Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Sid the songsmith goes south...

Sidney Nelson left Britain on 28 June 1852. He was accompanied by his wife, Sarah, and almost all of his surviving family – Alfred, Maria, Carry, Sarah, Bobby. Eldest daughter Eliza, who had recently married the actor-playwright known as H T Craven, and was successfully playing in the British theatre, stayed home.

The Nelsons travelled on the emigrant ship the Statesman,and their financial position was exposed by the fact that they are not listed among the cabin passengers, but seem to have travelled by ‘intermediate class’. Later writers would aver that they were ‘lured to Australia following the promise of quick wealth following the gold discoveries’. Certainly, this was the time, but Sidney and certainly not Alfred were not going to dig. The family was going to entertain the diggers.

What credentials did they have? Well, 22 year-old Alfred had already been on the stage as an actor for a couple of years. I see him playing Cassio to H T Craven’s Iago in Ryde, Guildford, Reading et al in 1850. So he was not a novice. 16 year-old Maria doesn’t seem to have begun to appear in public, but later biographies of Carry insist that she played in the Drury Lane panto aged 8. 12 year-old Sara(h) and little Bobby had yet to begin. But Sidney was working on it. 

They arrived in Melbourne 25 September, and little more than a month later (1 November) the ‘Nelson Family’ appeared in concert at the local Protestant Hall. It was a veritable calling-card of an occasion. Sidney and the three children went through a programme largely composed of father’s songs: ‘The Vintagers’ Evening Hymn’ as a quartet, ‘Life is a River’ (Alfred), The Fairy Spell’ and ‘Let us be sisters’ (girls), ‘The Pilot’ and ‘Madoline’ (Sidney), ‘Happy  the Maid’ and ‘Blame me, mother’ (Marie), the Gipsy glee, a comic duet ‘Mr and Mrs Bell’ (seemingly adapted from an old Moncrieff piece). Carry played a piano piece, Alfred did two comic turns and the whole affair was a grand success. Five days later, they repeated the programme at Geelong (where Carry added ‘Goodie Gay’). But Sidney, his credentials now established, had bigger things in mind than simple concerts. He was planning a series of 2-3 handed musical playlets or ’vaudevilles’, and, having obtained a ‘dramatic license’ for the Protestant Hall, he launched his new-style programme – part I concert, part 2 playlet – 10 December 1852, with a piece entitled The Sporting Gent. Love and Experience followed on 21 December, then a version of The Dumb Bellemusicalized as The Ladies’ Prerogative (11 January 1853). This third piece included ‘Listen, dear Fanny’, and a song from The Cadi’s Daughter in its 8-number scorelet. Whether the other musical pieces were Sidney’s work, I am not sure, but some of titles fit neatly the rhythms of his old songs. 
Don Leander, or Woman’s Wit(said to be written by Alfred) was produced 4 February, with Sidney’s popular ‘Guadaquivir’ duet included, as Nelson’s songs continued to rotate in the concert programmes (‘The Hunter of Tyrol’, ‘Little Kathleen’, Goobye Sweete Heart’, a piece entitled ‘Manhood’ (?), ‘My Dream’, ‘The Flag that braved’, ‘Barney, the tight lad’, a quartet ‘The Banquet Hall’ et al), and on 23 March, on the occasion of Sidney’s Benefit, little Sara (sic) made her first appearance, singing father’s ‘Beautiful Night’.

On 19 April they gave a last performance at Geelong’s Masonic Hall, and headed south to Adelaide. They settled in at Mr Hart’s Family Hotel, Currie Street and, on 25 May, gave their first South Australian concert at the Exchange Rooms, King William Street. They played concerts at Port Adelaide as well as at the Exchange, and also produced a new vaudeville, written for them by a local gentleman. Quite Colonialwas a decided hit, which was not surprising, for the neophyte author was William Mower Akhurst, who would go on to have his works played around the English-speaking world. The music, this time, for the four-piece score, was credited wholly to Sidney and included a ‘Dear Australy’ for Marie. On July 28 they produced a second ‘Australian’ piece, a ‘petite comedy’ by Akhurst, entitled Romance and Reality with music for its 5-number score ‘composed, selected and arranged’ by Sidney (‘Charming Romance’). 
Now that they were staunchly established, less of the concert needed to be made up of Nelson’s works, and thus Marie and Carry gave the Normaduet, Sidney sang ‘The Death of Nelson’ and with Marie ‘La ci darem’, Alfred sang ‘Simon the Cellarer’ and the three children joined in Martini’s Laughing Trio.

