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The Rink Galop

Sample scores from our collection:

The Rink Galop: as performed at the Royal Aquarium Westminster

by Charles d’Albert

The Royal Aquarium was an entertainment venue in Westminster, London, which opened in January 1876 with royal pomp and circumstance. As suggested by the name, a major feature of the venue was a set of large aquariums (although due to ‘operational difficulties’, these did not hold any fish). There were also rooms for different types of entertainment including a theatre, a roller skating rink, and a library as well as drinking bars, a restaurant and even a hairdresser’s!

 “It was covered with a roof of glass and iron and decorated with palm trees, fountains, pieces of original sculpture, thirteen large tanks meant to be filled with curious sea creatures and an orchestra capable of accommodating 400 performers. Around the main hall were rooms for eating, smoking, reading and playing chess, as well as an art gallery, a skating rink and a theatre.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Aquarium)

Cover page for 'The Rink Galop'

The cover of The Rink Gallop scores shown here gives an indication of what The Royal Aquarium may have looked like at the time. The music for this piece of dance music was written by Charles d’Albert. As it is advertised in the contemporary weekly magazine The Musical World from January 6th 1877 it is likely that it was written the same year the Aquarium was opened (1876).

The Rink Galop is one of hundreds of d’Albert’s pieces listed in The Universal handbook of musical literature  (p. 132). The Handbook was published in 1900 and claims to feature “all published compositions which at the present time are included in the various catalogues as being still obtainable at the original prices.”  (introduction, page A*). That suggests the piece was still for sale a quarter of a century after it was first published.

logo: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence In this recording of The Rink Galop, created for the What’s the Score project,  we hear Ben Sheen on the piano. The recording is released with the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence. It can be reused and redistributed globally provided that it is used in a non-commercial way and the reuse is attributed to “What’s the Score at the Bodleian?” and Ben Sheen. If you derive a new work from the recording, the new work may be distributed provided it is released under the same licence.

You can read about the recording session when this and other pieces were recorded in our  ‘So that’s what they sound like…’ blog post. More project recordings and scores are available on the project webpage.

Further reading:

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