Lardelli - Australian Variety Theatre Archive

Lardetrli: The Changing Fontunes of a Wandening Signon
R.ichard Ward
William Henry Lardelli, also known by the self-styled Italianised
of his name, 'Signor
Guglielmo Enrico Lardelli,'
became prominent as an olganist in Maitland and Sydney in thc
1880s and i 890s. He also spent much time in England during the
period 1885-1900. Later in life he lived in Grafton, Bathurst and
Perth, tbllowed by a shoft time in Queensland where he died at
Charters Towers in 1910. He was the first Ausfalian musician
to be nade a Fellow of the College of Organists (from 1903
the Royal College of Organists) and he wrcte seveml pieces of
organ rnusic. He was a prolific composer ofpopular songs, piaro
pieces, operas aad opercttfls and was naned as one of Sydney's
leading musicians in 1887 and as one of Australia's 'firsl-c1ass'
organists in 1896. From the late 1890s Lardelli concentrated on
composilion ofpopular music and the performalce of hunorous
recitalions and songs which took over ftom his caregr as an
organist. Laldelli was a restless character who did not spend
more than a lew years in the same place and in later iife became
plagued by bad debts and ill healt1l.
The fifth of eight children, Lardelli was bom 12 May 1857 in
Brighton, Sussex. fte son ofltalian immigrant Maurizio Giovanni
Battiste Vem.nzi Lardelli, composer and teacher of music, and
Louisa Matilda Lardelli. also a teacher of music. Maurizio
La.rdelli, a student of Giova:ui Rubini,r had anived in Englarld
iu 1840 and married Louisa Matilda Strachan 6 Jan 1849 at St
Nicholas Church, Brighton. Amongst his published works were
a 'Grande Galop, Ies B ghton,' which was played durilg the
18.{0s by fie Band of the Grenadier Guards at Windsor Castle,,
W.H. Lardelli in Brighton, 1897
and 'Les Folies: Graad Valses' said to be 'sparkliog and prctty, as
good as many of the most reputed vdlses of Strauss and Lanner.'r
In March 1878 Lardelli gave his own concefl at the same venue
in which his mother and sisters sang while he played the piano.
He and his sister also played piano duets.3
Later in life Lardelli was to say that he had been educated at
the 'Modem Department of Brighton College, before he went
to study music under the great conductor Li Calsi, of the Royal
Opera Coy., in Covent Garden, to acquire mastery of the piano,
under the head of Emmanuel Aquilar, and to learn singhg from
Claudius Deslouis, the famed Flench operatic baritone.'1
The organ played by Lardelli at St Leonard's had been built
by August Gern, London in 18?5,e and he must have been
well enough impressed by the insfument to recommend the
same t}rm in 1887 when an orgal was ordered tbr St Mary's.
Waverley, Sydney.
Victoria ancl Hay, NSW" 1875-6
Foliowing his an'ival in Melboume the
Sydnev and Maitland, 1881-1885
eighteen year old
Lardelli was employed as a clerk with an arnual salary of 180
when he mauied Louisa Agnes Emily Cary on 25 Oct 1875 at
Chist Church, St Kilda.s By March 1876 the couple were living
at Hay where Laldelli was a music teacher. It seems that Lardelli
was duped into manying lhe pregnant Louisa and when a child,
Percy Lardelli. was bom in April 1876 Lardelli conciuded that
he could not be the father and lelt his wife to retum to England
to live with his parents in Brighton.6
in 1881 Lardelli sought a
reconciliatl)n with his wife but found that she had produced
arother child, Constance Lardelli. in 1880 al1d he decideti to
On his retum to Melboume
seek a divorce. He arrived in Sydney in Februar.y 1881 and was
soon part of fie musical scene. In March it was repo ed that he
had playcd a piano duet with Montague Younger (St Andrew's
Cathedral organist) at the Town Hall.r0 He was soon plomoting
his piano music
tluee pieces he had recently published in
London; Romalrce in A flat, 'Estelle,' Valse de Concert in E flat
and 'Rosa Bianca,' Valsa Sympathica in D flat.r'
Erighton and Seaford, Sussex 1876-1881
During this period Lardelli stud ied m us ic further and was appointed
orgadsl of St Leonard's, Seaford ir Jaruary 1878. At that rime
lhe Sussex Adveftiser records that a 'popular enteflainment' took
place at the New Assembly Rooms and that 'Mr C. Lardelli, the
oewly resident orgaojst' shared the accompariments \.vith a MIS
Hubefi and the Vicar, t.he Revd W. H. M. Buck.7 The programme
included comic items. setting the style ibl fliturc entefiainments
to be given by I-ardelli h Austraiia.
Liudelli was organist of St Matthias, Paddingtol whcn he gave
two rccitals for the opening of the new Willis organ at St Mary's.
