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Title: Music and Some Highly Musical People
Author: Trotter, James M., 1842-1892
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Music and Some Highly Musical People" ***

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[Transcriber's Note:

About this book: James Monroe Trotter (1842-1892) was born into
slavery in Mississippi. His mother escaped with Trotter and his
brother via the Underground Railroad, and they settled in Cincinnati,
where Trotter became a teacher. He moved to Boston and fought in the
Civil War, becoming the first African-American to achieve the rank of
Second Lieutenant in the Union Army. He later became the first
African-American to be employed by the U.S. Post Office, but resigned
in protest when discrimination prevented his promotion. His _Music and
Some Highly Musical People,_ written in 1878, is said to be the first
comprehensive study of music written in the United States. In 1887,
President Cleveland appointed Trotter to the office of Recorder of
Deeds for the District of Columbia, succeeding the great
African-American statesman Frederick Douglass in what was then the
highest government position to be attained by an African-American.
(Source: Wikipedia.) This e-book was prepared from a 1968 reprint
published by the Johnson Reprint Corporation, New York.

Obvious printer errors have been corrected. Inconsistencies and errors
in the spelling of proper names and non-English words are noted with
[Transcriber's Note].

Several subheadings are rendered in the original in blackletter. In
this e-book, these are surrounded by equal signs.

Musical flat symbols are rendered in square brackets, e.g. [B-flat].]








=With Portraits,=





     "A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and
     see a fine picture, every day of his life, in order that
     worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful
     which God has implanted in the human soul."--GOETHE.

     "'Tis thine to merit, mine to record."--HOMER.




[Illustration: J.S. CONANT. BOSTON.

[signature] Jas. M. Trotter]


The purposes of this volume will be so very apparent to even the most
casual observer, as to render an extended explanation here
unnecessary. The author will therefore only say, that he has
endeavored faithfully to perform what he was convinced was a
much-needed service, not so much, perhaps, to the cause of music
itself, as to some of its noblest devotees and the race to which the
latter belong.

The inseparable relationship existing between music and its worthy
exponents gives, it is believed, full showing of propriety to the
course hereinafter pursued,--that of mingling the praises of both.
But, in truth, there was little need to speak in praise of music. Its
tones of melody and harmony require only to be heard in order to
awaken in the breast emotions the most delightful. And yet who can
speak at all of an agency so charming in other than words of warmest
praise? Again: if music be a thing of such consummate beauty, what
else can be done but to tender an offering of praise, and even of
gratitude, to those, who, by the invention of most pleasing
combinations of tones, melodies, and harmonies, or by great skill in
vocal or instrumental performance, so signally help us to the fullest
understanding and enjoyment of it?

As will be seen by a reference to the introductory chapters, in which
the subject of music is separately considered, an attempt has been
made not only to form by them a proper setting for the personal
sketches that follow, but also to render the book entertaining to
lovers of the art in general.

While grouping, as has here been done, the musical celebrities of a
single race; while gathering from near and far these many fragments of
musical history, and recording them in one book,--the writer yet
earnestly disavows all motives of a distinctively clannish nature. But
the haze of complexional prejudice has so much obscured the vision of
many persons, that they cannot see (at least, there are many who
affect not to see) that musical faculties, and power for their
_artistic_ development, are not in the exclusive possession of the
fairer-skinned race, but are alike the beneficent gifts of the Creator
to all his children. Besides, there are some well-meaning persons who
have formed, for lack of the information which is here afforded,
erroneous and unfavorable estimates of the art-capabilities of the
colored race. In the hope, then, of contributing to the formation of a
more just opinion, of inducing a cheerful admission of its existence,
and of aiding to establish between both races relations of mutual
respect and good feeling; of inspiring the people most concerned (if
that be necessary) with a greater pride in their own achievements, and
confidence in their own resources, as a basis for other and even
greater acquirements, as a landmark, a partial guide, for a future and
better chronicler; and, finally, as a sincere tribute to the winning
power, the noble beauty, of music, a contemplation of whose own divine
harmony should ever serve to promote harmony between man and
man,--with these purposes in view, this humble volume is hopefully




A DESCRIPTION OF MUSIC                                            7-11

THE MUSIC OF NATURE                                              12-21

A GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF MUSIC                                 22-50

THE BEAUTY, POWER, AND USES OF MUSIC                             51-65

ELIZABETH TAYLOR GREENFIELD (the "Black Swan")                   66-87

THE LUCA FAMILY                                                 88-105

HENRY F. WILLIAMS                                              106-113

JUSTIN HOLLAND                                                 114-130

THOMAS J. BOWERS (the "American Mario")                        131-137

JAMES GLOUCESTER DEMAREST                                      138-140

THOMAS GREENE BETHUNE ("Blind Tom")                            141-159

THE HYERS SISTERS                                              160-179

FREDERICK ELLIOT LEWIS                                         180-191

NELLIE E. BROWN                                                192-208

SAMUEL W. JAMIESON                                             209-218

JOSEPH WHITE (preceded by a brief account of the
  Violin, pp. 219-223)                                         224-240

THE COLORED AMERICAN OPERA COMPANY                             241-252

THE JUBILEE SINGERS OF FISK UNIVERSITY                         253-269

THE GEORGIA MINSTRELS                                          270-282


INTRODUCTION                                                   285-288

RACHEL M. WASHINGTON                                           288-290

JAMES CASERAS                                                      300

JOHN T. DOUGLASS                                                   301

WALTER F. CRAIG                                                    301

WILLIAM APPO                                                       302

WILLIAM BRADY                                                  302-303

PETER P. O'FAKE                                                304-306


JOSEPH G. ANDERSON                                             308-309

MADAM BROWN                                                        309

SARAH SEDGEWICK BOWERS                                         309-310

JOHN MOORE                                                     310-311

SAMUEL LUCAS                                                   312-313

WILLIAM H. STARR                                                   314

G.H.W. STEWART                                                     330

THE LAMBERT FAMILY                                             338-340

EDMUND DÉDÉ                                                    340-341

BASILE BARÈS                                                       341

SAMUEL SNAER                                                   341-343

PROF. A.P. WILLIAMS                                                343

E.V. MACARTY                                                   343-344

MAURICE J.B. DOUBLET                                           344-345

DENNIS AUGUSTE                                                     345

THE DUPRÉ FAMILY                                               347-348

CHARLES MARTINEZ                                                   348

THOMAS MARTIN                                                      349


PORTLAND (ME.)                                                     300

BOSTON                                                         288-298

WORCESTER                                                          300

NEW YORK                                                       301-304

NEWARK                                                             306

PHILADELPHIA                                                   306-311

PITTSBURGH                                                         311

CLEVELAND                                                      311-312

WASHINGTON (O.)                                                312-313

CHILLICOTHE (O.)                                               313-316

CINCINNATI                                                     316-321

CHICAGO                                                        321-323

THE MUSIC OF THE SOUTH                                         324-329

BALTIMORE                                                      329-330

LOUISVILLE                                                         330

ST. LOUIS                                                          330

HELENA                                                             330

MEMPHIS                                                            331

NASHVILLE                                                          331

NEW ORLEANS                                                    333-353

















     "In the storm, in the smoke, in the fight, I come
     To help thee, dear, with my fife and my drum.
     My name is Music: and, when the bell
     Rings for the dead men, I rule the knell;
     And, whenever the mariner wrecked through the blast
     Hears the fog-bell sound, it was I who passed.
     The poet hath told you how I, a young maid,
     Came fresh from the gods to the myrtle shade;
     And thence, by a power divine, I stole
     To where the waters of the Mincius roll;
     Then down by Clitumnus and Arno's vale
     I wandered, passionate and pale,
     Until I found me at sacred Rome,
     Where one of the Medici gave me a home.
     Leo--great Leo!--he worshipped me,
     And the Vatican stairs for my feet were free.
     And, now I am come to your glorious land,
     Give me good greeting with open hand.
     Remember Beethoven,--I gave him his art,--
     And Sebastian Bach, and superb Mozart:
     Join _those_ in my worship; and, when you go
     Wherever their mighty organs blow,
     Hear in them heaven's trumpets to men below."

     T.W. PARSONS.

What is music? Quite easy is it to answer after the manner of the
dictionaries, and say, "Music is (1) a number of sounds following each
other in a natural, pleasing manner; (2) the science of harmonious
sounds; and (3) the art of so combining them as to please the ear."
These are, however, only brief, cold, and arbitrary definitions: music
is far more than as thus defined. Indeed, to go no farther in the
description of this really sublime manifestation of the beautiful
would be to very inadequately express its manifold meanings, its
helpful, delightful uses. And yet the impressions made upon the mind
and the depth of feeling awakened in the heart by music are such as to
render only a partial (a far from satisfying one) description of the
same possible, even to those most skilful and eloquent in the use of
language; for, in fact, ordinary language, after exhausting all of its
many resources in portraying the mind's conceptions, in depicting the
heart's finer, deeper feelings, reveals, after all, its poverty, when
sought to describe effects so entrancing, and emotions so
deep-reaching, as those produced by music. No: the latter must be
heard, it must be felt, its sweetly thrilling symphonies must touch
the heart and fill the senses, in order that it may be, in its
fulness, appreciated; for then it is that music is expressed in a
language of most subtle power,--a language all its own, and universal,
bearing with it ever an exquisitely touching pathos and sweetness that
all mankind may feel.

And so I may not hope to bring here to the reader's mind more than a
slight conception of what music is. Nor does he stand in need of any
labored effort to teach him the nature and power, the beneficent
attributes, of this beautiful art. With his own soul attuned to all
the delightful sounds of melody and harmony that everywhere about him,
in nature and in art, he constantly hears, the reader requires no
great length of words in explanation of that which he so deeply feels,
and therefore already understands. Nevertheless, a due regard for the
laws of unity, as well as a sincere wish to make this volume, in all
its departments, speak the befitting words of tribute to the
love-inspiring art of which it aims to treat,--words which, although
they may not have the merit of affording great instruction, may at
least have that of furnishing to the reader some degree of
pleasure,--these are the motives that must serve as an excuse for the
little that follows.

I have sometimes thought that only the elevated and elegant language
of poetry should be employed in describing music: for music is poetry,
and poetry is music; that is, in many of their characteristics they
are one and the same. But, to put this idea in another form, let us
say that Music is the beautiful sister of Poetry, that other
soul-expressing medium; and who would create the latter must commune
with the former, and be able to bring to his uses the sweet and
finishing graces of her rhythmic forms. In early times, the qualities
of the poet and musician were generally actually united in the same
person. The poet usually set to music, and in most instances sang, his
effusions. Nor to this day have the

     "Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
     Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays,"

ceased to sing, in bewitching verse, the noble qualities of music.

I have said that music speaks a language all its own, and one that is
universal. Bring together a representation of all the nations of the
earth, in which body there shall be a very Babel of tongues. All will
be confusion until the all-penetrating, the all-thrilling voice of
music is heard. At once, silence reigns; each ear quickly catches and
recognizes the delicious sounds. The language of each one in the
concourse may be different: but with "music's golden tongue" all are
alike innately acquainted; each heart beats in sympathy with the
delightful, absorbing tones of melody; and all seem members of one

Again: music may be called that strangely peculiar form of the
beautiful, whose presence seems, indeed is, appropriate on occasions
the most diverse in character. Its aid is sought alike to add to the
joys of festive scenes, to soothe and elevate the heart on occasions
of mourning, and to enhance the solemnity, the excellence, of divine

The poet Collins, aptly associating music with the good and beautiful,
calls it the "heavenly maid."

Martin Luther, himself a musical composer and performer of merit,
paused in his great work of religious reform to declare, "I verily
think, and am not ashamed to say, that, next to divinity, no art is
comparable to music." And Disraeli utters this noble thought: "Were it
not for music, we might in these days say the beautiful is dead."

     "Touching musical harmony, whether by instrument or by
     voice, it being but of high and low in sounds a
     proportionable disposition, such, notwithstanding, is the
     force thereof, and so pleasing effects it hath in that part
     of man which is most divine, that some have thereby been
     induced to think that the soul itself is or hath in it
     harmony: a thing which delighteth all ages, and beseemeth
     all states; a thing as seasonable in grief as in joy; as
     decent being added unto actions of greatest weight and
     solemnity as being used when men most sequester themselves
     from action. The reason hereof is an admirable facility
     which music hath to express and represent to the mind, more
     inwardly than any other sensible means, the very steps and
     inflections of every way, the turns and varieties of all
     passion whereunto the mind is subject."[1]

     "I would fain know what music is. I seek it as a man seeks
     eternal wisdom. Yesterday evening I walked, late in the
     moonlight, in the beautiful avenue of lime-trees on the bank
     of the Rhine; and I heard a tapping noise and soft singing.
     At the door of a cottage, under the blooming lime-tree, sat
     a mother and her twin-babies: the one lay at her breast, the
     other in a cradle, which she rocked with her foot, keeping
     time to her singing. In the very germ, then, when the first
     trace of life begins to stir, music is the nurse of the
     soul: it murmurs in the ear, and the child sleeps; the tones
     are the companions of his dreams; they are the world in
     which he lives. He has nothing; the babe, although cradled
     in his mother's arms, is alone in the spirit: but tones find
     entrance into the half-conscious soul, and nourish it as
     earth nourishes the life of plants."[2]

[Footnote 1: Hooker.]

[Footnote 2: Bertini.]



     "The lark sings loud, and the throstle's song
       Is heard from the depths of the hawthorn dale;
     And the rush of the streamlet the vales among
       Doth blend with the sighs of the whispering gale."


To the inventive genius of man must, of course, be attributed the
present developments, and the beautiful, diversified forms, existing
in musical art. But, before man was, the great Author of harmony had
created what may be called the music of Nature.

Afterwards, the human ear, penetrated by sounds of melody issuing from
wind, wave, or bird, the rapt mind in strange and pleasing wonder
contemplating the new and charming harmonies,--then it was that man
received his first impressions, and took his first lessons in
delightful symphony.

Take from man all creative and performing power in music, leaving him
only the ear to catch and the mind to comprehend the sounds, and there
would still be left to him God's own music,--the music of Nature,
which, springing as it did from eternity, shall last throughout

Passing what must appear to human comprehension as vague (an attempt
at the contemplation of which would be without profit in this
connection), and what has been called the "music of the spheres,"[3]
we may proceed to briefly touch upon those forms of natural music
which are ever within our hearing, and which constantly afford us

[Footnote 3: Reference is supposed to be made to this in the Book of
Job, in these words: "When the morning stars sang together, and all
the sons of God shouted for joy."]

First let us go forth into the summer woods. The eye takes in the
charming prospect,--the trees dressed in beautiful green; the "grassy
carpet," parted ever and anon by a gliding, gurgling brooklet; the
wild flower peeping up near the feet; a landscape of even surface, or
at times pleasingly undulated. The atmosphere is freighted with a
delightful fragrance; and from rustling bough, from warbling bird,
from rippling brook, and from the joyous hum of insects almost

     "The air is full of noises, sounds, and sweet airs,
     That give delight, and hurt not."

All these, the beauties of animate and inanimate Nature, pleasantly
affect the senses. But the chief influence there--the crowning glory
of the groves--is the songs, the charming music of the birds, as they
warble from tree to tree, untrammelled by the forms of art, their
sweetest melodies. How often do their lightsome, inspiriting
carollings ring out upon the morning air, persuasively calling us from
our couches to listen in delight to Nature's minstrelsy! "After man,"
says a writer, "the birds occupy the highest rank in Nature's
concerts. They make the woods, the gardens, and the fields resound
with their merry warbles. Their warbled 'shake' has never been
equalled by human gifts of voice, nor by art."

Indeed, it has been found that many of the songs of birds are sung in
certain of the keys; while a learned musical writer has produced a
book in which are printed many samples of the music often sung by
birds. In very recent times it is stated, too, that birds have been
taught to sing some of the popular tunes of the day; this being
accomplished by placing a bird in a room for a while, allowing it to
hear no other bird, and only the tune to be learned. Professor Brown
of Aiken, S.C., has mocking-birds which he has taught to sing such
songs as "The Star-spangled Banner" and "Yankee Doodle." These birds
were to be taken to the Centennial Exhibition, to there exhibit their
marvellous skill.

A writer in "The Monthly Reader" thus speaks of that pretty singer the

     "I heard a lady cry out to a little bird in a cage, 'Come,
     Bully, Bully, sweet little Bully Bullfinch, please give us
     just one more tune.'

     "And then, to my surprise, the little bird whistled the tune
     of 'Yankee Doodle' as well as I could have done it myself.

     "The lady then told me about the bird. It was a bullfinch.
     She had bought it in the little town of Fulda, in Germany,
     where there are schools for teaching these birds to sing.

     "When a bullfinch has learned to sing two or three tunes, he
     is worth from forty to sixty dollars; for he will bring that
     price in London or Boston or New York.

     "To teach them, the birds are put in classes of about six
     each, and kept for a time in a dark room. Here, when their
     food is given them, they are made to hear music. And so,
     when they have had their food, or when they want more food,
     they will sing, and try to sing a tune like that they have
     just heard; for perhaps they think it has something to do
     with what they eat."

But as, in presenting these examples of the musical teachableness of
the "feathered songsters," I am entering the domain of music as an
art, I will not further digress. Certain it is, too, that these
delightful musicians of Nature do not require the aid of the skill of
man; nor is it desirable, for the sake of musical effect at least,
that their own wild, free, and glad-hearted warblings should be
changed. They are better as they are, affording as they do a pleasing
contrast, and adding freshness and variety to the many other forms of
music. Some one, dwelling upon the charming beauty of bird-music, has
expressed in words of very excusable rapture the following unique

     "Oh! had I but the power
       To set the proper words
     To all your glorious melodies,
       My sweet-voiced birds,

     When words and dainty music
       Would each to each belong,
     Together we might give the world
       A _perfect_ song."

But I need not refer at greater length to these sweet harmonists of
Nature, since scarce an ear is so dull, and few hearts are so cold, as
not to be charmed and cheered by their unceasing, joyous melodies.

It might well be thought that flowers, those "fairy ministers of
grace," with their delicately tinted, variegated, perfect hues, that
emit, in their sweet, delicious perfumes, what may be called the
"breath of heaven," possess in these delightful qualities full enough
to instruct and charm mankind. But there is a flower, it seems, that,
inviting the aid of the evening zephyr, adds sweet music to its other
fascinating beauties. Let the poet Twombly sing of the music-giving--


     Have ye ever heard in the twilight dim
           A low, soft strain
     That ye fancied a distant vesper-hymn,
           Borne o'er the plain
     By the zephyrs that rise on perfumed wing,
     When the sun's last glances are glimmering?

     Have ye heard that music, with cadence sweet
           And merry peal,
     Ring out like the echoes of fairy feet
           O'er flowers that steal?

     The source of that whispering strain I'll tell;
           For I have listened oft
     To the music faint of the blue harebell
           In the gloaming soft:
     'Tis the gay fairy-folk the peal who ring,
     At even-time, for their banqueting.

     And gayly the trembling bells peal out
           With gentle tongue;
     While elves and fairies career about
           'Mid dance and song.

It would be tedious to enumerate and dwell upon all the very numerous
music-making agencies of the natural world; and I shall therefore
allude only to a few of those not already mentioned.

Many have heard the sounds of waterfalls, and know that from them
issues a kind of majestic music, which, to be appreciated, must be
heard. Musicians of finely-cultivated ears have studied the tones of
waterfalls; and two of them, Messrs. A. and E. Heim, say that a mass
of falling water gives

     "The chord of C sharp, and also the non-accordant F. When C
     and D sound louder than the middle note, F is heard very
     fully, as a deep, dull, humming, far-resounding tone, with
     a strength proportionate to the mass of the falling water.
     It easily penetrates to a distance at which the other notes
     are inaudible. The notes C, E, G, F, belong to all rushing
     water, and in great falls are sometimes in different
     octaves. Small falls give the same notes one or two octaves
     higher. In the stronger falls, F is heard the most easily;
     in the weak ones, C. At the first attempt, C is most readily
     detected. Persons with musical cultivation, on attempting to
     sing near rapidly-moving water, naturally use the key of C
     sharp, or of F sharp if near a great fall."

Somewhat similar to waterfalls in the character of the tunes they
produce (being distinguished, however, generally, by a greater
softness and more gentle flow) are the waves, that, handsome in form,
roll majestically shoreward, greeting the ear with a strange,
dirge-like, yet, as it seems to the writer, pleasing harmony.

Here is given a duet between the waves and zephyrs:--

     "We sit beneath the dreaming moon,
       And gaze upon the sea:
     Our hearts with Nature are in tune;
       List to her minstrelsy.
     The waves chant low and soft their song,
       And kiss the rocks in glee;
     While zephyrs their sweet lay prolong,--
       Their love-song to the sea."

There is a pretty, delicate music made by the rippling, gurgling
brooklet, as its transparent waters glide over its pebbly bottom. And
there's the musical sea-shell. Place it to the ear, and you shall
catch, as if in the far distance, the reverberating roll of the
billowy ocean as it sings a mighty song. To this the poet Wordsworth
very gracefully refers in the following lines:--

                           "I have seen
     A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
     Of inland ground, applying to his ear
     The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell:
     To which, in silence hushed, his very soul
     Listened intensely, and his countenance soon
     Brightened with joy; for from within were heard
     Murmurings whereby the monitor expressed
     Mysterious union with its native sea."

And an anonymous writer (it does not seem that he had good cause for
hiding his name) thus discourses on the music of the sea:--

     "The gray, unresting sea,
       Adown the bright and belting shore
     Breaking in untold melody,
       Makes music evermore.

     Centuries of vanished time,
       Since this glad earth's primeval morn,
     Have heard the grand, unpausing chime,
       Momently new born.

     Like as in cloistered piles
       Rich bursts of massive sounds upswell,
     Ringing along dim-lighted aisles
       With spirit-trancing spell;

     So on the surf-white strand
       Chants of deep peal the sea-waves raise,
     Like voices from a viewless land
       Hymning a hymn of praise.

     By times, in thunder-notes,
       The booming billows shoreward surge;
     By times a silver laugh it floats;
       By times a low, soft dirge.

     Souls more ennobled grow
       Listing the worldly anthem rise;
     Discords are drowned in the great flow
       Of Nature's harmonies.

     Men change and 'cease to be,'
       And empires rise and grow and fall;
     But the weird music of the sea
       Lives, and outlives them all.

     The mystic song shall last
       Till time itself no more shall be;
     Till seas and shores have passed,
       Lost in eternity."

But the wind is one of Nature's chief musicians. Sometimes singing his
own songs, or lending his aid in awaking to musical life the leaves
and boughs of the trees; whistling melodies among the reeds; entering
the recesses of a hollow column, and causing to issue from thence a
pleasing, flute-like sound; blowing his quiet, soothing lays in
zephyrs; or rushing around our dwellings, singing his tuneful yet
minor refrain,--in these, and in even other ways, does this mighty
element of the Creator contribute to the production of melody in the
world of nature. A writer in "The Youth's Companion" speaks very
entertainingly of "voices in trees." He says,--

     "Trees, when played upon by the wind, yield forth a variety
     of tones. Mrs. Hemans once asked Sir Walter Scott if he had
     noticed that every tree gives out its peculiar sound. 'Yes,'
     said he, 'I have; and I think something might be done by the
     union of poetry and music to imitate those voices, giving a
     different measure to the oak, the pine, the willow, &c.' The
     same journal from which we take this anecdote mentions, that
     in Henry Taylor's drama, 'Edwin the Fair,' there are some
     pleasing lines, where the wind is feigned to feel the want
     of a voice, and to woo the trees to give him one.

     "He applied to several: but the wanderer rested with the
     pine, because her voice was constant, soft, and lowly deep;
     and he welcomed in her a wild memorial of the ocean-cave,
     his birthplace. There is a fine description of a storm in
     'Coningsby,' where a sylvan language is made to swell the
     diapason of the tempest. 'The wind howled, the branches of
     the forest stirred, and sent forth sounds like an
     incantation. Soon might be distinguished the various voices
     of the mighty trees, as they expressed their terror or their
     agony. The oak roared, the beech shrieked, the elm sent
     forth its long, deep groan; while ever and anon, amid a
     momentary pause, the passion of the ash was heard in moans
     of thrilling anguish.'"

I shall close this chapter on the music of Nature by appending a
beautiful reference to what has been called "the music of the
spheres." The lines form, as well, an elegant and elevated description
of and tribute to music in general. I regret that the author's name
cannot be given.

     "The Father spake: in grand reverberations
       Through space rolled on the mighty music-tide;
     While to its low, majestic modulations
       The clouds of chaos slowly swept aside.

     The Father spake: a dream, that had been lying
       Hushed from eternity in silence there,
     Heard the pure melody, and, low replying,
       Grew to that music in the wondering air,--

     Grew to that music, slowly, grandly waking,
       Till, bathed in beauty, it became a world;
     Led by his voice, its spheric pathway taking,
       While glorious clouds their wings around it furled.

     Not yet has ceased that sound, his love revealing;
       Though, in response, a universe moves by:
     Throughout eternity its echo pealing,
       World after world awakes in glad reply.

     And wheresoever in his rich creation
       Sweet music breathes,--in wave, in bird, or soul,--
     'Tis but the faint and far reverberation
       Of that great tune to which the planets roll."



     "Thespis, the first professor of our art,
     At country wakes sang ballads from a cart."


Music is as old as the world itself. In some form or other, it has
always existed. Ere man learned to give vent to his emotions in
tuneful voice, Nature, animate and inanimate, under the hand of the
Great Master, sang his praises. Of this we learn in the sacred
writings; while all about us, in the songs of birds, the musical
sighing of the winds, the fall of waters, and the many forms of the
music of Nature, we have palpable evidence of its present existence,
and assurances of its most remote antiquity.

It would seem that not long after "God breathed into the nostrils of
man the breath of life, and he became a living soul," he learned to
express the joys and yearnings of his soul in song first, and then
with some sort of musical instrument. And to man it was given,
commencing with the early ages, to develop the simple ejaculations or
melodies of a praise-giving soul into a beautiful, a noble art,
replete at times with harmonic intricacies, and again with melodies
grand in their very simplicity; into a beneficent science, divine from
its inception, which has ever had as votaries many of earth's
greatest minds, and has become a fountain of delight to all mankind.

The history of the music of antiquity--that is, in an art-form--is
nearly, if indeed not quite, enveloped in mystery; and it were futile
to profess to give an historical presentation of an art from its
birth, when documentary evidence of the same is lost.

We may, however, very reasonably suppose of music generally, that it
must have been gradually developed, having had its infancy, childhood,
and youth; and that it grew slowly into present scientific form with
the advance of the centuries.

From all we can gather in regard to the early history of music as a
system, it would appear that it had its infancy in ancient Greece;
although it is supposed by some that the Grecian method was founded
upon that of the still more ancient one of the Egyptians. Dr. Burgh, a
learned musical writer states that, of "the time before Christ, music
was most cultivated and was most progressive in Greece." The verses of
the Greek poet Homer, who was himself a musician, abound in beautiful
allusions to and descriptions of this charming science; while in
mythology are recounted the wonderful musical achievements of the god
Orpheus, who is said to have been so skilled in music that the very
rocks and trees followed in his wake of harmony.

The first artificial music of which the Bible speaks was that which
was sung or played in praise of the Creator,--sacred music. In fact,
this noble quality of the soul was very rarely called into exercise,
save in the worship of the Deity, until many centuries had passed. Of
music before the Christian era, both vocal and instrumental, the books
of the Old Testament often speak. As to its exact character, we are
left to conjecture, being, as before intimated, without materials from
which to form a judgment; but, in some form or other, there was,
during that period, abundance of what was called music.

The first mention of music, either vocal or instrumental, in the
Scriptures, is made in Gen. iv. 21: "Jubal was the father of all such
as handle the harp and organ." Jubal was only seventh in descent from
Adam; and from this passage it is thought by some that he was the
inventor of instrumental music. In the year B.C. 1739, in Gen. xxxi.
27, Laban says to Jacob, "Wherefore didst thou flee away from me, and
didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth and
with songs, with tabret and with harp?" This is the first mention in
the Bible of vocal music. King David, who has been called "the sweet
singer of Israel," is said to have been a skilful performer on the
harp. By his magical touch upon its strings at a certain time, he
produced sounds so sweetly soothing as to drive away the "evil spirit"
from Saul.

The poet Byron pays an elevated, glowing tribute to this "monarch
minstrel" in the following lines:--

     "The harp the monarch minstrel swept,
       The king of men, the loved of Heaven,
     Which Music hallowed while she wept
       O'er tones her heart of hearts had given,--
       Redoubled be her tears; its chords are riven.

     It softened men of iron mould;
       It gave them virtues not their own:
     No ear so dull, no soul so cold,
       That felt not, fired not, to the tone;
       Till David's lyre grew mightier than his throne.

     It told the triumphs of our King;
       It wafted glory to our God;
     It made our gladdened valleys ring,
       The cedars bow, the mountains nod:
       Its sound aspired to heaven, and there abode.

     Since then, though heard on earth no more,
       Devotion, and her daughter Love,
     Still bid the bursting spirit soar
       To sounds that seem as from above,
       In dreams that day's broad light cannot remove."

And here I append from the First of Chronicles, xiii. 8, a description
of the music of the "house of Israel:" "And David and all Israel
played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with
harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and
with trumpets."

Josephus, the learned Jewish historian, states that the Egyptians had
two hundred thousand musicians playing at the dedication of the Temple
of Solomon. This structure was of most wonderfully immense dimensions:
and it may have been that this enormous body of performers played in
_detachments_ about the building; otherwise the statement would seem

The Egyptian musical instruments, it appears, were mostly of very rude
construction: performance upon them would not now, probably, be
tolerated even in circles of the least musical culture.

Of these ancient instruments the Boston "Folio" thus speaks:--

     "The Egyptian flute was only a cow's-horn, with three or
     four holes in it; and their harp, or lyre, had only three
     strings. The Grecian lyre had only seven strings, and was
     very small, being held in one hand. The Jewish trumpets that
     made the walls of Jericho fall down were only rams'-horns:
     their flute was the same as the Egyptian. They had no other
     instrumental music but by percussion, of which the greatest
     boast was made of the psaltery,--a small triangular harp, or
     lyre, with wire strings, and struck with an iron needle or
     stick. Their sackbut was something like a bagpipe; the
     timbrel was a tambourine; and the dulcimer, a horizontal
     harp with wire strings, and struck with a stick like the

The following interesting and able summary of the history of ancient
Roman music is taken from a recent number of "The Vox Humana:"--

     "Art love was not a distinguished characteristic of the
     ancient Romans; and we are not astonished, therefore, to
     find them borrowing music from Etruria, Greece, and Egypt;
     originating nothing, and (although the study was pursued by
     the emperors) never finding any thing higher in its practice
     than a sensuous gratification.

     "In the earliest days of Rome, the inhabitants were
     exclusively farmers or warriors; and their first temples
     were raised to Ceres or to Mars.

     "The priests of Ceres came originally from Asia Minor, and
     were called the Arval Brotherhood. Flute-playing was a
     prominent feature in their rites, and they were all
     proficient upon that instrument. Their number was limited to

     "The worship of Mars was conducted by the Salian priests,
     whom Numa summoned to Rome from Etruria. These also used the
     flute as an accessory to their sacrificial rites. In these
     primitive days of Rome, much was borrowed from the Etruscans
     in style and instruments of music.

     "The earliest songs of Rome were in praise of Romulus, and
     told the story of the twin-brothers and the divine origin of
     the city. They were sung by choruses of boys. Similar songs
     were sung during meals by the elders, with an accompaniment
     of flutes; these latter songs being especially directed to
     the young men, and inciting them to be worthy of the deeds
     of their ancestors.

     "Under the rule of the emperors, all these worthy
     compositions went to decay, and were replaced by a much more
     degrading school of music. At no time, however, was music
     considered a necessary part of the education of Roman youth.

     "There existed in the latter days of ancient Rome some
     music-schools; but the study was far less universally
     pursued than in Greece at the same epoch. The musical course
     has been given by Quintilian as follows:--

     "Theoretical: first, arithmetic, physics; second, harmony,
     rhythm, metrics.

     "Practical: composition, rhythm, melody, poetry.

     "Execution: playing instruments, singing, dramatic action;
     which makes a rather formidable array, even to modern eyes.

     "Among the Roman musical instruments, the flute was the most
     popular, and essentially national. We have already stated
     that it was used in the worship of their two chief deities:
     it was in secular use to a yet greater extent.

     "This flute (_tibia_) was hooped with brass bands, and had
     an immense resonance. It was used by both sexes; but, on
     public and on most religious occasions, was played by men.

     "The frequency with which it was used made the art of
     playing it a most remunerative one; and the flute-players
     soon formed themselves into a guild, or protective society.
     This guild had many privileges accorded to it, and existed
     for a period of some centuries. The 'Guild of Dionysian
     Artists' was a society of later date, and was a musical
     conservatory, academy, and agency, all in one. It flourished
     greatly under the patronage of various Roman emperors, and
     for a long time supplied singers and actors to the Roman

     "Valerius Maximus has given an anecdote which shows how
     powerful and exacting the guild of flute-players could
     afford to be.

     "They were one day excluded from the Temple of Jupiter,
     where they had been allowed, by ancient custom, to take
     their meals; upon which the entire guild left Rome, and went
     to the village of Tibur near by. This caused great
     embarrassment: no religious services could be held, and
     scarce any state ceremony properly conducted. The senate
     thereupon sent an embassy to induce them to return,--in
     vain: the angry musicians were inflexible. The wily
     ambassadors then called the inhabitants of Tibur to their
     aid, and these pretended to give a great feast to welcome
     the flute-players. At this feast the musicians were all made
     very drunk; and, while asleep from the effects of their
     liquor, they were bundled into chariots, and driven back to
     Rome, where all their old privileges were restored, and
     newer and greater ones added.

     "They received the right to give public representations and
     spectacles in Rome; but at these they were all masked, the
     reason being their shame at the manner of their inglorious
     return to the city.

     "Flutes were used at funerals; and it appears, at one time,
     the luxury and pomp of Roman obsequies grew so excessive,
     that a law was passed limiting the number of flute-players
     on such occasions to ten.

     "Only at one time did the flute disappear from any public
     worship, and that was when the worship of Bacchus was
     introduced into Rome. To this rite the kithara was used; but
     this worship, which was somewhat refined, though jovial,
     among the Greeks, became among the Romans so debauched and
     uxorious, that it was soon prohibited by law.

     "The flute was used in combination with other instruments at
     times. Apuleius speaks of a concert of flutes, kitharas, and
     chorus, and mentions its deliciously sweet effect. It was
     also used as a pitch-pipe, to give orators a guide in
     modulating their voices when addressing an assembly: thus
     Caius Gracchus always on such occasions had a slave behind
     him, whose duty it was to aid him to commence his orations
     in a proper pitch, and when his voice sank too low, or
     became too shrill, to call him to a better intonation by the
     sounds of the flute.

     "Although the flute was the favorite Roman instrument, it
     was by no means the only one. Trumpets were used to a great
     extent. A one-toned trumpet, of very loud voice, was used
     for battle-signals. These were of very large size, usually
     of brass; and their sound is described as 'terrible.' There
     was also a smaller (shepherd's) trumpet of mellower tone.

     "Another much-used instrument, of different character, was
     the _sumphonium_, which did not differ materially from the
     modern bagpipe.

     "Instruments of percussion were few, and not indigenous to
     the Romans: such as were used came from the East, and were
     chiefly used in the worship of Eastern deities at Rome. When
     the worship of Bacchus was prohibited, they passed away with
     that licentious rite. The most complicated instrument of
     the ancient world appeared in Rome during the first century
     of our era. It was an _organ_, not, as in the scriptural
     days, a mere syrinx, or Pan's pipes, but an undoubted organ,
     somewhat similar in effect to our modern instrument.

     "The instrument is said to have been invented by Ctesbius of
     Alexandria in Egypt, who lived about 250 B.C. It did not
     appear extensively in Rome, however, until nearly three
     hundred years later. This organ has given rise to much
     fruitless discussion. In the field of musical history
     especially, 'a little' knowledge has proved 'a dangerous
     thing;' for, where slight descriptions exist of instruments
     of music, latitude is left for every writer to form his own
     theory, to fight for it, and denunciate those who differ
     from it.

     "We have seen what a battle was fought over the three little
     manuscripts of Greek music; what a host of differing
     opinions were held about the scriptural word 'Selah:' and
     now, about this hydraulic organ, each writer mounts his
     hobby-horse, and careers over the field of conjecture.
     Vitruvius has given a full description of the instrument
     from personal inspection; but as his technical terms have
     lost all significance to modern readers, and have been
     translated in various ways, and as his work contained no
     diagrams or illustrations of the various parts, it is

     "Some writers imagine the organ to have had seven or eight
     stops,--that is, so many different _kinds_ of tones,--which
     would place them nearly on a par with our own. Others think
     that they possessed seven or eight _keys_; that is, so many
     _tones_ only. It has been a point of dispute as to what
     function the water performed in working it. Vitruvius is
     rather hazy on this point, saying only that it is
     'suspended' in the instrument. The water, when the organ was
     played, was in a state of agitation, as if boiling.

     "There are medals still in existence which were awarded to
     victors in organ contests, on which this instrument is
     represented with two boys blowing or pumping; but the
     representation is too small to clear up any doubtful

But, without devoting further space to the music that was in vogue
prior to the Christian era, I proceed to notice that our first
reliable account of it, as a system, commences with the fourth
century; at which time St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, arranged the
sacred chants that bear his name, and which were to be sung in the

In the year 600 St. Gregory improved upon these chants, inventing the
scale of eight notes. His system is the basis of our modern music.

From the close of the eleventh to the commencement of the fourteenth
century, minstrels, _jongleurs_, or troubadours, were the principal
devotees of music. They seem to have been its custodians, so to speak;
and to their guild many of the knights belonged. Some of the kings and
nobles of the time were also, in a sense, troubadours; such as, for
instance, Thibault of Navarre, and William the Ninth of Poitou.

These roving musicians, who generally united the qualities of the
poet, the musical composer, and performer, were treated with much
favor by princes and all the nobility, and were everywhere warmly
welcomed for a long period. It is, however, far from pleasant to have
to say that this for a long time noble class of musicians, to whom we
owe so much for the preservation unbroken for three hundred years of
the chain of musical life, as well indeed, also, as that of general
literature, spoiled perhaps by the excessive praises and indulgences
accorded them, became at last quite dissolute, and fell from their
high position. All royal favors were finally withdrawn from them, and
orders for their restriction were issued from the throne.

Mr. B.W. Ball (in that faithful exponent of art, "The Boston
Commonwealth") thus expressively sings the story of the ancient
troubadour, styling him--


     Once the poet wandered,
       With his lyre in hand,--
     Wandered, singing, harping,
       On from land to land.

     Like a bird he hovered;
       And, where'er he came,
     Kindled he each bosom
       With his song to flame.

     Careless of the morrow,
       Journeyed he along;
     Opened every portal
       To the sound of song.

     _Suâ sponte_ heart's-ease
       In his bosom grew:
     Happiness as birthright,
       Like the gods, he knew.

     All life's haps and changes
       On his chords he rung:
     Every thought, emotion,
       In him found a tongue.

     Voiced he for the lover
       Passion of his breast;
     Feigned he, death to lighten,
       Islands of the Blest.

     Up in ether throned he
       Gods, the world to sway,--
     Gods to bend and listen
       While their votaries pray.

     Soul and sense, enchanted,
       Drank his accents in:
     E'en to marble bosoms
       He his way could win.

     From her casement Beauty
       Leaned his song to hear:
     E'en the haughty conqueror
       Bent a willing ear;

     For without the poet
       And his epic lay
     Passed his vast existence,
       Whirlwind-like, away,--

     Trace nor vestige leaving
       Where his legions trod,
     Which the year effaced not
       From the vernal sod.

     Thus the poet wandered
       In a nobler time,--
     Wandered, singing, harping,
       Free of every clime.

During the fourteenth century, music was most cultivated by the people
of the Netherlands, who carried the art towards much perfection,
producing several fine composers, and furnishing the leading musical
instructors for the other parts of Europe. Among some of the ablest
musicians of the Netherlands may be mentioned Dufay, Jan of Okenheim,
and Josquin Desprès, the latter being the most celebrated of
contrapuntists. The Netherland musical supremacy lasted until 1563.

In the year 1400 the claims of music received the recognition of the
crown in England, a charter being granted to a regularly formed
musical society.

Commencing with the invention of movable type in 1502 (which invention
so vastly facilitated the publication and spreading of the thoughts of
the composer), and with the Reformation in the sixteenth century, the
noble art of music began a new, unimpeded, and brilliant career among
the civilized nations of the world. Dating from thence, the steps in
the progress of this delightful science can be plainly traced. Unvexed
and unfettered by the obscurities that attach to its antique history,
we can contemplate with pleasure and profit the wonderful creations
and achievements of its devotees.

This I need not attempt here, save in the briefest form; my purpose in
preparing this chapter being only to give, as indicated in the title,
a glance at the history of music.

To Palestrina, a learned Italian of the sixteenth century, and whose
musical genius and industry were most remarkable, is due the greatest
homage and gratitude of a music-loving world. Of him an eminent
musical writer says, "It is difficult to over-estimate his talent and
influence over the art of music in his day. He was regarded as the
great reformer of church music. His knowledge of counterpoint, and the
elevation and nobility of his style, made his masses and other
compositions, of which he wrote a great number, examples for all time
of what music should be."

In this century lived many notable composers, nearly all of whom
distinguished themselves in the production of madrigal music. To the
latter the English people were much devoted. Reading at sight was at
that day, even more than now, a common accomplishment among the
educated. The English queen Elizabeth was quite fond of music, and was
somewhat accomplished in the art, performing upon the lute, virginals,
and viol. She often charmed the _attachés_ of and visitors to her
court by her skilful performances. During her reign, and by her
encouragement, the cultivation of this noble art received a new and
strong impulse in England, and several composers and performers of
high merit lived.

In the year 1540 oratorio was first composed, followed by opera in
1594. During this period, instrumental music began to be used in the
churches; and the violin was brought by the celebrated Amati family to
a beauty of form, and sweetness of tone, not since excelled.

During the seventeenth century such great composers as Stradella,
Scarlatti, Caldara, and Claudio lived; and the different forms of
opera were developed in England, France, and Italy.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the art of music, in
its new, rich, and deep developments, as shown in the masterly,
wonderful creations of several of the great composers of those
periods, and in the scientific performances of many fine
instrumentalists, attained a height of surpassing grandeur. Many men
of brilliant musical genius and of remarkable industry and
perseverance were born; and, with new conceptions of the scope and
capabilities of the divine art, they penetrated its innermost depths,
and brought to the ears of the music-loving world new and enrapturing
forms of harmony. Among these great masters, leaving out those already
mentioned, were Handel, Henry Purcell, Bach, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart,
Beethoven, and Spontini.

But, before proceeding farther, the writer considers it proper to
remark, that to give a extended description of the progress of music
during the three last centuries, mentioning in detail the many
creations and achievements of those who have become great, nay, in
some instances he might say almost immortal, in its sacred domain,
would require a volume far beyond the pretensions and intended limits
of this one.

Besides, the author confesses that he pauses with feelings of
reverence while contemplating the mighty genius and divinely
approximating achievements of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Spohr, and
Mendelssohn, fearing that his unskilful pen might fail in an attempt
at description. Nor does he feel much less embarrassed when he
contemplates the accomplishments of those wonderful interpreters of
the works of the noble masters, who have, either through the
enchanting modulations of their voices or with skilful touch upon
instruments, evolved their magic strains. Let an abler pen than mine
portray the sublime triumphs of Hasse, Mario, Wachtel, Santley,
Whitney; of Albani, Malibran, Lind, Parepa Rosa, Nilsson; of Haupt,
Paganini, Vieuxtemps, Ole Bull, Rubinstein, Liszt, and Von Bulow.[4]

[Footnote 4: For an able criticism of the composers and some of the
performers mentioned, the reader is referred to Professor Ritter's
very valuable History of Music, in two volumes.]

The eighteenth century was a most remarkable period for achievements
in the composition of orchestral, oratorio, and operatic music,--the
same being finely interpreted by vocal and instrumental artists of
most wonderful skill.

In referring to some among that galaxy of bright stars, I use, in
regard to Mozart, the clear and beautiful language of another:[5] "The
great musical composer Mozart was a wonderful instance of precocity,
as well as of surpassing genius. He died at the early age of
thirty-five, after a career of unrivalled splendor, and the
production of a succession of works which have left him almost, if not
entirely, without an equal among either his predecessors or those who
have come after him. Mozart's devotion to his art, and the
indefatigable industry with which, notwithstanding his extraordinary
powers, he gave himself to its cultivation, may read an instructive
lesson, even to far inferior minds, in illustration of the true and
only method for the attainment of excellence. From his childhood to
the last moment of his life, Mozart was wholly a musician. Even in his
earliest years, no pastime had any interest for him in which music was
not introduced. His voluminous productions, to enumerate even the
titles of which would occupy no little space, are the best attestation
of the unceasing diligence of his maturer years. He used, indeed, to
compose with surprising rapidity: but he had none of the carelessness
of a rapid composer; for so delicate was his sense of the beautiful,
that he was never satisfied with any one of his productions until it
had received all the perfection he could give it by the most minute
and elaborate correction. Ever striving after higher and higher
degrees of excellence, and existing only for his art, he scarcely
suffered even the visible approach of death to withdraw him for a
moment from his beloved studies. During the last moments of his life,
though weak in body, he was 'full of the god;' and his application,
though indefatigable, could not keep pace with his invention. 'Il
Flauta [Transcriber's Note: Flauto] Magico,' 'La Clemenza di Tito,'
and a 'Requiem' which he had hardly time to finish, were among his
last efforts. The composition of the 'Requiem,' in the decline of his
bodily powers, and under great mental excitement, hastened his
dissolution. He was seized with repeated fainting-fits, brought on by
his extreme assiduity in writing, in one of which he expired. A few
hours before his death took place, he is reported to have said, 'Now I
begin to see what might be done in music.'"

[Footnote 5: In the Library of Entertaining Knowledge, vol. iii. p.

Mozart's compositions number over six hundred, and two hundred of them
had not until quite recently been printed. He composed fifty-three
works for the church, a hundred and eighteen for orchestra, twenty-six
operas and cantatas, a hundred and fifty-four songs, forty-nine
concertos, sixty-two piano-forte pieces, and seventeen pieces for the

Of Beethoven, Professor F.L. Ritter, in one of his excellent lectures
on music, says, "Beethoven's compositions appeal to the whole being of
the listener. They captivate the whole soul, and, for the time being,
subdue it to an intense, powerful, poetical influence, impressing it
with melancholy, sorrow, and sadness, elevating it heavenwards in
hopeful joy and inspired happiness."

The following description[6] of Beethoven's last hours on earth, as he
was nearing the time

     "When all of genius which can perish dies,"

although replete with sadness, is yet a tribute so touchingly
beautiful and eloquent as to make it well worthy of insertion here.

[Footnote 6: Anonymously contributed to the Boston Folio for May,


     "He had but one happy moment in his life, and that moment
     killed him.

     "He lived in poverty, driven into solitude by the contempt
     of the world, and by the natural bent of a disposition
     rendered harsh, almost savage, by the injustice of his
     contemporaries. But he wrote the sublimest music that ever
     man or angel dreamed. He spoke to mankind in his divine
     language, and they disdained to listen to him. He spoke to
     them as Nature speaks in the celestial harmony of the winds,
     the waves, the singing of the birds amid the woods.
     Beethoven was a prophet, and his utterance was from God.

     "And yet was his talent so disregarded, that he was destined
     more than once to suffer the bitterest agony of the poet,
     the artist, the musician. He doubted his own genius.

     "Haydn himself could find for him no better praise than in
     saying, 'He was a clever pianist.'

     "Thus was it said of Géricault, 'He blends his colors well;'
     and thus of Goethe, 'He has a tolerable style, and he
     commits no faults in orthography.'

     "Beethoven had but one friend, and that friend was Hummel.
     But poverty and injustice had irritated him, and he was
     sometimes unjust himself. He quarrelled with Hummel, and for
     a long time they ceased to meet. To crown his misfortunes,
     he became completely deaf.

     "Then Beethoven retired to Baden, where he lived, isolated
     and sad, in a small house that scarcely sufficed for his
     necessities. There his only pleasure was in wandering amid
     the green alleys of a beautiful forest in the neighborhood
     of the town. Alone with the birds and the wild flowers, he
     would then suffer himself to give scope to his genius, to
     compose his marvellous symphonies, to approach the gates of
     heaven with melodious accents, and to speak aloud to angels
     that language which was too beautiful for human ears, and
     which human ears had failed to comprehend.

     "But in the midst of his solitary dreaming a letter arrived,
     which brought him back, despite himself, to the affairs of
     the world, where new griefs awaited him.

     "A nephew whom he had brought up, and to whom he was
     attached by the good offices which he had himself performed
     for the youth, wrote to implore his uncle's presence at
     Vienna. He had become implicated in some disastrous
     business, from which his elder relative alone could release

     "Beethoven set off upon his journey, and, compelled by the
     necessity of economy, accomplished part of the distance on
     foot. One evening he stopped before the gate of a small,
     mean-looking house, and solicited shelter. He had already
     several leagues to traverse before reaching Vienna, and his
     strength would not enable him to continue any longer on the

     "They received him with hospitality: he partook of their
     supper, and then was installed in the master's chair by the

     "When the table was cleared, the father of the family arose,
     and opened an old clavecin. The three sons took each a
     violin, and the mother and daughter occupied themselves in
     some domestic work.

     "The father gave the key-note, and all four began playing
     with that unity and precision, that innate genius, which is
     peculiar only to the people of Germany. It seemed that they
     were deeply interested in what they played; for their whole
     souls were in the instruments. The two women desisted from
     their occupation to listen, and their gentle countenances
     expressed the emotions of their hearts.

     "To observe all this was the only share that Beethoven could
     take in what was passing; for he did not hear a single note.
     He could only judge of their performance from the movements
     of the executants, and the fire that animated their

     "When they had finished they shook each other's hands
     warmly, as if to congratulate themselves on a community of
     happiness; and the young girl threw herself weeping into her
     mother's arms. Then they appeared to consult together: they
     resumed their instruments; they commenced again. This time
     their enthusiasm reached its height; their eyes were filled
     with tears, and the color mounted to their cheeks.

     "'My friends,' said Beethoven, 'I am very unhappy that I can
     take no part in the delight which you experience; for I also
     love music: but, as you see, I am so deaf that I cannot hear
     any sound. Let me read this music which produces in you such
     sweet and lively emotions.'

     "He took the paper in his hand: his eyes grew dim, his
     breath came short and fast; then he dropped the music, and
     burst into tears.

     "These peasants had been playing the allegretto of
     Beethoven's Symphony in A.

     "The whole family surrounded him with signs of curiosity and

     "For some moments his convulsive sobs impeded his utterance;
     then he raised his head, and said, 'I am Beethoven.'

     "And they uncovered their heads, and bent before him in
     respectful silence. Beethoven extended his hands to them,
     and they pressed them, kissed, wept over them; for they knew
     that they had amongst them a man who was greater than a

     "Beethoven held out his arms, and embraced them all,--the
     father, the mother, the young girl, and her three brothers.

     "All at once he rose up, and, sitting down to the clavecin,
     signed to the young men to take up their violins, and
     himself performed the piano part of his _chef-d'oeuvre_.
     The performers were alike inspired: never was music more
     divine or better executed. Half the night passed away thus,
     and the peasants listened. Those were the last accents of
     the swan.

     "The father compelled him to accept his own bed; but, during
     the night, Beethoven was restless and fevered. He rose: he
     needed air: he went forth with naked feet into the country.
     All nature was exhaling a majestic harmony; the winds
     sighing through the branches of the trees, and moaning along
     the avenues and glades of the wood. He remained some hours
     wandering thus amid the cool dews of the early morning; but,
     when he returned to the house, he was seized with an icy
     chill. They sent to Vienna for a physician. Dropsy on the
     chest was found to have declared itself; and in two days,
     despite every care and skill, the doctor said Beethoven must

     "And, in truth, life was every instant ebbing fast from him.

     "As he lay upon his bed, pale and suffering, a man entered.
     It was Hummel,--Hummel, his old and only friend. He had
     heard of the illness of Beethoven, and he came to him with
     succor and money. But it was too late: Beethoven was
     speechless; and a grateful smile was all that he had to
     bestow upon his friend.

     "Hummel bent towards him, and, by the air of an acoustic
     instrument, enabled Beethoven to hear a few words of his
     compassion and regret.

     "Beethoven seemed re-animated; his eyes shone: he struggled
     for utterance, and gasped, 'Is it not true, Hummel, that I
     have some talent, after all?'

     "These were his last words. His eyes grew fixed, his mouth
     fell open, and his spirit passed away.

     "They buried him in the little cemetery of Dobling."

Among the most eminent composers of the present century may be
mentioned Auber, Schubert, Rossini, Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, Weber,
Verdi, and Wagner.

In "The Contemporary Review" there lately appeared the following
beautifully worded tribute to the noble qualities of Mendelssohn:--

     "Mendelssohn reigns forever in a sweet wayside temple of his
     own, full of bright dreams and visions, incense, and ringing
     songs, and partly is he so sweet, because, unburthened with
     any sense of a message to utter, a mission to develop, he
     sings like a child in the valleys of asphodel, weaving
     bright chaplets of spring flowers for the whole world,
     looking upon the mystery of grief and pain with wide eyes of
     sympathy, and at last succumbing to it himself, but not
     understanding it, with a song of tender surprise upon his

Since the times of the great writers of the eighteenth century, and of
the first half of the present one, no new developments or advancements
have been made in musical creations.[7] Indeed, it would seem that the
time has not yet come for attempts to be made to improve upon the
works of those great musical luminaries; for they have left too much
that is deep, classical, charmingly beautiful, and soul-satisfying.
The musical world has paused, not caring to go farther, to
conscientiously study their noble creations, so fruitful in the
delights, the soul-elevating influences, which they afford.

[Footnote 7: It would, perhaps, be better at present to except those
of Wagner, upon the _surpassing_ merits of which the best critics are
as yet divided.]

But, although no great genius has of late years appeared with newer
and greater creations to claim our attention from those of the past,
it is gratifying to know that great advancement is being made in a
more general musical culture among the people; while the number of
really great instrumentalists and vocalists is quite large, and is
constantly increasing. In these latter respects the present far
exceeds the past.[8] In fact, the study of the art of music has begun
to be considered a necessity; and ability in its comprehension and
performance is now far from being considered as merely an ornamental
accomplishment. All this springs from the very nature of this divine
art, the mission, so to speak, of which is, to constantly open new
fountains of pleasure in the human heart; to cheer, to soothe, and to
bless mankind throughout all time.

[Footnote 8: It should also be here remarked, that there has been,
too, a remarkable improvement made in the construction of most all
musical instruments; they having been brought to a nicety and beauty
of form and tone probably not dreamed of by the makers of the past.]

But, after all, we know not how soon another great musical genius may
startle us from our complacent studies of the masters of the past; for
we are even now somewhat threatened in this respect by Richard Wagner,
the eminent composer of Germany. He is not satisfied with the music of
the past nor the present, and points to his own present and
prospective creations as samples of what the "music of the future"
will be. Just now, musical critics, while generally conceding to him
much power as a composer, are divided in opinion as to whether his
ideas are to be accepted in their entirety.

Still, who can now tell what the "music of the future" _may_ be?

Before closing this chapter on the history of music, I think it highly
proper, as a matter of record and of appropriate interest, to refer
briefly to the almost wonderful achievements of that brilliant
impressario, P.S. Gilmore of Boston, who in the year 1869 conceived
the idea of having a grand musical festival, the noble objects of
which were to celebrate the restoration of peace in the United States,
and to quicken and increase the interest felt in music throughout this
country, and also the world, by bringing together in a single
performance a larger body of most skilful musicians than was ever
before attempted. An immense building called "The Coliseum" was
constructed for the purposes of the festival, which was to continue
five days. On the 15th of June, in the city of Boston, "The National
Jubilee and Great Musical Festival" was begun. The number of
instruments and performers composing the great orchestra was 1,011;
and an organ of immense proportions and power, built expressly for the
occasion, was employed. The grand chorus and solo vocalists numbered
1,040. Besides, one hundred anvils (used in the rendering of Verdi's
"Anvil Chorus") were played upon by a hundred of the city's firemen in
full uniform; while to all this was added a group of cannon, the same
being used in the performance of the "Star-spangled Banner." The vast
chorus, the orchestra, and all the leading performers (among the
latter were Ole Bull, Parepa, and Carl Rosa), were selected from the
finest musical people of the country, being accepted only after strict
testing by skilful judges. At this great gathering many of the works
of the great composers were performed, and only works of real merit
had a place on the programme. These were all performed by this vast
_ensemble_ with a precision and an excellence that were really grand
and wonderful. This achievement of Gilmore was considered the most
brilliant entertainment of modern times. Of it, it has been truly

     "This great event, by the sublimity of its music, held the
     nation spell-bound. The great volume of song swept through
     the land like a flood of melody, filling every Christian
     heart with 'glad tidings of great joy.' It came like a
     sunburst upon a musical world, shedding light where had been
     darkness before, and revealing a new sphere of harmony, a
     fairy-land of promise, and triumphantly realizing greater
     achievements in the divine art than were hitherto thought
     possible. It will ever be a memorable epoch in the history
     of music, a glorious event; and thousands upon thousands are
     happier for that week of glorious music. The boom of the
     cannon, the stroke of the bells,[9] the clang of the anvils,
     the peal of the organ, the harmony of the thousand
     instruments, the melody of the thousands of voices, the
     inspiring works of the great masters, the song of the
     'Star-spangled Banner,' the cheers of the multitude, the
     splendor of the spectacle,--the memory of all this is the
     rich possession of many, and will be ever recalled as the
     happiest experiences of a lifetime."

[Footnote 9: The church-bells of the city were also employed in
rendering some of the music.]

The success of the "National Peace Jubilee" was so perfect, and had
produced a musical enthusiasm and revival so great, that, in the year
1872, Gilmore, still prolific in startling musical conceptions,
projected and carried into execution another festival of the same
general character as the first, only that it was far vaster and more
daring in its proportions. This one he styled "The World's Peace
Jubilee and International Festival." Several times during the week
that this great musical festival was held, not less than fifty
thousand people were present in the immense Coliseum building. This
time the orchestra consisted of two thousand instruments, and the
chorus numbered over seventeen hundred voices; while a mighty organ
and cannon and anvils were used as before. The great soloists engaged
were Mme. Leutner, Johann Strauss, Franz Abt, and Bendel. Foreign
governments being invited to send representatives from among their
best musicians, England sent the Band of the Grenadier Guards;
Germany, its great Prussian Band; France, the brilliant French
Republic Band. King William of Prussia sent also, as a special
compliment, his classical Court Cornet Quartet; and Ireland sent its
best band. To this galaxy of star military bands, perhaps the greatest
ever assembled, the United States added its own favorite Marine Band
of Washington. At this second great and vast assemblage of artists the
almost marvellous achievements of the first "Jubilee" were repeated to
the utmost delight of many thousands of people, and Gilmore became at
once the most brilliant and daring impressario genius of the world.

As before intimated, Wagner is not at all satisfied with pausing where
Mozart, Beethoven, and other great composers, left off. He believes
that their music can be improved upon. According to his theory, the
music of the opera, in the most highly-developed form of the latter,
is but an incidental element, the dramatic part being principal. He
lately composed a triology--three operas connected as one--with a
prologue, the subjects of the dramas being taken from mythology, and
forming beautiful fairy tales. To carry to the greatest perfection his
views and firmly-held ideas as to what music should be, and as to what
he stoutly avers it will be in the future, he selected from far and
near only the best artists for the performance of his opera (these
were subjected to long and careful rehearsals under his own
conductorship), and erected at Bayreuth, in Bavaria, a large and
beautiful theatre, which, in its minutest details even, was built
under his own supervision, and after his own peculiar ideas. It being
calculated to show to the highest advantage his conception, that, in
the expression of sentiment, music is only secondary, his orchestra of
one hundred and ten performers was placed out of sight of the audience
during the acting of the opera.

The great "Musical Festival," as it was called, continued three days,
the performance of each part of the triology occupying--exclusive of a
wait of one hour after each act--from four to five hours.

At these performances the nobility of Germany and other countries,
together with the Abbé Liszt, and many others in the higher walks of
music, were present. The audiences were immense, brilliant, and
exceedingly demonstrative in applause. At the close of the opera,
Wagner was called before the curtain, receiving quite an ovation: and
in his speech he said, "Now we see what can be done: at last we have a
German art."

It is perhaps too early, as yet, to decide that Richard Wagner's ideal
will be adopted by the musical world; nor should we be in too much
haste to conclude that it will not be. Certainly he has succeeded, at
least, in dividing the highest critics of the glorious art; and the
history of music shows, as does also that of all art, that what is
rejected to-day may be warmly and even rapturously accepted to-morrow.

Of the festival at Bayreuth, Mr. Hazard, musical critic of "The
New-York Tribune," writes, "The effect of the music was magnificent
beyond all description. It far surpassed all expectation; and the
general verdict is that it is a triumph of the new school of music,
final and complete."