The Adelaide season closed 15 August and on 24th the family returned to Melbourne for some performances of their new pieces at the Mechanics’ Hall, before setting off for Tasmania. The played their programmes at Launceston (3 October), Longford, George Englebert’s Rooms in Campbelltown and Hobart’s Mechanics’ Institution (8 November), at Brown’s River, the Lenox Arms in Richmond, the Tasmanian Hotel, Brighton, the Cornwall Assembly Rooms, Hobart (12 December), Wright’s Rooms, Evandale, the Blenheim Hotel, Longford, before more Launceston and more Hobart, up till 6 March, when they boarded the Iron Tasmaniaand headed back to Melbourne. There they produced the vaudevilles The Russians in Melbourne by Frank M Soutten, said to be a nephew of Morris Barnett, A Midnight Mystery (7 August 1854), TheRights of Women, A Brace of Ducks (30 September 1854) et al,but the formula now had some doubters: the growing girls were sometimes adjudged to be rather better than their material.

But change was coming. Henry Craven and Eliza arrived in Australia on the Lady Ann (Sydney, October). And Sidney became mine host of the Caledonia Hotel, North Melbourne. Still, the ‘Family’ continued to give their concerts. They visited Sydney, ‘Little Bobby’ (‘the infant Grimaldi’) was added to the team, Sidney composed an Australian Anthem ‘O God, we hail the blest decree’ to play alongside Quite Colonial,now billed as Australia’s first homegrown musical, and then they set out for Parramatta, Maitland, Windsor, Singleton, Newcastle, Kiama, Goulburn (where the girls had a lucky escape from a runaway coach), Berrima, Wollongong … with the repertoire occasionally varied which such as the timeworn Perfection. And Marie had a child.

You can read all about that particular event in my Lydia Thompson bookbecause the father was Alexander Henderson, who would later be Lydia’s husband. He wasn’t Marie’s, although they claimed that had been wed in Hobart, because Henderson had an abandoned wife and child back in England. Marie seems to have been the only one of his women whom he didn’t faze. They had a second child and they remained partners on both sides of the world, for a number of years before she left him.

Eliza, too, would have a child in Australia – legitimate, in her case.

The family act became a sporadic thing, through 1856 and 1857 (they played The Grenadierfor Carry’s Benefit!), but in 1858 the three girls and Alfred took to the goldfields, with great success. I see a production of Guy Mannering, at the Victoria Theatre, Adelaide, during 1858, where Carry played Julia, Sara played Lucy, and Marie, now clearly established as the best actress of the family, played Meg Merrilees. In fact, Marie seemed to now have gone her own – or Henderson’s – way and some of the notices I have seen show that Alfred, Carry and Sara now made up the team.

As for Sidney, he had settled in Melbourne, where he conducted, accompanied and generally made for himself a place in the city’s musical community. Including the local synagogue. Yes …

Unless he composed, rather than arranged, much of the music for the family vaudevilles, Sidney’s quota of new songs, in his Australian years, seems to have been limited. He had a shot at a ‘Benedictus’ sung at an Anna Bishop concert on 9 July 1856, he remusicked Massé’s Les Noces de Jeannette(11 October 1858) for Australia (why?), he attempted to write an Australian National anthem (the Germans beat him), and he published a ‘The Light from the mountains’ to words by ‘an Australian Lady’. ‘The World within and the World without’ (‘words James Simmonds’) was sung by Lady Bishop in Australian concert. Then there’s something called ‘Alone and neglected in my sorrow’ and a ‘What a fearful night’ said to be from his unproduced opera … and, doubtless, more …

At the end of the 1850s, the family left Australia. Not all together, though. First, Carry, Sara and Alfred went to try their luck – with medium success – in America. Then Sidney and Marie headed for home and merry England on board the lush liner Marco Polo. Alas,Marco Polo ‘carryoing 200 passengers and 6000 ounces of gold dust, had an altercation with an iceberg, but it survived to struggle into port in Valparaiso, dismasted and part-destroyed. Marie joined up with the family for a while, performing in provincial America and in Canada, but fairly soon headed on to Liverpool and Henderson. I wonder where the little girls were. I would have said ‘of Sidney there is no sign’, save that there is a curious minstrel song ‘The Patchwork Song’ from this period published under his name in Boston. So I suppose that the elders stayed for a bit ... until they sailed, in January 1862, on the Bohemian for England ..

So, in 1862, they were home. Marie was starring (as ‘Marie Sidney’) at Henderson’s Prince of Wales Theatre, Liverpool, Carry and Sara guesting here, there and everywhere in burlesque as ‘the Nelson sisters’, Alfred and his new wife (we won’t get into her) playing in spoken theatre, oh! there’s a whole other story (which I may get round to) in what became of the Nelsons. Although I lose track of ‘Master Bobby’ after Canada.

But Sidney wasn’t around to see what happened next. He died 7 April 1862, at 4 Russell Place, Fitzroy Square.

An American paper wrote a typically colonial description of his family:

‘Carrie was young, pretty, clever and piquant with a resonant mezzo-soprano voice, while Sara’s only claim to professional consideration comprised a remarkably agile coloratura soprano. The girls were handicapped by a massive and voluble English mother and by a brother Alfred who affected the lah-de-dah donchernow London type of juvenile actors, who sport florally decorated coat lapels and decry this ‘blawsted’ country..’.

Poor Alfred. They called him ‘Olfred’ because of his pedantic speech. And he ended up as, guess what, Professor of Elocution at London’s Guildhall School.

I won’t go further. Carry (1871, Mrs McFadyen) and Sara (1881, Mrs Beavis) married, and their futures are as clear as Olfred’s. Mother died in 1880. Eliza continued her career and died, having passed her Golden Wedding, aged 81, in 1908. But the one I care about the most, Marie, vanishes. In the 1881 census she is calling herself Marie Sadlier, widow of an Irish officer. Possible. But ‘Marie [Moore] Sadlier/Sadleir’ was the name of a lady novelist … Maybe one of them is the Marie Sadleir who died, aged 79, in Marylebone in 1913 ..?

But all that is another story. This story is about Sid. Interesting man. And he left us some charming music.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Sid, the songsmith to the stars

Sometimes, when I am wandering, as I do pretty much daily, around the Victorian music world, some previously unconsidered character in that world pops up … then pops up again and again … so, what can a fellow do but investigate him further?

Earlier this week, Dr Graeme Skinner, who hosts the marvellous Australharmony website
asked me if I had any details on the Nelson family -- father, mother, four sisters, two brothers – of entertainers, who were prominent in Australia in the 1850s. Well, happily, I was able to help, for one of the sisters was a supporting character in my Lydia Thompson biography, and so, twenty years ago, I’d squirrelled away all the facts I could exhume on the whole family …

Then, while on a visit to youtube, I came upon a folk group singing a ‘traditional’ number … ‘The Rose of Allendale’ … with all the trimmings and instrumental rhythms and style of the ‘traditional tune’ folk genre. But ‘The Rose of Allandale’ (spelled thus) isn’t ‘trad’. It was composed by our Mr Nelson and sung in a musical at Drury Lane in 1832. By a ringing tenor, and certainly not as any kind of guitarric folk song. So how many ‘traditional’ ‘folk’ tunes are nothing of the kind? ‘[Bonny] Mary of Argyle’?. Mr Nelson again.

Sidney Nelson is a nearly forgotten man today. But in the 1830s and 1840s he supplied songs for Eliza Vestris, Kitty Stephens, Mary Ann Wood and husband, Miss Inverarity, Miss Rainforth, Charles Incledon, John Wilson, John Bennett, Henry Phillips, John Braham, Nathan Sporle, George Robinson, John Binge, John Frazer and others among the most popular of British vocalists. His name appeared on countless music sheets, many ephemeral, but some, such as the two already mentioned, ended up being so long-lived as to have become regarded as folk music.

Sidney (sic, not Sydney) has duly been granted a brief entry in The Dictionary of National Biography and also in that most fallible of ‘reference’ works, Brown and Stratton. This tells us that he was born 1 January 1800, the son of one Solomon Nelson. Which I beg leave to doubt. ‘Evincing musical ability when quite young, he was adopted by a gentleman who gave him a good musical and general education. He was for some time a pupil of Sir George Smart, and eventually became a teacher in London’. Adopted, eh? Wonder why. Apparently this woolly information came from his son (d 1894). Well, it was enough to start with. I wondered what Sidney had been doing during his twenties, before his first successful song appeared. Then I found an 1829 report of a dinner given to composer John Barnett by music publishers Thomas Mayhew and Louis Leoni Lee. Mr Nelson was there, he sang ‘Fill up the winecup’ and was ‘loudly encored’.

So he’s ‘in’ with the big boys by 1829. Why? How long? George Smart? A clue? And yes, there he is, as early as 1819, singing ‘O Lord Have Mercy on me’ at the Drury Lane oratorios: conductor Smart. So he was a singing pupil of the string-pulling Smart, and that alone was enough qualification for him to appear, until 1823, as a supporting baritone at the Drury Lane and Covent Garden concerts, of which his teacher was in charge, alongside such as William Hawes, Henry Goulden, Terrail, W H Cutler, Pyne, Tinney and the odd Italian. But in 1823, it stopped. I imagine he stopped being a pupil. He appears in the Philharmonic Concerts of 1824, but I don’t pick him up again until 1827. And, by then, he is writing rather than singing.