West Maitland on 20 Jul 1881. The programme included his
own 'Meditation' ald dre 'Giant' FugIe by J. S. Bach, and
Miss Edith Gonick (whom Lardelli was to marry in lliE2) sang
'He shall feed his flock,' liom 'Messiah.'tr Lardelli made quite
:rn impression in Maitiand and soon accepted the ofler of the
position of organist and choirmaster at St Mary's lroin 1 Oct
188i.'r He was appointed for
Before his deparnrre, Lardelli had written to the Lord Mayor of
Sydney in November 1884, offedng his seNices as a consultant
for the installation of an orgal il the new Town Hall:
furtller three years in April 1882
at an aDnual salary of g100.ra
Belbre taking up his post at St Mary's, Lardelli gave two recitals
fol the opening ofthe new Walker organ at St John's, Tamwoft.ll
h August
notice by the newspaper reports that a sum of money
is being voted fbr the purchase of a grand organ {or lhe
Great Hall of the new Town Hall and presume that an
home Io Lrre of the eminent organ
order \ ill bc
builders in London.
During his time
Maitland, Lardelli gave freqoent recitals at
other churches a 'Grand Organ Recital' was given on dre organ
of St John's, Newcastle in November 1 88l,16 and a joint recital
As 1 premeditate visiting Europe in the early pilrt of the
coming year, and intend remaining a year or so, I beg to
offer my services at once in advising the Coryoration as
to the most suitable instrument for the Building - and
supervise ils manufacture in Ergland.
with Roland Randolph Arndell for the opening of the new Willis
orgar at the Wesleyan Church, West Maitland on 3 Oct 1882.17
Arother joint recital was held at St Paul's, West Maitland with
Mr Newcombe (St Paul's), N{IWimey (Wesleyan) alrd Lardelli
on 19 Nov 1883. after *re overhaul ofthe 1867 Willis organ by J
Ican giveyou dre highest testimodals as to my competency.
At present I am, and have been sirce arriva) in the Colony
Broderick. It was repofted that 'N&. Newcombe's pieces were
very consciertiously rendered, and people enjoyed them; IvIr.
Winney has yet to acquire command of so large an organ; but
Signor Lardelli was il excellent form, and his masterly playing
cont buted the chief pleasure of the evening.'13
organist of S. Mary's Ch. E. West Maitland. PreviousLy
to my comirg to Australia 4 yea$ ago I had considerable
practical experience of the largest and best organs and their
buildcrs in d1e United Kingdom and in Paris - including
that in the Royal Albert Ha]I in London which is justly
reckoned the finest in the world. I may mention that I hold
in my possession a specification of this organ.'?l
The same organists took part in a recital given in April 1884 on
the 1876 Willis organ in St Peter's Schoolroom, West Maitland,
stil1 awaiting lhe building of the new chruch. It was repofied *rat
Lardelli took the 'Iarger part' of the programme.le
Lardelli's offer was not taken up and he was to have
Ott 24 Apr 1883 a special recital was held at St Mary's 'to test
the quality of the new stops recendy obtained ftom Mess$. H.
Willis and Sons, organ builders, London, though Mr. James P.
Broderick, the local agerlt-'The Trumpet and 'Clarionet Bassoon'
stops had been provided for aad were hstalled by Broderick, along
Londom, X885-1886
By January 1886 Larrlelli Lad been appointed orgadst of Christ
Church, Greenwich, ard was also studying at Trinity College,
London. On 15d Jaluary he wrote to fiiends in Maitland: 'I
go up to-day to reccive my diploma and hood as Fellow of the
College of Organists from Rev. Sfu Fred. E. Ousely, Oxford
University Professor. Passed a most satisfactory examination;
only eight went through out of forty, many of whom were up
for a second lime. My Masters at Trinity College are awfully
pleased. I fairly surprised myself and them too. I went prepared
to fail, as I have lost so much tine. I shall keep up my study to
the last. Mrs. Lardelli joins Guildhall Schooi of Music to-day.
She sang 'May Queel' at a concelt: quite a success,'28
with a new 'rccently jnvented metallic temulant."o Lardelli's
programme included an 'Idyll,' composed by him 'expressly for
thc recital,' and items by gentiemen ofthe Newcasde Liedertafel']l
of which Lardelli had become conductor h July 1882.':2
recital giver in October 1884 on the 1855 Walker organ at
Sl Luke's, Wallsend (the original organ from St Mary's, West
Maitland) it was reported thal: 'Though the organ is a small one,
havhg only one manual, the king of organists of the district,
Signor Lardelli, made it discourse maryellous music, and Signor
Lardelli's skill and taste astonished his audience not
involvement with the plans for the Town Hall orgal.
On his return to Sydney. Lardelli was said to have 'obtahed
a pass in honours in [re senior division at the examhations of
Trinity College, London, in harmony and counterpoint, and
the successive degrees of Associate Uuly 1885"1 and Fellow
of the College of Organists, suiting him to wear the hood and
gown of the order. He succeeded in satis$ing the followirg
examiners:- Doctoff of Music: Professsor the Hon. Sir Frederick
Gore-Ouseley, Jas. Higgs, Bridge (Westmimter Abbey), Frost,
Gladstone, Staher (St, Paul's), Warwick Jordan; and Messrs.
W. Parrott, W. S. Hoyte, and tle grand old veteran, E. H.
Turpin, receiving from the Iatter gentleman unbourded kindness
and invaluable assislance. He htends to rcmain in Sydney,
and has been appohted Professor of Music at King's School,
Panamatta. Signora Lardelli has turned the visit lo account by
studying under the well-koowo teacher and voice-trailer, W. H.
Cummirgs. This lady is credjted with the possession of a full.
genuine soprano voice of considerable power, ranging from B
flat below C in alt, with a fine emotional middle register of pure
Having obtained his divorce fron Louisa in May 1882.'?4 Lardelli
tranied Edith Gorrick, the daughter ofa promhent local solicitor,
in June 1882 and was presented by St Mary's choristers with a
miuble and ganite clock to mark the occasion.x A daughter,
Annette Lardelli- was bon.r on 14Jan 1884. She was to become a
proficient pianist and later to live in the United States.
During the time he spent ir Maitland Lardelli seems to have been
settled and productive though he had recurent health problems
and decided to retum to England for a lime. In Janueuy 1885
he was farewelled flom St Mary's at an organ recital: 'Signor
and Mrs. Lardelli with fieir child are bound for England, the
gentleman in search of health, while both lady and genlleman
design to pursue to completeness their musical education.'
Lardelli was presented with a cheque for 125 ald was thanted
by the Revd Mr Yarrington, who said, '.. . when you came to us
at first, you suffered from illness, it is to me a wonder that you
havc been able so long and so admirably to discharge the duties
of orgarist of this chruch. I regret that the pressure of work has
so affected your health as to render it necessary that you should
retum to England.'26
mezzo-sopraoo timbre arLd Iich quaiity. On making her tirst
appearance recently al the Crystal Palaca, London, at one of Mr.
A. R. Mam's concerts, she received the gleal distirction of a
recall for each of her two sorgs. ..'r!
'Complinentary Berefit' concef 'to Signora and Signor'
Lardelli, due to 'serious illness which has rendeled a change
of air necessary,' was held in the YMCA Hall on 7 Nov 1889,
prior to their departue for ltaly for tbree mollths. This time it
Arriving in Sydney in November 1 886, Lardelli rnay never have
taken up the post atParramatta as by December he was adveflising
as a 'Plofessor of Pianoforte and Singing,' with his address as 1
was Signora Lardelli's health that had 'compelled her retirement
fol a long period'.4 It was repofied that '...oft'ers of assistance
Clifton Terace, Victoria Street, Waverley.3r 'Signora Lardelli'
sang, accompanied by her husband, at an Eveoing Promenade
Concerl at the Gaiety Theatre oll 2TthNovembel. It was rcported
l.hat she had, 'in addition to a very agreeable voice, youth and a
good share of personal attractions.'r'?
at the complimentary concet were more numerous lhan was
really necessary.'45 During this trip Lardelli later said that he
'spent some time ir Rome and Naples.' He also said that he
spokc French aad Italian as fluently as Engiish and drat he
made 'teachirg ofsinging in those languages a speciality.'46 fhe
Lardelli family invariably travelled as first class passengers with
On 2 Sep 1887 Lardelli opened the first subscription concefi
of the \IICA Musical Society, at the YMCA Hall. playing dre
recently installed Hill oryan of three manuals, witl an orgal
selection including his own 'Alla Marcia' and Bach's 'G Mhor
fugue.'The HeraLdcritic felt that Lardelli's composition showed
'considerable merit' but that nervousness had caused a 'serious
tendency to hrtrry everything' which maned his pertbrmance in
a maid to care for the children, showing that Lardelli had a taste
for extravagant living.
The Lardellis returned to Sydney on 3 Mar 1890 and the Sands
Directory lists Lardelli as a mosic teacher at Polter Sbeet,
Waverley 1890-92 and at Edgeclilf Road, Wooliahra in 1893.
Two sons were bom during this period, Mario in 1890 and Luigi
in 1892 Both boys were to sing in dre choir of St Patrick's,
tie same venue
on 24 Dec 1887 ir a 'Grand Concert & Organ Recital' includhg
the other items.rl He played in a second coDcerl at
'Les Rameaux'by Faur6 with a selection from 'Faust' by Gounod
Brighlon when the Lardellis were in England 1895-i900. Luigi
was said to have had a beautifutly cleal soprano voice and
frequently salg at public perfomances when the family lived in
Perth 1903 1906.
and pieces by Blumenthal, Scottson Cla-rk a.nd Costa.rl
Throughout his life Lardelli had a long association with music
education and teaching alrd by October 1887 was on the local
comrnittee lor Trinity College, London.r5 He kept this position
Lrntil his depafiure ftom Sydney
On 2l Jul 1892, Lardelli played the organ in Sydney Town
Hall for a concert wilh the Sydney Arnateul Orchestral Society.
He played arangements from Wagner and Mascagni and an
anangement of Handel's 'Largo' for two violins, hatp and
organ.aT It is not krown ifhe played the organ on other occasions
By November 1887 Lardelli had been appointed organist at St
Mary's, Waverley, however, his health may have been affected
by lhe Sydney climate as he soon advefiised for a month's
exchange with an organist in a counfiy lown with a 'cool, dry
climate indispensable.'16
buthe was to develop a liiendship with dre City Orgaoist, Auguste
Wiegand who n.raintained a monopoly on solo performances on
the Town Hall organ and generally belittled tlre abilities of other
organists in Ia 1896 Lardelli was to dedicate his 'Four
Pieces for the Organ' as follows: 'Composed expressly for and
dedicated to M. Auguste Wiegand, organist to the Corporation,
Sydney, NSW.'
December 1887 Lardelli is mentioned along with John
Delany, Montague Younger ard Augustus Gehde in a list of
leading Sydney musicians io comection with forming a National
Musicai Society for the Centenary celebrations.r? Organ recitals
were given at Chdst Church, Enmore on 29 May 1888,18 and on
& Sons organ at St Luke's, Scone on 20'h
June and another at St Mary's, Maitland on 21" The three
hundred people present at the Scone recital were impressed by
the 'masterly touch of Signor Lardelli.'10
the new Halmshaw
While Lardelli was organist at St Mary's, Waverley
Early in 1894 Ladelli was advetising himself as a 'Professor of
Music' at the Convenl School of the Sacred Heart, Rose Bay, and
at St Cathedre's School (for daughters of the ciergy),
In August 1894 Lardelli resigned as organist of St Mary's,
Waverley 'owing to pressrre of work as a teacher'.5o He was
decided to replace the 1864 single manual Walker organ \,vith
a larger hstrument and Lardelli was responsible tbr drawing up
the specification and probably for choosing the builder of the
instniment il view of his earlier experience with lhe organ at
St Leonard's, Seaford, Sussex. The organ with two manuals,
lhifteen speaking stops ard six couplers, by August Gem,
London rvas dedicated on 23 Feb 1889.41
later to say lhal, '... I have been a very busy fteacher]. ln Sydney
used to give as many as ninety lessons a week, and I kept this
up for seven or eight years, spending five hours a day h a single
He also presumably wanted to concenftate on writhg his opera
'Katherile,' which was first performed (wititout costumes or
scenery) at The Atheoaeum Ha1l, Waverley in April 1895. At
this pedonnance 'Madame La-rde]li saog the songs allocated
to Katheine. ..'5': Described as a cornic opera in two acts, witl
libretto by Margery Browne of Drummoyne, the opera was
Lardeili conthued to lale an interest in the new organ being
built by Hill in London for the Sydney Town Hall and a number
of letters were published in the Herald in July 1889 concerning
"Feilow ofthe College ofOrganists," almost
and satirical reply to a
letter frorn "Amateur" which had suggested that 'every organist
access to the organ.
published hy Jolrn l(. O'Meagber.'
