian mode of doing and saying things. Mr. BRYANT unquestionably brings a fresh stock of manner and "business" to Irish parts. He is always occupied with the bye-play of the scene, without thrusting himself too prominently upon it, and his bye-play is extremely good. For the rest he speaks a brogue which, if it be open to criticism, is at all events very pleasant, and unusually quiet, genial, humorsome and telling. It is hard to criticize such pieces as the "Irish Emigrant" and "Handy Andy," but we may say that for Summer weather they are acceptable, and peculiarly so when rendered with the heartiness that marked the performance of the principal parts last evening. Mr. DAN BRYANT's success was indeed unmistakable and deserved. It will be his own fault, or the fault of a versatility that leads him into other channels, if he does not speedily become one of the best comedians on the American stage.
Listen to this old "Irish" minstrel song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)
Listen to MIDI version
Music by: F. B. Helmsmüller
Cover art: Litho. by Sarony, Major & Knapp
The cover of this piece is among a select group of the most beautiful color lithograph covers from the collection. Rivaling the best of lithography from the period, the art could easily be framed and placed on a wall as a standalone work of art rather than a sheet music cover. The detail is marvelous and the colors are still vibrant after 145 years. One thing that has preserved these sheets so well compared to later mass produced sheet music is the exceptional quality of the paper. It is heavy weight, high rag content and obviously low acid paper and as such, most of the sheets are as strong and robust as the day they were printed. By the year of publication for this work, Sarony had merged with another lithographer and they continued to produce the very best sheet music covers of the times. We have included the cover with the scorch version (as we have with all the songs in this article) so you can see much more detail. The cover carries the dedication to the "Young Ladies of the Callender Dancing Class" and each leaf of the rose garland bears the name of one of the ladies. The music is a typical Galop of the period however has a very delicate touch to it. The first theme is a pleasant one with plenty of acciacaturas to add to the light feeling. The second theme is also quite light and lively. The Trio takes on a slightly different tone and takes us to a short coda. The music is relatively short despite several repeats compared to other Galops we've seen.
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the music play (Scorch format, allow time for download)
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(There are no lyrics for this piece)
My Angel Boy
Music by: Stephen C. Foster
Words by: H. Brougham
Cover art: Litho. Wakelam & Bros.
As our final piece and as an end to this series about the Marshall - Morrow collection, we present the last published Stephen Foster song and published posthumously. Though the song was actually composed musically by Foster in 1858, for some reason he never wrote lyrics for it and it languished in his personal archives until after his death. At that time H. Broughham wrote a set of lyrics for the song and it was then published in 1865. Though there were other songs published after his death (i.e. Beautiful Dreamer) but I believe this is the only one that originally had no lyrics and was the last published song by Foster.
Like most Foster songs, the melody is simple and pleasant. The song is definitely in the "loving" style that many of Foster's songs convey. I can only assume that Brougham used his imagination based on the title and music. However, we can never know for sure what Foster intended. The lyrics Brougham provided are a bit depressing and sad but they do match well with the melody.
Listen to and watch
the music play ( Scorch version, be patient for graphics to load)
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This article published August 2010 and is Copyright © 2010 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or
music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission
of the author or an officer of the corporation. Though the songs published on
this site are often in the Public Domain, MIDI renditions are protected by copyright
as recorded performances.
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