The First American Printing of the Marseillaise.
In a Volume of Early American Sheet Music from the 1790s and early 1800s: The Beginnings of American Popular Music.
This wonderful and extensive bound collection of mostly American sheet music (see below for a complete inventory), includes the first American edition of the Marseillaise, with the words in English and French, published in 1793 by Benjamin Carr & Co. of Philadelphia. La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, was written in April 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, and was officially adopted as the national anthem in 1795 by the French National Convention. Originally titled Chant de Guerre Pour l'Armee du Rhin (War Song of the Rhine Army) the song got its moniker after volunteers in a battalion from Marseille sung it while marching to Paris. By September of 1792 it had acquired the name Hymne des Marseillaise. Soon thereafter London publishers issued it as The Maseilles March. The very rare first American publication of the music and words of the Marseillaise contained in the present volume was published by Benjamin Carr (1768-1831), who left England in 1793 to establish his music shop at 136 High Street in Philadelphia. His father Joseph Carr soon joined him in America, as did a brother named Thomas, opening a music establishment in Baltimore. Late in the same year (1793) of his establishment in Philadelphia, Benjamin Carr must have copied one of the London versions to produce his own Marseilles Hymn or Marche des Marseillois. Both Carr's and the London versions share the same keyboard arrangements. Carr also retained the original French verses, which appear on the third sheet following the main English adaptation. Interestingly, the Carrs also published the first printing of the words and music of the Star Spangled Banner (Baltimore, 1814), a copy of which sold at Christie's in 2010 for $506,500.
Despite Jeremy Bentham calling it "the war whoop of anarchy," the Marseillaise has had a wide-ranging cultural impact far beyond the borders of France. Composers from Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky, to Debussy and Lennon and McCartney have quoted it in their own work. And the special relationship between France and the United States, specifically the political and social background underpinning both the American Revolution and the French Revolution, contribute greatly to the interest of the first American appearance of the Marseillaise.
Myron Gray's recent work, French Revolutionary Song for Federal Philadelphia discusses how the pioneering music publisher Benjamin Carr reconciled French Revolutionary music for the Philadelphia market at a controversial moment in Franco-American relations:
For Carr, whose elite, music-reading clients were often conservative, the publication of radical French songs was, on the face of it, a risky venture.
Gray argues that Carr softened the radicalism of French revolutionary song, turning such works as La Marseillaise and other French songs into private amusements. Carr was, after all, in the business of selling music. However, he took early American music production to a new place by incorporating the French revolutionary music in his specially arranged original piece, the Federal Overture, which brought La Marseillaise and two other French songs together into a single, wordless performance, thus surreptitiously extending the appeal of the French music beyond its partisan origins. The work melded American favorites such as Yankee Doodle and the President's March with the likes of the La Marseillaise. Carr's Federal Overture premiered at Philadelphia's Southwark Theater in September 1794.
Of the various members of the Carr family of music publishers, which included Joseph (father) and Thomas (son), brother Benjamin was the outstanding one, and apparently, the first to make the move from Britain to the United States in 1793, setting up his music shop in 1793, first in New York, then opening his Musical Repository in Philadelphia at High Street (soon to be called Market street) in July of the same year. According to Virginia Larkin Redway:
Benjamin... was to be the most distinguished of the family in the field of music, was born on Sept. 12, 1768; he had a thorough musical training under Dr. Samuel Arnold and then under Charles Wesley ... It was [the] hustling, brilliant, versatile brother Benjamin who carved the name of Carr deepest in American musical annals. He appears as publisher, actor, singer, organist, pianist, composer; he is not content with merely one city in which to exercise his influence, but dashes between New York and Philadelphia and carries on his multitudinous activities in both places at once.
This volume is a treasure trove of popular music tastes in New York and Philadelphia in the late 18th century.