Of the impression created by one of the parts of the opera,
"Rheingold" (Mr. F.A. Schwabe), of "The New-York Times," says,
"Musically considered, it is not significant. It is hopeless,
therefore, to look for popularity for the work; at present, at least."

"The agony is over; and the grandest of all operatic conceptions, the
musical drama over which Richard Wagner toiled and dreamed for twenty
years, has been given to the world in its complete form."[10]

[Footnote 10: From a writer in the New-York Herald.]

Very recently, Mr. Moncure D. Conway thus expresses his high
admiration for the work of Wagner:--

     "I am satisfied that the English-speaking world is little
     aware at present of the immensity and importance of the work
     Wagner has done for art. Plato declared that the true
     musician must have poetry and music harmonized in himself;
     and the world has waited twenty-five hundred years for that
     combination to appear. Having carefully read the poems all
     written by himself which Wagner has set to music, or rather
     which incarnated themselves in music, and costumed
     themselves in scenery as he wrote them, I venture to affirm
     that none can so read them without the conviction that their
     author is a true poet. In the first place, the general
     conception of his chief operas, taken together, is in the
     largest sense poetic, and I might even say Homeric. This man
     has transmitted an entire religion to poetry, and then set
     it to music. And it is one of the greatest of
     religions,--what Nature engraved on the heart of our own
     Teutonic ancestors. It is all there,--its thousand
     phantasmal years, from the first cowering cry of the Norse
     savage before the chariot of his storm-god to the last
     gentle hymn that rose to Freya under her new name of
     Mary,--all. It is interpreted as a purely human expression;
     and, I repeat, no man has done so vast and worthy an
     artistic work in our time."

While America has perhaps produced as yet no _great_ composers, it has
several of very high merit, such as J.K. Paine, Dudley Buck, and
others. In the United States there are many remarkable vocal and
instrumental artists, a large number of classical musical clubs and
societies; while several of its great vocalists, male and female,
accept and decline engagements in Europe. Perhaps no finer orchestra
exists anywhere than that of Theodore Thomas of New York; while nearly
as high praise may be given to the Mendelssohn and Beethoven Quintette
Clubs of Boston, and to others in different parts of the country.

Music is quite generally cultivated in this country; and there are
many excellent critics, musical writers, and periodicals devoted to
this beautiful and elevating science.

A very startling late American musical invention is the "telephone," a
description of the working of which is given below:--


     "A most interesting field for the musical student is the
     progress that is being made in _telegraphing musical

     "This is done by means of the telephone, which transmits
     simultaneously several different tones through one wire by
     means of steel forks made to vibrate at one end of the line,
     the pulsations passing through the wire independently of
     each other, and reappearing at the distant station on
     vibrating reeds.

     "Some very interesting tests were made in the Centennial
     Main Building a few days ago in the presence of about fifty
     invited guests, among whom were noticed the Emperor and
     Empress of Brazil, Sir William Thompson, and quite a number
     of eminent electricians.

     "The experiments were of a very interesting and successful

     "The inventor, Mr. Gray of Chicago, asked his assistant, Mr.
     Goodridge, to transmit musical sounds, which were received
     very distinctly amid hearty applause from those present.

     "It was the first time that many present had heard 'Home,
     Sweet Home,' 'My Country, 'tis of Thee,' or 'Old Hundred,'
     rendered so beautifully by telegraph; and they evidently
     enjoyed the treat."

By this invention, music played upon a piano-forte or melodeon is
reproduced upon a violin attached to the receiving end of the wire at
a distance of twenty-four hundred miles.

Another important musical invention (English) is that of the "voice
harmonium." Of this Mr. Theo. T. Seward writes,--

     "To all such the invention of which I speak is a matter of
     deep interest, because in it is practically solved the
     problem of perfect intonation. It is called the 'voice
     harmonium,' because the securing of perfect intonation
     brings the tones much nearer to the quality of the human
     voice. The instrument has been invented and patented by Mr.
     Colin Brown of Glasgow, Ewing lecturer on music. By the use
     of additional reeds and a most ingenious keyboard, he has
     succeeded in giving each key in _perfect_ tune. The 'wolf'
     is banished altogether, without the privilege of a single
     growl. I do not need to say that the effect upon the ear is
     rich, and extremely satisfactory. After listening to it a
     little while, the tones of a tempered organ sound coarse and
     harsh. I wish very much that some of our ingenious American
     instrument-makers could have the opportunity of examining
     it. It has been publicly exhibited at the South-Kensington
     Exhibition, before the recent meeting of the British
     Association, and elsewhere. The highest scientific
     authorities have pronounced most thoroughly in favor of its
     'perfectness, beauty, and simplicity.' Whether the greater
     complication of the keyboard will interfere seriously with
     its popular use, remains to be seen."

Mr. Theodore Thomas recently gave an excellent performance of the
works of American composers. Among those rendered were compositions by
Dudley Buck, A.H. Pease, and William Mason. One of the gems of the
evening was a symphonic poem by William H. Foy, entitled "A Day in the

Mr. Thomas's orchestra, noted for placing upon its programmes only
works of the highest merit, has recently also presented with much
success a new symphony by the talented composer of oratorios, &c.,
J.K. Paine.

In alluding to the progress of music in the United States, "The Music
Trade Review" says, "If the centennial year could disclose all its
triumphs, music would shine among its garlands. A hundred years ago
was a voiceless void for us compared with the native voices and native
workers who now know a sonnet from a saraband."



     "The soul lives its best hours when surrounded by melody,
     and is drawn towards its home, Paradise, dreaming of its
     hymning seraphs who adore with ecstasies that can find
     utterance only in song."

     "And how can happiness be better expressed than by song or
     music? And, if the body and mind are both attuned to a true
     enjoyment of their resources, how much more will the moral
     nature be refined and educated!"

The cultivation of the art of music has ever followed closely the
progress of civilization; and those nations that have attained to the
highest state of the latter have most encouraged the growth, and have
been most skilled in the creation and performance, of music.
Montesquieu avers that "music is the only one of all the arts that
does not corrupt the mind." Confucius said, "Wouldst thou know if a
people be well governed, if its laws be good or bad? examine the music
it practises." Again: another has quite aptly said that

     "Music is one of the greatest educators in the world; and
     the study of it in its higher departments, such as
     composition, harmony, and counterpoint, develops the mind as
     much as the study of mathematics or the languages. It
     teaches us love, kindness, charity, perseverance, patience,
     diligence, promptness, and punctuality."

And a writer in "Chambers's Journal" remarks, that

     "In society, where education requires a submission to rule
     singing belongs to the domain of art; but, in a primitive
     state, all nations have their songs. Musical rhythm drives
     away weariness, lessens fatigue, detaches the mind from the
     painful realities of life, and braces up the courage to meet
     danger. Soldiers march to their war-songs; the laborer
     rests, listening to a joyous carol; in the solitary chamber,
     the needlewoman accompanies her work with some love-ditty;
     and in divine worship the heart is raised above earthly
     things by the solemn chant."

Happily for the world, this beautiful art is one, the delightful forms
of which nearly all may enjoy, the inspiring, soul-elevating
influences of which nearly all may feel. I say, nearly all; because it
is a sad truth that there are some persons who have no ear whatever
for music, and to whom the harsh, rattling noise of the cart on the
stony street affords just as much melody as do the sweetest tones that
may issue from a musical instrument. Again: there are those, who,
although possessing to some extent a faculty for musical discernment,
are yet so much governed by what is called a sense of the "practical"
in life as to avoid all opportunity for the enjoyment of melody,
considering such indulgence as a waste of precious time. It is,
however, pleasant to know that the number of all such persons--who
must, I think, be regarded as really unfortunate--is but a small one,
and that almost every one has a born capacity for musical appreciation
and enjoyment.

It is true that the mighty genius of Mozart and Beethoven soared far
above common musical minds. With a love for the noble art of music
almost sacred in its intensity, these great composers penetrated far,
far into its depths, finding their greatest enjoyment in so doing.
Starting with the simpler forms of the art left by their predecessors,
they deepened, they broadened and varied those forms; while, with
every intricacy created, they experienced the sweetest of pleasure.
And one of the most fitting tributes that can be paid to these and
others of the noble masters of harmony is beautifully embodied in the
lines of Rogers:--

     "The _soul_ of music slumbers in the shell
     Till waked and kindled by the master's spell."

But this far-reaching art, with all its difficult forms to awaken and
enchain the interest, and to inspire the love of the man of genius or
the ambitious student of æsthetics, has also those more simple ones
for the delight of the humbler mind. Even the babe that lies in its
mother's arms has within the yet narrow confines of its new-born soul
the germ of musical sympathy. Often, when it is in a state of
disquiet, its mother sings to it a simple, pretty song. Soon the
crying ceases; the little eyes brighten with a delighted interest; the
charm of music is working. The mother continues the touching
"lullaby," and anon finds that her tender charge, with the pleasing
sounds of melody gently ringing in its ears to the last, has been
soothed into dreamland. Indeed, the power of music to touch the heart,
to fill the soul, lies oftenest in those tones that are comprised in
its least difficult melodies. Nothing is truer than that music, so
beneficent in its influence, is _meant_ for the comprehension,
enjoyment, and improvement of _all_; and that it should never be
regarded as an all-mysterious art, the charming domain of which only
the gifted few are to enter. Whoever can distinguish musical sounds
from their reverse, is, in degree at least, a musician; and whether
such a one may enlarge his faculty for musical discernment and
enjoyment depends only upon the extent of his observations, or rather
upon the amount and kind of his study.

As elsewhere remarked, some time has elapsed since the music-loving
world has been called to the contemplation of any great, new
revelation in harmony. Meanwhile devotees of the divine art have
generally been so much employed in endeavors to properly interpret the
sublime works left for their study and enjoyment by the great
composers of the past, that they have had neither time nor desire to
seek for newer creations. For nearly all seem convinced that what is
most needed now is, not new music, but that the masses of the people
should possess an intelligent appreciation of, and warm love for, the
best of that which is already at hand; and as an intelligent,
heartfelt religious faith is needed to carry light and happiness alike
into the homes of the highly-favored and the lowly, so is the
beauty-shedding art of music--a close ally of that faith--needed to
cheer, to soothe their hearts, and to develop in the minds of all
God's children a love for that which may be fitly called the "true,
beautiful, and good." Associating music with the very highest form of
happiness, one of the older poets imagines this beautiful scene in

           "Their golden harps they took,
     Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side
     Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
     Of charming symphony they introduce
     Their sacred song, and waken raptures high
     No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
     Melodious part, such concord is in heaven."

But I shall now more particularly invite the reader to a consideration
of a few among the many forms in which the beauty, the power, and
good uses of music are exemplified, and of the advantages to be
derived from its conscientious study.

It may be noticed, that, in those towns and cities containing a
preponderance of cultivated people, theatres do not flourish to the
same extent as in neighborhoods where the reverse is true. The reason
is obvious: cultured people have attractive and generally musical
homes, and are thus made, to a great extent, independent of the
amusements afforded in public places. This I mention, not to decry the
theatre, which, I hold, has its appropriate, and, under proper
conditions, educational and refining uses. In fact, the theatre (in
which is performed the legitimate drama) would seem to be in certain
respects a necessity, affording as it does occasional change of scene,
and ministering to that desire for relaxation and amusement so
naturally, so invariably felt by those persons who have not, in a true
sense, homes. Nevertheless, our firesides should be made to compete
with, nay, to far surpass in attractiveness, all places of public
amusement; for it is very much better that the employments and
_entertainments_ of our homes should charm and retain their members,
than that these should be sought for outside their, in some respects,
sacred confines. The reasons for this are so apparent to the
thoughtful, that they need not be greatly enlarged upon. Briefly,
then, in the home is _safety_: over its members are extended the
protecting wings of guardian angels; while without are often snares
and danger, either in palpable forms, or in those hidden by the
glittering, the alluring disguises which are so often thrown over
vice. On this very subject with what truth and directness Cotton
speaks, when he says,--

     "If solid happiness we prize,
     Within our breasts this jewel lies;
       And they are fools that roam.
     The world has nothing to bestow:
     From our own selves our joys must flow,
       _And that dear hut, our home_!"

Nor need I dwell at great length upon the delights and benefits
afforded the members of families whose leisure is given to the study
and practice of an art so ennobling as music. How charming are those
homes in which it is, in its purest style, cultivated! what refinement
reigns therein! and what a gentle yet potent aid it is in parental
government! The allurements to outside and often harmful pleasures
lose their power over the children of that household in which music's
engaging, magic influence holds delightful, elevating sway. And then
at times, when instruments and voices mingle in a "concord of sweet
sounds," how delightful is the effect, how serenely beautiful is the
scene! Often have I, when passing in the evening a dwelling from which
floated out upon the air the notes of tuneful voices, accompanied by
the piano-forte or some other instrument, paused to listen, lingering
long, the ear so ravished by the sweet sounds as to cause me to stand
almost spell-bound, and to remain under music's magic influence even
after its charming sounds had died away.

     "The music in my heart I bore
     Long after it was heard no more."

To the great aid afforded them by music in government, the teachers in
our common schools can testify. Often a turbulent school, swayed by
youthful passions, or wearied by monotonous study into a state of
painful unrest, has been stilled, calmed, and refreshed by the
singing of a song,--an indulgence in the enjoyment of its melody
affording delightful relaxation, and also awaking to life that better,
that poetic sentiment that abides in every soul. The writer readily
recalls his own experience as a teacher in gently enforcing lessons in
polite deportment among his pupils by the aid of music. The exercises
of each session of his school were always begun and ended with song;
while sometimes, for reasons previously mentioned, books were laid
aside, and all joined in singing, even during a part of the time
usually devoted to study. By such procedure (the songs were of the
simplest kind, and without the adding charm of instrumental
accompaniment), even the most unruly pupils were generally induced to
yield to the softening influences of "magic numbers and persuasive
sound." In regard to the influence wielded over the mind and heart by
songs, an eminent writer thus speaks: "Songs have at all times, and in
all places, afforded amusement and consolation to mankind: every
passion in the human breast has been vented in song; and the most
savage as well as the most civilized inhabitants of the earth have
encouraged these effusions." The following description of the effects
of music at a reform-school is quite interesting in this connection.
It is clipped from a recent number of "The Boston Transcript."

     "A reporter of 'The San Francisco Chronicle,' who recently
     visited the industrial school, was very much impressed by
     what he saw and learned there concerning not only the
     taming, but the reforming and refining influence of a
     'concord of sweet sounds.' Attached to the institution is a
     music-teacher, who has at all times in active training a
     number of boys, who perform on the various instruments that
     make up a brass band. This teacher, who is an intelligent
     German, and to all appearances an able instructor, testifies
     to the wonderful efficacy of music in softening the rugged
     nature of the boys, who are sent to school usually because
     they are uncontrollable by their parents or guardians. He
     says he has noticed the singular fact, that boys whose
     aversion to learning was so great that they could not or
     would not acquire even a knowledge of their 'a, b, abs,'
     took hold with evident relish of the comparatively difficult
     study of theoretical music, and in a very short space of
     time mastered the notes sufficiently to be able to read a
     tolerably hard score or piece of music. This seemed to him
     like a phenomenal phase, and he can only account for it on
     the ground that a love of music is inherent in the average
     bad boy. He has usually in training a band of twenty pieces:
     but he says that this number he could easily augment at any
     time to two, three, or even four times as many; for he very
     rarely finds a boy that has not a taste for some musical
     instrument. The greatest trouble he has yet encountered in
     the formation of his bands is the fact, that, as soon as his
     pupils become really proficient, they are ready for a
     discharge for good conduct, the music possessing such an
     influence for good over them as to completely reform
     dispositions that would otherwise be incorrigibly bad. Since
     he has held the position of music-teacher at the
     institution, several boys have been discharged for good and
     promising conduct, who have turned their knowledge of music,
     acquired within the walls of the industrial school, to
     profitable account."

We know that music, either vocal or instrumental, and in many cases
the two combined, has for many centuries been considered necessary for
the proper worship of God. The harmony that issues in grand and
melting tones from the noble organ subdues the heart, and fills it
with solemnity, sweetness, and hope: the sacred chant, the prayer or
thanksgiving, uttered in melodious song by the choir or by all the
congregation,--these cause the sordid world with all its cares and
wild passions to be for the while forgotten, and the soul, charged
with the influences of divine harmony and most holy aspiration, is
lifted to heaven. And so music, with its gentle, its ever-winning
power, has constantly been used by the churches to secure the
attendance of those who without it had been indifferent. This has been
especially the practice of the Roman-Catholic Church for inducing the
attendance of Protestants, and is after the custom of olden times,
when the Gentiles were thus drawn into the Christian churches, coming
at first through motives of curiosity. They were, however, often so
captivated by the music as to submit to baptism before departing. In
most of our large cities, a considerable number of wealthy Protestants
are induced, by the superior musical attractions of Catholic churches,
to attend for a while, renting pews, and finally, in some cases, to
become members; and Protestant churches, to sustain the interest in
their services, and to insure the attendance of members and others,
have been obliged to recognize this love among the people for the
divine art.

The German race is remarkable for the intelligence, steadiness, and
industry of its members, and their love for and cultivation of the art
of music,--these latter characteristics prevailing to a most pleasing
degree among all classes of the race. Indeed, it is rare to find a
German not, in some sense at least, a musician. And in what beneficent
uses do they employ the art, especially in their social relations!
Their children are inducted into its charming beauties and helpful
uses from their very earliest years. Of a steady-going, rather
practical life, the Teutonic race yet seeks relief from care, and
finds delightful rest and recreation, in united song, or in some other
form of pleasing harmony; thus wisely uniting the practical with the
poetical in life. How in keeping is a musical love so warm, and a
musical proficiency so general, with a nation which has given to the
world a Mozart, a Haydn, and a Beethoven!

Most persons have remarked the superior affability, the polish of
manners, that distinguishes the people of France. It is also
observable that this nation is much devoted to music; that which is
produced by their own composers, and most in use by the people, being
usually of the graceful, brilliant style. An eminent French writer
states, that, for the possession of these pleasing characteristics,
this nation is indebted to that ancient order of musicians, the
troubadours, whose musical qualities, politeness, and other winning
graces, laid the foundation of the same.

It is said that the ancient Egyptians held music in such high esteem
that they employed it as a remedial agent, believing it a sure cure
for certain kinds of disease. While such a belief--that is, in its
entirety--may not be held in modern times, yet this notion of the
curative qualities of music does not seem so very fanciful or
mysterious after a little reflection. We know that nothing so
generally conduces to recovery from sickness as those influences that
inspire feelings of cheerfulness, and that serve to divert the mind of
the patient from a contemplation of his bodily sufferings,--it being
almost a proverb, that "a pain forgot is a pain cured,"--and that one
of the chief of such agencies is the soothing, inspiriting charm of
music. It is not meant by this, of course, that music is of itself and
specifically a cure, but that it may be often employed as a powerful
aid in effecting the same. We know, moreover, that this
delight-affording art may be profitably used to "minister to a mind
diseased," and that its aid is often invoked by those physicians who
are most skilful, if not in curing, at least in ameliorating the
condition of, persons afflicted with that terrible malady, insanity.
Perhaps Saul of olden times, who is said to have been once possessed
with an "evil spirit," was then simply insane; and, taking this view
of his condition,--which is, after all, the one that seems the more
correct,--the statement in the Bible, that David drove away this evil
spirit by his skilful playing upon the harp, becomes easy to
understand, since the occurrence is thus divested of its miraculous

But I must not fail to notice here the remark sometimes made, that the
study and practice of music do not always give to those engaged in the
same the graces of a true refinement; that even persons highly skilled
in the art are sometimes unamiable in manners, and coarse in habits.
To this I reply, that no art nor human agency is capable of elevating
every character to perfection; and that the exceptions above mentioned
become very noticeable, and cause surprise, because of the known good
influence upon the heart and mind generally exerted by the study and
practice of good music. Besides, all great musical "_stars_" must not
be classed with the conscientious, loving student of the art. Some
among the former, gifted with phenomenal voices or with rare powers
for instrumental performance, having reached, perhaps, with a few easy
strides, their high positions, and caring but little for music save as
it ministers to their vanity, conceit, or cupidity,--these have missed
that gradually unfolding _culture_ of the mind and heart that belongs
to the progress of one who conscientiously seeks to know music's
manifold beauties, and who with real appreciation for the beautiful in
art, _loving music for music's sake_, feels and exhibits in his
deportment towards his fellow-men its delightful and elevating power.

And here I cannot forbear to remark, that the musical education of the
youth of our country is not being pushed towards that state of
_thoroughness_ so necessary to a real comprehension and enjoyment of
the art. Nearly all intelligent parents are frequent, and even
fulsome, in their praises of music; and, when they speak or write of
it, the laudatory exclamation is often brought into use. And yet they
seem to be satisfied, generally, when their children obtain, by a mere
skimming over its surface, but a peep into the realities and refining
beauties of the science; when the favorite daughter in the use of the
piano-forte, for instance, becomes only the most wearisome of

"The London World" is none too severe on the "accomplished" young lady
of the period, when it says,--

     "The ordinary young lady can only play set pieces on the
     piano that she has learned at the price of Heaven knows how
     many valuable hours' practising. She never remembers any
     thing by heart; could not compose two notes to save her
     life; and cannot repeat by ear the simplest melody out of an
     opera, though she has heard it a hundred times. She is
     perfectly ignorant of the history of music; hates classical
     works; knows few of the masters' names save Verdi,
     Donizetti, Offenbach, and Mozart, the latter only as the
     composer of 'Don Giovanni.' Gregorian or Latin chants convey
     no especial meaning to her mind: all she can tell you about
     them is that they are used in church. As for orchestration,
     scoring, and such like, they are only fit matters for
     professionals. She will call Wagner horrid, Gounod lovely,
     Mendelssohn dull, and Beethoven pretty, without knowing why
     she likes or dislikes any thing. She yawns at an oratorio,
     is bored at a concert, and only enjoys opera because she
     knows everybody that sits in the boxes."

Besides, I think a mistake is made in compelling girls to learn to
play only the piano-forte. There are other instruments, for
performance upon which many of them have talents. Nor need such
performance detract from a graceful, ladylike appearance. I mention,
for example, the harp, the violin, and, indeed, all the stringed
instruments, and even others. But on this point another says,--

     "A recent number of the London 'Queen' contains an article
     recommending the violin as an instrument peculiarly
     appropriate for the use of ladies. It protests against the
     custom of teaching girls to play the piano-forte only,
     arguing that they should have a larger field in music. There
     is certainly no reason why girls may not gracefully handle
     the bow; and it is stated in the article referred to, that
     they 'can learn the violin in half the time that boys
     can,'--a statement which indicates that a goodly number of
     girls somewhere have had the opportunity of learning. In
     this age of progress, girls may certainly have a choice of
     instruments, and an opportunity to pursue the delightful art
     of music in whatever way they choose. If taste or fancy
     incline them to wind-instruments, why should they not try

Mr. Dwight, in his "Journal of Music," very justly and considerately
discourses of the utility of violin accomplishment, and the
adaptability of the instrument to womanly practice. He says,

     "We have always wondered, that in a community where so much
     attention is paid to music, and where almost every girl and
     boy is taught to thrum the piano, so few acquire, or even
     seek to acquire, the art of playing on the violin. The
     piano, to be sure, is a more representative instrument,
     enabling one pair of hands to grasp the whole harmony of a
     composition, or a compendium thereof; but the violin, with
     the other members of its family, viola, 'cello, &c., is the
     more social instrument, bringing together groups of kindred
     spirits who can play in parts, and read together the
     quartets, &c., of the greatest masters, or play sonata duos,
     trios, &c., with the piano-forte. And the string-instruments
     are infinitely the most expressive: their tones lie nearer
     to the soul, spring more directly from the human breast.
     They are the heart of the whole orchestra, the most
     essential part of music, next to the human voice. It is a
     graceful, manly, healthy exercise, to play the violin. If it
     be very difficult to play it like an artist, so much the
     worthier of a manly aspiration. If it is often only vulgar
     _fiddling_, it is, on the other hand, with those truly
     schooled, the most gentlemanly of instruments. And we
     maintain that it is equally the most womanly. We have many
     times expressed our interest in female violinists. Who that
     has seen and heard Camilla Urso, or Teresa Liebe, or Mr.
     Eichberg's accomplished pupil, Persis Bell, could fail to
     feel that the violin seemed peculiarly fitted to the female
     constitution and capacity? How graceful the attitude and
     motions of a young woman skilfully handling the bow! Her
     finer sense of touch, her delicate tact, her instinctive
     feeling-out of the pure truth of tone, give woman a great
     advantage in this art; and the several examples we have had
     from time to time in the concerts of the Boston Conservatory
     of Music have shown that this was no mere dream."

But the limits of this book will not permit me to go much farther into
this alluring subject. I shall therefore close this chapter by a brief
reference to those who occupy the really noble positions of teachers
of the sublime art of music.

He whose own mind has been illumined and whose own soul has been
especially cheered and enlarged by the various contemplations, the
studies and conceptions, of art, will not, in fact can not, hide his
light for his own selfish enjoyment, but will seek to brighten the way
of such as wish to learn its beauty, power, and uses. And how
honorable, how enviable, is the mission of such a one as he who
imparts to his fellows a knowledge of the beautiful science of music,
leading them, through all the delighting, soul-filling forms of
melody, into the region of a very fairy-land!

And finally, as giving fitting expression to the estimation in which
the true musician is held by all intelligent people, I append this
elegant tribute by Dr. Burgh:--

"The physician who heals diseases, and alleviates the anguish of the
body, certainly merits a more conspicuous and honorable place; but the
musician who eminently soothes our sorrows, and innocently diverts the
mind in health, renders his memory deservedly dear to the grateful and
refined part of mankind in every civilized nation."






     "A damsel with a dulcimer
       In a vision once I saw:
     It was an Abyssinian maid;
     And on her dulcimer she played,
       Singing of Mount Abora."


     "Hovering swans....

     Carol sounds harmonious."

     CALLIMACHUS' _Hymn to Apollo_.

In giving a brief sketch of the life of the celebrated cantatrice,
Miss Greenfield, the writer is somewhat embarrassed by the amount and
richness of the materials at his command. For it would require far too
much space to give all, or even a considerable portion, of the many
press notices, criticisms, incidents, and the various items of
interest, that are connected with her remarkable career; while to
judiciously select from among the same a few, so that, while justice
is done the subject, the interest of the reader may not be
lessened, is far from being an easy task, albeit it is a pleasant one.
I find, indeed, that the pages of the public journals fairly teemed
with praises of the great prima donna, as she was frequently called by
them. The musical world was startled, intensely delighted,
electrified, by her notes of sweetest melody. Her magnificent voice,
in its great range in both the upper and lower registers, was regarded
as nothing short of wonderful. Those who at first were incredulous
soon became convinced of this, and were fairly taken captive; while
the always friendly ones, especially those with whom Miss Greenfield
was most closely identified, felt the keenest pleasure and most
unbounded pride in her great triumphs.


All this was chronicled by the press, and formed the theme of constant
conversation and correspondence. Many testimonials from persons in
this country skilled in music and of fine general culture, as well as
others from the Queen of England and several of the English nobility,
were among her rich possessions, and were so great in number and so
flattering in character as to have made hers almost, if indeed not
altogether, an exceptional case.

These strong evidences of approval did not, however, make Miss
Greenfield vain. The natural simplicity of her character remained
unchanged. All the many exhibitions of great public and private
admiration, and the praises that her performances constantly evoked,
while of course affording her much pleasure, served mainly as impulses
to newer and higher efforts in her chosen and beloved profession. Nor
was her disposition less tried by the many difficulties that often
formed in her pathway. Of these I need not speak here. But amidst
them all this noble lady and artist was ever brave, patient, hopeful,
ambitious in a certain sense, yet modest.

Fully aware of the magnificent quality of her voice, and of its
phenomenal character; singing a higher and a lower note than either of
her great contemporaries,--Parodi, Kate Hayes, and Jenny Lind,--she
yet did not rest content, as most persons under the same circumstances
would have done, with the enthusiastic plaudits elicited by her
performances, but diligently applied herself to a scientific
cultivation of a voice in natural power well-nigh marvellous, as well
as to acquiring a scholarly knowledge of the principles of general
music. In this commendable course she met with remarkable success,
considering the circumstances by which she was surrounded.

And now, quoting at times largely from her "Biography," I proceed to
give the following sketch of the career of this remarkable queen of

Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, better known perhaps by her musical
sobriquet, the "Black Swan," was born in Natchez, Miss., in the year
1809. When but a year old she was brought to Philadelphia by an
exemplary Quaker lady, by whom she was carefully reared. Between these
two persons there ever existed the warm affection that is felt by
mother and daughter. In the year 1844 this good lady died. In her will
the subject of this sketch was remembered by a substantial legacy. The
will, however, formed the subject of a long legal contest; and I
believe Miss Greenfield never received the bequest.

Her family name was Taylor; but, in honor of her guardian, she took
the latter's name,--Greenfield.

     "Previous to the death of this lady, Elizabeth had become
     distinguished in the limited circle in which she was known
     for her remarkable powers of voice. Its tender, thrilling
     tones often lightened the weight of age in one who was by
     her beloved as a mother.

     "By indomitable perseverance she surmounted difficulties
     almost invincible. At first she taught herself crude
     accompaniments to her songs, and, intuitively perceiving the
     agreement or disagreement of them, improvised and repeated,
     until there was heard floating upon the air a very 'lovely
     song of one that had a pleasant voice, and could play well
     upon a guitar.'

     "There dwelt in the neighborhood of Mrs. Greenfield a
     physician, humane and courteous; capable, too, of
     distinguishing and appreciating merit and genius, under
     whatever prejudices and disadvantages they were presented.
     His daughter, herself an amateur in the science of
     harmonious sounds, heard of Elizabeth's peculiar structure
     of mind. Miss Price invited her to her house. She listened
     with delighted surprise to her songs. She offered to
     accompany her upon the guitar. This was a concurrence of
     circumstances which formed the era of her life. Her pulses
     quickened as she stood and watched the fair Anglo-Saxon
     fingers of her young patroness run over the keyboard of a
     full-toned piano-forte, eliciting sweet, sad, sacred, solemn
     sounds. Emotion well-nigh overcame her; but the gentle
     encouragement of her fair young friend dissipated her fears,
     and increased her confidence. She sang; and before she had
     finished she was surrounded by the astonished inmates of the
     house, who, attracted by the remarkable compass and
     sweetness of her voice, stealthily entered the room, and now
     unperceived stood gathered behind her. The applause which
     followed the first trial before this small but intelligent
     audience gratified as much as it embarrassed her, from the
     unexpected and sudden surprise. She not only received an
     invitation to repeat her visit, but Miss Price, for a
     reasonable compensation, undertook her instruction in the
     first rudiments of music. The progress of genius is not like
     that of common minds. It is needless to say that her
     improvement was very rapid."

But the lessons above mentioned were taken quite privately, and
without, at first, the knowledge of her guardian. Elizabeth was
rapidly acquiring an acquaintance with music, when some one
maliciously informed Mrs. Greenfield, with the expectation of seeing
an injunction laid upon the pupil's efforts. The old lady sent for
Elizabeth, who came tremblingly into her presence, expecting to be
reprimanded for her pursuit of an art forbidden by the Friends'
discipline. "Elizabeth," said she, "is it true that thee is learning
music, and can play upon the guitar?"--"It is true," was her reply.
"Go get thy guitar, and let me hear thee sing." Elizabeth did so; and,
when she had concluded her song, she was astonished to hear the kind
lady say, "Elizabeth, whatever thee wants thee shall have." From that
time her guardian was the patroness of her earnest efforts for skill
and knowledge in musical science.

She began to receive invitations to entertain private parties by the
exhibition of the gift which the God of nature had bestowed.

     "Upon the death of her patroness, in consequence of the
     contested will she found herself thrown upon her own
     resources for a maintenance. Remembering some friends in the
     western part of New York, she resolved to visit them. While
     crossing Lake Seneca, _en route_ to Buffalo, there came
     sweetly stealing upon the senses of the passengers of the
     steamer her rich, full, round, clear voice, unmarred by any
     flaw. The lady passengers, especially the noble Mrs. Gen.
     P., feeling that the power and sweetness of her voice
     deserved attention, urged her to sing again, and were not
     satisfied until five or six more songs were given to them.
     Before reaching their destined port she had made many
     friends. The philanthropic Mrs. Gen. P. became her friend
     and patroness. She at once invited Elizabeth to her splendid
     mansion in Buffalo, and, learning her simple story, promptly
     advised her to devote herself entirely to the science of
     music. During her visit a private party was given by this
     lady, to which all the _élite_ of the city were invited.
     Elizabeth acquitted herself so admirably, that, two days
     later, a card of invitation came to her through the public
     press, signed by the prominent gentlemen of Buffalo,
     requesting her to give a series of concerts.

     "In October, 1851, she sang before the Buffalo Musical
     Association; and her performances were received with marks
     of approbation from the best musical talent in the city,
     that established her reputation as a songstress. 'Give the
     "Black Swan,"' said they, 'the cultivation and experience of
     the fair Swede or Mlle. Parodi, and she will rank favorably
     with those popular singers who have carried the nation into
     captivity by their rare musical abilities. Her voice has a
     full, round sound, and is of immense compass and depth. She
     strikes every note in a clear and well-defined manner, and
     reaches the highest capacity of the human voice with
     wonderful ease, and apparently an entire want of exertion.
     Beginning with G in the _bass clef_, she runs up the scale
     to E in the _treble clef_, and gives each note its full
     power and tone. She commences at the highest note, and runs
     down the scale with the same ease that she strikes any other
     lower note. The fact that she accomplishes this with no
     apparent exertion is surprising, and fixes at once the
     marvellous strength of her vocal organs. Her voice is wholly
     natural, and, as might be expected, lacks the training and
     exquisite cultivation that belong to the skilful Italian
     singer. But the _voice_ is there; and, as a famous maestro
     once said, "it takes a hundred things to make a complete
     singer, of which a good voice is ninety-nine." If this be
     so, Miss Greenfield is on the verge of excellence; and it
     remains for the public to decide whether she shall have the
     means to pursue her studies.'"

To several gentlemen in Buffalo belongs the credit of having first
brought out Miss Greenfield in the concert-room. The Buffalo papers
took the matter in hand, and assured the public they had much to
expect from a concert from this vocalist. The deep interest her first
public efforts elicited from them gave occasion to the following

     BUFFALO, Oct. 30, 1851.

     Mr. H.E. HOWARD.

     _Dear Sir_,--At your suggestion, for the purpose of enabling
     Miss Elizabeth T. Greenfield to show to her Philadelphia
     friends the popularity she has acquired in this city, I
     cheerfully certify as follows:--

     The concert got up for her was unsolicited on her part, and
     entirely the result of admiration of her vocal powers by a
     number of our most respectable citizens, who had heard her
     at the residence of Gen. Potter, with whose family she had
     become somewhat familiar. The concert was attended by an
     audience not second in point of numbers to any given here
     before, except by Jenny Lind; and not second to any in point
     of respectability and fashion. The performance of Miss
     Greenfield was received with great applause; and the
     expression since, among our citizens generally, is a strong
     desire to hear her again.

     Respectfully yours, &c.,


Rochester next extended an invitation for her to visit that city. We
copy the invitation:--

     "The undersigned, having heard of the musical ability of
     Miss Elizabeth T. Greenfield of the city of Buffalo, and
     being desirous of having her sing in Rochester, request that
     she will give a public concert in this city at an early day,
     and feel confident that it will afford a satisfactory
     entertainment to our citizens." (Signed by a large number of
     the most respected citizens of Rochester.)

     ROCHESTER, Dec. 6, 1851.

     This evening, in Corinthian Hall, the anticipated
     entertainment is to be presented to our music-loving
     citizens. Curiosity will lead many to attend, to whom the
     performance of a colored prima donna is a phenomenon at once
     wonderful and rare. Miss Greenfield has received from all
     who have heard her the name of being a vocalist of
     extraordinary power.

Speaking of her concert in Buffalo, "The Express" says,--

     "On Monday, Parodi in all her splendor, sustained by Patti
     and Strakosch, sang at Corinthian Hall to half a house. Last
     night Miss Greenfield sang at the same place to a crowded
     house of the respectable, cultivated, and fashionable people
     of the city. Jenny Lind has never drawn a better house, as
     to character, than that which listened with evident
     satisfaction to this unheralded and almost unknown African
     nightingale. Curiosity did something for her, but not all.
     She has merit, very great merit; and with cultivation
     (instruction) she will rank among the very first vocalists
     of the age. She has a voice of great sweetness and power,
     with a wider range from the lowest to the highest notes than
     we have ever listened to: flexibility is not wanting, and
     her control of it is beyond example for a new and untaught
     vocalist. Her performance was received with marked
     approbation and applause from those who knew what to

Another city paper says,--

     "Much has been said and written of this personage since she
     was introduced to the public as a musical prodigy. All sorts
     of surmises and conjectures have been indulged in respecting
     the claim put forth of her merit; and generally the
     impression seemed to prevail, that the novelty of 'color'
     and idle curiosity accounted more for the excitement raised
     than her musical powers. Well, she has visited our place,
     and given our citizens an opportunity of judging for
     themselves. We are ignorant of music, and unqualified to
     criticise. But a large audience was in attendance at
     Ringueberg Hall last evening: among those present were our
     musical amateurs; and we heard but one expression in regard
     to the new vocalist, and that was wonder and astonishment at
     the extraordinary power and compass of her voice; and the
     ease with which she passed from the highest to the lowest
     notes seemed without an effort. Her first notes of 'Where
     are now the hopes?' startled the whole audience; and the
     interchange of glances, succeeded by thunders of applause at
     the end of the first verse, showed that her success was
     complete. She was loudly encored, and in response sang the
     baritone, 'When stars are in the quiet sky,' which took down
     the whole house.

     "We have neither time nor space to follow her through her
     different pieces. Suffice it to say, that there never was a
     concert given in this town which appeared to give more
     general satisfaction; and every person we met on leaving
     the hall expressed their entire approbation of her
     performance. No higher compliment could be paid to the
     'Swan' than the enthusiastic applause which successfully
     greeted her appearance, and the encore which followed her
     several pieces.

     "There was a very general expression among the audience that
     the sable vocalist should give another concert; and, at the
     earnest solicitation of several of our citizens, Col. Wood,
     her gentlemanly manager, has consented to give another
     entertainment to-morrow evening, when the 'Black Swan' will
     give a new programme, consisting of some of Jenny Lind's
     most popular songs.

     "The concert on Thursday evening was what in other cases
     would have been called a triumph. The house was full, the
     audience a fashionable one, the applause decided, and the
     impression made by the singer highly favorable.

     "We can safely say that Miss Greenfield possesses a voice of
     remarkable qualities; singular for its power, softness, and
     depth. She has applied herself with praiseworthy
     perseverance and assiduity to the cultivation of her
     extraordinary powers, and has attained great proficiency in
     the art which is evidently the bent of her genius. By her
     own energy, and unassisted, she has made herself mistress of
     the harp, guitar, and piano. We are informed that the
     proceeds of the entertainment this evening are to be wholly
     appropriated to the completion of her musical education in
     Paris under the world-famed Garcia. We predict for Miss
     Greenfield a successful and brilliant future."

"The Rochester American" says,--

     "Corinthian Hall contained a large and fashionable audience
     on the occasion of the concert by this new candidate for
     popular favor on Thursday evening. We have never seen an
     audience more curiously expectant than this was for the
     _début_ of this new vocalist. Hardly had her first note
     fallen upon their ears, however, before their wonder and
     astonishment were manifest in an interchange of glances and
     words of approval; and the hearty applause that responded to
     the first verse she sang was good evidence of the
     satisfaction she afforded. The aria, 'O native scenes!' was
     loudly encored; and in response she gave the pretty ballad,
     'When stars are in the quiet sky.'"

The Buffalo "Commercial Advertiser" says,--

     "Miss Greenfield is about twenty-five years of age, and has
     received what musical education she has in the city of
     Philadelphia: she is, however, eminently self-taught,
     possessing fine taste and a nice appreciation, with a voice
     of wonderful compass, clearness, and flexibility. She
     renders the compositions of some of the best masters in a
     style which would be perfectly satisfactory to the authors
     themselves. Her low, or properly _bass_ notes, are
     wonderful, especially for a female voice; and in these she
     far excels any singing we have ever heard.

     "We learn that this singer (soon to become celebrated, we
     opine) will give a concert in this city on Thursday next.
     There is no doubt that the novelty of hearing a colored
     woman perform the most difficult music with extraordinary
     ability will give _éclat_ to the concert. All
     representations unite in ascribing to Miss Greenfield the
     most extraordinary talents, and a power and sweetness of
     vocalization that are really unsurpassed."

"The Daily State Register," Albany, Jan. 19, 1852, said,--

     "THE 'BLACK SWAN'S' CONCERT.--Miss Greenfield made her
     _début_ in this city on Saturday evening, before a large and
     brilliant audience, in the lecture-room of the Young Men's
     Association. The concert was a complete triumph for her;
     won, too, from a discriminating auditory not likely to be
     caught with chaff, and none too willing to suffer admiration
     to get the better of prejudice. Her singing more than met
     the expectations of her hearers, and elicited the heartiest
     applause and frequent encores. She possesses a truly
     wonderful voice; and, considering the poverty of her
     advantages, she uses it with surprising taste and effect. In
     sweetness, power, compass, and flexibility, it nearly equals
     any of the foreign vocalists who have visited our country;
     and it needs only the training and education theirs have
     received to outstrip them all.

     "The compass of her marvellous voice embraces twenty-seven
     notes, reaching from the sonorous bass of a baritone to a
     few notes above even Jenny Lind's highest. The defects which
     the critic cannot fail to detect in her singing are not from
     want of voice, or power of lung, but want of training
     alone. If her present tour proves successful, as it now bids
     fair to, she will put herself under the charge of the best
     masters of singing in Europe; and with her enthusiasm and
     perseverance, which belong to genius, she cannot fail to
     ultimately triumph over all obstacles, and even conquer the
     prejudice of color,--perhaps the most formidable one in her

     "She plays with ability upon the piano, harp, and guitar. In
     her deportment she bears herself well, and, we are told,
     converses with much intelligence. We noticed among the
     audience Gov. Hunt and his family, both Houses of the
     Legislature, State officers, and a large number of our
     leading citizens. All came away astonished and delighted."

A New-York paper says,--

     "MISS GREENFIELD'S SINGING.--We yesterday had the pleasure
     of hearing the singer who is advertised in our columns as
     the 'Black Swan.' She is a person of ladylike manners,
     elegant form, and not unpleasing, though decidedly African
     features. Of her marvellous powers, she owes none to any
     tincture of European blood. Her voice is truly wonderful,
     both in its compass and truth. A more correct intonation, so
     far as our ear can decide, there could not be. She strikes
     every note on the exact centre, with unhesitating
     decision.... She is a nondescript, an original. We cannot
     think any common destiny awaits her."

"The Evening Transcript," Boston, Feb. 4, 1852, said,--

     "Miss Greenfield, the 'Black Swan,' made her _début_ before
     a Boston audience last evening at the Melodeon. In
     consequence of the price of the tickets being put at a
     dollar, the house was not over two-thirds full. She was well
     received, and most vociferously applauded and encored in
     every piece. She sings with great ease, and apparently
     without any effort. Her pronunciation is very correct, and
     her intonation excellent. Her voice has a wonderful compass,
     and in many notes is remarkably sweet in tone."

From "The Daily Capital City Fact," Columbus, O., March 3, 1852:--

     "Last evening proved that the 'Black Swan' was all that the
     journals say of her; and Miss Greenfield stands confessedly
     before the Columbus world a swan of excellence. She is
     indeed a remarkable swan. Although colored as dark as
     Ethiopia, she utters notes as pure as if uttered in the
     words of the Adriatic."

From "The Milwaukee Sentinel," April, 1852:--

     "What shall we say? That we were delighted and surprised?
     All who were present know that, from their own feelings. We
     can only say, that we have never heard a voice like
     hers,--one that with such ease, and with such absence of all
     effort, could range from the highest to the lowest notes."

Said a Rochester (N.Y.) paper of May 6, 1852,--

     ... "The magnificent quality of her voice, its great power,
     flexibility, and compass, her self-taught genius, energy,
     and perseverance, combine to render Miss Greenfield an
     object of uncommon interest to musicians.

     "We have been spell-bound by the ravishing tones of Patti,
     Sontag, Malibran, and Grisi; we have heard the wondrous
     warblings of '_the Nightingale_;' and we have listened with
     delight to the sweet melodies of the fair daughter of Erin:
     but we hesitate not to assert, that, with one year's tuition
     from the world-famed Emanuel Garcia, Miss Greenfield would
     not only compare favorably with any of the distinguished
     artists above named, but incomparably excel them all."

"The Globe," Toronto, May 12-15, 1852, said,--

     "Any one who went to the concert of Miss Greenfield on
     Thursday last, expecting to find that he had been deceived
     by the puffs of the American newspapers, must have found
     himself most agreeably disappointed....

     "After he [the pianist] had retired, there was a general
     hush of expectation to see the entrance of the vocalist of
     the evening; and presently there appeared a lady of a
     decidedly dark color, rather inclined to an _embonpoint_,
     and with African formation of face. She advanced calmly to
     the front of the platform, and courtesied very gracefully to
     the audience. There was a moment of pause, and the assembly
     anxiously listened for the first notes. They were quite
     sufficient. The amazing power of the voice, the flexibility,
     and the ease of execution, took the hearers by surprise; and
     the singer was hardly allowed to finish the verse, ere she
     was greeted with the most enthusiastic plaudits, which
     continued for some time. The higher passages of the air were
     given with clearness and fulness, indicating a soprano voice
     of great power. The song was encored; and Miss Greenfield
     came back, took her seat at the piano, and began, to the
     astonishment of the audience, a different air in a deep and
     very clear bass or baritone voice, which she maintained
     throughout, without any very great appearance of effort, or
     without any breaking. She can, in fact, go as low as
     Lablache, and as high as Jenny Lind,--a power of voice
     perfectly astonishing. It is said she can strike thirty-one
     full, clear notes; and we could readily believe it."

From a Brattleborough (Vt.) paper, June 23, 1852:--

     "The 'Black Swan,' or Miss Elizabeth Greenfield, sang in Mr.
     Fisk's beautiful new hall on Wednesday evening last to a
     large and intelligent audience.

     "We had seen frequent notices in our exchanges, and were
     already prepossessed in favor of the abilities and life
     purposes of our sable sister; but, after all, we must say
     that our expectations of her success are greater than before
     we had heard her sing, and conversed with her in her own
     private room. She is not pretty, but plain: ... still she is
     gifted with a beauty of soul which makes her countenance
     agreeable in conversation; and in singing, especially when
     her social nature is called into activity, there is a grace
     and beauty in her manner which soon make those unaccustomed
     to her race forget all but the melody....

     "Nature has done more for Miss Greenfield than any musical
     prodigy we have met, and art has marred her execution less."

But the limits of this book are such as to preclude my giving all or
even a hundredth part of the testimonials and criticisms touching the
singing of this remarkable performer, that filled the public journals
during her career in the United States. I believe, however, that I
have given quite enough to show that her noble gifts of voice, and
beauty of execution, were of the rarest excellence, while in some
notable respects they had never been equalled. Let it suffice to say
also, in regard to the excerpts given, that they are but fair samples
and reflections of the opinions entertained and expressed by the
press, and by music-loving, cultured people, everywhere Miss
Greenfield appeared.

After singing in nearly all the free States, she resolved to carry out
her long-entertained purpose of visiting Europe, in order to perfect
herself in the _technique_ of her art. Learning of her intentions, the
citizens of Buffalo, N.Y., united in tendering her a grand testimonial
and benefit concert. The invitation was couched in terms most
flattering, and signed by many of the most distinguished residents.

The concert took place on March 7, 1853, and was in all respects a
grand success.

Leaving Buffalo, she went to New York, where, after singing before an
audience of four thousand persons, she received the following
complimentary note:--

     NEW YORK, April 2, 1853.


     _Madam_,--By the suggestion of many enthusiastic admirers of
     your talents, I have been induced to address you on the
     subject of another and second concert, prior to your
     departure for Europe.

     Your advent musical in "Gotham" has not been idly heralded
     among the true lovers of song, and admirers of exalted
     genius, of which your unprecedented success on Wednesday
     evening must have sufficiently convinced you; while all are
     eloquent in the commendation of your superior powers and
     engaging method.

     Confiding, madam, in your reported magnanimity and
     generosity to oblige, I will divest myself of tedious
     circumlocution, and fervently exhort you to make a second
     exhibition of your skill; which, there can be no doubt, will
     be highly successful to you, and as interesting to your


            *       *       *       *       *

     "Miss Greenfield embarked from New York in a British steamer
     for England, April 6, 1853; and arrived in Liverpool the
     16th of April, 1853; rested over the sabbath, and proceeded
     Monday morning to London, in which metropolis she became
     safely domiciled on the evening of the same day.

     "But painful trials awaited her from a quarter the most
     unexpected. The individual with whom she had drawn up the
     contract for this musical tour was unfaithful to his
     promises; and she found herself abandoned, without money and
     without friends, in a strange country.

     "She had been told Lord Shaftesbury was one of the great
     good men of England; and she resolved to call upon him in
     person, and entreat an interview. His lordship immediately
     granted her request, listened patiently to her history, and
     directly gave her a letter of introduction to his lawyer.

     "It may perhaps be considered a providential concurrence
     that Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe was in London this same time
     with Miss Greenfield. We notice in her 'Sunny Memories,'
     under the date of May 6, the following remarks: 'A good many
     calls this morning. Among others came Miss Greenfield, the
     (so-called) "Black Swan." She appears to be a gentle,
     amiable, and interesting young person. She has a most
     astonishing voice. C. sat down to the piano, and played
     while she sang. Her voice runs through a compass of three
     octaves and a fourth. This is four notes more than
     Malibran's. She sings a most magnificent tenor, with such a
     breadth and volume of sound, that, with your back turned,
     you could not imagine it to be a woman. While she was there,
     Mrs. S.C. Hall, of the "Irish Sketches," was announced. I
     told her of Miss Greenfield; and she took great interest in
     her, and requested her to sing something for her. C. played
     the accompaniment, and she sang "Old Folks at Home," first
     in a soprano voice, and then in a tenor, or baritone. Mrs.
     Hall was amazed and delighted, and entered at once into her
     cause. She said she would call with me, and present her to
     Sir George Smart, who is at the head of the Queen's musical
     establishment, and, of course, the acknowledged leader of
     London musical judgment.

     "'In the course of the day I had a note from Mrs. Hall,
     saying, that, as Sir George Smart was about leaving town,
     she had not waited for me, but had taken Miss Greenfield to
     him herself. She writes that he was really astonished and
     charmed at the wonderful weight, compass, and power of her
     voice. He was also as well pleased with the mind in her
     singing, and her quickness in doing and catching all that he
     told her. Should she have a public opportunity to perform,
     he offered to hear her rehearse beforehand. Mrs. Hall says,
     "This is a great deal for him, whose hours are all marked
     with gold."'

     "Again Mrs. Stowe says, 'To-day the Duchess of Sutherland
     called with the Duchess of Argyle. Miss Greenfield happened
     to be present; and I begged leave to present her, giving a
     slight sketch of her history. I was pleased with the kind
     and easy affability with which the Duchess of Sutherland
     conversed with her, betraying by no inflection of voice, and
     nothing in her air or manner, the great lady talking with
     the poor girl. She asked all her questions with as much
     delicacy, and made her request to hear her sing with as much
     consideration and politeness, as if she had been addressing
     any one in her own circle. She seemed much pleased with her
     singing, and remarked that she should be happy to give her
     an opportunity of performing in Stafford House, as soon as
     she should be a little relieved of a heavy cold which seemed
     to oppress her at present. This, of course, will be decisive
     of her favor in London. The duchess is to let us know when
     the arrangement is completed.

     "'I never so fully realized,' continues Mrs. Stowe, 'that
     there really is no natural prejudice against color in the
     human mind. Miss Greenfield is a dark mulattress, of a
     pleasing and gentle face, though by no means handsome. She
     is short and thick-set, with a chest of great amplitude, as
     one would think on hearing her tenor. I have never seen, in
     any of the persons to whom I have presented her, the least
     indications of suppressed surprise or disgust, any more than
     we should exhibit on the reception of a dark-complexioned
     Spaniard or Portuguese.

     "'Miss Greenfield bears her success with much quietness and
     good sense.'

     "Her Grace the Duchess of Sutherland afterward became her
     ever-unfailing supporter and adviser.

     "The piano-forte which previously had been furnished Miss
     Greenfield to practise upon was taken from her. The Duchess
     of Sutherland, upon learning the fact, immediately directed
     her to select one from Broadwood's.

     "We cannot refrain from quoting Mrs. Stowe's description of
     the concert after dinner at the Stafford House:--

     "'The concert-room was the brilliant and picturesque hall I
     have before described to you. It looked more picture-like
     and dreamy than ever. The piano was on the flat stairway
     just below the broad central landing. It was a grand piano,
     standing end outward, and perfectly banked up among
     hot-house flowers, so that only its gilded top was visible.
     Sir George Smart presided. The choicest of the _élite_ were
     there,--ladies in demi-toilet and bonneted. Miss Greenfield
     stood among the singers on the staircase, and excited a
     pathetic murmur among the audience. She is not handsome, but
     looked very well. She has a pleasing dark face, wore a black
     velvet head-dress and white carnelian ear-rings, a black
     moire-antique silk made high in the neck, with white lace
     falling sleeves and white gloves. A certain gentleness of
     manner and self-possession, the result of the universal
     kindness shown her, sat well upon her. Chevalier Bunsen, the
     Prussian ambassador, sat by me. He looked at her with much
     interest. "Are the race often as good-looking?" he said. I
     said, "She is not handsome compared with many, though I
     confess she looks uncommonly well to-day." The singing was
     beautiful. Six of the most cultivated glee-singers of London
     sang, among other things, "Spring's Delights are now
     returning," and "Where the Bee sucks, there lurk I." The
     duchess said, "These glees are peculiarly English." Miss
     Greenfield's turn for singing now came, and there was
     profound attention. Her voice, with its keen, searching
     fire, its penetrating vibrant quality, its _timbre_ as the
     French have it, cut its way like a Damascus blade to the
     heart. She sang the ballad, "Old Folks at Home," giving one
     verse in the soprano, and another in the tenor voice. As she
     stood partially concealed by the piano, Chevalier Bunsen
     thought that the tenor part was performed by one of the
     gentlemen. He was perfectly astonished when he discovered
     that it was by her. This was rapturously encored. Between
     the parts, Sir George took her to the piano, and tried her
     voice by skips, striking notes here and there at random,
     without connection, from D in alto to A first space in bass
     clef. She followed with unerring precision, striking the
     sound nearly at the same instant his finger touched the key.
     This brought out a burst of applause.

     "'Lord Shaftesbury was there. He came and spoke to us after
     the concert. Speaking of Miss Greenfield, he said, "I
     consider the use of these halls for the encouragement of an
     outcast race a consecration. This is the true use of wealth
     and splendor, when they are employed to raise up and
     encourage the despised and forgotten."'

     "TUESDAY, May 31, 1853.

     "Miss Greenfield's first public morning concert took place
     at the Queen's Concert Rooms, Hanover Square. She came out
     under the immediate patronage of her Grace the Duchess of
     Sutherland, her Grace the Duchess of Norfolk, and the Earl
     and Countess of Shaftesbury. It commenced at three o'clock,
     and terminated at five."

"The London Morning Post" says,--

     "A large assemblage of fashionable and distinguished
     personages assembled by invitation at Stafford House to hear
     and decide upon the merits of a phenomenon in the musical
     world,--Miss Elizabeth Greenfield, better known in America
     as the 'Black Swan;' under which sobriquet she is also about
     to be presented to the British public. This lady is said to
     possess a voice embracing the extraordinary compass of
     nearly three octaves; and her performances on this occasion
     elicited the unmistakable evidence of gratification."

"The London Times" said,--

     "Miss Greenfield sings 'I know that my Redeemer liveth' with
     as much pathos, power, and effect as does the 'Swedish
     Nightingale,' Jenny Lind."

Again: "The London Observer" remarks,--

     "Her voice was at once declared to be one of extraordinary
     compass. Both her high and low notes were heard with wonder
     by the assembled amateurs, and her ear was pronounced to be

"The London Advertiser" of June 16 contained the following comments:--

     "A concert was given at Exeter Hall last evening by Miss
     Greenfield, the American vocalist, better known in this
     country under the sobriquet of the 'Black Swan.' Apart from
     the natural gifts with which this lady is endowed, the great
     musical skill which she has acquired, both as a singer and
     an instrumentalist, is a convincing argument against the
     assertion so often made, that the negro race is incapable of
     intellectual culture of a high standard.... Her voice is a
     contralto, of great clearness and mellow tone in the upper
     register, and full, resonant, and powerful in the lower,
     though slightly masculine in its _timbre_. It is peculiarly
     effective in ballad-songs of the pathetic cast, several of
     which Miss Greenfield sang last night in a very expressive
     manner. She was encored in two,--'The Cradle-Song,' a simple
     melody by Wallace, and 'Home, Sweet Home,' which she gave in
     an exceedingly pleasing manner. The programme of the concert
     was bountifully drawn up; for, in addition to the
     attractions of the 'Black Swan,' there was a host of
     first-rate artists. Herr Brandt, a German artist with a
     remarkably sweet voice, sang Professor Longfellow's 'Slave's
     Dream,' set to very beautiful music by Hatton, in a way that
     elicited warm applause. Miss Rosina Bentley played a
     fantasia by Lutz very brilliantly, and afterward, assisted
     by Miss Kate Loder (who, however, must now be known as Mrs.
     Henry Thompson), in a grand duet for two piano-fortes by
     Osborne. M. Valadares executed a curious Indian air, 'Hilli
     Milli Puniah,' on the violin; and Mr. Henry Distin a solo on
     the sax tuba. The band was admirable, and performed a couple
     of overtures in the best manner. Altogether, the concert,
     which we understand was made under the distinguished
     patronage of the Duchess of Sutherland, was highly
     successful, and went off to the perfect gratification of a
     numerous and fashionable audience."

            *       *       *       *       *

     "In July she gave two grand concerts in the Town Hall in
     Brighton, under the patronage of her Grace the Duchess of
     Sutherland, her Grace the Duchess of Norfolk, her Grace the
     Duchess of Beaufort, her Grace the Duchess of Argyle, the
     Most Noble the Marchioness of Ailesbury, the Most Noble the
     Marchioness of Kildare, the Most Noble the Marquis of
     Lansdowne, the Earl and Countess of Shaftesbury, the Earl of
     Carlisle, the Countess of Jersey, the Countess of Granville,
     the Countess of Wilton, the Viscountess Palmerston, the Lady
     Constance Grosvenor, and Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe.

     "_Vocalists._--Miss E.T. Greenfield (the 'Black Swan'),
     Madame Taccani, Countess Tasca, Mr. Emanuel Roberts (Queen's

     "_Instrumentalists._--Piano-forte soloist, Miss Rosina
     Bently [Transcriber's Note: Bentley elsewhere] (pupil of
     Miss Kate Loder); violin, M. de Valadares (pupil of the
     Conservatoire, Paris); accompanist, Mons. Edouard Henri;
     conductor, Mr. F. Theseus Stevens.

     "She gave a series of concerts at the Rotunda in Dublin,

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Extract from programme of Miss Greenfield's benefit
     concert, Aug. 17, 1853:--

     "_Vocalists._--Miss Louisa Pyne, Miss Pyne, and Mr. W.
     Harrison; pianist, Miss Rosina Bently; violinist, M. de
     Valadares from the East Indies; accompanist, Mr. R. Thomas."

            *       *       *       *       *

     "In October, 1853, we find her again at the Beaumont
     Institution, Beaumont Square, Mile End, London, at Mr.
     Cotton's concert, supported by Miss Poole, the Misses
     M'Alpine, Miss Alleyne, Mr. Augustus Braham, Mr. Suchet
     Champion, Mr. Charles Cotton, the German Glee Union, and the
     East-Indian violinist M. de Valadares; conductor, Herr

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Nov. 3, 1853, at Albion Hall, Hammersmith, she made her
     appearance under the patronage of her Grace the Duchess of
     Sutherland, her Grace the Duchess of Norfolk, her Grace the
     Duchess of Beaufort, her Grace the Duchess of Argyll, the
     Most Noble the Marchioness of Aylesbury [Transcriber's Note:
     Ailesbury], the Most Noble the Marchioness of Kildare, the
     Most Noble the Marquis of Lansdowne, Earl and Countess of
     Shaftesbury, Earl of Carlisle, Countess of Jersey, Countess
     of Granville, Countess of Wilton, Viscountess Palmerston,
     the Lady Constance Grosvenor, and Mrs. Harriet Beecher

     "_Artists._--Miss E.T. Greenfield, Miss J. Brougham, Miss E.
     Brougham, Mr. Charles Cotton, Mr. Augustus Braham the
     eminent tenor; piano-forte, Miss Eliza Ward."

            *       *       *       *       *

     "At the Theatre Royal, Lincoln, Dec. 23, 1853, under the
     same distinguished patronage as at Hammersmith.

