#42 Reminiscences of Madame Sidney Pratten – #7 Her students – Walter and John Lindsey Leckie, Frank Mott Harrison, Edith Tulloch

(picture: last known portait of Madame Pratten with Dr. Walter Leckie)

(continue from Reminscences of Madame Sidney Pratten #6)

Apart from Ernest Shand, I tried looking up as much as I could about other students of Madame Pratten. I have mentioned about Dr. Walter Leckie and Dr. John Lindsay Leckie, whom I have learned much from the recent publication Dr Walter Leckie & Don Francisco Tárrega: The unlikely tale of an English Gentleman and a Spanish Guitarist by Brian Whitehouse. Madame Pratten had dedicated pieces to both of them: Sadness, Lost Love, A Lament – all available on IMSLP, were dedicated to Dr. John Lindsay Leckie. For Dr. Walter Leckie, Madame Pratten had composed the Hungarian March (tuned in E major), Progressive Preludes and Pieces for Guitar, and Dance of the Witches – Fantasia Grotesque from her Songs without Words and Sketches (p. 28, Whitehouse).

After studying with Madame Pratten, Dr. Walter Leckie went on to study with Tarrega, and Whitehouse’s book suggested that it might be through Madame Pratten that Leckie and Tarrega met. The book also mentioned the mutual respect between Madame Pratten and Tarrega: they exchanged presents, and Tarrega “always kept with thrilled gratitude, the gold bracelet worn by Mistress Pratten that she placed on his wrist, in a moment of emotion after hearing him, as enduring proof of her deep admiration.” (p.42, Whitehouse). This nicely echoed what Frank Mott Harrison wrote of:

p.56, Reminiscences of Madame Sidney Pratten

Another student of Madame Pratten was Frank Mott Harrison, the author of Reminscences of Madame Sidney Pratten. A google search prompted a few guitar publications of his:

The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, Vol. 34, No. 604 (Jun. 1, 1893), p.363

Harrison also published his edition of the Sor Guitar Method:

A few things from Harrison’s biography of Sor were eye catching…

  1. “It was during the Napoleonic invasion that Ferdinand Sor fled from Spain to see refuge in Englad, and in 1809 he established himself in London as virtuoso and teacher.”

=> 1809 seems too early? Brian Jeffery’s biography of Sor said Sor arrived London in 1815. Stewart Willian Button’s thesis (p.23) pointed out this discrepanncy, but who is right?

2. “The eminent guitar maker LACOTE, of Paris, also made a great many instruments under Sor’s supervision, some of which have a second sounding board.”

=> Double top 19th century guitar? Here is a Lacote with double soundboard, a rear sound hole, and an adjustable neck. And this reminded me of a family of Gelas double top instruments at Bernunzio at the moment

3. “He was also a consummate master of vocal art, and his manuscript of a clever and exhaustive treatise upon singing – written apparently for a favourite pupil – is now in the possession of Madame Sidney Pratten. It is written in French, and has probably never be printed.”

=> Sor attended the Santa Maria de Montserrat as a choir boy. In addition, “Sor’s emphasis was on song accompani­ment and it is a significant fact that whilst in England he published more music for voice and piano than for any other medium.” Why was the vocal treatise published?

In an 2002 issue of Soundboard (Vol. 36 Issue 4, p.50), Richard Long presented Le Ruisseau, an original composition of Harrison. Long wrote: “His [Harrison] musical compositions, while not brilliant, reveal a poetic soul, some occasionally interesting harmonies and modulations, a good knowledge of the upper figerboard, and not a few similarities to his more famous contemporary, Ernest Shand.” Harrison didn’t seem to be performing much, and his writings of Madame Pratten launched his teaching career – he was teaching at the Trinty College London in 1897. Together with his brother, Richard Harrison (who studied with Neapolitan mandolin virtuoso Ferdinando de Cristofaro), they owned a music shop. Richard Harrison wrote a successful mandolin method (where do I find it?!?!), and there is a full page ad with numerous wonderful quotes on the last page of Frank’s edition of Sor’s Method:

Frank Mott Harrison was also an expert on John Bunyan, who wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. Okay. I must admit, I had to look up who Bunyan was, and watched a short documentary to learn about him.

Another student mentioned in Reminscences of Madame Sidney Pratten was Edith Tulloch. Frank Mott Harrison mentioned he missed a 1892 recital that Madame Pratten performed at, her “last important recital”. Madame Pratten sent Harrison a letter, describing the concert:

p.38, Reminscences of Madame Sidney Pratten

Edith Tulloch apparently came from a huge family with 8 sisters, each received a different artistic training. Although Edith was listed as a student of Madame Pratten, she seemed to have grew to be a soprano, while her sister Ada, also a student of Madame Pratten, performed as a guitarist. Here is a recurring ad in 1893, in The Musical Times, about the Misses Tulloch:

The Musical TImes, October 1, 1893

And a reivew:

From Musical News, Volume 9, p.312, October 19, 2893.

Another review

A review from The Era, November 11, 1893

(Continue to Reminiscences of Madame Sidney Pratten #8)

2 thoughts on “#42 Reminiscences of Madame Sidney Pratten – #7 Her students – Walter and John Lindsey Leckie, Frank Mott Harrison, Edith Tulloch

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