Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

The Great Exhibition Of 1851

Recommended Posts

I have been looking into the history of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the crystal palace and the exhibits there. I had a look through the list of exhibitors and found William Wheatstone (Charles brother?) exhibiting concertinas at the exhibition, which would make sense as much of the worlds latest tech was on display there, Especially as the concertina was relatively new at the time.

 

Here is a link to the exhibition catalogue describing the exhibit and which concertinas were on show:

 

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1851_Great_Exhibition:_Official_Catalogue:_Class_X.:_William_Wheatstone_and_Co

 

Has anyone ever looked into this, perhaps there may even be photos somewhere? Daguerreotypes? If anyone knows I would love to see

 

 

Jake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting - thanks for posting.

 

What do we know about the concertinas that were exhibited?

Does anyone here have any of them?

Any pictures?

 

What is known about the Great Exhibition Prize Medal, Class 10a - appears awarded to Messrs. Wheatstone & Co.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure about the later exhibition, was that after they moved the whole crystal palace? The 1851 exhibit looked like this according to the website:

1851 Great Exhibition: Official Catalogue: Class X.: William Wheatstone and Co

526. WHEATSTONE, WILLIAM, and Co, 20 conduit Street, Regent Street — Patentees and Manufacturers.


Treble concertina, with 48 keys, for the performance of violin, flute, hautboy, or concertina music singly, or in concert; the same, displaying the whole internal mechanism.

Baritone concertina, with 48 keys, for the performance of harmonized music, especially psalmody, in the same register as sung by four voices.

A concert tenor concertina, with 43 keys, for vocal tenor, tenor violin, or wooden wind instrument music, singly or in concert.

A concert bass concertina, with 56 keys, for violoncello or bassoon music, singly or in concert; the same, of a smaller size, for the use of ladies.

Double concertina, with 50 keys, so disposed that a melody may be played by one hand, and an accompaniment by the other.

A symphonion, with a single vibrator, acted on by rollers moved by stops, so as to produce any note required.

A tonimeter, which produces any note in the chromatic scale merely by finger pressure.

An enharmonic tonimeter, which produces any sound in the enharmonic scale.

Portable harmoniums, for producing expression, which can be played alone, or be placed in front of the key-board of a pianoforte, and played by the same performer; adapted for wooden or stringed instrument solo, or part music


Portable harmoniums, for producing expression, which can be played alone, or be placed in front of the key-board of a pianoforte, and played by the same performer; adapted for wooden or stringed instrument solo, or part music.

Edited by Jake of Hertford

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 1872 exhibition was at South Kensington:

 

http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1872_London_Exhibition

 

but I don't see where to find the exhibitor list, or any more info. I can find a "decorative arts" list (lots of extraordinarily horrible Victorian Gothic), but that's all.

 

I was interested because it seems to have been the first occasion when the ocarina was promoted in Britain, by the Mezzetti brothers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find the description of the uses of a baritone concertina very interesting here. Can we read into "for the performance of harmonized music, especially psalmody, in the same register as sung by four voices." the first stirrings of an interest in what we call "Early Music" (After all, Mendelssohn's first Bach performances were already some 20 odd years earlier)? Nice to imagine four gentlemen (or ladies) sitting down around the fire with their baritones after dinner for a spot of Palestrina!

 

Adrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way I read that sentence, they mean the standard voice ranges of an SATB vocal quartet, not four baritones.

 

Nothing "early" about it. Hymns had been scored that way for a century, and the brass band movement had been doing that sort of arrangement since the 1830s. The saxophone family was invented in 1840 and the ocarina took up a similar idea in the 1860s. Homogeneous instrument families were the Victorian thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way I read that sentence, they mean the standard voice ranges of an SATB vocal quartet, not four baritones.

 

Nothing "early" about it. Hymns had been scored that way for a century, and the brass band movement had been doing that sort of arrangement since the 1830s. The saxophone family was invented in 1840 and the ocarina took up a similar idea in the 1860s. Homogeneous instrument families were the Victorian thing.

Do you mean all four parts on one instrument Jack? I wondered about that too, because of the missing "singly or in concert" in the baritone description, but I think it just means that the baritone concertina covers the four vocal ranges SATB at pitch.

 

I realise psalmody didn't need to be revived in the 19th century, it just seemed a curious description of a baritone concertina's principal repertoire.

 

Adrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took it to mean "at last we've got an instrument which can act as the bass in a quartet" - surely they wouldn't have been expecting many people to do 4-part music on one.

 

It's interesting to see so many variants of the concertina available so early. The "double concertina" is some sort of Duet, I didn't realize you could buy one then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took it to mean "at last we've got an instrument which can act as the bass in a quartet" - surely they wouldn't have been expecting many people to do 4-part music on one.

 

 

No, that was my thought too, but perhaps two competent players could share the 4 parts? The advantage of using 2, or 4 baritone concertinas, would be that the players could swap parts and play say, soprano in one piece, and bass in the next, or however their fancy took them (concertina cross-dressing!).

 

Adrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that there's nothing "Early Musicky" about psalmody. As I first heard the term, it was used in the context of singing the Scottish Metrical Psalms, the tunes of which are set in 4-part SATB harmony. They are intended for congregational singing, so the individual parts are not very demanding in terms of range or agility. Ideal material for an amateur quartet of concertinas (or whatever instrument you have a quartet of).

 

Cheers,

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A concert tenor concertina, with 43 keys, for vocal tenor, tenor violin, or wooden wind instrument music, singly or in concert.

 

Those 43-key concert tenors seem to be very rare, but I recently got one of them, #809 (in poor condition), that was sold to Mr. Duck on 15th December 1846

 

A tonimeter, which produces any note in the chromatic scale merely by finger pressure.

 

An enharmonic tonimeter, which produces any sound in the enharmonic scale.

 

These are free-reed tonometers and I believe I own the chromatic one of the two. They were amongst numerous other items, including the enharmonic one, which came from the "Wheatstone Laboratory" collection at King's College, London, and were sold at Sotheby's in May 1989.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

have a look at George Case's The Baritone Concertina, a New Method, containing Introductory and Explanatory Remarks, follwed by a Selection from the Works of the Best Masters. . ., where you will find Case's transcription of the psalm "Devizes" (among other things) for baritone concertina

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...