The context in which we find the first American edition of La Marseillaise is notable for several reasons. First, the present volume is in an early 19th century binding with intact consecutive hand-numbered pages, thus representing a contemporary personal compilation of music of value to historians of early American musical tastes. The volume contains about thirty additional mostly American music sheets that may have been purchased and collected by a female member of the Clark or Clarke family (see provenance note below). Many of the sheets bear the imprints of noted early American music publishers, including Carr & Co. and J. and M. Paff. Carr's Musical Repository was located at No. 136 High Street in Philadelphia, while the Paffs' music store was at No. 127 Broadway in New York. Both were prolific early publishers and distributors of popular music at the time. Several other music shops and music publishers are also represented here, including J. Hewitt (at times appearing in the partnership of Hewitt & Rausch) of Maiden Lane, New York, G. Willig of Philadelphia, E. Riley of New York, and G. Gilfert. The volume serves up ample evidence of how American music was distributed in the larger cities of the Eastern seaboard in the 1790s and 18 aughts, reflecting the partnership networks among publishers, as well as their related businesses such as dealing in musical instruments, especially piano fortes and violins. Several of the sheets make reference to popular singers of the day, suggesting the already connected worlds of performing artists on the one hand, and music publishers and promoters on the other.
It is interesting to point out that the 1790s is noted by music historians as the beginning of secular music printing in the United States. This volume is an excellent representative collection of these beginnings. According to Sonneck & Upton:
In the United States before 1800 we find scarcely more than a baker's dozen of publishers of secular music, and all of these became active in the last decade. Before 1790 practically nothing but psalm and hymn books were published, with here and there an issue of secular character as in the various "Almanacks" and literary periodicals - also a very few songster with music. The most important of the bona fide publishing firms dealing exclusively (or at least predominately) with musical publications were those of Benjamin Carr, Philadelphia and New York; George Willig, Philadelphia; George Gilfert, James Hewitt, J. and M. Paff, New York; Joseph Carr, Baltimore; P. A. von Hagen, Boston.
All examples bound in the volume are engraved sheets dating from the 1790s to ca. 1825.
While most of the music sheets contained in the volume were printed in New York, a few imported London-printed sheets managed to sneak in, but even these usually have manuscript notations in a contemporary hand stating that the sheet was sold by J & M. Paff in New York.
Most of the music sheets consist of two sheets (but some are single sheets and there are a few examples consisting of four or more pages).
A primary source volume for popular tastes in music in New York and Philadelphia in the 1790s through the first decade or so of the 19th century; and a representative sampling of the origins of secular music publishing in America.
Rarity of the first American edition of the Marseilles
No auction records can be found for this first American edition. WorldCat records only eight copies: American Antiquarian Society, Harvard Musical Association, Yale University, Athenaeum of Philadelphia, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Strasbourg, and the Bibliotheque National.
Loose sheets laid in:
The Empress of Russia's Waltz. New York: Engrav'd, Printed, & Sold by E. Riley. No. 29 Chatham Street. [ca. 1824]. Single sheet, printed on recto only. Wolfe 2684.
Within a Mile. New York: Printed & Sold at J. Hewitt's Musical Repository No. 23 Maiden Lane. [1799-1800]. Single leaf, printed on recto only. Sonneck & Upton, page 475.
[manuscript sheet music]: Adieu Sweet Girl. Circa 1800.
[Civil War era music sheet] Marching Along. Words by R. P. Clark. W.B. Bradbury. 1862. For sale by J. P. Magee. 5 Cornhill. Boston. Half sheet.
Music sheets bound in the volume:
1. Viguerie, Bernard. Battle of Maringo. Bataille de Maringo. Piece Militaire et Historique Pour le Forte Piano. Avec Accompagnemt. de Violon et Basse par B. Viguerie. The Cannons are marked thus X and are to be express'd by stretching the two hands flat on the three lower Octaves, the hands to be kept on the Keys until the Vibrations are nearly extinct. [ca. 1805].  pages.
The Battle of Marengo was fought on June 14, 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy. Wolfe lists seventeen issues of this piece printed between 1802-1818, but the present state, without an imprint on the title page, is not described by him.
2. [Untitled sonata]  pages.
3. Pleyel, Ignaz Joseph (1757-1831). Pleyels Six Progressive Sonatinas with Violin Accompaniments (ad libitum). Which the author has so constructed that the passages are first under the performers hand, not exceeding in compass one fifth, are graudally extended and connected with the improvement of the pupil. New York: Printed and Sold by G. Gilfert at his Music Store. No. 177 Broadway. N.B. a second sett of progressive Sonata's by the same Author will soon by Published. [ca. 1796-1800]. Engraved title plus 34 numbered pages.
Wolfe lists a Boston work with similar title containing 25 pages and dated [1808?], but not this New York issue, which was likely printed before 1801. Dichter & Shapiro place George Gilfert's Music Store at 177 Broadway during the years 1796-1801. Gilfert was also listed as an organist at 64 Nassau Street and a tavern-keeper at 66 Chatham Street.
4. Linley, Thomas, (1733-1795). Primrose's deck. A favorite Rondo. Sung bye Mr. Carr at the Amateur & Professional Concerts. Composed by Mr. Linley. Price 25 cents. Philadelphia: Printed & Sold at Carr & Co.s Musical Repository.  4 pages (first page blank).
Benjamin Carr was publishing music under "Carr & Co." in 1793. Dichter & Shapiro state that Carr gave up his Musical Repository in 1800 and was then listed as an instrument maker. After the death of his father Joseph Carr in 1819, Benjamin became active again as a music publisher. Evans 27562.
5. [Reeve, Thomas (1757-1815)]. The Galley Slave. Price 20 Cents. Philadelphia: Printed at Carr's Musical Repository. .  pages. Shipton & Mooney 47614. Bistol B8844. Sonneck & Upton, page 153.
6. [Storace, Stephen (1783-1796)]. Spirit of My Sainted Sire. Sung by Mr. Hodgkinson. Composed by Mr. Storace. Price 25 Cents. Printed by B. Carr at his Musical Repository's in New York, Philadelphia and by J. Carr, Baltimore. [1795-1796]. 3 pages. Shipton & Mooney 47196. Bristol B9311. Sonneck & Upton, page 407.
7. Tho' pity I cannot deny. Sung by Mrs. Pownall. New York: Printed and sold by Carr at his Musical Repositories here & at Phila. [ca. 1793-1800]. Single sheet (printed on recto only). Sonneck & Upton, page 430.
8. Dear is my little Native Vale. a Favorite. New Song. For the Piano Forte - Flute - or Violin. New York: Sold by I. and M. Paff. No. 127 Broadway. [ca. 1800-1803].  pages. Dichter & Shapiro place the brothers John and M. Paff at 127 Broadway during the years 1800-1803. Not in Wolfe.
9. Pleyel, Ignaz Joseph (1757-1831). No. 5. Sonnet to Time. Ladies Musical. Journal. Pleyel.  pages.
10. [Nägeli, Hans Georg (1773-1836)]. Life Let Us Cherish. A Favorite New Song. the words by Mr. Derrick. Publishing by G. Willig No. 185. Market street. Philadelphia. Early manuscript note in lower margin of sheet: "Sold by J. and M. Paff New York." [1798?].  pages.
George Willig was located at 185 Market Street from 1798-1804 per Dichter & Shapiro.
11. Hewitt. The wounded Hussar. Composed by Mr. Hewitt. New York: Printed & Sold at J. Hewitt's Musical Repository. No. 23 Maiden Lane. [ca. 1799-1800].  pages.
James Hewitt [Sr.] operated at 23 Maiden Lane in 1799-1800 per Dichter & Shapiro.
12. Primroses. A Favorite Song Sung by Mrs. Pownal. with additions and alterations by a Lady. New York: Printed by James Harrison, at his Music Warehouse in Maiden Lane where may be had the greatest variety of New Songs, and Music, of all kinds. [ca. 1793-1795].  pages.
James Harrison operated from at least three diferent addresses on Maiden Lane in 1793-1795, per Sonneck and Dichter & Shapiro.
13. [Rouget de Lisle, Claude Joseph (1760-1836)] The Marseilles Hymn. In French & English. Marche des Marseillois. Price One Quarter Dollar. Philadelphia: Printed for Carr & Co. At their Musical Repository. No. 136 High Street. .  pages.
The first American edition of the French National Anthem. Carr & Co. operated from 136 High Street in 1793. According to Hixon, Evans entries 26106 and 26107 refer to the same identical printing, and there does not seem to be multiple issues. Sonneck & Upton state that "The Marseillois hymn in French and English" was advertised in December, 1793, as "published ... printed singly" by "B. Carr & Co. Musical Repository, Southside of Market Street," Philadelphia. To clarify the apparent inconsistency with the address printed on the sheet, it should be noted that Market Street was originally known as High Street, and this sheet was printed at about the time of the transition to Market Street. Dichter & Shapiro, page 12. Sonneck & Upton, page 251. Hixon, pages 127-128.
14. My Native Land. Price 12 Cents. New York: Printed & sold by B. Carr. [ca. 1795]. Single sheet. Printed on recto only.
Benjamin Carr operated in New York from 1794 to 1797, at which point J. Hewitt took over the B. Carr New York branch. Sonneck & Upton suggest the date of ca. 1795.
15. [Paisiello, Giovanni (1741-1816)]. Wither My Love. A Favorite Song in the Haunted Tower. Price 20 Cents. Philadelphia: Printed for Carr & Co. at their Musical Repository No. 136 High Street. .  pages.
Advertised in December, 1793, as "published ... printed singly ..." by "B. Carr & Co. Musical Repository," Philadelphia. Sonneck & Upton, page 470.
16. Little Taffline a favorite Song Sun by Mrs. Bland in the Musical Entertainment of the Three and the Deuce as performed at the Theatres Royal Haymarket & Drury Land. Composed by Stephen Storace. Printed for the Author & Sold at the Music Shops. Price. 1.s. [London imprint].
17. The Favorite Duett of Tink a Tink, as Sung by Mrs. Bland & Mr. Bannister Junr. in the Opera of Blue Beard, Composed by M. Kelly. Printed for the Author & Sold at all the Music Shops in London. Pr. 1s. 6 d. [Manuscript note in upper margin of first sheet: Sold by J. & M. Paff."
18. Megen Oh' Oh Megen Ee' Sung in the Castle Spectre. New York: Printed & Sold at J. Hewitt's Musical Repository No. 59. Maiden Lane. Pr. 12 cts. Where may be had all the last new Publications Likewise a General assortment of Musical Instruments. [ca. 1801-1810]. Single sheet. Printed on recto only.
James Hewitt [Sr.] operated from 59 Maiden Lane during the years 1801-1810.
19. [Gaveaux, Pierre (1761-1825)]: La Pipe de Tabac. A Favorite French Song. With an English Translation. Arranged for the Piano Forte, Violin and Flute. New York: Printed and Sold by I. and M. Paff. No. 127 Broadway. [ca. 1800-1803].  pages.
The brothers Paff operated from 127 Broadway during the years 1800-1803. Wolfe lists this title as issued by J. Hewitt, 59 Maiden Lane, ca. 1801, but not the present Paff issue.
20. The Favorite Serenading German Waltz. Arranged for the Piano Forte. Violin. or Flute. [ca. 1800]  pages.
Wolfe lists several versions of this piece issued in Philadelphia, New York and other cities, between circa 1801 and 1826, but not the present issue which has no publisher's imprint.
21. Old Towler. A favorite Hunting Song Sung with universal applause by Mr. Incledon at the New Theatre Royal Covent Garden &c. &c. Composed by Mr. Shield. Written by J.O. Keef Esq. Ent.d at Sta.s Hall. Price 1s. Printed by Longman and Broderip No. 26 Cheapside and No. 13 Haymarket. 4 pages.
