I checked Kassler’s Music Entries at Stationers’ Hall (2004) last night, to discover that although music wasn’t registered on a daily basis, it was actually registered on that date in three consecutive decades: 1797, 1807, and 1817. A curious confluence of the stars, nothing more, but it made an interesting thumbnail case-study. On 19th September 1797: Singer and singing teacher Rauzzini registered no.7 of his Periodical Collection of Vocal Music. Few copies survive, and it’s a bit hard to tell which volume contains no.7, though I know an expert who could probably locate it!
Also OTD in 1797, Bland & Weller registered James Hook’s Vauxhall Gardens song, Maidens would you know?, along with Hook’s Welsh song, Jem of Aberdovey, and his When the sprightly fife and drum. It’s all pretty typical fare – a song by a popular Bath impresario, and some Vauxhall Gardens songs including a ‘national’ and a military song, by composers still (just) known today. As it happens, there were also imprints of another ‘Jem’ song by Hook under English, Irish and Scottish imprints – Jem of Aberdeen! – but that’s not part of the 19th September story. You can trace a few copies in Copac, but certainly not in all of the legal deposit libraries.
Jump forward to 19th September 1807, and publisher Goulding registered 2 Dibdin songs for a show, Bannister’s Budget. Copies survive in three Copac libraries today. (If musical theatre is a popular genre today, it’s a case of ‘plus ca change’!)
Meanwhile, exactly two hundred years ago yesterday, Bath musician John Charles White registered his piano rondo, The Fairy Queen on 19th September 1817. There are seemingly three surviving copies in the UK. However, there could be further copies of any of the aforementioned titles, because not all of the early legal deposit music has been catalogued online. That’s the intriguing part of this story!
For now, this tiny snapshot of three anniversaries neatly encapsulates the kind of music popular in those decades: typical of their eras, they represent concerts by famous names in Vauxhall Gardens; touch upon the fashion for songs of a military nature during the Napoleonic Wars, the popularity of national songs; and a plethora of piano rondos for the amateur pianist. Not bad, for a random handful of music entries in the Stationers’ Hall registers!