     "_Artists._--Mrs. Alexander Newton (of her Majesty's Grand
     National Concerts), Miss Ward, Miss E.T. Greenfield, Mr.
     Augustus Braham, Mr. Charles Cotton (from Milan), Mr.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Again: to verify the fact of her having received the
     attention of very distinguished personages, the following
     certificates are laid before the reader:--

     "'Sir George Smart has the pleasure to state that her
     Majesty Queen Victoria commanded Miss Greenfield to attend
     at Buckingham Palace on May the 10th, 1854, when she had the
     honor of singing several songs, which he accompanied on the

     "'To Miss GREENFIELD, from Sir GEORGE SMART, Kt.,

     "'Organist and Composer to her Majesty's Chapel Royal.

     "'June 24, 1854. No. 91, GR. PORTLAND ST., LONDON.'

     "'This is to certify that Miss Greenfield had the honor of
     singing before her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
     By her Majesty's command,

     "'C.B. PHIPPS.

     "'BUCKINGHAM PALACE, July 22, 1854, LONDON.'"

            *       *       *       *       *

     "In May, 1854, she received an invitation through the Rev.
     Mr. Geary to sing at a concert, but declined, being advised
     not to sing at public concerts until her return to the
     United States. She therefore sang only at private parties
     until July, 1854, when that same noble benefactress, the
     Duchess of Sutherland, secured for her two places in 'The
     Indiana' steam-packet for New York.

     "With a warm invitation to revisit England at some future
     period, she embarked at Southampton to return to America."

The trip to London and its attendant circumstances resulted in much
benefit to Miss Greenfield in an intrinsic, artistic sense, adding
decided _éclat_ to her professional reputation. "The New-York Herald,"
a journal which in those days was generally quite averse to bestowing
even well-merited praise upon persons of her race, was, however, so
much moved upon by her exhibition of an increased technical knowledge
of the lyric art as to speak of Miss Greenfield as follows: "'The
Swan' sings now in true artistic style, and the wonderful powers of
her voice have been developed by good training." This was but echoing
the general verdict.

During the years that intervened between Miss Greenfield's return from
England and her death,--the latter event occurring at Philadelphia in
the month of April, 1876,--she was engaged in singing occasionally at
concerts, and in giving lessons in vocal music.

Remembering her own hard contests as she ascended the hill of fame,
Miss Greenfield ever held out a helping hand to all whom she found
struggling to obtain a knowledge of the noble art of music.
Possessing, on account of her great vocal abilities, the high esteem
of the general public, from a rare amiability of disposition enjoying
the warm love of many friends in those private circles where she was
always an ornament and a blessing, this wonderfully gifted lady at the
age of sixty-eight years died, deeply mourned by all. Of her brilliant
career, of her life, which, in many important respects, was so grandly
useful, as well as of her peaceful death, nothing more need here be
added, further than to place her name in the honorable list of those
of whom Milton so eloquently says,--

     "Nothing is here for tears; nothing to wail,
     Or knock the breast; no weakness, no contempt,
     Dispraise, or blame; _nothing but well and fair_,
     And what may quiet us in a death so noble."




     "God sent his singers upon earth
     With songs of sadness and of mirth,
     That they might touch the hearts of men,
     And bring them back to heaven again....

     But the great Master said, 'I see
     No best in kind, but in degree:
     I gave a various gift to each,--
     To charm, to strengthen, and to teach.'"

     _From_ LONGFELLOW'S _The Singers_.

While nearly all persons have to a greater or lesser degree musical
sympathy and capability, or, to speak generally, capacity for the
enjoyment or production, in one way or another, of harmony; and while,
too, a goodly number there are who possess what may be called musical
aptitude,--it is yet only once in a great while that we find those who
are thus endowed in a degree which may be considered extraordinary.
For the Muses, however often and earnestly invoked, are never lavish
in the bestowment of their favors. This is especially true as applied
to the goddess who presides over the art of music. Only here and there
is some one selected to whom is given great musical inspiration;
into whose keeping is placed the divine harp, which, when swept by his
hands, the people shall hear entranced.






Occasionally we may observe in families one member who appears
particularly favored by nature in the possession of rich and varied
musical talents, the same being improved by careful cultivation. Such
a one readily attracts attention: his native endowments and his
extensive acquirements often form the theme of conversation, of
warmest praise; while everywhere he is a most welcome guest. But, if
in a family a single instance of this kind produces the effects just
described, the latter can but be greatly enhanced when is found a
family composed of a number of persons in no wise small, each one of
which is a highly-talented and finely-educated musician. It is,
however,--for the reasons already mentioned,--so rare a thing to see
the musical faculty thus possessed, and its advantages thus fully
embraced, by an entire household of nearest relatives, as to render
the circumstance a cause of much surprise; while a family so greatly
skilled in the most beautiful, the most charming, of all arts, easily
attains to high distinction, its members becoming objects of such
general private and public interest as to render their careers quite
worthy of the best efforts of those who would make the same a matter
of history.

The foregoing remarks, although made in a somewhat general way, may be
particularly applied to that excellent troupe of artists, the "Luca
family," a brief account of whose remarkable natural endowments,
superior acquirements, and interesting musical life, is here appended.

The family, as at first professionally organized, consisted of six
persons,--the father, mother, and four sons. Some changes that
occurred afterwards will appear as the narrative progresses.

Alexander C. Luca, the father, whose history shows most pointedly how
much may be accomplished by devoted study, deserves especial mention.
He was born in Milford, Conn., in the year 1805. He is, in the most
proper sense, a "self-made" man. Possessing but few opportunities for
acquiring an education, he yet made the most of those he had, and is
to-day a man of varied culture, an excellent example of the Christian
gentleman. At the age of twenty-one years he apprenticed himself to a
shoemaker, having previously spent his life upon a farm; and, while
thus engaged, he showed a decided taste for music. In the shop where
he worked were several boys who were learning the trade, and who were
also members of the village singing-school. Going occasionally into
their school, listening eagerly to all they sang and talked about both
there and in the shop, he soon learned their songs, and was induced by
the surprised teacher to join the school. In a short time, by the aid
of a naturally musical ear and a good voice, and by diligent study of
the rudiments, he became quite a proficient scholar; surpassing, in
fact, most of the other pupils of the school.

After learning his trade he removed to New Haven, Conn., where after a
while he was married to a lady of fine musical qualities (she being
especially remarked as a singer), and who was also of a musical
family. Soon after his arrival at New Haven, Mr. Luca, having acquired
by this time quite a fine knowledge of music, and being an excellent
vocalist, was chosen chorister of a Congregationalist church. In a
short time his choir was considered the equal of any in the city;
which was high but well-deserved praise. Some time previously to the
formation of what was called professionally the "Luca family," the
subject of this sketch organized a quartet consisting of Miss Dianah
Lewis,[11] a sister of his wife, his two older sons, and himself, and
gave in New Haven and vicinity a number of fine concerts. Mr. Luca
trained all his children in music at an early age, and taught them to
sing in his choir at the church.

[Footnote 11: She was a vocalist of rare powers, and was considered
the equal of the celebrated Miss Greenfield, or, as the latter was
frequently called, the "Black Swan."]

Mrs. Luca heartily sympathized with, and aided her husband in, the
musical and general culture of the family. One of the sons thus speaks
of her: "Our earlier taste for music was especially encouraged by our
mother, who thought that the study of it would claim us from the bad
influences which idle hours and mischievous associations engendered."

With such parents it is not strange that the Luca children became so
worthy and eminent as exponents of the art of music.

John W. Luca, the oldest son, when quite young, was remarkable,
mostly, as a comic singer. He sang frequently at school exhibitions,
and often created much sensation in singing a temperance song called
"The Old Toper."

Alexander C., jun., who in after-years became so noticeable as a
tenor-singer and violinist, was at first the dullest of the boys.

Simeon G. possessed a tenor voice of extraordinary compass, singing
high C with the greatest ease. He sang the choicest music from the
various operas to astonished and delighted audiences. He was also a
solo violinist of rare powers; often thrilling his audiences by the
smooth, sweet, and expressive strains evolved from his instrument.

Cleveland O. Luca, the justly celebrated, the wonderful pianist, began
to exhibit extraordinary talent at the early age of seven years. It
was not, however, the intention of his parents to have him begin to
study so early. Indeed, little did they think that the fire of musical
genius burned so brightly in the soul of their young boy. But
Cleveland, or "Cleve" as he was then called, was not to be restrained.
Going often into the room where his aunt was playing on the
piano-forte, he listened eagerly and delightedly, his little soul
stirred and filled by the sweet sounds of harmony; and, after she had
left the instrument, he would go and play the selections even better
than his aunt. Of course such striking evidences of genius filled the
breasts of his parents with delightful surprise; and it was soon
decided to place the gifted boy under the care of a competent
instructor. He rapidly developed those remarkable powers for ready
reading, facility and brilliancy in execution, that afterwards made
him so wonderful and so noted.

When but ten years old, he had become a performer of such excellence
as to attract the notice and to receive the unequivocal praise of such
good judges as Strakosch, Dodworth, W.V. Wallace, and other noted
musicians of New York.

When it was resolved to form as public performers the "Luca family,"
the decided musical powers possessed by young Cleveland made his
services indispensable, and he was of course taken as a member. As
the "wonderful boy pianist," he everywhere created quite a _furore_.
The ladies in the audiences were especially delighted with him; and
forgetting often, in their enthusiasm, that he was black, it seemed
that they would certainly carry him away.

Never satisfied to rest alone upon his fine natural endowments, our
young artist pushed his studies, entering the classical, the technical
domain of the great master-composers, and playing with easy, graceful,
magnetic touch, and delightfully winning expression, any of their
works. As a reader at sight of compositions the most difficult, it is
doubtful whether he had an equal in this country.

The prejudiced or incredulous, before having observed his rare powers
for reading and playing, often as a test, and sometimes with a hope to
embarrass him, placed before him some technical and very difficult
work. But the readiness with which he played the piece changed one who
had come to doubt or to scorn into a silent, deeply surprised, and
interested listener; and it was most always the case, too, that such a
one, yielding to the exquisite charm of the music, as well as to the
gentlemanly, graceful manners of the young virtuoso, became from that
time forth his warm admirer and friend.

But this brilliant artist did not confine himself to the
interpretation of the more difficult compositions for the piano. At
the time of which I am writing,--twenty years ago,--his success as a
performer before miscellaneous audiences could not have been so great,
had he not possessed, in a most pleasing degree, a versatility of
talent. His _repertoire_ was an extensive one, and decidedly "taking"
in the varied character of its excellent pieces. Many of the latter
were simple, yet always purely musical, and of course highly pleasing.

Before the public, Mr. Luca was, in the best sense, a successful
performer; while, in those smaller and finer artistic circles where
the more delicate and higher musical forms were appreciated, he
delighted and even instructed his listeners, receiving their warmest

_True_ art is ever noble and ennobling: in its domain its devotees are
known and valued, not by the color of their faces, but by the depth of
artistic love that they feel, and by the measure of success to which
they attain. And so the subject of this sketch, although of a
complexion quite dark, and often suffering from the coldness, if not
the insults, of those afflicted with "color-phobia," was yet ever
sought after and cordially received upon terms of equality by all the
_great_ musicians wherever he journeyed. Nor did the press of the
country, nor people of culture generally, fail to pass upon him the
highest encomiums. A few of these are elsewhere given.

Besides his ability as a pianist, Cleveland Luca was also a vocalist
of fair powers. No especial pains being taken, however, to develop
this faculty, he attracted, as a singer, no great attention.

On the 27th of March, 1872, in far-away Africa, whither he had nobly
gone to carry the bright, cheering, and refining light of his musical
genius, his frail constitution yielding to a fever, he died at the age
of forty-five.

It is hard to over-estimate the great good this remarkable artist
accomplished for his much-abused race in dissipating, by his wonderful
musical qualities, the unjust and cruel prejudice that so generally
prevailed against the former at the beginning of his career; for in
him was fully and splendidly illustrated the capacity of the dark-hued
race for reaching the highest positions in the walks of the art
melodious. The example, moreover, of his intelligent parents, who,
when they discovered his talents,--avoiding the mistake often made by
some, who, alas! but too frequently rest content merely with observing
the signs of genius in their children, allowing the at first bright
spark to go untended, to burn "with fitful glare," and to finally
become, from this neglect, extinguished,--devoted themselves at once
to their fullest and most artistic development,--this example, I say,
is one to be highly commended, and ever to be followed.

Having thus described the family individually, I now proceed to speak
of their combined efforts. Formed as a vocal quartet, the parts were
distributed in this wise: Simeon Luca sang first tenor, Alexander
second tenor, Cleveland soprano, and John sang bass (or baritone if

Instrumentally they performed as follows: Simeon on first violin,
Alexander second violin, John violoncello (or double bass if
required), and Cleveland on the piano-forte. The father fulfilled the
duties of musical director and business manager; and occasionally he
took part in the performances as a vocalist.

Thus excellently equipped musically, each member of the troupe
possessed of general intelligence, and being of genteel appearance,
they went forth on their mission of music into fields hitherto
untrodden by members of their race; and their fine performances
everywhere gave delight, refinement, and a new and high impulse, to
the many thousands who heard them.

Their services were at first called into requisition at anniversaries
and festivals, and they soon acquired an excellent local reputation.
The event that most prominently heralded their names before the public
was their first appearance at the May anniversary of the Antislavery
Society, held in the old Tabernacle on Broadway, New York, in 1853.
Over five thousand persons were present. The sensation produced by the
performances of this gifted family on this occasion is said to have
been indescribable. The wildest enthusiasm was manifested; and many
persons in the audience, overcome by the emotions awakened, shed
tears. This is, however, not so strange. Gathered as was this immense
concourse of people to advance the cause of human freedom, and
entertaining and asserting, as they did, a belief of man's equality,
we may well imagine the measure of their delight when in witnessing
the display of genius by the wonderful pianist, and listening to the
sweet strains of classical harmony formed by the tuneful voices and
skilfully-played instruments of this troupe of colored artists, they
found their claims for the race so fully sustained.

After the performances just mentioned, letters full of praise and
congratulation from many sources poured in upon the "Lucas," as they
were familiarly called; and Professor Allen, then editing a paper at
Troy, N.Y., induced the parents to intrust the children, now so
rapidly acquiring fame, to his charge, to make a musical trip through
the New-England States in the interest of his paper. This tour
resulted in adding to their fame, and confirming them in a belief of
their ultimate general success; but, owing to poor management on the
part of their business agent, the trip was not a financial success.

I should have mentioned ere this that John and Alexander Luca had been
taught by their father the shoemaking trade, and that for some time
they applied themselves to this kind of work; using their leisure
time, nevertheless, in pushing their musical studies. Occasionally
they would drop the awl and hammer, and make excursions into the
country towns of Connecticut; sometimes returning with a full
exchequer, and sometimes in debt even, but never without having added
to their reputations as musicians.

During these times, the family received many valuable testimonials
touching their musical abilities; but to none of these do they owe so
much as to a highly commendatory letter from the late Rev. Horace
Bushnell of Hartford, Conn. Such testimony from one so eminent, and of
critical abilities so great, could not fail to arrest public attention
in their behalf.

While travelling, the Luca family suffered greatly from the effects of
a cruel caste spirit then so much prevailing,--being often debarred
from hotels, and often denied decent accommodation in public
conveyances. But this barbarous treatment of those whose fine musical
qualities and genteel appearance and deportment--albeit they were of
dark complexions--gave them title to enter the very best places
aroused the sympathy and indignation of many persons. And so, amidst
all their disadvantages, the success and reputation of our artists
steadily increased, and the critics accorded them high rank as
musicians; Mason, Gottschalk, and others among the finest pianists of
the country, receiving Cleveland Luca, the pianist, as an equal.

In the year 1854 the family experienced a sad shock in the death of
Simeon G. Luca.

As before intimated, he was a vocalist and violinist of remarkable
powers; and professionally, as well as otherwise, his loss to the
troupe was a great one.

The vacancy occasioned by his death was filled by the engagement of
Miss Jennie Allen of New York. She proved to be a very valuable
acquisition to the troupe; for she possessed a rich contralto voice,
sang with excellent method, had a graceful, winning stage appearance,
and was well known in New York as a very fine pianist.

The quartet thus arranged then (in 1857) began to travel more
extensively, giving performances in the States of New York,
Pennsylvania, and Ohio, where their success artistically and
financially exceeded any thing before within their experience. Had
they so chosen, they might have visited all the free States with
assurance of good fortune. Wherever they went, the bitter
color-prejudice, the chilling doubtings, or the cold indifference,
displayed by those who had not heard these talented musicians, were
rapidly dispelled when on the stage they beheld their easy, graceful
appearance, and heard the delightful sounds of harmony that proceeded
from the voices and instruments of this accomplished quartet. The
writer well remembers the emotions of delight and pride that filled
his own breast when at this period, in Ohio, he witnessed for the
first time their performances. After their first concert, the town
became the scene of a most pleasant commotion. No such music had ever
before been heard there, and praises of the "Lucas" were on the lips
of all. The family were entertained at the residences of the first
citizens, who vied with each other in extending to them the most
complimentary attentions. In these homes of wealth and culture, where
the study and practice of choice music formed a portion of each day's
employment, these talented artists, surrounded by a selected company
of educated persons, shone even more brightly than when upon the
public stage; for here they could confine themselves to a rendition of
that higher class of music so suitable to their own tastes and powers,
as well as most welcome to their cultivated audience. But what befell
the Luca family in this town--the writer has mentioned somewhat
particularly this instance, because he happened to be a witness of the
same--is but a sample of the treatment they often received in other
places while travelling over the country.

As representing the estimate of the musical abilities of the Luca
family, held by the general press of the country during their concert
tours, and in order that it may be seen that my own praises of the
family are none too great, I give the following notice from a fair and
disinterested source; viz., "The Niagara Courier" of Lockport, N.Y.,
of Sept. 2, 1857:--


     "This company of singers, consisting of four [three]
     brothers and their mother, gave a concert at Ringueberg Hall
     last (Monday) evening; and their performance was such as to
     elicit the enthusiastic approval of all present. Coming
     among us as strangers, their merits were not generally
     understood; and we presume that the entire audience were
     agreeably disappointed in the entertainment presented. We
     hazard nothing in saying that we have not had in our place
     for years a concert which combined all the elements that
     please the musical ear, and satisfy the cultivated taste, as
     did this. The introductory piece, 'Fantasia,' from Lucia,
     evinced the highest order of musical culture, the most
     excellent taste, with that superior power of execution which
     long practice only gives. The two brothers John and
     Alexander have superb voices, guided by a correct knowledge
     of music, and enriched by cultivation. Madame Luca was
     laboring under indisposition; but she sang well, and gave
     abundant assurance of superior vocal powers. But the great
     feature of the entertainment was the performance of C.O.
     Luca on the piano. With the exception of the celebrated
     Mason, we have never had his superior as a pianist in
     Lockport; and even he could not execute the pieces presented
     with greater effect. There is music in his playing which we
     seldom hear from the piano. It is not simply the striking of
     the keys in order, emitting a succession of musical sounds;
     but it is one continual flow of melody without interruption.
     From the moment he first strikes the keys, the harmonious
     melody gushes forth, note melts into note imperceptibly,
     wave after wave of melody goes forth and mingles into one as
     do the waves of the sea; and there is no breaking of the
     majesty of its harmony until the last note is touched.

     "The family, as has been before announced, are colored, and
     consequently labor under some disadvantages; but we predict
     for them a successful future. Such superior musical powers
     must win for them a reputation that will bring its
     recompense. The pieces they sing are selected with good
     taste, and evince a determination to deserve public favor.
     And we may here say, that we believe the Luca family, in the
     quiet and unostentatious display of their musical powers,
     are doing more to secure position for the colored man than
     all the theorists and speculators about the right of man
     have yet accomplished in America. The possession of such
     talent, and its cultivation, show genius and industry which
     any man might emulate; and, when the colored men shall be
     represented in all the arts and sciences by those who are
     able to occupy front ranks, they will need no moralist to
     assert their rights: they can then maintain their own
     position. The human mind is so constituted, that it will
     always pay homage to genius, let it be exhibited under a
     white or black surface.

     "A large number of the audience joined in a request that the
     Luca family repeat their concert; and they have consented to
     do so on Friday evening next, when we hope to see an
     audience out worthy of their superior merits. In the mean
     time we commend the Luca family to the press wherever they
     shall go, as every way worthy of their aid and indorsement."

During their second tour of Ohio, in 1859, the "Lucas" met and joined
the famous Hutchinson family, giving many entertainments in
conjunction with them. The Hutchinsons thus proved the entire
sincerity of their professions that they loved their brother man "for
a' that." The press of the country was much excited over this novel
union, and the expressions emanating from the former were various.
Without, however, minding the pros or cons, these two troupes
travelled more than a month together, experiencing a pleasurable and
profitable season.

I append below two advertisements of concerts given by these troupes
at the time mentioned:--





with the





From the established reputation of both these companies, a
rare treat may be expected.]





will be assisted at their


in this place by the


with their

Wonderful Pianist!]

As a reflection of the terrible, the foul spirit of caste, then so
largely prevailing, I regret that it is my duty to append the
following elegant (?) extract from a paper published at Fremont, O.,
Feb. 25, 1859:--

     "The Hutchinsons,--Asa B., Lizzie C., and little
     Freddy,--accompanied by the Luca family, gave a concert at
     Birchard Hall on last Wednesday evening. The house was not
     more than a paying one. When we went to the concert, we
     anticipated a rare treat; but, alas! how wofully were we
     disappointed!... We have, perhaps, a stronger feeling of
     prejudice than we should have felt under other
     circumstances, had their abolition proclivities been less
     startling; but to see respectable white persons (we presume
     they are such) travelling hand in hand with a party of
     negroes, and eating at the same table with them, is rather
     too strong a pill to be gulped down by a democratic

No doubt the writer of the above, if now living, would be ashamed to
utter sentiments so uncharitable and so vile.

But as an evidence of honest criticism, and in pleasing contrast with
the foregoing, I give the following.

"The Norwalk (O.) Reflector," March 1, 1859, says,--

     "The concert given in this place on Saturday night last by
     the Hutchinsons and Lucas was among the best musical
     entertainments ever given here. The audience was large, and
     the artists sang with spirit.

     "Where all sang so well, it is difficult to select the
     best.... The Lucas are charming musicians, both instrumental
     and vocal; and, when two such companies unite, there will be
     superior concerts."

A Sandusky (O.) paper, March 1, 1859, says,--

     "The Hutchinsons and Lucas sang to quite a full audience at
     West's Hall last evening. The performance could not, coming
     from troupes possessing talent varied and of the higher
     order, be otherwise than good. These bands, when they
     united, made a palpable hit. Their combined concerts are
     almost invariably successes."

A Wooster (O.) paper, February, 1859, says,--

     "The Hutchinsons and Lucas--these two celebrated
     troupes--will give together one of their unrivalled
     entertainments at Arcadame Hall on Saturday evening next.
     They are spoken of in the highest terms by the press in
     different directions. Both troupes have been in Wooster
     before; so that it is unnecessary for us to speak of them
     favorably. The hall will undoubtedly be filled."

A Cleveland (O.) paper, Feb. 28, 1859, says,--

     "The well-known Luca family are now giving concerts in
     connection with Asa B., Lizzie C., and little Freddy
     Hutchinson, of the Hutchinson family; and their performances
     are highly spoken of by Western exchanges. They perform in
     Elyria on Tuesday evening; and will soon appear in this
     city, we understand."

Shortly after the return of the Luca family from the tour with the
Hutchinsons, Cleveland the pianist, with a noble aim, resolved to go
to Africa. This circumstance caused the disbandment of the troupe.

Their father has resided for a long time at Zanesville, O., where,
although quite advanced in years, he is still esteemed as a vocalist,
singing in a church choir, and where he enjoys the respect of all for
his many good qualities of heart and mind.

His two sons, John and Alexander, are now, as ever, devoted to the art
of music; the former being a valuable member of the celebrated Hyer
sisters concert and dramatic troupe, while the latter is vocal
director of another company.

As a fitting close to this sketch, as a corroboration of my own
testimony, and as an evidence of the noble qualities possessed by that
rare musician and Christian gentleman, Asa B. Hutchinson, I add the
following beautiful tribute from his pen:--

     GENEVA, O., Dec. 15, 1875.

     In regard to our dear friends the Lucas, I am glad to state
     that it was our pleasure to associate with them in public
     concerts "in the cruel days of the prejudiced past;" and
     this is our testimony: that, in all our concertizing for
     thirty-five years, we never formed an alliance with any
     musical people with whom we fraternized so pleasantly, and
     loved so well, and who evinced so much real genuine talent
     in their profession, and such courtesy and Christian culture
     "in their daily walk and conversation." Our dear lamented
     Cleveland was a thoroughly educated pianist, and won the
     enthusiastic admiration of the scientific musicians in every
     city and town we visited. He executed most rapidly, at
     sight, any and all of the difficult and new compositions
     that were presented to him by his friends, to their
     astonishment and our mutual joy; and when the three
     brothers, "Alex.," John, and Cleveland, united their
     respective instruments and voices in one grand choral, the
     effect was intensely thrilling and electrical. In some of
     our concerted pieces, where they united with us, we carried
     our reformatory sentiments and songs to a successful
     termination; and, notwithstanding the then great and bitter
     prejudice of our audiences against us all for daring thus
     publicly to associate together, they cheered our combined
     efforts with loud applause and frequent encores.

     And now that each of our bands are broken by death, still
     believing that the freed spirits of the departed loved ones
     are re-united in "singing the songs of the redeemed" in that
     realm of light, liberty, and love beyond, it is a great
     satisfaction to me, a poor lingering pilgrim, to revert to
     one of the sweetest experiences of our entire
     concert-life,--the acquaintance and fellowship of the Luca





     "Thy purpose firm is equal to the deed."

     "His lyre well tuned to rapturous sounds."

A writer in "The Progressive American" for July 17, 1872, said,--

     "Having occasion to visit Boston, I attended one of the
     unrivalled concerts at the Coliseum, where, to my great
     astonishment, I saw undoubtedly the greatest assemblage of
     human beings ever congregated under one roof, and heard a
     chorus of nearly or quite twenty thousand voices,
     accompanied by the powerful organ and an orchestra of two
     thousand musicians. I was highly delighted. But what gave me
     the most pleasure was to see among some of the most eminent
     artists of the world two colored artists performing their
     parts in common with the others; viz., Henry F. Williams and
     F.E. Lewis. Each of these was competent to play his part, or
     he could not have occupied a place in the orchestra. I was
     informed by the superintendent of the orchestra that both
     these man were subjected to a very rigid examination prior
     to the commencement of the concerts."

[Illustration: HENRY F. WILLIAMS.]

The pleasure afforded this writer, by witnessing our subject's
appearance on the memorable occasion referred to, was shared by
many other persons who were able to distinguish him in that vast
concourse of fine musicians. It was not so easy to distinguish him
from the others by his complexion as it was by his dignified, graceful
appearance. Of this, as well as of Mr. Williams's musical skill, the
organizer of the great orchestra, Mr. Baldwin, has, since the event,
spoken to me in terms the most complimentary. He said it was not more
Mr. Williams's good playing, than his handsome, manly appearance in
the orchestra, that afforded him pleasure; and that in both of these
particulars Mr. Williams stood in favorable contrast with many other
members of the orchestra. This was high praise indeed, but no higher
than its recipient deserved, as all will testify who know him.

As stated in the extract just quoted, Mr. Williams, before being
accepted as a member of the Jubilee orchestra, was subjected to a
severe test; being required to execute on the double-bass the parts
written for that instrument in the celebrated overture from "William
Tell," and also in Wagner's difficult "Tannhäuser." In regard to this
test Mr. Baldwin has since said to the writer, "I myself had no doubts
as to Mr. Williams's ability as a musician. My object in arranging the
test performance was, that I might afterwards point to its successful
result, and thus silence many of the instrumentalists that came from
other parts of the country, in case they should object (I knew that
many of them would do so), on the weak ground of _color_, to playing
with Mr. Williams. Neither Mr. Gilmore nor myself knew any man by the
color of his face. What we wanted for the grand orchestra was _good
musicians_, and, when any one objected to our two colored performers,
we triumphantly referred to the exacting and satisfactory test they
had undergone as sufficient answer to the foolish clamors of all those
afflicted with 'color-phobia.' Seeing the managers of the Jubilee thus
resolved, and convinced that the two colored men were artistic
performers,--superior in ability to many with whom they were to be
associated,--no one declined to play; and all was harmony thereafter."

And here I may be permitted to record the thanks of all well-meaning
people for the noble action of Messrs. Gilmore and Baldwin. The two
artists mentioned were not the only members of their race who took a
part in the memorable Jubilee concerts. Several others in a vocal way
occupied even prominent positions at these concerts. Some sang as
artists on the stage, and several were members of that great chorus of
nearly twenty thousand voices. In all these places they did their
share in making the occasion a grand success, while they justified
fully the wisdom of those by whom they were invited to participate.
The action of the latter was no more than what was due and right, it
is true; but it is well to remember (for we must take things as we
find them) that Messrs. Gilmore and Baldwin were not obliged to engage
these persons. Had the former not been men of pure principles and
firmness, they might have yielded to the mean and by far too popular
prejudice entertained against colored people, and have refused to
allow them to take part in the performances. That they did not thus
yield is much to their credit as musicians and gentlemen; and they are
to be thanked, I say, for their manly action.

The little ripple of excitement caused by Mr. Williams's appearance
among the musicians of the Jubilee might well have provoked from that
gentleman a smile of contempt; for he was a far older and much more
skilful performer than many who at first objected to playing with him.
He had, indeed, more than thirty years of musical experience behind
him,--years which were full of manly, persevering struggle against
great odds, and years during which he had many times triumphed over
opposition far greater than that met by him at the Coliseum. Born in
Boston Aug. 13, 1813, beginning his studies when but seven years of
age, he had, mainly by his own efforts (he is in the truest sense a
"self-made man"), become a thorough musician; was a superior performer
on the violin, double-bass, and the cornet; a fair performer on the
viola, violoncello, baritone, trombone, tuba, and piano-forte; having
been besides for years an esteemed teacher of most of these
instruments. Nor did his musical powers stop here; for in addition to
being a skilful arranger of music for the instruments just mentioned,
and others, he was a composer, many of whose works bore the imprint of
several of the most eminent music publishers of the day. Learning
these facts, no wonder that those who at first opposed Mr. Williams's
entrance into the grand orchestra (these persons, by the way, were not
residents of Boston, but came from the West and South) afterwards were
ashamed of their foolish prejudices, and became his warm admirers.

Mr. Williams, as an instrumentalist, devotes himself especially to the
violin and the cornet. Upon these he executes in a superior manner the
finest music of the day. Possessing fine natural talents, of great
versatility, and of long study and experience, he is enabled to play
any kind of music; passing with the utmost ease from the "light
fantastic" of the dance to the grave and profound of the old masters:
in either kind he is always noticeable for the finish and tastefulness
of his performance. He has given much of his time to the formation and
instruction of military bands, frequently arranging and composing
music for them. In the former capacity--that of arranging music--he
has often been employed by P.S. Gilmore, director of the celebrated
Gilmore's Band, and projector of the two great Peace Jubilees. He was
at one time connected with the famous "Frank Johnson's band" of
Philadelphia, and of several others in the West, travelling
extensively, and giving instruction in music. A short while ago, the
manager of the Boston Cadet Band--successors of Gilmore's--showed me a
quickstep in manuscript, of the merits of which he spoke very highly,
composed by Mr. Williams for the first-mentioned band.

The following is only a partial list of the many songs (words as well
as the music his own) of which our subject is the author:--

"Lauriette," [Transcriber's Note: 'Lauriett' in the Appendix]
published by Firth & Pond, New York, 1840; "Come, Love, and list
awhile," published by Pond & Hall, New York, 1842; "It was by Chance
we met," published by O. Ditson & Co., Boston, 1866; "I would I'd
never met Thee," published by O. Ditson & Co., Boston, 1876.

Of the above, "Lauriette" had a large sale, the _publishers_ realizing
a considerable profit from the same. In 1854 O. Ditson & Co. published
his "Parisien [Transcriber's Note: 'Parisian' in the Appendix]
Waltzes." These are a set in five numbers, with a fine introduction,
and containing some very bright and sweetly-flowing melodies. These
waltzes had a good sale, and added much to the composer's reputation.
Besides the above, Mr. Williams has composed eight or ten
polka-redowas, and several mazurkas and quadrilles (some of these have
been published); and he is the author of several overtures.

Early in his career he composed an anthem which was much praised by
persons of musical judgment. At that time so greatly was the judgment
of people affected by color-prejudice, that many persons doubted the
ability of one of his race to create a work so meritorious as the one
just mentioned. They were, however, soon compelled to admit that Mr.
Williams was the talented author of it.

Lowell Mason, the eminent composer of sacred music, was one of those
who at first entertained doubts as to the authorship of the anthem;
and he, like the others, finally yielded to stubborn facts. Moreover,
becoming acquainted with our subject, and learning more of his fine
abilities as a musician, Mr. Mason remarked that it was a pity one so
talented should be kept down merely on account of the color of his
face. I am sorry to say, nevertheless, that this gentleman could rise
no higher above the common level of that day than to advise Mr.
Williams to go to Liberia. Had Mr. Mason, who was so original and bold
in music, been only half as bold in creating a sensible, a humane
public sentiment; had he, as he looked with pity upon this gifted and
devoted young musician struggling against the ignoble spirit of caste
to gain a place in art, thrown his great influence on the side of what
he confessed was right; and had he, instead of advising Mr. Williams
to _bury_ himself in Africa, declared that the latter should have an
equal chance with others in _this_ country in developing his musical
powers,--had Mr. Mason done this, I say, I feel sure that such
encouragement, coming in the very "nick of time," would have resulted
in placing the subject of this sketch far above even his present
excellent position as a musician, while such noble action on the part
of Mr. Mason might to-day be considered as an additional gem in the
latter's confessedly bright crown. I hope I do not seem too harsh. I
love music and those who create it, and I greatly dislike to speak
aught that is ill of such persons. And yet I love too, even more
ardently, reform and its promoters; and therefore cannot regard with
complacency the acts of those, who, possessing great talents and
influence, yet fail to use them in furthering the cause of right. I
have said that Mr. Williams has written several overtures: one of
these was for the orchestra of the famous Park Theatre. At present he
is constantly engaged in arranging and composing music.

In concluding this brief sketch, which I fear falls short of doing its
subject justice, I will only add, that in the remarkably fine
achievements he has made under circumstances and against difficulties
that would have caused many to falter, indeed, to yield in
despair,--chief among these difficulties being the hateful, terrible
spirit of _color-prejudice_, that foul spirit, the full measure of
whose influence in crushing out the genius often born in children of
his race it is difficult to estimate,--in Mr. Williams's triumphs in a
great degree against all these, I say, is presented an instance of
art-love, and of manly, persevering devotion, that is truly heroic.
Falling short, as he does, of an eminence, that, had he been born with
a fairer complexion, would ere this have been his, his life is yet a
grand example to those younger members of his race who are beginning
their careers in the world of music when fairer skies light their
pathway; when the American people, regretting the depressing,
blighting cruelties of the dark past, now seek to atone for the same
by offering encouragement to _all_ who exhibit musical talents, and
evince a conscientious desire to improve the same. Mr. Williams may
remember with pride that to this gratifying result he has in a very
marked degree contributed; and that therefore, in spite of some
disappointments, his musical life has really been a noble success.





     "Gayly the troubadour
     Touched his guitar."

     OLD SONG.

     "Untwisting all the chains that tie
     The hidden soul of harmony."


No life can be called a truly great one that has not been a truly good
one: a very simple saying, and one which, however trite, yet requires
frequent repeating, since its importance is but too seldom considered.
And the noble fame that sooner or later surely attaches to the author
of such a life belongs chiefly, but not entirely, to him; it being in
part, in a certain sense, the property of all who would follow in his
footsteps, becoming for them an inspiring example; its history, with
all its experiences of hope and fear, its occasional failures but
frequent successes, its struggles when environed by poverty or other
untoward circumstances, and its final triumph over all obstacles,
serving as a guide, a beacon indeed, to illumine their pathway as
they climb the same difficult but glorious hills of honor.

[Illustration: JUSTIN HOLLAND.]

But such renown comes oftenest to those who seek it not,--to those who
perform the right for the sake of right. These are they who

     "Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame."

Thoughts very similar to those just expressed are such as will
naturally enter the minds of all who contemplate the history of Justin
Holland, the distinguished musician. A mere outline of that
interesting history is all that can here be given.

But first let me say, that if a little while ago, when arranging the
title for this sketch, the writer had been quite sure that in placing
after the name of the person to be treated a certain single
word,--which really is one of very extensive meaning, although not
always so used or understood,--had he been sure that from that word
the general reader would have formed a complete idea of this artist's
very varied accomplishments, then the heading would have been simply,
"Justin Holland, musician." But judging that such brevity, however
desirable in some respects, might yet fail in doing justice to one
whose great native talents, joined to remarkable attainments made
during a life of most industrious endeavor, entitle him to very
particular mention from first to last, I have thought it best to state
in detail the several departments of the musical art in which he has
won the rarest of laurels.

I am not quite certain, though, that such minute mention will be
pleasant to Mr. Holland; for I learn that he is as modest as he is
learned, and that he has always had a sort of aversion to having his
name appear in print at all, albeit during his long career in music
it has thus appeared many times, in spite of said aversion, and always
most honorably. But when he shall read these pages, on which nought
shall be set down save with a regard for truth, and shall perceive by
them, that while he steadily, quietly, and effectively worked for many
years, with no attempts at ostentatious display, scarcely looking up
the while to observe the outer results of his work, and to catch for
inspiration the praises of men; when he shall see in his now mature
years that all he so noiselessly invented, and fashioned into
practical, useful form, is regarded by a well-meaning chronicler as of
vast importance in serving as a noble example for the study and
imitation of the youth of the land, and therefore to be faithfully
recorded,--then it is hoped he will pardon the somewhat free but
well-intentioned use that is here made of his name and deeds.

Mr. Holland was born in 1819 amidst the then "solitudes" of Norfolk
County, Va. His father, Exum Holland, was a farmer. When quite a young
child, Justin evinced a very decided fondness for music. But, nearly
sixty years ago, a farm-life in Virginia, ten miles from any town, as
may be imagined, afforded but poor opportunities for either hearing or
learning music. Such opportunities, however, as were within reach, our
subject very eagerly embraced. It is related of him, that, when less
than fourteen years of age, he was in the habit of walking on Sundays
to a log meeting-house five miles away, and there listening to and
joining in such music (?) as was at that time discoursed in such
places. But previously to this, when only a boy of eight years, he
accidentally came into possession of an old song-book with words only.
Being much delighted with this, he often perched himself upon a
rail-fence, quite removed from the farm-house and all chance of
interruption, where he sang and heartily enjoyed the songs, the music
for which this would-be musician extemporized. Years afterward it was
found that some of the tunes he thus early invented, and which he
retained in his memory, were equal if not superior in merit to those
that really belonged to the songs in the book mentioned. Thus was
Holland almost born with the composer's art.

When about fourteen years old, Justin left Virginia, and went to
Boston; from whence he shortly afterwards removed, going to Chelsea,
Mass. Here he spent his youth and several years of his manhood. A
short while after becoming a resident of Chelsea, he determined to
study in earnest the science of music. At this time he happened to
become acquainted with Señor Mariano Perez, a Spanish musician, and
one of a troupe that was performing at the old Lion Theatre on
Washington Street in Boston. He had many opportunities for hearing
Perez play upon the guitar. The richness and beauty of melody and
harmony, and the unsurpassed variety and fineness of expression, that
were evolved from this beautiful instrument by this master-performer,
so charmed Holland, that he decided to give his chief attention to the
study of the guitar. Not that he then dreamed of ever becoming a
teacher or professor of the instrument: he wished to learn music
simply for his own amusement. His first music-teacher was Mr. Simon
Knaebel, who was a member of "Ned" Kendall's famous brass band, and
who enjoyed a high reputation as an arranger of music. After a while
he began lessons with Mr. William Schubert, also a member of Kendall's
band, and a correct and brilliant performer on the guitar. Under this
teacher our subject soon made rapid progress, becoming a favorite
pupil from his ability to play duets with his instructor; the latter
being very fond of that kind of music. He afterwards made fine
progress with the eight-keyed flute, taking lessons on this instrument
from a Scotch gentleman by the name of Pollock. During all this time,
it must be borne in mind that our zealous young student was unaided by
any one in defraying the great expense incurred in pursuing his
studies. He had to depend upon his own hard earnings. Besides, he had
no time for practice save that taken from the hours usually devoted to

In 1841 (his age was then twenty-two years), desiring more education
than his hitherto limited opportunities had allowed him to obtain, he
went to that noble institution, Oberlin College, where, feeling
anxious to make up for all time lost, he diligently pursued his
studies, and made rapid advancement. In 1844 his progress had been so
good, that we find him one of the authors of a book of three hundred
and twenty-four pages on certain subjects of moral reform. In 1845 Mr.
Holland went to Cleveland, O., then only a small city of less than
nine thousand inhabitants. While prospecting in Cleveland for
something to do, it was found that he was an amateur performer on the
guitar, playing the best music with a fine degree of proficiency. This
brought him applications to give lessons to members of some of the
first families in the city, and caused him to make Cleveland his
permanent home. His character had now become finely formed, he being
quite noticeable for his gentlemanly, scholarly qualities, and for the
close attention he gave to the subject of music and to all that
concerned true advancement in the profession in which he had now
resolved to remain for life. As illustrating the principles by which
he was guided, I give the following extract from a letter of his to a
friend, describing his life at the time just mentioned. He says,--

     "I adopted as a rule of guidance for myself, that I would do
     full justice to the learner in my efforts to impart to him a
     good knowledge of the elementary principles of music, and a
     correct system of fingering [on the guitar], as practised
     by, and taught in the works of, the best masters in Europe.
     I also decided that in my intercourse as teacher I would
     preserve the most cautious and circumspect demeanor,
     considering the relation a mere business one that gave me no
     claims upon my pupils' attention or hospitality beyond what
     any ordinary business matter would give. I am not aware,
     therefore, that any one has ever had cause to complain of my
     demeanor, or that I have been in any case presumptive."

He had now become firmly established as a teacher, and was soon at the
head of the profession in Cleveland as a guitar-instructor. This,
however, did not satisfy him; and he determined to attain to still
greater proficiency. Finding that the best systems for guitar-playing
were such as were taught in the works (foreign) of Sor, Carulli,
D'Aguado, Giuliani, Ferranti, and Mertz, Mr. Holland entered upon a
course of study of the French, Italian, and Spanish languages, in
order that he might read in the original the systems of those great
masters, and thus be the better able to understand and apply the same.
He soon by diligent study acquired a knowledge of the languages
mentioned; and, as will hereafter appear, this knowledge became of
great use to him.

The secret of our subject's great success as a guitar-virtuoso may be
readily gathered from the statement I have just made about the
foreign languages. _He was always thorough, enterprising, singularly
industrious._ Loving deeply his chosen profession and instrument, he
could never be satisfied with a position of mere mediocrity, either as
a performer or teacher; but with most studious care he sought both
near and far all sources of theoretical information, in order that he
might thus secure skill in elucidation; while as a performer he
reached to the innermost depths, so to say, of all forms of great
musical expression, that he might bring from thence such sweets of
melody and harmony as would charm his pupils, and rivet their
attention on that beautiful instrument, the guitar. He ever aimed, in
fine, to carry guitar-playing in this country to a state that
comported with the highest laws of science,--to elevate it to the high
level whence it had been taken by the great masters of Europe. His
success in these aims will be more fully seen as this account

Mr. Holland, it seems, has not aspired to distinction as an original
composer of music, although he has done something in that line. Of
modest pretensions, and rather practical character, he has considered
that he could do more for music and the guitar in seeking to make the
meritorious compositions of others for other instruments available for
guitar practice by skilful arrangements; and in this, his special
field of musical labor,--speaking with respect either to the quantity
or quality of his works,--he is without an equal in this country:
indeed, in certain particulars which will be mentioned hereafter, it
will be seen that he has surpassed even the guitar-virtuosos of
Europe. His published arrangements for the guitar of the best music
composed number more than three hundred pieces, all of them ranking
as standard; while with guitar-students, and the principal
music-publishers of the day, the name of Holland has been since 1848
as familiar as a household word. It is remarkable, too, that nearly
all of this large number of arrangements were made from music sent to
Mr. Holland by publishers, with a request that he adapt the same to
the guitar. He did not need to sound his own praises. While he quietly
worked with his pupils in Cleveland, his fame as a skilful musician
was spreading over the country. Soon publishers began to send him
orders for arrangements. Such pieces as he had written merely for
diversion, or for use with his classes, when it became known that he
had them, were eagerly solicited for publication. If the reader will
examine the catalogues of the larger music-publishing houses of the
country, he will find, that, under the head of Guitar-Music, the name
of Holland appears far oftener than that of any other writer. A
partial list of his works I have thought of transferring from the
publishers' catalogues to the pages of this book; but this, perhaps,
is not necessary, nor will space allow it. I will state that his
arrangements, with variations, three in number, of "Home, Sweet Home,"
are considered by competent judges the best adaptations of this
immortal air ever made for the guitar. The same opinion is also
expressed of his arrangement, with variations, of "The Carnival of
Venice." It is a five-page concert-piece, equal to ten or twelve pages
of piano-music. Those who love the guitar, or who are desirous of
testing the abilities of the author and the correctness of the
judgment just given, would do well to procure these two selections:
this they can do from any of the music-publishers. Nor is a guitar
library complete unless it contains many more of this writer's works;
such, for instance, as the following: "Winter Evenings," a collection
of fifteen pieces, eight of them with variations; "Flowers of Melody,"
twenty-three pieces, among which is to be found the charming
"Flower-Song" from the opera of "Faust," arranged as a solo; "Gems for
the Guitar," twenty pieces; "Summer Evenings," containing an extensive
list of songs; and "Bouquet of Melodies," a series of twenty-four
arrangements from the most popular operas, all instrumental.

Most of Mr. Holland's writing has been for the eminent firm of S.
Brainard's Sons of Cleveland, O., the most extensive music-publishing
house in the country, with one exception; next to them, for J.L.
Peters & Co. of New York; G.W. Brainard and D.P. Fauld, Louisville,
Ky.; John Church of Cincinnati; and for a house in Michigan.

But our talented author has not confined himself to that department of
guitar-writing just under consideration. Equal to his fame as an
arranger is his fame as a writer of instruction-books for the guitar.
These works are distinguished for comprehensiveness of study, general
simplicity of arrangement, and for boldness of attack, and clearness
of elucidation, of _all_ guitar difficulties. His chief work is
"Holland's Comprehensive Method for the Guitar," written for and
published by J.L. Peters & Co., New York, in 1874. This book, while in
manuscript, was by Messrs. Peters & Co. submitted to the judgment of
some of the finest critics in New York, by whom it was pronounced the
best ever prepared either in this country or Europe.

On this point I append the following from the Cleveland "Plain-Dealer"
of Dec. 24, 1868:--


     "For several months, Mr. Justin Holland, who has long
     enjoyed an honorable fame as a teacher of the guitar, a
     performer upon that instrument, and a successful musical
     author, has been engaged upon a book of instruction for the
     guitar. The work was undertaken at the suggestion of Mr.
     J.L. Peters, the widely-known music-publisher of New-York
     City, who has purchased the book, and will publish it at
     once; Mr. Holland having so nearly finished it, that the
     first portion can be put to press immediately. The work was
     sent on to New York some time since for Mr. Peters's
     inspection; and he submitted it to several other prominent
     musical critics and guitarists, all of whom expressed
     themselves highly pleased with it. Mr. Dressler, of 'The
     United-States Musical Review,' published at New York, says,
     'I have carefully and thoroughly examined this new method
     for the guitar, and must confess that it is already, in its
     present state, the best in this country,--the most thorough,
     explicit, progressive, agreeable, and satisfactory work ever
     written in this country or in Europe.' Higher praise than
     this a book could not receive. The method is very elaborate,
     and contains many points not heretofore touched on in works
     of the kind. Mr. Holland's abilities as a composer of music,
     and his skill as a performer upon the guitar, render him
     pre-eminently qualified to write such a work; and supplying,
     as it will, a want long felt, it will achieve popularity at
     once, we firmly believe."

Some time after the publication of the method just mentioned, the
Messrs. Brainard engaged Mr. Holland to write a somewhat similar one,
but smaller in size, for them. This they issued in 1876, it being
styled "Holland's Modern Method for the Guitar." Although smaller in
size than the first one, it is regarded as the best method for
beginners that has as yet been produced.

It may perhaps be interesting to those possessing a scientific
acquaintance with the guitar, as well, indeed, as to the general
student of music, to learn how this accomplished author acquired the
power to so clearly--more clearly than it was ever before done in
guitar books--explain the method of producing on the guitar the
_harmonic tones_. Writing a friend, Mr. Holland thus speaks of this:--

     "When, in writing my first book, I came to the subject
     'Harmonics,' I found myself at a loss as to how to explain
     these tones; not as to how to produce them myself, but to
     give a correct _theory_ of their production. I searched in
     vain through a multitude of musical works, not knowing or
     thinking of anywhere else to look. I stopped for several
     weeks, and began a series of observations on the vibrations
     on the strings of my guitar; having nothing to aid me but my
     eyes, fingers, and ears, and a knowledge of the fact that
     the vibrations of a string were doubled in number for every
     octave of ascent in pitch of tone. I thus discovered the
     true theory of the harmonic tones to be the vibrations of a
     single string in a number of equal sections, more or less,
     and all at the same time; and that their production was at
     the pleasure of the operator as he desired higher or lower
     tones. Having fully verified my discoveries, I then
     corrected the erroneous theory on this subject of the great
     guitarist, F. Sor. I learned afterwards that the subject was
     discussed and explained in some scientific works that
     treated on acoustics."

I have before referred to the pecuniary disadvantages under which Mr.
Holland had to labor in the beginning of his career. These followed
him for a long period. It seems that much time must nearly always
elapse ere even genius becomes acknowledged, and its possessor
receives that pecuniary reward so necessary to his support. This
acknowledgment, and, to an encouraging extent, this substantial
reward, came to Mr. Holland after a while, but not until after he had
passed through many very trying scenes. One of the latter has been
thus described:--

     "He always had a horror of asking any one for credit or a
     loan. At a certain time he found himself out of ready money.
     It was Sunday, and he had not the 'wherewith' to get his
     breakfast on Monday morning. He had always lived retired,
     forcing intimacy with none, and generally mingling only
     where business called him. He therefore did not feel
     intimate enough with any one to offer to borrow, nor did he
     feel like asking anywhere for credit. He had, however, a
     small job of writing that had been sent in, for which, when
     done, he was to receive about twenty-five dollars. Here was
     Mr. Holland's resource. He began his work about seven
     o'clock on Sunday evening. He wrote till late. Becoming
     weary, and his eyelids being heavy, he lighted a
     spirit-lamp; and with a very diminutive French coffee-pot he
     prepared, and soon was sipping, a cup of coffee that no
     doubt would have pleased the Arabian prophet, had he been
     present to partake. Refreshed by this, he continued his
     labors until the darkness grew to gray dawn, and the dawn to
     full light of day. At seven in the morning the last note was
     written. At eight o'clock he took the work to his patron,
     and before nine returned with a light heart and good
     material for breakfast."

A touching incident this, surely, but one that has had either a near
or perfect counterpart in the lives of many music writers and
teachers, who have often been obliged to labor in season and out of
season for the bare necessaries of life. And yet how seldom it is that
we are aware of the painful vigils that are kept by these gifted but
toiling ones when creating the works that so much contribute to the
pleasure of our leisure moments!

Of all the music-publishing firms for whom Mr. Holland has written, I
believe the only ones that know him personally, and know that he is a
colored man, are the Messrs. Brainard and Mr. John Church. On this
point of color, a little incident in his life is well worth recording.
One day, in 1864, Mr. Holland went into a large music-store (not in
Cleveland) to purchase an instrument. The salesmen present seeming
disposed--no doubt on account of his color--to give him no attention
whatever, he quietly left, and made his purchase elsewhere. He has
since been employed by, and has received large sums of money from,
that very firm, as a writer of music for them. He does not even now
personally know any one of the firm; nor is it supposed that the
latter know him otherwise than by his reputation, and through
correspondence with him. It is almost certain, that had it been
generally known, as it was not outside of Cleveland, that this gifted
and accomplished musician was a member of the colored race, his
success would have been much curtailed, so greatly has the senseless,
the ignoble feeling of color-phobia prevailed in this country. To the
Messrs. Brainard and Mr. Church, who proved themselves superior to the
low prejudices of the times, all honor be given! To them the
brightness of the artist's genius was not obscured by the color of his

As another evidence of the esteem in which Mr. Holland is held by one
of the firms just mentioned, I append the following extract from a
letter which I received a few months ago:--


     CLEVELAND, O., April 2, 1877.

     _Dear Sir_,--... Mr. Justin Holland is one of our finest
     practical and theoretical musicians. He has written two
     large methods for the guitar, besides being the composer and
     arranger of a large amount of guitar-music, both vocal and
     instrumental. He is a refined and educated gentleman of very
     modest and unpretending character, but is a thorough
     musician and student.



A few years ago, on his return from a visit to New Orleans, he stopped
at Leavenworth, Kan. The editor of the leading paper in Leavenworth,
supposing that Mr. Holland intended to remain there, thus spoke of him


     "We had the pleasure of a visit yesterday from Professor J.
     Holland of Louisiana, who is an eminent music teacher and
     writer of thirty years' practical experience. He purposes
     locating in Leavenworth, and giving instructions on the
     guitar, flute, and piano. He has made an especial study of
     the guitar, and has written a work on it which is pronounced
     the best in print by competent critics. We need just such a
     man as the professor in this city, and are glad he has come
     among us, and hope he may receive a liberal patronage."

And the editor of "The Musical World," Professor Carl Merz, thus
mentioned Mr. Holland in the number of that journal for October,

     ... "Again we would mention Mr. Justin Holland, teacher of
     the guitar, and composer of music for this instrument. Mr.
     Holland is a great lover of art, a gentleman of culture, who
     reads fluently several languages, and whose labors are
     highly esteemed by publishers as well as by lovers of the
     guitar. From 'Der Freimaurer,' a monthly published in
     Vienna, Austria, we learn that Mr. Holland is now in his
     fifty-seventh year. He lives in Cleveland, where he enjoys
     the patronage of the lovers of music, irrespective of

As before intimated, Mr. Holland's pupils have been in many cases
members of the richest and most highly cultivated families of
Cleveland; and such have been his skill as an instructor, and his
noble qualities of heart and mind in general, as evinced in his
deportment towards them, that the persons just mentioned, and others
of his scholars, have ever entertained for him not only feelings of
deep respect, but those also of affection. Among other very pleasing
instances of this is one found in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Briggs of
Massachusetts, the former a son of Ex-Gov. Briggs of that State, and
the latter a native of Cleveland, a lady of great refinement and
general culture, who, up to the time of her marriage, was a pupil of
Mr. Holland. This estimable couple, who formerly and semi-annually
visited Cleveland, never failed at such times to pay their respects to
Mrs. Briggs's former tutor, showing by this course that neither time
nor space could obliterate the warm regard which had been created by
previous pleasant associations.

The writer has thus far said but very little of Mr. Holland's
abilities as a performer on, and teacher of, the flute and
piano-forte. Let it suffice to say, briefly, that these abilities are
such as to show, that, had he chosen to devote himself to either of
these two instruments as much as he has devoted himself to the guitar,
he might have attained to great distinction in the same. But, even as
it is, he is regarded as a fine flutist and pianist. For the piano he
has composed and arranged a number of pieces. He has played in public
occasionally, of course always with the greatest acceptance. He has,
however, never sought for nor made occasions to play in public; being
always noticeable for a love of the quieter, and to him pleasanter,
walks of musical life.

And now, if this were not intended as a book on musical history alone,
the writer might occupy many more pages in narrating the many
important events connected with the life of Mr. Holland as a
distinguished member for years of the order of Free Masons. We may be
allowed to mention incidentally, that his reputation as one of the
"noble craft" is even greater than his reputation as a musician. It
is more nearly world-wide; for we find that as a Mason he is well
known in the South and West of this country, and in South America,
Italy, Germany, and France. A sketch of his life, together with his
portrait, was published at Vienna, Austria, in the illustrated monthly
"Der Freimaurer" ("The Freemason"), in the number for February, 1877.
From this journal I learn that Mr. Holland has been a most active and
indispensable member of Excelsior Lodge No. 11 of Cleveland (which he
assisted in forming in 1865), and of the Grand Lodge of Ohio. In the
former he has held the offices of Secretary and Junior Warden; and in
the latter he first served two terms (declining a third) as Worshipful
Master, and afterwards was elected Senior Grand Deacon, Deputy Grand
Master, Deputy Grand High Priest, of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch
Masons for Ohio,--serving three terms,--and Most Excellent Grand High
Priest. In conducting the foreign correspondence of the Grand Lodge,
Mr. Holland has for a number of years performed a most invaluable
service. In this work, his familiar acquaintance with the French,
Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese languages was put to uses the
most important, as through the same, and his very intelligent and
painstaking management, the colored Masons of Ohio have been fully
recognized by, and brought into communication with, the Grand Lodges
of France, Peru, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. Mr. Holland has also
been appointed the representative in this country of the Grand Lodges
of France and Peru, each appointment a very rare distinction. He has
several times received complimentary mention in the addresses of the
Grand Masters of the Ohio Lodge; and in 1866 he was the recipient
from the members of the latter of a set of highly eulogistic
resolutions, and of a valuable gold watch appropriately inscribed. All
these honors were tendered as earnest tokens of the high estimation in
which he was held by the brotherhood for the skill and zeal he had so
often displayed in serving a cause founded on the noble principles of
faith, hope, and charity.

What a busy, what a useful, honorable life, have we been following! It
is hoped that the reader has been entertained and instructed by even
this far from perfect unfolding of the same. As for the writer, he
leaves its present consideration with feelings of affectionate regret;
while he would fain remain to study again and again the valuable
lessons that it teaches, and to watch with unabated interest the
fortunes of its future. May the latter bring to our noble friend and
artist as little of disappointment as may be! and when the end shall
finally come, as come it must some day to all, may he have, as a
crowning and sweet reward for the manly, the heroic past, a sleep like
that of him who "lies down to pleasant dreams"!






     "Sweet is every sound;
     Sweeter thy voice."


Thomas J. Bowers, who, owing to his resembling in the magnificent
quality of his voice that celebrated Italian singer, has been styled
by the press the "American Mario," was born in Philadelphia in the
year 1836.

[Illustration: THOMAS J. BOWERS.]

When quite a lad he evinced a decided fondness for music, and much
musical talent. His father, a man of considerable intelligence, and
for twenty years the warden of St. Thomas's P.E. Church in
Philadelphia, being desirous that his children should learn music,
first procured a piano and an instructor for his eldest son, John C.
Bowers; intending, after he became competent so to do, that he should
teach the other children. This purpose was accomplished; and our
subject was instructed by his brother to perform upon the piano-forte
and organ. At eighteen he had become somewhat proficient in the
playing of these instruments, and succeeded his brother as organist of
St. Thomas's Church.

I must not fail to mention here, that the younger of his two sisters,
Sarah Sedgwick [Transcriber's Note: spelled 'Sedgewick' elsewhere]
Bowers, became a fine singer. In the rendering of classical and all
operatic music she exhibited much talent, was of handsome appearance,
and elicited very complimentary notices from the press. I shall have
occasion to speak of this lady more at length hereafter.

The parents of the subject of this sketch, although highly pleased
with the natural musical qualities and with the accomplishments
displayed by their children, were such strict church people as not to
wish them to become public performers. Recognizing the pleasing,
refining influence of music, they desired its practice by their
children in the home-circle, for the most part; but were not averse,
however, to hearing its sweet and sacred strains issue from choir and
organ in church-services, nor to having their children take part in
the same.

The wishes of his much-loved parents Mr. Bowers respected. For this
reason he refused to join the famous "Frank Johnson's band" of
Philadelphia, although strongly urged by its director; and all offers
made to him to join other public organizations were declined for a
long time.

But his very rare powers as a tenor-vocalist were those which previous
to the attainment of his majority had most attracted the attention and
excited the admiration of many persons. Indeed, his voice was
considered as something extraordinary in its power, mellowness, so to
speak, and its sweetness.

Thus endowed, it was not possible, in the nature of things, that he
should remain only a singer in private; and so, at Sansom-street Hall,
Philadelphia, in 1854, he was induced to appear with the "Black Swan"
as her pupil.

Although it was not at this concert that he made his first public
"hit," as it is called, yet the press of Philadelphia spoke of his
performances on that occasion in the most flattering terms, and called
for a repetition of the concert. This was given, our subject meeting
with still greater success. At this time, one of the critics, in
commenting on the voice and style of singing of Mr. Bowers, called him
the "colored Mario." Considering the almost if not quite peerless
position then held in the musical world by the distinguished Italian
tenor, Mario, this was a most strikingly favorable comparison. But our
artist was so modest as to doubt that he merited such high praise. The
press, however, generally persisted in styling him the "colored
Mario," the "American Mario," &c.; and by these sobriquets he is most
known to-day.

