Category Archives: Collecting

Silver Sleigh Bells

'Silver Sleigh Bells' by E. T. Paull.
Silver Sleigh Bells‘ by E. T. Paull, published by E. T. Paull Music Co (New York, 1906). Lithograph A. Hoen & Co.

All aboard! Here is your fast ride to the Christmas excitement. Prepare for throngs of frenzied shoppers, glühwein, noisy Santas and their tiresome ho ho’s.
This week it is composer-businessman E. T. Paull who sets the start of our story. Edward Paull (1858-1924) was an American publisher who master-minded a perfect mix of image and music. An attractive and dramatic cover is the best way to market your music, he must have thought. On the other hand, he also wanted his compositions to tell stories, and to that purpose he even added explanatory notes inside the sheet music!

Explanatory text to the 'Silver Sleigh Bells'.
Explanatory‘ – instructive text on how the music should be interpreted, and what narrative it expresses (p.2 of the ‘Silver Sleigh Bells’ sheet music).

Sheet music from E. T. Paull has long been considered as the crème de la crème amongst US collectors, not in the least because Paull boasted on using the five colour process of his lithographers A. Hoen & Company. But ink transfer from the stone to the paper is a delicate process. It can go wrong.

A lithographic misprint of 'Silver Sleigh Bells'
Two editions of ‘Silver Sleigh Bells’. The one on the right shows the horses and the sleighs as a big dark blob. A lithographic misprint.

I am not a connoisseur of E. T. Paull’s work. That’s why I refer to interesting sites on the subject at the end of this post.

Unfortunately, the topic of Christmas has inspired many illustrators and publishers to dull and bland covers. However, some designers went out of their way to avoid stereotypes and succeeded in creating striking cover illustrations. For your entertainment and fine taste, we selected some of these ‘original’ sheet music. Consider it your Christmas gift from Images Musicales.
Happy Christmas and have a good time!

Smaal sheet music illustrated by Punch
Noël de Pierrot et de Colombine‘ by Léo Lelièvre. Published by Henri Pascal (Paris, s.d.) and illustrated by Punch.
Illustration of a 1926 sheet music cover attributed to Isaac Grünewald.
Juleljus (Julsång)’ by Gösta Jahn and Zacharias Topelius. Published by Elkan & Schildknecht, Emil Carelius (Stockholm, 1926). Illustration attributed to Isaac Grünewald.
Sheet Music cover 'Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht ; Weihnachten' by Fritz Kirchner
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht ; Weihnachten‘ by Fritz Kirchner. Published by Emil Hunger (Berlin, s.d.). Illustrator unknown.
Sheet music 'Der Weihnachtsengel' illustrated by Linge.
Der Weihnachtsengel‘ by Richard Krentzlin. Published by Birnbach (Berlin, 1920). Illustration by Linge.

Further reading: a few pages on the net are dedicated to the life and work of E. T. Paull, amongst others at the Parlor Songs Academy and on ‘Perfessor’ Bills website.
To see more covers of E. T. Paull, visit the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection.

Not enough Christmas covers? Look here in our sheet music collection.

Mysterious Phenomena In Illustrated Sheet Music

Mystery‘, Fox-Trot by Joseph Cirina. Published by Salabert (Paris, 1919) and illustrated by Roger de Valerio.

The world of illustrated sheet music is magical. In this week’s article we give you an overview of puzzling cases in the realm of music publication and song illustration. Put on your Sherlock attire and grab your magnifying glass. There we are, ready to solve a few great mysteries…

The Vanishing Cloud

The Battle March –Triumphant entry into Delhi‘  by John Pridham, published by Samuel J. Brewer (London, 1857), lithography by M. & N. Hanhart.

The Miraculous Corn

LEFT: ‘Golden Rod‘ music by Vivian Grey, published by Leo Feist (New York, 1907), illustrated by John Frew.  RIGHT: ‘Gold Aehren‘, by Vivian Grey, published by Roehr (Berlin, 1917), illustrator unknown.

The Travelling Dandies

Gigerl – Les gommeux de Vienne‘, by J. F. Wagner. LEFT: published by Louis Gregh (Paris, s.d.). RIGHT: published by Rebay & Robitschek (Wien, s.d.). Unknown illustrator.

The Enigma of the Clock

LEFT: ‘Jeden Morgen in der Strassenbahn um half acht!‘ RIGHT: ‘Tous les jours, dans le tramway‘. Both by Sissermann and Hans Bussmann, illustrated by Herzig and published by Cranz (Leipzig Bruxelles, 1931).

The Botox Failure

LEFT: ‘Ciega de Amor‘ by José Camprubi and Pedro Puche – RIGHT: ‘La Cocaina‘. Both unknown publisher, date and illustration. Both performed by Raquel Meller.

The Metamorphosis of the Student

LEFT: ‘Lo Studente passa’ by J. C. Ibanez and Chiappo (Casa Editrice Musicale Chiappo, Torino, 1929). RIGHT: ‘Der Student geht vorbei‘ (Doblinger, Wien, s.d.). Both illustrated by Domenico Lubatti.

 

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four