22. [Hook, James (1746-1827)]. I'll Be Married to Thee, a Favorite Scoth Song, Sung by Miss Brett, Composed by - Mr. Hook. New York: Printed & Sold at J. Hewitt's Musical Repository No. 59 Maiden Lane. Pr. 25 Cts. Who has for sale Grand & Small Piano Forts, a great variety of Musical Instruments, also a Great variety of new Songs and Sonates. Sold also by R. Shaw, Philadelphia. [1802?].  pages.
James Hewitt operated from 59 Maiden Lane during the years 1801-1810. Wolfe dates this sheet from 1802. Wolfe 4082.
23. Bonny Charly. A Favorite Song. New York. Published by I. and M. Paff at their Music Warehouse. No. 127 Broadway. where may be had London made Piano Fortes Grand and Small. also every article in the Musical line for Sale, upon reasonable terms. [1800-1803].  pages.
The Paff brothers operated from 127 Broadway during the years 1800-1803. Wolfe lists a Boston issue published by G. Graupner, ca. 1811, but not the present New York issue by the Paffs.
24. The Midshipman. Sung by Miss Arnold of the New Theatre with Universal Applause, in the Opera of the Rival Soldiers. Philadelphia published by G: Willig. No. 185 Market Street. [ca. 1798-1804]. Single sheet. Printed on recto only.
This issue not in Wolfe. Geroge Willig operated at 185 Market Street from 1798 to 1804. "Gallant Barry," for Commodore John Barry, the father of the U.S. Navy, is mentioned in the fourth verse and other verses are suggestive of the Quasi-War with France (1798-1800). In later issues Barry's name is replaced with Truxton, an update to the song to reflect the heroes of the War of 1812.
25. Her Mouth Which a Smile. A Favorite Song. [ca. 1799-1803]. Single sheet. Printed on recto only.
Published probably by J. & M. Paff, New York, 1799-1803 - Wolfe 10328.
26. When Pensive I Thought On My Love. Sung in the Grand Romance of Blue Beard. 25 Cents. [ca. 1801-1803].
Published probably by J. & M. Paff, New York 1801-1803 - Wolfe 4906.
27. Each Coming Day. Sung with great applause by Miss Brett. Pr. 25 cts. New York Printed & Sold at J. Hewitt's Musical Repository No. 59 Maiden Lane. Sold also by R. Shaw Philadelphia & D. Bown Columbian Museum Boston. .  pages. Wolfe 317.
28. The Poor Village Boy. Written & Composed by the late Mr. Moulds. New York Printed & Sold at J. & M. Paff's Music Store No. 127 Broadway. [1802-1803].  pages. Wolfe 6163.
29. Dear sir this brown Jug. A favorite Song in the Poor Soldier. Sung by Mr. Johnstone. Price 6d. London: Printed for I: Bland, No. 45, Holborn.  pages. Second sheet torn with some paper loss, affecting printed music in lower left corner. Both sheets backed with reinforcement sheets at an early date.
30. [Hook, James (1746-1827)]. Ma Belle Coquette. A Favorite Song. Composed by Mr. Hook. Printed for I. C. Moller No. 186 North Third Street. Where may be had a great Variety of the newest Vocal and Instrumental Music. &c. [Philadelphia]. .  pages.
John C. Moller moved to New York by 1796. He operated on Third Street in Philadelphia from 1793. Evans 25628
31. [Kreutzer, Rodolphe (1766-1831)]: The Celebrated Overture to Ladoiska Composed by Kreutzer. [New York]: Printed for Hewitt & Rausch. .
James Hewitt partnered with Frederick Rausch (Hewitt & Rausch) in 1797.
The leather label on the front board indicates the original compiler or owner of this volume was one E. G. Clarke. An accompanying 20th century manuscript note on a 3 x 5 card states:
This music belonged to 'Cousin Henrietta' and is valuable on account of its antiquity ... You may not know the facts that 'Cousins' Mother was a daughter of Abraham Clark - one of the signers of Independence. - P. C. E. (Phoebe Catherine Edgar, old maid Aunt of Mina Edgar Habberton (Granny's mother)
The aforementioned Signer, Abraham Clark (1726-1794) was a delegate from New Jersey to the Continental Congress.