Sidney Pratten, Catharina

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francis privet

Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by francis privet » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:48 am

I am looking for :

-Instructions for the Guitar
-The Guitar Tutor, 2 volumes, London, 1881
-Learning the Guitar Simplified, self-published, 1891
-Colored Diagrams of the Notes of the Fingerboard of the Guitar
-Instructions for the Guitar Tuned in E Major
if someone had information ...

Thank you

:bye:

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Fabbri
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Fabbri » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:15 am

After eight months our searches converge. The 7 extraordinary pieces in the Boije collection (Sadness, Lost Love, Lament, Forgotten, Weary , Eventide, Yearning) set me off on the same quest. She was an intriguing woman and an under-rated composer. A child prodigy and renowned performer, she wanted ordinary amateurs to enjoy the guitar, and produced playable music of remarkable passion and eloquence. But the tutorial materials in your list are elusive, as are the dozens of scores not in the Boije.

There is a single copy of the 1857 edition of her music (which may or may not contain the tutorial works) in the library of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. No digital access, and I don't think the librarian will want to lend us the original.

I followed an equally frustrating line of enquiry into a 1982 MA thesis at California State University, Fullerton, by Deborah Nolan (The Contributions of C19 European Women to Guitar Performance, Composition and Pedagogy). This sounds useful, and is on a topic that would interest members of this forum. It has a section on Pratten. 14 copies are held by various American universities, including two on microfilm, but again, no access through the internet.

Not very helpful, I'm afraid. Have you had any success in your hunt?

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Vlad Kosulin
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Vlad Kosulin » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:51 pm

RIAM (Hudleston) has Madame R. Sidney Pratten's Guitar School and one more work from her repertoire series.
Regards,
Vlad
(still testing various strings with 2006 Sebastian Stenzel and Olinda OC-300)

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Fabbri
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Fabbri » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:37 am

Thanks for the reference, Vlad. I'm trying to register now with the RIAM library to get online access. Sounds very promising. I hope francis privet hasn't lost heart after all this time and still checks his posts for a reply.

What a stirring example of international connectivity: someone in Cornwall responds to a French request for information which is then supplied from America about a woman born in Germany who married an Englishman. And the answer lies in Ireland....

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:02 pm

Fabbri wrote: What a stirring example of international connectivity: someone in Cornwall responds to a French request for information which is then supplied from America about a woman born in Germany who married an Englishman. And the answer lies in Ireland....
Music is certainly "universal" is it not?

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Vlad Kosulin
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Vlad Kosulin » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:41 pm

Fabbri wrote:Thanks for the reference, Vlad. I'm trying to register now with the RIAM library to get online access. Sounds very promising.
All items from Hudleston collection can be searched and downloded without registration.
Here is search page url: http://library.riam.ie/uhtbin/cgisirsi. ... X/BLASTOFF.
If you are having trouble navigating there, PM me, and I will send you pdf.
Regards,
Vlad
(still testing various strings with 2006 Sebastian Stenzel and Olinda OC-300)

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Fabbri
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Fabbri » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:50 pm

It worked! 38 megabytes of the wonderful Catharina downloaded and awaiting exploration.

I've examined several of the well-known C19 methods, but this looks like the most interesting yet. It also includes original pieces that are not in the Boije collection. Some of these show a different side of her character: the Boije's angst-ridden laments, full of sadness, loss, yearning (which she does beautifully - I'm not complaining) are not her whole story. There's a particularly cheerful Spanish dance marked 'giocoso', and several entertaining sets of variations. Hours of pleasure lie ahead: thanks again Vlad.

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:31 am

Fabbri wrote:What a stirring example of international connectivity: someone in Cornwall responds to a French request for information which is then supplied from America about a woman born in Germany who married an Englishman. And the answer lies in Ireland....
Now you can add a Norwegian to the list as well :)

I just registered as a user here just to thank you, Vlad and Fabbri, for the Huddleston link. What a great resource!

I've been doing some reasearch on Madame Sidney Pratten recently and she's definitely one of the great forgotten names in guitar history. She performed professionally with Giuliani’s third guitar concerto as part of her repertoire before she was ten years old, she played duets with Legnani when the two of them were so small they had to be seated on top of a table for the audience to see them, she was the first guitarist to have her own signature guitar model made by a major manufacturer, she seems to have been the first to write music for an open D tuned guitar, she was probably the first to publish Irish folk music with guitar, she was probably the first to recognise the ukulele (or "machete" as it was called back then) as a serious instrument, she and her sister Anne (and her childhood friend Legnani) were instrumental in popularising the newly invented concertina, she... the list goes on and on.

Oh, and her father revolutionised the singing teaching in the English school system and her husband revolutionised flute construction and playing.

I've been trying to make a catalog of her works. The first sketch of it is available at
http://www.musicaviva.com/test/encyclop ... findin=all but it's a huge task and I've only just begun. References to forgotten works by her keep popping up all the time:
She probably made about a hundred little salon pieces for guitar (solos, duets and with piano) like the ones at the Boije collection. Most of them are at the British Library - Or was it Royal Collecge of Music? You can find them listed at COPAC anyway - among an assortment of other works by Pratten and family. Unfortunately nothing of it has been digitized yet.
In addition there are her three methods and other educational materials for the guitar and Heaven only knows how many songs with guitar.
She also wrote numerous pieces for the concertina and some music for the gigelira (the traditional Alpine xylophone) and apparently more than a hundred pieces for the ukulele - probably with guitar accompaniment.

Btw, does anybody here have any information about the connection between Pratten and Tarrega? I know she was one of Tarrega's strongest supporters when he played in London and I suppose I'm not the only one to notice the resemblance between Pratten's style and a certain cute little piece Tarrega wrote while he stayed in London...

