Saturday, June 30, 2018

Topical trains, or Witches in my Smokestack

.
Here's another piece of sheet music which I came upon on ebay. I get bored when ebay vendors describe their stuff as 'rare'. It almost inevitably means that it isn't. The acme of idiocy is when some carte de visite is advertised as 'Woman. Actress? Unidentified. RARE'. Er ....

However, this sheet, which is for sale at just 10 pounds really IS rare. I have certainly never seen it before.


There is no date on it, but I think I can date it precisely. It is from 1844. How do I know that? Because it was based on Gungl's Eisendampff Galop no5, which seems to have been first issued in that year, and I can see it being played by Band of the 6th Dragoons in York in the same year. Yes, and Zenas Trivett Purday was at 45 High Holborn ... but he was there many years.

I don't see any record of the arrangement being played anywhere but York. Maybe that's why it is rare. This sort of dance music was produced by the ream at the time. Something else would have been topical the next month ... and Gung'l, Weippert and Purday would be churning out pieces to fit the fashion...

Really, what grabbed me, was the cover. 1844. The railways were Manna to mankind! But what is this? Witches and devils being spouted from the smokestack? Doesn't really go with 'Hurrah for the Rail'! Anti-pollution propaganda already!

Anyway, a charming and fun image which I record here, before the item (internationally advertised) creeps back into a private collection...

PS I can't find Mr G Barker in East Farley/Farleigh in Kent ... bother! East Farley seems to be mostly inhabited, in 1841, by agricultural labourers to whom a 4-shilling piece of music (and a piano) would have been out of reach ...

No comments: