Californios, or Spanish-speaking Californians, in Sheet Music

The instrument of choice in the Mexican state of Alta California was the guitar and two composers for that instrument are represented in the collection. The works of Manuel Y. Ferrer were collected in a 144-page book entitled Compositions and Arrangements for the Guitar published in San Francisco in 1882 and reprinted in Boston by Oliver Ditson in 1915. A number of his pieces arranged for piano also appear in the sheet music collection. Another Californio guitarist represented is Luis T. Romero, whose portrait (at right) appears on his 1889 arrangement for guitar of La Paloma by Yradier.

Upon the 60th anniversary of Mexican Independence, a "Himno a Mexico" was written by Domenico Speranza and sung by Senora Speranza and the Istituto Italiana of which Speranza was the director. The cover of the sheet music contains a portrait of Mexican President Don Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada.

Composer Eugenio Uzeta wrote a "Sanchez Ochoa Schottische" which he dedicated to General Gaspar Sanchez Ochoa (San Francisco, Calle de Clay 417, [William P. Harrison], 1865). The only known copy of the piece is at the Washington University Library, St. Louis, in a bound volume with the title on the spine: "Musica y canto para piano, San Francisco, California, 1865).

In 1898 an impressive collection of "Characteristic Songs of the Spanish Californians" was published as "Canciones del Pais de California" in Santa Barbara, a city of California with a long-standing Spanish-language press. The following ten songs are listed on the cover decorated with vignettes of Alta California life before statehood.

Many songs in the Spanish language were printed as sheet music. Instrumental music with Spanish titles includes: Songs in English on Spanish subjects include "My Mandolinata, Spanish serenade," with mandolin obligato and castanet solo, and "The Spanish Cavalier."

A well-known Spanish dance by Joseph Ascher was entitled "Danse espagnole," op. 24, published in two editions in early San Francisco. Also published were Holst's "La jota" and "Seguidilla," the latter with instructions on how to play the tambourine.

The tradition of La Fiesta de Los Angeles was changing in the 1890s as music was commissioned for the annual celebration: