Composers / Thomas Tellefsen / Places catalog
England and Scotland (1851)
The year 1851 was especially rich in events for Tellefsen: at the end of April he enjoyed a grand and successful pianistic debut at the Hôtel Lambert in Paris, then at the end of May he arrived in London, which at that time was hosting the Crystal Palace Exhibition. This first international exhibition of its kind took place in Hyde Park between 1 May and 15 October.
During his summer stay in England, Tellefsen gave three concerts in London. The first, at the Royal Society of Arts, was very successful. The next, of a more private character, was given at the home of one of his students, Miss Busby, with whom he performed, among other pieces, a four-handed piano composition by Mendelssohn, before she played numerous solo compositions by her teacher, including a nocturne and tarantella (probably the close of the Piano Sonata, Op. 13). In his third performance, Tellefsen presented a Hummel concerto, accompanied by the full orchestra of the Philharmonic Society, in the Queen’s Concert Rooms on Hanover Square, for an audience of 800.
Around 10 July, Tellefsen travelled to Scotland, where he gave lessons to his old acquaintances, beginning with the Duke of Hamilton at Hamilton Palace. On 27 July 1851, he wrote to his father: “As you can see, I am now in Scotland, with the venerable old Duke of Hamilton, and I am teaching his grandchildren for 14 days: their mother is Marie of Baden, who married the Marquis of Douglas, the Duke's son; they are all very kind and good people, who hold me in high esteem”. On 28 July, the composer continued his teaching tour to Lord Torphichen at Calder House, for eight days of teaching, then to the Duchess of Coigny, for fourteen days. The duchess and possibly her children might have taken lessons from him also in Paris, where they passed the winter.
Concert in Hannover Square, 1843, engraving from “The Illustrated London News” (creative commons)
Engraving of Hanover Square Rooms in Hanover Square, c1830, Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, (creative commons)
The interior of the Crystal Palace in London during the Great Exhibition of 1851, coloured lithograph, J. McNeven (creative commons)