# 27507


The Flower Queen : a tonic sol-fa cantata by G. F. Root, Esq. : Given in aid of the Blind and Deaf and Dumb Asylum, by Alexander Clarke, Esq., and the children of the Grote Street Model School.

$200.00 AUD

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[Cover title]. Adelaide : Printed at The Advertiser and Chronicle Offices, 1880. Duodecimo (155 x 100 mm), original printed green wrappers, stitched, pp 16; contains the complete libretto for this work, including printed synopsis and “Personifications” (list of characters) on inside upper wrapper; two marginal annotations in pencil noting the surnames of soloists; a fine copy. Note: Tonic sol-fa (or tonic sol-fah) is a nineteenth-century pedagogical technique for teaching sight-singing.

This benefit concert in aid of Adelaide’s Blind, Deaf and Dumb Asylum was presented by the children of the Grote Street Model School under the direction of Alexander Clarke on 14 July 1880 at Garner’s Theatre, Adelaide.

The rare souvenir programme produced for the concert appears completely unrecorded.

A review of the concert appeared in The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide) on 15 July 1880:

‘THE FLOWER QUEEN CANTATA. An immense audience assembled at Garner’s Theatre on Wednesday night, July 14, to witness the production of Mr. Root’s beautiful cantata, ” The Flower Queen,” by the children of the Model School; in fact before the curtain rose standing room was scarcely obtainable in any part of the building. The performance, which, was for the benefit of the Institution for the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb, was under viceregal patronage. As the cantata has already been given on two occasions in Adelaide, it is unnecessary to give any detailed description of it. Upwards of eighty young people, for a considerable number of the singers could scarcely be considered children, took part in the performance. The choruses throughout were very well rendered. The singing was not only in excellent time, but the enunciation was dear and distinct. The soloists also, despite excusable nervousness, acquitted themselves with credit. In the first part the most pleasing choruses were the lovely ” Who shall I Queen,” and “What is this,” which latter was very, effectively sung. The semi-chorus of Poppies,” Breathe we now,” was also very well done. Among the soloists the girl who personated Dahlia is deserving of mention, and the duet, ” Would’st thou know,” for Bose and lily, was very nicely rendered. In the second part the solo for the Hollyhock. ” Softly, dear Friends,” was very nicely sung; but the gem of the concert was that for the Forget-me-not, ‘”Touch me not,” which was rendered by a very small vocalist .with so much taste and feeling as to evoke an imperative encore. The chorus for Heather Bells, “We come from the hillside,” and semi-chorus, “Receive thy crown,” were sung with excellent precision. The manner in which the youthful vocalists acquitted themselves throughout reflected the highest credit on their instructor, Mr. Alexander Clark, who must have bestowed infinite labor in producing a result so perfect with the materials at his command. The gentleman who took the part of the recluse, although somewhat tame, sang, the music with considerable feeling and expression. At the conclusion of the first part of the cantata, Mr. W. Towsend, M.P., the chairman of the committee of the institution for the blind and deaf and dumb, appeared before the curtain. He thanked the audience for their attendance, and trusted they would excuse any inconvenience which had arisen from the unavoidable overcrowding. He said he need hardly urge on their consideration the claims of the institution for the benefit of which the performance was given; and explained that tor some time the committee had refrained from making any extraordinary appeal to the public for aid out of consideration for other charities which had been recently instituted. There was now, however, unfortunately a deficiency in their funds, and therefore the performance which had taken place that evening and the forthcoming one on Friday night, when the cantata would be again repeated, had been organised. He asked the audience to express by their plaudits their hearty thanks to Mr. Clark for the kind assistance he had given and the infinite pains he had taken in training the children who had appeared before them and given so pleasing an entertainment. He added that the name of Mr. Garner ought to he associated with that of Mr. Clark, as that gentleman had in the most generous manner placed his theatre at the disposal of the committee free of all expense. Mr. Townsend’s remarks were greeted with prolonged applause. He then introduced to the audience two of the blind inmates of the institution, a boy and girl, both of whom gave recitations which were much applauded. At the conclusion of the performance Mr. Clark briefly replied to the vote of thanks which had been tendered to him. He said that any labor he had undergone in instructing the children had been one of love, and in their enjoyment of the efforts of the children which the audience had expressed by their applause he had received an ample return for his work. He expressed satisfaction that; the large number of tickets which had been sold for both entertainments would produce a handsome sum for the institution for the benefit of which they were given.’