cetainly Lardelli, wrote a rather por]]pous
The fust full performance of 'Kathedne' was in Sydney Town
Hall on 166 May, with an orchestra of 'two score insh unentalists'
and a chorus of'nearly two hundred voices.'54 On the previous
day Wiegand had helpfully played an arangenent of selections
tiom fie opera at aTowo Hall recital.55Itwas repofied that nearly
two d]ousand people were in attendancc and that 'consider-ing
the necessarily incomplete nature of the perfomance, the
possessiog the necessary qualifications, may be allowed to
practice [on the orgar] tiee of charge. . .'a'? The reply thought lhal
the invitation should be extended to 'amateur organ builders to
potter about inside among the pipes and actioo' ir order to 'fain
by degrees a nurnbel of arlisans competent to repair so huge an
succcss achieved
... was surydsilg.' The f1el.ld clitic felt tlal
During I-ardelli's absence from Australia. carly in 1896. a deal of
corespondence appcared in the Sydney press about who shoulcl
replace Wiegard as City Organisi rvhile he took fiye lnonths
the music 'slrows a hue melodic gift,' and that 'there arc heaps
of "good lhings" in the work.' Mme Liudelli rvas unabie to sing
in the title rcle which was taken by Violet Birkenhead, who also
leave lor a visit to Europe. Lardelli was namccl with Sykes,
Trurnan and Wale as one of Sydncy's 'fil.St class' organists
capable of filling this role. He was, however. never regarded as
onc of thc "inner circle" of Sydney organists.63
sang tlre pafl
of Darne Dar1ing.56 The critic ftom l.i'eenta.n's
Journal. howevr, was disappointed with the work and felt that
while 'the hand of a cievcl musicirui is revealed.' at thc samc
time. 'the jnstincts of a church organist were too strotg io him,
aIrd the result was what may be desclibed as a "blend" of the
school cantata and a second rate oratorio. Two of lhc songs
would have been excellent as church offcftories.'51
Sydney 11900
Arriving back in Sydney in February 1900, Lardelli was able to
say that I 50 of his compositions had been published in London,
of which eighty were for Eclwin Ashdown Ltd who had made
hitr-t their Australian agent.6e This role involved a deal of travel
around Austlalia and this seems to have resulted in Lardelli's
Lardelli was convinced that his opcra would succeed overseas
and the family departed on 27'h May for London. The Evening
News reporled that 'thcre was quite a levee of musjcal fblk.
including M. Wiegand, on the wharf to bjd him taewell,'58
providhg fulther evidence of the lriendship between Lhe
unsettled life in his latter vears.
He gave a 'b ght concelt in the YMCA Hall on 22"d March.
featuriog a pianola (invented in 1895) which he had broughr
with him liom Europe and the rest of the proglanme consjsted
of his own compositioos of a '1ight' nature.7o Hc thet spent
several months travelling, giving performances in a similar
vein, including ones at Melboume Town Hall and Victoria Hall.
I-ardellis ard Wiegand.
tr-ondon, 1E95-tr900
Ir October 1f195 I-ardelli rvas living in a boarding house in
Willesden, London and was in negoliation for a production of
'Katherinc,'" A change of fodune with the s2ile of six pialo
pieces to publishers Ashdown & Pzrry soon enabled hitrr to
tzrke a house in Bcdlord Park W. tbr a year. It was repofted in
I-ardelli arrivcd in Craflon in February 1901 as a visitor, and
within a month, accepLcd the post of organist and choirmaster
at Chr-ist Chuch Cathedral.Tr His intention was to reach piaro.
voice, Flench aod Italian as well as io engage in sone ding,
Novembcr that he had tried several ploducers widrout success,
'playing over thirty songs at Metzler's; tlteir musicaL adviser,
Nilr. Coward, pronounced them "drivel."'6u
The Evening News reported in Febmary 1896 that Lardelli
had been engaged by Mr Lowenfeld as conlposer at the Pdncc
of Wales Theatre 'for tluee yeus at a good retaining lee and
has also been appointed
fishing and duck shootingl I-ardelli made the extravagaot clain
that he had been organist in 'several cathedrals' and had been
Iesponsible fbr the plicing of new organs in tlrce of them. (No
evidencc has been found to suppo these claims.) At this time
Lardelli's opinion, albeit somcwhat tongue-in-cheek, ofhis own
lo a professorship of singing at the
of Music.'6r By Febmarv 1896
Blackheath Conservatoire
I-ardelli had composed rnother operetta and blamed his failure
to get a production for 'Katherine' on the 'book' (libretto)16,
compositions is quoted:
was time," said the Signor quietly, "that the
In September 1897 it was reported iirat '...Mr Hedmondt IHer
Majesty's, Londonl has another opera at his disposal from thc
pen of Mr. Laldelli. . .'6' and in February I 898 that in a ner! sorrg
published by G. Ricordi & Co. 'Guglielno Lardelli's music
has a catching tuneftilness, and the acconpaniment is easy,
but not trivial.'6r On 23'd Junc 1898 a 'Signor Lardeili Matinee
Musicale'r.vas held at the Queen's (Small) Hall, London, in
country music teachers were ioduced to give "The Maiden's
Prayer" and similar musical chestnuts a much needecl rest. I
hoped," he went on, with a twinkling eye, "to create a taste for a
new class of composition, which should contain at one atrd the
same tine the study of a Nlozart sonata, with the tunefulness
of a Lardelli!" r'?
which the compositions were entircly by Lardelli.65 This was to
be the nusicai highlight of Lardelli's time in London.
Lardelli's stay in Grafton was, however, shoft-lived and
farewell concerl was held lor him less than six nonths latel. It
was said that he was a 'misfit' in Grafton and that 'his lines
didn't seem to be cast in pleasant places.'?l
ln Dccember I E98, at the Egyptian Hall. Piccadilly, rhe new
programme for the Chistmas holidays rvas announced: '...The
principal novelty .. . is a fair1, fantasy written by Mr. Mel B.
Spur. music by Signor LardelU, entitled "The Gnomc's Grot"
in which are presented a succession of marvellous mechanical
Bathurst 1902-1903
In Fcbruary 1902 Lardelli was engaged to take part in a
complimentary concert fol Thonas H Massey. the organist of
All Saints' Cathedral. Bathurst.Tr He renained in Balhurst ,s
and optical illnsions.'66
Dudng the pedod in London Lardelli composed some serious
organist at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church. During his tenure
the 1893 Conacher organ was repaired and moved by Charles
works, includiog whal he inpressively claimed as 'Five Masses.'
The work. published by Schott & Co. in 1896 was 'Perlres
Messe"^ faciles et chantdnles poLLr detrt yoir ou choellr a deLlx
perties el soli avec accomp. tl'Orgue ou de piano.'6.- lL seerns
likely that his Toccatina in G minol for orgao was composed
clLrring dris pcriod. A piano version rvas published in 1900.
Richardson and was 'forrnally opened' on 6 Jul 1902 with a
speciai scrvice of praise.'s
While in Bathurst Ludelli was the conductor of the
Choral Socicty wbich took pafi in a 'choral contest' in Novenber
1902 with thc Bathurst Choral Society (W Dryden), fie Barhurst
Federal Choir (T H Massey), Lithgow United Choir, Mudgee
Philhalmonic Society and the Syclney Railway & Tramway
Society, competiog tbr a first prize of!75.76
Another son, Noel tvas bom in Brighton on 2 Jan 1898. Noel
was also to excel in singing and he conpeted as a vocal soloist
at the TownsviLle Eisteddfod in l9 i 0.
of St George's Cathedral, 'comprising fully thi y bo),s aod
men,' sang , though the singers were repofied to be "ofl-co1oLr,"
Master Luigi Lardelli sang his father's "Ave Maria' and was
warmly encored, while Lardelli peformecl humorous songs.3r
DLuing bis time in Pefih, the lollowing piece, attributed to
'Dlyblower' (Edwin Gleenslade), appeared in the Perth Strnclay
Ti.nes ot 24 AptI 1901:
,{ lVlasfer of N[usic
Lardelli in 1903
Lardelli gave an organ rccitaL at St Stephen's in June 1903 and
it was rcpo ed that the 'tfuee organ numbers .. . were rendered
in a masterly maruer.'7? Duling 1903 Lardelli's name appeared
in the Small Debts Court and he left Bal.hurst jn about August
1903, presr.rmably lo avoid mounting debts.
Perth 1903-1906
The West At.strdLien leported that L.Lrdelli had arrived in Perth
on 24 Aug 1903 and that it was his intention to teach music
there. It is also mentioned tl.nt Lardelli had wdtten pianoforte
pieces rurder the rom de plune of Henri Latour, A. Dubois and
Eugene Dumas.73 He was appointed organist at Wesley Church,
Penh ftom 20 Sep 1903,?'rvith a salary off100 p.a. plus !50 in
'certain perquisites.' At this time, the Wesley Churcl] possessed
the 1875 Bishop & Son or-gal oftrvo manuais and elcven stops.30
There was soon perceived to be a rivalry between Lardelli and
the organist of St George's Cathedral, Reginald D'Arcy hvine, as
Lardelli conducted a concart on I Nov 1903 at the Queen's Hall
1br the visiting violinist Mr E. Toy at fie same time as D'Arcy
Irvine's sacred cotrcefi at the cathedral-8r The perception of a
rivalry was compounded when Lardelli conducled a perfomzurce
of Handel's 'Messiah' al thc Queen's Hall on Christrnas night,
1903 while D'Alcy hvine simultaneously conduated the same
wolk at the Theatre Royal. Both perfbrmances were, however,
very well-attended and at bolb venues there was 'standing room'
only. D'Arcy INine performed the complete work i.vhile I-aldelii
ended his performance at the 'Hallelujah' chorus- 'an innovalion
recantly brought into vogue in the Eastern States.'8? The rivahy
continued and it was reported in April i 904 that 'Signor Laldelli,
the orgaoist threatens to nake music ilt the Wesley Church rival
cathedral music.'81
Le elli's ml Latinised nanrc,
For u,hen clesstcal nusic's your game,
With no Jbreign bLood
Your ntLme would be MUD
On the glorioLrs annaLs oJfome.
I'll play you Beethoven and Spohr,
And reel ffi.from rnem'ry or score
Cavatina's by Rt1ff,
Or sorLgs frorn a gaff
Where they btn,L for the balladists' gore.