The first published Sidney Nelson song that I have found is a setting of Byron’s Bride of Abydos ‘The Winds are high on Helle’s Wave’, which he had written, and sung at the Apollicon, as long ago as 8 March 1821. It was published by Chappell in 1827 (by this time ‘sung by Mr Phillips’ no less), along with an ‘O, dear to me’ (‘possesses a great deal of merit’). In 1828 came ‘The Persian Maiden’s Song’ (ly: Mrs Turnbull) and a ‘Love’s Escape’ ‘sung by Miss Love’ and published by E Dale. His first real success came in 1829 when Mayhew published ‘The Vintagers’ Evening Hymn’. Music by Nelson, lyrics uncredited. Some copies of the song ‘for one, two, or three voices’ credit Charles [James] Jefferys, who would later become Sidney’s most important poet with the words. At this stage he was but 22 years of age, but it seems it was indeed he. The song was judged ‘an interesting and pleasing trifle’ (Athenaeum) but I have searched in vain for a record of a concert performance. Mayhew promptly brought out ‘The Vintager’s Morning Hymn’, as Nelson supplied a song for Harriet Cawse to sing in the burletta The Middle Temple, or Which is my son (‘Maidens, try and keep your hearts’) and moved into an upper gear.

In the same year, Nelson teamed with the writer Thomas Haynes Bayly to produce an indifferent piece called ‘The Carrier Dove’ and then a major hit in the nautical song ‘The Pilot’. The piece was introduced by John Morley (‘pupil of George Smart’) but was smartly snapped up by the most important bass of the time and place, Henry Phillips. ‘The Pilot’ would remain a concert standard as long as the melodramatic sea-song lived. Bayly, however, was a playwright (most famously of Lord Tom Noddy’s Secret) and he compiled a little 4-handed burletta, The Grenadier, as a vehicle for Eliza Vestris to play alongside her successful extravaganza Olympic Revels. Burletta + Vestris meant songs, so what more natural than to bring in the composer of ‘The Pilot’. Nelson provided two songs, to add to the Savoyard ditty by A Donnadieu, which the heroine, Miss Fanny Bolton, sang in her Savoyarde disguise, a military ‘Oh, they marched through the town’ and the serenade ‘Listen, dear Fanny’. And they had another big success. ‘Fanny’ stayed around for some years, and a way down the line the number was interpolated, by Vestris’s sister, into the classic burletta Midas. Vestris herself also introduced Nelson’s ‘Come to my orange bower’ but seemingly not in the play.

Nelson never became a theatrical composer. His handful of attempts at dramatic writing (including an unproduced opera) consisted simply of interpolating his own style of ballads and/or duets into a text. He was purely and simply a songwriter and, following ‘The Pilot’ and ‘Listen, dear Fanny’, a decidedly prolific one.

I have collected a long list of song titles, from, in particular, 1831-2. Sometimes they are credited to the poet, sometimes to the musician. Sometimes the musician is credited with ‘symphonies and accompaniments’ sometimes the same song is ‘composed by’. I imagine they mean the same thing. The year of publication is not shown, so I have listed the songs under the year in which I have found them advertised (and few songs of the hundreds and hundreds printed in these years survived into a second season) or performed. I’ll put the list at the end. It is doubtless pretty incomplete, but it’s a start.

In his early days of songwriting, Sidney Nelson, as was the general habit, spread his writings around amongst a number of publishers and worked with a variegated lot of ‘poets’, some decidedly better (or worse) than others. Payne and Hopkins published two collaborations with a certain Mrs C H Huxley which were criticised as ‘not very inspiring’, and other wordsmiths did not much better, but W H Bellamy supplied the heroic words for ‘The Flag that Braved a Thousand Years, the battle and the breeze’ (1831) which was a distinct success, and then there was Charles Jefferys. Jefferys is a story in himself. Seven years younger than Nelson, he became in his turn a prolific lyricist for stage and platform, ran his own publishing house, and even if he were not hugely imaginative in either his turn of phrase or his subject matter, he turned out neat, tidy songwords on the established national, occasional and sentimental themes, which were largely better than most others of the period.

