Category Archives: Sheet Music Covers

Comments on some special, funny or beautiful covers

Mysterious Phenomena In Illustrated Sheet Music – Part 3

Enchantement‘ composed by Jules Massenet, poetry written by Jules Ruelle, and published in ‘Au Ménestrel’ (Paris, ca 1890). Cover illustration by Eugène Grasset.

Welcome back to the enchanting world of printing and publishing. Share with us the quizzical differences, variations or nuances in what could (should?) have been similar copies of sheet music covers. Sometimes these design incidents defy our imagination in how they lead to incongruity, comical twist or hilarious plagiarism. We have invented nothing. Do your own research: have a look, scrutinize and double check!

The grass is always greener on the other print

Das ist das alte Lied von jungen Leuten‘ by Jean Gilbert, Fritz Grünbaum, and Wilhelm Sterk. Both edition published by Rondo Verlag (Berlin, 1922) and illustrated by Wolfgang Ortmann.

The monocle and the shifty eyes

E arrivato l’Ambasciatore!‘, operette by Ettore Bellini, published by Fratelli Curci (Napoli, 1921) and illustrated by L. Pagano.

The trick with the husband

Sheet music covers designed by Leo Baill
LEFT: ‘On n’s’en fout pas‘ by L. Cadin and Arlet Nandem, published at Gaspy Editions (Bruxelles, s.d.). RIGHT: ‘Senorita‘ tango by Jac. Grit with lyrics by Herre De Vos, published by Edition Jacques Polfliet (Bruxelles, s.d.). Both covers designed by Leo Baill.

The exchangeable dance floors

LEFT: ‘Dancing Tambourine‘ by William C. Polla, published by Salabert (Paris, 1927) – copyright Harms (New York, 1927). RIGHT: ‘Ich hab’ zu Haus ein Grammophon‘ by Karel Hasler & Jara Benes, lyrics by Beda. Published by Wiener Boheme Verlag (Vienna, s.d.), source: https://www.notenmuseum.de – Unknown illustrator.

The fairy tale makeover

Rotkäppchen!‘ by Hermann Wenzel, published by Fr. Portius (Leipzig, 1928 (on the left) and s.d. (right)). Unknown illustrator.

The world of enchantment, fantasy, bold imagination and daring fascination… I think I have a little idea on how to musically end this short post.

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Mysterious Phenomena In Illustrated Sheet Music – Part 2

Mystery?‘ – A foxtrot by Joseph A. Cirina. Published by Herman Darewski (London,1919) and illustrated by Lionel S. Reiss.

The world of sheet music illustration never stops to amaze the assiduous collector. She/he has to face up to mysteries that defy the imagination, pictorial challenges to her or his ingenuity. The collector stumbles in an enigmatic world where things become unexplainable and surpass fantasy. Here is the continuation of our popular series on accidentally —sometimes wilfully— assembling duplicates.

The Apparition of the Seaside Resort

Two almost identical covers published by 'Zalig plekje aan zee' composed by A. Van Oest (LEFT) and 'Mooi Zandvoort' by Vorrattie. Both publishe by B H Smit (Amsterdam)
Zalig plekje aan zee‘ composed by A. Van Oest (LEFT) and ‘Mooi Zandvoort‘ by Vorrattie (RIGHT). Published by B H Smit (Amsterdam, s.d.). Illustrator: D. Coene.

The Case of the Blue Hat

Two striking versions of 'Camouflage' sheet music illustration
Camouflage‘, One-Step by James Bodewalt Lamp. LEFT: the 1917 publication by Jerome Remick (NY, Detroit), not in our collection. RIGHT: the redrawn version by Francis Salabert (Paris). Unknown illustrator.

The Subtle Substitution

Fleur de Cerisier‘ and ‘Fleur de Pommier‘. Composed by Adrian de Lorme, published by Duff & Stewart (London, s.d.) and illustrated by William Spalding.

The Instrument Swap

Whistling Rufus‘, a Two-Step Polka or Cake-Walk by Kerry Mills. LEFT: the original guitar publication by Mills, F. A. (New York, s.d., unknown illustrator). RIGHT: the Swedish banjo version published by Carl Gehrman (Stockholm), s.d., illustrated by Nils Ringström.

The Apprentice Twins

Le Petit Mousse Noir‘, a Romance by P. Cheret & Marc Constantin. LEFT: undated publication by Choudens (Paris, s.d.). RIGHT: publication by Mayence (Anvers & Bruxelles, s.d.). Unknown illustrator.

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How Absurd

'Pepper Pot' sheet music cover illustration,
Pepper Pot‘, a novelty dance by Harold Ivers. Published by Witmark, M. & Sons (New York, 1913) and illustrated by André De TaKacs.

Rather absurd,  I mumbled while surfing the net recently. I was left perplexed by how our blog Images Musicales Stories leaves ludicrous traces on the global network. I want to tell you about it. But first, a pair of absurd music illustrations, as a warm-up.

'Five O'Clock' sheet music by Maurice Ravel
Five O’Clock‘, Maurice Ravel’s fox trot, published by A. Durand & Fils (Paris, 1925) and illustrated by R. Vallet.

Five O’Clock‘, Maurice Ravel’s fox trot, also published by A. Durand & Fils (Paris). Copyright is 1925 but the illustration from Maurice Le Palud is dated 1931.

A few years ago we fabricated a pastiche to illustrate a post on the sheet music covers created by René Magritte. Yes, excessively photoshopped from an original Magritte cover.

A pictorial farce accompanying our previous article (2016) on the illustrative work by René Magritte.

The image was a tongue-in-cheek remark on the surrealistic potentials of Magritte’s cover for Prière à mon Ange. You will understand our surprise that this little joke was copied to an Italian website as if it was the work of René Magritte himself!
How surreal.

Screenshot (April 11th, 2020) of an Italian website discussing and showing Magritte’s publicitary designs.

Next is an even more absurd story. In 2014 we published an article on the life and work of Wolfgang Ortmann. The post was documented with more than a dozen high-resolution scans of our sheet music collection. Alas, at the time we didn’t feel the need to digitally stamp these images. A ‘rascal’ based in New Zealand copied our images, photoshopped the most ‘offensive’ tears and wrinkles, and felt the commercial urge to bundle them in a calendar. A CALENDAR!

We couldn’t resist ordering such a calendar from New Zealand. Only 3 available items left! For $12,99 plus shipping costs it was ours.And now we have our beautiful Ortmann covers —which we patiently collected over many years, documented and cared for, and which travelled electronically to the other side of the world— printed on ordinary A4 paper and bundled in a cheap plastic ring on our desk. Look what they’ve done to my song Ma?