Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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endurance. But, as rarely fails to be the case, in this world of shy or sycophantic persons, he compelled obedience to his decrees; and, on the strength of a slender musical talent, a smooth, diplomatic manner, and some small insight into other worlds than his own, he maintained a place, in its lesser sphere, as astounding and autocratic as that of the great Samuel Johnson, when he ruled the household of the Thrales with a rod of iron. Neukomni had no artistic vigor or skill to insure a lasting popularity for his music. It has past, and gone to the limbo of oblivion. Yet, for some five years he held a first place in England, and was in honored request at every provincial music-meeting. He was at Manchester. at Derby, where, I think, his oratorio of 'Mount Sinai' was produced; most prominent at Birmingham, for which he wrote his unsuccessful 'David.'* I question whether a note of his music lives in any man's recollection, unless it be 'The Sea,' to the spirited and stilting words of Barry Cornwall. This song made at once a striking mark on the public ear and heart The spirited setting bore out the spirited words; and the spirited singing and say­ing of both, by Mr. Henry Phillips, had no small share in the brilliant success." Neukomm became partially blind in his later years, and died in Paris, April 3, 1858.
Mr. Phillips, in his "Recollections," says: "Neukomm sent me a note, saying he had composed a song for me—would I come to his apartments and hear it? He was then an attach^ of the French Ambassador, who resided in Portland Place. I accordingly went, was very kindly and politely received; he sat down to his pianoforte and played, and in his way sang, the song. I was unable to make any remark upon it; for I was anything but pleased, and candidly confess I thought he had written it to insult me. I brought the manuscript home, and on singing it over was strengthened in my former opinion. The more I tried it, the more displeased I was. I felt, however, that I was bound to sing it; I could not again refuse his offer. So it was scored for the orchestra, and I was to intro­duce it at a grand morning concert, given by Nicholson, at the Italian Opera Concert-Room. I went very downcast, and felt assured that I should be hissed out of the orchestra. This much-dreaded song was ' The sea, the sea, the open sea.' The orchestra led off the long symphony which precedes the air. In an instant I heard the master hand over the score; I felt suddenly inspired, sang it with all my energy, and gained a vociferous encore. The whole conversation of the day was the magnificent song I had just sung. My friend, Mori, who led the band, asked me if I thought he could obtain it for ten guineas. I told him I did not think five tens would purchase it. ' Well,' said he, ' I'll think of it.' He did; and while he was thinking, Mr. Frederick Beale paid Neukomm a visit, in anxious hope of obtaining the song, while Addison stood watching from the first-floor window over the shop in Regent street, for Beale's return. Presently he caught sight of him, when Beale waved the manuscript triumphantly in the air; it was theirs, and realized a fortune. I believe they got it for fifty guineas."

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III