Of the 1831 songs, ‘The Briton’s Fireside’ was sung by Braham at the oratorios, ‘Life is a River’ was introduced by Morley, later sung by Machin and survived many years as a basso favourite,

‘Hope, the sailor’s anchor’ first sung by Henry Goulden also stayed more than two decades in the repertoire …

1832 brought a whole set of ‘Gipsy’ songs, which were not then the cliché they were to become, and which seem to have included a ‘Let me tell your fortune’ which was taken up by the great Miss Birch, a ‘Napoleon’s Grave’ as rendered by John Parry, a set of songs with Felicia Hemans, a triumph with ‘The Hunter of Tyrol’ in the hands of Mrs Waylett, another with ‘The Bride’ sung by Mary Ann Wood, others with Vestris, Sporle, Wood, Miss Inverarity, but most of all, on the stage of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, interpolated into the movable score of Rob Roy, ‘The Rose of Allandale’, as tenorised by the future doyen of Scots entertainers, John Wilson. 32-year-old Sidney Nelson was truly songsmith to the stars.

I don’t quite know why at this point his output seems to have somewhat shrunk rather than bulged. In 1833, I can find little but a memorial song for a dead clergyman and a song written to words by a curious gent by the name of Robert Folkestone Williams. In 1834 there was a rather embarrasing topical elegy to ‘The Emancipated Negro’ (words: Jefferys), plus a much better-liked ‘The Guitar of Spain’ which got sung by Jane Shirreff and Clara Novello, and a 'Hunter of the Savoy', sung by Mrs Keeley. In 1835 he musicked six ‘Lays of Byron’, in 1836 he published ‘Nelson’s Singing Tutor’ and turned out the successful duet ‘By the gentle Guadalquivir’, a castanet song for Vestris and the well-liked ‘The Lowlands Bride’ for counter-tenor George Robinson, of ‘My pretty Jane’ fame. It had a range of eight tones. But that was Sidney’s style. Easy to sing, easy to play = many sheet music sales!

1838 finally saw the arrival of another major hit: Monroe and May published his ‘Mary of Argyle’. With her ‘bonny’ before her name, Mary gave Nelson another ‘trad’ song that wasn’t ‘trad’ at all. I can’t find where it was first performed … it seems to have snuck out rather modestly. But once out … it was here to stay!

In the following years, it seems that Sidney just churned out the usual run of characteristic songs (‘The Rover’s Flag’, ‘The Lass o’ Gowrie’, ‘[Victoria], Our bonny English Rose’ et al) and opportunistic material – an arrangement of Strauss music to Jefferys’ words got the thumbs down, a memorial song to poor, silly Flora Hastings can’t have endeared them to the Queen – as he took on a new career. Sidney joined Jefferys in his music publishing business at the famous address of 21a Soho Square. The year was 1841. And the collaboration ended effectively in 1843, when Nelson went solo at 61 Greek Street then in the Mori and Lavenu premises in Bond Street, and officially in 1846. When Sidney went bankrupt.

But the songs kept coming, and eldest daughter Eliza, whose performing career was just beginning, plugged the new and not-so-new songs loyally, until finally another hit emerged. I first see ‘Madoline’ (words: Edward J Gill) being advertised in January 1849 as ‘Mr Sims Reeves’ New Song’. It was sung in Worcester by budding bass Henry Whitehouse in October, and later by Gustavus Geary and by George Tedder and, I am sure, many others. Tedder also interpolated ‘Mary of Argyle’ into The Slaveat the Surrey Theatre in 1850, and gave it at the famous London Wednesday concerts, where Braham could be heard in Nelson’s recent ‘Live and let live’. He might not have been on the crest of that early 1830s wave, but he still attracted the cream, and could still turn out a neat ballad.

The emergence of Eliza gave Sidney a target, and in 1851 (27 January) when she appeared at Drury Lane it was in an ‘operetta’ entitled The Cadi’s Daughter,with music by father. Eliza was well-liked, the music was dismissed as ‘ad captandum’ ballad material. Father was out of his Fach. But the piece played for a month as an afterpiece to the pantomime. He tried again, when Eliza was featured in another like piece, The Village Nightingale, at the Strand Theatre. He was advertised as the composer of two incidental ballads. When the piece was revived in 1855, for Rebecca Isaacs, the musical content was given as: ‘I’ll wander alone’, ‘Little Kathleen [was wooed by a score]’, ‘What joy is mine’ and ‘Happy the maid’. All Sidney’s? Two and four were, at least. I think the other two might have been replacements.

But by the time ‘his’ burletta was revived, Sidney was gone. To Australia. With his wife and the younger children … It was the effective end of Sidney the songwriter. Oh, he didn’t just stop: in 1857 he even composed a song for Anna Bishop. But, in Australia, he would become more of an entrepreneur, promoting – and with no little success – his children’s performing careers.

But that’s a second chapter. And this one is long enough!


1827: ‘The Winds are high on Helle’s Shore’ (Byron), ‘O dear to me’ (Mrs W Turnbull) ‘The Persian Maiden’s Song’ (Mrs Turnbull)

1828: ‘Love’s Escape’ (F Thornhill)

1829: ‘Ye cliffs, ye lonely shores’, ‘Maidens try and keep your hearts’ (T Hudson), The Vintager’s Evening Hymn’(Jefferys), ‘The Carrier Dove’ (Bayly), ‘The Pilot’ (Bayly), ‘Our Queen is the Wife of a Sailor’ (Capt Mitford)

1830: The Vintager’s Morning Hymn’ (Jefferys), ‘Our Native Homes’, ‘A Moment With Thee’ (D Barlin)’, ‘O sing again the Melody’, ‘The Hour of Meeting’, ‘O steer my bark to Erin’s Isle’ (Bayly)

1831: ‘See dear Louise, thy captive bird’, ‘Young love, a sly urchin’ (Mrs Huxley), ‘The British Wanderer’ (J Churchill), ‘I have sought the Forest’s Glen’ (Jefferys), ‘Listen, dear Fanny’ (Bayly), ‘Oh they marched through the town (Bayly), ‘Come to my Orange Bower’ (Jefferys), ‘The Monarch Oak’, ‘The Briton’s Fireside’ (Jefferys), ‘The Charter of England’, ‘Our Patriot King’, ‘The Flag of Reform’, 'Life is a River' (all Jefferys), ‘Scotia, Fair Scotia’, ‘Hope, the sailor’s anchor’, The Calabrian Boatman’s Song, ‘Farewell, my gentle Mary’ (The Smuggler’s Adieu) (Jefferys), ‘The Flag that braved a thousand years the Battle and the Breeze’ (W H Bellamy), The Mother's Prayer' (Jefferys)

1832: ‘Oh why has he forgot’ (Frederick Walter Drennan), Songs of the Gipsies (W T Moncrieff), ‘The Sunset Hour (Jefferys), ‘The Hunter of Tyrol’ (Jefferys), ‘Napoleon’s Grave’ (W Ball), The Evil Eye (Moncrieff), ‘The Spanish Wanderer’, ‘Come to me, gentle sleep’ (both Felicia Hemans), ‘Another Hour’ (W F Collard), ‘O Pilgrim, Say’, ‘The Rose of Allandale’ (Jefferys), ‘The Pastor’s Fireside’ (Jefferys), ‘The Village Chimes’, ‘That Friendship which fades not’ (Jefferys), ‘The Bride’ (‘O Take her but be faithful still’) (Jefferys), ‘The Wife’, ‘The Life of the Saviour’(Jefferys), ‘Donald and his Bride’, ‘Come o’er the Moonlit sea’ (all Jefferys), ‘Sicilian Vespers’, ‘My Fatherland’

1833: ‘The Glory of thy Smile’ (Folkestone Williams), ‘His Pilgrimage is Ended’, ‘Lays of Waverley’, ‘My harp of happier days’ (Jefferys)

1834: ‘The Emancipated Negro’ (Jeffreys), ‘The Guitar of Spain’ (Jeffreys),‘Twas in an English valley’ (Bayly), ‘My Heart is still with thee’ (Jefferys), 'The Hunter of Savoy (Jefferys)

1835: ‘Day is gently breaking’, ‘Love only laughs at the old’ (F Williams), ‘The Star Spirit’ (John Graham), The Sea Nymph’s Answer Over the Waves (Graham), ‘The Hunter’s Horn is Sounding' (F Williams), The Lays of Byron (‘I would I were a careless child’, ‘Maids of Athens’, ‘The Emperor’s Farewell to France’, ‘Bird of Beauty’s Song’, ‘Newstead Abbey’, ‘When we two parted’).

1836: ‘The Lowland Bride’ (Jefferys), ‘By the gentle Guadalquivir’ (duet), ‘The Light Castanet’, ‘The Snow Storm’ (glee)

1837: The Gondolier’s Good Night (duet), ‘Wellington’ (‘The Hero of a hundred fights’), ‘The British Maid’, ‘Beware thy smile, fair maid’, ‘The Fairest Bud Our Land Can Boast’ (glee) (Jefferys), ‘The Winds Are High, the Stars are up’ (Jefferys), 'Hail to the House of Brunswick' (glee), 'Moonbeams on the Sea' (Jefferys), Vestris’s Cachuca

