Worcester Sauce (From Our Special Commissioner)
Peeper the Great
Music, Instruments, Technology, Electricity, Accidents
Describes events at the Worcester Music Festival of 1869, notably the rehearsals and performance of Arthur S Sullivan's oratorio The Prodigal Son. The author draws attention to the fact that the organ was run from a cylinder powered by 'several batteries', there being a 'chain' connecting 'the notes with the pipes' and another linking the 'organist with the notes, and a third the organist with the cylinder'. Explains that to play at the correct tempo, the organist 'receives the exact number of shocks which force[s] him to play precisely in the time, and the notes which the composer wishes'. While the composer 'turns the cylinder, and winds up the organist', the author himself was allowed to operate the cylinder, although he was so 'excited' with the music that he turned the machine too fast thus causing the cylinder to crack, the organist to be thrown in the air, and the organ to play 'five Oratorios all at once'. He laments that the force of the electric currents was so great that 'no one could venture near' him, and the organ manufacturers were whirled around when they tried to fix the instrument. He concludes this part of his report by resolving to investigate the matter.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]