American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860
Table of Contents
Music Copyrighted in Federal District Courts, ca. 1820-1860:
The Music's Lyricists

Musical Performers from Abroad

image: caption following
The twilight hour from Rip van Winkle
by Geo. F. Bristow.

Before 1820, American operas--like their British models were plays with spoken dialogue interspersed with musical numbers. During the period covered by this collection, however, American composers began to try their hands at opera in the Italian tradition, sung throughout without spoken dialogue.

The two best-known American operas of this period are William Henry Fry's Leonora and George Frederick Bristow's Rip Van Winkle. (Rip Van Winkle is also represented in another American Memory collection, Music for the Nation 1870-1885). Other American operas well-represented in the present collection, some after the English model, some after the Italian, are James G. Maeder's "Grand Fairy Opera" The Peri, Maurice Strakosh's Giovanna di Napoli, and Charles Jarvis's Luli, or the Switzer's Bride. There are also a few other operas represented by an occasional piece, as well as excerpts from one work specifically identified as an American operetta.

American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860