excerpt from 'Starting from Victoria' pp. 48-49 (222 words)

excerpt from 'Starting from Victoria' pp. 48-49 (222 words)

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Starting from Victoria

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[The listening experience is one of a number of anecdotes about providing piano accompaniment to various kinds of performers in London. A smoking concert was a male-only event, usually musical, popular in the Victorian era] 


Only those with some knowledge of music would appreciate the following. I was on one occasion handed a song commencing in E flat, but when I got to the last page I discovered after playing the first few bars or so of the piece that it was in the key of D. I was not much good at transposing so I played many wrong notes, much to the fellow’s annoyance. He evidently had little or no knowledge of music because in spite of my telling him, he could only repeat, “you had the music and if you can’t read it, you should not take on the accompanying” […] The conclusion of this little incident was a letter of apology I received from the budding Caruso a week or so later, explaining that he had borrowed the copies of the song from a friend who, when performing, kept the faulty copy himself and handed the correct one to the pianist. This occurred 50 years ago at a smoking concert and when the artists did not memorise their songs, as they do these days. 

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excerpt from 'Starting from Victoria' pp. 48-49 (222 words)


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