Col. Wood, once the manager of the Cincinnati Museum, hearing of the
remarkable singing qualities of Mr. Bowers, came to Philadelphia to
hear him. He was so much pleased, that he entered into an engagement
with him to make a concert tour of New-York State and the Canadas.
This was in company with Miss Sarah Taylor Greenfield [Transcriber's
Note: Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield], the famous songstress. The great
vocal ability as well as the novelty formed by the complexions of this
couple produced quite a sensation, and secured for them great success
wherever they appeared.

During this tour Col. Wood wished Mr. Bowers to appear under the
title of the "_Indian_ Mario," and again under that of the "_African_
Mario." He withheld his consent to the use of either of these names,
but adopted that of "Mareo." This he has since retained as his
professional cognomen.

Mr. Bowers was induced to engage in public performances more for the
purpose of demonstrating by them the capacity of colored persons to
take rank in music with the most highly cultured of the fairer race
than for that of making a mere personal display of his highly-rated
musical abilities, and for the attainment of the enjoyment which they
would naturally be supposed to afford him.

Writing to a friend, he thus speaks of the principle that governed

     "What induced me more than any thing else to appear in
     public was to give the lie to 'negro serenaders'
     (minstrels), and to show to the world that colored men and
     women could sing classical music as well as the members of
     the other race by whom they had been so terribly vilified."

Nor would he ever yield to that mean and vulgar prejudice, once so
prevalent, but now happily disappearing, which either sought to
prevent colored persons from entering at all the public-amusement
hall, or else to force them to occupy seats near the entrance, or away
up in the gallery. All must be treated alike, or he would not sing. As
illustrating this characteristic, I give the following incident
connected with the concert tour in Canada:--

In Hamilton, a Dr. Brown purchased for himself and some friends six
reserved-seat tickets, at a cost of one dollar each. After he had done
so, Mr. Bowers's agent was informed by the proprietor of the hall in
which the concert was to be held that "colored people were not
admitted to first-class seats in Canada." This created much
excitement. Our artist espoused Dr. Brown's cause; informed Col. Wood
that he would not sing, if he refused to admit the doctor's party on
the terms implied by his tickets; that if, after entering, there
should be any attempt to oust them, he would assist them; and that he
did not leave his home to encourage such mean prejudice. This noble
stand against unjust discrimination resulted in granting to Dr. Brown
the seats for which he had purchased tickets; and, after this time, no
attempt was made to exclude colored persons from the concerts of the

Mr. Bowers, during his career, has sung in most of the Eastern and
Middle States; and at one time he even invaded the slavery-cursed
regions of Maryland. He sang in Baltimore, the papers of which city
were forced to accord to him high merit as a vocalist.

When we consider the high ideal cherished from the very commencement
of his career by our subject, it is not surprising that his musical
performances have never been marred by the singing of other than
classical or the best music. He does sing, at times, songs in the
ballad form; but these are always of the higher class, and such as
would be adopted by any first-class singer. His _repertoire_ is
composed of most all the songs for the tenor voice in the standard
operas and oratorios. He sings with fine effect such gems as "Spirito
Gentil," from "La Favorita;" "Ah! I have sighed," from "Il Trovatore;"
and "How so Fair," from "Martha."

Mr. Bowers resides at present in Philadelphia, and is a little past
forty years of age. He sings as well now as ever; some think better
than ever. He appears occasionally in public, but only in company with
the first artists, as he firmly believes in maintaining always for
himself and others a high musical standard. His voice ranges within a
semitone of two octaves.

He is a man of decidedly handsome form, and of graceful, pleasing
stage appearance; is, indeed, an ideal tenor, and a real artist.

I append, from among the many press-notices that have appeared during
his career, the few that follow.

"The Daily Pennsylvanian" of Feb. 9, 1854, after describing the
Sansom-street Hall concerts, and alluding to some defects in the
manner of his gestures, thus speaks of the performances of our

     "He has naturally a superior voice, far better than many of
     the principal tenors who have been engaged for star opera
     troupes. He has, besides, much musical taste."

"The Boston Journal" said,--

     "The tenor of this troupe (Mr. Bowers) possesses a voice of
     wonderful power and beauty."

Another paper said,--

     "As most of our citizens have heard the 'colored Mario,' it
     is unnecessary for us to speak of his singing, as it is
     generally admitted that his tenor is second to none of our
     celebrated opera-singers."

Another said,--

     "The concert given by the Sedgwick Company was a great
     success.... 'Mario's' fine tenor voice was never more
     feelingly exercised, nor more rapturously encored."

Again he is thus highly praised:--

     "The 'colored Mario's' voice is unequalled by any of the
     great operatic performers."

A Montreal paper said,--

     "'Mario' is a very handsome specimen of his race, and has a
     fine tenor voice.... He, too, was repeatedly encored, both
     in his solo-pieces and in his duets with Miss Greenfield."

The true value of the foregoing comments from the press will be better
understood when the reader calls to mind the fact, that, when they
were made, Mr. Bowers had as contemporaries the wonderful Signor
Mario, the eminent "Swedish Nightingale," Jenny Lind, the not much
less charming songstress, Parodi, as well as several fine
tenor-singers connected with the Italian opera companies then
performing throughout this country. With such models as these to
elevate their tastes and guide their judgments, the critics knew well
the worth of all they said in praise of Mr. Bowers. Forming our
judgments, then, from what they did say of him (only a very few of
their highly favorable comments have here been given), we may safely
say that Mr. Bowers is to be ranked with the very first
tenor-vocalists of his time.




     "Soft is the music that would charm forever."


The guitar, although not of sufficient power for general orchestral
purposes, is yet excellent for finished solo-playing, and as an
accompaniment to a voice. It was much used by the ancient troubadours,
its dulcet tones according well with their songs. In Italy and Spain,
in other parts of Europe, as well as in some sections of this country,
the guitar is much esteemed. It has always been the favorite
instrument of the serenading gallant; and to perform upon it,
previously to their more general adoption of the piano-forte, was
considered as an almost necessary accomplishment for the gentler sex.
Among the greatest of guitar-virtuosos that have lived may be
mentioned F. Sor, Fossa, Aguado, Giuliani, Carulli, Holland, Douglass:
and, as comparing favorably with these, I may mention Demarest, of
whom I shall now briefly speak.

Mr. Demarest, for many years a resident teacher of Boston, was one of
the finest guitar-performers in the United States, and, I believe,
had only a few equals in the world. With him the numerous guitar
"pickers" of the country are not at all to be mentioned; for,
thoroughly educated in music, with rich natural gifts all fully
cultivated, giving to the instrument the closest, the most
conscientious study, and of long practice, he was thus enabled to draw
from it music of such richness and beauty, as few, before hearing his
playing, imagined it capable. He but rarely indulged himself or his
hearers in playing accompaniments to songs (the use, by the way, to
which the guitar is often put); but with masterly skill he ever aimed
to develop its fullest resources, and showed that, when in his hands
at least, the guitar could be rendered a solo instrument of very
noticeable power, as well as great sweetness of tone. At public and
private performances in Boston and elsewhere, Mr. Demarest has often
delighted audiences by fine interpretations of the best music

He was also a proficient arranger of music for the guitar, and,
besides, composed some fine pieces for it. I do not know that any of
his works were ever published: I think they were not; they being
prepared simply to facilitate the progress of his pupils, and for his
own amusement.

It is said that on one occasion a prominent guitarist,--a teacher of
and writer for the guitar,--when asked to give his opinion of one of
Demarest's compositions, remarked that it was "too difficult for the
guitar." However this may have been, no one could say that it was too
difficult for the composer to perform; and, that being true, it ought
not to have been considered as beyond the possible reach of other
skilful players. Still the critic referred to may only have meant by
his remark that the piece was too difficult to become "popular." I
only mention the incident to show that Demarest always aimed high.

As a teacher of the guitar he took high rank with those who believed
in advancing its performance to the most elevated standards. He found
but few pupils, however, that were willing to give the instrument that
closeness of study, or who were possessed with that spirit of
patience, so necessary to render them remarkable performers. At the
almost marvellously skilful manipulations of the strings by their
teacher, they listened with the utmost delight; but some of them,
regarding him as one exceptionally endowed, despaired of ever being
able to follow him into those higher and fuller forms of
guitar-playing whither he ever earnestly strove to lead them. He
always insisted on a conscientious study of the instrument, and the
practice of only the best music, in order that his pupils might place
themselves on a much higher level than that occupied by the many who
contented themselves with merely "thumping" a simple, unvaried
accompaniment to the popular love-songs of the day.

Mr. Demarest was also a violinist of fair ability. In his performances
on the violin he evinced the same scholarly spirit as he did in his
other studies. He, however, but seldom performed upon the violin in
public, and but little in private, save for his own diversion. In
1874, while still a young man, bidding fair to rise to the highest
distinction as a musician, he died, deeply regretted by many, not more
on account of his high musical than his gentlemanly, genial qualities.

     "Sweet Mercy! to the gates of heaven
     This minstrel lead, his sins forgiven."





                                "Who ran
     Through each mode of the lyre, and was master
     Of all."


     "Bright gem instinct with music."


He is unquestionably and conspicuously the most wonderful musician the
world has ever known. No one has ever equalled him in quickness and
depth of musical insight and feeling, nor in the constancy with which
he bears within himself, in all its fulness, that mysterious power
which can be called by no truer name than _musical inspiration_. He is
an absolute master in the comprehension and retention of all sound
(and in _all_ sound _he_ finds music); a being in whose sympathetic
soul lies the ready, the perfect correlative of every note of melody
in nature or in art that is caught by his marvellously sensitive ear.
We often speak of those who have an "ear for music." Here is a
musician who surpasses all others in all the world in the possession
of this quality; for his is a _perfect_ ear. You may sit down to the
piano-forte, and strike any note or chord or discord, or a great
number of them; and he will at once give their proper names, and,
taking your place, reproduce them. Complete master of the piano-forte
keyboard, he calls to his melodious uses, with most consummate ease,
all of its resources that are known to skilful performers, as well as
constantly discovers and applies those that are new. Under his
magnetic touch, this instrument may become, at his will, a
_music-box_, a _hand-organ_, a _harp_ or a _bagpipe_, a "_Scotch
fiddle_," a _church-organ_, a _guitar_, or a _banjo_: it may imitate
the "stump speaker" as he delivers his glowing harangue; or, being
brought back to its legitimate tones, it may be made to sing two
melodies at once, while the performer with his voice delivers a third,
all three in different time and keys, all in perfect tune and time,
and each one easily distinguishable from the other! It would be vain
to call such performances as these mere tricks. They are far, far
more; since they show a musical intuition, and an orderly disposition
and marshalling of the stores of the mind, quite beyond the powers of
the performer of mere musical tricks. But, even were they such, this
wonderful musician would not need to depend upon their performance for
the greatness of his fame; for there is no work of the great masters
too difficult for his easy comprehension and perfect rendering.


He remembers and plays full seven thousand pieces. In short, he plays
every piece that he has ever heard. How almost godlike (it cannot be
brought to human comparison) is this retentive, this _perfect_ memory,
as relating to all that is musical, or even unmusical, in sound!

Nor does he need to depend upon the music composed by others. His own
soul is full of harmony, endless in variety, and most ravishing. Take
from him, were it possible, all remembrance of the music written by
others, and he would still be an object of delight and amazement on
account of his matchless power in improvisation. Listen to his own
"Rain Storm," and you shall hear, first, the thunder's reverberating
peal, and anon the gentle patter of the rain-drops on the roof: soon
they fall thick and fast, coming with a rushing sound. Again is heard
the thunder's awful roar, while the angry winds mingle in the
tempestuous fray,--all causing you to feel that a veritable storm
rages without. After a while, the tempest gradually ceases; all is
calmness; and you look with wonder upon this musical magician, and
marvel that the piano-forte can be made to so closely imitate the
sounds made by the angry elements.

No one lives, or, as far as we know, has ever lived, that can at all
be compared with him. Only the musical heroes of mythology remind us
of him; for he is

                       "As sweet and musical
     As bright Apollo's lute strung with his hair:"

And Ariel, Shakspeare's child of fancy, who on Prospero's island
constantly gave forth melodies of ever-varied, ever-enchanting
sweetness, filling all the air with delicious harmony,--that musical
spirit was but an anticipation of the coming of this actual wonder in
music. Of him an eloquent writer has beautifully said, "There is music
in all things; but 'Blind Tom' is the temple wherein music dwells. He
is a sort of door-keeper besides; and, when he opens the portals,
music seems to issue forth to wake the soul to ecstasy." The skilful
metaphysician or the psychologist pauses before him, completely
balked: they cannot classify this mind, human-like indeed in some
respects, yet in many others surpassing all humanity, and closely
approximating that which is godlike.

Some persons, it is true, judging from certain manifestations of his,
or from certain lack of manifestations, have had the temerity to say
that "Blind Tom" is an idiot. Out with the idea! Who ever heard of an
idiot possessing such power of memory, such fineness of musical
sensibility, such order, such method, as he displays? Let us call him
the embodiment, the soul, of music, and there rest our investigations;
for all else is futility, all else is vain speculation.

Thus have I alluded in a general way to the characteristics of this
most wonderful pianist. A more particular but brief sketch of his life
from infancy to manhood cannot but be interesting, not only to the
student in music, but to all classes of readers.

     "Thomas Greene Bethune" (I am quoting from his biography),
     "better known to the public as 'Blind Tom,' was born within
     a few miles of the city of Columbus, Ga., on the
     twenty-fifth day of May, 1849. He is of pure negro blood,
     and was born blind. His first manifestation of interest in
     any thing was his fondness for sounds; the first indication
     of capacity, his power for imitating them. Musical sounds
     exerted a controlling interest over him; but all sounds,
     from the soft breathings of the flute to the harsh grating
     of the corn-sheller, appeared to afford him exquisite
     enjoyment. His power of judging of the lapse of time was as
     remarkable as his power of remembering and imitating sounds.
     Those who are familiar with clocks that strike the hours,
     have observed, that, a few minutes before the clock
     strikes, there is a sharp sound different from and louder
     than the regular ticking. There was a clock in the house;
     and every hour in the day, just precisely when that sound
     was produced, Tom was certain to be there, and remain until
     the hour was struck.

     "He exhibited his wonderful musical powers before he was two
     years old. When the young misses of the family sat on the
     steps of an evening, and sang, Tom would come around and
     sing with them. One of them one evening said to her

     "'Pa, Tom sings beautifully; and he don't have to learn any
     tunes: he knows them all; for, as soon as we begin to sing,
     he sings right along with us.'

     "Very soon she said,--

     "'He sings fine seconds to any thing we sing.'

     "His voice was then strong, soft, and melodious. Just before
     he had completed his second year he had the whooping-cough,
     from the effects of which his voice underwent an entire
     change; it became and continued for years exceedingly rough
     and harsh, though it did not affect the taste or correctness
     of his singing.

     "He was a little less than four years of age when a piano
     was brought to the house. The first note that was sounded,
     of course, brought him up. He was permitted to indulge his
     curiosity by running his fingers over and smelling the keys,
     and was then taken out of the parlor. As long as any one was
     playing, he was contented to stay in the yard, and dance and
     caper to the music; but the moment it ceased, having
     discovered whence the sounds proceeded, and how they were
     produced, he was anxious to get to the instrument to
     continue them. One night the parlor and the piano had been
     left open: his mother had neglected to fasten her door, and
     he had escaped without her knowledge. Before day the young
     ladies awoke, and, to their astonishment, heard Tom playing
     one of their pieces. He continued to play until the family
     at the usual time arose, and gathered around him to witness
     and wonder at his performance, which, though necessarily
     very imperfect, was marvellously strange; for,
     notwithstanding this was his first known effort at a tune,
     he played with both hands, and used the black as well as the
     white keys.

     "After a while he was allowed free access to the piano, and
     commenced playing every thing he heard. He soon mastered
     all of that, and commenced composing for himself. He would
     sit at the piano for hours, playing over the pieces he had
     heard; then go out, and run and jump about the yard a little
     while, and come back and play something of his own. Asked
     what it was, he replied, 'It is what the wind said to me;'
     or, 'What the birds said to me;' or, 'What the trees said to
     me;' or what something else said to him. No doubt what he
     was playing was connected in his mind with some sound, or
     combination of sounds, proceeding from those things; and not
     unfrequently the representation was so good as to render the
     similarity clear to others.

     "There was but one thing which seemed to give Tom as much
     pleasure as the sound of the piano. Between a wing and the
     body of the dwelling there is a hall, on the roof of which
     the rain falls from the roof of the dwelling, and runs
     thence down a gutter. There is, in the combination of sounds
     produced by the falling and running water, something so
     enchanting to Tom, that from his early childhood to the time
     he left home, whenever it rained, whether by day or night,
     he would go into that passage, and remain as long as the
     rain continued. When he was less than five years of age,
     having been there during a severe thunder-storm, he went to
     the piano and played what is now known as his 'Rain Storm,'
     and said it was what the rain, the wind, and the thunder
     said to him. The perfection of the representation can be
     fully appreciated by those only who have heard the sounds by
     the falling of the water upon the roofs, and its running off
     through the gutters.

     "There was in the city of Columbus a German music-teacher
     who kept pianos and music for sale. The boys about the city,
     having heard much of Tom, sometimes asked the boys of the
     family to take him to town, that they might hear him. Upon
     these occasions they asked permission of this man to use one
     of his pianos; and, though he would grant the permission, he
     would not hear him. If he was engaged, he would send them to
     the back part of the store, which was a very deep one; if he
     had nothing to do, he would walk out into the street. When
     Tom was about eight years of age, a gentleman, having
     obtained permission to exhibit him, hired a piano of this
     man, and invited him to visit his concert. He indignantly
     rejected the invitation.

     "The man, however, succeeded in awakening the curiosity of
     the wife of the musician sufficiently to induce her to
     attend; and she gave her husband such accounts, that he went
     the next night. After the performance was over, he
     approached the man, and said,--

     "'Sir, I give it up: the world has never seen such a thing
     as that little blind negro, and will never see such

     "Encouraged by this, the exhibiter the next day applied to
     him to undertake to teach Tom. His reply then was,--

     "'No, sir; I can't teach him any thing: he knows more of
     music than we know, or can learn. We can learn all that
     great genius can reduce to rule and put in tangible form: he
     knows more than that. I do not even know what it is; but I
     see and feel it is something beyond my comprehension. All
     that can be done for him will be to let him hear fine
     playing: he will work it all out by himself after a while;
     but he will do it sooner by hearing fine music.'

     "It has been stated that Tom was born blind. In his infancy
     and for years the pupils of his eyes were as white and
     apparently as inanimate as those of a dead fish. But nature
     pointed out to him a remedy which gradually relieved him
     from total darkness, and in process of time conferred upon
     him, to a limited extent, the blessings of vision.

     "When he was three or four years of age, it was observed
     that he passed most of his time with his face upturned to
     the sun, as if gazing intently upon it, occasionally passing
     his hand back and forth with a rapid motion before his eyes.
     That was soon followed by thrusting his fingers into his
     eyes with a force which appeared to be almost sufficient to
     expel the eyeballs from their sockets. From this he
     proceeded to digging into one of them with sticks, until the
     blood would run down his face. All this must have been
     pleasant to him, or he would not have done it; and there is
     no doubt that he is indebted to the stimulus thus applied to
     his eyes for the measure of sight he now enjoys. When five
     or six years of age, a small, comparatively clear speck
     appeared in one of his eyes; and it was discovered that
     within a very small space he could see any bright object.
     That eye has continued to clear, until he is now able to see
     luminous bodies at a distance, and can distinguish small
     bodies by bringing them close to his eye. Persons that he
     knows well he can distinguish at the distance of a few feet;
     and it is hoped that in process of time his sight will so
     far improve as to relieve him from many of the difficulties
     to which he is subject.

     "The mere technicalities of music Tom learns without
     difficulty. Its substance he seems to comprehend
     intuitively. To teach him the notes, it was necessary only
     to sound them, and tell him their names. With the elements
     and principles of music he seemed to be familiar long before
     he knew any of the names by which they were indicated; as a
     man going into a strange country may be perfectly acquainted
     with the appearance and nature of the material objects which
     meet his view, without knowing the names applied to them by
     the people.

     "Considering that in early life he learned nothing, and
     later but little from sight, that he is possessed by an
     overmastering passion, which so pervades his whole nature as
     to leave little room for interest in any thing else, and the
     gratification of which has been indulged to the largest
     extent, it is not surprising that to the outside world he
     should exhibit but few manifestations of intellect as
     applicable to any of the ordinary affairs of life, or that
     those who see him only under its influence should conclude
     that he is idiotic.

     "The elegance, taste, and power of his performances, his
     wonderful power of imitation, his extraordinary memory,--not
     only of music, but of names, dates, and events,--his strict
     adherence to what he believes to be right, his uniform
     politeness, and his nice sense of propriety, afford, to
     those who know him well, ample refutation of this opinion.

     "Tom sometimes indulges in some strange gymnastics upon the
     stage, which are considered by many a part of his stage
     training. So far from this being the case, it is but a
     slight outcropping of his usual exercises. If those who see
     him upon the stage could witness his performances in his
     room, and the enjoyment they afford him, they would perhaps
     regret the necessity of his restraint in public. He never
     engaged in the plays of children, or manifested any interest
     in them. His amusements were all his own. With a physical
     organization of great power and vigor, and an exuberance of
     animal spirits, he naturally sought physical exercise.
     Compelled by want of sight to limit himself to a small
     space, he put himself in almost every conceivable posture,
     and resorted to those exercises which required the most
     violent physical exertion. They are now necessary certainly
     to his enjoyment, perhaps to his health.

     "Tom has been seen probably by more people than any one
     living being. He has played in almost every important city
     in the United States and in a great many of the smaller
     towns, in Paris, and in most of the principal cities of
     England and Scotland.... Those who have observed him most
     closely, and attempted to investigate him, pronounce him a
     'living miracle,' unparalleled, incomprehensible, such as
     has not been seen before, and probably will never be seen

I find, in reading his biography, that in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
in England and Scotland, scientists were asked to give an opinion as
to "Blind Tom's" musical genius. I select only one from these
opinions. The others (from Charles Halle, I. Moscheles, and Professor
H.S. Oakley, all very eminent musicians) agree with this one, and need
not be given.

     PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 16, 1865.

     DEAR SIR,--The undersigned desire to express to you their
     thanks for the opportunity afforded to them of hearing and
     seeing the wonderful performances of your _protégé_, the
     blind boy pianist, Tom. They find it impossible to account
     for these immense results upon any hypothesis growing out of
     the known laws of art and science.

     In the numerous tests to which Tom was subjected in our
     presence, or by us, he invariably came off triumphant.
     Whether in deciding the pitch or component parts of chords
     the most difficult and dissonant; whether in repeating with
     correctness and precision any pieces, written or impromptu,
     played to him for the first and only time; whether in his
     improvisations, or performances of compositions by Thalberg,
     Gottschalk, Verdi, and others; in fact, under every form of
     musical examination,--and the experiments are too numerous
     to mention or enumerate,--he showed a power and capacity
     ranking him among the most wonderful phenomena recorded in
     musical history.

     Accept, dear sir, the regards of your humble servants,

     B.C. CROSS,
     J.A. STERN,
     J.H. REDNOR,
     J.A. GETZA,
     And several others.

Here are some clippings from American and English newspapers.

From "The Public Ledger," Philadelphia, Sept. 27, 1865:--

     "Many professors of music of great eminence have been ready,
     after listening to him, to declare that they would never
     touch the piano again. What he has done in public in the way
     of playing the most difficult pieces after hearing them but
     once, and with a perfection that years of practice could not
     usually apply, is known to all the lovers of music in this

     "The secret of this wonderful power is the most perfect ear
     for the harmonies of sound ever observed,--'only this, and
     nothing more.' To him every thing is music. Discords do not
     seem to disturb him; but his ear catches every harmony, and
     his whole being seems entranced and controlled by it. Let
     him stand with his back to a piano, and any number of chords
     be struck, and he will instantly tell every note sounded,
     showing that he has been able to discriminate, and his
     memory to retain distinctly and perfectly, each sound. The
     phrenologists say that memory is in proportion to clearness
     and strength of the impression produced at first; and this
     must be the case with him. From two years old this
     remarkable power of sound over him has been noticed. He has
     been blind from birth; and it would seem here, as often
     observed before, that, by a compensative law of our being,
     in proportion as one sense is defective, the expenditure of
     vital energy thus saved is absorbed by some other sense.
     Probably all our sensations are the result of vibrations;
     and the pulsations of light that usually enter and give all
     their exquisite pleasure through the eye-ball are in his
     case compensated for by the pulsations of sound, which
     strike on an ear possessed of nerves of double delicacy and
     vital energy from the absorption and concentration of two
     senses in one.

     "'Blind Tom' is not, however, the senseless being that most
     imagine him, but rather like one completely guided and
     governed by this one sense alone. As a lad, the song of a
     bird would lead him to wander off into the woods; and then
     the sound of the flute would bring him to those who went in
     search of him....

     "Perhaps a proper study of the case of this lad might show
     to what extent all (though in less degree) might be educated
     through music. It is certainly this alone that can be most
     easily developed. Probably the highest and best emotions
     might be thus permanently excited within him; while the
     desire for those pleasures leads him to put forth
     intellectual efforts that nothing else can.... But his
     performances in music show how the highest results of art
     and study are most easily reached by this lad in his
     one-sided culture and development,--that of the ear alone.
     It is with him a sort of inspiration. The science of music
     he will probably never be able to master; but we must
     remember that the art of it preceded the science in Egypt,
     in Palestine, in Greece, and in Rome, by long ages. Indeed,
     it was the music of the Hebrews, and then of the Christian
     Church, that gave birth to scientific music, and alone
     developed it, until that of the opera gave rise to a
     distinct branch of the culture. This re-acted powerfully on
     sacred music itself. 'Blind Tom' at present likes operatic
     music best."

"The Albany (N.Y.) Argus" of January, 1866, said,--

     "Now test the power of analysis. Three pianos are opened: at
     two of them persons present hammer away, with the design of
     producing the most perfect discord imaginable; at the third
     piano, the professor makes a run of twenty notes. The
     confusion ceases, and Tom repeats in a moment each of the
     twenty notes sounded. Still another test. Tom takes the
     stool himself. With his right hand he plays 'Yankee Doodle'
     in B flat. With his left hand he performs 'Fisher's
     Hornpipe' in C. At the same time he sings 'Tramp, tramp,' in
     another key,--maintaining three distinct processes in that
     discord, and apparently without any effort whatever. 'Most
     marvellous!' you say; 'but can he express as well as he
     perceives?' The gentlemanly director will let you see. He
     asks Tom to render 'Home, Sweet Home,' by Thalberg. You
     know, that, of all productions in the current _repertoire_,
     there are none which have finer or more difficult shades
     than this. 'Blind Tom' proceeds; and, were you to close your
     eyes, you could not tell but Thalberg himself was at the
     instrument, so perfect and so exquisite is the conception
     and the touch. Then you have renderings in imitation from
     Chopin, from Gottschalk, from Vieuxtemps, from anybody you
     will mention who has been deemed a master of the art; and
     you turn away convinced, surfeited with marvels, satisfied
     that you have witnessed one of the most incomprehensible
     facts of the time."

From "The Manchester (Eng.) Courier," Sept. 26:--

     "'Prodigies' of all kinds are presented ever and anon to the
     public nowadays; but we have had nothing yet produced so
     truly marvellous as the negro phenomenon known as 'Blind
     Tom,' who appeared for the first time in Manchester, at the
     Theatre Royal, last night. In order to test 'Blind Tom's'
     powers of memory, Mr. Joule gave a short impromptu, avoiding
     any marked rhythm or subject, but which was imitated very
     cleverly. To test his powers of analyzing chords, Mr. Joule
     played him the following discordant combinations: the chord
     of B flat in the left hand, with the chord of A with the
     flat fifth and sharp sixth in right hand; the chord of E in
     the left hand, and the chord of D, two sharps, in the right;
     the chord of A, three flats, in the left hand, with that of
     A, three sharps, in the right. All these chords were at once
     correctly named by enumerating each note in succession from
     the lowest. Mr. Seymour subsequently was called upon, and
     gave a subject, which he reproduced upon the piano-forte
     with great success."

From "The Glasgow (Scotland) Daily Herald," Jan. 2, 1867:--

     "'Blind Tom,' the wonderful negro-boy pianist, made his
     _début_ in Glasgow yesterday, when he gave three of his
     entertainments, or rather musical exhibitions, in the
     Merchants' Hall,--two during the day, and one in the
     evening. He is, without doubt, an extraordinary lad; born
     blind, though he is now able to distinguish light from
     darkness; and having a defect in some of his mental
     faculties, though what that defect is it is very difficult
     to say. Nature seems to have made up for these deficiencies
     by endowing him with a marvellously acute ear and a
     retentive memory. It is not uncommon to find blind people
     with their other senses much more highly developed, and much
     more susceptible of impression, than in people possessing
     all their faculties; but in no case have we ever heard or
     known of one with auditory nerves so fine, or with memory so
     powerful, as 'Blind Tom.' Mozart, when a mere child, was
     noted for the delicacy of his ear, and for his ability to
     produce music on a first hearing; but Burney, in his
     'History of Music,' records no instance at all coming up to
     this negro boy for his attainments in phonetics, and his
     power of retention and reproduction of sound.... He plays
     first a number of difficult passages from the best
     composers; and then any one is invited to come forward and
     perform any piece he likes, the more difficult the more
     acceptable, and, if original, still more preferable. Tom
     immediately sits down at the piano, and produces _verbatim
     et literatim_ the whole of what he has just heard. To show
     that it is not at all necessary that he should be acquainted
     with any piece beforehand to reproduce it, he invites any
     one to strike a number of notes simultaneously with the
     hand, or with both hands; and immediately, as we heard him
     do yesterday, he repeats at length, and without the
     slightest hesitation, the whole of the letters, with all
     their inflections, representing the notes. Nor are his
     wondrous powers confined to the piano, on which he can
     produce imitations of various instruments, and play two
     different tunes--one in common time, and a second in
     triple--while he sings a third; but he can with the voice
     produce, with the utmost accuracy, any note which his
     audience may suggest. Yesterday afternoon, for instance, he
     was asked to sing B flat, F sharp, and the upper A,--a very
     difficult combination; and, beginning with the latter, he at
     once satisfied his auditors of his success. One very funny
     feat he executed, which, as much as any thing else, showed
     what he could do. When at Aberdeen, as Dr. Howard explained,
     Tom heard, in a large ante-room adjoining the hall where he
     was, a teacher of dancing tuning his fiddle, the strings of
     which apparently had been rather difficult to get tightened
     up to proper tune. Tom had but to listen, and he retained
     every sound which the dancing-master produced. Tom's
     imitation on the piano--first of the striking of the
     violin-strings with the fingers for some time, after the
     manner of violinists, then seeing if they chorded well,
     again touching up the strings, anon giving a little bit of a
     polka, and once more adjusting the strings, and so on, all
     exactly as he heard it--was as amusing as it was
     astonishing. No one with an ear for music should miss the
     opportunity of going to hear him ere he leaves."

From "The Edinburgh Scotsman:"--

     "'BLIND TOM.'--Last night this negro boy, of whose
     remarkable performances so much has been said and written of
     late, made his first appearance here in the Operetta House.
     There was a crowded audience, among whom were a number of
     the musical _cognoscenti_ of Edinburgh, whose curiosity had
     been excited by the reputation he had gained in America, as
     well as by the favorable notices of the press in this
     country, and the testimony of such men as Moscheles and
     Halle.... It is only when he sits down to the instrument,
     that he becomes, as it were, inspired. He played several
     pieces on this occasion from memory, and displayed great
     execution, and a greater amount of feeling and expression
     than we were prepared to expect. One of the best of these
     was the fantasia on the Hundredth Psalm, which was
     brilliantly executed. One of his most extraordinary feats is
     the reproduction of any piece once played over to him. On
     this occasion, Mr. Laurie, who was present, at the
     invitation of the manager ascended the platform, and played
     a composition by R. Muller, which occupied nearly five
     minutes. He no sooner left the instrument than 'Blind Tom'
     took his seat, and gave a correct imitation. His ability to
     name any combination of notes, no matter how disconnected
     and puzzling the intervals, was fully proved. The
     professional gentleman we have named struck simultaneously
     no less than twenty notes on the piano; and these 'Blind
     Tom' named without a single mistake."

From "The Dundee Advertiser:"--

     "'BLIND TOM.'--This extraordinary musical prodigy gave two
     performances in Dundee yesterday, and on each occasion the
     powers displayed by him were so marvellous as to verge upon
     the miraculous. Our readers must not suppose that his
     proficiency is merely of an ordinary kind, or that his
     notoriety is another species of Barnumism. The letter we
     published yesterday from a private friend, in whose opinions
     we place the greatest confidence, shows that it is not so;
     and we believe the opinions of all who yesterday heard him
     will be found to be those of astonishment and admiration.
     History affords no parallel to 'Blind Tom.' His ability
     would be marvellous, even if he had his eyesight; but, as we
     have before remarked, when it is considered that he is
     blind, it is beyond measure strange. Unless one sees or
     hears him play, he is unable properly to understand the
     extent of his ability. Test him how you may, he never fails.
     His memory is as miraculous as his musical powers; and he
     plays over a piece he has never heard before with almost
     infallible exactitude. Yesterday several gentlemen went to
     the platform, and played over pieces; and, during the time
     they were so occupied, it was amusing to witness Tom's
     contortions of his body, and his movements generally. He
     swayed himself about, his eyeballs rolled, his fingers
     twitched involuntarily, and he seemed like one possessed;
     and, on being allowed to seat himself at the piano, he
     repeated from memory the various pieces which had been
     played to him. In the evening, Mr. Hirst played over a
     number of pieces of the most difficult character, all of
     which Tom produced with fidelity.

     "On inquiry, we find that his proficiency is a natural gift.
     From his earliest infancy he betrayed the utmost interest in
     musical sounds of every kind,--the cries of animals, the
     moaning of the wind, the rushing of waters, and the like;
     and when he was allowed to go out in the fields, if he heard
     a bird sing, he rushed off towards it with frantic delight.
     We publish a letter we received the other day from an
     intimate friend in another town,--a gentleman of great
     musical taste, and no little executive ability,--who is well
     qualified to give an opinion on such matters. He says,--

     "'I presume you have not heard "Blind Tom" play. If not, you
     never heard a better performer. Like most people, of course,
     I was inclined to regard this wonderful prodigy as a
     wonderful humbug; but I assure you, that so far from this
     being the case, or any thing like it, Tom is as genuine an
     artist, and possesses as much (and, for any thing I can
     tell, a great deal more) musical talent or power, either as
     regards the execution of the compositions of others or of
     his own, as either Thalberg, Halle, Madame Goddard, or
     anybody else you ever listened to. I write merely to
     disabuse your mind of the common impression which we are all
     apt to form of these singular geniuses; and very strongly
     recommend you not only to _hear_ him play, but privately
     test him (as I have done) in any way you like. Improvise to
     him as difficult or elaborate or out-of-the-way piece as you
     please, and he will instantly reproduce it. Now, this is no
     common gift; and therefore you and I, and all who know any
     thing of music, should use our best efforts to let the
     public know, that, so far from there being any thing in the
     nature of clap-trap about Tom, he is, in fact, a musical gem
     of the first water. Of course I have nothing to do with him;
     but I have been so highly pleased with his performances,
     that I thought it might be as well to let you know
     beforehand (in case you have not already heard him) what my
     own real impression is of him.'

     "He not only repeats every piece he hears from memory, but
     he improvises and composes; and he last night sang a song of
     his own composition,--'Mother, dear mother, I still think of
     thee,'--of great merit for its simple sweetness and pathos.
     As he cannot possibly remain longer in Dundee than to-night,
     we would earnestly urge upon all who can afford it the
     absolute duty of seeing and hearing this wonderful blind
     negro boy. He is only seventeen; but no man of any age could
     surpass him for executive ability, as his testimonials from
     such men as Moscheles, Halle, &c., prove. He performs two or
     three different melodies at the same time, and plays with
     his back to the piano with apparently as much ability as in
     the ordinary position. We would especially recommend all who
     are interested in anthropology, phrenology, and psychology,
     to see and hear him for themselves. His ability is a
     singular confutation of the theories of Hunt and Blake about
     the inferiority of the negro; for we may challenge any white
     man to compete with him, in perfect safety. His parallel is
     not to be found the world over, nor in any time of which the
     records are known."

As previously stated, Bethune plays full seven thousand pieces. From
the subjoined partial list, which I take from his biography, some idea
can be gained of the character, the ever-varied character, of the
music contained in his amazingly extensive _repertoire_.




=Classical Selections.=

 1. Sonata "Pathétique"                               _Beethoven_
 2.   "    "Pastorale," Opus 28                            "
 3.   "    "Moonlight," 27                                 "
 4. Andante                                         _Mendelssohn_
 5. Fugue in A minor                                       _Bach_
 6.   "   in G minor                                         "
 7. "Songs without Words"                           _Mendelssohn_
 8. "Wedding March"                                       "
 9. Concerto in G minor                                   "
10. Gavotte in G minor                                     _Bach_
11. "Funeral March"                                      _Chopin_
12. "Moses in Egypt"                                    _Rossini_

=Piano-Forte Solos.=

13. "Trovatore," Chorus, Duet, and Anvil Chorus           _Verdi_
14. "Lucrezia Borgia," Drinking Song (Fantasia)       _Donizetti_
15. "Lucia di Lammermoor"                                  "
16. "Cinderella," Non Più Meste                         _Rossini_
17. "Sonnambula," Caprice                               _Bellini_
18. "Norma," Varieties                                      "
19. "Faust," Tenor Solo, Old Men's Song, and Soldiers'
     Chorus                                              _Gounod_
20. "Le Prophète"                                     _Meyerbeer_
21. "Linda"
22. "Dinora"                                          _Meyerbeer_
23. "Bords du Rhine"
24. "La Montagnarde"
25. "Shells of the Ocean"
26. "La Fille du Régiment"                            _Donizetti_

=Fantasias and Caprices.=

27. Fantasia, "Home, Sweet Home"                       _Thalberg_
28.     "     "Last Rose of Summer"                         "
29. Fantasia, "Lily Dale," for left hand               _Thalberg_
30.     "     "Ever of Thee," &c.                           "
31.     "     "Carnival de Venise"                          "
32. Reverie. "Last Hope"                             _Gottschalk_
33. La Fontaine
34. "Whispering Winds"
35. "Caprice"                                             _Liszt_
36. Fantasia, "Old Hundredth Psalm"
37. "Auld Lang Syne," and "Listen to the Mocking-Bird"
      (Piano-Forte Imitations of the Bird)              _Hoffman_


38. March, "Delta Kappa Epsilon"                          _Pease_
39. "Grand March de Concert"                            _Wallace_
40. "Gen. Ripley's March"
41. "Amazon March"
42. "Masonic Grand March"


43. Imitations of the Music-Box.
44.     "        "    Dutch Woman and Hand-Organ.
45.     "        "    Harp.
46.     "        "    Scotch Bagpipes.
47.     "        "    Scotch Fiddler.
48.     "        "    Church Organ.
49.     "        "    Guitar.
50.     "        "    Banjo.
51.     "        "    Douglas's Speech.
52.     "        "    Uncle Charlie.
53. Produces three melodies at the same time.

=Descriptive Music.=

54. "Cascade"
55. The Rain Storm                                    _Blind Tom_
56. The Battle of Manassas                                 "


57. "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep"
58. "Mother, dear Mother, I still think of Thee"
59. "The Old Sexton"
60. "The Ivy Green"
61. "Then you'll remember Me"
62. "Scenes that are Brightest"
63. "When the Swallows homeward fly"
64. "Oh! whisper what Thou feelest"
65. "My Pretty Jane"
66. "Castles in the Air"
67. "Mary of Argyle"
68. "A Home by the Sea"
69. Byron's "Farewell to Tom Moore"

=Parlor Selections.=

70. Waltz in A flat                                      _Chopin_
71. Waltz in E flat                                          "
72. Waltz in D flat                                          "
73. Tarantelle in A flat                         _Stephen Heller_
74. "Josephine Mazurka"                                  _Heller_
75. "Polonaise"                                           _Weber_
76. Nuit Blanche                                 _Stephen Heller_
77. Spring Dawn Mazurka                           _William Mason_
78. "Monastery Bells"
79. "California Polka"                                     _Herz_
80. "Alboni Waltzes"                                   _Schuloff_
81. "L'Esplanade"                                       _Hoffman_
82. Anen Polka

_Programme for the evening to be selected from the preceding._]





     "Hail, tuneful sisters of a Southern clime!
      Your dulcet notes inspire my rhyme:
      Each in your voice perfection seem,--
      Rare, rich, melodious. We might deem
      Some angel wandered from its sphere,
      So sweet your notes strike on the ear.
      In song or ballad, still we find
      Some beauties new to charm the mind.
      Trill on, sweet sisters from a golden shore;
      Emma and Anna, sing for us once more;
      Raise high your voices blending in accord:
      So shall your fame be widely spread abroad."

      M.E.H., _in Boston Daily News_.

One day, two little girls, the one aged seven and the other nine
years, came gayly, gleefully tripping into the room where their
parents sat quietly conversing, and soon began to sing some of the
songs and to enact some of the scenes from operas, performances of
which they had occasionally witnessed at the theatre. This they did,
of course, in childlike, playful manner, yet not without a showing,
considering their ages, of a surprising degree of correctness.

[Illustration: EMMA LOUISE HYERS.]

[Illustration: ANNA MADAH HYERS.]

Their parents at first, however, only laughed at what they
considered the gleesome antics of these embryo personators in opera.
But, the little girls continuing in the presence of their relatives
and playmates their performances, it was ere long discovered that they
possessed no small degree of lyrical talent; that their voices,
considering their tender years, were remarkably full and resonant; and
that they exhibited much fondness for music, and a spirit of great
earnestness in all they undertook.

With these manifestations their parents were of course highly pleased;
and they at once resolved to give their children such instruction in
the rudiments of music as lay within their power.

Thus, then, did those two gifted little girls, Anna Madah and Emma
Louise Hyers, early show their devotion to art, and make that
beginning, which, in a few years afterward, was to grow into a musical
proficiency and a public success in the highest degree creditable to

After one year's instruction, it was found that the girls had advanced
so rapidly as to have quite "caught up" with their teachers (their
parents); and it was therefore found necessary to place them under the
instruction of others more advanced in music. Professor Hugo Sank, a
German of fine musical ability, became then their next tutor, giving
them lessons in vocalization and on the piano-forte. With this
gentleman they made much progress. Another change, however, being
decided upon, our apt and ambitious pupils were next placed under the
direction of Madame Josephine D'Ormy,--a lady of fine talents, an
operatic celebrity, and distinguished as a skilful teacher. From this
lady the sisters received thorough instruction in the Italian, and
were taught some of the rudiments of the German language. It is, in
fact, to the rare accomplishments and painstaking efforts of Madame
D'Ormy that the Misses Hyers owe mostly their success of to-day. For
she it was who taught them that purity of enunciation, and sweetness
of intonation, that now are so noticeable in their singing of Italian
and other music; while under her guidance, also, they acquired that
graceful, winning stage appearance for which they have so often been

Although, as was natural, quite proud of the rich natural gifts
possessed by their children, and extremely delighted with the large
degree of their acquirements in the art of music, their sensible
parents were in no haste to rush them before the public; and it was
therefore nearly two years after leaving the immediate musical
tutelage of Madame D'Ormy when these young ladies made their _début_.
This they did before an audience of eight hundred people at the
Metropolitan Theatre in Sacramento, Cal., April 22, 1867. On this
occasion, and on others afterwards in San Francisco and other places
in California, their efforts were rewarded with grand success: the
musical critics and the press awarded them unstinted praise, and even
pronounced them "wonderful." As a sample of all these comments, I here
append the following from "The San Francisco Chronicle:"--

     "Their musical power is acknowledged; and those who heard
     them last evening were unanimous in their praises, saying
     that rare natural gifts would insure for them a leading
     position among the prime donne of the age.

     "Miss Madah has a pure, sweet soprano voice, very true,
     even, and flexible, of remarkable compass and smoothness.
     Her rendition of 'Casta Diva,' and her soprano in the tower
     scene from 'Il Trovatore,' and Verdi's 'Forse e' lui che
     l'anima,' [Transcriber's Note: 'Ah, fors'è lui che l'anima']
     as also in the ballad, 'The Rhine Maidens,' was almost
     faultless, and thoroughly established her claims to the
     universal commendation she has received from all the
     connoisseurs in melody who have heard her.

     "Miss Louise is a natural wonder, being a fine alto-singer,
     and also the possessor of a pure tenor-voice. Her tenor is
     of wonderful range; and, in listening to her singing, it is
     difficult to believe that one is not hearing a talented
     young man instead of the voice of a young girl. Her
     character song was one of the greatest 'hits' ever made; and
     henceforth her position as a favorite with an audience is

After these concerts they retired to severe study, preparatory to
making a tour of the States. Finally, deciding to proceed towards the
East, they sang to highly-appreciative and enthusiastic audiences in
several of the Western towns and cities. At Salt-Lake City they were
received with the very highest marks of favor. On the 12th of August,
1871, they gave a grand concert in Salt-Lake Theatre, offering some
five operatic selections. At this concert, and for some time
afterwards, the ladies were assisted by Mr. Le Count, a baritone
singer of excellence. I append the following scientific analysis of
the music used, and the manner of its rendition on the occasion just
mentioned. It is from the pen of Professor John Tullidge, and is
copied from "The Deseret News:"--



     "A portion of two scenes from the first and second acts of
     Donizetti's opera of 'Linda di Chamounix' occupied the whole
     of the first part of the concert.

     "The first act opened with a _recitativo e cavatina_,
     selected from No. 4, on the words, 'Ah, tardai troppo e al
     nostro favorito.'

     "The _recitativo_ is in A flat major. But there are no flats
     or sharps in the signature: these are placed before the
     notes as required. When the transitions are rapid,--as they
     are in this piece,--it renders the reading very difficult in
     securing correct intonation. But notwithstanding these
     frequent changes, and intricate skipping intervals, Miss
     Anna accomplished the difficulty with ease, and perfectly in
     tune. The rapid cadence on the dominant was artistically

     "The aria follows with an allegretto in three-four time, and
     the execution in this division is very rapid; but the
     vocalist was equal to the task, and performed it with ease
     and grace. But the most astonishing feat was the cadenza in
     the cavatina: the singer, instead of closing on D
     flat,--fourth line of staff,--took an improvising flight,
     catching in that flight an appoggiatura grace on the note E
     flat above the lines; and closed with the D flat, a note
     below on the pause.

     "This was a dangerous flight for one so young: nevertheless,
     the note intoned was clear, distinct, and bell-like.

     "Miss Emma sang the alto in the 'Caro Ballato' with Miss
     Anna, in a duetto on the words, 'Qui si pria della
     partenza.' The alto takes the notes a sixth below the
     soprano, and her deep mellow voice produced a fine effect.
     The next is a _recitativo_ by soprano and alto. In this
     division the intervalic skippings are difficult; but they
     were correctly interpreted. The alto then takes up a
     larghetto in six-eight time, key D minor. This portion
     required much _con dolore_ expression, which was delivered
     with much tremolo effect by Miss Emma; and her rich, pure
     contralto voice in the low register told well. The scene
     finished with a duet by the two sisters, who were warmly and
     deservedly applauded.

     "The scene in act second contained much of the same forms of
     execution as the first, with the exception of a brilliant
     duetto in D major, which reminded me of that beautiful
     florid piece, 'Quest est homo,' from Rossini's 'Stabat

     "This duet not only requires fine voices, but rapid
     execution also, or the rendition would be imperfect; but the
     sisters gave a charming interpretation to the piece.

     "Part third commenced with the 'Magic-wove Scarf,' from
     Barnett's opera of 'The Mountain Sylph.' Barnett is a fine
     composer, and was theoretically educated in Germany; and, on
     his return, he composed the above opera. The musicians in
     England were much surprised when this clever author left the
     field of composition, after he had received such popularity
     from his opera of 'The Mountain Sylph;' but the author was
     obstinate, and I believe he was offended with some remarks
     of the critics.

     "The scene of the scarf is laid in Scotland. The mountain
     sylph is a fairy, and falls in love with the tenor, a young
     Scotchman. The baritone is a Scotch necromancer. The young
     lover, fearful of losing his fairy love, appeals to this
     demon for aid; and he, wishing to destroy the power of the
     fairy, gives the young man the 'Magic-wove Scarf' to throw
     around her. He told him that the scarf would secure her. He
     was enticed, and threw the scarf around; but, the moment it
     touched her, she became spell-bound, and is supposed to die,
     but is released by a fairy of superior power.

     "The trio opens with a fine baritone solo; and, considering
     Mr. Hyers is not a professional singer, the part was
     creditably rendered.

     "The tenor, Miss Emma, conveyed the author's meaning truly;
     and her imitation of that voice took her to the F sharp
     below the staff. This note was intoned with perfect ease.

     "In Miss Anna's part there are some beautiful rouladial
     passages, which were delivered by the young lady smoothly
     and distinctly; and, when she became spell-bound by the
     scarf, her _espressivo_ and _energico_ were fine.

     "The trio throughout was creditably performed, and was
     loudly applauded by the audience.

     "'Brighter than stars soft gleaming,' from the opera 'Il
     Trovatore,' is a fine composition abounding in _espressivo_
     and _bravura_ passages: the compass is also extensive,
     requiring great range for a baritone voice. The piece was
     rendered with credit by the young vocalist Le Count.

     "A very choice selection from Donizetti's opera of 'Lucia di
     Lammermoor' followed, and was sung by Miss Anna Hyers. The
     first line of the English words is, 'See, 'tis the hour: how
     sinks the sun!' The whole of this movement is in the
     _affetturoso con amoroso_ [Transcriber's Note: affettuoso
     e amoroso] style; and in order to render such a theme
     effective, as love without hope, but still hoping, the
     singer must throw a vast amount of pathos into the subject
     to secure a fine interpretation; which rendition by the
     artist was all that could be required. The second movement
     is in D major. The words of the principal line are, 'Grow
     dark, yes, love's pure flame grow dark, like earthly fire.'

     "The author has interpreted these words with rapid sextoles
     (groups of six notes) and triplets in difficult intervalic
     skips, and finishing with an intricate florid cadenza in
     seconds and thirds. Many passages of the same form may be
     found in Handel's 'Messiah.' The young lady not only glided
     over these difficulties with ease and grace, but also
     brought out the _espressivo_ so necessary for the effective
     rendition of this division. The remaining portions of this
     fine composition are much varied with rapid executions; and
     the compass of voice required for effect is extensive,
     ranging from C above the staff to C below. Every point was
     delivered by the young vocalist with purity and force.

     "I believe this young lady's compass of voice is from E flat
     above the lines to A below; having at her command the
     soprano register, the mezzo-soprano, and a portion of the

     "Both of the sisters sing in the Italian with fluency and
     with correct pronunciation.

     "'Par Excellence,' sung by Miss Emma, was a complete triumph
     with the audience, and received a triple call. This was a
     great compliment after Lingard, the original. But it was the
     lady's pleasing manner that took the comic-loving patrons by
     storm: hence the third encore."

After the performance described by Professor Tullidge, the Misses
Hyers were tendered by the leading citizens of Salt-Lake City a
complimentary benefit. The following correspondence, taken from "The
Deseret News," explains itself:--

     SALT-LAKE CITY, Aug. 14, 1871.

     TO THE HYERS SISTERS,--We the undersigned, residents of
     Salt-Lake City, having witnessed your performances during
     your recent engagement at the theatre, and being willing to
     acknowledge talent wherever found, as a slight testimonial
     of our esteem tender you our influence and assistance in
     making a remunerative benefit, to take place at the
     Salt-Lake Theatre at such time as may suit your convenience.

     JOS. R. WALKER.
     A.W. WHITE.
     WELLS, FARGO, & CO.
       (Per C.F. SMITH.)
     J.B. MEADER.
     M.H. WALKER.
     JNO. MANN.
     S.A. MANN.
     A. BENZON.
     J.C. LITTLE.
     JAS. SMITH.
     N.S. GOULD & SON.
     H.O. PRATT.
     JOS. J. DAYNES.
     HUGH W. McKEE.
     R. ROSS.
     JNO. T. CAINE.
     CAPT. SHAW.
     G.W. LEIHY.
     F.T. WISWELL.
     TEASDEL & CO.
     H.S. BEATTIE.
     JNO. L. BURNS.

To this the following reply was returned:--

     SALT-LAKE HOUSE, Aug. 15, 1871.

     & CO., AND OTHERS.

     _Gentlemen_,--Your esteemed favor is before us; and,
     gratefully accepting your high compliment to our humble
     endeavors, we respectfully name Thursday, Aug. 17, as the
     time of the proposed benefit at the Salt-Lake Theatre.



While in St. Joseph, Mo., they elicited from "The Daily Herald" of
that city the following encomium:--

     "Whoever of our readers failed to visit the Academy of Music
     last evening missed a rare musical treat. The concert of the
     Hyers sisters was absolutely the best, furnished those in
     attendance with the choicest music, which has been in St.
     Joseph since we have resided here.

     "The Hyers sisters are two colored ladies, or girls, aged
     respectively sixteen and seventeen years; but their singing
     is as mature and perfect as any we have ever listened to. We
     had read the most favorable reports of these sisters in the
     California papers, but confess that we were not prepared for
     such an exhibition of vocal powers as they gave us last

     "Miss Anna Hyers, the eldest, is a musical phenomenon. When
     we tell musicians that she sings E flat above the staff as
     loud and clear as an organ, they will understand us when we
     say she is a prodigy. Jenny Lind was the recipient of
     world-wide fame and the most lavishly-bestowed encomiums
     from the most musical critics in the Old and New World
     simply because she sang that note in Vienna twenty years
     ago. Parepa Rosa, it is claimed, reached that vocal altitude
     last summer. But the sopranos who did it flit across this
     planet like angels. Several competent musicians listened to
     Anna Hyers last evening, and unanimously pronounced her
     perfectly wonderful. With the greatest ease in the world, as
     naturally and gracefully as she breathes, she runs the scale
     from the low notes in the middle register to the highest
     notes ever reached by mortal singers. Her trills are as
     sweet and bird-like as those with which the 'Swedish
     Nightingale' once entranced the world. In Verdi's famous
     'Traviata' there was not a note or modulation wrong: her
     rendition was faultless, her voice the most sweet and
     musical we ever listened to.

     "In the duet, 'There's a sigh in the heart,' her voice was
     exhibited in wonderful range; and, in the tower-scene from
     'Il Trovatore,' its great power was singularly and very
     agreeably apparent.

     "We do not remember to have been more completely and
     agreeably surprised than we were last evening in the
     matchless excellence of the singing of the Hyers sisters.
     They deserve a crowded house; and we predict that in Boston
     or New York, by the most severe critics, they will be
     pronounced musical prodigies."

In Chicago their success was none the less flattering. In this, styled
by many the "Queen City of the West," the remarkable musical powers of
these young ladies created intense excitement, especially among people
of the highest musical culture. The extraordinarily high range of the
voice of Anna Hyers quite astonished every one who heard her, and
evoked the warmest praise of the critics. For the purpose of assuring
those who had not heard her sing, or who, although present, failed to
exactly locate in the scale her greatest altitude, as well as to more
pointedly mark this rare achievement in vocalism, a number of the best
musicians of Chicago published a card in "The Tribune," in which they
declared that "Miss Anna Hyers sang at the concert last night the
second G above the staff,--a note touched by no other singer since
Jenny Lind."

Still proceeding towards the East, they next appeared in Cleveland,
O., where their delightful vocal powers were thus alluded to by "The
Daily Leader:"--

     "On Saturday evening last, we had the pleasure of listening
     to the Hyers sisters, who have, since their appearance in
     public, been the recipients of the most flattering
     testimonials; and are warranted in saying, not without the
     best claim to them, the exhibition they gave of their
     ability was most satisfactory. The soprano (Miss Anna) has
     an exceptionally pure, sweet voice, with ample power for all
     the demands of the concert-room. Her execution was
     admirable. The contralto (Miss Emma) possesses a voice of
     remarkable quality; and we do not hesitate to say that a
     richer or more evenly-conditioned contralto voice is rarely
     heard. Her execution was all that could be desired."

Encouraged by the marked success which had thus far crowned their
efforts, their father, with whom and under whose direction the Misses
Hyers had travelled since leaving California, now determined to
enlarge his troupe. This he did by engaging the services of Mr.
Wallace King of Camden, N.J., a gifted and accomplished tenor-singer;
Mr. John Luca, widely and favorably known from his connection formerly
with the celebrated "Luca family," and who sang baritone; while as
accompanist he engaged the fine pianist, Mr. A.C. Taylor of New York.

An intelligent idea of the composition of Mr. Hyers's troupe can be
formed by a perusal of the following, which was the preface given to
the programme of his concerts:--







MISS ANNA MADAH HYERS                         _Soprano_
MISS EMMA LOUISE HYERS           _Contralto and Tenore_
                    ASSISTED BY
MR. WALLACE KING                                _Tenor_
MR. JOHN LUCA                                _Baritone_


                   A.C. TAYLOR.

These young ladies (as will be seen from criticisms annexed) have
created a great sensation wherever they have appeared; and, it being
the intention of their father (who accompanies them) to take them to
Europe to perfect them in their art, he has been induced, at the
request of numerous friends, to make a tour through the principal
cities of America, to afford the musical public and those anxious to
hear these truly wonderful artists of the colored race an opportunity
of hearing them, and judging for themselves. The music they sing is
always of the highest order, and their selections are from the most
difficult and classical pieces that have been sung by the most
accomplished artists.

MR. WALLACE KING (tenor) possesses a fine voice of splendid quality
and great compass, which he uses with marked skill, and is especially
adapted to music of dramatic character.

MR. JOHN LUCA (baritone) is also the possessor of a splendid voice,
and sings in admirable style, both in songs and concerted music.

MR. A.C. TAYLOR (pianist and accompanist). This gifted artist, besides
being an excellent accompanist, is also a solo-player of great
promise. He has had the honor of playing before the most critical
audiences of New York and Boston; and it is predicted by our leading
musicians he will rank with the first pianists of the day.]

As will be seen by the comments drawn from the press, which have been
already and which will be hereafter given, Mr. Hyers's statements of
the artistic merits of his company were by no means exaggerated.

Their performances in the city of New York and in other parts of the
State drew large, cultivated, and enthusiastic audiences, and were, to
use the words of one writer, considered "a revelation."

Thus spoke "The New-York Evening Post:"--

     "The Hyers sisters are colored, and, to the musical
     instincts of their race, have added careful musical
     training. Miss Anna Hyers possesses a flexible voice of
     great compass, clear and steady in the higher notes. Miss
     Emma, the contralto, has a voice of great power and depth;
     qualities which, in impassioned strains, give it a richness
     not often heard in chamber concerts.

     "The gem of the evening was the 'Miserere' scene from 'Il
     Trovatore,' which was skilfully rendered by the sisters,
     Miss Emma singing the tenor part with very fine effect.

     "A duet by Millard, sung by Miss Anna and Mr. J. Luca, was
     also remarkably well rendered; Miss Anna displaying the
     admirable qualities of her voice and her careful training to
     the greatest advantage.

     "The audience was enthusiastic, and the encores were

Said "The New-York Tribune,"--

     "A concert was given last evening by the Hyers sisters at
     Steinway Hall. These are two young colored girls who have
     received a musical training in California, and who are by no
     means mere 'Jubilee' singers, as the programme of last
     evening clearly shows. It embraced several airs and duets
     from 'Martha' and 'Trovatore;' the last being the
     'Miserere,' which called forth hearty applause."

"The Evening Telegram" alluded to them in the following complimentary

     ... "The selections last evening embraced a high order of
     music, operatic and otherwise; and were rendered with a
     taste and grace that elicited frequent applause.

     "One of the young girls possesses a very pure soprano, the
     other an equally excellent contralto voice; and, singly or
     together, their execution is marked by a refinement,
     culture, and attractiveness that deserve first-class
     audiences and first-class appreciation."

So great was the success of the talented troupe in the metropolis,
that when they visited Brooklyn they were already fully advertised,
and a general and very eager desire was manifested in that city to
witness their performances. So great was this desire, that, said "The
Brooklyn Daily Union,"

     "Not only was every inch of standing-room in the Young Men's
     Christian Association Hall occupied, but the ante-room and
     even the stairway were completely jammed. In spite, however,
     of the uncomfortable crowding, every one was pleased to be
     present, and all were delighted with the concert.

     "The young ladies are gifted with remarkable voices, and
     sing together with perfect harmony; displaying the full
     compass and beauty of their voices, which are clear and

     "Mr. Wallace King's rendering of Tennyson's beautiful song,
     'Come into the garden, Maud,' was really exquisite, and was
     followed by a vociferous encore. The concert was one of the
     finest of the series."

