excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' pp. 212-214 (301 words)

excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' pp. 212-214 (301 words)

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Musings and Memories of a Musician

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Among the songs and ballads I used to sing at that time none was more popular with the public than Schumann's “The Two Grenadiers,” and few indeed were the occasions when, especially at private concerts, I was not asked to include that fine and truly inspired composition in my programme. In February 1879 it served as the subject of a rather interesting episode. The occasion was a soiree at Marlborough House in honour of the Prince Imperial of France prior to his departure for Zululand whence, alas, he was not to return alive. The inevitable “Two Grenadiers” was on the programme of the concert about to commence, when I was summoned to the Princess of Wales, who expressed a doubt as to the advisability of having that song, with the “Marseillaise” at the end, in the presence of the Prince Imperial. I of course was quite ready to substitute another song, but as I was moving towards the piano, the royal host, having evidently been told by the Princess of the proposed change, and remembering perhaps not so much the melody as the words of that stirring final stanza of the ballad, bade me by all means sing it, as in his opinion it would be “the very thing the Prince Imperial would like.” And he was right. The young Napoleon, a very handsome young man, with most engaging manners, stood close to the piano whilst I was singing, and when he recognized the martial strains of the “Marseillaise” at the end with the wonderful climax on the words “Then, fully armed, I will rise from my grave, the Emp'ror, my Emp'ror defending,” his eyes flashed with excitement and, full of emotion, he came up to me and thanked me.




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excerpt from 'Musings and Memories of a Musician' pp. 212-214 (301 words)


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