Skip to comments.Titanic mystery over violin 'from band leader who played on'
Posted on 01/31/2012 9:16:40 AM PST by DeoVindiceSicSemperTyrannis
An auctioneer has hired experts to try to verify claims by the owner of the century old instrument that it belonged to Wallace Hartley, the leader of the vessels eight-man musical ensemble.
If proved, it could become the most valuable Titanic artefact ever to be considered for auction. But the claim is being treated with caution as a result.
Hartley and his fellow musicians earned legendary status for their decision to play on as the ship sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.
They are said to have played the hymn Nearer My God to Thee after the vessel hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic.
Press reports at the time said that when Hartleys body was recovered from the water his violin was strapped to his chest.
The violin and its case were said at the time to be being sent to the White Star line for forwarding to England.
But mystery has surrounded its fate thereafter.
Now the auctioneer Henry Aldridge & Son of Devizes, Wilts, which has a worldwide reputation for handling Titanic artefacts, has disclosed that he has been shown what he believes could prove to be Wallaces violin.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
said to have?
There were scores of people rescued from the Titanic who witnessed this final heroic act of the band members on that fated vessel. Some of them even gave sworn congressional testimony which was recorded only days after the rescue vessels arrived in New York harbor. The entire transcript of the congressional hearings were released as a book not long after the fictionalized Hollywood version of the film Titanic was released.
Yes, people lie in congressional testimony, but where is the incentive to lie here? And why the skepticism of the media to duly recorded testimony just because it proves that we were a more religious and heroic people then versus now?
There are a number of highly intelligent posters here on Free Republic interested in all aspects of RMS Titanic: the history, the legends, the myths (NOPOPE), the people (Captain Stanley Lord), the books and the films.
Because the atheists in the media can’t believe anyone would act other than in selfish self-preservation of one’s own body;if you don’t believe in God then self-sacrifice and piety are insane.
There is dispute over whether “Near My God to Thee” or “Autumn” was the final song played on the Titanic.
Walter Lord writes in A Night to Remember:
The strains of “Autumn” were buried in a jumble of falling musicians and instruments. The lights went out, flashed on again, went out for good. A single kerosene lantern flickered high in the after mast.
There has never been a mixture like it — 29 boilers...the jeweled copy of the Rubiayat...800 cases of shelled walnuts...15,000 bottles of ale and stout...huge anchor chains (each link weighed 175 pounds)...30 cases of golf clubs and tennis rackets for Spaulding...Eleanor Widener’s trousseau...tons of coal...Major Peuchen’s tin box...30,000 fresh eggs...dozens of potted palms...5 grand pianos...a little mantel clock in B-38...the massive silver duck press.
I loved the Titanic. I got all into it as a child - and within 3 years, it was found. I built/painted a whole model, as well as read everything I could in middle school. I even did a whole long Titanic presentation as a 14yo to my mother’s special-ed emotionally disturbed high school classes (she was in charge of that school, not just teacher). All a year or so prior to the finding.
and a partridge in a pear tree.
I'm deeply disturbed by the media cabal's ongoing efforts to erase as much of our religious heritage as possible from accounts of our historical events unless, that is, if it conforms to their anti-religion agenda.
Even the remake of True Grit deleted the hymn singing from the public hanging near the beginning of the film even though it is documented fact from the history of Judge Parker's famous gallows at Ft. Smith.
Because other witnesses testified that the band played ragtime airs and other secular music as well during the sinking. It has never been definitively proven that the ensemble played "Nearer My God to Thee."
But I agree that is makes for a much more poignant story.
should be “IT makes ...”
What isn't in dispute is that the band performed heroically and these were among the last songs played.
As do I. I've been fascinated by shipwrecks since my grade school years and Titanic is the queen mother of them all.
Some say that they actually played “Autumn”, a popular tune at the time.
I even have a CD from the era which has all the songs the band played as mentioned by Titanic survivors.
