A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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ST. JAMES'S HALL BALLAD CONCERTS 217
consequence somewhat puffed up with a sense of his own importance. When Reeves strolled into the room, the youthful tenor went up to him and said, " You'd better use the piano on the further side of the platform. You're down for a big song, and the nearer one is tuned up to concert pitch"; to which Reeves, after a gasp of amazement, replied haughtily, '' How dare you speak to me like that ? I shall certainly sing it at the high pitch. I'm not one of your squeezed-up baritones." The entrance of his wife, who had followed him to see that he didn't talk too much, stopped him from saying more, and he departed into the larger room at the back. Just before Reeves's turn to go on, his wife entered and went up to Sidney Naylor, the accompanist, and said in a loud voice, "Mr. Reeves will sing to the high-pitch piano," adding in a whisper, "But please transpose the song down a semitone."
It is a curious fact that Reeves, who, by the way, made his first appearance in public at the age of eighteen as " Mr. Johnson," commenced his career as a baritone, and Santley as a tenor. After Reeves's successful debut he received hundreds of letters begging him to take a foreign name, as he would then be likely to get on so much better as a singer !
This was an expedient that was actually adopted by (Signor) Foli, whose actual name was Foley,
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