Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The 1835 "Alabama Waltz"

A standard feature of this blog has been postings about nineteenth and early 20th century songs with some Alabama connection. One example can be found here. I recently ran across the earliest song I've located so far, and here's what little I know about it.

I came across this 1835 composition by Wilhelm Iucho on the Hathi Trust digital site. The piece was published in New York City by William A. Pond & Company at 547 Broadway. After some research I've been able to find only a bit more information about Iucho and nothing about Pond.

One of the few references to Iucho I've found appeared on a web page about Kentucky politician Henry Clay and his wife Lucretia. In her journal Lucretia's great-granddaughter wrote, "Two time-stained pieces of music, The Lexington Grand Waltz and The Ashland Quadrilles, dedicated to Mrs. Henry Clay by Professor Wilhelm Iucho, are tributes to her musical ability." 

The title "Professor" may have been earned or one Iucho bestowed upon himself to upgrade his teaching status to potential patrons or employers. Via I did find him listed as Professor of Music at the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies in their 1830 catalog. 

Also via Ancestry I found a marriage notice for Iucho. "In Brooklyn, on Tuesday evening, July 26th, by the Rev. Mr. Milnor of New York, Mr. Wilhelm Iucho of Hucho to Miss Julia Ann Baldwin, daughter of the Rev. Isaac Van Doren, all of Brooklyn." The year was 1831. The Rev. Isaac Van Doren was one of the principals of the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute.

"Alabama Waltz" is dedicated to "Miss  Harriet M.(?) Turner from Huntsville, Alabama". I have been unable to find anything about her. I wonder if Iucho met all these ladies in New York.

See below for two examples of other pieces composed by Iucho and dedicated to single women.

Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections

A couple of Iucho's other compositions are below; I found them here. He seems to have dedicated his works to the ladies, often single ones. Perhaps Miss Griffith had family connections with Scotland. "Come Where the Violets Blow," a "Duet for Two Voices" is composed and arranged for a married couple but dedicated to a pair of single ladies. Iucho got a good bit of mileage out of that tune. 

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