Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

April 28, 1922: Treble Clef Concert

I expect to finish my current book project, News: A Krentz & Buss Family Album, within the next few days. The book is a collection of news stories about family members from the old weeklies of three places where my dad's side of the family had a strong presence in the early decades of the 1900s. I've been proofreading, a laborious chore which requires me to stop getting sucked into the news stories and keep my eye on spelling and punctuation while still paying enough attention to the content to know whether words have been accidentally omitted or in some other way messed up enough to reduce a sentence to gibberish. Maintaining that kind of focus is particularly difficult in the third section of the book because stories from The Fallon County Times were elaborately detailed and thus very entertaining and/or informative. I keep pausing to pat myself on the back for how great this book has turned out, and to wish I could step back in time to thank Karl Pleissner, then owner of The Fallon County Times, and its editor, Frank J. Mains, for the richness of the micro-history they preserved.

I really enjoyed researching the music performed at some meetings and events of the Baker Woman's Club--hence my last few posts--and today I'm going to do my best to stage a whole concert, the program of which appeared in the newspaper and is reproduced on this page in the News book:


In some cases, YouTube has several versions of a song. My intention is to select a version that seems like it might be the best representation of a 1922 performance.

The first selection is actually Where (not When) My Caravan Has Rested. I chose Rosa Ponselle's recording because the Treble Clef choir consisted of female voices, and all other recordings on YouTube were male performances. According to Wikipedia, Rosa Ponselle was an American operatic soprano with a large, opulent voice. She sang mainly at the New York Metropolitan Opera and is generally considered by music critics to have been one of the greatest sopranos of the past 100 years.


Modern-day listeners might prefer this later 1940s version by the silky-voiced Bing Crosby and Jascha Heifetz. I admit the sound is better and the lyrics much clearer:


There was only one version of De Coppah Moon available, but it's quite nice. The crickets are from 2009, but the original recording of the song was from 1922, and thus very timely:



Tally Ho!, described as a hunting song, is listed in the program with the name Petrie, and I was unable to learn anything about anyone named Petrie. It appears the song was actually written by Italian opera composer Franco Leoni. It's possible there was a different song of the same name written by someone named Petrie, or perhaps this song was recorded or arranged by someone named Petrie. In any case, we're going to enjoy this version, and because you'll once again have a hard time understanding the words, the lyrics follow. Happily, our songster abets the fox!


And the lyrics:

 
I was unable to learn anything at all about I'd Like to Go Down South except that, at some point, it seems to have been recorded by the Vaughan Quartet, according to Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942 by Tony Russell and Bob Pinson (Oxford University Press, 2004).

In the spirit of our concert, which was held in the Congregational Church, I like this performance of A Spirit Flower:


Wikipedia has these interesting remarks about Campbell-Tipton:
Louis Campbell-Tipton (1877–1921) was an American composer; a native of Chicago, Illinois, he was resident in Paris from 1901. He felt that the prospects for performance of large-scale American works in the United States were bleak, and claimed that he had never wished to sacrifice the energy needed to complete a large work. Even so, at his death a number of pieces for orchestra were found among his manuscripts, as were two operas. During his life he was known mainly for his chamber music; he also taught theory for a time in Chicago. One of his songs, "A Spirit Flower", was recorded by the Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling.
I was unable to find either sheet music or a recording of Indian Mountain Song by Charles Wakefield Cadman. Wikipedia has this, in part, to say about him:
     In 1908 Cadman was appointed the music editor and critic of the Pittsburgh Dispatch. He was greatly influenced by American Indian music and went to Nebraska to make cylinder recordings of tribal melodies for the Smithsonian Institution. He lived with the Omaha and Winnebago tribes on their reservations, learning to play their instruments. He used elements of traditional music in the form of his compositions of 19th-century romantic music.
     Publishing several articles on American Indian music, Cadman was regarded as one of the foremost experts on the subject. He toured both the States and Europe giving his then-celebrated "Indian Talk". But his involvement with the so-called Indianist movement in American music contributed to some critics failing to judge his works on their own merits.
You'll find other music by Cadman on YouTube if you're interested. Meanwhile, let's move on.

Love's Benediction seems to be a closely guarded secret as far as the interwebs are concerned. I can tell you that it was an old Irish tune, the sheet music for which was published in 1916 by J. Fischer and Brother of New York. Transcription of the tune was by James P. Dunn, with lyrics by Philip Edwards. The arrangement was by Alfred J. Silver. If you simply must have it, you can snag the single used copy that's for sale at AbeBooks.com for $14 plus $4.50 shipping. There seems to be no performance of it on YouTube.


Next up in our concert are Messrs. Johnson and Forde, whose first selection, according to the program, is Duet from Norma. I was unable to find a performance by two gentlemen and, as I'm neither an expert on Bellini nor a fan of opera, I'm not going to make an idiot of myself by guessing whether any of the Norma duets on YouTube would be appropriate for our purposes.

Their second selection, Paul de Ville's Swiss Boy, doesn't seem to be on YouTube at all, although I did find a music book by Paul de Ville online. It's an instruction book about how to play the concertina, and it includes this Swiss Boy sheet music which I hereby present in its entirety:


Mrs. Leon LaCross sang at many functions in Baker. I'm sure her performance was every bit as charming as this one, even though she was playing to a much smaller house!


The lyrics for Il Bacio appear here in both Italian and English.

From Musical America, September 16, 1916, page 16:
     Four melodious songs, written with facility and naturalness, are Ralph Cox's Down in Derry, The End of Day, Peggy, and If You Knew. Mr. Cox is one of those composers who interest themselves in the song, built of a melody with a pure accompaniment for the piano. He does not delve into the intricacies of modern art-song.
     If You Knew, dedicated to Evan Williams, is a straightforward melody over an arpegiated accompaniment in sixteenth notes, 4/4 time; Down in Derry, a successful essay in the old English manner; Peggy, a rollicking song in the Irish style, dedicated to Reinald Werrenrath, and The End of Day, a sustained effort in the ballad style. These are songs that singers will find useful and effective and they will also prove worth while in teaching, as they are not difficult.
I'm sorry I couldn't find a version of Down in Derry for us to hear--I think I would have liked it.

Our concert ends with the Treble Clef choir singing Annie Laurie. I couldn't find a version sung by a women's choir. However, I found this incredibly lovely and irresistible performance by Jean Redpath from the April 26, 1986 broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion. It's a perfect finale.

 


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Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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