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CONCERTS AND CONCERT SINGERS 65
Planche, writing in 1872, says of Braham : "He was the greatest English tenor perhaps ever known, was about the worst actor ever seen, and the most unromantic person in appearance that can well be imagined."
Braham was a composer as well as a singer, and made it an almost invariable rule to write the music for his own parts in the various operas in which he appeared. But for us his name as a composer will always be associated with the immortal " Death of Nelson," which he wrote for his opera The Americans. It has been said that nothing finer in the way of ballad singing has ever been heard than Braham's rendering of this song.
Mrs. Byrne, in her Gossip of the Century, has given a vivid and somewhat amusing account of an occasion on which she heard Braham sing it at Brighton. "The orchestra struck up i 'Twas in Trafalgar's Bay,' and even before he had opened his lips the very symphony was applauded to the echo. This spirited and also pathetic song touched the hearts of the audience, and their shouts for a second encore were so persistent that it was in vain the singer tried to pacify them with smiles and bows ; no, it was a marine audience, and a sea song they were determined to have. A demand was made for the 'Bay of Biscay,' and whatever Braham's intention may have been