But notwithstanding the many critical tests to which these young
ladies had been subjected all along from California to New York, and
despite the fact that their journey had thus far been marked by a
continual series of triumphs,--the thick walls of color-prejudice
everywhere yielding before the force of their rare musical abilities,
their almost marvellous sweetness of song,--they now approached with
feelings somewhat akin to dread the "modern Athens," that
acknowledged centre of musical and general æsthetic culture, Boston,
whose critical audiences ever receive coldly, at first, all newcomers,
and who, guided by their own judgments, and having their own standard
of merit, never yield praise because it has been accorded in other

The Misses Hyers, although fully recognizing all this, were not to be
daunted by it; and they therefore chose an ambitious, but what proved
to be a wise course: they at first appeared at Tremont Temple before a
select circle of musical connoisseurs. At this test performance, Mr.
Eben Tourjée, Mr. P.S. Gilmore, and others of the highest musical
ability in Boston, were, by invitation, present. Before the Misses
Hyers began to sing, Mr. Tourjée said that they would be judged by the
same standards as would be Nilsson or Kellogg. Mr. Hyers, speaking for
his daughters, readily assented to this: and the sequel proved that
his confidence was well founded; for all became satisfied, after
hearing them sing, that these young ladies had not been too highly
praised by the press of other cities. Said Mr. Gilmore, "These ladies
promise much that is great."

But the following, taken from one of the Boston papers appearing the
day after the performance just referred to, best describes the effect
of the same on those present:--

     "We were invited with some fifty other persons this forenoon
     to hear the singing of two colored young ladies, named Anna
     and Emma Hyers, of San Francisco, at the Meionaon. They are
     aged respectively sixteen and fourteen years, and, after a
     casual inspection, may be called musical prodigies. They
     are, without doubt, destined to occupy a high position in
     the musical world.

     "Anna sings not only alto, but tenor, and both with great
     excellence. They sang 'Ah forsetui' [Transcriber's Note:
     'Ah, fors'è lui'] from 'Traviata,' 'M'appari' from
     'Martha,' and the 'Miserere' from 'Trovatore,' each with
     remarkable clearness and accuracy, and surprised all with
     the general skill they displayed. Anna has also the faculty
     of reaching E flat above the staff. Judging from present
     data, they are on a par vocally with our better
     concert-singers; and a further hearing may place them in
     rank with more pretentious vocalists."

Having at this _musicale_ satisfied the critics, they were spoken of
in words of warmest praise by the public press; and their subsequent
performances in Boston created, after all, the same enthusiasm as that
awakened in the West and in New York. I copy from "The Boston Journal"
the following:--

     "The young California singers, Miss Anna and Emma Hyers,
     gave their last concert at Tremont Temple last evening. The
     audience was both large and enthusiastic; and a duet from 'I
     Masnadieri,' 'Home, Sweet Home,' by Miss Anna, a duet from
     'La Traviata,' a cavatina from 'Lucia di Lammermoor,' and
     'The Last Rose of Summer,' also by Miss Anna, appeared to
     give great satisfaction. The young ladies have made a very
     marked impression in their concerts here.... Mr. Wallace
     King has a pure, sweet tenor voice of remarkable compass,
     and sings with excellent taste."

In Boston they made many warm personal friends, receiving from many of
its most cultured people very flattering attentions; and here, too,
were pointed out to them, in a candid and friendly spirit, such slight
defects in their voices, or manner of singing, as only those skilled
in the highest _technique_ of the musical art could detect. All such
suggestions were readily received by the young ladies, who, acting
upon the same, made much advancement in the technical requirements of
the lyrical art. They lingered long in Boston, being loath to leave
its congenial art-circles, and to leave behind its many facilities for
improvement in their profession.

Finally deciding to start again on their travels, they visited many of
the towns and cities of Massachusetts, and sang also in the principal
cities of Rhode Island and Connecticut. Their singing everywhere gave
the utmost satisfaction; and cultivated New England confirmed, in
words of highest praise, the verdict of the West and of New York.

A writer in "The Springfield (Mass.) Republican" thus spoke of the

     "One of the largest, and certainly one of the best pleased
     audiences of the whole season, attended the concert of the
     Hyers sisters at the Opera House last evening. The voice of
     the soprano, Miss Anna Hyers, is beautifully pure and liquid
     in its higher range; and she sings notes far above the staff
     with the utmost ease, where most sopranos gasp and shriek.
     So easily, indeed, does she sing them, that few persons are
     aware of the dizzy vocal heights which she scales. Mr. King
     possesses that great rarity, a _real_ tenor voice, pure and
     sweet, and of great compass. But the charm of the concert
     consisted not so much in individual excellence as in the
     combination of the voices in some wonderfully fine four-part
     singing. Nothing in this line so exquisite as the 'Greeting
     to Spring' (Strauss' 'Beautiful Blue Danube' waltz
     vocalized) has been heard in Springfield for many a year.
     The voices were as one; the shading was perfect; the
     modulations were absolutely pure and true; melody and
     harmony were alike beautiful."

At Worcester, Mass., the performances of the company created a decided
excitement in musical circles and among the people generally. "The
Daily Press" of that city referred to the performance of the troupe in
the following complimentary manner:--

     "A larger audience than that of last Saturday evening
     greeted the Hyers sisters at Mechanics' Hall last evening.
     The programme was a new one, with the exception of the
     'Greeting to Spring,' which was repeated by request, and was
     enthusiastically received. The 'Excelsior' of Messrs. King
     and Luca, the 'Cavatina Linda' of Miss Anna Hyers, the
     'Sleep Well' of Mr. King, and the 'Non e'ver' [Transcriber's
     Note: 'Non è ver'] of Miss Emma Hyers, were encored, as well
     as nearly all the quartets. The quartet-singing was
     unaccompanied, and was the finest that has been heard in
     this city for years. The voices blended beautifully, and
     were full of expression. Nor can too high praise be bestowed
     upon the soprano and tenor. They showed great cultivation,
     and a quality of voice rarely equalled."

While they were in Connecticut, "The Daily Union" of New Haven

     "New Haven has but rarely heard such extraordinary artists,
     or reaped so much benefit as from their concerts."

And "The Providence (R.I.) Journal" said,--

     "Seldom in the history of our pleasure-seeking has it been
     our good fortune to enjoy an hour of such exquisite pleasure
     as we were blessed with on the occasion of our attending a
     concert given here, a short time since, by the Hyers

Our talented artists had now acquired throughout New England a fame so
fair, that Mr. P.S. Gilmore felt warranted in inviting them to appear
at the great Peace Jubilee concerts; and here, before an audience of
fifty thousand people, and in the company of several of the great
solo-vocalists of the world, surrounded by a chorus of twenty thousand
voices and an orchestra of one thousand performers, these gifted girls
occupied a proud position, reflecting upon themselves and all with
whom they were identified additional honors.

During the winter of 1875, the Hyers troupe several times appeared (on
Sunday evenings) on the Boston-Theatre stage in sacred concerts,
supported by a select orchestra of forty performers, all under the
management and conductorship of that fine musician and prince of
gentlemen, Mr. Napier Lothian, leader of the Boston-Theatre
orchestra. At these concerts the music rendered was mostly classical;
although the programmes contained also numbers of a popular
character,--such as were suited to the tastes of the large,
miscellaneous audiences in attendance,--which showed to the highest
advantage the versatility of talent and extensive musical resources of
the troupe. The writer recalls with much pleasure the delightful
emotions which, on one of the evenings alluded to, were awakened in
his breast by the very graceful stage appearance and the divine
harmony produced by these accomplished musicians; for when not
thrilled alone by their music, so faultlessly, so sweetly rendered, he
could not repress the thoughts that came forcibly into his mind, of
not only how much these noble artists were doing for the cause of pure
music, but for that other righteous one,--the breaking-down of a
terribly cruel prejudice, founded on the accident, so to speak, of the
color of the face.

The concerts just alluded to, it is needless to say, brought out the
warmest praises of the Boston journals. It is unnecessary, after the
numerous comments, so highly eulogistic, already given, to quote what
would only be a repetition of the same.

The Misses Hyers have, since the events heretofore mentioned, visited
most of the cities and towns of the State of Maine. In that State they
are great favorites, and sing always to large and delighted audiences.
"In Lewiston," says "The Folio," "they received at a concert thirteen
encores; and at Auburn a full house was gotten out on a half-day's

It would be pleasant to follow the Misses Hyers into that other walk
of art, the drama, which they have of late been pursuing so
successfully, were such a course within the province of this book;
but, as it is not, we will only briefly state, in concluding this
sketch, that they have lately, with an enlarged company, been acting
in a drama called "Out of Bondage," written expressly for them by Mr.
Joseph B. Bradford of Boston. The drama is in four acts; comprehends
four phases in the life of a freedman, beginning in slavery, and
continuing through to his attainment of education and refinement; and
is full of interesting incidents. Their success in this new field has
already, in the smaller places in New England, been great; and it is
the intention of the troupe to produce the drama ere long on the
Boston stage, and in other of the large cities.

Mr. Hyers still holds to a resolve to take his talented daughters to
Europe, in order to there perfect them in the higher requirements of
their art, and to fit them for the operatic stage.

It is to be hoped that he will not relinquish this ambitious and
creditable resolve; for certainly his gifted children have already
clearly shown such rare musical powers, and, incidentally, so much of
dramatic talent, and have had so much stage experience, as to fully
warrant him and all their friends in firmly believing that these
versatile young ladies may, after a short course of training under the
best masters of Europe, easily attain to the highest distinction on
the operatic stage.




     Like the honey-making bee,
     Passing from flower to flower,
     Tasting and gathering the sweets of each.

In musical versatility, in capability for playing upon a great variety
of musical instruments, there may be possibly, among the large number
of talented artists of this country, a few who equal the subject of
the following sketch: the writer, however, confesses, that, if there
be such, he does not know of them. But, be this as it may, such an
instance as I am about to present is one, which, in its showing of
great musical talents and diversity of acquirements in instrumental
performance, will be readily admitted as, to say the least, most

For Frederick E. Lewis performs with ease and with pleasing finish on
the piano-forte and the organ, on the violin, viola, violoncello,
double-bass, and the guitar, on the clarinet and flute, on the cornet,
and on nearly every one of the wind-instruments. Indeed, you can
scarcely bring to this remarkable musician an instrument upon
which in tasteful and artistic manner he cannot perform.


It is not my purpose, however, to present him here as a musical
"prodigy," nor as one of those rather abnormal, supernatural beings
who astound their hearers by playing upon an instrument almost at
sight, without previous study, or without observable method; playing,
as it would seem, from a kind of instinct. I present him rather as he
is,--an intelligent, a cultured gentleman; an artist so great in
natural gifts as to often excite astonishment certainly; but yet one
with intelligent method, and fully able to understand and explain all
he so skilfully performs.

His extraordinary success in acquiring a good degree of proficiency in
playing upon at least fifteen instruments--on two or three of which he
excels as a performer, and most of which, too, he teaches--is due not
alone to his great natural endowments, but is largely the result of an
assiduous cultivation of the same, and of a severe, steady, and
long-continued study and practice of each one of these instruments, in
which occupation he has ever aimed at the classical, and avoided all
that was coarse or commonplace, either in the compositions used, or in
his execution of the same.

On choosing an instrument for study, Mr. Lewis's plan has been to
first learn all about its structure, the theory concerning its
qualities, its tone-producing capabilities; and then, choosing the
best practical text-books procurable, to commence, without other
teachers than the latter, its practice. He is acquainted, therefore,
not only with the musical capacity of all the instruments he plays,
but also knows so much in regard to their mechanism, that, when out of
order, he can generally repair them; thus possessing in this latter
respect an ability far from common among musicians. He has at his
rooms quite a large family of stringed instruments, consisting of two
or three violins, a viola, two 'cellos, a double-bass, and a guitar.
These have all been carefully chosen for their beauty of form, and
nicety and sweetness of tone, their owner being a decidedly good
judge, a real connoisseur; and none of them are for sale.

His rooms are neatly but not expensively furnished. A few choice
pictures hang on the walls: but here, there, and everywhere are to be
found the emblems and accessories of the musical art,--a piano-forte,
on the back part of which are great piles of music, and in which are
the latest and choicest publications; a number of music-stands;
several of the viol family hanging on the walls, or placed in their
boxes on the floor; two or three varieties of the clarinet; a cornet,
a guitar, a flute, &c. In fact, there is music, music everywhere, and
enough instruments to form at any time an orchestra of at least a
dozen performers; with a skilful instructor or conductor near at hand
in the person of Professor Lewis, ready to wield an efficient _bâton_,
to play the leading part, or with pleasing compliance to play in a
subordinate capacity.

A visit to these rooms is always highly pleasing and instructive, not
only to the practical musician, but to all lovers of good music. With
the former Mr. Lewis is ready to join in a duet; allowing his visitor
to choose from among his many instruments the one with which he is
familiar, while he himself is prepared to take any other one necessary
in forming the duet. To those who cannot play, or who, perhaps, choose
to listen rather than to play, he is ever obliging, and acts as though
he considers it a very pleasant duty to entertain his friends. At
such times he will commence with his favorite, the piano, and go
through successively a performance upon each one of his many
instruments, giving his delighted listener a taste, so to speak, of
the melodious sweets of each. He delights not only to play, but is
also quite fond of conversing on general music; with which subject he
is very familiar, and is ever interesting and instructive in
discoursing upon the advantages and pleasures to be enjoyed by its
study. Indeed, at such times one is in doubt whether to admire him
most as a performer or as a theorist; for as the latter he is
remarkably proficient, and in treatment delightfully eloquent. As may
be inferred from the foregoing, Mr. Lewis is in his manners extremely
affable and easy. He charms his visitor by his simplicity, modesty,
and freedom from that conceit which might be perhaps expected from one
so wonderfully skilled in his profession. Pope's expressive lines
apply to but few persons so closely as they do to Mr. Lewis; for he is

     "Of manners gentle, of affections mild;
     In wit a man, simplicity a child."

In these times of charlatanry, when titles are so often assumed with a
reckless disregard of truthfulness, I hesitate to apply even to one so
fully qualified, so extra skilled in music, as Lewis, the prefix
_professor_; for I wish, as I ought, to entirely disassociate him from
the mere pretenders to whom, in general, I have just referred. But to
him the title surely belongs; and there is no competent judge, who,
when made aware of the great talents and acquisitions, theoretical and
practical, of Mr. Lewis in the science of music, will not cheerfully
accord it to him. Mr. Lewis does not encourage a use of this title as
applied to himself: it is, however, habitually given to him by those
who enjoy his acquaintance, and who believe that it belongs of right
to him.

Although depending for his support upon the profession of music, his
intense love for the noble art is so pure, is so conscientious, as to
lift him far above the exhibition at any time of a spirit of cupidity,
and to cause him frequently to discourse the most exquisite music,
when he can expect no other reward than the pleasure he feels in thus
gratifying his auditors.

I have thus given a somewhat general outline of the characteristics
and accomplishments of our subject. But what is his history in
particular? What have been the beginnings, the circumstances, that
have united to produce a character so pleasingly and so harmoniously
formed? These questions I shall now endeavor to briefly answer.

Frederick Elliot Lewis was born in Boston in the year 1846. His
parents, both natives of New England, were people of musical and
general culture; his father being a performer on the flute, violin,
violoncello, and piano, as well as a chorister; while his mother was a
pianist, a leading soprano-singer in choirs, a lady of fine musical
taste, appearing often in public, and taking always a leading part.

At the early age of six years, Frederick evinced a surprising fondness
for music; but it was not until he was eleven years old that he began
its real study. This he did under his mother's direction, taking
lessons on the piano-forte. At this time he found the study of music
difficult, and the acquirement of its scientific rudiments was to
him dry work. In one year, however, its charming beauties began to
open before his young mind; and after this he rapidly developed a
talent for music, felt the inspiration of the beautiful art, and
became ambitious to excel.

After studying for some time the piano, and becoming, for one of his
years, quite proficient as a performer, he began to take lessons on
the organ under the direction of Miss R.M. Washington, an accomplished
teacher of that instrument, of the piano-forte, and of harmony. The
organ for some time quite absorbed his attention. This grand and most
comprehensive of instruments, with its great scope and capacity for
the production of harmonic beauties, so delighted, indeed so charmed,
our young enthusiast,--for such he had now become,--as to leave him
with scarcely any inclination or time for other studies. He resolved
then to learn all that it was possible to know about the organ, not
only in awaking to life its tones of grandest harmony, but also, and
in order to better accomplish the same, to study its wonderful

With this latter purpose in view, he visited the extensive and
celebrated organ manufactory of the Messrs. E. and G.G. Hook &
Hastings, located at what was then called Roxbury, Mass., now a part
of the city of Boston. These gentlemen were so pleased with his
ambitious spirit, that they kindly gave him permission to visit at
will their factory, and to examine into every thing connected with
organ-making. After a while, this firm, discovering the ability of
young Lewis as a performer, invited him, in the presence of, and at
times in conjunction with, some of the most skilful organists of
Boston, to test their organs before the same were offered for sale.
Besides, he sometimes offered suggestions in regard to their
construction before the organs were completed, some of which
suggestions were adopted by the firm. It will thus be seen that our
student was quite fortunate in having, in the first place, an
excellent teacher, and afterwards such beneficial opportunities as
those allowed him by the Messrs. Hook. No wonder, then, that with his
natural abilities, his ambitious, art-loving spirit, industrious
habits, and such facilities, he quite early became a proficient

With his acquisition of skill as a performer on the piano-forte and
organ already attained, as well as with his prospects for attaining to
great distinction as a player of either of them, our artist might well
have been content. But with these he was not satisfied: he longed to
roam over the whole field of instrumental music, to evoke and to enjoy
the harmonic beauties of the many other instruments. He had, in fine,
become an enthusiast in music; and yearned to become a real
connoisseur, theoretically and practically.

Mr. Lewis, therefore, next took up for study the violin, without other
teachers than the best instruction-books treating on that instrument.
Becoming enamoured of the tones of that sweet and soul-expressing
instrument, using in his work only music of the highest kind (he
never, indeed, had a taste for any other), choosing for his
models--when not guided alone by his own ideas of fine expression--the
most classical performers, he rapidly advanced as a pleasing and
scholarly violinist, and made his first public appearance as a soloist
at New Bedford, Mass., in 1861. About this time, having attained to a
fine degree of general proficiency in music, and having overcome to
some extent a certain shyness and timidity which had hitherto
characterized him, he accepted invitations to appear in the best
musical circles in Boston, and to take part occasionally in public
performances there. This served to increase his desire to learn even
other instruments, and caused him to study successively many of the
pieces that are comprised in the formation of a large orchestra or a
military band. He made, however, the cornet his principal study.
Having at this time become quite partial to stringed instruments, he
soon gave most of his time to the study and practice alternately of
the viola, violoncello, double-bass, and the guitar. As a performer on
all of these instruments, except perhaps the guitar (an instrument
which he never much liked), he has on important public occasions
appeared, eliciting at such times the favorable comments of the press.

Leaving for a while the instruments just mentioned, he turned his
attention to the clarinet and flute. To the former he is at present
much devoted, playing upon it with much taste and skill.

Being asked why he so much enlarged his field of instrumental
performance, and why he did not confine his studies to not more than
one or two instruments, he said that it was in order that he might be
the better able to arrange and write music for an orchestra or
military band; and in this ambitious endeavor he has attained to a
fine degree of success.

I should have mentioned before this, that, at the age of fifteen, our
subject was considered quite a competent performer on the piano-forte,
the organ, and the violin; and that at that early age he began to
teach the playing of these instruments.

Although his talent and acquirements are displayed more particularly
as an instrumentalist, Mr. Lewis is also a fair vocalist, understands
thoroughly its theory, and teaches singing. He is a valued member of
several musical clubs of Boston and vicinity composed of artists of
the highest culture, such as the Haydn and Mozart Clubs of Chelsea,
Mass. He, besides, meets with a select few in Boston, in a circle of
studious amateurs where none but the finest and most classical music
is performed. He is a member of the "Boston Musicians' Union," which
comprises in its membership most of the best musicians of the city;
such as, for instance, Julius Eichberg, P.S. Gilmore, C.N. Allen,
Messrs. Listemann, Lothian, &c.

In the Haydn and Mozart Clubs Mr. Lewis has played the part for first
violin; and on several occasions, in the absence of the directors of
those bodies, he has assumed acceptably the conductorship. His general
musical accomplishments, and his acquaintance with each instrument
used in these clubs, make him really the most useful and valued
member; for, if a member fails to appear at a performance, he need not
be much missed, since Mr. Lewis, if present, can take his instrument,
whatever it may be, while his own regular place may be taken by the
next first violinist in rank.

He has performed on several great occasions, notably at the World's
Peace Jubilee, held in Boston in 1872, in an orchestra of nearly two
thousand instrumentalists, all selected, and of fine skill. Before
being accepted there, he was subjected to a most rigid examination by
the superintendent of the orchestra, being required to play on the
violin some of the most complicated and difficult compositions for
that instrument. This test he stood so well, indeed, as to elicit
from the superintendent, in the warmest manner, the comprehensive
exclamation, "Lewis, you are a musician!" At the grand testimonial
concert tendered P.S. Gilmore (the projector of the two great
"Jubilees") at the Boston Theatre, prior to his going to New York to
reside, Mr. Lewis appeared in a selected orchestra, and contributed
not a little to the success of that interesting occasion.

He is constantly arranging and composing music for his classes, for
orchestras and bands. At present he is engaged in composing for the
piano what he will call "A Meditation," and in which he will include
some of the finest ideas that constantly fill his musical mind. Some
of these thoughts I have heard him play; and I have been so pleased by
them, as to beg him not to relinquish his purpose to give them to the
public, being convinced that in so doing he would afford delight to
all lovers of good music, and add much to his already fine reputation.

Many complimentary notices touching the musical abilities of Mr. Lewis
have from time to time appeared in the public journals. A few of the
briefest are given below.

One of these journals, a good while ago, said,--

     "Mr. Lewis is an amateur performer of marked ability."

"The Boston Journal," June 11, 1874, said,--

     "Mr. Lewis gained much applause for his violin solos; and a
     duet and also a sonata by Mozart, for violin and piano, were
     well received."

"The Boston Globe," April 16, 1874, said,--

     "Mr. F.E. Lewis, violin soloist, appeared once on the list,
     and was so demonstratively applauded, that he was a second
     time forced to come upon the platform. His first solo and
     the response were very artistically given."

In these driving days, when competition is so rife in all the trades
and professions, and when, even among our best musicians, what begins
as a spirit of honest rivalry often degenerates into that of
detraction, it is pleasant to record instances in which it is shown
that there are those who in their culture so strikingly unite the
qualities of the skilful artist and the true gentleman, that their
warmest admirers and friends are found among those of the same
calling. Of Mr. Lewis, Mr. Alonzo Bond, director of Bond's Military
Band, and a veteran musician of note, once said, "He is the finest
accompanist (piano) in the United States." The writer has also in
possession letters, highly commendatory of Mr. Lewis as a musician,
from Mr. L.R. Goering, a skilful orchestra leader, member of that fine
body of musicians, the Germania Band, and a teacher of great merit;
from T.M. Carter, director of Carter's Band; from J.O. Freeman, and
J.H. Richardson,--all musicians of high rank, and gentlemen of
excellent general culture. From the letter of one of these (Mr. J.O.
Freeman) I quote the following reference to the subject of this

     "I look upon him as a person of remarkable musical ability.
     His performance on the violin, viola, violoncello,
     double-bass, clarinet, and also brass instruments, is really
     surprising. But where we see his real talent is in his
     conception and rendering of classical music on the
     piano-forte. Even in his own compositions he has shown much
     real talent. I regret that he could not have had the chances
     abroad that so many of our less-talented Americans have had.
     Besides the numerous instruments I have mentioned, there is
     still another (which, perhaps, in character ranks higher
     than any of the others): I mean the church-organ, upon which
     he also plays."

This writer, like all the others mentioned, could not refrain from
closing his letter by a very handsome reference to Mr. Lewis's
gentlemanly traits of character.

Slightly below the medium size, of graceful form, with regular,
expressive features, and thoughtful cast of countenance; always neat
in appearance; of gentlemanly, Christian deportment; genial in
manners,--so amiable, as to be almost without an enemy; of very
industrious habits; fully impressed with the beauty, the grandeur, and
the great usefulness, of the divine art, as a potent means, when
properly employed, for elevating the mind, adding to innocent
enjoyment, and as an aid to polite culture; and with a soul absorbed
in music,--all this can be truly said of Frederick E. Lewis. Not much
more can or need be said to mark him, as he is, the Christian
gentleman and the wonderfully talented musician,--one whose charming
qualities fill the measure of our highest conception of the true, the
ideal artist.




     "The melody of every grace
     And music of her face."


     "And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight;
     All melodies the echoes of that voice."


All musical tones please the ear, and affect to a greater or lesser
degree the finer senses; for as beautifully and expressively sings
Cowper, explaining this sensibility,--

     "There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:...
     Some chord in unison with what we hear
     Is touched within us, and the heart replies."

The musical instrument, of itself lying cold and inanimate, may
become, when touched by the hand of genius, seemingly a thing of life
as the performer evolves from its board tones of melody so thrillingly
sweet, so soulful, as to awaken in the listener's breast the holiest
emotions. Even stout-hearted men have shed the tear of feeling when
listening to the tenderly touching strains of the voiceful
violin; while the musical moanings of the violoncello have caused them
to experience feelings of a tender sadness.

[Illustration: NELLIE E. BROWN.]

I saw this exemplified, when, a short while ago, I listened with rapt
attention to the marvellously sweet singing of the violin of that rare
virtuoso, Ole Bull. The performer appeared like one inspired; and his
noble instrument seemed sentient as under his magnetic hand its pure,
melodic, and at times human-like voice, so replete with poetic,
soulful expression, gave out tones of most exquisite beauty and
grandeur, while every heart of his vast, enraptured audience throbbed
in unison.

Still it is only once in a great while that one may witness the
production of effects like those just described: and I think, that
although the lines of Cowper, previously quoted, may refer to the
effect of musical sounds in general, they yet are more particularly
expressive of the impressions produced upon the ear and the heart by
the melodious echoings of a _human voice_ when heard in song; for then
a real, a living soul, with aid of music's charm, breathes to soul its
joys, its pathos, its inmost longings,--touching indeed the unseen,

     "The electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound,"

while heart responds to heart.

Besides, we know that man, in his rudest, as well as in his most
highly-civilized state, readily pays tribute to the power and beauty
of song. In this form of musical expression the singer conveys to the
listener's ear not only melodies that the latter naturally delights to
hear, but utters also the words of sentiment, of instruction, that
appeal to his mind, and touch his heart; thus doubly enchaining his
interest, and enhancing his pleasure. Moreover, to the mere charm of
resonant vocalization is added the one afforded by a warm, a living
presence; the speaking eyes (so aptly called the "windows of the
soul"), with their glowing, magnetic expression, and the effective
gesture, forming together pleasure-giving elements that must ever be
wanting in other forms of musical presentation.

And so easily are our musical sensibilities awakened, and so readily
are we influenced by song-power, that these effects may be exerted
upon us, to a very considerable extent, even by the singer of ordinary
abilities. But by a beautiful cantatrice, gifted with a pure,
resonant, sympathetic voice, its natural sweetness and power
supplemented by careful artistic cultivation, possessing a pleasing,
unaffected manner of appearance and expression, all these effects may
be amplified, intensified. Such a one may often, nay, at will, call
into life our most delightful emotions, and evoke the warmest
admiration of those who see and hear her. Her sway is over all, and is
absolute; the natural music of her voice merely serving as sufficient
charm for those not highly cultured, while the embellishments of art
which she so intelligently uses in her performance add to the pleasure
of, as they satisfy, the æsthetic conceptions, the love of full,
harmonious development, held by persons of the most critical tastes.

As prominent among those lyric artists of New England whose fine
natural musical powers and many winning accomplishments have formed
the theme of frequent praise, as they have been the source of constant
delight for many persons in private circles and public audiences, I
may confidently mention Nellie E. Brown of Dover, N.H.,--a lady who
within a very few years has, by the great beauty of her voice, and the
exhibition of many noble qualities of heart and mind, won a name of
which she and all her many admiring friends may be justly proud.

At quite an early age Miss Brown evinced a fondness for music, the
slightest sounds of which readily attracted her attention; and, long
before she had acquired a knowledge of its rudiments, the natural
sweetness of her voice, as she was heard merely humming a tune, often
arrested the attention and called out the praises of those who heard
her. Thus musically endowed, of an amiable disposition, with spirits
ever as free as the mountain winds of her native State, she became the
favorite of her school companions, and their leader.

A few years ago, while attending a private school in Dover, Miss
Caroline Bracket, a teacher in the same, noticing that Miss Brown
possessed a naturally superior voice, earnestly advised its fullest
cultivation. This lady became her first music-teacher. Diligently
pursuing her studies, she made rapid progress. Being induced to take
part in occasional school and other concerts, our subject soon became
quite prominent in Dover as a vocalist, and was engaged in 1865 to
sing in the choir of the Free-will Baptist church of that city. Here
she remained until November, 1872; at which time, having learned of
Miss Brown's fine vocal powers, the members of Grace Church,
Haverhill, Mass, earnestly invited her to become the leading soprano
in their choir, offering her a liberal salary, besides the payment of
her travelling-expenses twice each week between Dover and Haverhill.
This very complimentary invitation she accepted; and for four years
her fine singing and engaging manners rendered her deservedly popular
with the members and attendants of the church mentioned,--people of
fine Christian and general culture,--as well as of the citizens of
Haverhill generally, before whom, in the public halls, she sang on
several occasions.

She remained in Haverhill until November, 1876; when, on the
completion of the new Methodist-Episcopal church at Dover,--the
largest and finest church in the city,--she was induced to become a
member of its choir. Not, however, until after a severe struggle did
the Grace-church people relinquish their claims to the accomplished
vocalist. They say that they will yet have her back with them. At
present, Miss Brown is directress of the choir in Dover which I have
just mentioned.

I have thus given a rapid sketch of our subject's career as a
choir-singer; a career which, it is seen, has been a most gratifying
one. But her musical achievements have not been made alone in the
positions and places mentioned: in others, near and far, she has
displayed such abilities as a songstress as to have won golden
opinions of those composing her many large and cultivated audiences,
while the press have awarded her the highest praise.

While a leading member of the choirs before alluded to, and while
winning encomiums that perhaps would, have turned the heads, so to
say, of many, and caused them to have relaxed that assiduous and
scientific study so necessary to the attainment of complete success,
Miss Brown continued a zealous student of her much-loved art, being
ever resolved to cultivate her voice to the highest point of
excellence. _Apropos_ of this, I may mention that she once wrote a
friend as follows: "My motto is 'Excelsior.' I am resolved to give
myself up wholly to the study of music, and endeavor, in spite of
obstacles, to become an accomplished artist." It may be observed, that
none but those who are actuated by the most noble motives, and who
give utterance to them in words of such inspiring earnestness as
these, _do_ become "accomplished artists."

Deciding, then, to secure the fullest development of her voice, and to
gain those acquirements that belong to a technical education, living
within a few hours' ride of Boston, she here became first a pupil of
Mrs. J. Rametti, and afterwards entered one of the great
conservatories, where she was placed under the guidance of Professor
O'Neill, a gentleman highly esteemed as a teacher of voice-culture.
She had not long been connected with the New-England Conservatory of
Music, when its director requested her to appear at the quarterly
concerts of that institution that were held in Music Hall. Here on two
occasions, before large and highly-cultivated audiences, with
beautiful voice, correct method of expression, and ease and grace of
stage deportment,--singing, in Italian, music of a high order,--Miss
Brown won the most enthusiastic applause. Predictions of her complete
success as a brilliant lyric artist were freely made by many
connoisseurs. But these have not been her only appearances in Boston.
She has many times sung at concerts in the finest music-halls of the
city, before many critical audiences; her charming rendition of the
numerous English, Italian, French, Scotch, and Irish songs in her rich
_repertoire_ making her one of Boston's favorite cantatrices.

In order that the opinions heretofore given in regard to Miss Brown's
vocal abilities and artistic accomplishments may be shown not to be
exaggerated, I now desire to append some of the notices which her
performances have elicited from the press of New England and other
sections of the country. And here I am confronted by the first real
difficulty that has appeared since I began this sketch; for I have
before me nearly one hundred comments, all highly complimentary, only
a very small number of which may here be reprinted. To properly
arrange and give them _all_ would be an easy and most pleasing task,
since the collection forms an unbroken, a delightful series of musical
descriptions, interspersed with high but always discreet praise of the
artist whose performances, in the main, called them forth; but to be
compelled, from want of space, to endeavor to select, from among these
many encomiums, only those which, while they do justice to our
subject, are yet brief and together varied and interesting, is a duty
attended with some embarrassment. Before attempting to do this, I deem
it proper to say, that, if printed together, the comments referred to
would make a volume of considerable size; which, containing, as it
undoubtedly would, the truthful, spontaneous tributes of lovers of art
to one of its most faithful and accomplished devotees, might well be
considered by herself and many admiring friends as of most inestimable

The following have reference to Miss Brown's appearances in Boston
during the musical season of 1874:--

Said "The Boston Traveller," April 16,--

     "Miss Nellie E. Brown has for some months been the leading
     soprano at Grace Church, Haverhill, Mass.; which position
     she has filled with eminent acceptance, and with marked
     exhibition of artistic powers."

And the same paper at another time said,--

     "Miss Brown possesses a very fine voice under excellent
     culture, and gave with much taste several solos. Noticeably
     good was her rendering of Torrey's 'La Prima Vera.' In all
     her selections she exhibited excellent style and finish."

"The Globe," March 31, said,--

     "Miss Nellie Brown showed a particularly well-modulated
     voice, trained study, and appreciative method, which served
     her well in the pleasant rendering given by her so
     gracefully and unaffectedly."

The same paper, after alluding to her rendition of "Del Criel Regina,"
[Transcriber's Note: 'Del Ciel Regina'] said,--

     "This lady is fortunate in her exceedingly sweet and
     well-trained voice, which, in conjunction with her fine
     personal appearance and stage manners, rendered her
     reception unusually enthusiastic."

Speaking of an entertainment given at Parker Memorial Hall, a musical
writer said,--

     "Miss Brown has a charming voice, and sings with intelligent
     expression and good taste. Two of her songs, 'Beautiful
     Erin' and 'Bonnie Dundee,' were rendered with great

"The Boston Advertiser," March 31, said,--

     "She has an exceptionally pure voice, which has been
     carefully trained."

"The Transcript," April 16, said,--

     "A soprano of good voice and cultivation."

"The Journal," June 13, 1874, said,--

     "A talented vocalist, with a well-cultivated voice of a
     remarkably fine quality. She pleased very greatly in several

Said "The Post," Nov. 13,--

     "An artist of exceptional merit, possessing a voice of rare
     compass, flexibility, and sweetness. In the solo, 'Land of
     my Birth,' by Operti, she received enthusiastic applause."

The public journals of her own city and state very early in her career
chronicled Miss Brown's musical achievements, and even then felt
warranted in awarding her strong but judicious praise. Latterly they
have many times spoken in most enthusiastic terms of her added
accomplishments. I shall quote only a few of the briefest of these.

"The Dover (N.H.) Daily Democrat," Dec. 19, 1873, said,--

     "The concert given in the City Hall last evening by Miss
     Nellie Brown, assisted by Misses Gray and Bracket and the
     Amphion Glee Club of Haverhill, Mass., was a success....
     Miss Brown was very warmly greeted, and surprised all with
     the ease and grace of her appearance, the richness of her
     voice, and the fine rendering of her music. She was
     enthusiastically encored."

"The Dover Enquirer," Sept. 7, 1876, said,--

     "The organ and vocal concert at the new Methodist-Episcopal
     church on Tuesday evening was one of the finest ever given
     in Dover.... Dover's favorite, Miss Nellie E. Brown, was as
     warmly greeted as ever, sang most charmingly, and was loudly

"The Dover Democrat," Sept. 6, 1876, said,--

     "It [the concert] was a grand and complete success.... One
     little incident, or intended incident, was omitted at the
     concert. An elegant basket of flowers was sent by the
     friends of Miss Nellie Brown at Haverhill, for presentation
     to her at the close of her singing; but the express folks
     failed to deliver it in season. It was too bad; but Miss
     Brown and her numerous friends appreciate the good-will of
     the Haverhill people all the same. It was intended as a
     pretty tribute to one of the best singers in New England;
     and, so far as the act itself was concerned, it stands just
     as well as though the presentation had taken place."

Miss Brown has sung in quite a number of the larger towns and cities
of Massachusetts, in which State she is scarcely less a favorite than
in New Hampshire. She has appeared at concerts in company with some of
the most eminent artists of the country (such as, for instance,
Professor Eugene Thayer, J.F. Rudolphsen, Myron W. Whitney, Mrs. Julia
Houston West, Mrs. H.M. Smith, and others), and always with fine
success. In her own city and state she enjoys a popularity unequalled
by any other cantatrice, her beautiful voice and many excellent traits
of character winning her the warmest esteem of all. The people of
Dover are very proud of her, and greatly delighted that one of their
number is received with such marks of enthusiastic favor in other
States. The Dover papers always readily record these triumphs, and
proudly speak of her as "our prima donna."

In November, 1874, our subject sang in Steinway Hall, New York, and
was highly complimented by several of the papers of that city.

"The Gazette," Nov. 4, 1874, said,--

     "Miss Nellie Brown, born and bred among the lulls of New
     Hampshire, possesses a voice of rare power and beauty, which
     she has diligently labored to cultivate and improve by close
     and unremitting study. She has also a rare charm of manner,
     which, united with her exquisite singing, won for her an
     enthusiastic reception."

Another paper thus referred to her:--

     "Miss Brown is not a New-Yorker, but resides at Dover, N.H.,
     where she is the leading soprano in the principal church.
     Her stage presence is quite prepossessing. She sang 'Salve
     Maria,' and 'Robert toi que j'aime,' with very good effect,
     besides assisting in several duets and quartets. She
     possesses a very good voice; and, although of light calibre,
     it is even now able to fill a hall like Steinway."

She has appeared at concerts in Washington, D.C., Portland, Me.,
Baltimore, Md., and St. John, N.B. In December, 1874, Miss Brown
visited the national capital, where she sang in a series of concerts
given in Lincoln Hall under the auspices of the Abt Society. Of the
part taken by her in one of these "The National Republican" said,--

     "'La Prima Vera,' by Miss Nellie E. Brown, was beautifully
     and artistically rendered, the lady possessing a beautiful,
     full, round voice, which blended harmoniously with the
     perfect ease and faultless execution which graced her
     performance. It being her first appearance before a
     Washington audience, the expectation formed of her
     excellence in an artistic sense was more than realized.
     'Nobody at Home but Me,' sung by the same lady in reply to
     an encore, more fully, if it were necessary, stamped her as
     an artist of the first class."

I believe I have already intimated that the very high esteem in which
Miss Brown is held arises not alone from her possession of charming
lyric qualities, but also from her obliging disposition and engaging
manners. She has ever been the true artist; earnestly devoted to the
fullest development of her own musical powers, but not envying those
of others; loving music intensely, as something sacred, and always
anxious to aid in extending its benign influence. The people of Dover,
of Haverhill, of Boston, and other places, hold her in grateful
remembrance for a frequent exercise of those generous impulses that
have caused her to often sing without charge at concerts given for the
benefit of many good objects.

As one among her many acts to benefit the young, to inspire them with
a love of the beautiful in music, I may refer to the "Centennial
Musical Festival" originated by her, and given under her direction in
Boston on the evenings of May 16 and 17, 1876. For these occasions she
had carefully instructed fifty young girls to perform the beautiful
cantata of "Laila, the Fairy Queen," a juvenile operetta. This
charming composition is admirably adapted to inspire a love of the
beautiful in art, and to nurture sentiments of Christian kindness. The
following is in brief the plot:--

     "A band of mountain children are collected to spend the
     summer day in singing, gathering flowers, and feasting
     around their table spread beneath the shadowy branches of
     the trees. They are interrupted by the approach of a
     beggar-woman and her children. A part of the children at
     first repulse her, offended at having their joyous festival
     thus interrupted: but one of them, Laila, steps forth with a
     mild rebuke to her playmates for their unkindness: she
     welcomes the poor mother and children, and bids them make
     known their wants. The other children soon join with Laila
     in speaking kindly to the poor wanderers; and, after they
     have told them their tale of sorrow, they are invited to the
     feast which the children have prepared, and all together go
     out with a merry song to where the table is spread. But
     Laila, the favorite of all, wandering off alone to cull some
     wild flowers, in the ardor of her search loses her way, and
     wanders about until night approaches; and then, as weary and
     frightened she finds herself in a dark forest, she kneels to
     ask aid from her good angel, when suddenly a little band of
     fairies with their queen glide into her presence, glittering
     in their robes of beauty; and, after her surprise is over,
     at her entreaty they conduct her to her playmates.

     "The mountain children soon miss Laila, and all the
     afternoon they spend in fruitless search for her; and, as
     night approaches, they collect in the grove where they first
     assembled, and are expressing their grief and terror at the
     loss of Laila, when she is led in by the fairies and their
     queen, who steps forth, and announces to the children that
     they are the same ones, who, disguised as wretched beggars,
     came in the morning to prove the generosity of their hearts;
     and tells them never in future to hesitate to give the
     needy, for virtue is sure to be rewarded. All unite in a
     joyous song, and Laila is crowned their queen."

The many persons who were so fortunate as to witness the performance
of those charming misses will not soon forget the delights that were
thus afforded them, nor will they fail to remember most gratefully the
lady to whose painstaking and noble efforts they are so much indebted
for what was a rare treat.

I would fain attempt a description of the scene of dazzling beauty
upon which our eyes feasted, and the music of the fresh young voices
that fell delightfully upon our ears, and touched with gladdening
effect each heart; but I forbear, and give place to the musical critic
of "The Boston Journal," who, on May 17, said,--

     ... "The occasion was the presentation of the cantata of
     'Laila' by fifty young ladies, under the direction of Miss
     Nellie E. Brown. The misses, ranging from five to fifteen
     years, possess very sweet voices; and the music was given
     with much taste, and a degree of artistic excellence
     reflecting great credit on Miss Brown's efforts.... The
     audience were greatly pleased with the rendering of the
     music.... While the singing was good, there was exhibited
     considerable dramatic art by some of the young ladies. The
     dresses worn are neat and pretty, the fairy costumes being
     very striking and appropriate. The stage, too, was neatly
     set; and there was quite a good spectacular effort in the
     representation of the fairy grotto."

At Haverhill, Mass., Dec. 13, 1876, Miss Brown again gave this
operetta, when the fifty young ladies appearing were chosen from the
high school of that city.

"The Haverhill Bulletin," Dec. 14, 1876, said,--

     "The presentation of the operetta of 'Laila' at City Hall,
     on Wednesday evening, was a very gratifying success.... The
     whole affair was under the direction of Miss Nellie E.
     Brown, the popular soprano of Grace Methodist-Episcopal
     Church. She was assisted by some fifty young ladies of this
     city; and the promptness and harmony with which all the
     arrangements of the affair were carried out, as well as the
     musical and dramatic talent displayed by them, are certainly
     very creditable both to her superintendence and their

In the month of July, 1876, Miss Brown was engaged to sing at the
"Great Sunday-school Parliament" held on Wellesley, one of the famous
Thousand Islands, in the River St. Lawrence. The now much-lamented
Professor P.P. Bliss (who had become so eminent as a composer of
popular sacred songs), his talented wife, and Miss Brown, were the
leading singers and soloists on the occasion mentioned. The two former
failing to arrive in time, the musical exercises, which were of a very
fine order, were arranged, and for a while conducted, by Miss Brown.
Mr. and Mrs. Bliss, however, arrived some time after the sessions had
begun, and then participated in the singing. At this memorable
gathering of Christian people from all parts of the United States and
Canada, Miss Brown, in the display of fine musical powers, won new
laurels; and her charming singing was made the subject of frequent and
very complimentary allusion by newspaper correspondents writing from
the island. In a handsome volume since published by the director of
the "Parliament," and which is a record of its proceedings, she is
several times creditably mentioned.

The following is one of many like notices which the musical exercises
mentioned elicited:--

     ... "As to the singing of Professor Bliss and Miss Nellie
     Brown, it seems as though we are all in the third heaven at
     once, and that it is almost sacrilege to come down to meaner

Said Andrew Fletcher, "I knew a very wise man that believed, that, if
a man were permitted to make all the ballads, he need not care who
should make the laws, of the nation." This certainly was placing a
very high, but perhaps not a much too high, estimate on the
song-writing power. As coming next in greatness to the composers of
meritorious popular ballads, we may mention those accomplished
persons, who, possessing sweetly-toned, sympathetic voices, and
evincing by their mode of expression a ready, a full conception of the
author's meaning, have, in an eminent degree, the power to correctly,
charmingly render them. In this form of musical expression Miss Brown
delights her audiences not less than in her rendition of songs of a
more pretentious character. In singing the former she exhibits a most
winning _naïveté_, enters wholly into the spirit of the song, and with
a full, pleasing voice, impresses deeply its melody and meaning upon
the hearts of her hearers, thus exhibiting the highest kind of lyric
eloquence. As a singer, then, of ballads alone, she would take high
rank in the musical profession, even if she did not excel--it has been
seen that she does--in the rendering of songs of a more technical

And now, in nearing the close of this sketch, if any reader shall ask
to know the secret of the fine degree of success to which our subject
has thus far attained (for, in considering great instances of
individual achievement, we are ever prone to attribute the same to
mysterious or fortuitous circumstances), let him be assured that there
is really no "secret" about it. Miss Brown, no doubt, commenced her
career with much musical talent, and Nature was otherwise kind to her:
_but she has always been a diligent, persevering worker_; and to this
cause, rather than to her possession of rich natural endowments, must
be mostly attributed her praiseworthy achievements. Indeed, Nature's
generous bestowment of talents, or even of genius, is of but little
value when the favored one does not assiduously labor to cultivate and
develop the same.

     "No good of worth sublime will Heaven permit
       To light on man as from the passing air:
     The lamp of genius, though by nature lit,
       If not protected, pruned, and fed with care,
       Soon dies, or runs to waste with fitful glare."

In her efforts to acquire an artistic acquaintance with music, and to
reach her present high and enviable position as a vocalist, Miss Brown
has had the warmest sympathy and active co-operation of loving parents
and an accomplished brother.[12] Nor should I in this connection fail
to advert to the helping, the inspiring influence of thousands of the
noble people of New England, who, fond lovers and constant promoters
of the beneficent art of music, are ever prompt in the recognition and
encouragement of _all_ its talented devotees. To the words of private
cheer from many of these, and to the inspiriting effect of their
upturned, delighted faces, and frequent plaudits, when listening to
her beautiful voice in the crowded music-halls, she must often revert
with feelings not less of justifiable pride than of the warmest
gratitude. The writer is quite sure that he but echoes the sentiments
of the admiring thousands just mentioned, when he predicts, that if
Miss Brown shall continue to exhibit in the future, as in the past,
the same conscientious, ambitious devotion to her chosen profession,
she is destined to take rank with the world's greatest singers.

[Footnote 12: Eugene L. Brown. He was possessed of very promising
histrionic ability, had frequently taken a leading part in amateur
theatricals at Dover and elsewhere in New Hampshire, and was the
author of a drama which was highly spoken of by the press of Dover.
Unfortunately, in 1875 he died.]




     "While a skilled artist's nimble fingers bound
     O'er dancing keys, and wake celestial sound."


     "Nor Fame I slight, nor for her favors call:
     She comes unlooked for, if she comes at all."


"The entertainments at Parker Memorial Hall on Sunday evenings in no
wise lessen in interest and numbers. One evening, listening to
Gounod's 'Ave Maria' by the famous Germania Orchestra, we felt that
the worship of the Virgin, of which was born such heavenly strains, if
for no other reason, was not without its use in the world even now.
Another evening Mr. Jamieson awoke the echoes of the piano in a manner
to do credit to a Liszt and Chopin."

[Illustration: SAMUEL W. JAMIESON.]

Thus, a year or two ago, spoke one of Boston's first writers and
musical critics, when, in an article published in "The Commonwealth,"
alluding to the accomplished pianist, Samuel W. Jamieson.

In the comparison here made, so highly complimentary to our subject,
this writer does not stand alone; for the remarkably fine execution
of Mr. Jamieson has often drawn from other piano-students praise none
the less flattering; while his mastery of so many of the difficulties
that are connected with piano-forte playing, and his fine general
musical talents, entitle him to a prominent place in books far more
pretentious than this one. He has, in fact, attained to such brilliant
proficiency (although quite a young man) as to cause him to be already
ranked with the first pianists of the country.

Mr. Jamieson was born in Washington, D.C., in the year 1855. He began
the study of music, taking lessons on the piano-forte, when about
eleven years of age. Since then he has been under the instruction of
some of the best masters of Boston, such as James M. Tracy, and Fred.
K. Boscovitz, the celebrated Hungarian pianist. He has been a pupil of
the Boston Conservatory; from which classical institution he graduated
in honor in 1876, receiving its valuable diploma.

While a student at the Boston Conservatory, he was nearly always
chosen by the director, Mr. Julius Eichberg, to represent at the
quarterly concerts the fine progress made by its pupils. At such times
his performances of numbers, requiring rapidity of reading and
execution, together with a good knowledge of piano _technique_, drew
from the press the most favorable comments, and made him the favorite
piano pupil at the institution mentioned. The following, as an
instance of these comments, is taken from "The Boston Journal:"--

     ... "But the best thing in the piano line was the rendering
     of Chopin's 'Polonaise,' in E flat, by Mr. Samuel W.
     Jamieson. The 'Hungarian Rhapsodie,' No. 2, of Liszt, was
     most particularly characterized by a delicate touch, and a
     clear conception of the subject in hand.

     "It is but just to say that this gentleman is an advanced

And this from "The Folio," referring to another like occasion:--

     "Mr. Samuel Jamieson, pupil of the Boston Conservatory, but
     directly under the instruction of Mr. Tracy, carried off a
     good share of the honors of the recent _matinée_ of that
     very successful school."

"The Boston Traveller," describing the performances of pupils of the
Conservatory at Music Hall, after stating that all the performances
were of a high order, makes special mention of Mr. Jamieson, saying
that "his execution of a difficult number was worthy of the highest
praise." Many other comments equally favorable could here be given,
were it necessary.

His performances at these concerts soon made him widely known among
the musical and general public of Boston and vicinity, and his
services as a soloist became much in demand. As soon as he had
attained to a fair degree of proficiency, he began to give lessons on
the piano-forte; and by so doing, and by occasionally appearing at
concerts, he secured the means to continue his studies at the
Conservatory. His playing at one of these concerts was thus spoken of
in a Boston paper:--

     "The concert given on Tuesday evening at the Music Hall,
     though so little known as to be thinly attended, was a very
     satisfactory entertainment, and well deserved a large
     audience. Mr. Jamieson is a pupil of the Hungarian pianist
     Mr. F. Boscovitz, some prominent features of whose style he
     closely imitates. His playing shows him to be a careful,
     conscientious student, possessed of real musical
     sensibility, without any of the nauseous sentimentalism so
     common among young players. His best performance in every
     respect was Liszt's 'Rigoletto' fantasie, the mechanical
     difficulties of which he has well conquered, and the
     passionate meaning of which he interpreted very finely. In
     answer to an encore of this piece, he gave Mr. Boscovitz's
     exquisite little 'Chant du Matin,' Op. 68.

     "He will make an excellent pianist if he prosecutes his
     study as faithfully as he has commenced it. Mr. Jamieson
     carries with him the good wishes and the highest
     expectations of those who heard him."

He early showed a singleness of devotion to his chosen work, and has
always evinced a spirit of ambitious aim. Some particulars of the
latter, while winning him the approval of the thoughtful, have caused
him to be misunderstood and censured by others. With fine artistic
taste, ever aiming high, fully in earnest, and with no more than (as
the writer believes) a just estimate of his attainments and consequent
rank as a musician, Mr. Jamieson has sometimes declined to appear at
the "two-penny show" concerts given generally in the churches, and
often by "artists" (?) of abilities so poor as to render them fit
subjects for the training of a rudimentary music school rather than as
objects of public view or favor. Still I do not believe that Mr.
Jamieson has been unwilling to acknowledge the generally known fact,
that much good has often been done by amateurs and others at church
concerts, both by the aid thus afforded to meritorious causes, and by
the musical practice and public acquaintance obtained for themselves.
That he has not been without a ready sympathy for the persons or
causes to be benefited by such entertainments is well evinced by the
fact, that (notwithstanding he holds certain views mentioned in this
connection) he has appeared at times at the same, at the better kind,
making no charge for his services; and yet his occasional refusal to
appear at certain of these concerts has been attributed--generally by
ignorant persons, but sometimes also by others, who, as they knew
better, must have been influenced alone by bad motives--to his
possession of undue self-esteem, &c. But these unjust criticisms,
although often causing him pain, could never swerve him from his
chosen path. He would never lower his standard, and he always sought
to enter the lists with those who contended for the highest prizes in
art. The prominent position he holds to-day as an artist is proof that
his course has been the right one, and the one which should serve as
an example to all those young persons, who, endowed with musical
talents, are yet neglecting to cultivate the same; who are, in fact,
allowing them to gradually waste away by giving themselves to
unmusical, injurious associations; and who quite too often spend the
precious time that should be given under competent teachers to
diligent, untiring study, in appearances before audiences whose
applause, of doubtful value, is readily bestowed in unstinted
quantities, and which serves, alas! but to dazzle, to deceive, and too
often to permanently ruin, the young performer.

Mr. Jamieson's fine, ever-increasing musical abilities, his general
intelligence and gentlemanly bearing, soon gained for him the _entrée_
of the best musical circles of Boston and vicinity, and secured for
him association at concerts with the most advanced artists. During the
winters of 1875 and 1876 he several times appeared before large and
enthusiastic audiences at a series of entertainments given at Parker
Memorial Hall. A writer thus mentions his performances at one of these

     "Mr. Jamieson, the pianist, was before the public last
     season, and then gained strong praise. He is a promising
     young artist, and his performances on this occasion showed
     marked improvement. His selections embraced a fantasie on
     the 'Wedding March' of Liszt, a fantasie on themes from
     'Rigoletto,' and variations on 'Home, Sweet Home;' and in
     all three he won deserved applause."

He has devoted himself solely to the piano-forte, and makes no
pretensions to a knowledge of other instruments, considering the
former as quite worthy of his undivided study,--especially in these
days, when, in his own city and state at least, fine piano soloists
are so numerous, and whose best performances he desires to equal, and,
if possible, to excel.

From the first, Mr. Jamieson has given himself to the performance of
only the higher class of music. So determined is he in this respect,
that he will not play _dance-music_, not even that of the best order.
The writer once asked him to play one of Strauss' most bewitching
waltzes,--one full of those delicious, so to say, entrancing melodies,
for which the productions of this gifted composer are so noticeable,
and one which at the time had taken nearly every one completely
captive. I refer to the "Beautiful Blue Danube" waltz. But he declined
to play it. I again and again entreated him; for I not only delighted
to hear as often as possible this charming-selection, but, knowing Mr.
Jamieson's rare powers as a pianist, I was especially anxious to hear
_him_ give life to its magic strains. No amount of persuasion could
move him, however; and he finally ended the matter by telling me that
he never, under any circumstances, played dance-music, as he deemed
its practice an injury to one who wished to reach the highest
positions as a pianist. So I was compelled to pocket my
disappointment, and to go elsewhere for my "Beautiful Blue Danube."

Mr. Jamieson is an assiduous student, devoting several of the early
morning hours of each day to practice on the piano-forte. Even during
the heated term, when most artists neglect their instruments, and hie
away to enjoy the refreshing breezes of the sea-shore or the
mountains, he may much of the time be found at his rooms, undeterred
by the hot atmosphere, diligently at work keeping up the nice degree
of proficiency he has already attained, or bravely attacking whatever
difficulties remain to be overcome. He does, it is true, go away every
summer to a quiet nook in the country, remaining, however, only a
short while, and during which he does not, to any great extent, lessen
his hours of practice.

During the winter of 1874 he several times appeared at public concerts
in Boston and in other parts of New England. His performances at a
_soirée musicale_ at the Meionaon, Tremont Temple, Boston, were
alluded to in the following gratifying terms by "The Boston Globe:"--

     "Mr. Jamieson exhibits much power and delicacy, and a
     certain confident but not obtrusive manner, which will go
     far, with his abilities, to place him in a high rank among
     our pianists. He gave much satisfaction; his performance of
     Liszt's fantasie on themes from Verdi's 'Rigoletto' showing
     great skill in mastering the difficult technicalities in the
     variations on the theme."

And in this manner by "The Boston Traveller:"--

     "Mr. Jamieson has come into prominence in this city as a
     pianist, and the ability he has shown has won him the regard
     of musical people. His selections last evening were all of
     the highest order, and were uniformly well performed.
     Compositions of Chopin, Boscovitz, and Liszt, were given;
     and in each a clear appreciation of the character of the
     compositions was shown."

Referring to another occasion, "The Boston Globe" thus spoke of our

     "The participant best known to the Boston public, perhaps,
     was Mr. S. Jamieson, who has appeared as pianist on several
     occasions in public and private with marked acceptability.
     He was on the programme for two solos, both of which were
     given with a skill and an artistic conception that sustained
     the favorable impression that he had previously made."

Mr. Jamieson has for some time cherished a hope of going to Europe,
there to place himself for a while under the direction of one or more
of the great masters of piano-forte playing; being firmly resolved to
leave nothing undone the accomplishment of which will place him among
the first pianists of the world. Those who know of his present
abilities commend him for this desire, and feel warranted in
predicting his complete success. Recently a few among the leading
musical ladies and gentlemen of Boston tendered him a complimentary
reception at the residence of one of the former, and at its close
presented him a sum of money to aid him in carrying out the purpose
just referred to. The occasion was thus alluded to by "The Daily

     "A musical _soirée_ was given last evening at the residence
     of Mrs. Jno. W. Perry in aid of Mr. S.W. Jamieson, the
     talented pianist of the Boston Conservatory, who
     contemplates a pursuance of his musical studies in Europe
     the coming summer.... The assemblage, which was one of the
     highest order of respectability, thoroughly enjoyed the
     choice music that was selected for their ears. Mrs. Kempton,
     Mrs. Perry, and Messrs. Jamieson, Jacobs, Tracy, Haggerty,
     Walker, Willard, and Sweetser, contributed in a programme
     made up of numbers from Rossini, Rubenstein, Schubert,
     Bendel, Mills, Campana, Chopin, Violetta, Liszt, and

The writer of the above deemed it quite enough to merely mention the
names of composers and artists, leaving to the musical reader to
imagine (as easily he could) how rich and plenteous a feast of harmony
must have been furnished to those fortunately present on this
delightful occasion.

As may perhaps be inferred from the comments heretofore given, Mr.
Jamieson, as a pianist, is noticeable for the clearness of his touch,
the brilliancy of his style, and the thoroughness of his
execution,--not failing to exhibit these pleasing qualities even when
playing the most rapid passages,--while he ever shows a full and ready
sympathy with the spirit and aims of the composer.

His remarkable proficiency as a pianist, and the private and public
attention which the same has drawn to him, has secured him, from time
to time, many pupils and as a teacher he has been quite successful.

If the doctrine of "heredity" be true, Mr. Jamieson may trace his
possession of musical talent to his grandfather, who attracted much
attention as a musician.

But there is no easy road to proficiency and eminence in the musical
art; nor is there one in any other. Art is a right royal and exacting
mistress; and he who would be numbered among the favored attendants at
her court must fairly win the distinction by that devoted, undivided
loyalty which is ever accompanied by the severest study, the most
self-denying application. It cannot be denied, of course, that the
possessor of genius or of talent may succeed far more easily than he
who is without such powerful aid; but it is also true, that those who
by their works present examples of great achievement in the science of
music, and who cause us often to pause in utter amazement when
reflecting upon the exceeding beauty, the magnitude and grandeur, of
their creations, owed their brilliant success as much to indefatigable
labor as to their great gifts of mind. Indeed, as has often been said,
"_there is no excellence without great labor_."

So our young artist--of course I speak of him in this connection in a
comparative sense--owes his present high success not more to his
possession of rich natural talents than to the tireless zeal with
which he has cultivated the same.

Possessing naturally a loftiness of spirit, and with a just conception
of his powers; having full faith in and trusting himself; not
unmindful of, nor unduly elated by, the many commendations he has
received from critical judges touching his musical abilities; wearing
easily all the attentions and honors he so constantly wins, and
quickly noting and acting upon any suggestions of errors in his
performances; at all times a conscientious, a zealous student,
impelled by a deep and enthusiastic love for the art of music, and
never satisfied unless working amidst its higher forms,--possessing,
as Mr. Jamieson does, these rare and valuable characteristics, and
being withal still quite young, it is but reasonable to believe that
he will ere long attain to the highest distinction, and be ranked with
the very first pianists of the time in either the New or the Old



[Footnote 13: The writer considers it proper to precede the sketch of
the virtuoso, Joseph White, by a brief account of that wonderful
instrument to which the latter has given his chief study, and in the
playing of which he has become in at least four countries so
deservedly famous.]

     "Thou mystic thing, all-beautiful! What mind
       Conceived thee, what intelligence began,
     And out of chaos thy rare shape designed,
       Thou delicate and perfect work of man?"

