The Free-Reed Journal
Articles and Essays Featuring Classical Free-Reed Instruments and Performers

Concertina Concertos: Bernhard Molique

by Hilding Bergquist
Minneapolis, Minn.

This article was reprinted in its entirety from the February 1950 issue of Accordion World (New York).

My previous article was given over entirely to Molique's first concertina concerto. And now I will conclude his list of works for concertina.

His second concerto in D Minor Op.66, has been variously stated to be lost, which is untrue. Kenneth V. Chidley, director of the Wheatstone Co. in London informs me that although they possess the manuscript for concertina, piano and full orchestra accompaniment, it has never been published.

On July 1, 1861, at the Hanover Square Rooms, Regondi gave its initial performance, but not with accompaniment of orchestra under Alberto Rendeger as I erroneously stated in my April 1948 article (which, by the way, shows two portraits of Regondi.) It seems that there was no orchestra present on this occasion, and for the other musical presentations by singers nad instrumentalists Randegger himself accompanied at the piano, while Regondi had a different accompaniment, as follows: The "Musical World" in its review said (in part):

"The Concertina is a greatly admired instrument. Indeed, there are many who would rather hear a solo on the concertina from Signor Regondi than a solo on the pianoforte or violin from almost any pianist or violinist. The most acceptable performance of the program was by Signor Regondi of the new concerto for the concertina in D Minor Op. 66, written expressly for him by Herr Molique - (the second he has composed for his gifted protégé) - with accompaniment of stringed instruments, and harmonium to represent "wind." This piece had all the value of a grand concerto for pianoforte or violin- the music being admirably written for the solo instrument. The accompaniments were ingenious, constantly varied, and always effective, and the composition, considered in the mere light of abstract music, a chef d'oeuvre, and the execution by Signor Regondi inimitable. Quite a sensation was excited by this extraordinary work and extraordinary performance."

And in the "Athenaeum", Henry F. Chorley said: "A note of admiration is demanded by Signor Regondi's enterprise in having obtained from Herr Molique another concerto for the concertina. What is more, its composer must have been in his happiest vein when the work was written. It is flowing, brilliant, and tuneful, and of a moderate length, and must rank among Herr Molique's very best solo music. It was of course, admirably played."

However, on other occasions, Regondi did present it with accompaniment of full orchestra, such as on May 14, 1862, at the Hanover Square Rooms, with Alfred Mellon conducting.

Molique also composed it around 1860, seven years after his first in 1852. Richard Blagrove is also stated to have to have probably performed it in 1891.

Between these productions he also wrote a Sonata in B-flat, Op. 57, for concertina and piano, also previously stated to be lost, but again, happily, untrue, as it is today still available from Wheatstone Co., catalog number 2270, and furthermore as Mr. Chidley informs me, had a performance last February (1949) in the Third Programme of the BBC, played by A.E. Edwards (late of Jack Payne's Orchestra) in a program arranged by Richard Gorer, an authority on lesser known music.

On May 11, 1857 it was played at Willi's Rooms by Richard Blagrove (concertina) and Harold Thomas (piano). And only a few weeks later on June 9 at the same place, Regondi presented it with pianist Ignace Tedesco. The "Musical World" said of the latter performance:

"Moliques's Sonata is replete with difficulties to an ordinary player, but are thrown off with incomparable ease by Signor Regondi. Under his hand, indeed, they do not seem to exist It is a charming composition, and was written expressly for the instrument by Herr Molique, we believe, some three years ago (1854.)" These playings were read from manuscript. I do not know its first publication date, but it is listed in the catalog of Ewer Co.'s Universal Circulating Musical Library for 1860.

In 1856 Addison, Hollier and Lucas Co. published his six "Flying Leaves." Op. 50, for concertina and piano. These are today listed in Wheatstone's catalog as follows: 2271 - in F, 2272 - in A, 2273 - in G minor, 2274 - in E flat, 2275 - in A minor, and 2276 - in B flat. All are still available except the first in F. The British Museum has them all. Curiously enough, the book, "Bernhard Molique und Seine Intstrumental - Kompositionen" by Fritz Schroder states that Molique's Travelogue for 1854 lists these six pieces as Op. 51, while a Trio for Piano, violin, and cello is listed as Op. 50. This trio is not now known unless it be the Trio in F, Op. 52. However, if the "Flying Leaves" are today given as Op. 50, then Op.51 must be some other work still awaiting verified identification. (A reference is made of Regondi playing a pair of "Flying Leaves" called "Andante" and "Allegretto" on June 6, 1861.)

Molique also wrote six other short works for concertina and piano called "Characteristic Pieces," Op. 61, (dedicated to Mrs. Newman Smith) and published by R.W. Ollivier Co. They had also been preserved in the library of the late Walther Schulz in Stuttgart. Today they are listed in Wheatstone's Catalog as follows: 2261 - "Bolero" in A Minor; 2262 - "Consolation" in B; 2263 - "Rural Scene" in G Minor; 2264 - "Sorrow" in C Minor; 2265 - "Prayer" in E; and 2266 - "Serenade" in F. All are still available except the first two, Bolero, and Consolation. The British Museum has them all.

Molique also wrote a song called "O Sweet Lute" for mezzo-soprano, piano, and viola (or optional violin or concertina) dedicated to W.L. Turner, Esq. It was published by Blagrove Co., and had also been in the library of Walther Schulz in Stuttgart. It is not listed in Wheatstone's catalog, but the British Museum has it.

In the book on Molique by Schroder published in 1923 are these works also stated to be missing or lost: Op. 53, 56, 58-59, 62-63-64, 67, and 70. Until they have been accounted for, we can only wonder whether any of these could also possibly have been written for the concertina, too.

In my next article I will list the chamber works for concertina by Edouard Silas, with attendant data.

The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. staff gratefully acknowledges volunteer Benjamin Lang who assisted in the production of this article, as well as Stanley Darrow and the comprehensive American Accordion Musicological Society library.

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