Sunday, August 29, 2010

Msr. Poussard and his Salon pieces

The great grandson of Horace Poussard, Castrogonternerian-Maloin violinist of France, has just returned from a European trip and spent some time in Paris, purchasing a bound book of sheet music stamped with 'Romances" on the spine from a delightful Parisienne named Chantal, being therein contained three pieces by his forebear. Chantal has, god bless her cotton socks has set two of them to midi file. Now mid files are mechanical little buggers but they grant an immediate introduction to the sound of the song. The first piece, "Sur une Roche" (On a Rock) is a sweet sentimental verse and chorus salon song about a girl named Marthe who waits, for years for her true love to return, which he does one day as the Captain of a ship bringing back riches. The pathos of the song is her waiting upon a rock, faithfully. Poussard puts a bit of coloratura when the main refrain moved from minor to major with of even buying dinner first.

Despite Poussard having been a very abrupt composer in his melodic phrasing it's a pretty little song and in the right hands would make a wonderful sweetmeat fro the ear. I am enjoying the midi file and have listened to it several dozen times and I am going to try and get it recorded. The narrative in lyric was by Mlle. Claudine Klotz, one of three musical sisters in Paris, two of whom I think from memory went to the Imperial Conservatory.

The Klotz also wrote, as far as we know and as far as this bound volume indicates, two other songs, "Plus Heureuse qu'en un palais" (Happier in a palace) and "La fleur d'éxilé" (The flower of the exiled). The common theme seems to be the simple fidelity and capacity for contentment of the lower orders which had been long romanced into cotton candy for the consumption of the French classes no longer connected to the land and whose zucker-zeitgeisting of hard farm life seems to have been a national sport amongst the fan flutterers.

But out of it came the Chanson.

Horace Poussard it seems did produce some truly pretty pieces amongst the odd assortment and now I want to look at some of his other works on sheet which I have copied and tucked away. Would it not be nice to have some works of Horace on CD?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Octavia...I knew you couldn't hide

I found her. Yes, I did. It seems that Eliza Octavia Scrivenor aka "Octavia Hamilton" having been seduced under own father roof at age 15 by A. G. Moon broke free of his heavy hand and, leaving a trail of children whose parentage is still unknown lived with a Mr. Davis. In the 1880s he advertised EVERYTHING in his wine seller business for sale with intent to return to England. Mr Davis, and his son Edmund E. Davis went along with the Octavia who settled down in England under her childhood name plus Davis, dying in 1913 in Edmonton after giving him two more children. I do not believe they had ever been married.

Just what happened to the other children I do not know. Moon only acknowledged two of her 18 children as his. She had sent most off to the industrial schools and always paid tuition and other fees on time. It seems she had spent some time with Mr. Davis, much closer to her age, a lover of wine, port, claret and other tipplage as she was. He loved music too. It was, I think, her little patch of unison in a life mostly written for her by other people.

I'm quite fond of her.

Though much maligned in the press, and much of it justified, the whole truth of her circumstances was never outed and the unhappy marriage forced on her by a older Mr Moon under discovery of her father the Solictor was never there to balance the scales.

She was deeply unhappy, angry and out to salvage what she could. And her singing was never slighted. She was a good singer and one of Australia's Earliest.