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Music Magazines, Part 2

 




A Land Of Heroes

The Echo, April-May, 1899

Music by: E. K. Heyser
Lyrics by: Heyser
Cover artist: unknown

An interesting music magazine that was published for a few years in the late 19th century was the Echo. Calling itself a "music journal, the Echo was published by the Echo Music Company in Lafayette, Indiana. As with other magazines of the era, the Echo included articles on teaching piano, letters to the editor and other articles. The Echo company also devoted a lot of space in each issue to what they called their "premium supply department." The premium supply department was a catalog of premiums, gifts for subscribing to the Echo journal. The catalog offered a number of quite nice items at what appear to be good prices for single and multiple subscriptions. For example, one could obtain a six place setting of silver plate packed in a "handsome plush case" for only $6 with a one year subscription ($1.50). If time and clocks were your thing, you could get a battleship Maine clock for only $2.50. Can you imagine what that item might bring in today's antique market!

From a music catalog included in the issue, it appears that Echo published mainly choral music however they do list a number of piano solo works also. It does not appear that they focused much on popular music for out of my entire collection, I do not have a single song published by them. I could not find any information about The Echo Music Company, they seem to be another casualty of history.

This issue of The Echo was devoted mainly to Memorial Day music so it includes a number of marches and songs of honor to the departed who fought for us. Almost all are in chorus oriented vocal formats, but a few are traditional folk songs such as Darling Nellie Gray by B.R. Hanby and an arrangement of Old Folks At Home by Stephen C. Foster. The remainder of the music includes titles such as, In The Valley We Laid Them Low, Here's To Our Boys Who Died and The Men Behind The Guns. As a representative song from this issue I have selected A Land of Heroes. The song was scored for choir (SATB) in the refrain and solo with cornet in the verses before the refrain. It is a rather expansive song and one that conveys the majesty and might of the military, a fitting musical tribute for a Memorial Day, 1899.

Enjoy this Heroic song now (SCORCH format)

listen to MIDI version

 

Oh Time Take Me Back To Childhood Days

Perry's, February, 1922

Music by: R.A. Browne
Lyrics by: Lillie M. Puffer
Cover artist: unknown

One music magazine that was perhaps less circulated but wins the prize for longest continuous publication, having been longer lived than the Etude was Perry's Musical Magazine. The music publishing firm of A.W. Perry's Sons was founded by Austin W. Perry (1829-1900). The firm operated in Sedalia, Missouri from the early 1870's into the 1960's. The A.W. Perry's Sons Collection published sheet music and a monthly magazine, Perry's Musical Magazine, which was issued from 1881 until 1960s. For a more complete history of Perry's see The University of Missouri at Kansas City's history page for Perry's.

Perry focused mostly on amateur publications and those of Mr. Perry but did publish one of Scott Joplin's original editions. In doing so, he offered opportunities to composers looking to break into the business. In the magazine, there is a "notice to authors" that outline's Perry's policy of accepting manuscripts from unknowns. They even mention that if the song is pleasant and worthy of publications but contains errors, they will correct the errors themselves and publish it for the composer. What a nice company, I wonder how many music companies would do that today? The biggest musical news item in this issue was an announcement of the death of the great French composer, Camille St. Saens.

The song I have presented here is a simple but melodious one that is pleasant and has a nice sentiment. The composer only stated as R.A. Browne, is probably Raymond A. Browne who is credited with at least one other published song, Down On The Farm composed with lyrics by Harry Von Tilzer in 1902. Though published in Perry's in 1922, the song shows an original copyright date of 1921.

Hear this great Perry's song (scorch format)

listen to MIDI version

 


Only You

Perry's, June 1922

Music by: John Martin
Lyrics by: Martin
Cover artist: unknown

This issue of Perry's, also from '22, had a number of transcriptions of old favorite songs including an arrangement of Silver Threads Among the Gold for four hands and a set of variations based on The Old Oaken Bucket. Articles this month included a rather extensive biography of Franz Liszt and an article urging American women to "wake up" and apply themselves to the study of music. The author, a woman seems to have absorbed some of the male prejudices of the day when she said:

I have in mind several such piano pupils..young girls bright in school work; but when it came to applying their mental capacity to the study of music, these normal natural powers seemed to be in a lethargic state in which they could neither hear nor see. Minds which can absorb and digest (other subjects) seemed comatose when when taking up the subject of music.

In another articles in this issue, we learned that Beethoven was "a bad tenant." The author pointed to facts that showed Beethoven lived in 25 different houses over a 35 year period. Apparently Beethoven had a habit of getting angry with his landlord over the smallest things and would move out.

The song I have selected is one that was originally published in 1910, then reprinted in this 1922 issue of Perry's. Though the title is familiar, it is not the melody that was so popular in the 1955 performed by the Platters. Rather, this is a simple but pleasant waltz that like many songs of the era, has been "lost" for quite some time.

Listen to this Perry's song (scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version

 

Wait For The Roses

Etude, January, 1921

Music by: Arthur F. Tate
Arranged by: Edward Lockton
Cover artist: Wm. S. Nortenheim

The cover of this issue is one of the most striking among many fantastic covers published by Presser during the run of the Etude. It is a portrait of the famous opera Diva, Adelina Patti (1843 - 1919). Inside is an article entitled, Queen of the Opera of the Last Century about her that is an extract from a book, The Reign of Patti by Herman Klein (The Century Company, 1921)the best in American popular music history.

By 1921, the Etude had become thicker and more sophisticated than ever. The number of articles continued to grow and the music published within continued to be of the highest quality. The editors this month mulled the effect of the motorized age on music, stating that the constant "Chug, chug-ga, chug, chug-ga" rhythm heard while motoring, at sea or from factories was being reflected in the music of the day. They expressed some dismay with the "ad nauseum" reflection of this rhythm in music. Henry T. Finck wrote an article about personal musical tastes and how they can be changed with understanding and exposure to certain styles of music. An amusing quote regarding Carl Bergman, conductor of the New Yourk Philharmonic in the mid 19th century is worth mwntioning. When Bergman was told that New Yourk audiences did not like Wagner (Richard Wagner, German Composer) he replied: "Den dey must hear him till dey do."

George F. Boyle, the Australian pianist, composer and piano professor at the Peabody presented an article about "Unscrambling Difficult Passages" in which he offered advice as to how to break a difficult passage down into smaller elements to make learning and practice easier. William Shakespeare (not the "real" one) of Croydon, England presented a "masterly article" on A School Of Singing where he discussed the keys to bringing out the best in vocalists. Prolonged study, economy in breath, a "free jaw" and vowel resonance were among the techniques discussed.

The song I have selected this month is a romantic ballad by Arthur F. Tate that carries the caption; "Mr. Tate's latest song: a most singable number." It is a rather plain song, well constructed and musically solid, yet not a particularly memorable tune. It would certainly make a nice recital song for an accomplished singer.

Hear this great old song (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version

 


Keep A Good Grip On De Hoe!

Etude, April, 1919

Music by: H.T. Burleigh
Lyrics by: Howard Weeden
Cover artist: unknown

Another beautiful cover graces this 1919 issue of Etude. In this issue, the editors railed at the stinginess of some people for whom the war had created a "thrifty" mind-set. The editors wanted to draw the difference between stinginess and thriftiness, especially when it comes to paying for music lessons. An interesting editorial about the opportunities for musicians in the playing of musical accompaniment to movies brought out the wide range of music played for movies as well as the public's opportunity to learn about fine music whilst watching their movie.

An article about "Famous Conflicts Between Celebrated Musicians" was entertaining but probably longer than the subject merited. In it, we learned that Beethoven pelted his cook with eggs that Beethoven felt were inferior. We also learned about the famous harpsichord playing contest between Scarlatti and Handel which was judged a draw. I was amused to find that there is a so-called Wörterbuch der Unhöflichkeit, or Dictionary of Impoliteness which consists of a collection of hostile remarks about Wagner and his music. From that work we get what might well be the ultimate in an insulting musical review as written by music critic John Ruskin:

"Of all the bÍte clumsy, blundering, baboon headed stuff I ever saw on a human stage, that thing last night (Meistersinger)-as far as the story and acting went, and of all the affected, sapless, soulless, beginingless, endless, topless, bottomless, topsy-turvyiest, tuneless, scrannel-pipiest, tongs and boniest doggerel of sounds I have ever endured the deadliness of.."

Well, you get the idea. Ruskin went on and on in that same incoherent manner for sevveral more paragraphs!

The issue was filled with a number of standard ads for personal products, pianos, music, instruction, phonographs and instruments. Perhaps the most interesting ad was for a device that would correct an "ill shaped nose" to enable you to look your best. Worn at night, the device supposedly permanently corrected an ugly nose without surgury. Take a gander at it.

The song I selected from this issue surprised me. It is a very uncharacteristic work for and Etude magazine. As you have seen, most of the music in Etude was more serious than most popular music of the time. The magazine always has had a rather "above the masses" attitude and often offered a very elitist view of things. This song, in effect a coon song, is something quite different from the rest of the works featured in the magazine. In fact, it is the only one of its kind that I have encountered in looking at many many issues.

Enjoy this unique Etude song (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version

That's it for this month's feature, as always, we hope you have enjoyed the music and learned something from it. Be sure to read this month's installment of "In search of" biography of Anna Priscilla Risher before you leave us. You will find a couple more Etude covers and several wonderful songs by this neglected composer. Once you hear her music, you'll surely want to hear more. As for next month, we will have a new feature about Ragtime music. We first featured Ragtime music almost two years ago and it was one of our most popular features. We've acquired lots more since then and learned a lot more too, so it seems like time to give you a dose of some "new" obscure rags rescued from the past. See you next month.

If you would like to return to part A of this month's issue, click here.



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