The ragtime songs dominate the beginning of the CD though of course there is no way to reconstruct the exact sequence with 100% accuracy.
-—And why the skepticism of the media to duly recorded testimony just because it proves that we were a more religious and heroic people then versus now?-—
This is actually a “God moment” for me, because about a week ago I heard conservative local Boston radio talk show hosts debate this point, prompted by reports from Italy that wealthy passengers on the ill fated Concordia tried to buy seats on life boats with their money and jewelry.
The Catholic host said, “doesn’t this show how far our society has fallen in 100 years. When the Titanic sank, the band played, “Nearer my God to thee.”
The agnostic replied along the lines of, “that’s stupid. Why not grab something to float on.”
I felt like taking a shower, I was so disgusted.
I wonder if this discovery will get enough publicity, so people can make the connection.
What can we do to make that ping list a reality? For instance, I can see it being useful in a few weeks to remind us when A Night to Remember will likely be shown.
As mentioned in my post #2, I read the entire congressional transcript on the hearings. I'm deeply disturbed by the media cabal's ongoing efforts to erase as much of our religious heritage as possible from accounts of our historical events unless, that is, if it conforms to their anti-religion agenda.
And that's yet another reason why those interested in Titanic could benefit from a ping list. We could learn from each other in the context of a Conservative forum where no apology need be given for our pro-God stance when we explore history.
Perhaps going into the legend or myth category, I long ago read that until Coca Cola became the most widely recognized "brand name" worldwide (in the 1930's), the name Titanic was known in virtually every corner of the earth. In April 1912, mass media was flourishing and the then-new wireless was transmitting communications to hitherto unreached areas of the globe. The Titanic was a very big story, arguably the story that made The New York Times the newspaper of record in that era.
Vision: Can you please ping the TCM Classic Movie list when we get closer to the showing?
Same composer also did a great piece where he took a snippet of a British homeless man singing a couple of lines of the hymn "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet," loops it, and then builds an entire symphonic accompaniment around it.
Sure. Will you remind me that Thursday or Friday?
Yes, I would. I have always been interested in the Titanic, my grandmother was born the day the Titanic sank.
Another crazy thing is that my husband has an old book about the Titanic from his grandma. It was like an anniversary edition of the tragedy - 1913, IIRC. He doesn’t know how she got it; it was printed before she was born, so maybe her mother/father bought it new, or maybe any of them bought it 2nd-hand. And *I’m* the Titanic nut. Just another strange coincidence between us. ;-)
Please stop the ongoing, foolish attacks, holding the media to blame for everything.
“my grandmother was born the day the Titanic sank.”
LOL, and my mother was born the day the Hindenburg burned!
The last music played by the ships orchestra was the song Autumn... or was it?
Sometime around 2:10 a.m. as the Titanic began settling more quickly into the icy North Altantic, the sounds of ragtime, familiar dance tunes and popular waltzes that had floated reassuringly across her decks suddenly stopped as Bandmaster Wallace Hartley tapped his bow against his violin. Hartley and his musicians, all wearing their lifebelts now, were standing back at the base of the second funnel, on the roof of the First Class Lounge, where they had been playing for the better part of an hour. There were a few moments of silence, then the solemn strains of the hymn Nearer My God to Thee began drifting across the water. It was with a perhaps unintended irony that Hartley chose a hymn that pleaded for the mercy of the Almighty, as the ultimate material conceit of the Edwardian Age, the ship that God Himself couldnt sink, foundered beneath his feet. As the band played, the slant of the deck grew steeper, while from within the hull came a rapidly increasing number of thuds, bangs and crashes as interior furnishings broke loose, walls and partitions collapsedthe Titanic was only moments from breaking apart.
For years it has been commonly believed that the last music played by the Titanics band was either the Episcopalian hymn Autumn or the popular waltz Songe dAutomne. However, the evidence for this has rested solely on the uncorroborated testimony of Harold Bride, who told a reporter for the New York Times that the last song he remembered the band playing was called Autumn. Bride, though, was the only person with that recollection, he only mentioned it once, and he never specified if he meant the hymn or the waltz. Moreover, despite the credence given him by some later historians, Bride was never the most reliable or consistent witness, and here his memories have to be taken with a rather large grain of salt. Tellingly, neither piece of Autumn music, the hymn or the popular waltz, is listed in the White Star Lines music book for 1912. Also significant is that the hymn is not called Autumn, only the melody (much like the melody of the hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past is known as St. Annes), and usually only a professional musician will refer to a piece of music that waycertainly not an 18-year old wireless operator. So without some sort of supporting or collaborating evidence, any piece of music named Autumn can be dismissed as the Titanics orchestras last musical performance.
A very strong case can be made, however, for the hymn tradition and legend has always said was the last music played aboard the Titanic. There are a number of accounts of survivors who recalled hearing the hymn Nearer, My God, to Thee, and therein lies a tale. Commentators who have rigidly committed to the Autumn theory are quick to point out that there are two melodies associated with Nearer My God to Thee; one (Bethany) is American, the other (Horbury) is British, the two sound distinctly different from each other and are impossible to confuseyet both American and British survivors claimed to have heard Nearer My God to Thee being played by the ships orchestra. What those same commentators fail to mention is that there is a THIRD melody for Nearer My God to Thee, called Propior Deo, composed by Sir Arthur Sullivan, and it is here that the mystery of the last music played by Wallace Hartley and his fellow musicians finally begins to unravel itself. The melody Propior Deo would have been well known to the British passengers aboard the Titanic, and in passages it sounds very similar to Bethanyand nothing at all like Horbury. In the noise and confusion of the night, it would hardly be surprising if both Americans and Britons, hearing only snatches of music, would both believe that they were hearing the version of Nearer, My God, to Thee with which they were most familiar.
Moreover, Nearer My God to Thee was known to be a favorite of Bandmaster Hartleyswho was also a friend of Sir Arthur Sullivan and who liked Sullivans musicand it was the hymn played at the graveside of all deceased members of the Musicians Union. Perhaps most convincing of all is a report in the Daily Sketch on April 22, 1912, where a colleague of Hartleys recalled how some years earlier, while working aboard the Mauretania, he asked Hartley what he would do if he found himself on the deck of a sinking ship. Hartley replied that he would assemble the ships orchestra and play O God Our Help in Ages Past or Nearer, My God, to Thee. Somehow, taken all together, it seems definitive enough.
Thank you. As I compose this post, I'm listening to this haunting symphonic piece.
I'm among those who prefer A Night to Remember over the James Cameron film. Maybe I'm a sentimental sap but, while listening to the Gavin Bryars piece, there is one part of the 1990's that I really do like. It's the fantasy ending sequence where Wallace Hartley (the orchestra leader, shown below) and others are shown reappearing in the approach to the Grand Staircase.
Don'cha know, if it's not on youtube, it didn't happen.
Thanks for the recommendation, I will order a copy. I have Last Dinner on the Titanic, Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner.
I bet you never thought your post would generate this much traffic, eh? :-)
Just wait until the really heated discussions get going about the role of Captain Stanley Lord of the SS Californian. There are a number of people known as "Lordites" who come to his defense in support of his actions or in-actions.
The voices that you can barely make out in the mix are recordings of Titanic survivors.
The name Lowell Mason, who wrote the music for “Nearer, My God, to Thee” in 1856, may not be all that familiar today, but he composed the music for many famous antebellum hymns, including “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” (1823). Perhaps the best known of these is “Joy to the World,” one of the most popular Christmas carols, for which he wrote the music in 1836.
“Nearer, My God, to Thee” was reportedly played by a Confederate military band at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Do you know of a good website which plays melodies of different hymn versions rather than just the hymns themselves?
Yikes, ping us next time someone is born in your family so we can all stay in bed with the covers pulled up tight.
