|Maskelyne & Cooke's Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. (Demolished in 1905)|
In performance, Schalkenbach played his own music (which does not seem to have survived), and also included selections from operas, such as Daniel Auber's La muette de Portici and The Storm from Rossini's William Tell. Mephisto on the other hand, was more grounded in music hall styles, and some original Juleene compositions do exist. Dot D'Alcorn would play the electric instrument dressed as Mephistopheles. I have transcribed the surprisingly twee Mephisto Gavotte (the electrical parts are not scored) - it gives a flavour of the Mephisto repertoire. It is a MIDI arrangement:
Schalkenbach and his ilk are particularly interesting in relation to the post-electronic music techniques outlined on this blog and elsewhere. In 'post-electronics', acoustic sounds are wrought with close adherence to classical electronic music techniques. Essentially: acoustics aspiring to electronic sound. In Schalkenbach's art, acoustics likewise aspire (or are styled) to 'electric' sound despite the utter non-existence of any "electric music" listening paradigms at that time(!). Schalkenbach produces acoustic sounds - musical and non-musical - distant from the console, and presents them enigmatically as electrically produced sounds - sounds of mysterious provenance: the beginnings of sound art.
More coming soon...
Leonardo Music Journal #23 is out now.