1838: ‘I caught her tear at parting’ (Ernest Kollman), ‘O for one seraphic strain’ (Jeffreys), Five Sacred Lyrics: ‘The Better Land’, ‘The Hour of Prayer’ (both Hemans), ‘The Last Hour’ (Jeffreys), Missionary Hymn (Reginald Heber), ‘The Angel’s Call’ (J Young), ‘The Ploughshare of old England (Eliza Cook), ‘My mountain Pine’ (Cook), ‘My early home was there’ (Cook), ‘Queen of the Evening’, ‘Glory the Evening Star’ (T Hudson), The Greenwood Tree (Jefferys), ‘Mary of Argyle' (Jefferys), ‘The Red Cross Banner’ (Bellamy)

1839: ‘The Rover’s Flag’, Flora Hastings ‘She is gone’(Jefferys) , Ariel’s Song, ‘[Victoria], Our bonny English rose’/’Old England’s Emblem is the Rose’, 'The Starry Banner' (C M King)


1841: ‘When night comes o’er the plain’ (Jefferys), ‘Merrily Goes the Mill’ (George Colman)

1842: ‘O God Preserve the Queen’, ‘The Pearly Deep’ (both Jefferys)

1843: ‘Lochlomond’s Young Lassie’ (Jefferys), ‘Away! Away! to the greenwood shades’ (Jeffreys), My Heart is my compass (Moncrieff)

1844: ‘Come to my fairy home’ (Edward J Gill), ‘My Father dear’ (Young)

1845: ‘Beautiful Sunshine’ (Emily Elizabeth Willement), ‘The Happy Gipsy’ (Linley), ‘The Old Hawthorn Tree’ (Mrs Abdy), ‘ Oh! Come to the forest’, ‘When the White Cliffs of Albion’ (‘to an existing air’ Mrs Crawford)


1847: ‘The Wind’ (Willement), ‘Dear home beloved’, ‘Bold Robin Hood’, ‘Italia will be free’ (J W Lake)

1848: ‘The Chieftain and his bride’, ‘The Exile’s Farewell’, ‘The Forest Maid’, ‘Thy will be done’, ‘When this frail world’, ‘The Gifts of former years’, Six Mountain Lays for the Sabbath, 'Beautiful Night' (Gill), ‘Victoria and our Native Land’, ‘Live and let live’ (both by J W Lake)

1849: ‘I’m going for a soldier, Jenny’ (Bellamy), ‘Madoline’ (Gill), ‘The Rose of Spring’ (Carpenter)

1850: ‘Gem of the Ocean – beautiful isle’, ‘The Busy Streets I paced each day’, ‘Why did my trusting heart believe’, ‘Queen of the Waves’ (Gill) ‘Annie of the Mill’ (Gill)

1851 ‘Let him that the cap fits wear it’, ‘Love within my heart is glowing’, ‘From Minaret Tower’, I saw not her face', There are gownsmen, (Fitzball, all The Cadi's Daughter), ‘Little Kathleen’, [‘I’ll wander alone’, ‘What joy is mine,’] ‘Happy the maid whose heart is free’, ‘Let us be as sisters’, dearest, ‘Come, come to me’ (all The Village Nightingale), ‘Blame me, mother’ (H T Craven, My Daughter's Debut), ‘The Home Song’, ‘My Dream’ (Gill), ‘The Friendship of Hope’ (Gill), ‘Fairy Flowers’ (Gill), ‘The Crystal Queen’ (Gill), ‘The Merry Minstrels’ (Gill)

1852: ‘Keep the Heart Light as you can’ (Charles Swain), ‘Sweet is a summer’s night’ (Gill), The Prodigal’s Departure (Craven), ‘Barney, the Tight Lad of Derry’ (Craven), ‘Buy my oranges’ (F E Lacy), Song of the Cornish Fishwife (R Marsh), ‘The May Queen’s Wreath’ (Gill), ‘Remember your promise’ (Craven), ‘Oh the days of laughing childhood’ (Gill), ‘The Pretty Girls of Derry’ (Gill), 'Little Goody Gay' (Gill)

1853: ‘In the hedge, in the wood’ (Our Nelly’s Song) (Craven), 'Mr and Mrs Bell' (buffo duet)

The following titles are culled from publishers’ advertisements, catalogues (including the strangely incomplete BL, a delicious bundle at the University of Michigan, from where most of my sheet cover illustrations come), the Ali Baba cave that is the Sheet Music Warehouse et al (CJ = words by Jefferys)

'Time, speed thy wings' (F Williams)

'The Red Sea’ CJ
‘The Mother’ CJ

‘Thy voice is music to mine ear, my Leonore’ CJ

‘We Shall soon meet again’ CJ
‘The Patchwork Song’ (‘As I walked down the street’) (W Dexter Smith)
‘Where are now the hopes I cherished?' CJ
'The Merry Days of Old'  CJ

