# 31089

BELLINI, Vincenzo (1801-1835) (composer); GROCOTT, James Turner (publisher)

[SHEET MUSIC] Do not mingle : air as sung by Madame Malibran in the opera La Sonnambula / composed by Bellini.

$400.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

Sydney : Published at Grocott’s Music Saloon, George Street, [probably 1847]. Folio (340 mm), disbound from a nineteenth-century music album, original stitching with remnants of old paper spine, 7 pp of engraved music notation with decorative title and publisher’s imprint at head of first page; original owner’s manuscript pagination at top corners; paper browned, otherwise clean; a very good example.

According to Dr. Graeme Skinner (see citation below), James Turner Grocott ‘was trading as “printer, stationer, and music seller” at 486 George Street (formerly Francis Ellard’s premises) from March 1847, at which time he appears also to have acquired Ellard’s plates, until May 1851, at which time Grocott appears to have ceased trading; he never returned to music publishing and his/Ellard’s plates were in turn acquired by Woolcott and Clarke, and later J. R. Clarke.

This very early Sydney edition of Do not mingle, with the Grocott’s Music Saloon imprint – probably published in 1847 – appears unrecorded in Australian collections. The State Library of New South Wales holds the original edition with the imprint of F. Ellard’s Music Saloon (March, 1847?); and the later edition by Woolcott and Clarke, which also used Ellard’s plates, is held in several collections.

Francis Ellard’s decision to engrave and publish the sheet music for Bellini’s Do not mingle (an aria made famous by the great Spanish opera singer Maria Malibran) was no doubt a commercial one based on the popularity of Mrs (Agnes) Guerin’s performances in La Sonnambula at Sydney’s Royal Victoria Theatre at the beginning of March, 1847. The following rhapsodic review appeared in Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer, 13 March 1847:

It has been a pleasing duty lately to have had opportunities of noticing the sterling musical accomplishments of our friends of the Victoria. Our interest, however, was never more involuntarily or instantaneously excited than by Mrs. Guerin’s sweetly touching delivery of “Do not mingle”, in Bellini’s Opera of La Sonnambula. In the delightful excitement of the moment our phrenological developement of the “bump of harmony” must have acquired some extraor-dinary power of expansion, in as much as we have detected ourselves unconsciously and incessantly humming that beautiful aria, which has haunted and pursued us – aye, even into the hallowed recesses of our editorial sanctum sanctorum….‘ (The reviewer then goes on to rather crudely satirise the lyrics).

Around a year later, James Grocott staged an event at his premises that featured a pianola playing Do not mingle, which he advertised in the Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 1848:

SELF-ACTING PIANOFORTE: IMMEDIATELY after the disposal of prizes in Mr. PARKES’S FANCY UNION this evening, the above splendid instrument will be disposed of BY LOTTERY, By 25 Members, at 26s. each, Playing the following tunes FROM SONNAMBULA : Do not Mingle; Still so Gently; As I view those Scenes; All is lost now; A Chorus; Take now this Ring; The Invincible Quadrilles, five figures and waltz; The Scotch Quadrilles, ditto ditto Herz Quadrilles, ditto ditto. In all 24 tunes. J. T. GROCOTT, Music Saloon, 486, George-street.’

In Grocott’s catalogue of sheet music published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 31 August 1850, Do not mingle is listed at number 19.

Reference: Dr. Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), “A checklist of Australian sheet music prints, 1834-c.1850”, Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia): https://sydney.edu.au/paradisec/australharmony/checklist-sheet-music-1834-c1850.php; accessed 4 June 2021