You’re the Devil in Disguise!

‘Satanella valse’ by Henri Laurent, published by Boosey & Sons, London, s.d.

The Satanella Valse on this Victorian cover is part of a romantic opera produced at Covent Garden in 1858. Satanella’s black dress, printed with the signs of the night, embodies evil: she is a female avatar of the devil. Mourning the loss of her love interest, she feels unable to compete with the purity of the love he has for another woman. His virtue is symbolised by the white and Christian marriage scene at the altar.
The sheet music cover above breathes Victorian morality: the Church, representing the ideal of the highest good, demands submissiveness, resignation and obedience to God. The atmosphere of the cover is strikingly different from the seductive French she-demon illustrated by Chatinière around the same period.

Detail from the sheet music cover ‘Beauté du Diable‘ by L. Dessaux, published by Alphonse Leduc, Paris (s.d.) and illustrated by Antonin-Marie Chatinière.

The pious story of the English Satanella opera is also in stark contrast to the original French novella Le Diable Amoureux (The Devil in Love) written by Jacques Cazotte in 1772. This is an occult story about a Spanish nobleman, Alvare, being seduced by the devil himself. When the story opens, Alvare brazenly summons Beelzebub who appears as the monstrous head of a camel asking Che vuoi

The devil appearing as a camel before Alvare. Illustration for the original edition of ‘Le Diable Amoureux’, attributed to Jean-Michel Moreau.

The question ‘What do you want from me?‘ makes Alvare confident enough to start commanding the devil. Who obliges, because he just fell head over heels in love with the young man – If you ask me, it was only devilish lust.
In order to seduce Alvare, Beelzebub then willingly transforms from a camel into a cute spaniel and next into a beautiful, androgynous, young page. The page alternately morphs from one gender into the other. In his male guise, the ravishing Biondetto accompanies Alvare on his travels. Although Alvare feels attracted to Biondetto, it is the female avatar, Biondetta, who is intent on getting the virgin Alvare into bed. Alvare much captivated by her devilish charms, rejects her sensuous proposals: he first wants his mother’s approval to marry her. What a sweetie-pie! Or is it a ploy to camouflage his struggle with gender identity?
As the story winds up to its climax, the couple end up together in the same bedroom. Alvare’s prudish resolve weakens and he gives in to Biondetta’s sexual demands. After the moment suprême the demon takes on his normal Beelzebub appearance. Ha! that must have been quite a surprise for Alvare.

Illustration by Charles Gilbert

Curiously for an 18-th century author, Cazotte leaves the end of Le Diable Amoureux open: you can either construe the story as a phantasm, or as a moralising story. It is up to the reader to regard the story as a nightmare befalling the main character, or as a true story from which he is saved by a priest and his mother. I don’t care too much about the moralising message. Biondetta is an intelligent, untameable girl. She’s always able to cope, even when it means the use of a slight subterfuge. My sympathies definitely lie with the mischievous, diabolical heroine…

Le Diable Amoureux was one of the earliest occult novels. The story’s sexual and moral dilemmas must have fascinated the public during decades. This explains why it was adapted many times into several ballets, opera’s and songs. It is amusing that with each adaptation not only the names of the characters changed, but also the story’s moral message.
In the 20-th century Prevel illustrated a less moralising sheet music cover of Satanella for a polka inspired by Le Diable Amoureux. And for a 1920 Italian fox-trot, Spina created a modern and attractive Satanella-redhead.

Left: ‘Satanella: polka brillante‘ by L. M. de Croze, published by E. Weiller in 1905 and illustrated by L. Prével. (source: Bibliothèque nationale de France). Right: ‘Satanella, fox-trot‘ by Renzo Bisi, published by A. & G. Carisch & C, Milano in 1920 and illustrated by Spina.

Times and morals are always changing. But one constant is that creative illustrators have a soft spot for Satanella, Biondetta or other she-devils. Their message is clear: Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up!

Left: ‘Eldgaffeln’ by Einar Landen, published by Roehr Verlag, Berlin and illustrated by Curt Barber in 1922. Right: ‘Diable-Fox‘ by Kurt Lubbe, published by Berliner Bohème Verlag, Berlin and illustrated by Ortmann in 1921.

BA-DA-BOOM, a Women’s Thing

Sheet music cover illustrated by P. Telemann
Regina‘, a march by Ernst Urbach, published by Otto Wrede (Berlin, 1921) and illustrated by Paul Telemann.


Sheet music cover by Peter Dde Greef (partion de musique illustrée)
Mambo Album‘, published by Metropolis (Antwerpen, 1956). Illustration by Peter De Greef.

Tap-tap, Clang, CLANG.
Ticke-dee-tack, BANG.

A short excerpt from Eduarda Henklein Baterista’s Youtube video.Ba-da-boom, Bang,
Ba-da-boom, Djang,
Da-boom, Da-boom, BOOM.

Sheet Music Cover of drumming ladies illustrated by Bütow.
Trocadero Marsch‘, by Emil Laukien, published by Baltischer Musikverlag (Szczecin, s.d.). Illustrated by Bütow.

Tinkle-djingle, Djingle.
Djing-djing, Djang.
Djing, Djing  –  DJANG.

Sheet Music Cover, poster by Gesmar (partition musicale illustrée), 1927
Les Petits Tambours‘, chanson by Vincent Scotto, published by Foucret Fils (Paris, 1927). Illustrated by C. Gesmar.