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Cary W
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Cary W » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:15 am

Hello Frank, and welcome to the Forum. We are always happy to have someone of your knowledge and experience join us. :) Why not introduce yourself here, and get a proper welcome?

Cheers,
Cary
2008 Yamaha GC31C Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ46
1987 Yamaha GC-3 Indian/cedar D'Addario EJ45

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Fabbri
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Fabbri » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:19 am

And thanks to you, too, Frank, for the Musica Viva references and the report on the progress of your research. Which Tarrega piece was it? I'd like to see if I can detect the relationship between their styles. I can feel a characteristic style in Pratten but find it hard to put my finger on what exactly this consists of.

Am I right in thinking her method is equally distinctive? For example, she pays little or no attention to some things (eg the bar, the rest stroke, fingernails) that most tutors go on about endlessly. But she gives heavy emphasis to tone, defining five different positions for the right hand.

Have you access to a copy of the 1899 Harrison biography?

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:24 pm

Fabbri wrote:And thanks to you, too, Frank, for the Musica Viva references and the report on the progress of your research.
You're welcome! :)

Hopefully I'll be able to update the list soon but there's so much else I ought to do too! My main focus at the moment isn't Pratten but Pietro Pettoletti and there are several other 19th century guitar composers who deserve more recognition: Knijze, Ferrer, Cottin, Diabelli (if you think he's well enough known, think again!), the other Pettolettis, possibly Batioli etc., etc., etc.
Fabbri wrote:Which Tarrega piece was it? I'd like to see if I can detect the relationship between their styles.
Lagrima. Yes it is unmistakably Tarrega and unmistakably Spanish but it still differs in several details from the stereotypical Tarrega piece and I think we can find many of those same elements in Pratten's miniatures. According to wikipedia (not the most reliable source of info) Tarrega wrote Lagrima whilst visiting England and that must have been shortly after he had met Pratten.
Fabbri wrote:I can feel a characteristic style in Pratten but find it hard to put my finger on what exactly this consists of.
How about "late romantic, proto-impressionistic tone paintings"? Edward MacDowell is of course the most obvious comparasion among the famous composers.
Fabbri wrote:Am I right in thinking her method is equally distinctive?
I haven't had time to examine the book closely yet but I don't think so. All those things you list are actually quite typical for 19th century methods although not for modern ones. The only really unusual (for her time) detail I've noticed is that she describes a sitting position that is fairly close to the modern classical one.

I have a feeling her second method was far more revolutionary but until some of us get hold of a copy of it, we can't say for sure.
Fabbri wrote:Have you access to a copy of the 1899 Harrison biography?
Unfortunately no. Nor have I managed to find a copy of the catalog of her works (yes, she did publish one herself).

The only works by Pratten I've manage to locate so far that hasn't been mentioned in this thread already, are the two arrangements of Thomas Moore songs in Fredric Noad's "Romantic Guitar" anthology and a duet for guitar (in open D tuning) and piano posted somewhere at the U.S. guitar society website.

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Fabbri
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Fabbri » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:15 am

That's a lifetime's research you've taken on there, Frank: a much needed project on those neglected composers.

"Proto-impressionistic tone paintings". That gives me something to think about. I'll go back to the scores and try to work out exactly how she does it.

Do keep in touch. I'm sure I'm not the only forum member who is interested in your research.

Frank Nordberg

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Frank Nordberg » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:58 am

Fabbri wrote:"Proto-impressionistic tone paintings". That gives me something to think about.
You could of course also just call it "pretty music", cause that's what it is.

Matanya Ophee described Pratten's music as "not exactly something which any reasonable guitarist would want to waste time on". I suppose he was right (apart from missing the obvious and strong pedagogical dimension to some of her pieces) but do we have to be "reasonable" all the time? The music Catharina Pratten wrote isn't great or serious by any standard. They are unpretentious little miniatures specifically written for those moments when we can relax, wind down and just enjoy a short spell of quiet pleasantness. I really hope there's still room for those little moments in today's busy and noisy world. We need then now more than ever before.

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Fabbri
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Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by Fabbri » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:06 am

I agree entirely about the need for pleasant music in an unpleasant world, and I certainly would not dismiss a composer just because some critic thinks they are not serious enough.

But words like "pretty" don't relate all that well to pieces like Sadness, Lament, A Lost Love, Forgotten, Sehnsucht... I suppose a harsh critic like Ophee would argue that the emotionalism of these and similar pieces is false and sentimental. But once you start on that road where do you end up? Can we really distinguish between false and genuine expressions of feeling in music?

kefka

Re: Sidney Pratten, Catharina

Post by kefka » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:13 am

I have been sight-reading some of the Pratten scores from the online Bojie guitar library collection in lew of this topical thread.

Look at page 4, in the advertisment, here:

http://biblioteket.statensmusikverk.se/ebibliotek/boije/p ... %20773.pdf

Which, I am sure all you Pratten enthusiasts have already, not insulting anyones intellegence here, just making a point. Apparently she wrote over a hundred pieces and were once for sale. They have to be available somewhere today yes? Some of the titles alone intrigue my interests. Elf Dance, Fairy Tales, Fantastic Dances ect... and other enchanted titles, which to me certainly beat titles such as; Allegretto in A major, Andante Largo, and other boring tempo titled pieces. True enough, that in the end all that really matters is how the piece is developed and is or isnt creativly written. However, a cool sounding titled named piece certainly doesnt hurt! haha.

Anyone happen to notice this on Bojie?

http://biblioteket.statensmusikverk.se/ebibliotek/boije/p ... 201128.pdf

Interesting that this concert program would be in the library of scores.
Last edited by kefka on Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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