Composers and Music, California Sheet Music
Historical Dictionary of Northern California Composers.
Robert Stevenson, "California Pioneer Sheet Music Publishers and
Publications," Inter-American Music Review, VIII:1 (1986), 1-71.
- Manuel Ygnacio Ferrer. Manuel Y. Ferrer was born at San Antonio,
Baja California, in May of 1832 and died at San Francisco, June 1, 1904.
He came north to San Francisco in 1850 to begin a career in music. In 1854 he
introduced himself in a guitar concert at the Metropolitan Theatre (Sept. 18).
The next year (Nov. 22, 1855) together with pianist Gustave A. Scott and
harpist William McKorkell he performed at a benefit concert for violinist
Martin Simonsen at Musical Hall. His wife, Jesusita de Vivar was also a
musician and three of his ten children, Adele (guitar), Carmelita
(mandolin), and Ricardo (violin). The family
toured the East in 1891, playing at the
White House and at the Vanderbilt mansion in New York.
Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, June 3, 1904 (12:7). Obituary,
San Francisco Chronicle, June 5, 1904 (31:7).
William J. McCoy (1854-1926). Trained at the Boston Conservatory,
McCoy moved to Santa Barbara in 1889 where he published the ten sheet music
titles of "Canciones del Pais de California".
- Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869). Born in New Orleans, of English-French
parentage that included some African American descendants. He visited San
Francisco where he demonstrated his virtuosic piano style. He
spent much time in Cuba where he died. His music
brought African American and Cuban rhythms to the ears of American and French
audiences. Sherman, Hyde & Co. (later Sherman Clay & Co.)
was one of the distributors of a series of his
pieces published by Oliver Ditson in Boston. Images of "Slumber On, Baby
Dear" and "The Last Hope" are included in this virtual library. The Library
of Congress has placed on the web images of "Le Banjo", "Ricordati",
"The Dying Poet", Valse Poetique; Sospiro", "Chant du soldat", "Pasquinade",
"The Dying Poet, Descriptive Fantasia", "Tournament Galop", "Celebre
Tarantelle", "Rayons d'Azur", "Drums and Cannon Polka", "Forest Glade Polka",
"The Water Sprite", La Scintilla, Mazurka", "La Brise", "One Hope for Me",
"My God I Love But Thee", "Why Sinks My Soul Desponding?". One can find
many of his songs on the web in the form of MIDI files ("Ojos Criollos").
- Anita M. Baldwin.
- Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (1851-1926). Mrs. Lathrop (Mother M. Alphonsa)
was a daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne
and a Catholic convert who began a community of Dominican Sisters in
New York, ca. 1900 (her papers are at Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne,
She wrote the lyrics of "20 Bold Mariners,"
a poem for the sailors lost at sea, which was set to music by August
Mignon and published in San Francisco in 1882.
Mandolina Dance. Composed by Johnny Donigan expressly
for a "Mandolin Ballet" that was
invented and arranged by Bolossy Kiralfy (Hungarian-born)
, and played on the mandolin
by Kiralfy's Secondas Dancers. S.F., Matthias Gray, 1888.
Another edition published by Broder & Schlam, 1888, with castinet cues.
E. Paladilhe wrote "Mandolinata", published by M. Gray in 1872.
Sources: Bolossy Kiralfy, Creator of Great Musical Spectacles: An
Autobiography, ed. Barbara M. Barker (Theater and Dramatic Studies, no.
50). Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI Research Press, 1988.
- Anna Madah (soprano) and Emma Louise (contralto) Hyers. Born in
Sacramento in the 1850s and trained by a German pianist and Italian
opera singer; debut at the Metropolitan Theater in Sacramento on April
22, 1867. In 1876, Joseph Bradford created for them the first
African-American musical comedy, "Out of Bondage." For musical excerpts of
two Hyers plays, "Out of Bondage" and "Peculiar Sam; or, The Underground
Railroad" (1879), see African-American Theater, ed. Southern (New
York: Garland, 1994). The sisters made the transition to vaudeville. Anna
Madah travelled with John Isham's shows and to Australia with a minstrel
show in 1899. Reportedly she was cast in a Williams & Walker musical
before retiring to San Francisco in 1902. E. Southern, Biographical
Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians (Westport, CT:
Greenwood Press, 1982), 126.
- Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones (Black Patti) (soprano)(Portsmouth, VA,
1869-Providence, RI, 1933). Possible portrait on cover
of "Ma Gal's de Town Talk" by Ernest Hogan.
She studied at the Providence Academy of Music and the New England Conservatory, making her
debut at Steinway Hall in 1888. In 1896 she became the leading soprano of Black
Patti's Troubadours and toured internationally with the company until 1915. A
feature of the company's shows was the operatic kaleidoscope, comprising a medley
of arias from grand operas, staged and performed by Jones. (New Grove
Dictionary of American Music, I:595)
- Richard J. Jose (countertenor) (born Lanner, Gwennap, Cornwall, 1862; died
San Francisco, 1941).
Portrait from "Since Nellie Went Away", Herbert H. Taylor (N.Y.: N.Y.
Publ. House, 1905). While Jose appears to be a Spanish name, it was a common surname in the Duchy of Cornwall. Jose performed with Wm. H. West's Big Minstrel
Jubilee (see "The Blue and Grey, or a Mother's Gift to Her", by Paul
Dresser (1858-1906) (N.Y.: Howley, Haviland & Co.).
Early Victor recordings (1904-1905):
"I Cannot Sing the Old Songs", Claribel; "Abide With Me"; "Belle Brandon";
"Home Sweet Home", Bishop; "Silver Threads Among the Gold", Rexford;
"With All Her Faults I Love Her Still"; "Killarney", Balfe; "The Ninety
and Nine", Sankey; "Rose of My Life"; When You and I Were Young Maggie";
"O Come All Ye Faithful"; "Time and Tide". Re-released on AJP 3 (cassette)
MONO, 1988; Joe Pengelly, producer (review in ARSC Journal, 23:2 (1992),