So when your mother was born, They Can't Take That Away From Me by Fred Astaire was the bestselling record. Ozzie Nelson and Tommy Dorsey also had hit versions at the time. And when Kalee's grandmother was born, Moonlight Bay by the American Quartet would have been the chart topper had song hit charts existed at the time.
Would it possibly be Sinking of the Titanic The World's Greatest Sea Disaster?
I have a copy; lots of passenger accounts, taken immediately after the disaster. (The copyright is 1912).
It’s common to mark time in one’s life by the significant events that occurred. We all remember where we were when the Challenger exploded, JFK was killed, 9/11, etc. My great grandmother used to talk about the Titanic. My grandmother talked about the Great Depression and the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Still listening to it. I had not heard it before, thanks for posting.
I have that one as well ... found it in my grandmother's attic years ago. Unfortunately, the mice had gotten to the back cover a little bit and the adhesive holding the spine and pages together had dissipated over the years as a result of the fluctuations between summer heat and winter cold.
I still have it, but it's pretty much contained in a zip-lock bag to keep it all together. What a shame ...
I was wondering why the White Star Line would send anything on but then I realized it may have been to make up for the bad PR from this;
“The body of Jock Hume, my grandfather, was one of 190 recovered by the cable ship Mackay-Bennett and brought back to Halifax (more than a thousand bodies were never found). The corpses of first-class passengers including that of the American millionaire Jacob Astor were unloaded from the ship in coffins and driven to the mortuary in horse-drawn hearses. Those of the crew and of steerage passengers had been thrown on to ice in the hold for the sea journey, and were carried off in handcarts on arrival.
The day the Mackay-Bennett docked, Jocks father in Dumfries received a 5s 4d bill for his sons uniform. Jocks pay was stopped the moment the ship went down at 2.20 a.m., and the wages owed to him were insufficient to cover the cost of the brass buttons on his bandsmans tunic. When the family asked if his body could be brought home, they were told that normal cargo rates would apply.”
“Because the atheists in the media cant believe anyone would act other than in selfish self-preservation of ones own body;”
Which is why they hate the military.
(What fool would volunteer to fight and die in a foreign land for their nation and fellow citizens?) /s
Hubby used to be an advanced diver and actively researched and searched for shipwrecks. Anyway, because of that we became friends with an old wreck diver who actually worked on Ifremer’s dives of the Titanic. He told us a few stories about RMST as he knew all the main guys from it.
Sadly he died about 10 years ago after a deep water dive in the Gulf.
Simple. Abandonment of civil behavior, chivalry if you will, is the hallmark of modern society. Heroism is passe. Humans weren't created by God in His image; we are descended from monkeys. Were Americans (and Brits and Europeans) actually to contemplate that men can still answer a higher calling, that maybe each of us really does have a unique worth, then we might start to question our masters in government. Who knows where that could lead.
Wow. Just wow.
Pinging myself for later.
Found an interesting site here;
Well, how do we know they played anything at all? It could have been a lie worked out by the survivors.
My guess is that they DID play NMGTT, but it may or may not have been the last thing they played.
Les sanglots longues des violons de l’autumne;
Blesse mon coeur, d’une langeur... ... ... monotone.
I thought the old gay lady became such when she started the Spanish American War by printing rumors that Spanish saboteurs sunk the American warship in Cooba. The Yellow Press or some such rot, what?
I'm not a skeptic about this. The year 1912 was a vastly different era when duty, honor and chivalry still were the norm. And honesty was still the measure of a man. The recollections of the survivors all recount that the orchestra played to near the very end and I doubt that a lie was concocted.
From what I gather, one of the few men who didn't adhere to the "women and children first" mode of conduct was Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star line. He's generally painted as the villain in the narrative with some claiming he dressed in woman's clothing to secure a place in the lifeboats. Accounts vary on this point.
I think everyone in this thread will find In Search of Chivalry: Did it sink with the Titanic a worthwhile read. A key line in the article is: "74 percent of women lived while 80 percent of the men died."
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