     _"The Violin:" Harper's Magazine._

The violin, so often called the "king of instruments," is of great
antiquity. As to just when it was invented is a point as yet
unsettled, despite the indefatigable researches of historians of music
and of general antiquaries. The instrument certainly existed, however,
as early as the sixth century; this being proven generally by the
figures of violins observable on very ancient and respectable
monuments still existing, and particularly by a figure cut in the
portico of the venerable Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, founded by
Childebert in the sixth century, which figure represents King
Chilperic with a violin in his hand.

It being thus used in a representative character shows, too, that it
has for many hundreds of years been a favorite instrument. Of that
ancient guild of musicians, the troubadours,--so long the principal
devotees and custodians of the divine art,--those were most esteemed
by royalty and the general public who were the best violists.

In the construction of most musical instruments, improvements have
been constantly made up to the present time. This is particularly true
of the piano-forte; the handsome form, and the purity and beauty of
tone, observable in a lately-made "Chickering" or "Steinway,"
rendering them so much superior to a piano of the olden times, as to
barely admit of the latter's being called by the same name. But this
is not true of the violin, inasmuch as a long time has elapsed since
any change has been made in its construction that would add to its
delicate, graceful form, to its nicety, sweetness, and purity of tone,
or general musical capacity. To-day a Cremona, or an Amati, as well as
violins of other celebrated makers of the long past, commands almost
fabulous prices. A Cremona very lately sold for four thousand dollars;
while such instruments as I have mentioned, when in the possession of
a soloist, are scarcely to be purchased at any price.

Up to the times of the celebrated violin-virtuoso, Paganini, there had
not been, it would seem, much improvement made in performance upon
this instrument. He startled and electrified the musical world, and in
his wonderful playing developed and amplified such resources and
effects, both as to instrument and performer, as were not, previously
to his coming, thought possible. After him, and to be compared with
him, have come Vieuxtemps, Ole Bull, Wieniawski, and Joseph White. The
latter, although not as yet so well known as the others (he is only
a little over thirty years of age), is considered by competent critics
to be fully entitled to rank with them.

But these are "bright particular stars," men of genius. The instrument
is so difficult of mastery, that few violin-students may hope to equal
such marvellous players as those mentioned; although long-continued
and severe application may make them good orchestral performers or
fair soloists.

The violin is said to be the "king of instruments;" but, by this,
reference is made to those powers and extensive resources of
expression that are made manifest when the instrument is subject to
the brain and hand of the very skilful performer.

At such a time it is made to sing a song, which, readily awakening the
sympathies of the soul, causes the listener to recognize and feel the
effects of the intonations of pathos, of passion, of deepest
melancholy, or those of lightsomeness and wildest joy.

Indeed, this noble instrument, under the deft fingering and skilful
bowing of a master-player, becomes almost sentient, and is shown to
possess the superior and exclusive power of expressing nearly all the
human voice can produce except the articulation of words. A
music-teacher once wrote that "the art of playing on the violin
requires the nicest perception and the most sense of any art in the
known world;" and many there are who will agree with him.

The purity, the sweetness, of its tones,--to produce which calls into
exercise the most delicate faculties of the mind,--and the power of
these tones to awaken in the heart the most tender feelings, to lead
the performer at times into delightful imaginations, into pleasing,
restful reveries,--it is the possession of such charming qualities as
these that has rendered the violin at all times the favorite companion
of the leisure moments of men eminent in the walks of literature, of
princes, and other persons of taste and refinement. Some among those
first mentioned have excelled as violin-performers, notwithstanding
their other occupations.

Girardini, when asked how long it would take to learn to play the
violin, replied, "Twelve hours a day for twenty years." Another thus
intimates how long and arduous must be the toil before its mastery can
be acquired:--

     "The difficulty of thoroughly mastering the violin--the
     difficulty, that is, of combining perfect execution with
     brilliancy of tone and perfect expression--is so vast, that
     nothing short of indomitable patience and perseverance,
     united with those indispensable faculties which all good
     players must possess, will succeed in overcoming them.
     'Twelve years' practice,' says a musical critic, 'on the
     violin, will produce about as much proficiency as one year's
     practice on the piano.' If that is so, we may well imagine
     that a man, who by dint of perseverance has at length
     qualified himself to take his place in an orchestra, may
     content himself by merely maintaining his acquired skill,
     without attempting to rival the great heads of the

     "The time which some students will devote to fiddling is
     almost incredible. We have known a clever man to practise
     every waking hour in the day, rising early and sitting up
     late, and sparing hardly one hour in the twenty-four for
     meals, for two years together, in the hope of qualifying
     himself for the leadership in a provincial orchestra; which,
     after all, he failed in doing. We have known men who fiddled
     in bed when they could not sleep, rather than waste the
     time; and others who have carried a dumb finger-board in
     their pockets, in order to practise the fingering of
     difficult passages while walking abroad or travelling by

It is, however, far from the purpose of the writer to discourage
those who may wish to become proficient as performers on this
delightful instrument, or to do otherwise than attempt to increase the
number of those, who, having carefully listened to master-players, and
having thus learned of the wonderful intonations and of the great
refinement of musical expression of which the violin is capable, have
resolved to become far more than mere "fiddlers;" and are therefore
conscientiously and patiently addressing themselves to an endeavor to
overcome its difficulties, and to take rank as real violinists. To
many of this number a good if not a perfect degree of success must
come, as it ever surely comes to the earnest, persevering student of
any art.

To all such, then, the writer tenders his best wishes; while he
earnestly commends the above examples to all who may have a desire to
learn to develop the beautiful harmonic mysteries of this expressive,
soulful instrument.




     "Across my hands thou liest mute and still:
       Thou wilt not breathe to me thy secret fine;
     Thy matchless tones the eager air shall thrill
       To no entreaty or command of mine.

     But comes thy master: lo! thou yieldest all,--
       Passion and pathos, rapture and despair:
     To the soul's needs thy searching voice doth call
       In language exquisite beyond compare."

     _"The Violin:" Harper's Magazine._

Mr. Joseph White[14] is a child of the New World. He was born in
Matanzas, Cuba. His first steps in art were made in his native town.

[Footnote 14: By permission of Mr. White, I quote now, and to some
extent shall do so hereafter, from his Biography, published in Paris
in 1874 by Paul Dupont. For the excellent translation used I am much
indebted to my friend Mr. Joseph W. Hendricks of Boston.]

His father, an amateur in music, thought he had recognized from the
early infancy of the great artist a more than ordinary taste for art.
When the child heard the tones of a violin, he used to leave off play,
and run in the direction where the instrument was singing, his eyes
never losing sight of the virtuoso. Indeed, by his actions at
such times, he seemed not to belong to this world.

[Illustration: JOSEPH WHITE.]

As soon as his hands were large enough to hold a violin, they gave him
one; and were much astonished, when, at the end of a few months, he
presented himself before a large audience, striking the same with
amazement by the manner, entirely magisterial, in which he so early
attacked the instrument.

He continued his studies until the year 1855, when, at the suggestion
of the famous Gottschalk, who had noticed the signs of genius in the
young man, he started for Paris, the city of wonders, and centre of
attraction for all aspirations.

He came then, this young virtuoso, and presented himself at the
Conservatoire, asking to enter as a pupil. After going through a
brilliant examination, and after fighting against more than sixty
rivals, he was received with unanimity.

In July, 1856, one year from the time of his entering the
Conservatoire, White won all the "approbations," and wreaths and
laurels were given him.

But we will let the newspapers of the time speak; for our own pen will
be powerless to give an account of the successes of the eminent
artist. The "Gazette Musicale" of the 3d of August, 1856, speaks

     ... "We will say as much of the pupil who has won the first
     prize for violin, and who came the last in the list of
     concurrents. The Viotti Concerto had already been played
     nineteen times; and, notwithstanding the great beauties of
     this classic work, the jury began to listen to it with but a
     dreamy ear. Mr. White appeared the twentieth. He belongs to
     a race whose complexion is more of a copper-color, with
     black and frizzled hair. He carries the head high, and his
     look is proud and intrepid. He approaches the eternal
     concerto, and it instantly becomes an entirely new

     "The jury listened to it with as much pleasure as if they
     heard it for the first time; and scarcely had Mr. White
     finished this piece when the jury retired to vote,
     proclaiming him the victor.

     "Mr. White is eighteen years and a few months old. Since a
     year ago he has been in the Conservatoire, and studies in
     Alard's class.

     "But where has he taken his first lessons? How did this son
     of America become the equal of the greatest violinists known
     in Europe? That is what we do not know, and what we ask to
     know for the honor of the American school, of which Mr.
     White is a splendid example."

The paper, "Le Pays," of the 5th of August, 1856, expresses itself in
terms none the less flattering:--

     "The concourse of violinists has presented this year a
     beautiful sight. The fight has been one of the most
     brilliant. The first prize has been awarded to Mr. White,
     pupil of Mr. Alard.

     "... As for Mr. White, he showed himself so much superior,
     that there ought to have been (so we think) created in his
     favor an exceptional prize. He has played with an
     extraordinary animation, not like a pupil, but like a
     master,--like a great artist who commands his auditory. The
     jury itself was electrified. In order to compete with that
     young man, there ought to have been masters there."

It was at this brilliant concourse that Rossini, the great composer,
remarked of White, "Since the day he took an interest in him, and
protected the young artist, there was no festivity at the maestro's
without the violinist playing on his melodious instrument." Besides,
this letter from Rossini, addressed to White at the time of his
father's sickness, shows how much the master loved him:--

     TO MR. WHITE. _Sir_,--Allow me to express to you all the
     pleasure that I felt Sunday last at my friend Mr. David's.
     The warmth of your execution, the feeling, the elegance, the
     brilliancy of the school to which you belong, show qualities
     in you as an artist of which the French school may be
     proud. May it be, sir, that through my sympathetic wishes I
     may bring you good fortune by finding again in good health
     the one for whom you fear to-day! Accept my blessings. Sir,
     I wish you a happy journey, and a speedy return.

     G. ROSSINI.

In November, 1858, Mr. White was obliged to return to Havana, called
back to his dying father. He then left France; accounts of his success
in which, carried to the dying man, were a sweet consolation and
happiness,--thus to see, before dying, his son who was called to such
a brilliant career. After the death of his father, he started for
France again; not, however, without having first obtained great
success in different cities of Cuba, where he was received in triumph.
Gottschalk, the celebrated pianist, who was one of the first who had
advised White's family to send him to Paris, said that in all his life
he had never seen such a beautiful success, and such a deserved one.

After his return to Paris, White gave a great concert.
"L'Illustration" of the 4th of May, 1861, gives an account of that
evening's entertainment in the following terms:--

     "Mr. White, whom America sent to us a year ago, I think,
     through a courageous work, developed the talent which had
     caused him to receive the first prize at the Conservatoire.
     He played with equal success the concerto by Mendelssohn,
     and Paganini's fantasias: which is to say, that he is ready
     to play every thing you may wish; for there is a place for
     every thing between these two extremes. He played even his
     own music; and played at his concert a composition for
     violin and orchestra, very well instrumentated, full of
     happy melodies, and where the principal part contained
     features of a character as ingenious as piquant. He
     possesses an extreme dexterity in the use of the bow, and
     makes the staccato with as much audacity as perfection. He
     has the tone agreeable, the style elegant, and the
     expression just, and not affected. Here he is, then, placed
     in the first rank in that glorious phalanx of violinists
     which Europe envies us."

After having given a splendid description of this concert (which want
of space forces us not to publish here), the "Patrie" of the 30th of
April, 1861, speaks thus:--

     "We have seen Mr. White begin. We have been present at the
     concourse at the Conservatoire, where he won successively
     all the prizes. Then it was but a scholar who gave brilliant
     hopes: it is a master that we congratulate to-day in him."

Some time after, he left for Spain, where he played at Mme. the
Comtesse de Montijo's (mother of the Empress of France), and before
the Queen of Spain. Her Spanish Majesty presented him, the brilliant
virtuoso, with a magnificent set of diamond studs, and created him
chevalier of the order of Isabella the Catholic. We reproduce some
lines from "La France Musicale" of the 22d of November, 1863:--

     "White, the violinist, has had the honor to be received on
     the 12th of this month by the Queen of Spain. Her Majesty
     has accepted the dedication of a piece composed by this
     eminent artist, and has told him that she would try and find
     an occasion for hearing him play it; and, in fact, our
     violinist played at the queen's on the 22d of December."[15]

[Footnote 15: For further accounts of his career in Spain, the reader
is referred to La Correspondencia of 23d December, 1863; La Epoca, La
Discusion, &c., of about the same date.]

After his return to France, he played at the Tuileries before their
Majesties Napoleon the Third and the Empress Eugénie. These sovereigns
congratulated the artist most fully. We reproduce an extract from the

     "In the concert given at the Palace of the Tuileries on the
     1st of March, Mr. White, violinist, and very distinguished,
     executed a fantasie on Nabucco by Mr. Alard, in which he
     displayed all the qualities of a virtuoso. He knows how to
     make his instrument sing; and, when a difficulty presents
     itself, he carries it with a fascinating majesty. He is an
     artist who has succeeded in taking place among the best
     violinists of France and Italy."

This was going on in the year 1864.

This same year, Alard, White's old professor, was obliged to be
absent, and leave his class in the care of others. After considering
into whose care he should leave his class, Mr. Alard thought that
White was more able to help him than any other,--White, his old first
prize. Since that day, it was he, who, during the absence of the
master, has had the directing of his class at the Conservatoire. In
order to thank him for his services so well given, Alard presented
White with a magnificent bow ornamented with gold and with

One reads in the "France Musicale" of the 24th of December, 1864, the
following lines:--

     "Our celebrated violinist Alard, who has been on a short
     tour in the country, has just returned to Paris. During his
     absence, one of his pupils, Mr. White the violinist, took
     the management of his class at the Conservatoire."

The "Art Musicale" of the 15th of January says,--

     "Our celebrated violinist Alard is now in Nice, where he
     expects to spend a month. It is the violinist, Mr. White,
     who is charged with the direction of his class at the

The "Presse Théâtrale" of the 26th of January, 1865, says,--

     "In leaving Paris for a journey, the length of which is not
     fixed, Mr. Alard has confided the care of his violin class
     at the Conservatoire to Mr. White. This choice, there is no
     need to say, has been approved by the ministry of the
     emperor's house, and that of the Beautiful Arts. We need not
     say how much this honors the young artist who is the object
     of it."

After this new victory, our eminent violinist was heard at the Société
de Concerts of the Conservatoire of Paris, where he was admitted as a
member. He played the piece in F by Beethoven; and, when a second time
they encored the artist, he distinguished himself in a classic
work--the concerto by Mendelssohn--which masters alone dare to
confront. The success was complete. One could have heard the buzzing
of a fly in the hall. All eyes and hearts were in complete subjection
to the bow of the young virtuoso.

Here is how the eminent musical critic of the paper "Le Siècle," Mr.
Commettant, expresses himself on the date of the 13th May, 1872:--

     "At the last concert of the Société de Concerts, Mr. White,
     violinist of our beautiful French school, a composer learned
     and inspired, executed the concerto by Mendelssohn, one of
     the most melodious and the best proportioned of this
     illustrious master. The virtuoso showed himself the worthy
     interpreter of the composer; and through his playing, full,
     correct, warm, and well-moderated, Mr. White has obtained a
     success which is akin to enthusiasm. They unanimously called
     back the artist; and he came to bow to the public, and then
     calmly went back to his place in the orchestra, from which
     he had just stepped forth. These are things which are only
     to be seen in this celebrated musical company of the
     Conservatoire, which, in spite of everything, remains the
     first orchestra of the whole world."

The "Ménestrel" of the 12th of May, 1872, says,--

     "Let us recognize the great success won last Sunday at the
     Conservatoire by the violinist White, in the concerto by
     Mendelssohn. He is an artist now complete, this young rival
     of the Sivoris and of Vieuxtemps. He is not only a virtuoso,
     but also a composer of note, having published several very
     remarkable pieces for the violin. We shall notice his six
     brilliant 'Studies for the Conservatoire.' He has composed
     one concerto with large orchestral accompaniment, a quatuor
     for strings, 'Songs without Words,' several fantasies, and
     several pieces for one and two violins."

His concerto brought forth the following lines in the "France
Musicale" of the 3d of March, 1867:--

     "Mr. Joseph White is one of the most distinguished
     violinists of the French school. While yet very young, he
     jumped with one bound to the first rank; and since then he
     has each day strengthened his reputation through new and
     incontestable successes. He has always distinguished himself
     as well by the manner, grand and magisterial, with which he
     renders the masters' works, as by his style, together
     elegant and sober, when he interprets music of our time. In
     order to be more than a virtuoso of note, there was only one
     thing wanting in him; and that was to cause himself to be
     appreciated as a composer.

     "If virtuosity is acquired through obstinate work, guided by
     good studies, and helped by that indispensable element,
     natural aptitude, genius is a gift from Heaven, which
     neither treatise on harmony, nor the works on counterpoint,
     nor a given song, shall ever procure to those who have no
     sacred fire.

     "Last Tuesday Mr. White gave a concert in the Herz Hall; and
     here he has had the good fortune to receive, from the
     delighted audience that surrounded him, a double wreath,
     given together to the violinist and to the composer. The
     concerto he played, and whose author he is, is one of the
     best modern conceptions we ever heard of the kind.

     "The style of a concerto must be, at the same time, serious
     in thoughts and in their developments, graceful and
     brilliant, in order to bring forth the talent of execution
     of the virtuoso. Here is a double reef to avoid, and here
     many artists have been wrecked. Vieuxtemps and Leonard are
     the modern masters who have been the most successful in this
     difficult style; but how many have been less happy!

     "Mr. White's concerto is very temperate, of unnecessary
     length. The fabric of it is very well cared for; the
     mother-thoughts are well separated from the very
     commencement; the harmonies are unmistakably elegant and
     fine; and the orchestration is written with a firm and sure
     hand, without fumblings or failings. The three episodes are
     naturally united by the _tuttis_; the third movement,
     '_rondo à la turca_,' is charming in cut and manner, its
     rhythms original and frank, and has won all approbations,
     and brought forth several times unanimous _bravos_ from the
     whole assembly. This composition of a high value has been,
     in one word, the object of a true ovation for Mr. White, who
     was both author and composer."

The "Art Musicale" speaks thus of this concerto:--

     "From the first measures one feels himself in presence of a
     nature strong and individual, and not in the presence of a
     _proletaire_ of the large tribe of virtuoso composers.

     "Not a single note in the composition has been given to
     _virtuosité_, though the difficulties of execution be
     enormous. 'With every true artist there is an eternally
     vibrating chord, which goes to the heart,' says Boileau; and
     that is why Mr. White asks only that his own emotion shall
     excite emotion, and, to the astonishment of charlatanry,
     renounces at once those means of success employed by coarse

Then follows an analysis of the work, which want of space prevents us
from giving. No need to say that it is favorable to our

We will mention only some of the papers which have spoken of the
evening in question,--"La France," "La Liberté," "La Revue et Gazette
des Théâtres," "La Presse Théâtrale," "La Ménestrel," "La Semaine
Musicale," &c.

On the subject of the "Quatuor for Stringed Instruments" we will cite
the article of the "Gazette Musicale" of the 12th of March, 1872:--

     "The old Schumann Society, all concerts of which are
     consecrated to the liberation of the territory, is not as
     exclusive in the composition of its programmes as its title
     would make you suppose.

     "Thus is it that one has there very vivaciously applauded,
     Saturday, a 'Quatuor for Stringed Instruments,' by Mr.
     White. We signal this beautiful composition to the amateur's
     attention. This young master shows in it the most serious
     qualities united to a perfect clearness and purity of
     melody, with execution very remarkable, and which received
     one of the warmest receptions."

Here is the document we have before mentioned:--


     (_Extract of the Document of the Seating of the Committee on
     Musical Studies, 16th December, 1868._)

     The Committee on Musical Studies for Violin, of the
     Conservatoire, has read with interest the work which Mr.
     White has presented for its approbation.

     The work is composed of six studies for violin, where the
     principal difficulties of execution which that instrument
     presents are confronted.

     One remarks in these pages ingenious combinations proper to
     develop the mechanism of the left hand.

     The committee approves these six studies, called to fortify
     the talent of a violinist.



     _Director of Conservatoire, and Pres. of Committee._

Then follow ten signatures of members of the committee.

As a token of his artistic value, four great masters have presented
White with their likenesses, with the following dedications:--

     "Remembrance, admiration, and thankfulness are offered to my
     young friend White, a violinist very distinguished.


     "G. ROSSINI."

     "To Mr. White, whose talent is an honor to the


     "To Mr. White. Friendly remembrance.


     "To my young friend White.


The numerous medals sent to him by the musical societies are homages
rendered to his merit.

What remains to say after all these proofs of an incontestable talent?

There is nothing we might wish for Mr. White in what touches his art:
in it he unites every thing. He is certainly one of the most toasted
and most appreciated professors of Paris, the soloist beloved by the

We repeat it, we can say nothing more, but that we wish to hear him as
much as possible.

       *       *       *       *       *

And here his biographer, after thus expressing, in terms the most
affectionate and flattering, his inability to say more that would add
to a fame so great, so nobly and so rapidly won throughout Cuba,
France, and Spain,--here he closes the record.

With all these brilliant and remarkable achievements, with all these
rare honors so enthusiastically awarded him by the most distinguished,
the very _élite_, of the musical profession, both singly and
combinedly, and by the sovereigns of France and Italy, White might
well have rested, indulging himself in no further acquisitions.

But men of such transcendent powers, men within whose souls the fire
of musical genius so brightly burns, _cannot_ stop; for the essence,
the very soul, of music, is the predominating, the all-absorbing
quality that forms their natures; and therefore it is that their ever
new, their ever charmingly beautiful revelations in divine harmony,
cease only when the sacred flame is extinguished by death itself.
Thus, then, it was with the subject of our sketch, who was to gain new
laurels in still another country. To speak of the same briefly is the
cause of this continuance of his history.

Although born so near the United States (in Cuba), White had never
until the year 1876 visited this country. In that year, however, he
came to New York. In keeping with that modesty of demeanor, which,
despite the many and rare honors he had won in Europe, had ever
characterized him, he came to our shores unpreceded by that blowing of
trumpets (usually paid for) which generally heralds the approach of
the foreign artist; and quietly, unostentatiously addressing himself
to the _duties_ that belonged to his beloved art, little was heard of
him by the general public for some time. But such almost marvellous
power as this artist, this master, possessed, could not long remain
unrevealed. People of musical culture were ere long electrified by the
sweet tones of wondrous melody which with perfect ease he drew from
his violin. That terrible barrier so often, even at the present time,
erected in this country, that shameful obstruction, _color prejudice_,
could not long withstand the attacks of this quiet yet courageous
musical genius; and people, at first indifferent because of his
complexion, were won anon to his favor, not alone by his exceptional
skill as a performer, but also by the polish, the ease and dignity, of
his manners, so refreshingly free from ostentatious affectation on the
one hand, or hesitating timidity on the other. They found that he was
indeed the true, the conscientious artist, who loved music for its own
sake, and was imbued with a spirit of truthful enthusiasm, in such
pleasing contrast with the characteristics exhibited by many of the
foreign artists who had preceded him, as to render the same decidedly
charming. The possession of these rare traits of character served, of
course, to add to the attractiveness of a form which was one of most
pleasing symmetry.

A knowledge of his great abilities as a soloist spreading among
musicians in New York, he was induced to appear in public. It is
needless to say that his success was unequivocal. Of the impression
he made in New York, a city that has so often been the scene of the
success or failure of the foreign artist, I shall call another
person--a purely disinterested and competent art critic--to testify in
the following, written from New York to "The Musician and Artist" of
Boston of March, 1876:--

     "Joseph White is in some respects the best violinist who has
     visited this country within my remembrance, _not_ excepting
     Wieniawski. He and his companion Ignasio Cervantes, pianist,
     made their appearance in this city some few months since,
     very modestly advertised, and unheralded by any sensational
     newspaper paragraphs, and at their very first concert
     insured themselves undoubted future success. This success
     has been due entirely to White; for, although Cervantes is
     quite a nice pianist, he is nothing wonderful. But White was
     a _revelation_. His first New-York introduction to a large
     general audience was at a philharmonic concert (the date of
     which I cannot now recall), when he played the Mendelssohn
     concerto and the Bach chaconne. The Mendelssohn concerto was
     excellently played, especially the last movement; but it was
     in the Bach chaconne that he proved how really good he was.
     I have heard this composition by every violinist of eminence
     (except Vieuxtemps) who has visited our city; but I never
     heard so satisfactory a playing of it. The three voices
     flowed on so smoothly and evenly, never seeming to be in
     each other's way: there always seemed to be plenty of bow,
     and just in the right place for each individual voice to
     receive exactly its due prominence. The vociferous recall
     that followed this worthy performance was well earned. White
     is a Cuban mulatto, fine-looking, and extremely gentlemanly
     in appearance and conversation. A Brooklyn writer speaks of
     him as follows: 'His style is perfection itself; his bowing
     is superb, and his tone exquisite. His execution is better
     than Ole Bull's; he possesses more feeling than Wieniawski;
     the volume of his tone is greater than that of Vieuxtemps.'
     All of which I indorse."

On March 12, 1876, he appeared in New York as soloist at a grand
concert given by that justly celebrated and almost perfect body of
musicians, the Theodore Thomas orchestra. His performances on this and
several previous occasions elicited the most enthusiastic and
unbounded praise from the critical "Arcadian" and the other New-York
papers, nearly all of whom placed him beside the three or four great
violin-artists of the world.

On the 26th of March, 1876, White appeared at a grand concert given in
the Boston Theatre, in company with Levy the renowned cornetist. I
shall long and delightfully remember the emotions of thrilling
pleasure produced in my own breast by this virtuoso's magnetic
execution, and the feelings of joyful pride that I experienced when
witnessing, on this occasion, his great triumph. After he had played
the first few bars of the "Ballade et Polonaise" by Vieuxtemps, the
audience felt that he was a master; and his reception readily became a
grand ovation. He received a double encore after the performance of
each regular number on the programme. But of his grand success on this
occasion I shall let the journals of Boston of March 27, 1876, speak.

"Daily Globe:"--

     "The concert at the Boston Theatre last evening attracted
     one of the largest audiences of the season; and it is seldom
     that any artist receives such an ovation as that which was
     given to Señor Joseph White, the Cuban violinist, who made
     his first appearance before a Boston audience. The numbers
     on the programme assigned to this gifted artist were a
     'Ballade et Polonaise' by Vieuxtemps, and 'Chaconne' by J.S.
     Bach; but a double encore to each of these was responded to
     by other selections, including the 'Carnival of Venice,' and
     a gavotte by Bach: all of which were rendered with a
     perfection rarely heard in violin performances, and recalled
     the best efforts of Ole Bull."

"Boston Journal:"--

     "The chief feature of the concert at the Boston Theatre last
     evening was the appearance of a new violinist, Señor Joseph
     White, a Cuban, who has lately created quite a sensation.
     Rarely has any artist created so great a _furore_ in a
     single hearing as Señor White. His really wonderful playing
     took the audience captive at once. His tone is remarkably
     true, pure, and firm, and his execution at all times clear
     and perfect. In short, he seems to have perfect command of
     the instrument."


     "He handles the king of instruments with the utmost ease and
     confidence. He has no useless flourish in his manner, and
     none of the 'hifalutin' in his style. He draws and pushes
     his bow, and the instrument responds with delightful
     sweetness and passionate eloquence. He is probably entitled
     to a place in the catalogue of first-class violinists.
     Certainly those who heard him last night accorded him
     praises which would have perhaps ruined a less vain man."

"Daily Advertiser:"--

     "But the success of the evening may be awarded to Joseph
     White. He plays in a style together firm and strong, and
     delicate and refined. His masterly rendition of Vieuxtemps'
     well-known 'Ballade et Polonaise' at once captivated the
     audience, and he was enthusiastically encored; and, the
     audience still calling for more, he played 'The Carnival of
     Venice.' This second selection was played without
     accompaniment; and he again was triply encored, the last
     time giving an air from 'Sonnambula.'"

I have reserved for the last a very excellent critical analysis of our
artist's performances. It is taken from "The Daily Evening

     "The Sunday-night concert at the Boston Theatre last evening
     was made memorable by the introduction to the Boston public
     of Señor Joseph White, the Cuban violinist.... The musical
     fraternity, however, was very fully represented, the
     musicians knowing something of what was in store for the
     evening. But not even they were prepared for the wonderful
     and delightful playing of Señor White.... The first of his
     work last night was something of a disappointment. There
     appeared to be a deficiency of tone, owing, as it seemed, to
     the use of an instrument not loud enough for so large an
     auditorium. But it was soon evident that the selection of
     such an instrument was in accordance with the style and
     taste of the artist. Possessing the most perfect ease and
     freedom in his command of the resources of the violin, with
     a fine breadth of style, and an evidently strong and quick
     sensibility, yet he did not aim to produce his effects on a
     large scale of tone. He seemed to desire to confine his
     exhibition of the violin to the range where its fineness and
     sweetness, rather than its power, may be illustrated, and to
     check himself inside of the limit where a coarse, scratchy
     body of tone is obtained at the expense of purity and
     delicacy. His bow, though 'dividing the strings with fire,'
     seemed never to touch them. The direction or the position of
     its stroke, whether up or down, at the beginning or at the
     end of it, could never be told from any changes in the
     quality of the sound extracted. The tone flowed as though
     after the keen incisions of a knife-blade, not as if scraped
     out by the friction of horse-hair upon catgut. When to this
     delicious quality of tone was added an exhibition of the
     most perfect _technique_, the triumph of the virtuoso was
     complete. The mysterious flowing softness and smoothness of
     tone was carried with unflagging facility through the most
     rapid and difficult chord and harmonic playing; and this,
     with other wonderful feats of bowing, added new and
     bewitching charms to the _diablerie_ of violin variations.
     The reception of the artist was cordial at the outset; but
     at the close of the first performance, a 'Ballade et
     Polonaise' by Vieuxtemps, the enthusiasm was overwhelming.
     In response to the encore, Señor White played a 'Styrienne'
     of his own arrangement; and this was followed by two more
     stormy recalls, the audience refusing to be quieted until he
     had again gratified them, this time with the 'Carnival of
     Venice,' arranged by himself in an elegant transcription of
     the familiar commonplace variations. At the conclusion of
     his second number, Bach's 'Chaconne,' a famous and difficult
     violin solo, which was played, and _interpreted_ as well, in
     a most masterly manner, the applause was again equally
     enthusiastic, notwithstanding the character of the
     selection; and for an encore the scholarly artist responded
     with a finely intelligent and daintily clean-cut rendering
     of a gavotte by Bach. The tumultuous recalls that followed
     this would be satisfied with nothing less than another
     performance; and Señor White gave a rich and pleasing
     arrangement of his own upon a popular air from 'Sonnambula.'
     With these two 'double encores,' amid such excitement as is
     rarely witnessed at a concert, Señor White may well add
     Boston to the other American cities that have 'adopted'

And here, for the present, we will take leave of our great violinist.

It is not probable that he obtained, while in this country, a very
great pecuniary success; and, from what has been heretofore stated in
regard to his characteristics, this will not seem strange. White was
not a _showman_. He has ever been too purely, too entirely devoted to
his chosen art to admit of his using the means generally employed by
the mere money-seeking musician,--means which seem so out of keeping
with those finer aspirations which a contemplation and practice of the
noble art of music are expected to promote, and the use of which,
detracting as it does from his dignity, lessens the respect, the
admiration, which people of culture would fain feel for the gifted

A few months ago our artist sailed for Paris, the scene of his
earliest triumphs. He has gone from our shores with his brow laden
with new laurels, all honestly won; and he leaves behind an admiring
multitude of musical people who will ever watch with deepest interest
his future career, and fondly wish for his speedy return. Therefore we
do not say to him "_Adieu!_" but "_Au revoir!_"



     "Who, as they sang, would take the prisoned soul,
     And lap it in Elysium."


     "For, wheresoe'er I turn my ravished eyes,
     Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise;
     Poetic fields encompass me around,
     And still I seem to tread on classic ground."


The opera, or music drama, in which, in lieu of the ordinary forms of
speech, music and song are used to give elevated expression to
thought, is the most extensive, and, to nearly all lovers of melody,
the most charming, of musical compositions. In its construction
several of the other forms of music are most pleasingly united.

In the opera, with the language of poetry, music is associated, giving
increased ornamentation; and it is used also to bridge over, so to
speak, the places where mere language, either common or poetical,
could never pass. That is to say, there are some phases of feeling of
such fineness and depth, that only the soulful tones of music can
call them into exercise, or give them expression.

The requirements for operatic construction are of course very
great,--so great, that none may hope to succeed in the same save those
endowed, if not with genius, at least with very superior talents. They
must possess both marked originality, and power for continuity of
thought; in fact, must form in their capabilities a very "Ariel," a
fountain-head of music, from which must constantly flow melody after
melody, harmony after harmony, ever new, ever pleasing, the whole
presenting an artistically-woven story of the vicissitudes of human
life. In the composition of an opera, two persons are usually
associated; the one creating the words of the drama (the song), and
the other composing its music.

In this field of musical creation, men of great genius find a more
varied, a wider scope for the employment of their powers; and but a
few of the world's most eminent composers of music have failed to
avail themselves of its opportunities for grand achievements, success
in it being generally considered as necessary for a rounding-out of
their inventive harmonic capacities; while, for the establishment of
their titles to greatness, they have sought to make some grand opera
the _chef-d'oeuvre_ of their life-work.

I would not imply, however, that all the great composers of opera
worked simply for fame. To assert that they did, would, no doubt, be
unjust, as it would be denying that they possessed the "sacred fire of
genius," and that deep and pure affection for art, which, judging from
the noble beauty, the grandeur, of their works, they must have
possessed. It does not seem allowable, for instance, to believe that
Beethoven created the charming and exalted beauties found in the opera
of "Fidelio" while inspired by no higher feelings than those which
fill the breast of him who labors mainly for renown. No: we think of
Beethoven, and of others like him, as those, who, while they were
favored with extraordinary native powers, were also imbued with a pure
love for music,--a love of such strength, that it formed a part of
their very natures. To such minds and hearts elevated artistic work
was as natural as life itself; in truth, we might almost say, was
necessary to life.

But, if great powers are required by the composer of an opera, so also
is it necessary that those who are to make known its meanings
fully--especially those who are to interpret its leading parts--should
possess, as singers and actors, more, to say the least, than ordinary
abilities; and those who, in their capability for complete, soulful
sympathy with the author's aims, who form, in fine, the very
embodiment of the latter's ideals, certainly deserve to stand next to
him in greatness.

Generally the brightest vocal stars have shed their effulgence upon
the operatic stage: here these singers have found the widest range for
their extensive powers of voice and dramatic action. The part of a
performer in opera (and here I refer not alone to one who acts the
leading _rôle_) is a most exacting one; for the artist must unite in
himself the qualities of both the singer and the actor. While called
upon to demonstrate with proper melody of voice and expression the
meaning of the music of the opera, he is also required to portray by
suitable dramatic movements its corresponding meaning as found in the
libretto. These remarks apply more particularly to those who
constitute the _dramatis personæ_ in operatic presentation. Of course
we do not forget the very important aid afforded by those who are
included in the pleasing chorus, nor those who by instrumental
accompaniment add to the charm of--in fact, give indispensable support
to--the whole performance.

It would perhaps be superfluous to here dwell, at least more than
incidentally, upon the deep pleasure enjoyed by the lovers of music
and of dramatic art when witnessing the performance of a good opera.
At such a time their truly musical souls enjoy a delicious, a
sumptuous feast of melody; while the kaleidoscopic prospect, formed by
richly-costumed actors, and appropriate, beautiful scenery, fills them
with delight. The harsh realities of every-day life are so much
relieved by the poetic charms of the ideal, that they live amidst a
scene of fairy-like enchantment. Nor does all that belongs to the
bewitching occasion end with the regretted close of the performance;

     "Music, when soft voices die,
     Vibrates in the memory;"

And for days and days, nay, often throughout life, do the best
melodies, the "gems of the opera," delightfully "haunt the memory,"
and awaken in the heart the most pleasing emotions. In all this, no
more than a just tribute is paid to the noble genius of the composer,
and the fascinating power of his faithful coadjutor, the lyric actor.

These few thoughts, which, it may be, present nothing new to the
student of the various forms of musical expression, fall very short of
doing justice to a subject of most delightful interest, and one which,
for its proper treatment, requires far more of elaboration than can
here be given. They are among such as come to me while reflecting upon
an achievement, that, although not in a general way extraordinary, was
nevertheless, in some important respects, exceedingly remarkable and
noteworthy. I refer to a series of performances given at Washington
and Philadelphia in the month of February, 1873, by an organization
called "_The Colored American Opera Company_."

This troupe, formed in Washington, was composed of some of the most
talented amateur musical people residing in that city. The
following-named ladies and gentlemen were the principal members and

MR. JOHN ESPUTA                 _Musical Director._
MRS. AGNES GRAY SMALLWOOD                _Soprano._
MISS LENA MILLER                       _Contralto._
MISS MARY A.C. COAKLEY                 _Contralto._
MR. HENRY F. GRANT                         _Tenor._
MR. RICHARD TOMPKINS                       _Tenor._
MR. WILLIAM T. BENJAMIN                 _Baritone._
MR. GEORGE JACKSON                      _Baritone._
MR. THOMAS H. WILLIAMS            _Basso profundo._

Mr. Henry Donohoe acted as business manager.

Around these, the central figures, were grouped a large, well-balanced
chorus, and a fine orchestra; nor was appropriate _mise en scène_, nor
were any of the various accessories of a well-equipped opera, wanting
in the presentation.

The opera chosen for these performances was Julius Eichberg's
excellent "Doctor of Alcantara."

The first performances were given in Lincoln Hall, Washington, on the
evenings of Feb. 3 and 4, 1873; the next at Philadelphia, in
Agricultural Hall, Feb. 21, 22, and 23. Returning to Washington, the
two last performances of the series were given in Ford's Theatre.

Of the highly meritorious character of these presentations of opera
there exists abundant evidence, emanating from disinterested,
trustworthy sources, from which I quote the following.

From "The Daily Washington Chronicle," Feb. 4, 1873:--


     "The first colored opera-troupe of any merit ever organized
     in this country appeared at Lincoln Hall last night in
     Eichberg's opera, 'The Doctor of Alcantara.'

     "Lincoln Hall was literally packed. Of course the majority
     of the audience was colored, and included a host of the
     personal friends of the singers. Glancing over the house,
     the full opera-dresses scattered liberally through the
     audience reminded one not a little of the scene at a concert
     by Carlotti Patti or the Theodore Thomas orchestra. Quite a
     third of the audience was composed of white ladies and
     gentlemen, largely attracted, perhaps, by the novelty of the
     affair; and among them were many representatives of the
     musical circles of the city, somewhat curious to hear and
     compare the performance with those they have been accustomed
     to hear.

     "The criticisms, as a whole, were favorable. It was evident
     that the voices of two or three of the singers will be
     bettered by cultivation. The choruses were effective. In
     dramatic ability there was little lacking, and the singers
     were quite as natural as many who appear in German and
     French opera."

From "The Daily National Republican," Washington, Feb. 5, 1873:--

     "The second representation of 'The Doctor of Alcantara' at
     Lincoln Hall last night was an improvement upon the first.
     The natural nervousness of the singers was better overcome,
     and they made a better use of their fine voices.

     "For the sake of making some just reflections and
     comparisons, we select the name of Miss Lena Miller, who
     sang the _rôle_ of 'Isabella.' Here is a young lady, really
     pretty in form and features, graceful in stage-presence,
     modest in manner, and imbued with true affection and
     spirit for art. At present she is not a great singer; but
     her voice is sweet and clear, and at times sympathetic. In
     this simple statement high but judicious praise is included;
     and here we might stop. But Miss Miller's presence in opera
     has a significance and a promise infinitely pleasing to all
     candid and well-judging minds concerning the race to which
     she belongs.

     "Neither Miss Miller nor Mrs. Smallwood, nor any of the
     company, have had the advantage of musical training in
     European or American conservatories. They have to depend
     alone upon their natural gifts and personal acquirements.
     This fact is one which makes vastly in their favor, and
     protects them from the standard by which Adeline Patti or
     Louise Kellogg would be judged as artists. Under all the
     circumstances, they sing and perform extraordinarily well;
     and as for the chorus, it is superior to that of any German
     or Italian opera heard in this city for years.

     "Mr. Benjamin's impersonation of 'Dr. Paracelsus' was really
     a good bit of acting, and Mr. Grant's 'Carlos' won for him
     deserved applause.

     "The _rôle_ of 'Don Pomposa' by Mr. Williams, the _basso
     profundo_, was finely rendered. His acting was good, and his
     voice full of richest melody.

     "The opera last evening was largely patronized by
     distinguished people, among them being Senator and Mrs.
     Sprague, Gen. Holt, and many others.

     "The experiment, doubtful at first, has proved a genuine

From "The All-Day City Item," Philadelphia, Feb. 22, 1873:--

     "'The Doctor of Alcantara' has at last attracted a number of
     colored amateurs of Washington; and they have lately
     appeared in that city, with such success that they are
     induced to present it in Philadelphia.

     "It must be remembered that this troupe is composed entirely
     of amateurs, and is the first colored opera-troupe in
     existence. We have had the 'Colored Mario' [Thomas J.
     Bowers], the 'Black Swan' [Miss Greenfield], &c.; but never
     until now have we had a complete organization trained for

     "The audience attracted to Horticultural Hall last evening
     was therefore prepared to make all sorts of allowances for
     the shortcomings of the amateurs; but it was hardly
     necessary, as the troupe--really excellent, well
     trained--possesses agreeable voices, sings intelligently,
     and with experience will, we are confident, attract a great
     deal of attention, and receive high praise.

     "The principal success was achieved by Mrs. A.G. Smallwood,
     who sang the music of 'Lucrezia' remarkably well. Her voice
     is full and pleasing. Miss Lena Miller, however, sang
     'Isabella' very prettily; her romance, 'He still was there,'
     being rendered with excellent taste. Miss Mary A.C. Coakley,
     as 'Inez,' acted and sang with considerable spirit. Her
     arietta, 'When a lover is poor,' was quite neatly sung.

     "Mr. W.T. Benjamin, as the 'Doctor,' acted and sang with
     spirit; so did Mr. T.H. Williams as 'Don Pomposo.' Mr. H.F.
     Grant, the tenor, has a powerful voice, which, with
     cultivation, will become excellent. He sang 'Love's cruel
     dart' judiciously, and was effective in the opening serenade
     with chorus, 'Wake, lady, wake.' Mr. Grant is not yet at
     home on the stage, but acted and sang the duet, 'I love, I
     love,' with 'Lucrezia,' remarkably well.

     "The chorus, numbering nearly forty, was worthy of warm
     praise. The serenade that opens the opera was charmingly
     sung by the male voices; and the finale to Act 3 was so
     spirited and effective, that it was encored. We do not
     exaggerate when we say that this is one of the best choruses
     we have heard for some time."

From "The Philadelphia Inquirer," Feb. 22, 1873:--


     "This opera-company made its first appearance in this city
     last evening at Horticultural Hall, and was most favorably
     received. The performance, which was given to quite a large
     and intelligent audience, was Julius Eichberg's opera
     entitled 'The Doctor of Alcantara,' which was excellently

     "Miss Lena Miller, who sang the _rôle_ of 'Isabella,' is
     young and graceful, with a pleasing voice; and her part was
     well given. Mrs. A.G. Smallwood was cast as 'Donna
     Lucrezia,' and had considerable to do. She sings well, and
     her acting far exceeds that of any other member of the
     company. 'Inez,' a maid represented by Miss Coakley, and a
     difficult part, was given with great accuracy. 'Carlos,' by
     Mr. H.F. Grant, was fairly rendered.... W.T. Benjamin as
     'Dr. Paracelsus,' although a little stiff, fairly performed
     his part.

     "The chorus, composed of probably thirty voices, male and
     female, was a feature; and their singing is really
     unsurpassed by the finest chorus in the best companies."

From "The Philadelphia Evening Star," Feb. 22, 1873:--


     "This company made its first appearance last evening at
     Horticultural Hall to an audience, which, though not large,
     was attentive and sympathetic. The attendance would, no
     doubt, have been larger, but for an unfortunate mistake....
     As it was, the performance was an agreeable surprise to all
     who were present; not only being a decided success, but in
     the matter of choruses surpassing any performances of the
     same opera ever given in this city by any of the foreign or
     'grand English' opera-troupes.[16] The cast of the colored
     troupe included Mrs. Smallwood, who has a beautiful ringing
     soprano-voice, a very easy lyric and dramatic method, and a
     carriage of unusual grace; Miss Lena Miller, whose voice,
     though less powerful, is very pleasant, and whose acting was
     notable for its unaffected style; Miss M.A.C. Coakley, a
     mezzo-soprano of very fair capacities; Mr. H.F. Grant, whose
     tenor-voice has good power, range, and quality; Mr. T.H.
     Williams, who possesses a deep bass-voice, controlled with a
     fair degree of culture; and Messrs. W.T. Benjamin and
     Smallwood, who filled their parts not unacceptably."

[Footnote 16: The same opera was performed here a few days before with
the following cast: Miss Howson, Mrs. Seguin, and Miss Phillips, and
Messrs. Seguin and Chatterson.]

From "The Age," Philadelphia, Feb. 22, 1873:--

     "The colored opera-troupe gave their first performance in
     Philadelphia last night in Horticultural Hall. The selection
     for their _début_ was 'The Doctor of Alcantara,' by Julius
     Eichberg, which has frequently been given previously by
     various English companies, but, we venture to say, never so
     perfectly in its _ensemble_ as by this company.

     "There was a great deal of enthusiasm; and several numbers
     of the opera were vociferously re-demanded, including the
     _finale_ of the first act, which revealed to us a choral
     effect which has never been heard upon the operatic stage in
     our country since the palmy days of Ullman's management. The
     chorus was large and efficient, every member doing his and
     her part; and, to all appearances, there was no 'dead wood'
     among them. It must be understood, besides, that _all_ the
     music was sung; every part in harmony being taken with
     exactness and precision, whether as to time or intonation.

     "Indeed, so admirably did the chorus sing, that we hope to
     hear them in a mass or an oratorio at some future time,
     being satisfied that they will make a most favorable

From "The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin," Feb. 22, 1873:--

     "A company of colored persons appeared at Horticultural Hall
     last night in Eichberg's opera, 'The Doctor of Alcantara.'
     The opera was given in a really admirable manner by singers
     who understand their business, and have vocal gifts of no
     mean description. The leading soprano, Mrs. Smallwood, has a
     full, round, clear, resonant voice of remarkable power; and
     she uses it with very great effect. She sang the music with
     correctness and precision, and played her part capitally.

     "The tenor and bass are both excellent; but, while they
     display fine voices, they show a want of high training. This
     is also the single defect of the two subordinate female
     voices of the company.

     "The chorus was very fine indeed; and its performance, like
     that of the principal singers, proceeded without a flaw or
     blunder from first to last."

From the Washington correspondent of "The Vineland (N.J.) Weekly,"
February, 1873:--

     "On Tuesday evening it was the good fortune of your
     correspondent to attend the opera rendered by the 'Colored
     American Opera Company,' of which I spoke in my last.

     "To say that every thing passed off well, simply, would be
     but faint praise. We all know that the colored race are
     _natural_ musicians; and that they are susceptible of a high
     degree of cultivation is evinced by their rendition of the
     opera on the occasion of which I speak.

     "As for the chorus, it is not saying any thing extravagant
     when I make the assertion, that it has never been excelled
     by that of any of the professional opera-troupes which have
     visited this city."

The comments just given, taken, as it may be seen they are, from the
principal journals of Washington and Philadelphia, without regard to
party bias, would be of little value here, were it not for the vein of
candor that runs through them all. In them the writers have tempered
very high praise with the faithful pointing-out of such defects as to
them appeared in the performances. This is the spirit of true
criticism, which, while it ever eagerly seeks to discover all the
merits of a performance, fails not also to note, in the interest of
true progress, all its errors. Praise, then, from such a source, is
praise indeed. Moreover, it is not pretended that our little troupe of
amateurs presented a _perfect_ performance. Others of longer
experience and of far more pretentious character had not done this.
Nor was or is such a thing possible; for, as Pope says in his "Essay
on Criticism,"

     "Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see
     Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be."

But, allowing for such errors as caught the sharp eye and ear of the
critic (it is seen that these errors were but trifling in number and
character), the series of operatic representations under consideration
was a fine, a brilliant success.

For the happy conception and successful carrying-out of the idea of
presenting to the public a rendition of opera by musicians of the
colored race, words too high in praise of these ambitious _pioneers_
of Washington cannot be spoken. Never before had there been an
attempt by persons of their race to enter, as the equals of others,
the exacting domain of the music drama. The performances, although few
in number, were of such a highly-pleasing description, and the
movement was withal so entirely novel, as to render it a somewhat
startling and a most delightful _revelation_.

Mingled with the feelings of just pride that many persons experience
when reflecting upon the grand musical and dramatic success achieved
by these artists, ever and anon arise those of regret,--regret that
they did not longer continue their charming performances, extending
the same to other cities besides those mentioned. It is therefore
earnestly hoped that ere long they will again appear. It is hoped that
even now they are devoting themselves to rigid study, and to the
arrangement of matters of detail; and that, guided by past valuable
experience, they will soon give representations of opera in a style
even exceeding in finish that which characterized those which they
formerly gave.

As the _avants-courrières_ [Transcriber's Note: avants-courriers] in
art of those of their race, whom, let us hope, a fast-approaching day
of better opportunities shall make plentiful enough; holding as they
do their torches in the remaining darkness, to light the pathway of
those that shall follow them into the bright, the delightful realms of
the operatic Muse,--theirs is therefore a beneficent, a noble mission,
the continuance of which promises the happiest results for all





     "The air he chose was wild and sad:...
     Now one shrill voice the notes prolong;
     Now a wild chorus swells the song.
     Oft have I listened and stood still
     As it came softened up the hill."


     "If, in brief, we might give a faint idea of what it is
     utterly impossible to depict, we would adopt three
     words,--_soft, sweet, simple_."

     _"The Jubilee Singers:" London Rock._

The dark cloud of human slavery, which for over two hundred weary
years had hung, incubus-like, over the American nation, had happily
passed away. The bright sunshine of emancipation's glorious day shone
over a race at last providentially rescued from the worst fate
recorded in all the world's dark history. Up out of the house of
bondage, where had reigned the most terrible wrongs, where had been
stifled the higher aspirations of manhood, where genius had been
crushed, nay, more, where attempts had been made to annihilate even
all human instincts,--from this accursing region, this charnel-house
of human woe, came the latter-day children of Israel, the American

How much like the ancient story was their history! The American
nation, Pharaoh-like, had long and steadily refused to obey the voice
of Him who said, between every returning plague, "Let my people go;"
and, after long waiting, he sent the avenging scourge of civil strife
to _compel_ obedience. The great war of the Rebellion (it should be
called the war of retribution), with its stream of human blood, became
the Red Sea through which these long-suffering ones, with aching,
trembling limbs, with hearts possessed half with fear and half with
hope hitherto so long deferred, passed into the "promised land" of
blessed liberty.

Slavery, then, ended, the first duty was to repair as far as possible
its immense devastations made upon the minds of those who had so long
been its victims. The freedmen were to be educated, and fitted for the
enjoyment of their new positions.

In this place I may not do more than merely touch upon the beneficent
work of those noble men and women who at the close of the late war
quickly sped to the South, and there, as teachers of the freedmen,
suffered the greatest hardships, and risked imminent death from the
hands of those who opposed the new order of things; nay, many of them
actually met violent death while carrying through that long-benighted
land the torch of learning. Not now can we more than half appreciate
the grandeur of their Heaven-inspired work. In after-times the
historian, the orator, and the poet shall find in their heroic deeds
themes for the most elevated discourse, while the then generally
cultured survivors of a race for whose elevation these true-hearted
educators did so much will gratefully hallow their memories.

Among the organizations (I cannot mention individual names: their
number is too great) that early sought to build up the waste places of
the South, and to carry there a higher religion and a much-needed
education, was the American Missionary Association. This society has
led all others in this greatly benevolent work, having reared no less
than seven colleges and normal schools in various centres of the
South. The work of education to be done there is vast, certainly; but
what a very flood of light will these institutions throw over that
land so long involved in moral and intellectual darkness!

The principal one of these schools is Fisk University, located at
Nashville, Tenn.; the mention of which brings us to the immediate
consideration of the famous "_Jubilee Singers_," and to perhaps the
most picturesque achievement in all our history since the war. Indeed,
I do not believe that anywhere in the history of the world can there
be found an achievement like that made by these singers; for the
institution just named, which has cost thus far nearly a hundred
thousand dollars, has been built by the money which these former
bond-people have earned since 1871 in an American and European
campaign of song.

But what was the germ from which grew this remarkable concert-tour,
and its splendid sequence, the noble Fisk University?

Shortly after the close of the war, a number of philanthropic persons
from the North gathered into an old government-building that had been
used for storage purposes, a number of freed children and some grown
persons living in and near Nashville, and formed a school. This
school, at first under the direction of Professor Ogden, was ere long
taken under the care of the American Missionary Association. The
number of pupils rapidly increasing, it was soon found that better
facilities for instruction were required. It was therefore decided to
take steps to erect a better, a more permanent building than the one
then occupied. Just how this was to be done, was, for a while, quite a
knotty problem with this enterprising little band of teachers. Its
solution was attempted finally by one of their number, Mr. George L.
White, in this wise: He had often been struck with the charming melody
of the "slave songs" that he had heard sung by the children of the
school; had, moreover, been the director of several concerts given by
them with much musical and financial success at Nashville and
vicinity. Believing that these songs, so peculiarly beautiful and
heart-touching, sung as they were by these scholars with such
naturalness of manner and sweetness of voice, would fall with
delightful novelty upon Northern ears, Mr. White conceived the idea of
taking a company of the students on a concert-tour over the country,
in order to thus obtain sufficient funds to build a college. This was
a bold idea, seemingly visionary; but the sequel proved that it was a
most practical one.

All arrangements were completed; and the Jubilee Singers, as they were
called, left Nashville in the fall of 1871 for a concert-tour of the
Northern States, to accomplish the worthy object just mentioned.
Professor White, who was an educated and skilful musician, accompanied
them as musical director. Mr. Theodore F. Seward, also of fine
musical ability, was, after a while, associated in like capacity with
the singers. The following are the names of those who at one time and
another, since the date of organization, have been members of the
Jubilee choir:--


This list might well be called the _Roll of Honor_.

I have not space to follow in detail this ambitious band of singers in
their remarkable career throughout this country and in Great Britain.
The wonderful story of their journey of song is fully and graphically
told in a book (which I advise all to read) written by Mr. G.D. Pike,
and published in 1873. A brief survey of this journey must here

The songs they sang were generally of a religious character,--"slave
_spirituals_,"--and such as have been sung by the American bondmen in
the cruel days of the past. These had originated with the slave; had
sprung spontaneously, so to speak, from souls naturally musical; and
formed, as one eminent writer puts it, "_the only native American

The strange, weird melody of these songs, which burst upon the
Northern States, and parts of Europe, as a revelation in vocal music,
as a music most thrillingly sweet and soul-touching, sprang then,
strange to say, from a state of slavery; and the habitually minor
character of its tones may well be ascribed to the depression of
feeling, the anguish, that must ever fill the hearts of those who are
forced to lead a life so fraught with woe. This is clearly
exemplified, and the sad story of this musical race is comprehensively
told, in Ps. cxxxvii.:--

     "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept,
     when we remembered Zion.

     "We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

     "For there they that carried us away captive required of us
     a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth,
     saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

     "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?"

And yet, ever patient, ever hopeful of final deliverance, they did
sing on and on, until at last the joyful day of freedom dawned upon

To render these songs essentially as they had been rendered in
slave-land came the Jubilee Singers. They visited most of the cities
and large towns of the North, everywhere drawing large and often
overwhelming audiences, creating an enthusiasm among the people rarely
ever before equalled. The cultured and the uncultured were alike
charmed and melted to tears as they listened with a new enthusiasm to
what was a wonderfully new exhibition of the greatness of song-power.
Many persons, it is true, were at first attracted to the concert-hall
by motives of mere curiosity, hardly believing, as they went, that
there could be much to enjoy. These, however, once under the influence
of the singers, soon found themselves yielding fully to the enchanting
beauty of the music; and they would come away saying the half had not
been told. The musical critics, like all others in the audiences,
were so lost in admiration, that they forgot to criticise; and, after
recovering from what seemed a trance of delight, they could only say
that this "music of the heart" was beyond the touch of criticism.

I have spoken of the origin and the character of these songs. Those
who so charmingly interpreted them deserve most particular notice. The
rendering of the Jubilee Singers, it is true, was not always strictly
in accordance with artistic forms. The songs did not require this; for
they possessed in themselves a peculiar power, a plaintive, emotional
beauty, and other characteristics which seemed entirely independent of
artistic embellishment. These characteristics were, with a most
refreshing originality, naturalness, and soulfulness of voice and
method, fully developed by the singers, who sang with all their might,
yet with most pleasing sweetness of tone.

But, as regards the judgment passed upon this "Jubilee melody" from a
high musical stand-point, I quote from a very good authority; viz.,
Theo. F. Seward of Orange, N.J.:--

     "It is certain that the critic stands completely disarmed in
     their presence. He must not only recognize their immense
     power over audiences which include many people of the
     highest culture, but, if he be not entirely incased in
     prejudice, he must yield a tribute of admiration on his own
     part, and acknowledge that these songs touch a chord which
     the most consummate art fails to reach. Something of this
     result is doubtless due to the singers as well as to their
     melodies. The excellent rendering of the Jubilee Band is
     made more effective, and the interest is intensified, by the
     comparison of their former state of slavery and degradation
     with the present prospects and hopes of their race, which
     crowd upon every listener's mind during the singing of their
     songs; yet the power is chiefly in the songs themselves."

It would not do, of course, to assume that to the almost matchless
beauty of the songs and their rendering was due alone the intense
interest that centred in these singers. They were on a _noble
mission_. They sang to build up education in the blighted land in
which they themselves and millions more had so long drearily plodded
in ignorance; and it was a most striking and yet pleasing exhibition
of poetic justice, when many of those who really, in a certain sense,
had been parties to their enslavement, were forced to pay tribute to
the signs of genius found in this native music, and to contribute
money for the cause represented by these delightful musicians.

But I must not give only my own opinion of these singers, as I am
supposed to be a partial witness. Many, many others, among whom are
the most talented and cultured of this country and England, have
spoken of them in terms the most laudatory. Some of these shall now
more than confirm my words of praise.

The Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler of Brooklyn, writing in January, 1872, to
"The New-York Tribune," thus spoke of them:--

     "When the Rev. Mr. Chalmers (the younger) visited this
     country as the delegate of the Scotch Presbyterian General
     Assembly, he went home and reported to his countrymen that
     he had 'found the ideal church in America: it was made up of
     Methodist praying, Presbyterian preaching, and Southern
     negro-singing.' The Scotchman would have been confirmed in
     his opinion if he had been in Lafayette-avenue Church last
     night, and heard the Jubilee Singers,--a company of colored
     students, male and female, from Fisk University of Freedmen,
     Nashville, Tenn. In Mr. Beecher's church they delighted a
     vast throng of auditors, and another equally packed audience
     greeted them last evening.

     "I never saw a cultivated Brooklyn assemblage so moved and
     melted under the magnetism of music before. The wild
     melodies of these emancipated slaves touched the fount of
     tears, and gray-haired men wept like children....

     "The harmony of these children of nature, and their musical
     execution, were beyond the reach of art. Their wonderful
     skill was put to the severest test when they attempted
     'Home, Sweet Home,' before auditors who had heard these same
     household words from the lips of Jenny Lind and Parepa; yet
     these emancipated bondwomen, now that they knew what the
     word 'home' signifies, rendered that dear old song with a
     power and pathos never surpassed.

     "Allow me to bespeak through your journal ... a universal
     welcome through the North for these living representatives
     of the only true native school of American music. We have
     long enough had its coarse caricature in corked faces: our
     people can now listen to the genuine soul-music of the
     slave-cabins before the Lord led his 'children out of the
     land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.'"

The welcome thus eloquently bespoken for the singers was
enthusiastically extended to them all over the North. The journals of
the day fairly teemed with praises of them; and often, in the larger
cities, hundreds of persons were turned away from the concert-hall,
unable to obtain admittance, so great was the rush.

After a while they visited England, where they sang before the Queen
and others of the nobility, everywhere repeating the triumphs that had
been theirs in this country. In fact, it was proved that their power
as singers held sway wherever they sang; wherever was found a soul in
unison with melodious sound, a heart capable of human emotion. It was
not so much the words of their songs--these, it is true, were not
without merit in a religious sense--as the strangely pathetic and
delightful melody of their music, and the freshness and heartiness of
the rendering, that gave them their greatest charm. This has since
been most pointedly demonstrated in Holland and Switzerland, where
these singers have drawn crowded and delighted audiences that neither
speak nor understand a word of English: such is the beautiful,
far-reaching power of this, in the truest sense, "music of the heart."

