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Musicians calling upon respectable acquaintances in the 19th century were expected to honor the keeper of “the album” in the household they were visiting with a suitable memento of their stay.
The five examples shown here, all from the collection formed by Leon Robbin, all stem from the same album, one kept by Miss – or Mademoiselle – or Fraulein Sophie Dulcken from 1850 to 1854.
From the Henri Herz quotation we know Miss Sophie was musically talented. The question we cannot answer is whether she was related to the Dulcken family of keyboard instrument makers, or to the Dulckens into whom married the piano prodigy Louisa David (1811-1850), sister of violinist Ferdinand David. If anyone can enlighten us . . . .
Items in the Exhibition:
Autograph musical quotation signed, Paris, January, 1854
A brief quotation from an unidentified composition written out for Miss Sophie Dulcken, who is bidden to continue the piece quoted “à la volonté de Mlle. S.” Herz was one of the pianistic lions of the mid-19th century. Robbin Collection.
Autograph musical quotation signed, Breslau, January 21, 1852
A quotation from one of Hesse’s works for organ written out for Miss Sophie Dulcken. Hesse, the first great German organ virtuoso of the 19th century, had made a great success of a tour in London in the previous year. Robbin Collection.
Autograph musical quotation signed, Berlin, December 17, 1851
A quotation from an unidentified work written out for Miss Sophie Dulcken. Kullak was, after Liszt, the most famous piano teacher of the 19th century. At the bottom of the page is a quotation written out for the same lady 10 days later by Charles Wehle, a contemporary and colleague. Robbin Collection.
Autograph musical quotation signed, place not given but probably Munich, September 25, 1850
A quotation from an unidentified work written out in the album of Miss Sophie Dulcken. Lachner, the younger brother of the better-known Franz Paul Lachner, followed the latter in several positions in Germany and Vienna. Robbin Collection.
Autograph musical quotation signed, Munich, November 6, 1850
A quotation from an unidentified work written out in the album of Miss Sophie Dulcken. Lachner distinguished himself in a long career as a composer and conductor, largely in Munich. Robbin Collection.