#43 Reminiscences of Madame Sidney Pratten – #8 Her students – Arthur Froane, Albert F. Cramer

(portrait of Arthur Froane)

(continue from Reminiscences of Madame Sidney Pratten – #7)

In Stewart Button’s thesis, Guitar in England 1800-1924, Arthur Froane (1861-?) is part of chapter four – The Pupils of Ernest Shand and Madame Sidney Pratten. It wasn’t clear if Froane was a student of Madame Pratten. Froane was more likely a student of Shand – he performed Shand’s compositions often, and his book, The Guitar and How to Study It, is designed to be use alongside Shand’s Op.100 Improved Method for the Guitar. I have included him anyways, since he’s part of the Pratten mafia. Just as Madame Pratten and Shand, Froane’s right hand position involve anchoring the little finger under the sound hole. There was not much said about his playing, but

“His purity and strength of tone, correctness of technique and clear execution, combined with good, expression and perfect finish leave little short (sic ) as complete an artist as one can wish to hear… It is a pity Mr Froane’s performances are not more numerous, and that he does not go further a field” (Button, p.181-182)

The CSUN Digital Archive contained a letter written to Vahdah Olcott-Bickford by Froane in 1943 . It showed that Olcott-Bickford was inquiring Froane about Shand, possibly to prepare for her performance of the Shand’s concerto in 1947? Froane only remember their last encounter with Shand involved a game of billard, but it seemed like he did not know Shand died in 1924. Froane seemed like a well-rounded musician, as he accompanied Shand on his concerto several times, as well as studied the mandolin, played with a mandolin guitar band, and conducted the group when necessary.

In his letter, Froane mentioned about another student of Madame Pratten – Albert F. Cramer (1865-1931. Coincidentally, both of them were A.F.?). Again, Stewart Button’s thesis provided information of Cramer: he enjoyed

  • accompanying, and had ccompanied Adeline Patti (a vocalist we studied in the 19th century performance practice class) at the Royal Albert Hall
  • performing duets – “teamed up with Shand and started to give concerts together” (Did they play together though? If so, what pieces?)
  • performing quartets – when Shand left for Australia, Cramer formed a quartet with guitar, mandolin, mandola, and bandurria.

Cramer had a studio where he taught guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Apparently, he also taught ukulele/banjuke, and Hawaiian guitar

B.M.G., Vol. XXII., No. 241, May 25, 1925

Cramer also had a guitar method from 1930 (?):

And a Hawaiian guitar method that was still available in 1967:

B.M.G. LXV No.750, October 1967

Button’s thesis has the only picture of Cramer I could find so far, in which he’s playing the Hawaiian guitar:

From Button’s thesis

Another piece of info from Button’s thesis was suprising and disturbing:

Button p.187

In Reminiscences of Madame Sidney Pratten, Harrison mentioned Madame Pratten performed the guitar part to Cowen’s cantata, The Corsair. The Corsair was from 1876, and Harold from 1895. Guitar entrances are marked on the score of The Corsair, but not the Harold. Was it customary for Cowen to include the guitar in his large large scale vocal works? What about other British composers? Why did Cowen not mention the guitar at all in his autobiography, if the guitar was regularly employed?

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