I now present a few of the many tributes of admiration which their
performances drew from cultured English people. Thus spoke Mr. Colin
Brown, Ewing Lecturer on Music, Andersonian University, Glasgow:--

     "As to the manner of their singing, it must be heard before
     it can be realized. Like the Swedish melodies of Jenny Lind,
     it gives a new musical idea. It has been well remarked, that
     in some respects it disarms criticism; in others it may be
     truly said that it almost defies it. It was beautifully
     described by a simple Highland girl: 'It filled my whole

     "Such singing (in which the artistic is lost in the natural)
     can only be the result of the most careful training. The
     richness and purity of tone both in melody and harmony, the
     contrast of light and shade, the varieties and grandeur in
     expression, and the exquisite refinement of the _piano_ as
     contrasted with the power of the _forte_, fill us with
     delight, and at the same time make us feel how strange it is
     that these unpretending singers should come over here to
     teach us what is the true refinement of music; make us feel
     its moral and religious power."

Others spoke as follows:--

     "I never so enjoyed music."--REV. C.H. SPURGEON.

     "They have beautiful voices."--_London Graphic._

     "Their voices are clear, rich, and highly
     cultivated."--_London Daily News._

     "This troupe sing with a pathos, a harmony, and an
     expression, which are quite touching."--_London Journal._

     "There is something inexpressibly touching in their
     wonderfully sweet, round, bell voices."--REV. GEORGE

Mr. Gladstone, while prime-minister of England, honored them with a
complimentary breakfast, and listened to their songs, as Newman Hall
writes, "with rapt, enthusiastic attention, saying, 'Isn't it
wonderful? I never heard any thing like it.'"

     "We never saw an audience more riveted, nor a more thorough
     heart entertainment. Men of hoary hairs, as well as those
     younger in the assembly, were moved even to tears as they
     listened with rapt attention to some of the identical
     slave-songs which these emancipated ones rendered with a
     power and pathos perfectly indescribable."--_London Rock._

I might now, if it were necessary, fill many pages with the comments
made upon these charming singers by the American press both before and
after their trip to England; but these would only be repetitions of
the laudatory notices just given. The following is quoted because it
is descriptive of the improvement made by the singers. Said "The
Boston Journal,"--

     "THE JUBILEE SINGERS.--The students of Fisk University,
     Nashville, Tenn., whose sweet voices made such a popularity
     for the Jubilee Singers in this city two or three years ago,
     and won royal favor on the other side of the Atlantic, gave
     their first concert since their return at Tremont Temple
     last evening. The audience numbered some two thousand
     persons, and manifested an enthusiasm seldom witnessed at a
     concert in this city. From the initial to the finale of the
     programme the singers were applauded and encored, and now
     and then the enthusiasm broke forth in the interludes. So
     many thousands have listened with delight to the full, rich
     voices of the 'Jubilees,' and the sweet undertone which
     disarms criticism while it charms the popular ear, that it
     is needless to speak of them at length. The simple purity of
     the rendering of the Lord's Prayer, which initiated the
     programme, gave evidence that they had lost none of their
     natural grace and simplicity of expression by their tour
     across the water; and this was confirmed by the peculiar and
     plaintive melodies of the South-land in the days of slavery,
     which made up the major part of the programme. A few
     selections of more artistic composition were introduced, for
     the purpose of demonstrating, as they did most fully, that
     the students have been educated to an appreciation of the
     higher grades of vocalization. The great charm of these
     singers will, however, remain in the reproduction of the
     melodies of an era that has gone, happily never to
     return,--melodies which were the natural expression of the
     fancies and sympathies of an emotional race, and which no
     musical culture or refinement can ever render with the sweet
     simplicity and charming grace that flow from the lips of
     those to whom they are the native music."

"In the summer of 1874 they returned to Nashville, having given two
seasons of concerts in this country, and one in Great Britain. The
best evidence of the appreciative and enthusiastic welcome given them
in both countries is the fact that the net result for Fisk University
was over $90,000." The "problem" of the little band of faithful
teachers had been nobly, gloriously solved. The old government-building
in which they began their labors was soon discarded. To-day, on a
beautiful, commanding site of twenty-five acres, with all the
appliances of the best modern colleges, stands a noble building,
forever dedicated to learning and to Christianity.


Since the events whose record is just closed, it has been determined
by the faculty of Fisk University to raise by other concert tours
$100,000 as an endowment fund. At the present writing (June, 1877) the
Jubilee Singers are making a tour of the Continent. They are now in
Holland. Thus far their success continues unabated; and undoubtedly
they will succeed in amply endowing the institution which, in a manner
so praiseworthy and remarkable, they have erected. The following
extract from a letter affords a pleasant glimpse at the European life
of the singers:--

     ... "I will tell you something of our summer's experience.
     The company had passed through a hard year's work, and
     were greatly in need of rest. A charming country-seat
     was rented in the suburbs of Geneva at a very reasonable
     rate, and the months of July and August were spent there
     with great benefit to all. The citizens were evidently
     astonished at this introduction of a new shade of humanity;
     and the singers seldom passed along the streets without
     hearing some remark about '_les nègres_,' or '_les noirs_.'
     But they were invariably treated with the greatest respect,
     and, in fact, were never once annoyed by a rabble in the
     streets, as they frequently are elsewhere, gathering around
     with a rude and impertinent curiosity.

     "Among other pleasant experiences, there was an afternoon
     spent with Père Hyacinthe. We found him very genial and
     agreeable, and his American wife no less so. He speaks no
     English at all, but Madame acted as interpreter; and there
     was none of the stiffness or awkwardness that might have
     been expected under the circumstances.

     "... The most notable event of our stay at Geneva was a
     concert given, just before leaving, in the Salle de la
     Réformation. It had been a question of much interest, as to
     whether the slave-songs would retain any thing of their
     power where the words were not understood. The result was a
     new triumph for those mysterious melodies, showing that the
     language of nature is universal, and that emotion is capable
     of expressing itself without the intervention of words. The
     hall was packed to its utmost capacity, and the enthusiasm
     at fever-heat. When asked how they could enjoy the songs so
     much when they knew nothing of the sentiment that was
     conveyed, the reply was, 'We cannot _understand_ them; but
     we can _feel_ them.' Père Hyacinthe presided at the concert
     as chairman, and evidently enjoyed it as keenly as the rest
     of the vast audience."

And now to discriminate; for the writer, while disclaiming all
censorious or pretentious aim, yet, for reasons which may be readily
understood and fully appreciated by the reader, intends this volume to
inculcate the lessons of advancement by always attempting to honestly
distinguish between that which is progressive in music and that which
is the reverse. Have, then, these famous Jubilee Singers, who
everywhere thrilled the hearts of their hearers, and whose charming
melody of voice, and style of rendition, "disarmed the critic,"--have
they established by all this a model for the present and the future?
In some respects they have; in others they have not. And is there to
be no aim beyond the singing of "Jubilee songs"? Professors White and
Seward and all these talented singers will say, I am quite sure, that
there is to be a higher aim. The songs they sang were for the present,
forming a delightful novelty, and serving a noble purpose. Still it
must be sadly remembered that these Jubilee songs sprang from a former
life of enforced degradation; and that, notwithstanding their great
beauty of melody, and occasional words of elevated religious
character, there was often in both melody and words what forcibly
reminded the hearer of the unfortunate state just mentioned; and to
the cultured, sensitive members of the race represented, these
reminders were always of the most painful nature. And yet such persons
could not have the heart to utter words of discouragement to an
enterprise having an object so noble. They, like all others, could not
but enjoy the rich melody and harmony of the wonderful Jubilee voices.
They, too, often listened spell-bound; and when inclined, as at times
they were, to murmur, the inspiriting voice of hope was heard bidding
them to turn from a view of the dark and receding past to that of a
rapidly-dawning day, whose coming should bring for these singers, and
all others of their race, increase of opportunities, and therefore
increase of culture.

On the foregoing pages but little has been said of the secular songs
with which at times the troupe indulged their audiences. Even in music
of this kind they were exceedingly pleasing; and it is very
gratifying to reflect that the members of the company constantly
aimed to obtain a scientific knowledge of general music. No fears need
be entertained that the students of Fisk University will ever lack for
instruction in music of the highest order, as ample provision is there
made for the same. Of course the model of slave "spirituals" will in a
short while give place to such music as befits the new order of
things. The students themselves will wish to aim higher, as the spirit
of true progress will demand it. Nevertheless, some of the
characteristics displayed by the great Jubilee choir it will be well
for them to ever retain, and for all other singers to imitate: I mean
the heartiness, the soulfulness, of their style of rendition. Indeed,
in their striking exhibitions of these latter qualities, I think they
may justly claim the honor of standing quite peerless and alone, and
of having presented a model for the present and the future,--a model
founded on that power of the singer, which enables him to melt, to
stir to its innermost recesses, the human heart; that power that
enables him to sing as one inspired.

And here let me conclude by venturing a brief prediction. My mind goes
a few years into the future. I attend a concert given by students or
by graduates of Fisk University; I listen to music of the most
classical order rendered in a manner that would satisfy the most
exacting critic of the art; and at the same time I am pleasantly
reminded of the famous "Jubilee Singers" of days in the past by the
peculiarly thrilling sweetness of voice, and the charming simplicity
and soulfulness of manner, that distinguish and add to the beauty of
the rendering.



     "All the minstrel art I know,
       I the viol well can play;
     I the pipe and syrinx blow;
       Harp and geige my hand obey;
     Psaltery, symphony, and rote
       Help to charm the listening throng;
     And Armonia lends its note
       While I warble forth my song."

     _The Lay of the Minstrel._

The origin of troubadours, or minstrels, dates back to the year 1100
(A.D.) at least. There are accounts, somewhat vague, however, which
make them still more ancient. They were at one time almost the sole
producers of poetry and music, always composing the songs they sang,
accompanying the same generally, at first, with the music of the
dulcet-toned harp, and, at a later period, with that of the guitar.

Their accomplishments, especially in music, secured for them the ready
_entrée_ of the most refined society, particularly that of elegant
ladies, of whom they were great favorites; while the most polished
princes always extended them a warm welcome.

At one time in their history, the fate of letters was in the sole
keeping of the troubadours. Had it not been for the frequent
presentations and allusions made to literature in their songs, its
chain, connecting past and present, would have been broken.

An elegant French writer, speaking of the ancient troubadours,
observes, "They banished scholastic quarrels and ill-breeding,
polished the manners, established rules of politeness, enlivened
conversation, and purified gallantry. That urbanity that distinguishes
us (the French) from other peoples is the fruit of their songs; and,
if it is not from them that we derive our virtues, they at least
taught us how to render them amiable."

I have thus briefly alluded to the early history and characteristics
of the minstrel, because I consider such a course as just towards the
present profession, and in order to show how sadly (in this country
certainly) have its members deviated from the refined, the brilliant
practices of their predecessors. Besides, in doing this, I am not
without a hope that I may be contributing in some slight degree
towards elevating a profession, the archetypes of which discoursed the
finest music of their times, and whose courtliness of demeanor and
varied acquirements were such as to render them the fit associates of
persons of the highest culture. For, in this instance, why may not
what has been be again?

It is unnecessary to dwell at length upon the fact so sadly apparent,
that the American minstrel has had for his principal "stock in trade"
the coarse, the often vulgar, jest and song; a disgusting (to the
refined) buffoonery, attended with painfully displeasing contortions
of the body; and, worst of all, the often malicious caricaturing of an
unfortunate race.

It is, however, cause for gratulation, that American minstrelsy has of
late been divested of much of its former coarseness; that its
entertainments have become so much diversified and elevated in
character--the musical portions of which at times so nearly approach
the classical--as to render the same entirely different from the
minstrel performances so common a few years ago. It is found that a
public rapidly becoming enlightened, and freed from the influences of
an unreasoning and cruel race-hatred, no longer enjoys with its former
relish the "plantation act," so called, with all its extravagant and
offensive accompaniments. Compelled to recognize this change of
sentiment and taste, the best troupes now frequently give, instead of
the "act" just mentioned, some other one, which, while comical enough,
is yet free from features distasteful to people of refinement.

In view of all this, may we not ask, Is the minstrel guild going back
to the standards of its ancient and more noble days? Let us hope that
it is.

And to the attention of those who have regarded with aversion (often
with good cause too) the modern race of "troubadours" I commend the
cheering tendencies just noted, since these may be held as indicating
the dawn of a brighter day for all concerned.

I next invite the reader to the perusal of a sketch of the famous
"Georgia Minstrels," who not only in this country, but in some parts
of Europe, have become justly celebrated as the finest troupe of
minstrels extant. Being all _real_ colored men, and therefore not
dependent upon "burnt cork,"--being, as some have put it, "the genuine
article,"--they in this respect possess an advantage over their
naturally fairer-skinned brethren in the profession. Still, as will be
seen hereafter, this complexional advantage (?) is not by any means
the most important cause of their unprecedented success.

But the reader is first requested to pardon what may be thought a
digression: the writer considers it a necessary one.

He is aware, that, in presenting in this book the following account of
the Georgia Minstrels,--an account which, on the whole, must be
regarded as highly complimentary to the latter,--he may be incurring
the displeasure of some very excellent people who belong to the same
race as that of the members of the troupe mentioned. This he very much
regrets; for although he considers these persons as perhaps
unnecessarily sensitive, and certainly mistaken in some of the
opinions which they hold regarding _this_ company of minstrels (whose
performances, by the way, most of said persons have never witnessed),
he yet entertains the fullest respect for the honorable _motives_ that
inspire their disfavor.

The main grounds of their opposition to minstrel performances in
general, and to those of the Georgia Minstrels in particular, may be
stated briefly, but fairly, as follows: That these performances
consist, for the most part, in a disgusting caricaturing ostensibly of
the speech and action of the more unfortunate members of the colored
race, but which are really made to reflect against the whole; that
these public performances do much to belittle their race generally,
arouse and keep alive in the breasts of other races a feeling of
contempt for it; and that these effects are greatly enhanced when
colored men themselves engage in such performances, as they thus give
"aid and comfort to the enemy." I shall not attempt to refute these
statements. They may be true; but, whether they are or not, it is not
within the province of this book to discuss. They are placed here in
order that both sides may be heard. Against their severe and somewhat
sweeping character I place the fine _musical_ achievements of the
subjects of this sketch. Of these, assuredly, we can _all_ be proud;
and therefore the recounting of these shall serve as a full
justification of the course I have taken in presenting the sketch.

The author well remembers, that, when only a boy of fourteen years, he
was so much opposed to seeing colored men appear as minstrels, that he
indignantly refused to comply when requested to post and otherwise
distribute play-bills for a company of colored minstrels who were to
appear in the town in which he lived; for he considered it alike
disgraceful for them to thus appear, and himself to give aid to such
appearance. He fully retained this feeling of aversion up to a year or
two ago, when, contemplating the preparation of this book (which, by
the way, was for the sake of consistency, as a work on music, to trace
the footsteps of the remarkable colored musician wherever they might
lead), he had to force himself, so to say, into the hall, to witness
the performances of the Georgia Minstrels. He resolved as he entered,
however, that he would give his particular attention to the _musical_
part of the programme, and try to discover in that such evidences of
talent and fine attainments as would justify him in sketching the
troupe. He was not pleased, of course, with that portion of the
performance (a part of which he was compelled to witness) devoted to
burlesque. Nevertheless, he found in the vocal and instrumental part
much that was in the highest degree gratifying; for during the evening
he listened to some of the most pleasing music of the time, sung and
played in a manner evincing on the part of the troupe not only fine
natural talent, but much of high musical culture. And so he came away,
thinking, on the whole, that there were, to say the least, two sides
to the minstrel question; feeling that the Georgia Minstrels had
presented so much that was really charming in a musical way as to
almost compensate the sensitive auditor for what he was ready to
confess he suffered while witnessing that part of the performance
devoted to caricature.

Commencing about twelve years ago, composed of men some of whom had
been slaves in Georgia, all possessed of much natural musical talent,
without (except in one or two instances) scientific training, the
Georgia Minstrels began their career under the leadership of Mr.
George B. Hicks. Although from the first attracting by their
performances no little attention, their fortune was for some time only
a varying one; nor did they attain to a firm position before the
public until after Mr. George B. Callender assumed the directorship.
By studious application, most of the original "Georgias" became fairly
versed in music. The places of those who left were from time to time
filled by adding to the company educated musicians and performers of
high merit; the skilful director "pressing into the service," so to
speak, as he passed through the country, the best talent obtainable.
At present, only two or three of the original members are with the

The troupe is now composed of twenty-one performers; and each
possesses either rare vocal or instrumental (most of them both)
natural talents and acquirements; and, when these qualities are
combined, a performance of such delightful beauty and finish is
presented, as to elicit from their audiences the most enthusiastic
applause. From the instrumentalists of this company either a fine
orchestra or brass band can at any time, as occasion requires, be
formed; while they present solo, single and double quartet, and
_ensemble_ singing, of most charming power and sweetness. At least
four of their number have been in the past accomplished teachers of
music; one has played in some of the best orchestras of England; one
is a superior performer upon at least four instruments, while he is a
fair player of twelve; several are excellent performers on two or
three instruments; and three of the troupe arrange and write music.

The following-named persons are members of the troupe at this writing
(May, 1877):--

     GEORGE B. CALLENDER        _Manager._
     GEORGE A. SKILLINGS        _Musical Director._
     RICHARD G. LITTLE          _Stage Manager._
     WILLIAM W. MORRIS          _Interlocutor._

     F.E. LEWIS,
     JAS. EMIDY,
     JAS. GRACE,
     OCT. MOORE,
     R. EMIDY,

As showing the estimation in which the vocalism of their quartet is
held by persons of culture, I may state, that a year or two ago, while
the company remained over Sunday in a Western city in which they had
performed during the previous week, this quartet was invited to sing
(as its choir) in one of the most fashionable churches there. The
invitation was accepted; and it may be remarked, that although these
fine singers did full justice to the proprieties of the occasion, and
thus justified the bestowment of a marked honor upon them,--it may be
remarked, I say, that they thus enjoyed a distinction rarely if ever
before conferred upon members of a minstrel troupe.

While in Boston in 1876, the company were invited to a "camp-fire" of
Grand Army Post 115, composed for the most part of ex-officers of high
rank, and all gentlemen of education and good social position. On this
occasion, their own classical quartet and that of the "Georgias"
united in presenting some of the most exquisite music, while other
pleasing incidents of the evening rendered it one long to be
remembered. In the same city, at another time, they were entertained
at the residence of one of the most accomplished of its musicians. I
mention these pleasant occurrences simply to show the character and
extent of the popularity which this excellent troupe everywhere wins:
for to please a miscellaneous throng in public halls and theatres,
and, after the curtain falls at the close of the performance, to be
almost forgotten by the same, is the experience of most all minstrel
companies; but to be sought after when off the stage by people of the
best character, and invited to contribute with their fine musical
attainments and social qualities to the enjoyments of select private
circles, is a distinction, in the constant winning of which the
Georgia Minstrels stand almost if not entirely alone.

And now, as proofs of the great popularity of this company on the
stage, I shall present a few from among the many press notices,
regarding their performances, in my possession. These, while fully in
harmony with what I have said respecting the merits of these famous
performers, add some points of interesting description.

Says "The New-York Sun,"--

     "Every song was encored some two or three times."

"The New-York Herald,"--

     "The new melodies find in them the fittest interpretations."

"The Memphis Appeal,"--

     "We might write a column of praise, and even then there
     would be something unsaid of their merit. They are good in
     every thing they attempt."

"The Indianapolis Journal,"--

     "We doubt if a more successful entertainment of this kind
     has ever been given in this city. We no longer wonder that
     Boston sent forty thousand to hear them at the Hub."

"The Petersburg (Va.) Index,"--

     "We do not hesitate to pronounce Callender's Minstrels the
     superiors in this line to any we have ever seen. They far
     outreach the usual small range of excellence, and leave
     their rivals far behind."

"The Philadelphia Inquirer,"--

     "So great was the rush to see them, that the sale of tickets
     at the box-office had to be stopped half an hour before the
     performance. They are unquestionably excellent."

"The Philadelphia Record,"--

     "It is estimated that at least one thousand people were
     turned away from the box-office last night, unable to obtain
     tickets or entrance, so great was the rush."

"The Cincinnati Commercial" says,--

     "They have drawn better houses in Cincinnati than any white

"The Brooklyn Eagle" says,--

     "From first to last, all are absorbed in admiration."

"The Cincinnati Inquirer" says,--

     "It is an unusually fine company, and superior to any that
     visit here."

"The Baltimore News" says,--

     "There is no approach to vulgarity. Their audiences are the
     most fashionable. No minstrel company can compare with

"The Brooklyn Union" says,--

     "They are superlatively excellent."

"The Memphis Appeal" says,--

     "They are masters of minstrelsy."

"The Baltimore American" says,--

     "All other companies are tame in comparison with these."

William Lloyd Garrison writes,--

     "It is gratifying to see that no imputation is brought
     against them of presenting any thing offensive to the eye or

Mr. P.T. Barnum says,--

     "They are extraordinary, and the best I ever saw. They fully
     deserve their large patronage."

Said Dexter Smith, the eminent song-writer,--

     "Boston has unconditionally yielded to the Georgia
     Minstrels. If you wish to see the brains, beauty, and
     fashion of the musical metropolis, a peep into Beethoven
     Hall will give you an insight of it. Never has a minstrel
     troupe created such enthusiasm in any American city as the
     Georgia Minstrels have done in Boston."

And the Boston "Folio," that excellent journal of music,--

     "The Georgia Minstrels, who are nightly appearing before
     crowded houses at Beethoven Hall, deserve more than a
     passing notice, on account of their excellence, and the
     utter absence of aught that could offend the most
     fastidious. 'The Traveller' expresses our sentiments so
     exactly, that we cannot indorse them better than by

     "'There is a freshness and a completeness about the whole
     performance which entitle it to the fullest praise. As for
     the whole evening's enjoyment, it may be characterized as
     novel from the fact that it is native and not imitative,
     commendable because it is wholly refined, and most pleasant
     because it is always artistic. The comedians are very
     numerous, and all unite in giving a perfection to the
     rendering of the whole bill.'"

"The Boston Herald" said,--

     "Beethoven Hall was well filled last evening by admirers of
     Ethiopian delineations, assembled to see and hear the
     original Georgia Minstrels, who have returned from a very
     successful tour in Europe, and are now located at the
     above-named hall for a short season. The company is a
     novelty from the fact that all the members are colored, and
     their performances possess a genuineness which no burnt-cork
     artists can fully imitate. Their music, both vocal and
     instrumental, is excellent. Each performer seems to be not
     only a natural, but a cultured artist; and all have the
     faculty of being exceedingly mirthful, without overstepping
     the bounds of refinement. In fact, each performer seems
     perfect in his _rôle_; and all appear to be masters of

Again the same paper said,--

     "The Georgia Minstrels have burst upon us like an avalanche.
     All the reserved seats were sold last evening before the
     performance commenced; and the house was filled by a
     fashionable audience,--one rarely seen at a minstrel
     entertainment. The troupe have made a decided hit, and their
     performances last night were received with great enthusiasm.
     Their songs and choruses are excellent; their puns, jokes,
     and stories, fresh and laughable; and their special acts
     new, and of a superior order. The performances of the troupe
     have happily filled a void which existed in the amusement

     "This troupe of native artists has won the very highest
     praise from every one wherever it has appeared. In England
     and America over three thousand performances have been
     given. The troupe has appeared before the Queen of England,
     and bears the highest testimonials of the press from across
     the water."

"The Boston Advertiser" said,--

     "They (the Georgia Minstrels) are at the head of the
     minstrel business in this country."

The "Chicago Post,"--

     "The company merits all the praise which has been bestowed
     upon them."

I need only further mention, in conclusion, that several members of
this troupe possess musical and histrionic abilities of an order so
high as to fit them to grace stages of a more elevated character than
the one upon which they now perform. Indeed, one formerly attached to
it is now a valuable member of the "Hyers Opera Company." On the
minstrel boards his talents as a singer and actor were developed. It
is to be hoped (and here I crave the pardon of Mr. Callender, their
gentlemanly director, who is requested to try to appreciate the good
_motive_, at least, that prompts a suggestion which seems to aim at
the disintegration of his famous company) that others of the
"Georgias" will follow his example. Their motto should constantly be,

I have been informed that in the city of Boston, at a certain time,
not many years ago, the then directors of the three principal theatre
orchestras were persons who had previously been members of minstrel
troupes. It is also known that several of the finest operatic singers
in this country learned their first lessons at this same school,--the
minstrel stage. In their new, higher, and of course far more
desirable positions, these persons have achieved artistic results
which reflect upon them the highest credit, and which show also that
the minstrel profession has some beneficial, elevating uses,
notwithstanding all that may be truly said against it.






     "They are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time."


On the following pages I shall make mention in collective form, and
somewhat briefly, of a number of artists whose histories, although not
less important than those by which they are preceded, could not, owing
to various causes, be placed in the first part of this book.

The true value of musical proficiency does not consist alone in the
power it gives one to win the applause of great audiences, and thereby
to attain to celebrity: it consists also in its being a source of
refinement and pleasure to the possessor himself, and by which he may
add to the tranquillity, the joys, of his own and the home life of his
neighbors and friends. And here will be found, therefore, a brief
mention of those, who, although they are not public performers, are
yet sincere devotees of the art of music, who possess decided talent,
and who in their attainments present instances of a character so
noticeable as to render the same well worthy of record.

It is considered proper to say, also,--a caution which perhaps may not
be necessary,--that I shall here make mention by name of none but
persons of scientific musical culture; of none but those who read the
printed music page, and can give its contents life and expression,
generally, too, with a fine degree of excellence, either with voice or
instrument; and who evince by their studies and performances the true
artistic spirit. The singer or player "by ear" merely, however well
favored by nature, will not be mentioned. This course will be
followed, not because persons of the latter class are regarded
contemptuously,--not by any means; but because it is intended that the
list here given shall be, as far as it goes, a true record of what
pertains to the higher reach and progress of a race, which, always
considered as _naturally_ musical, has yet, owing to the blighting
influences of the foul system of slavery, been hitherto prevented from
obtaining, as generally as might be, a _scientific_ knowledge of

Nor must the list of names furnished be understood as an exhaustive
one. Had the author the time in which to collect more names, or had he
here the space for printing the same, he assures the reader of this
only partial chronicle that one could be furnished which would be many
times larger. And moreover, if any meritorious musician shall complain
because his name does not here appear, I ask him to pardon the
omission, made not from choice, nor with the purpose of giving
personal offence.

If the first edition of this book shall be received with such favor as
to warrant the issuing of a second one, I shall, if it be found
necessary, take the time and pains to supply in it such omissions as
appear to be made in this one. If it be found necessary, I say; for I
am inclined to opine that ere long,--judging from a "view of the
field" that I have lately taken, and after witnessing there the many
delightful evidences of musical love and culture,--that ere long
neither such lists as this, nor just such books as this, will be
considered as necessary.

Nevertheless, the writer requests all who are interested in the more
general cultivation of music by the people to send him such names as
have been here left out, together with all facts that may additionally
illustrate the subject treated in these pages; all names and
statements to be accompanied by as strong confirmation as can possibly
be procured. These will be published in case other editions of the
book are issued.

It is hoped that the persons here mentioned, on seeing that their
present achievements in art are regarded as of so much value in
indicating the æsthetic taste and musical capacity of their race, may
be impelled thereby to put forth even greater efforts, and to thus
attain to that still higher state of usefulness and distinction,
which, it is believed, their talents and present accomplishments show
is quite possible.

In the city of Boston, which is the acknowledged great art centre of
this country, the amplest facilities for the study of music are
afforded. There the doors of conservatories and other music schools,
among the finest of any in the world, are thrown open to _all_; the
cost of admission being, considering the many advantages afforded,
quite moderate. A love of the "divine art" pervades all classes in
Boston; and there the earnest student and the skilful in music, of
whatever race he may be, receives ready recognition and full
encouragement. It is, in fact, almost impossible for one to live in
that city of melody, and not become either a practical musician, or at
least a lover of music.

It need not, then, be a matter of surprise that so many of the most
finely-educated artists mentioned in this book are found to have been
residents of the city mentioned. Affected by its all-pervading, its
infectious, so to say, musical spirit, they eagerly embraced the many
opportunities offered for culture; and their noble achievements are
only such as would have been made by others of the same race residing
in other sections of the country, had the latter enjoyed there (as,
alas! mostly on account of the depressing, the vile spirit of caste
that prevailed, they did not) the same advantages as the former.

       *       *       *       *       *

Commencing with Boston, then, I first mention _Miss Rachel M.
Washington_, a lady of fine artistic qualities, thoroughly educated in
music, performing in finished, classical style on the piano-forte and
organ, and who is a most accomplished teacher of those instruments and
of harmony. In the last-mentioned department of music she a few years
ago graduated, receiving the valuable diploma of the New-England
Conservatory at Boston. Many of the most pleasing amateurs of Boston
and vicinity received their first instructions in music from Miss
Washington. Hers is a musical family, as her two sisters and brother
are each possessed of nice musical taste and education. The subject of
this notice early awakened their interest, and directed their studies.
It is gratefully acknowledged, too, that to Miss Washington's earnest
efforts, more than to those of any other person in Boston, is due
that love for and proficiency in musical art so noticeable in certain
circles of that city. From what I have learned of this artist's
history from my own observation and otherwise, I am convinced that its
full recital here would add much to the interest and value of this
book. But I am prevented from doing this by her own earnest request,
conveyed in language which, although, as I think, a trifle too gloomy,
yet shows that she is animated by the most elevated ideas concerning
the beautiful art of which she is so noble an exponent. I cannot
forbear quoting a part of her excellent letter, in which she says,--

     "Now a word about my own musical life.... Perhaps I have had
     much success, and, like many others, many failures. My life
     has been one of persevering struggle to attain to a high
     degree of musical knowledge, and, through this, to assist in
     the elevation of my race. If I have been successful in any
     degree in helping to lay the foundation of future or present
     success, in awakening a love for the beautiful in musical
     art, or in kindling an ardent desire and aspiration for that
     which elevates and ennobles, removes the harshness of and
     dignifies our natures, then I am glad that I have not sown
     in vain, though another shall reap the harvest.

     "A part of the reward for all these years of arduous toil
     has been the recognition of talent by those of the more
     favored race, as well as the appreciation and kindness shown
     me by those with whom I am identified....

     "As I read the lives of the great composers, and think of
     their sacred devotion to the art dearer to them than their
     own lives, I feel anxious for the time to come in our
     history when a child like Mozart shall be born with soul
     full of bright melodies; or a Beethoven, with his depth and
     tenderness of feeling; or a Handel, lifting us above this
     earth until we shall hear the multitude of voices joining in
     one vast song,--'Alleluia! for the Lord God omnipotent
     reigneth.' _Nor is this impossible._ Our history, it seems
     to me, has but just begun. All the past is but sorrow and
     gloom, with here and there a bright ray to bid us hope.... I
     hope they [the colored youth of the country] will early
     develop a love and taste for the beautiful in musical art;
     that soon we shall be proud to mention those whose names
     through their works shall be immortal."

Miss Washington has long been the organist of the Twelfth Baptist
Church, Boston, as well as the directress of its choir. She is a lady
of fine general culture and Christian character, and has many times
been the recipient of public testimonials, and of complimentary
notices from the New-England press.

_Mrs. Dr. C.N. Miller_ (_née_ Ariana Cooley) was for a long time the
leading soprano-singer of Rev. L.A. Grimes's church. She has been long
and favorably known in Boston musical circles as a very pleasing
vocalist, possessing a pure, rich voice of great range, and highly
cultivated. She renders with fine expression the best music. Her
_repertoire_ of songs is quite extensive, and she has often been
complimented by the press. "The Boston Globe" of March 31, 1876,
alluding to her singing at a public concert, said, "She is the
possessor of a well-cultivated voice of natural sweetness." Mrs.
Miller was until recently a valued member of the Tremont-Temple choir,
so noticeable for excellent singing. She is now a member of the
Berkeley-street Church quartet.

_Mrs. P.A. Glover_ and _Mrs. Hester Jeffreys_, who will be better
known by their maiden names,--Phebe A. and Hester Whitehouse,--possess
voices of rare natural beauty considerably cultivated. These sisters,
had they so chosen, could have long since become public singers of
much prominence; since their rich vocal gifts are supplemented by a
fine knowledge of music, to which are added also very graceful,
winning manners. As it is, they have often delighted their hearers in
private circles by their rendering of some of the choicest music of
the day. They have occasionally appeared in public, always to the
acceptance of large audiences. These ladies inherit their musical
talents from their mother, who possessed a voice of more than ordinary
range and sweetness.

_Mrs. Dr. G.F. Grant_ (_née_ Georgina Smith), formerly the efficient
organist of the North Russell-street Church, has been regarded as a
most pleasing vocalist, possessing a very pure, sweet soprano-voice.
She was for some time a pupil of the New-England Conservatory of
Music; and on more than one occasion was chosen to represent at its
quarterly concerts, before large and cultivated audiences in Music
Hall, the system taught and fine progress made by the attendants of
that institution. On such occasions, her _naïveté_, her graceful,
handsome stage-appearance, and expressive rendering, with voice of
bird-like purity, of some of the best _cavatina_ music, always
elicited the most enthusiastic plaudits and recalls. The writer was
fortunately present on one of these occasions, and remembers with much
satisfaction the delight he felt, not only in hearing this lady's
melodious voice himself, but in witnessing its charming effect on an
audience of nearly four thousand people, representing generally
Boston's best culture. Her reception really amounted to an ovation.
The event was a most remarkable one, and, exhibiting as it so fully
did the power of art to scatter all the prejudices of race or caste,
was most instructive and re-assuring.

Of her appearance at one of the concerts just mentioned "The Boston
Globe" thus spoke:--

     ... "Miss Smith, a fine-looking young lady, achieved a like
     success in all her numbers and in fine presence on the
     stage, and in her simple, unobtrusive manner, winning the
     sympathies of the audience."

And "The Boston Journal" said,--

     "An immense audience, in spite of the storm and the wretched
     condition of the streets, assembled in Music Hall yesterday
     evening to listen to the quarterly concert of the
     New-England Conservatory of Music. The spacious hall was
     packed in every part. The most marked success during the
     evening was that won by Miss Georgina Smith, who has a fine
     soprano-voice, and who sang in a manner which could but
     receive the warmest plaudits."

Miss Smith was a member of the chorus, composed of selected singers,
that sang at the memorable "International Peace Jubilee Concert," and,
although still quite young, has had an experience as a vocalist of
which she may well be proud.

_Miss Louisa Brown_, now deceased, was a pianist of ambitious aim and
much promise. She had been instructed by some of the best teachers of
Boston; but never appeared as a performer in public, being of a
retired disposition. She, however, often by her musical performances,
as well as by her general acquirements and knowledge in art-matters,
afforded pleasing entertainment and instruction for the members of her
family and their visitors. In her piano-studies she evinced a taste
for only the highest kind of compositions, and, in her rendition of
the same, exhibited evidence of most faithful application, and no
little proficiency. She was a graduate of the Girls' High and Normal
School of Boston, was fairly skilled in drawing, and had added much to
her store of general knowledge by a visit to Europe. While in almost
the flower of youth, and a state of highest usefulness, she was
stricken down by death. All that has here been said, and much more,
was expressed in some of the public journals by admiring friends
shortly after her decease.

Among those whose musical abilities have thus far attracted much
attention, and given promise that their possessor will attain to still
higher distinction in the future, I mention _Mr. B.J. Janey_, whose
fine tenor-voice has often won for him the praises of private and
public audiences. He has studied privately under one of the professors
at the New-England Conservatory of Music; is a pleasing performer on
the flute; and, as a singer, has more than once been favorably
mentioned by the press.

_Miss Fannie A. Washington_ has for some time afforded much pleasure
to public audiences as a contralto-singer. She was for a while a pupil
of the Conservatory previously mentioned. She has been complimented by
the press.

_Miss Ellen Sawyer_ possesses a soprano-voice which is quite elastic,
of great range, and strong and clear in the upper register. She has
been favorably received on several occasions by public audiences.

_Mr. W.H. Copeland_ and _Mr. E.M. Allen_ deserve mention for their
fine rendering of choice music; the former singing tenor, and the
latter bass. They are conscientious lovers and students of music, ever
seeking to attain to the highest positions as artists. Mr. Copeland's
studies are directed at the New-England Conservatory. The ambitious
spirit displayed by Mr. Allen is very praiseworthy, he having
contended very perseveringly and with much success against great
obstacles. He sang in the bass division at one of the great Jubilee

_Mrs. Cecelia Boston_, who will be better known by her maiden
name,--Cecelia Thompson,--has long been much remarked for clever
abilities as organist, pianist, and contralto-vocalist.

_Miss Rachel Thompson_ is a ready reader of music, and a good

_Mrs. Phebe Reddick_, possessing a clear, ringing soprano-voice, adds
much to the singing of the Twelfth Baptist Church choir.

_Mr. Francis P. Cleary_, _Mr. James L. Edwards_, and _Mr. George W.
Sharper_, all band-directors, deserve mention here for their efforts
while connected with such organizations.

Of the musical bodies who play upon instruments of

     "Sonorous metal, blowing martial sounds,"

I mention the "_Excelsior Brass Band_;" an ambitious title, it is
true, but one which the future may show to be well taken. This band
contains a number of young men who seem to be in earnest, and
studious; and some of them possess noticeable talent. Their leader,
Mr. George W. Sharper, is painstaking, and ambitious to have the band

Whenever in filling engagements it is necessary to add to the regular
force of the "Excelsiors," no difficulty is experienced in securing
the services of a number of fine musicians of the other race,--a fact
which shows the power of music to destroy the distinctions of caste.

_Mr. Joseph W. Hendricks_ has exhibited a commendable ambition in his
efforts to acquire a knowledge of music, devoting several hours each
day to practice on the piano-forte.

_Mr. Joseph Thompson_ is an assiduous student of, and fair performer
on, the [B-flat]-tenor and the flute. He is a member of the "Excelsior
Brass Band."

I have thus mentioned briefly the best-known artists of Boston. As I
have indicated, most of them have musical abilities of a high order,
entitling them to a much fuller notice than can here be given. There
are, of course, others of fine musical attainments who adorn private

Boston contains two or three musical societies, and several vocal
quartets. _The Auber Quartet_ have attracted much attention by their
very pleasing rendering of some of the best popular music of the day.
The names of its members appear hereafter.

_The Progressive Musical Union_ is the name of one of the societies
above mentioned. It is well organized. Elijah W. Smith, the poet, is
president. The noble purposes of this society are eloquently stated in
the following lines, composed by the gentleman just mentioned, and
which prefaced the programme of the first public concert given by this
society, March 9, 1875:--

     "Progressive: ay, we hope to climb
       With patient steps fair Music's height,
     And at her altar's sacred flame
       Our care-extinguished torches light;
     And, while their soft and cheering rays
       Life's rugged path with joys illume,
     May Harmony's enchanted wand
       Bring sunshine where before was gloom!

     And though we may not walk apace
       With Mendelssohn or Haydn grand,
     Nor view with undimmed eyes the mount
       Where Mozart's shining angels stand;
     Yet in the outer courts we wait
       Till Knowledge shall the curtain draw,
     And to our wondering eyes disclose
       The mysteries the masters saw."

The following are the numbers performed on the occasion mentioned:--



=Part First=

1. TRIO FOR TWO VIOLINS AND PIANO                             _Rhizia_

2. QUARTET.--"Sighing for Thee."

3. SONG.--"Down by the Sea" (Bass)                          _Knowlton_

4. DUET.--"On Mossy Banks"                                   _Gilbert_

5. SONG.--"Thou everywhere"                                  _Lachner_

6. ROMANCE.--"Alice, where art Thou?"                         _Ascher_

7. QUINTET.--"The Image of the Rose"                       _Reichardt_

=Part Second.=

1. THEMA WITH VARIATIONS.--Violin and Piano                     _Rode_

2. DUET.--"Take now this Ring"                         _La Sonnambula_

3. QUARTET.--"Soldier's Farewell"                             _Kinkel_

4. SONG.--"Waiting," with Violin Obligato                    _Millard_

5. MARCH.--Vocal                                              _Becker_

6. QUARTET.--"Man the Life-Boat" (by request).

7. CHORUS.--"Angel of Peace"                                  _Keller_

This concert gave delight to a large audience, and was very much
praised by the public journals.

I close the list of Boston musical people by presenting the following
programme of a hastily-arranged concert given by a number of artists
on the evening of April 15, 1874. It is given simply as a specimen of
the numbers often performed at concerts by those whose names appear,
and by others mentioned heretofore, with but little rehearsal.
Although the music is of a fine order, it is by no means as difficult
as that frequently rendered by these persons at other concerts, the
programmes of which I have not now at hand.



=Part First.=

1. QUARTET.--"Alpine Echoes."

2. PIANO SOLO.--"Fantasia Impromptu"                          _Chopin_

3. SOLO.--"La Primavera"                                       _Torry_

4. DUET.--"Vien Mio Edgardo"                                 _Millard_

5. ARIA.--"Infélice"                                        _"Ernani"_

6. DUET.--"While thus around"                          _"La Favorita"_

7. SOLO with Cello Obligato.--"Peacefully Slumber"         _Randegger_

8. SONG.--"Didst Thou but know"                                _Balfe_
    MR. JANEY.

=Part Second.=

1. QUARTET.--"Sweet and Low"                                  _Barnby_

2. PIANO SOLO.--"Le Courrier"                                 _Ritter_

3. SONG.--"Queen of the Night"                                _Thomas_

4. SONG.--"To the Storm Wind"                                  _Evers_

5. DUET.--"Land of the Swallows"                             _Massini_

6. SOLO.--For Violin.
    MR. F.E. LEWIS.

7. SONG.

8. SONG.--"Love's Delight"                                       _Abt_
    MR. B.J. JANEY.

9. DUET.--"I Pescatori"                                       _Gabusi_

10. QUARTET.--"What Phrase Sad and Soft"                      _Bishop_

_Mr. David T. Oswald_, residing at Worcester, Mass., is an artistic
violinist, performing in a finished style the most classical and
difficult music for the violin. He has, besides, become deservedly
popular as an organizer of musical entertainments, and as a promoter
of a regard for good music by the people. He is quite well known in
St. John, N.B., Portland, Me., and in Boston, in which places he has
frequently appeared at public concerts; and has been often
complimented by the press.

_James Caseras_, who was for a long time the organist of a Catholic
church in Springfield, Mass., deserves, on account of his great skill
as a performer on the organ and piano-forte, particular mention here.
He came to this country some years ago from England, where he had
attracted much notice for his fine musical qualities. In Scotland he
had frequently played before the nobility. A few years ago, shortly
after his arrival in this country, he was tendered a reception by some
of the first musicians of Boston. This occurred at Mercantile Hall.
Here he rendered with most remarkable skill, on the piano-forte, some
of the more difficult music of the great masters, receiving the
warmest praises of the best judges of art.

_Mr. T.M. Fisher_ of Portland, Me., is noticeable as a fairly good
baritone-singer. He has appeared occasionally at concerts in his own
city and in Boston, and has been favorably mentioned by the press.

In another place the violin has been recommended as a proper
instrument for study and practice by ladies. Among the latter who have
given attention to it, I am pleased to mention _Madam Adaline Talbot_
of Portland, Me. She has not yet become a great player, but now shows
sufficient proficiency to warrant the belief, that, if she continues
her studies of this delightful instrument, she may in time become an
excellent performer.

The city of New York has some very excellent musicians.

_John T. Douglass_ is very justly ranked with the best musicians of
this country. His fame is by no means confined to New-York City or
State, as he has travelled quite extensively, and has been engaged in
many musical enterprises. He is a skilful, artistic performer on
several instruments, chief of which are the violin and guitar. As a
performer on the last-mentioned instrument he has few equals, while
for it he has arranged and composed a great deal of music. He has also
composed many fine pieces for orchestras and for the piano. When only
about twenty years of age, he composed a grand overture called "The
Pilgrim." He enjoys an enviable reputation in New York as a teacher of
music, and is very remarkable for the enthusiastic, devoted attention
he gives to the study of the art. As Mr. Douglass is but thirty years
old,--having been born in New York in 1847,--it will be seen that he
has made most wonderful progress, and that he has before him a very
brilliant future.

_Mr. David S. Scudder_ has fine natural talents, and has made very
commendable progress in music. He is a fair performer on the flute,
piano, and double-bass; playing quite well Mendelssohn's music, of
which he is very fond. He deserves special mention for his successful
endeavors to promote a love of good music among his acquaintances.

_Mr. Walter F. Craig_, although quite young, has already attracted
much attention, and received the praises of the critics, as a
performer on the violin. He is a close student, very ambitious and
enthusiastic, and without doubt will ere long be ranked with the first
violinists of the day. He has lately composed a march.

_William Appo_ is a veteran musician, having had a long and varied
experience, beginning his career when there were but very few persons
of his race in this country that could compare with him in scientific
acquaintance with music. He was for a long time one of the principal
performers in the once famous "Frank Johnson's Band" of Philadelphia.
He taught music for several years in New York. Quite advanced in years
that have been filled with incidents well worth recording for the
instruction of those who follow him, he now leads a retired life on
his farm in New-York State.

These pioneer musicians of ours should ever be gratefully remembered.
But few, if any, of the large number of musical students of these
better times, can realize the vast difficulties that on every hand met
the colored musician at the time when Mr. Appo and some others
elsewhere mentioned began their ambitious, toilsome careers.

     First in loving art with all their might,
     They steadily strove in the unequal fight,
     Till Prejudice, convinced at last,
     Retired, ashamed of the cruel past.
     Now _all_ who prize fair Music's ways
     Pursue their journey with far brighter days.
     The laurel crown, then, give the _pioneer_,
     Whom ever in our memories hold we dear.

_Mr. William Brady_, although numbered with those who have passed
away, should not be forgotten whenever the noble deeds of colored men
are to be mentioned. He was an artist of the finest natural talent,
and of varied musical acquirements of a high order of excellence. Mr.
Brady was very much esteemed as a composer, being the author of many
fine pieces of music, such as quadrilles, polkas, waltzes, marches,
and songs. He also essayed more elevated work with fine success,
having been the composer of a musical service for the Episcopal
Church, and a beautiful Christmas anthem. He died in March, 1854.

Among those of the gentler sex in New York who have won much praise
for their fine rendering of vocal music are _Miss Mary Williams_ and
_Miss Blanche D. Washington_. They have occasionally sung in other
cities at concerts, and have been favorably mentioned by the public

_Mrs. V.A. Montgomery_ and _Miss Emma B. Magnon_ should have prominent
mention here on account of their fine abilities displayed in
piano-forte and organ performance. They both read music readily,--or
"at sight," as we say,--and at present are engaged as organists in
New-York churches.

_Miss J. Imogene Howard_, formerly of Boston, but now an esteemed
teacher in one of the public schools of New-York City, deserves to be
mentioned in this list. When in Boston this lady exhibited commendable
zeal in the study of music, and at an early age was quite noticeable
for good piano-forte performance. Miss Howard is a graduate of the
Girls' High and Normal School of the city last mentioned.

A most encouraging indication of musical progress in the metropolis is
the existence there of the _Philharmonic Society_, which was organized
somewhat over two years ago. Two or three of its members are fine
soloists, while others possess fair abilities. The music practised is
instrumental, and all of a high order. The society is divided into two
classes, called the one junior, and the other senior. The juniors are
the newer and less skilful members: these are required to take lessons
of a competent teacher, and are not allowed to play with the senior
class until they attain to a certain degree of proficiency. At public
performances, of course, only the seniors represent the society. The
conductor (who is also president) is _Mr. P.H. Loveridge_; first
violin, _Walter F. Craig_; solo cornet, _Elmore Bartelle_; flute, _Ph.
Williams_; _William Lewis_, violoncello. At present the society
numbers about twenty members, all young men of intelligence and moral
character; and it has an excellent library of music, and a fund in

It is entirely unnecessary for the writer to say a word in praise of
this enterprise, for its present and prospective good results will be
readily perceived by all; nor need he, it is hoped, for the same
reason, urge upon the young men of other cities the great importance
of organizing similar societies.

_Miss Celestine O. Browne_ of Jamestown, N.Y., possesses fine ability
as a pianist. She is thus mentioned by "The Folio" of Boston, in the
number for December, 1876: "She is a fine pianist, very brilliant and
showy as soloist and accompanist." Again: the same journal, in the
number for February, 1877, said of Miss Browne, "A pianist of great
merit. Her natural abilities have been well trained. She has a clear
touch, and plays with a great deal of expression." This lady has for
more than a year been a valued member of the Hyers Sisters

_Mr. Peter P. O'Fake_ is considered one of the most noticeable of the
musicians of Newark, N.J.; which is no slight distinction, since in
that city are to be found some of the first musicians of the country.
He was born there in 1820. His parents were also natives of Newark.
Mr. O'Fake is what is termed "self-taught," and has cultivated most
industriously, against many disadvantages, the talents with which he
was naturally endowed. He is a skilful, expressive performer on the
violin (his specialty) and the flute. He has, of course, often
performed in public. In 1847 he took a prominent part at a concert
given by the notable Jullien Society of New York, playing on the
violin _De Beriot's Sixth and Seventh Airs with Variations_. In 1848
he took position on one occasion as leader in the Newark-Theatre
orchestra,--a rare distinction for one of his race, on account of the
prevailing color-prejudice. In 1850 he performed in Connor's Band at
Saratoga, playing at times the cornet and flute. These are some of the
most notable of his public appearances. He is occasionally called upon
to take part in concerts given by the various musical organizations of
Newark, the accident of complexional difference but seldom serving to
counteract the effects produced by his well-known musical abilities.
He often furnishes the music for receptions given at the homes of the
_élite_ of Newark. Mr. O'Fake has composed, and his orchestra often
performs to the great delight of all who hear it, a most bewitching
piece of quadrille-music called "The Sleigh-Ride," in which he most
ingeniously and naturally introduces the crack of the whip and the
merry jingle of the sleigh-bells. At such times the dancers are
excited to a high state of joyousness by the bewitching music, the
latter being of a character so suggestive as to cause them to almost
imagine themselves in the enjoyment of a veritable sleigh-ride. This
composition has greatly added to the fame of the author.

Mr. O'Fake is also a fair vocalist,--singing baritone,--and has been
director of the choir of one of the Episcopal churches in Newark since
1856. This choir frequently renders Dudley Buck's music, and that of
others among the best composers, eliciting most favorable comments
from the press.

_Misses Rosa and Malvina D. Sears_ are musical people of Newark, N.J.,
who deserve mention here.

_Philadelphia_ has, of course, many fine musicians. The most prominent
vocalists are _Madam Brown_, _Mr. John Mills_, and _Mrs. Lucy Adger_;
and the most prominent instrumentalists are _Miss M. Inez Cassey_,
pianist, _F.J.R. Jones_, violinist, and _Edward Johnson_, violinist.

This city enjoys the honor of having been the home of _Mr. Frank
Johnson_, and the place of organization of the celebrated brass band
that bore his name. It has been the intention of the writer to give a
somewhat extended sketch in this book of this famous impressario and
his talented body of performers; but as yet he has not succeeded in
obtaining the necessary materials. He will mention, however, briefly,
that Mr. Johnson was a well-educated musician, very talented and
enthusiastic, with fine powers for organization and leadership. He was
exceedingly skilful as a performer on the bugle. In his hand this

     "Became a trumpet, whence he blew
     Soul-animating strains: alas! too few."

Besides, he played well several other instruments. He was very much
esteemed, and was foremost in promoting in many ways the musical
spirit: he was, in fact, the P.S. Gilmore of his day. His band
attracted much attention all over the country for fine martial music.

Some time between the years 1839 and 1841 Mr. Johnson organized a
select orchestra, with which he visited several of the principal
cities of the country, "astonishing the natives" by a fine rendering
of the best music in vogue at that time. Indeed, the novelty formed by
such an organization,--all colored men,--its excellent playing, and
the boldness of the enterprise, all combined to create a decided
sensation wherever these sable troubadours appeared. It is said that
sometimes, while the band was on this tour, many persons would doubt
the ability of its members to read the music they were playing,
believing that they performed "by ear," as it is called; nor could
such persons be convinced of their error until a new piece of music--a
piece not previously seen by them--was placed before the band, and by
the same readily rendered from the printed page.

Mr. Johnson at one time visited England with his band, and gave
concerts in all the principal cities, being received everywhere with
the most demonstrative marks of favor. They were invited to play
before Queen Victoria and her court. This noble-hearted sovereign was
so highly pleased with the musical ability displayed by Mr. Johnson
and the other members of the band, that she caused a handsome silver
bugle to be presented to him in her name. Returning to this country
with such a nobly-won mark of honor, he became the centre of
attraction, and thereafter, as a musician, easily maintained before
the country a position of great popularity. At his funeral, which
occurred in 1846, the bugle just alluded to was placed upon the
coffin, and so borne to the grave, as a fitting emblem of one of the
important victories he had won, as well as of the music-loving life he
had led.

The memory of this gifted musician and indefatigable worker should
long be kept green in the hearts of all the members of his race, and
in those of his countrymen in general. For the former he of course
performed a specially noble service in demonstrating so powerfully its
capability for musical comprehension and for the scientific
performance of music,--points which, strange to say, were much in
dispute when he began his career; while in his well-nigh matchless
ability as a musician, displayed in no selfish manner, but in a way
that promoted in a high degree a general love for the elevating art of
music, Frank Johnson proved himself an honor to the whole country, and
one who should be long and gratefully remembered by all.

The band continued in existence, and was much in demand, for many
years after the great leader died, retaining its old and honorable
name, "Frank Johnson's Band." _Mr. Joseph G. Anderson_ next became
director. This gentleman was a musician of most remarkable powers,
both natural and acquired. He performed in a very skilful manner upon
almost every instrument that was in use, reading music like one reads
a book. In short, it has been said of him, that "what he did not know
of music was not worth knowing." He, too, was a great organizer; and
he showed himself, in many important respects, a fit successor of

When, during the late war, the State of Pennsylvania was forming
regiments, Mr. Anderson was kept busily employed for a long period
organizing and instructing brass bands for many of these regiments.
With his great musical skill and experience, he proved to be
indispensable at this time to the State, and won the brightest of

Under Mr. Anderson's leadership, the band was occasionally engaged to
go to distant parts of the country to play for gatherings of one kind
and another. The writer well remembers when in 1852, on "St. John's
Day," this fine corps of musicians came to Cincinnati. With ranks so
deployed as to almost extend across Broadway Street, they moved in
most soldierly manner up the same at the head of a Masonic order,
playing indeed most "soul-animating strains," and winning the while
the warm admiration of a vast throng of people that lined the
sidewalks. Ah! we were very, very proud of them; so elated with their
triumphal entry, and so inspirited by the noble music, that it seemed
as though we could have followed them for days without yielding to

Mr. Anderson died at Philadelphia in 1874.

The successor of "Frank Johnson's Band" is called "The Excelsior." I
am informed that the latter consists of a number of superior

"Madam Brown" was long regarded as the finest vocalist of her race in
this country, while only a few of the other race could equal her.
Although now no longer young, she still sings artistically and
beautifully. Her _repertoire_ comprises the gems of the standard
operas; and these she has sung, and does now sing, in a style that
would reflect honor on those far more pretentious than herself.

The other day, while looking over the "scrap-book" of a friend, I met
with another of those pleasant surprises that have occasionally
cheered me since I began this volume. In this "scrap-book" I found a
large number of cuttings from Philadelphia, New York, and other
papers, that related to the concerts given in the year 1856, and
later, by _Miss Sarah Sedgewick Bowers_. By these comments, I find
that this lady possessed a voice of most charming power and sweetness,
and that in her interpretations of operatic and music of a classical
character she was well-nigh, if not quite, equal to the finest
cantatrices then before the public. These papers styled Miss
Sedgewick--this was her professional name--the "Colored Nightingale."

It would perhaps be interesting to here append a number of these very
complimentary comments. A single and representative one must, however,
suffice. It is from "The Daily Pennsylvanian" of May 3, 1856.

     "We have never been called upon to record a more brilliant
     and instantaneous success than has thus far attended this
     talented young aspirant to musical honors. From obscurity
     she has risen to popularity. She has not been through the
     regular routine of advancement; but, as it were in a moment,
     endowed by nature with the wonderful power of song, she
     delighted the circle in which she moved, and is now
     enchanting the public. Last evening the hall was thronged at
     an early hour. In every song she was unanimously encored."

Miss Bowers now lives quietly at her home in Philadelphia, singing in
public only on special occasions. She is, of course, still a devoted
lover of the art of which she has been so fine an exponent; while she
yet possesses, through voice and method, the power to charm an

The name of _Mr. John Moore_ should be mentioned here. He was a born
musician, so to speak, and was ever "full of music." I remember him as
the leader of the band of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment
during the late war. Although in this position he generally played
upon the [E-flat]-cornet, he could also play most of the other
instruments used in the band; and was, besides, a good performer on
the violin and flute. Very pleasant recollections of "our band," as we
soldiers fondly termed it, remain, I am quite sure, with all the
surviving members of the Fifty-fifth Regiment. In camp-life it often
enlivened the dull hours, and gave, by sweetest music, a certain
refinement to what would have been without it but a life of much
coarseness; while upon the wearisome march we often forgot our fatigue
as we briskly marched, keeping step to the animating music. To Mr.
Moore, the leader, much praise is due for the great benefits afforded
the members of the regiment by good music; nor do we forget the skill
displayed by the other members of the band, which enjoyed the
reputation of being the best in the Department of the South. Mr. Moore
died at Philadelphia in 1871.

_Professor Lott_ of Pittsburgh, Penn., has attracted attention as one
of the very first violoncellists of the country. He has travelled
quite extensively in the United States with a concert-troupe.

_Mr. Z.A. Coleman_ is a good singer of bass.

_Mr. E. Minor Holland_ of Cleveland, O., is a good performer on the
[B-flat]-cornet, violin, and double-bass. He is quite a young man,
and, possessing much talent, may become a musician of great merit if
he continues his studies.

_Miss Mary F. Morris_ performs upon the piano-forte with fine skill
and taste, and is a vocalist of excellent powers. She has pursued her
musical studies in the Cleveland Convent, the teachers of which enjoy
a high reputation; and also under Professor Alfred Arthur, one of the
finest instructors of Cleveland.

_I.A.D. Mitchell_, playing the [E-flat]-cornet, is the very efficient
leader of a band.

_Miss Annie Henderson_ is a very pleasing vocalist. She also studied
at the convent previously mentioned, and under Professor Arthur.

_Miss Clara Monteith Holland_, a young daughter of Justin Holland, the
celebrated guitar virtuoso, gives much promise of becoming a brilliant

Washington, O., enjoys the honor of being the home of _Mr. Samuel
Lucas_, a fine baritone character-singer, the author of a book of
songs. He, besides, has but few equals as an actor in comedy; has
travelled throughout the country as a performer, receiving everywhere
the warmest praises of the press.

While on a visit to his home last summer, Mr. Lucas was the recipient
of a complimentary benefit tendered by the admiring citizens. The
offer of this flattering testimonial was signed by over fifty of his
most respectable townsmen, and the affair was in all respects a
successful one. Mr. Lucas was assisted in the performances by the
following young ladies: Misses S. Logan, Dora Chester, Laura Reed,
Delia Lamon, S. Melvin, and Fannie Chester. Mr. Lucas is at present a
valued member of the Hyers Sisters opera-troupe, who are performing in
"Out of Bondage" throughout the West.

"The Milwaukee Sentinel" of a late date thus alludes to his
performances with this troupe:--

     "As an actor he takes high rank; but it was in his singing
     that he made an already-delighted audience more pleased than
     ever. His rendition of 'Grandfather's Clock,' with distant
     chorus and refrain, was the sweetest music we ever listened
     to. The audience was breathless; the lowest whisper could be
     heard distinctly all over the house; and, as the last tones
     died away in the seeming distance, a hush as of death came
     over the audience, followed by thunders of applause."

The writer would be very remiss did he fail to mention here the very
remarkable music-loving spirit which has been exhibited by the colored
people of Chillicothe, O. This very forcibly arrested his attention,
when, several years ago, he visited that somewhat ancient city, once
the capital of the State. It was then found that among the class of
persons just mentioned--who formed, by the way, only a small portion
of the city's entire population--there existed two or three singing
societies, two brass bands (the latter the only organizations of the
kind then in existence there), and two church-choirs, one of the same
being composed of very good vocalists indeed.

In 1857 _Rev. John R. Bowles_ organized in Chillicothe a choir for his
church, under the leadership of _Jas. D. Hackley_. This choir was
considered one of the very best in Southern Ohio. Its leader possessed
a tenor-voice of rare sweetness and power, and was quite proficient in
rendering church-music, and in directing the singing of the same by
his choir. But a few persons in the State equalled Mr. Hackley in the
possession of these qualities. Of the two bands, the one called the
"_Scioto-Valley Brass Band_" was organized in 1855 under the
leadership of _Richard Chancellor_ and _John Jones_. The other was
called the "_Roberts Band_," and was organized in 1857, the directors
being _Thomas Harris_ and _William Davis_. In 1859 these two
organizations were united under the name of the "Union-Valley Brass
Band," _Thomas Harris_ and _A.J. Vaughn_ leaders. This consolidation,
composed of the best musicians of the two bands previously in
existence, made a corps of performers that was unequalled in Ross and
the adjacent counties, while it was one of the finest in the State.
They owned a handsome bandwagon, and furnished the music for all such
gatherings--irrespective of the color of the attendants--as county
fairs, picnics, celebrations, political meetings, &c., throughout Ross
County. This band contained several performers of such excellent
natural and acquired abilities as would render them prominent among
the best musicians of any section of the country.

