November 22

RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
Arthur Sullivan in The Musical World

An amusing feature of the London journal The Musical World is a series of illustrations by the English tenor Charles Lyall.  One of his many subjects was English composer Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Though he also composed serious choral, ballet, and orchestral works, Sullivan is best known for his fourteen “comic operas” created with librettist W.S. Gilbert.  They are often referred to as “Savoy operas,” named after the Savoy Theatre, a London venue built specifically to showcase Gilbert and Sullivan operas.  Many of these works, like the Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado, continue to have broad international success.
On the 117th anniversary of his passing, we present these four illustrations.

This depicts Arthur Sullivan after receiving an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University in 1876.

The Musical World, Vol. 54 No. 28 (8 July 1876): 467.

After traveling to Egypt in 1882, there was much speculation that Sullivan was composing a symphony on Egyptian themes.  The symphony never materialized, but Lyall fueled the rumor with this illustration.

The Musical World, Vol. 60 No. 14 (8 April 1882): 212.

Sullivan’s conducting was often criticized as being unenergetic and restrained.

The Musical World, Vol. 56 No. 39 (28 September 1878): 626.

He invariably sat in the usual high chair and seemed to keep his eyes always on the score in front of him.  His beat was restrained and rather cramped, his baton moving across the top or up and down the sides of the score.

David Bispham, A Quaker Singer’s Recollections (New York, 1920): 174-175.

An illustration entitled, “In Purgatory,” depicts Sullivan tormented by Anton Rubinstein at the piano (left), Richard Wagner (upper right), and a variety of devilish gremlins.

The Musical World, Vol. 56 No. 33 (17 August 1878): 530.

A common, humorous trademark of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas is the patter song, featuring a rapid paced, tongue-twisting text sung by a comic bass or baritone.  Here is a famous example: “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General,” from Act I of the Pirates of Penzance.

Remarkably, Arthur Sullivan’s voice was captured on a very early recording by George Gouraud, Thomas Edison’s representative in England. At a dinner party on 5 October 1888, Sullivan remarks on the newly invented phonogram.

 

RIPM search tip: To view Charles Lyall’s illustrations, select the Advanced Search option of the Retrospective Index and fill in the following fields: Keyword = Charles Lyall; Periodical = Musical World, The [1836-1891]; Type = Illustration.

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Arthur Sullivan in The Musical World
November 17

RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
Scenes from a Parisian Café Chantant

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk the streets of Paris in the 19th-century? You are strolling along the cobblestone streets, taking in the sights and sounds, when suddenly a song by Aristide Bruant catches your ear. Enticed, you follow the sounds into a dimly-lit room and hear this:

There, in one of Paris’s famous cafés chantants, you cast your eyes around and see a host of eccentric characters—performing, serving, listening, and, of course, drinking.

 

 

                     The bouquet seller                                                Le garçon de café                                                                                              The waiter

 

Les habitués
The regulars

 

Les consommateurs
The customers

Perhaps you would like to hear to another song by Aristide Bruant, and while listening, view these images again.

Musica, Vol. 7 No. 74 (November 1908): 167.

The seven images depicting scenes in cafés chantants were published on 6 December 1851 in L’Illustration, the first illustrated newsweekly in France. Between 1843 and 1899, the journal published over 3,350 engravings of musical interest, offering an expansive visual account of musical activities in 19th-century Europe.  We will continue to feature a number of illustrations from this journal in the weeks ahead.

RIPM search tip: To access 356 related records to cafés chantants, search “café chantant” as a keyboard in both RIPM’s Retrospective Index and e-Library of Music Periodicals.

Click here to subscribe to RIPM’s Curios, News, and Chronicles! 

When is our next posting? To find out, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

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Scenes from a Parisian Café Chantant
November 8

RIPM’s Illustration of the Week
Clara Wieck–A Child Prodigy

On today’s date in 1830, eleven-year-old Clara Wieck (later, Clara Schumann) gave her debut solo piano concert at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, sparking a career lasting more than sixty-years as both a distinguished performer and gifted composer.

We celebrate Wieck’s remarkable achievements with a portrait from her younger years published in the Parisian journal, Musica, and two enthusiastic reviews of her debut.  The first was published by the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung [AMZ] and the second was a translated and condensed version of the original AMZ report, published in the London journal The Harmonicon

Musica, Vol. 6 No. 59 (August 1907): 126.

A Young Clara Wieck (later, Clara Schumann)

 

Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Vol. 32 No. 46 (17 November 1830): 752-753.
The Harmonicon, Vol. 9 No. 2 (February 1831): 47.

 

RIPM search tip:  A search for “Clara Wieck” in both RIPM’s Retrospective Index and e-Library of Music Periodicals reveals that her name appears in 800 records. A search for “Clara Schumann” … 6,600 records!

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Clara Wieck–A Child Prodigy
November 1

RIPM’s Illustration of the Week!
A Lithograph of Felix Mendelssohn

Felix Mendelssohn died 170 years ago on 4 November 1847.  In his honor we present this beautiful lithograph of the composer, by an unidentified artist. It appeared in a biographical study published in 1836 in London’s The Musical World.

The Musical World, Vol. 4 Supplemental Pages (1836): [1p.]

His hair was black and curling, the forehead of the highest order of intellectual beauty, the nose somewhat bent, the lips well chiseled, the shape of the face oval, the eyes irresistible, brilliant, and spiritual.

Elise Polko, “Reminisces of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy,” translated by Grace Wallace (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1869): 77.

 

RIPM search tip: A search for “Mendelssohn” in RIPM’s Retrospective Index reveals that his name appears in 12,529 citations!

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A Lithograph of Felix Mendelssohn
October 20

RIPM’s “Illustration(s) of the Week”!
In Celebration of Franz Liszt’s Birthday

In celebration of his birthday on 22 October 1811, we commemorate Franz Liszt with a set of caricatures published in The Musical World (Vol. 53 Nos. 45-48, 1875), originally printed in the Hungarian journal, Borsszem Jankó, depicting the great pianist-composer performing at the piano.

 

He appears with a smile…

 

The first chord…                                               With eyes closed…

 

    

Pianissimo…                                                         Awesome tingling…

 

   

Recalling Chopin and George Sand…                            Dante in hell…

 

Just after the performance…

 

RIPM search tip: To access dozens of images of Liszt in the Online Archive, first select “illustration” in the Type field, then, keyword search for “Liszt”.

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In Celebration of Franz Liszt’s Birthday
October 18

Introducing…RIPM’s “Illustration(s) of the Week”!
Caruso Sketches Caruso

Today marks the start of our new (mostly) weekly series, as part of the “Curios” section of RIPM’s enhanced Curios, News, and Chronicles publication.  On most Wednesdays, we will post an illustration selected from the thousands in our archives. We will try to select only those that are interesting, often unexpected, and amusing.  We want to share these with you, hoping that you enjoy them as much as we do.

Last week we published a curio entitled, “Study Under Caruso: Selling Recordings in the 20th-Century”. Today we focus again on the great tenor by featuring another of his talents, that of illustrator.  Caruso sketched dozens of influential musical personalities and many of himself.  Here are just a few, along with contemporary photographs that offer interesting points of comparison.

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

RIPM search tip: A search for “Caruso” in RIPM’s e-Library of Music Periodicals reveals that his name appears at least once on 7,865 pages!

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Caruso Sketches Caruso