Titanic Tunes for violin and piano



A commemorative album for violin and piano
FE 1040

Fountayne Editions has produced this Album of Titanic Tunes for violin and piano to commemorate the centenary of the disaster in April 1912. The legendary bravery of the eight musicians onboard the Titanic who played on as the ship was sinking is well known. What is not so well known is what they actually played from day to day on the ship. The White Star Line Music Repertoire Book [sometimes called the White Star Line Songbook], which detailed the music played on all White Star Line ships including the Titanic, contained around 350 numbers. It was divided into seven categories: Overtures (1 – 15), Selections (16 – 80), Suites, Fantasias, etc. (81 – 99), Waltzes (100 – 148), Sacred Music (149 – 156), Entr’actes, Intermezzos, etc. (157 – 279) and Marches, Cake Walks, etc. (280-352). Interestingly, the hymn ‘Nearer my God to Thee’, which tradition has it was the last thing the musicians played as the ship went down, does not appear in the Repertoire Book. However, it was a known favourite of the bandleader, Wallace Hartley and either he supplied his own parts or the musicians knew it so well that they could play it by ear.

The eight musicians were divided into two groups – the quintet under the direction of Wallace Hartley and a piano trio led by Georges Krins. Passengers had access to copies of the Repertoire Book and could request individual items or medleys for the ensembles to play.

All the tunes in this current selection come from the category ‘Entractes, Intermezzos, etc.’. It seems likely that these were the tunes generally played by the piano trio, which played in the Café Parisienne and outside the First Class dining room. Two foreign musicians were hired to add to the ‘continental’ flavour, the Franco-Belgian violinist Georges Krins and the French cellist, Roger Bricoux. These charming melodies have rather fallen out of fashion these days but this centenary affords an opportunity re-establish them as they are so evocative of the Edwardian elegance and sentiment which was such a feature of the Titanic and its sister ships.

Gounod…..Ave Maria
Brahms…..Hungarian Dance No. 5
Mendelssohn…..Spring Song
Grieg…..Anitra’s Dance
Tchaikowsky…..None but the lonely Heart
Rubinstein…..Melody in F
Elgar…..Salut d’Amour

Piano score and violin part: £10


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