'The Return of the Spirit' (from The Devotional Melodist) (J E Carpenter)
‘The Mariner’s Evening Hymn' (from The Devotional Melodist) (Carpenter)
‘Mountain Prayer' (from The Devotional Melodist) (Carpenter)
‘The Sister’s Recall' (Carpenter)
'Old English Hospitality'
‘Music at Nightfal' (duet) CJ

‘Erin’s Daughter CJ (no 1 of Jeffreys’ ‘Erin’s Harp’ collection)

‘My father’s home' CJ

‘Come wander with me (for the moonbeams are bright)' (duet) CJ
‘Strike the Harp in Praise of God' (Lays of Sabbath) CJ

'The Hunter of St Bernard' CJ

‘I will be happy too' CJ

‘All Hail my Native Shore' (R S Jones)
‘My Darling'
‘Sweet is the prayer' (Bayly)
‘His Paths are Peace' (Bayly)
'Around our Blazing Fires '(S Arnold)
'If thou wert by my side' (Heber)
'My only daughter' (Gill)

'Human Life' (Bayly)
'The World of Changes' (Bayly)
'Sad is my heart when I watch for thee late' (Bayly)
 'The Merry Breeze'
'Highland Mary' ('Ye banks and braes') (Burns ad)
'Our Happy Home' (duet)
"Home of my happy hours' (F Williams)

'Away, bonny Bark'
'The Maiden's Prayer' (Young)

'If thou wert by my side'
'Evening' and 'Morning' (Songs of Palestine) CJ

'Speed Thou, my Gondolier' CJ
'Zulima' CJ
'The Persian Rose' CJ

'The Highland Widow' CJ
'The Muleteer’s Return' CJ

'There is Music in the Midnight Breeze' CJ
'Soft be thy slumbers' CJ

‘Sleep, daughter of Zion’ (Mrs Crawford)
‘Thy Will be done’ (J Young)
'Paradies Lost' (Eve's Lamentation)

‘Wishes' ?1842
‘When I saw thee in youth' ?1845
'Do a Good Turn when you can' (Swain) 1852?
'The Leafless Tree' (W Bartholomew)
'Good Bye Sweete Heart' (F Williams) 1836?

'Beautiful Island of Light' (Gill)

'Sweet spring buds' (Gill)
'I'm the joyous spring' (Gill)

'Blondel' CJ
'I Knew Her' CJ

'Speak no ill'
‘Christ stilling the tempest’ (Hemans)

‘Why do the flowers bloom, mother’ (Carpenter)
‘The Men of Merry England’ (Carpenter)
‘England’s Volunteers’ (Carpenter)
‘Joy to the bridegroom’

'Tis Sweet to see the blushing rose' CJ

I have not included Nelson’s arrangements of such songs as ‘God Save the Queen’, ‘Auld Robin Gray’, ‘Savourn Deelish’, ‘The Lass o’ Gowrie’, ‘John Anderson, my Jo’ etc etc nor his pot pourri arrangements from the opera, and other arrangements of Italian and French music to English words by the intarissable Gill and his ilk.

But you think that’s all? Oh no! I happed upon an old catalogue, which listed – beyond some of the above – the following titles, some of which may be alternatives but, all the same! However, it is shrinking daily as I explore and identify ...

'Sung by Mrs Wood' was an arrangement of Bellini
‘The Banks of the Clyde’, ‘Beautiful Florence’, ‘Bluebell, Myrtle and Rose’ , ‘Bird who on the joyous wing’, ‘Dove of the ark’, ‘Fare thee well, my Fanny’, ‘The Forest Queen’, ‘Hour of Prayer’ , ‘I know her’ , ‘The Indian Maid’, The Midshipman’s Farewell, ‘Music of Angels’, Spanish Vesper Chant , 'Thy Voice is Music to my ear', ‘Twas a dream full of beauty’, ‘Wake, daughter of the ocean’, ‘Welcome again sweet Sabbath’, 'When from thee parting' duet, 'Wreath of Chivalry' …

OK, enough. Lots of ephemeral songs, which nevertheless turned up occasionally in later provincial, colonial and amateur concerts. But then, there were the big hits…

Work in progress …

PS I know that my dates will disagree with the guesstimates on various Collection sites. But I think I’m nearer than they. One library dates the piece about Queen Victoria’s assassination attempt to 1834. Er. She didn’t even become Queen until 1837. And the engraving on the cover features Prince Albert .. so … eight years out? And that’s just that one … !!