Besides those already mentioned as leaders, I would now refer to _Mr.
William H. Starr_, one of the finest musicians of Ohio. He has been
for a long time the leading spirit in all matters musical among the
people. A good reader of all kinds of music, Mr. Starr easily gives it
beautiful expression on any one of the many instruments used in a
brass band of ordinary size. On several of these he is a pleasing
soloist. His favorite is the [E-flat]-alto, while he is also a skilful
arranger of music for them all. Mr. Starr has also composed a number
of pieces for his own and other bands; besides others, a quickstep, a
march, and a polka. As a teacher Mr. Starr has been quite successful.
One of his former pupils is now the leader of a band.

_Mr. Thomas Harris_ should also have special mention here. He was a
superior [E-flat]-cornet player, a good bugler, and a very good
performer on the clarinet; a good reader of music for each of these
important instruments.

_Mr. William H. Dupree_, at one time the very efficient manager of the
Union-Valley Brass Band, in which he was also a performer on the
[B-flat]-baritone, is a gentleman whose history is such as to warrant
particular mention here, not only on account of his having always
possessed an ardent music-loving spirit, but also from his general
intelligence, and the fine progress he has made in attaining to
several high stations of honor and usefulness. Mr. Dupree remained a
member of the band in Chillicothe until 1863, when, on the first call
for colored troops for the late war, he went to Massachusetts, and
enlisted in the Fifty-fifth Regiment. He became first sergeant of
Company H; in which position he won golden opinions from those in
command for his strict attention to duty, his steady and rapid
acquirement of military knowledge (becoming one of the very best
drill-masters and disciplinarians of his regiment), and for his
generally fine, officer-like bearing. At one time Sergeant Dupree was
manager of the regimental band, in which position he rendered
important service. In 1864 he was promoted to the grade of a
commissioned officer,--a rare distinction for one of his race, owing
to causes so well understood that they need not be mentioned here. In
this new place of honor he so discharged his duties as to prove the
wisdom of those who tendered the appointment; for he was always
distinguished for an increased display, if possible, of those
excellent qualities, the possession of which caused his promotion.

Mr. Dupree is now the very capable and popular superintendent of
Station A Post Office in Boston, Mass. This office is situated in a
district that comprises nearly forty thousand inhabitants, composed,
for the greater part, of those among Boston's most intelligent and
wealthy citizens. He was formerly connected with a musical
organization in Boston. Although prevented by his other occupations
from devoting much attention to music, Mr. Dupree has lost none of his
old-time love for it; nor has he forgotten the pleasant days of yore
when he was connected with the brass band at Chillicothe, of whose
members he now speaks in terms of the most friendly regard.

Cincinnati now claims to be (very justly too) a decidedly musical
city; and Boston and other older places, which have all along enjoyed
the reputation of leading in matters pertaining to general
art-culture, have been warned to look well to their laurels if they
would not lose them through the advancement made by this their younger
sister, so long considered the "Queen of the West." It is true that
this distinguishing title has within a few years been claimed by
Chicago, and even St. Louis. These latter, however, base their right
to the name mostly on the results of the census-returns. In all that
relates to the substantial greatness of a city,--viz., the general
intelligence, solidity of character, and proportionate wealth of its
inhabitants,--Cincinnati, I think, may still be considered as
approaching nearer to the Eastern cities than either of the others
mentioned. This is certainly true as regards the musical devotion of
its people; and this characteristic is the one, perhaps, which most
threatens the supremacy so long held in the East.

Having said this much of Cincinnati's residents in general, it will of
course be expected that a very promising and brilliant addition is now
to be made to these records. The reader, however, must be reasonable,
and not expect _too_ much; for the same depressing causes (these have
already been sufficiently particularized in other parts of this book)
which have operated in other sections of the country against the
subjects of these sketches have been also always fully in force in
Cincinnati. It is thought that all candid observers will agree with
the writer when he confidently avows his belief, that no other people,
while laboring under so many disadvantages, would have or could have
done better than these have done. But, judging from the facts at hand,
there is really no need to beg the question; and therefore, without
offering further excuses, I shall proceed with the record.

The colored children attending the public schools of Cincinnati are
regularly taught to read music. They are frequently complimented for
their good singing by their music-teachers.

The mention of the Cincinnati schools, by the way, brings to the
writer's mind very pleasant recollections of his boyhood's home, and
of the times when he attended school there. Twenty-five years ago, the
colored school-children of Cincinnati were much remarked for excellent
singing. They were not then, as they are now, taught to read music in
the schools, but readily "caught" the pieces to be sung from the
teacher, who sang them over a few times. I remember that at one time
our favorite school-song was one called "The Captive." But only
detached portions of it come to me now. It was a piece descriptive of
the fortunes of war. A soldier of the defeated army is left behind a
prisoner. The song describes his longings for freedom, and desire to
rejoin his now-distant comrades.

I think the chorus ran in this wise:--

     "Sound again, clarion,--clarion loud and shrill!
     Sound! Let them hear the captive's voice.
             Be still, be still!"

No answer being made to this signal, the prisoner thus laments his
cruel fate:--

     "They have gone; they have all passed by,--
       They in whose wars I have borne my part,
       They whom I loved with a brother's heart:
     They have left me here to die."

The melody was quite pretty, and the solo of the captive was of music
so appropriate and pathetic as to bring tears to the eyes of both
singer and auditory. Some of my former schoolmates, now grown to
womanhood and manhood, will probably remember better than myself this
song and others that with "glad hearts and free" we used to sing so
earnestly in the schoolroom and at our school-exhibitions. From what I
learn from credible sources, it may be stated, that a visit now to the
schoolrooms of Cincinnati would reveal a scientific acquaintance with
music so great as to almost prevent the making of a comparison between
the two periods under consideration.

The Mozart Circle, under the direction of _Mr. William H. Parham_, is
a vocal organization of twenty-five members, established about three
years ago. In July, 1875, this society gave a public performance, in
costume, of the cantata of "Daniel." No attempt was made to notify the
press that the cantata was to be rendered; but a gentleman of fine
taste, and one who is generally on the lookout for all signs of
art-advancement made by the colored people, was present on the
occasion referred to. His impressions of the performance were
recorded the next day in the Cincinnati "Gazette" and "Commercial,"
and were as follows:--


     MR. EDITOR,--Permit me the use of a small space in your next
     issue to speak in deserved praise of a musical entertainment
     enjoyed by a portion of our citizens last Monday night.

     It was the cantata of "Daniel," rendered in full costume by
     the recently organized Mozart Circle, which, embracing about
     twenty members, has in the short space of six months
     developed a capacity which gave them success in this
     enterprise. It is a pity that their excessive modesty
     prevented their seeking the service of the press; for they
     have thereby kept themselves in an obscurity which it is my
     hope that this article will serve to draw them from. The
     preparation made for this entertainment should not have its
     service limited to a single occasion. It deserves
     repetition, and an appreciative public deserves the
     opportunity to enjoy it.

     Louisville, Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland, and other cities
     more or less remote, would give themselves a treat, could
     they prevail on the Circle to render the cantata in their
     midst. Not having consulted any one connected with it, it is
     a voluntary suggestion from me, that parties craving the
     enjoyment of a refined musical entertainment open
     communication with Mr. William H. Parham, its musical


     CINCINNATI, July 7, 1875.

The _Rev. Thomas H. Jackson_, pastor of Allen Temple, himself an
excellent singer, a few weeks ago organized a select choir for the
purpose of rendering the cantata just mentioned. _Mr. William H.
Morgan_, who sings in the principal _rôle_, is a young gentleman quite
worthy of the high praise which his performances have elicited. All
the members of the choir sing well; but among them no one gives more
marked promise than does a young schoolgirl of only thirteen years,
named _Elnora Johnson_. The compass and sweetness of her voice are
considered marvellous. This society promises to give the cantata

From the foregoing it will be seen that much attention is being given
to a study of some of the higher forms of composition,--a very
encouraging sign indeed.

Another vocal society is called the Arion Quartet Club. _Messrs.
Andrew D. Hart_ and _John Lewis_ are two of its members: the names of
the others I have not learned.

There are at present no instrumental societies except one or two very
good quadrille bands.

_Mrs. Ann S. Baltimore_ is an accomplished pianist, and possesses,
besides, a melodious voice. She has been favorably noticed by the

_Professor Moore_ plays skilfully the parlor-organ and piano-forte. He
teaches the playing of these instruments, and also teaches vocal

_Mr. D.W. Hamilton_ is the very popular leader of a string-orchestra.

The private circles of Cincinnati are ornamented by several classical
singers of both sexes.

First among the ladies is _Miss Fannie Adams_. She is welcomed as a
member of the Cincinnati Choral Society; and is a skilled pianist,
giving lessons on that instrument.

_Misses Ernestine and Consuelo_, daughters of Peter H. Clark, Esq.,
are sweet and scientific singers. They are pianists also.

_Misses Mary and Fannie Cole_, members of the Mozart Circle, are
distinguished for the beauty of their voices, the last-mentioned

_Miss Sarah Werles_ has a voice which is much appreciated, and under
her fingers the cabinet-organ itself seems to sing.

_Misses Ella Smith_ and _Ella Buckner_ must not be forgotten as
valuable aids on public musical occasions.

Among the males, _James P. Ferguson_ is distinguished as a bass, and
_Thomas Monroe_ as a tenor singer.

_Joseph Henson's_ voice always has in it music of an inspiring

_Fountain Lewis, jun._, was diligently prepared during his boyhood for
an organist, and in that direction is proving quite worthy of his
father's care.

By reference to a programme of a combined dramatic and musical
entertainment given in Cincinnati in May, 1876, under the direction of
the popular elocutionist, Powhatan Beaty, I find the names of the
following musical people not previously mentioned:--

Mr. Charles Hawkins performed "Streamlets" and "A Summer's Reverie" on
the piano; Mrs. Emma E. Clark sang the solo, "Brightest Eyes;" Mr.
Charles Singer sang a baritone solo; Mr. Edwin de Leon sang "Poor Old
Joe;" and Mr. William H. Jones sang "My Soul is Dark."

I am not informed as to the extent of proficiency displayed on this
occasion by these performers; but relying, as I ought, upon the good
judgment of Mr. Beaty, presume that he called none to his aid except
those at least fairly skilled in the rendering of music. The above
names are, therefore, recorded here.

The city of Chicago contains quite a large number of very excellent
musicians belonging to the race whose acquirements are here recorded.
Besides several very fine church-choirs, there is a large organization
of well-trained vocalists, the performances of which have been highly
spoken of by the journals of Chicago and those of other cities in the
State of Illinois.

_Mrs. Frances A. Powell_, the founder and directress of this society,
is also the leading soprano of the Olivet Baptist Church choir. She
was educated at Buffalo, N.Y.; and her superior powers as a vocalist
have been made the occasion of very flattering testimonials by the
press of Chicago and of the States of Illinois and Wisconsin.

_Mrs. Harriett E. Freeman_, an excellent mezzo-soprano, leading the
singing of Quinn-Chapel choir, has been complimented by the press. She
was educated at New Bedford, Mass.

_Mrs. Charlotte M. Alexander_, leading soprano of Bethel-Church choir,
was educated at Cincinnati.

_Mrs. Bessie Warwick_, soprano and brilliant pianist, was formerly a
pupil of Professor Baumback of Chicago.

_Mrs. Hettie Reed_ possesses a contralto-voice of remarkable purity
and sweetness. She is one of the principal singers of the society
first mentioned, and has been highly complimented by the critics of
Illinois and Wisconsin.

_Miss Eliza J. Cowan_, educated at Chicago, a member of the
Olivet-Church choir, is a very promising contralto-singer.

_Miss Flora Cooper_ has a voice of such great depth, that it really
may be styled baritone. She was educated in Chicago, and is a teacher
in one of the public schools of that city.

_Mrs. Esther Washington_ (_née_ Miss E. Fry) is a finished performer
on the organ and piano-forte. This lady is a graduate in thorough-bass
and harmony from Warren's Conservatory of Chicago.

_Miss Frankie Buckner_, an accomplished organist and pianist, received
her training at Detroit. She has been praised by the papers of
Madison, Wis.; was at one time pianist to a large singing society: and
is a contralto vocalist.

_Mr. William D. Berry_ is a finely-cultured tenor, a ready reader of
music, and excellent in oratorio performance. Mr. Berry formerly lived
in Hamilton, Ont.

_Miss Ida Platt_ is a brilliant pianist.

_Mr. Elias Perry_ is a young tenor-singer with a very pleasing voice.
He is a member of Olivet-Church choir.

_Mr. John F. Ransom_, baritone and organist, is a musician of
excellent culture, possessing one of the finest male voices in
Chicago. He was educated at Columbus, O. Is organist of Olivet Church.

_Mr. George W. Mead_ is leading basso of the singing society
heretofore mentioned, and of Olivet-Church choir. Mr. Mead renders his
music with correct and very pleasing expression. He has been favorably
mentioned, in connection with others with whom he has performed, by
the papers of Chicago.

All of the persons whose names are included in the list just closed
read music at sight, and are entitled to be ranked as artists.



     "Songs from the sunny South-land."--A.K. SPENCE.

The colored people of the South are proverbially musical. They might
well be called, in that section of the country, a race of troubadours,
so great has ever been their devotion to and skill in the delightful
art of music. Besides, it is now seen, and generally acknowledged,
that in certain of their forms of melodic expression is to be found
our only distinctively _American_ music; all other kinds in use being
merely the echo, more or less perfect, of music that originated in the
Old World. All who have listened to the beautiful melody and harmony
of the songs sung by those wonderful minstrels, the "Jubilee Singers,"
will readily admit that scarcely ever before the coming of the latter
had they been so melted, so swayed, so entirely held captive, by a
rendering of music; nor will they fail to admit that in these
"slave-songs" of the South was to be found a new musical idea,
forming, as some are wont to term it, a "_revelation_."

And if it were necessary to prove that music is a language by which,
in an elevated manner, is expressed our thoughts and emotions, what
stronger evidence is needed than that found in this same native music
of the South? for surely by its tones of alternate moaning and
joyousness--tones always weird, but always full of a ravishing
sweetness, and ever replete with the expression of deepest pathos--may
be plainly read the story of a race once generally languishing in
bondage, yet hoping at times for the coming of freedom.

Of the character of this music, and of its effect upon those who hear
it, no one speaks more clearly than does Longfellow in the following
lines from his poem, "The Slave singing at Midnight:"--

     "And the voice of his devotion
     Filled my soul with strange emotion;
     For its tones by turns were glad,
     Sweetly solemn, wildly sad."

Mrs. Kemble, in writing of life on a Southern plantation, tells how on
many an occasion she listened as one entranced to the strangely-pleasing
songs of the bond-people. Often she wished that some great musician
might be present to catch the bewitching melodies, and weave them into
a beautiful opera; for she thought them well worthy of such treatment.

It is often said that the colored race is naturally musical. Certainly
it is as much so as other races. More than this need not be, nor do I
think can be, claimed. It is, however, very remarkable, that a people
who have for more than two hundred years been subjected, as they have,
to a system of bondage so well calculated, as it would seem, to
utterly quench the fire of musical genius, and to debase the mind
generally, should yet have originated and practised continually
certain forms of melody which those skilled in the science consider
the very soul of music. Moreover, one is made to wonder how a race
subjected to such cruelties could have had the heart to sing at all;
much more that they could have sung so sweetly throughout all the dark
and dismal night of slavery. Here is seen, it must be admitted, what
appears very much like genius in the melody-making power. Something it
is, undoubtedly, that shows an innate comprehension, power in
expression, and love of harmony, in a degree that is simply intense.
The history of the colored race in this country establishes the fact,
too, that no system of cruelty, however great or long inflicted, can
destroy that sympathy with musical sounds that is born with the soul.
Only death itself can end it here on earth, while we are taught that
for ever and ever heaven shall be rich in harmony formed by the songs
of the redeemed. Perhaps other races, under the same terribly trying
circumstances, would have shown a power to resist the mind-destroying
influences of those circumstances equal to that which has been so
fully shown by the colored race. But, be that as it may, the latter
has actually been subjected to the awful test; and the sequel has
proved, that, to say the least, it may be considered as the equal
naturally of any of the other "musical" races composing the human

But the music of which I have been speaking was never cradled, so to
say, in the lap of science; although, in its strangely-fascinating
sweetness, soulfulness, and perfect rhythmic flow, it has often quite
disarmed the scientific critic. It is a kind of natural music. Until
quite recently no attempt was made to write it out, and place its
melodies upon the printed music-page. Slavery, of course, prevented
that. And this vile system, although it could not stamp out the
"vocal spark," the germ of great musical ideas, could still prevent
such growth of the same, such elaboration, as would have been secured
by education in a state of freedom. Yet, since the war, many of the
religious slave-songs of the South, words and music, have been
printed. It has been found that they are as subject to the laws of
science as are others; that they were not, as many persons have
supposed, merely a barbarous confusion of sounds, each warring, as it
were, against the other. For a proof of this (if there be those who
doubt), the reader is referred to the "History of the Jubilee Singers
of Fisk University," in which he will find printed the music of many
songs like those to which I have alluded.

Thus have we considered, in part, the native minstrelsy of the South.

Notwithstanding their lack of a scientific knowledge of music, colored
men, as instrumentalists, have long furnished most of the best music
that has been produced in nearly all of the Southern States. At the
watering-places, orchestras composed of colored musicians were always
to be found; in fact, at such places their services were considered
indispensable. Many of them could not read music; but they seemed
naturally full of it, and possessed a most remarkable faculty for
"catching" a tune from those of their associates who learned it from
the written or printed notes: in truth, the facility of all in
executing some of the most pleasing music in vogue was so great, that,
when these little orchestras played, it was almost impossible to
discover the slightest variation from the music as found on the
printed page.

"A good many years ago," writes a correspondent from the White Sulphur
Springs of Virginia, "the statesman Henry Clay was here, enjoying a
respite from his arduous government duties. Being present at a grand
reception where dancing was in progress, Mr. Clay wished to have
played the music for a 'Virginia Reel;' but, to his great surprise, he
learned that the colored musicians present did not know the necessary
tune. Not to be cheated out of an indulgence in this, his favorite
dance, Mr. Clay took the band over to a corner of the room, and
_whistled_ the music to them. In a very few minutes they 'caught' it
perfectly; and, returning to their places, the enterprising statesman
and his friends enjoyed themselves in dancing the 'Virginia Reel' just
as though nothing unusual had occurred." At levees, at other public
festive gatherings, and at the receptions given in the homes of the
wealthy, these orchestras were nearly always present, adding to the
enjoyments of the hour by discoursing the most delightful music. In
short, they were to be found everywhere, always receiving that warm
welcome with which a music-loving people ever greet the talented

But, besides the associations of which I have just been
speaking,--associations composed in part of those who understood music
as a science, and in part of those who did not,--there has always been
a goodly number of other persons of the same race, who, in spite of
obstacles that would seem to be insurmountable, have obtained a fair
musical education, and who have exhibited an artistic skill and
general æsthetic love and taste that would be creditable to many of
those who have enjoyed far greater advantages for culture.

I shall now proceed to mention the names of only a few of such persons
residing in some of the principal towns and cities of the South. The
list could be largely extended did time and space permit.

Baltimore, Md., has quite a number of musical people well worthy of
mention in this connection. The following are members of the choir of
St. Mary's Episcopal Church, of which the Rev. C.B. Perry is rector:--

_Mr. H.C. Bishop_, general director; _Mr. W.H. Bishop_, precentor; _J.
Hopkins Johns_ (who has a very pleasing voice); _Mr. J. Taylor_ (a
fine basso, who has been a member of a meritorious concert-troupe);
_Mr. C.A. Johnson_, organist; and _Mr. George Barrett_, tenor. Mr.
Johnson has on several occasions been the director of excellent public
concerts in Baltimore and its vicinity, and is deserving of much
praise for his activity in promoting the music-loving spirit. The same
may be said of Mr. George Barrett.

_Mr. Joseph Ockmey_ is organist of the Bethel (Methodist) Church.

The following are members of the Sharp-street Church choir:--

_Mr. Simpson_, leader; _Mr. Dongee_, organist; _Miss Mary F. Kelly_,
soprano; _Miss Emma Burgess_, soprano.

Baltimore has an association of musicians called "The Monumental
Cornet Band," of which Mr. C.A. Johnson is the efficient leader.

Some time ago I found in the musical column of "The Boston Herald" of
Sunday, July 9, 1876, the following notice of another "Blind Tom:"--

     "A rival of 'Blind Tom' has been found at Blount Springs,
     Ala., in the person of James Harden, a colored boy from
     Baltimore. He plays the guitar, and sings the most difficult
     music, exceptionally well; and is also something of a
     composer. He has received no instruction, but is most
     emphatically a natural-born musician."

Louisville, Ky., shows its appreciation of music by organizing a
society devoted to the latter, numbering over a hundred persons. This
fact has attracted the attention of Brainard's "Musical World," which
journal, in the number for October, 1877, alludes to it as a bright
evidence of the dawn of better times in the South.

In St. Louis[17] live _Mrs. Georgetta Cox_ and _Miss Nellie
Banks_,--two ladies who have won golden opinions for their exhibition
of fine musical qualities. They are both excellent vocalists and

[Footnote 17: St. Louis is placed in this section of the record
because the latter is devoted to such localities as before the war
were within slave territory.]

_Mr. L.W. Henderson_ as a vocalist, _Mr. Alfred White_ and _Mr. Samuel
Butler_ as vocalists and instrumentalists, all possess artistic
abilities of a fine order.

_Miss Johnson_ has attracted the attention and won the high praise of
competent judges for her proficiency in piano-forte performance.

_Mr. James P. Thomas_ is a finished violinist.

With such artists as the above mentioned, and others whose names I
have not learned, it will be seen that the city of St. Louis is not
behind in musical culture.

Helena, Ark., is fortunate in numbering among its citizens _George
H.W. Stewart_,--a gentleman of rare musical and general culture. He
was, I think, educated in Indiana, and received a diploma as a
graduate from a college of music located at Indianapolis. Mr.
Stewart's specialty as a performer is the piano, with which instrument
he finely interprets the best music of the masters. He has also a
soft yet powerful baritone-voice; and, as a singer, he has often
delighted private and public audiences.

_Miss Annie S. Wright_ of Memphis, Tenn., has few equals in that State
as a ready reader of music, or in the feeling and expression with
which she awakes the echoes of the piano-forte.

In Memphis there are several others possessing good ability as

No fears need be entertained that Nashville, Tenn., will not keep pace
with the advance of other cities in musical culture. The famous
Jubilee Singers of Fisk University, located near Nashville, may well
be mentioned here as noble representatives of that city, and as those
whose splendid example and achievements as singers will always serve
as a stimulus to the cultivation of music by their towns-people.

I mention here with much pleasure the _Lord family_ of Charleston,
S.C. The father was a musician of good ability, a pleasing performer
on the cornet and (I think) one or two other instruments, and was
leader of an orchestra. He early gave his two daughters instruction in

I recall with much interest a visit I made this accomplished family
early in 1865, when the regiment with which I was connected lay
encamped near Charleston. On this occasion, after our indulgence in
conversation touching the war, &c., I begged that I might be favored
with some music. The request was readily complied with, the father and
daughters uniting in a performance of several very pleasing

Other members of my regiment, I know, also retain very pleasant
recollections of the Lord family, not only on account of the charming
musical qualities of the latter, but also on account of their winning
courtesy to the Union soldiers. One of these was so far captivated (it
could not have been by the music alone) by the elder daughter, as to
invite her to adorn as his bride a home of his own. Our gallant
Sergeant White was accepted; and the lady has since shared with him
the enjoyment of many honors which his fine abilities have won for him
in the "sunny South."

Mr. Lord died a few years ago. His example in inculcating in his
children a love for the elevating art of music cannot be too strongly
recommended for the imitation of all heads of families who desire to
form at their firesides such sources of interest, refinement, and
pleasure, as will cause their children to prefer them, as they ever
should, to all places not comprised in the sacred name of "home."

In making this brief survey, another locality of the South is now
approached, which is so rich in musical culture as to occasion (at
least to the writer) delightful surprise, and warrant special mention
of the circumstances connected with the same. I refer to the city of
New Orleans, which will be treated in the next chapter.




     "Though last, not least."


Before the late war, the city of New Orleans was often styled "the
Paris of America." The Province of Louisiana, originally settled by
the French, and until 1812, when it became a State of the American
Union, contained a population naturally distinguished by the same
general characteristics as those which marked the people of France.
The Frenchman has for a long time been proverbially a devotee of the
fine arts; and of these that gay and brilliant city Paris--which has
ever been to its enamoured citizens not only all France, but all the
world--became for France the centre.

Here, then, a love of that beautiful art, music, since the days,
hundreds of years ago, of the courtly _ménestrels_, has been a
conspicuous trait in the character of the people. Of course, in
leaving Paris and France, and crossing the seas,--first to Canada, and
then to Louisiana,--the Frenchman carried with him that same love of
the arts, particularly that of music, that he felt in fatherland. And
so New Orleans, which in time grew to be the metropolis of Louisiana,
became also to these French settlers the new Paris. In fact, even for
years after the State was admitted into the Union, and although
meanwhile immigration had set in from other parts of the country, New
Orleans remained of the French "Frenchy." The great wealth of many of
its citizens, their gayety, their elegant and luxurious mode of
living, their quick susceptibility to the charms of music, their
generous patronage of general art, together with certain forms of
divine worship observed by a large number of them,--all this served
for a long time to remind one of the magnificent capital of France.

The opera, with its ravishing music, its romance of sentiment and
incident, its resplendent scenery, and the rich costumes and brilliant
delineations of its actors,--all so well calculated to charm a people
of luxurious tastes,--has always been generously patronized in New
Orleans; and so, too, have been the other forms of musical
presentation. Amateur musicians have never been scarce there: such
persons, pursuing their studies, not with a pecuniary view (being in
easy circumstances), but simply from a love of music, have ever found
congenial association in the city's many cultured circles; while many
others, who, although ardently loving music for its own sake, were yet
forced by less fortunate circumstances to seek support in discoursing
it to others,--these have always found ready and substantial
recognition in this music-loving city.

But does all I have been saying apply to the colored people of New
Orleans as well, almost, as to the others? Strange to say, it does.
Natural lovers of the "art divine," and naturally capable of musical
expression,--they too, although with far less of advantages for
culture than the others, have with voice and instrument, and even as
composers, helped to form the throng of harmonists, playing no mean
part in the same. The colored people of New Orleans have long been
remarked for their love of and proficiency in music and other of the
elegant arts. Forty years ago "The New-Orleans Picayune" testified to
their superior taste for and appreciation of the drama, especially
Shakspeare's plays. A certain portion of these people, never having
been subjected to the depressing cruelties of _abject_ servitude,
although, of course, suffering much from the caste spirit that
followed and presented great obstacles to even such as they, were
_allowed_ to acquire the means for defraying the expenses of private
instruction, or for sending their children to Northern or European
schools. Indeed, as regards the exhibition of this ambitious musical
spirit, this yearning for a higher education and a higher life, these
people often exceeded those of fairer complexions; many of their sons
and daughters attaining to a surpassing degree of proficiency in
music, while they became noticeable for that ease and polish of
manners, and that real refinement of living, which ever mark the true
lady or gentleman.

Again: there was another portion of this same race, who, in the
circumstances of their situation, were far less fortunate than even
those of whom I have just been speaking: I mean those who were
directly under the "iron heel of oppression." Nevertheless, many of
these were so moved by a spirit of art-love, and were so ardent and
determined, as to have acquired a scientific knowledge of music, and
to have even excelled, strange to say, in its creation and
performance, in spite of all difficulties. As to just how a thing so
remarkable, nay, I may say wonderful, was accomplished, would form
many a story of most intense and romantic interest. But with present
limits I may not narrate the many instances of heroic struggle against
the foul spirit of caste prejudice, and the many noble triumphs over
the same, that belong to the lives of nearly if not quite all of the
artists of whom I shall presently briefly speak.

And here it is utterly impossible to resist the depressing effects of
that deep feeling of gloom which settles upon one as thoughts like the
following crowd into the mind. How much, how very much, has been lost
to art in this country through that fell spirit which for more than
two hundred years has animated the majority of its people against a
struggling and an unoffending minority,--a spirit which ever sought to
crush out talent, to quench the sacred fire of genius, and to crowd
down all noble aspirations, whenever these evidences of a high manhood
were shown by those whose skins were black! Ah! we may never know how
much of grandeur of achievement, the results of which the country
might now be enjoying, had not those restless, aspiring minds been
fettered by all that was the echo of a terrible voice, which, putting
to an ignoble use the holy words of Divinity, cried up and down the
land unceasingly, "_Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther!_" For to
judge as to what "might have been," and what yet may be, despite the
cruelties of the past (since, even in this instance, "the best prophet
of the future is the past"), we have only to look at what is. But from
those bitter days of a barbarous time, when hearts were oft bowed in
anguish, when tears of blood were wept, and when often attempts were
made to dwarf yearning intellect to a beastly level,--let us turn
quickly our weeping eyes from those terrible days, now gone, we hope
never again to return, towards that brighter prospect which opens
before our delighted vision: let us joyfully look upon what is, and
think of what may be. For

     "The world is cold to him who pleads;
     The world bows low to knightly deeds."

Returning, then, directly to the subject in hand (viz., the colored
musical artists of New Orleans), I first quote from a paper prepared
by a cultured gentleman of that city, himself a fine musician, the
following retrospective comment on some of the former residents

"For want of avenues in which to work their way in life, and for many
reasons which are easily understood, our best artists [colored]
removed to other countries in search of their rights, and of proper
channels in which to achieve success in the world. Among these were
Eugène Warburg, since distinguished in Italy as a sculptor; Victor
Séjour, in Paris, as a poet, and composer of tragedy; Caraby, in
France, as a lawyer; Dubuclet, in Bordeaux, as a physician and
musician; and many others." All these were forced to leave New
Orleans, their native city, because of the prejudice that prevailed
against them on account of their color. In other countries, which
Americans have been wont to style, forsooth, "despotic," these
aspiring men found ready recognition, and arose, as has been seen, to
high distinction in their chosen callings.

Of a few others who for these same reasons left their native city and
went abroad, as well as of a large number of talented, educated
musical people who remained in New Orleans, I shall now speak.

_The Lambert family_, consisting of seven persons, presents the
remarkable instance of each of its members possessing great musical
talent, supplemented by most careful cultivation.

_Richard Lambert_, the father, has long been highly esteemed as a
teacher of music. Many of his pupils have attained to a fine degree of
proficiency as performers of music, and some of them are to-day

_Lucien Lambert_, very early in life, attracted attention by his
ardent devotion to the study of music. He used to give six hours of
each day to practice, and became a pianist of rare ability. With a
style of performance really exquisite, he has always excited the
admiration, and sometimes the wonder, of his auditors, by easy
triumphs over all piano difficulties. But his genius and ambition were
such, that mere performance of the music of others did not long
satisfy him. He became a composer of great merit. A man of high soul,
he also, ere long, grew restive under the restraints, that, on account
of his complexion, were thrown around him in New Orleans. He longed to
breathe the air of a free country, where he might have an equal chance
with all others to develop his powers: and so, after a while, he went
to France; and, continuing his studies in Paris under the best masters
of the art, he rapidly attained to great skill in performance and in
composition. He finally went to Brazil, where he now resides, being
engaged in the manufacture of pianos. He is about fifty years of age,
a gentleman of imposing appearance. Lucien Lambert has written much
music. Below is given the titles of only a very small number of his

"La Juive;" "Le Départ du Conscrit" (fantasie march); "Les Ombres
Aimées;" "La Brésiliana;" "Paris Vienne;" "Le Niagara;" "Au Clair de
la Lune," with variations; "Ah! vous disais-je, Maman;"
"L'Américaine;" "La Rose et le Bengali;" "Pluie de Corails;" "Cloches
et Clochettes;" "Étude Mazurka."[18]

[Footnote 18: Only to those who have not read the introduction to
these sketches will it seem strange that the titles of these, and of
the works hereafter mentioned, although they are the creations of
Americans, are yet given in the French language. For the information
of such persons, I repeat in substance what has already been said,
that these authors, in adopting the course just referred to, have only
followed a custom which is most generally observed in the highest
art-circles of New Orleans, "the Paris of America,"--a custom, too,
which, no doubt, is in harmony with the tastes, as it is with the
acquirements, of the authors themselves, all of whom speak and write
the French language quite perfectly. It may be well to here say also,
that all of the above-mentioned works, and all others (not otherwise
specified) mentioned hereafter, bear the imprint of some one of the
principal music-publishers of the day, from whom, of course, copies
may be ordered, if desired.]

_Sidney Lambert_, stimulated by the instruction and good fame of his
father and the high reputation gained by his brother Lucien, and
himself possessing rich natural powers, soon became conspicuous for
brilliant execution on the piano-forte, and as a composer of music for
that and other instruments. He has also written a method for the
piano, the merits of which are such as to cause him to be lately
decorated for the same by the King of Portugal. He is now a professor
of music in Paris, France. Here is a partial list of pieces composed
and arranged by him:--

"Si j'étais Roi;" "Murmures du Soir;" "L'Africaine;" "Anna Bolena;"
"La Sonnambula;" "L'Élisire;" "Transports Joyeux;" "Les Cloches."
[Transcriber's Note: 'Les Clochettes' in the Appendix]

_Mr. E. Lambert_ is the very efficient leader and instructor of the
St. Bernard Brass Band. He is a line musician, performing with much
skill on several instruments.

_John Lambert_, only sixteen years of age, is already regarded as an
excellent musical artist. He was educated in St. Joseph School, New
Orleans. He seems almost a master of his principal instrument, the
cornet, playing with ease the most difficult music written for the
same. He is a member of the St. Bernard Band,--a very valuable member
too, since he can play a variety of instruments.

_The two Misses Lambert_ are accomplished pianists. One of them is an
excellent teacher.

_Edmund Dédé_ was born in New Orleans in the year 1829. He learned
first the clarinet, and became a good player. He afterwards took up
the violin for study, under the direction of C. Deburque, a colored
gentleman. After a while he took lessons of Mr. L. Gabici, who was at
one time chief of the orchestra of the St. Charles Theatre. Dédé was a
cigar-maker by trade. Being of very good habits, and economical, he
accumulated enough money after a while to pay for a passage to France,
where, on his arrival in 1857, he received a welcome worthy of a great
people and of so fine an artist. He is very popular, not only as a
violinist, but as a man, being of fine appearance, of amiable
disposition, and very polite and agreeable in his manners. While a
student in New Orleans, many were they who seemed never to grow tired
in listening to his peculiarly fine playing of the studies of Kreutzer
and the "Seventh Air Varié de Beriot." He is considered alike
remarkable in his perfect making of the staccato and the legato; is
very ardent in his play, throwing his whole soul into it; and meets
with no difficulties that he does not easily overcome. Mr. Dédé is now
director of the orchestra of "L'Alcazar," in Bordeaux, France. He is
of unmixed negro blood, and is married to a beautiful and accomplished
French lady.

The titles of only a very few of the works composed by Edmund Dédé can
now be given. They are as follows: "Le Sement [Transcriber's Note:
Serment] de l'Arabe," "Vaillant Belle Rose Quadrille" (this it was
called originally; but I believe the piece has been published under
another name), "Le Palmier Overture."

_Basile Barès_ [Transcriber's Note: corrected from Barés] was born in
New Orleans Jan. 2, 1846, and is what may be called a self-made man.
He to-day enjoys a fine reputation as a pianist and composer. His
studies on the piano were begun under Eugène Prévost, who was, in
years gone by, director of the Orleans Theatre and the opera-house
orchestras. Barès studied harmony and composition under Master
Pedigram. In 1867 he visited the Paris Exposition, at which he
remained four months, giving many performances upon the piano-forte.
Mr. Barès resides in New Orleans. I append this partial list of his
works: "La Capricieuse Valse," "Delphine Valse Brillante," "Les
Variétés du Carnaval," "Les Violettes Valse," "La Créole" (march),
"Élodia" (polka mazurka), "Merry Fifty Lancers," "Basile's Galop,"
"Les Cents Gardes" (valse), and "Minuit Polka de Salon."

_Professor Samuel Snaer_, a native of New Orleans, is in his
forty-fourth year, and is a musician of remarkably fine powers. He is
a brilliant pianist, and a most skilful performer on the violin and
violoncello. As a violoncellist he has but few equals anywhere. He is
an esteemed teacher of violin and piano, and is organist at St. Mary's
(Catholic) Church.

But Professor Snaer's musical abilities do not end with the
accomplishments just mentioned. He is, besides, a ready composer, and
has produced much music of a varied and very meritorious character.
Extreme modesty, however, has prevented him from publishing many of
his pieces. Generally his habit has been to sit down and compose a
piece, and then allow the manuscript to go the rounds among his
acquaintances. As he would make no request for its return, nor express
solicitude regarding its fate, the music rarely returned to the
composer; so that to-day the most unlikely place to find copies of his
works is at the professor's own residence.

Professor Snaer has a memory of most wonderful power. When he was
eighteen years old (that was twenty-six years ago), he composed his
"Sous sa Fenêtre." Without having seen this music for many years, he
can to-day write it out note for note. He remembers equally well each
one of his many compositions, some of which have been of an elaborate
and difficult character. He has lately rewritten from memory, for a
gentleman in Boston, a great solemn mass which he composed several
years ago. Those who are familiar with the original draught of this
mass say that the present one is its exact counterpart.

The following comprises in part a list of the works of Professor

     "Sous sa Fenêtre," published by Louis Grunewald, New

     "Le Chant du Départ," published by Louis Grunewald, New
     Orleans. (Two editions issued.)

     "Rappelle-toi," published by Louis Grunewald, New Orleans.
     (Two editions issued.)

     "Grand Scène Lyrique" (solo and duetto).

     "Graziella" (overture for full orchestra).

     "Le Vampire" (vocal and instrumental).

     "Le Bohémien" (vocal and instrumental).

     "Le Chant des Canotiers" (trio); and a large number of
     Polkas, Mazurkas, Quadrilles, and Waltzes.

Professor Snaer is also a man of letters, a _littérateur_; and in such
matters, as well as those of music, much deference is paid to his
judgment by his contemporaries.

_Mr. Henry Staes_ is a youth quite ardent in his study of the

_Mr. Lanoix Parent_, formerly a member of the Philharmonic Society, is
a performer on the violin, viola, and some other instruments.

_Professor A.P. Williams_, born in Norwich, Conn., in 1840, is highly
esteemed as a vocalist and pianist. He is an efficient teacher of
vocal and instrumental music. He received his musical training from
his father, Mr. P.M. Williams, who, a native of Massachusetts, was a
proficient vocalist and organist. Professor Williams is a man of
decided intellectual merit, and is principal instructor in a
grammar-school in New Orleans.

_Mr. E.V. Macarty_, a native of New Orleans, was born in 1821. He
began lessons on the piano under Professor J. Norres. In 1840 he was
sent to Paris, where, through the intervention of Hon. Pierre Soulé
and the French ambassador to the United States, he was admitted to the
Imperial Conservatoire, although he was then over the age prescribed
for admission. At the Conservatoire he studied vocal music, harmony,
and composition. He has composed some pieces that have been
published, the names of which, however, are not known to the writer.
Mr. Macarty is especially distinguished as a vocalist: as a singer he
is full of sentiment, and very impressive; is a fine pianist; and much
admired, too, as an amateur actor. In the _rôle_ of Antony, in the
play of that name, by Alexandre Dumas, as well as in that of Buridan
in "La Tour de Nesle," by the same author, Mr. Macarty has won high
honors. He also has held several positions of trust under the State

_Mr. F.C. Viccus_ is a gentleman of fine musical abilities, a
performer on the violin, cornet, and even other instruments.

_McDonald Repanti_, before going to Mexico, became one of the most
remarkable pianists of New Orleans. His trade in early life was that
of a worker in marble; and being very fond of music, and desirous to
study the piano, he used to work very hard at his trade during six
months of the year, and then devote the other six to severe study of
music, and practice on his favorite instrument. This he did under the
instruction of his brother, Fierville Repanti, who was formerly a
teacher of marked ability, and a composer of music. Fierville removed
to Paris, where he died some years ago.

_Maurice J.B. Doublet_ was born in New Orleans in the year 1831. In
that city he takes rank with the best violinists, and is highly rated
as a general musician. Modesty has kept him away from the public but
too often, since he possesses powers that would cause him always to be
the recipient of much applause from large and cultivated audiences. He
studied under L. Gabici. Mr. Doublet, as a violinist, is most
remarkable for the purity of the tones produced, and the faithfulness
he exhibits in giving expression to the composer's thoughts. These
qualities, which it seems were given him by nature, are also
noticeable in all of his pupils. Mr. Doublet is also a composer, but
is so modest as to hide from the general public all that he has done
in that line.

_Dennis Auguste_ was born in New Orleans in 1850, and is therefore
twenty-seven years of age. Although so young, he is regarded as a fine
musician. He grew to manhood in the family of Col. Félix Labatut, by
whom and his wife Dennis was treated as a son. Mr. and Mrs. Labatut,
who were a noble and high-minded couple, of well-known liberal ideas,
spared no pains to give their charge a thorough education. Teachers
were employed to instruct him in many branches of learning. Mr. Ludger
Boquille, a colored gentleman, became his teacher in French; Prof.
Richard Lambert gave the youth his first lessons in music and on the
piano; Prof. Rolling, a well-known artist, directed him in the same
studies afterward; while in vocal music, harmony, and composition, he
became proficient under Mr. Eugène Prévost. Mr. Auguste has proved
himself worthy of the care that was given to his training by his
Christian-like guardians and faithful teachers. As a performer he is
held in high esteem, and is often employed by the best families of
both races in his native city.

_Henry Corbin_, for several years a resident in New Orleans, was born
in Cincinnati, O., in the year 1845. He learned the violin under a
German teacher and under Professor Bonnivard. He has played as an
amateur on many occasions at concerts, and always with marked
acceptance to his audiences. Mr. Corbin's musical achievements are
very fine, considering the great amount of time he has given to
employments connected with state and city government. He was at one
time private secretary to Gov. Pinchback; at another, secretary of the
Board of Directors of the Public Schools of New Orleans; and is now
tax-collector for the Sixth District in that city.

_J.M. Doublet_ is only eighteen years of age, but is considered
already a violinist of excellent ability. He has studied music under
the direction of his father, J.B.M. Doublet.

_Adolphe Liantaud_ is one of the best performers on the cornet in New
Orleans: indeed, for purity and smoothness of tone, as well as power,
he is regarded as most remarkable.

_Mr. Henry Berrot_ is considered an excellent player on the
contra-bass, although beginning its practice only a few years ago, and
at an age when most persons would despair of acquiring a knowledge of
that or any other instrument.

_Mrs. P. Casnave_ is a brilliant pianist.

_Miss Macarty_ has on several occasions appeared at public concerts,
and has always been received with marked favor. She is quite studious,
and renders difficult and classical compositions for the piano in a
most creditable manner.

As may be readily supposed of a community like that of New Orleans,
where there is a large colored population composed of so many people
of culture, the gentler sex are only behind the other, in possessing a
knowledge of music, to that extent which has been caused by those
unreasonable, unwritten, yet inexorable rules of society, that have
hitherto forbidden women to do more than learn to perform upon the
piano-forte and guitar, and to sing. But among the ladies of New
Orleans there are many who may be called excellent pianists, and those
who, possessing good voices, sing the choicest music of the day with a
fine degree of taste and expression. Most of these (only a few of them
are performers in public), by their musical culture, and the
possession of those general graces of a beautiful womanhood,--graces
the possession of which

     "Show us how divine a thing
     A woman may become,"--

add to the adornments and refining pleasures of many private circles,
and thus keep pace with their male relatives and friends in
demonstrating the intellectual equality of their race. It would,
however, take up far too much of space to here present a larger number
of the names of these accomplished ladies than has already been given;
and it is therefore hoped that the latter,--fair representatives of
many others that might be given,--and the general mention just made,
may suffice.

Returning to the other sex, I first refer to _Constantin Deberque_,
who is a musician of fine ability, a teacher of great skill, and a
gentleman of good general culture. Mr. Deberque will again be
mentioned on a succeeding page.

_Dr. E. Dubuclet_ is a finished violinist. He is a brother of Dr.
Dubuclet, heretofore mentioned as having removed to Bordeaux, France.

_The Dupré family_ are remarkable for their excellent musical
qualities. Each of the brothers, Ciel, Lucien, and Esebe, play upon
several instruments; while their two sisters are also well versed in

_Mr. Raymond Auguste_, as a cornetist, is quite noticeable for the
purity, strength, and fine expression of the tones he produces.

_Eugène Convertie_ is a classical student; wins golden opinions for
his piano performances; and has been highly esteemed as a teacher of
that instrument. He is now succeeding as a dry-goods merchant in New

_Mr. Kelly_, band-director, is very effective as a performer on the

_Mr. Émile Ricard_ is regarded as a good pianist and teacher.

_Joseph A. Moret_ is a violin-player, to whom all listen with
pleasure. He was first a pupil under Professor Snaer, and afterwards
studied under Professor Bonnivard. Mr. Moret, having been instructed
by such good teachers, possessing much natural talent, and being
withal so young, has before him a brilliant future.

_Joseph Mansion_ is an amateur violinist, and a gentleman of much
intelligence. He was formerly a member of the Louisiana House of
Representatives, and is now State-tax assessor.

_Joseph Bazanac_ was an excellent performer on the flute and bassoon,
and a teacher of music. He was, besides, acknowledged as a skilful
instructor in the French and English languages. He died a few months

_Charles Martinez_, who died in 1874, was most remarkable for
proficiency in performance upon a great number of instruments,--being
an artistic guitarist and violinist, a player upon the contra-bass,--and
was also a good singer. Being of an ambitious turn of mind, Mr.
Martinez studied, without a teacher, to become a notary-public, and
was appointed as such.

_Professor Thomas Martin_ was at a time one of the first musicians of
New Orleans and of Louisiana, being without an equal as a guitarist,
was a great performer on the violin and piano-forte, and played even
other instruments. He was also a fine vocalist, a ready and good
composer, and was much celebrated for abilities in teaching music. A
fine-looking man, very agreeable and gentlemanly in his manners,
Professor Martin soon won his way against all obstacles, and became
the favorite musical instructor not only of those of his own race, but
also of many persons connected with the most aristocratic white
families of New Orleans and its vicinity. This once talented musician
is now no more; he having died some years ago in Europe, as I am

_Octave Piron_ was once very prominent as an excellent vocalist and
guitarist. He devotes his attention now more to the contra-bass, upon
which instrument he is regarded as a good performer.

_J.M. Holland_ is a young man who gives much promise of becoming an
excellent pianist.

And thus I might go on and on, mentioning name after name, and
achievement after achievement; but warned by the great number of pages
already devoted to these praiseworthy musical people of New Orleans,
and believing that enough has been presented to serve the object had
in view when these notices were begun, I will shortly close this

As a sample of the concerts frequently given in New Orleans by
_amateur_ musicians of the colored race, I append this programme of
one lately given:--



Vocal and Instrumental Concert,

ON OCTOBER 14, 1877,


Masonic Hall, cor. of St. Peter and Claude Streets,




=Part First.=

1. OVERTURE.--"La Muette de Portici"                        ORCHESTRA.

2. THE FAVORITE.--"Prière."--_Donizetti_                  Miss Mc----.

3. LE BOHÉMIEN.--_Samuel Snaer_[19]                           Mr. O.P.

4. SYMPHONY.--For Two Violins and Piano,               { L.M., J.M.,
                                                       { and Miss A.F.

5. MY SUNDAY DRESS.--Song                                Jos. L., Jun.

=Intermission.--Part Second.=

6. OVERTURE.--"Sémiramis"                                   ORCHESTRA.

7. JUDITH.--_Concone_                                        Miss R.F.

8. THE ENCHANTRESS.--Fantasie for Violin                          L.M.

9. L'EXTASE.--Valse brillante.--_L'Arditi_                     Miss F.

10. FORTUNIO'S SONG.--"Alsacian Dream"                   Jos. L., Jun.

=Intermission.--Part Third.=

11. OVERTURE.--"La Dame Blanche"                            ORCHESTRA.

12. CONSTANTINOPLE.--_A. Loyd_                               Miss R.F.

13. UNE DRÔLE DE SOIRÉE.--Scène Humoristique,             J.A. COLLIN.

Miss A.F. will preside at the Piano.

The Orchestra under direction of Mr. LOUIS MARTIN.


[Footnote 19: This composer has been previously mentioned in these
sketches. "Le Bohémien" is one of several of Professor Snaer's pieces
that show him to be a writer of fine abilities.]

From the notes of a musical critic of New Orleans I learn that this
concert was in all respects a fine success. The different overtures
were well executed by an _ensemble_ of twenty instrumentalists, all
colored men; while all the numbers on the programme were rendered,
generally, in a manner that would have been creditable, even had the
performers been, as they were not, professionals.

The audience was a large and brilliant one, composed of members of
both races, and was quite demonstrative in the bestowment of applause
and in floral offerings. As at first remarked, concerts like the one
just described are frequently given in New Orleans.

New Orleans has several fine brass bands among its colored population.
"Kelly's Band" and the "St. Bernard Brass Band" deserve particular
mention here. The "St. Bernard" is composed of a very intelligent
class of young men, studious, and of excellent moral character; in
fact, they form a splendid corps of musicians, equalled by but few
others, and excelled by none. With these two bands and some others,
the names of which I have not now at hand, the people of New Orleans
are always well supplied with the best of martial music.

Before the late war, the city had an association of colored men called
the "Philharmonic Society." Several liberal-minded native and foreign
gentlemen of the other race were always glad to come and play with the
"Philharmonics" overtures and other music of a classical character.
This was really a scholarly body of musicians, with whom the very best
artists of any race might well be proud to associate. Constantin
Deberque and Richard Lambert were among those, who at times directed
the orchestra. Eugène Rudanez, Camille Camp, Adolph Angelaine, T.
Delassize, Lucien and Victor Pessou, J.A. Bazanac, Charles Martinez,
and over one hundred other amateur musicians, added a lustre to the
good name of the colored men of New Orleans, even during the gloomy
days of oppression. These men with all their souls loved music and the
drama; but were kept away from the grand opera, from concerts and
theatrical performances, because they would not submit to the
degradation of sitting in a marked place designated "for colored
persons." Nevertheless, they were not to be deterred from following
that bent of their minds which a love of art directed; and so, thrown
entirely upon their own resources, these high-minded men formed the
"Philharmonic Society" and other musical associations, finding in the
same much to compensate them for what they lost by being debarred from
entering those circles of culture and amusement, the conditions of
entrance to which were, not a love of and proficiency in art, but that
ignoble and foolish one, the mere possession of a white face.

       *       *       *       *       *

And thus has been briefly and (as the writer fears) imperfectly told
the story of these highly musical people of New Orleans. Bearing in
mind the great and manifold difficulties against which they ever had
to struggle,--not only such difficulties as all must encounter who
study the science of music, but also those far, far greater ones that
are caused by color-prejudice, the extent of whose terrible, blighting
power none can ever imagine that do not actually meet it,--bearing in
mind, I say, all these obstacles, and their triumphs over the same, it
will be seen that much has been accomplished that may be considered
really wonderful. As better opportunities for culture, and that
fulness of recognition and appreciation without which even genius must
languish and in many cases die,--as these come to them, as come they
surely will in this new era of freedom,--then will such earnest
votaries as have here been mentioned, with

     "No fears to beat away, no strife to heal,
     The past unsighed for, and the future sure,"--

attain to even greater degrees of proficiency and eminence in that
noble art of which Pope thus beautifully sings:--

     "By Music, minds an equal temper know,
     Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
     If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
     Music her soft, assuasive voice applies,
     Or, when the soul is pressed with cares,
     Exalts her in enlivening airs;
     Warriors she fires with animated sounds;
     Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds;
       Melancholy lifts her head;
       Morpheus rouses from his bed;
       Sloth unfolds her arms, and wakes;
       Listening Envy drops her snakes;
     Intestine war no more our passions wage;
     And giddy factions bear away their rage....

       Music the fiercest grief can charm,
       And Fate's severest rage disarm;
       Music can soften pain to ease,
       And make despair and madness please;
       Our joys below it can improve,
       And antedate the bliss above."




It is deemed necessary to offer a few words of explanation touching
the music printed on the following pages.

The collection is given in order to complete the author's purpose,
which is not only to show the proficiency of the subjects of the
foregoing sketches as interpreters of the music of others, but,
further, to illustrate the ability of quite a number of them (and,
relatively, that of their race) to originate and scientifically
arrange good music.

For want of space, only a few selections have been made from the many
compositions in the writer's possession; and, for the same reason,
only parts of several works, somewhat elaborate in character, have
been given; the latter curtailment having been made in the cases of
the following: "The Pilgrim" (a grand overture, originally occupying
about twenty pages, sheet-music size), only one-third of which appears
in this collection; of an elegant arrangement of the air of "Au Clair
de la Lune" (containing Introduction, Theme, First, Second, and Third
Variations, and Finale), only the "Theme" and Third Variation are
given; of the Parisian Waltzes (a set of five), only the introduction,
coda, and Waltz No. 3 are given; of "Les Clochettes,"--fantaisie
mazurka,--only a part appears; and so of "La Capricieuse;" while, of
the "Mass," only two movements appear, the "Gloria" and "Agnus Dei."
The attention of all who shall examine the music is particularly
called to the above statements, in order that there may be no
surprises, and no injustice done the composers.

In two instances only have very long compositions been reprinted in
full. The first (the "Anthem for Christmas") is so given as a mark of
respect to the memory of a pioneer musician, now deceased; and the
second ("Scenes of Youth"), because a different treatment would
seriously interrupt a continuous description which has been so vividly
given by a young and talented composer.

The author of "Welcome to the Era March" is less than eighteen years
old. The author of "Rays of Hope" has just attained to his majority.

But none of the foregoing statements are made as excuses; nor, on the
other hand, is there any intention on the writer's part to present
them in a boasting way. The collection of music is submitted to the
candid consideration of all music-loving people, with the hope that it
may add to their enjoyment, and help to serve the purposes for which
this book was prepared.



ANTHEM FOR CHRISTMAS (_William Brady_)                               4

WELCOME TO THE ERA MARCH (_Jacob Sawyer_)                           22

ANDANTE (_Guitar_) (_Justin Holland_)                               26

THE PILGRIM (_Overture_) (_J.T. Douglass_)                          30

PARISIAN WALTZES (_H.F. Williams_)                                  44

LE SERMENT DE L'ARABE (_Dramatic Chant_) (_Edmund Dédé_)            53

LA CAPRICIEUSE WALTZ (_Basil Barès_)                                60

AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE (_Lucien Lambert_)                              69

LAURIETT (_Ballad_) (_H.F. Williams_)                               81

LES CLOCHETTES (_Fantaisie Mazurka_) (_Sidney Lambert_)             86

RAYS OF HOPE MARCH (_W.F. Craig_)                                   96

SCENES OF YOUTH (_Descriptive_) (_F.E. Lewis_)                     101

MASS FOR THREE VOICES (_"Gloria" and "Agnus Dei"_) (_S. Snaer_)    127


_Composed and Arranged by WM. BRADY. N.Y. 1851._

     There were Shepherds abiding in the fields,
     Keeping watch over their flocks by night,
     And so the angel of the Lord came upon them,
     and the glory of the Lord shone round about them,
     And they were sore afraid,
     and the angel said unto them,
     Fear not, for behold I bring you glad tidings,
     Glad tidings of great joy,
     glad tidings of joy, tidings of joy, glad tidings of joy,
     glad tidings, glad tidings,
     glad tidings, glad tidings.
     Fear not, fear not for behold,
     I bring you glad tidings, glad tidings of joy,
     glad tidings of joy, glad tidings of joy,
     Which shall be to all people,
     For unto you is born this day in the city of David
     a Saviour, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord,
     who is Christ the Lord, who is Christ the Lord,
     Fear not, fear not for behold,
     I bring you glad tidings, glad tidings of joy,
     glad tidings of joy, glad tidings of joy,
     glad tidings, glad tidings, glad tidings of joy.

     And suddenly,
     There was with the angel, a multitude, of the heavenly host,
     Praising God, and saying,

     Glory, Glory, Glory to God in the highest,
     Glory, Glory, Glory to God in the highest,
     Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to God in the highest,
     Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to God in the highest
     and peace on earth, good will towards men,
     and peace on earth, good will towards men,
     good will, good will, good will towards men.
     Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to God in the highest
     and peace on earth, good will towards men.
     And peace on earth, good will towards men,
     and peace on earth, good will towards men,
     good will, good will, good will towards men,
     good will, good will, good will towards men,
     and peace on earth good will towards men,
     and peace on earth.]

[Music: _To Miss Florinda J. Ruffin, Boston._




Copyright, 1877 by John F. Perry, & Co. Used by per.]


_For the Guitar, by JUSTIN HOLLAND._]



_Composed by JOHN T. DOUGLASS._]


_Composed by H.F. WILLIAMS._

Copyright, 1867 by Oliver Ditson, & Co. Used by permission.]



_Paroles de A. DEMARTON._

_Musique d'Em. DÉDÉ._

[Transcriber's Note: Spelling errors in the lyrics have been corrected.]

     Un jour il m'en souvient, mon père sous sa tente
     Me fit sur l'Alcoran jurer mort aux Lions
     Puis ayant sur mon front posé sa main sanglante,
     Son âme s'envola vers d'autres régions
     Au jour-d'hui que mon bras peut manier une arme,
     Que ma haine a grandi comme a grandi l'enfant;
     Lors qu'un rugissement au Douar met l'alarme,
     Heureux je pars alors sous le soleil brûlant!
     Est-il parles houris, de notre saint Prophète,
     Par Allah tout puissant maître de l'univers;
     Est-il plus nobles jeux, est-il plus belle fête,
     Qu'une chasse aux Lions, dans nos vastes déserts?]




Copyright, 1869, by A.E. Blackmar. Used by permission.]




[Music: _Respectfully Dedicated to Mrs. Amelia Nahar._



_Composed by H.F. WILLIAMS. 1840._

Copyright by O. Ditson & Co. Used by permission.

     1. Lauriett!
     Ah! my dearest,
     I will often think of thee,
     When far, far away o'er the deep and gloomy sea;
     Lauriett, thou'lt ne'er forget the happy morn when first we met,
     When I saw and lov'd thee dearly;
     My charming Lauriett,
     When I saw and lov'd sincerely,
     My charming Lauriett.
     But thou, thou wilt ne'er forget me,
     Ah no, thou wilt not forsake me,
     For thee, my love, my life, my dearest,
     I ne'er will forget.

     2. Fare thee well:
     Ah! my dearest,
     Wilt thou often think of me,
     When I'm far from my home, yes, my love, when far from thee;
     Lauriett, Ah! canst thou tell the grief that in my heart doth dwell,
     For my love, we soon must sever;
     But say, love, ere we part,
     Wilt thou be mine forever?
     Are we but one in heart?
     Once more my love wilt thou embrace me,
     For hark! the signal calls to duty,
     I must away my love, and leave thee,
     Fare well, fare thee well.]




Alphonse Leduc. Paris.]

[Music: "RAYS OF HOPE."


_Composed by WALTER F. CRAIG. Op. 1._]



_By F.E. LEWIS, Op. 3._]

[Music: MASS


_By SAMUEL SNAER, New Orleans._


     Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo,
     gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo.
     Et in terra pax hominibus,
     Et in terra pax hominibus, bonæ voluntatis,
     Laudamus te, laudamus te, benedicimus te,
     Adoramus te, Adoramus te, glorificamus te.
     Gratias agimus tibi, gratias agimus tibi
     propter magnam gloriam tuam,
     Domine Deus rex coelestis Deus pater omnipotens.
     Domine fili unigenite,
     Jesu Christe, Jesu, Jesu Christe Domine Deus,
     Agnus Dei filius patris, Agnus Dei filius patris.
     Qui tollis, qui tollis peccata mundi
     miserere, miserere, miserere nobis.
     Qui tollis, qui tollis peccata mundi,
     miserere, miserere nobis.
     Qui tollis, qui tollis peccata mundi,
     suscipe, suscipe deprecationem nostram.
     Quoniam tu solus, sanctus tu solus Dominus,
     tu solus altissimus Jesu Christe.
     Cum sancto spiritu, cum sancto spiritu in gloria Dei patris.
     Amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen,
     amen, amen, amen, amen, amen,
     Amen, amen, amen,


     Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,
     qui tollis peccata mundi.
     Miserere nobis, miserere nobis,
     miserere, miserere nobis.
     Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi,
     qui tollis, qui tollis peccata mundi.
     Miserere, miserere, miserere nobis,
     miserere, miserere, miserere nobis.
     Agnus Dei.
     Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi.
     Dona nobis, dona nobis, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis pacem,
     dona nobis pacem, dona nobis pacem.]

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