Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bluebell Klean: A Short Notice of a recital in June 1897

I recently came across this notice concerning Bluebell Klean. She and her younger sister Elise were two performers at a concert given in aid of the Prince of Wales Hospital Fund in 8th June 1897.

The Prince of Wales’s Hospital Fund was founded in 1897. In 1902, upon the accession to the throne by Edward VII the name was changed to King Edward's Hospital Fund. In 1907 Parliament incorporated the fund as the King's Fund. The purpose of the fund was to “allow for the collection and distribution of funds in support of the hospitals of London. Its initial purpose was to raise money for London's voluntary hospitals, which at that time offered the only health services available to poor people in the capital. It also ensured that the contributions raised flowed towards those hospitals in greatest need.”
I have been unable to find much information about Lieutenant-Colonel Wyon or Ernest Cavour. However the good Colonel appears to have been an organist as well as a one-time member of the Ordnance Corp of the Army. He may also have been a diplomat. Ernest Cavour was a concert promoter in the late 1890s. Messrs Such and Hollman also seem to have been lost in the mists of time.

The Misses Klean and Lieutenant-Colonel Wyon held a concert at the Queen’s Hall on the evening of June 8th in aid of the Prince of Wales’s Hospital Fund. The gallant Colonel began on the organ with the ‘Kyrie Eleison’ from Haydn’s Mass in C, No.1 [1] and Lefébure Wély’s 6th Grand Offertoire [2]. At the end of the evening Lt.-Colonel Wyon gave the Hallelujah Chorus and a selection of National Airs arranged by himself. The Misses Klean played with brilliancy and perfect ensemble the fine Variations of M.Saint-Saëns [3] for two pianofortes on Beethoven’s trio to the Sonata known as Op.31, No.3.
Miss Elsie Klean afterwards offered a fair version of a ‘Lieder ohne Worte’ and Schubert’s Impromptu, Op.90, No.2; but she took the tempo so quickly that the tune of the text suffered from want of distinctiveness; an encore ensued. The sister, Miss Bluebell, displayed a nicely sympathetic touch in a Nocturne of Chopin Op.62, No.1 and her own Gavotte in G minor. Want of space precludes a detailed report of other artists. Miss Clara Butt won a bis for Gluck’s Divinités du Styx [4]; Mr Such and Mr Holman played violin and violoncello solos and Lt-Colonel Wyon sang two tenor airs with organ obligato.
The benevolent concert was directed by Mr. Ernest Cavour and it is hoped that the financial result will be satisfactory.
The Musical Standard June 1879 p.401 [with minor edits]

[1] It is not clear which particular Mass in C major this was.
[2] Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wély (1817-1869) Grand offertoire No.6 in C minor (c1857)
[3] Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) Variations on a Theme of Beethoven in E♭ major for two pianos. (1874) From the Trio from movement III, Menuetto, of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 18, Op. 31 No. 3 (1802)
[4] Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) ‘Divinités du Styx’ from Act 1 of Alceste (1776)

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