Crack, Dum-dum-dum,

A 30-second excerpt from Nur Amira Syahira’s 3-minute Drum Solo  on her video channel.Tat-tat-ta, Tat-tat-ta.
Djing-djing-djang, BANG.

A Deli Zeitlin illustrated sheet music (partiton musicale, alte noten)
Wir schlagen ein‘, potpourri by Billy Golwyn, publisher Musikverlag City (Leipzig, 1932), illustrated by Deli Zeitlin.

BING, Bang, Khebang.
Bing-bang, Khebang-BANG.

A woman banging a drum. (sheet music cover, partition de musique illustrée)
Zum 5 Uhr Tee; 5 O’clock Tea‘, music album published by Benjamin (Hamburg, s.d.). Illustration signed H f m (illegible monogram).



A 3-minute excerpt from Warner Bros. & Vitaphone 1940 film ‘Frances Caroll & The Coquettes‘ with drummer Viola Smith (9 minutes).

 All sheet music illustrations from Images Musicales.

Suzanne Lenglen: a Tough Mademoiselle

suzanne lenglen
Ah! Suzanne!’ by Christiné, Willemetz & Saint-Granier published by Salabert, Paris in 1926 and illustrated by Roger de Valerio.

To avoid all confusion: it is not a picture of Suzanne Lenglen on this sheet music cover, but of the French singer Saint-Granier. In 1926 he made a ‘hilarious’ performance imitating Suzanne Lenglen in the Casino de Paris. We don’t know if it was extremely amusing, but his burlesque imitation at least looks kind of funny.

saint granier en suzanne lenglen
Left Saint-Granier in the Casino de Paris with next to his head, his own portrait. Right Suzanne Lenglen in Wimbledon, 1919. Both picture: Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Saint-Granier (Jean de Granier de Cassagnac) was a nobleman from Gascogne who made a career as a journalist, writer, lyricist, singer and actor in Paris.

saint granier images mysterieuseFor a hallucinating experience concentrate on the four dots on Saint-Granier’s nose, count to 40 and then stare at an even area. Slowly, mysteriously and straight from the Roaring Twenties, Saint-Granier will appear before your very eyes! This beats getting drunk.

The charismatic Suzanne Lenglen was named La Divine or the goddess by the French press and was one of the first celebrity athletes. She revolutionised and dominated women’s tennis from the end of the First World War until 1926. She was coached by her Papa and trained by male players on the Côte d’Azur. She played a man’s game, in an aggressive serve-and-volley style and serving overhead. Sometimes, during a tough game, a sip of brandy and a curse would propel Suzanne to victory. It helped her win six Wimbledon singles titles. Moreover during her career she only lost one match.

Evolution of tennis outfits. Left: ‘Lieb’ Kätchen‘ by Otto Becker, published by Odeon, Berlin. Right: ‘C’est l’amour‘ by Maurice Yvain, published by Salabert, Paris in 1922 and illustrated by Roger de Valerio.

She was also a flamboyant and graceful player and in spite of her homely face she became a fashion muse. Suzanne Lenglen brought the glamour of the French Riviera to Wimbledon. In 1919 during her first appearance there she made it clear that the jazz age was on its way. Her opponent in the final, the seven-time Wimbledon champion and the title-holder, was dressed in an ankle-lenght skirt, with the shirt fastened at the wrists and neck and a corset underneath. Suzanne Lenglen won (albeit not without a struggle) in a short-sleeved frock reaching to the calves and her hair bobbed.

suzanne springt3
Suzanne Lenglen, French championships 1922 (source: Bibliothèque Nationale de France).

She would kick her legs high up in the air, not minding at all that one could see her pants or get a glimpse of a bare thigh. Instantly she became the goddess of tennis and an example for all flappers. Her dress code would be copied worldwide on and off the court. She usually made her entrance in a fur or fur-trimmed coat which she even showed off during breaks, regardless of the heat. Underneath she wore flimsy Art-Deco ensembles created by Jean Patou, stockings rolled to the knee held by a cerise garter, and a brightly coloured silk chiffon bandeau on her head.

An excerpt from British Pathé’s ‘How I Play Tennis – By Mlle. Suzanne Lenglen (1925)‘, a 16-minute silent documentary.

tennis tango
Juego limpio‘ by Francisco Canaro, published by Breyer Hermanos, Buenos Aires, s.d.

Apart from gossipy proposals from dukes, counts, earls and American millionaires, and contrary to tabloid reports of pending engagements with wealthy gentlemen, Suzanne never got married nor engaged. So she wasn’t lucky in love, nor in her later life: she died suddenly when she was only 39 years old.

'Amour et Tennis' sheet music cover illustrated by Pousthomis
Amour et Tennis‘ by Darewski and Chapelle, published by Edouard Salabert, Paris, 1908, illustrated by Pousthomis.

Suzanne Lenglen was an enthusiastic dancer. She even claimed the fox-trot, the tango and her favourite, the shimmy, were excellent training for tennis. It was maybe this love for dancing together with her graceful acrobatics on the court that inspired Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes. His production Le Train Bleu by Jean Cocteau (scenario) and Darius Milhaud (music) staged a tennis player based on the elegant Mademoiselle Lenglen.

Re-staging of Le Train Bleu by the Paris Opera in 1992. Music by Darius Milhaud. Costumes by Coco Chanel.