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MMD > Archives > November 2015 > 2015.11.25 > 01Prev  Next

"Longings for Home" 6-tune Operatic Cylinder Box
By Karl Petersen

I posted a query about ten years about this box.  Here is what I found.

This cylinder music box is relatively simple with six airs or tunes.
It had been owned by Ralph M. Heintz who was president and editor of the
Musical Box Society International 1982-1983.  Many manufacturers made
boxes like this with no name or initials to identify the maker.  Without
a tune sheet, the maker is doubly difficult to pin down.  The general
specifications and the escutcheons around the levers suggest Mermod
Freres of Saint-Croix, similar in detail to this box: 
  No. 844. Ch. Ullmann, "Tremolo à Zither", a 12 tunes musical box. 

The size is 22.2 cm wide, 52 cm long, 14.5 cm high.  The cylinder
is 27.7 cm long and 5.5 cm diameter, and the spring case is 6.4 cm
outside diameter and spring pocket 3.0 cm deep.  There appear to be
113 teeth in a span of 268 mm, and I measured 15 teeth in 40 mm.
Since this doesn't calculate out very well in a quick check, I should
probably re-measure the teeth and spacing.

While it does play six tunes, the identity of them was pretty muddy
since the tune sheet that once was tacked inside the lid has apparently
been missing since the time the lid was last refinished.  Here is the
list, and you may click on the link to listen:

1. Jetzt giesst sich aus ein sanft'rer Glanz, Oberon, Carl Maria von
Weber - 1824   This aria is listed as Von Jugend auf in dem
Kampfgefeld, of which this is the second theme. 

2. Tyrolienne, used in  Guillaume Tell. Gioacchino Rossini - 1829
Popularized as The Green Hills of Tyrol, The Green Hills of Tyrone
(erroneously), and A Scottish Soldier (apparently longing for

3. Ranz des Vaches, used in Guillaume Tell, Gioacchino Rossini - 1829
This delightful folk classic has a marvelous history and is used in
several classical works, and was against the law to sing in Versailles
since the Swiss guards would all go off home. 

4. De cet aveu si tendre (duet), La fille du Regiment, Donizetti -1840
but where does the coda come from? 

5. God Save the Queen (?arr. von Weber 1818 for Jubel-Overtüre and for
"Du hohe Rautenzeig" in Music for a Ceremonial Prologue, 1819) Any
English character in an international opera will rise when this is

6. Waltz, La grande duchesse de Gerolstein?, Jacques Offenbach? -1867
Perhaps this has a yearning for home too, but I haven't found the
libretto to review. Anyone? 

If you have any more precise identification, I would be very pleased to
modify the list.  The selections seem to have been established European
opera favorites, so they are unlikely to give a close indication of the
date of manufacture.  These are *.wav files and, while larger than mp3
files, should play on almost any computer which uses a web browser.  If
you are viewing this in a text viewer, you have my sympathies!

Seeing that the nickel plated brass control escutcheons are marked
in English, I would give a first guess that this box is Swiss and was
exported to the British market around 1867-80.  Since tune number 5 was
the finale of a von Weber operatic Jubel-Overture, it does double duty
and fits the operatic theme.

Karl Petersen
Boise, Idaho

(Message sent Thu 26 Nov 2015, 02:28:21 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  6-tune, Box, Cylinder, Home, Longings, Operatic

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