Bttt Jbrttrne lowards me has stralted
\in, c Sottk"y nnd Voo,ly I .e pla.te,i
However, the dvals were lo joio forces in January 1906 for the
'Lardelli Irvine Concert' Bivcn in aid of lhe Bunbury Church
Extension Fund at the Lyric Theatre, Bunbury. The choristers
On ny orgr.mist's bench
the Wesleltan Church,
Where Sir Gettrge loses monet, ancl rnaid.
Hinspeter won in competilion wiLh Lardelli's choirs.'6 Shortly
aftel this, Lardelli becane ill and died of pneumonia at Chaflers
Towers on 7 July J 910, at the age of 55 years.
Lardelli was again bcseL by financial problems and. according to a
laterreporl, 'thefiagile little composerrvas driven to despair while
in W.A. by monetary troubles.'85 and he dcparLed Pertb in 1906
when a farewell benefil conce{ for him was held at t1}e Queen's
Hall on 7'h March. The programme lor tlis concert consisted
cntirely of Lardelli's own compositions and he was assisted by
Lardelli's three sons became farmers
Queensland. Thc
youngest, Noel, erllisted in the AIF in 1916 and served in France
and the UK in WWI and in the RAAF during WWII. Nlario's
son, Mario (Mick) Lardelli (19i9 2010), enlistecl in 1939 and
seryed overseas during WW1I. I:[e was the mayor of Ryde for
nany years and lvas awarded the AM in 1990 ard the Ccntenary
Medal in 2000 . Mick's grandson, Tirn Sargeant, then a piano
pupil of Mark Quarmby, was to play the organ in Sydney Town
Flall in a duet with his leacher for Young Organists' Day, 1993,
on dre organ played by his anceslor 101 years beforel
D'Arcy l.rine who provjded the organ accompaniment fol Luigi
Lludelli in a perlormancc of Liudelli's 'Avc Nlaria.' 36
ln August 1906 Laldelli was back in England and the London
conespondent of the Evcning News (Sydney), Emily Soldene,
describes Lardelii as: "smart, mercurial, livcly as a cricket,
talking nineteen to thc dozen, no getting a word in edgeways.
Clever, entefiaining, came to town with 250 pieces ofmanuscript
music, sold lwo-thirds of them, sails for Adelaide rext montb
..."s7 There is an increasing serse of desperation in Lardelli's
behaviour in his later years.
Svdney 1907-n909
In July 1907, when the City Organist, Arthur Mason retircd. a
'farewell recital' was held in the Town Hall at which Mason
played several organ works. Lardelli was accompanist,
presunably at the piano, tbr the vocal solojsts who took pafi.3s
Wesley Church. Perth appears to be Lardelli's last position
as an organist and fiorn 1907 onwards he devotecl himself to
giving entertairurents consisting of recitations and humorous
songs of his own composition. Onc such concert $'as "The
Lardelli Entefiainment" given in the Centenary Hall, Sydney
on 14 April 1908. h was a benefit concert given as a 'well
descrved recognition of a kindly-natured and clever musicial.'
Lardelli ua. .,1jd to he 'ar erremely popuiar. gn,'J i lrou.
[who] has accornplished many i'eats of generosity to ail sofis
of charitable concerts.'3e The evenhg consisted of twent-v-six
shod monologues and humorous songs by Lardelli, with another
tburteen of his vocal and instrumental composilions peformed
by fellow artists I He was said to have had a 'lightly calessing
touch' at the piano and his voice, 'an apology lbr a tenor, [was]
adroitiy employed, and the timbre possesscs carrying power.'!0
North Queensland
Once agaln Lardelli's health dictated a change in climate ard
in .hrne I908 he arrived in Townsville as conductor of the 'oew
Liedertafel,'eL and may, lor a short time. have been appointed
as organist at Townsville cathedral.qz He gave a fiISt concef of
his own music, at the Theatre Royal, in August 1908 and his
Townsville Ladies' Choir won an Eisteddlod at Charters Towers
in April i 909.'!1
He moved to the less humid climate of Charters Towers in
Septernber 1909 where he gave lessons in 'voice production
and singing.'t'A concert was given by Lardelli at the Theatre
Royal, Charters Towcrs on 21 Mar 1910, including vocal and
instrumental items- a children's choir of 120 voices ald a ladies'
choir. lL was reported that the 'Charters Towcrs ponion of the
Signor's Ladies' Choir sang their competition nurnber, "Sound
Sleep" (Vaughan Williams) ard received the plaudits of the
X-ardelli's geat, great grandson, Tim Sargeant (second from left)
rvith I to r, Nathan Carruthers, Arthur Lee and Nicolas Che[ at
YOD 1998. Photo: Hogh Knight.
Without doubt Lardclli was a very capable musician who
achieved the highest level of qualification as an organist.
He was an engaging character, energetic, clevcr and a good
cenversation:ilist, though rather pretentiolls in his adoption of
the title 'Signor,' and extravagant in his claims of somc ol his
achievements. As a conposer he was prolific in output alrd
noted for his gift of melody and rapiclity of composition, said to
bc a clevcr lechnical musician. but his composjtions panderecl
At the Townsvilie llistedcllod which followed. Lardelli
much controversy when be withdrew his threc children's choirs
(including one from il'orvnsvi)lc) liom fudher items when
another children's choir fron Chaners Towers. cotducted by N4l
to popuiar taste and lacked odginality. Of his mary published
works, most were popular songs and piano pieces, with a handftil
of orgar works. It is ironic that one of the few works to survive
in the repertoire today is his Toccatina in G minor for organ
pub'i"hed ir rhe late l8a0s.
to The Keep (Archives), Brighton, UK fr.rr
providirg a copy of the 1898 anicle from Brighton Society,
and to Peter Meyer for his suppoJt and encouragement in the
Thanks are due
preparation of this article.
Post (London), 27 Juo 1840, p.l
Moming Post, 17 Oct 1843, p,3
Moming Post, i6 May 1845, p.6
4 Clarence & fuchrnond Examioer (CRE), 2 Mar 1901,p!
5 Argus,2 Nov 1875, p.1
6 SMH, 1 Nov 1881, p.7
7 Sussex Advediser, 16 Jan 1878, p.3
8 Sussex Advertiser, 5 NIar 1878, p,6
10 SMH, 1l Mar 1881p.6
11 SMH,4Apr 1881, p.6
12 Maitland Nlercuiy (MM), 23 Jul 1881, p.4
13 MM, 30 Jul 1881, p.4
14 M\4, 13 Apr 1882, p.4
15 Tamwofth Obseffer, 20 feb 1881
16 Newcastle Moroing Herald 1NXtrI), 30 Nov 188i, p.2
i7 Evening News (EN),4 Oct 1881, p.4
18 MM,22 Nov 1883, p.4
19 MM, 24 Apr 1884, p.5
1900, p.3
71 CRE, 9 Mar 190i, p.4
72 CRE, 2 Mar i 901, p.4
73 CRE, 3 Sep 1901, p.4
74 Bathrust Free Press @FP),4 Feb 1902, p.2
75 BFP,7 Jul1902,p.2
76 BFB 6 Nov 1902, p.2
77 BFP, 9 Jun 1903, p.2
78 West Australian (WA), 3 I Aug 1903, p.7
79 WA, 19 Sep 1903, p.9
80 lnquirer and Commercial News,
81 BunburyHerald,2 Nov
82 WA,29 Dec 1903,p.4
83 Budbury HeraLd. 18 Apr 1904, p.2
84 Bunbury Herald, 3 Jall 1906, p.2
92 tucbmond River Hera.l4 19 Jun 1908, p.4
93 Brisbane Courie., 13 Apr 1908, p.5
94 Nofthem Miner G!M),
18 Sep 1909, p.1
95 NlvI,22 Mar 1910, p.4
96 Na,{, 11, 12Apr 1910
35 SIVIH, 15 Oct 1887, p.3
36 Aust. Towl & Couahy Joumal (ATCJ), 26 Nov
17 SM}J. r 4 Dec 887. p.4
Twl!ight Gonecrt
1887, p.44
29 May 1888, p.2
ln aid of the restoration @f Austrafia's only
Wordsworth pipe orgam
39 MM,23 Jun 1888, p.4
40 MM, 23 Jun 1888, p.2S
St Mark's, Picton
Organist; Peter Meyer with the
choristers and instrumentalists
of Wollondilli crammar School
directed by Simon Denley
SIvIH,2 Mar 1889, p.2
SMH, I Jul 1889, p.8
SMH, 2 Jul 1889,p.5
SMH,2 Nov 1889, pp.2&8
45 AICJ,
1889, p.3
46 Brighton Sociery 6 Nov 1897, p.l1
47 SMH, 18 Ju1 1892,p.2
48 Meyel P 2013, 'Sydney Organist Topped
49 SMH, 24 Feb 1894, p.2
50 SMH, 4Aug 1894, p.l0
51 Brighton Societr 6 Nov 1897, p.1l
52 SMH, 6 Apr 1895, p.7
Mar i875, p.3
1903, p.3
(Perttr) ,29 Dec 790'/ , p.l
86 Daily News (Peri) 8 Mar 1906, p.12
87 EN,4AW 1906, p.7
88 Suday Times (Sydney), 21 Jui 1907,p.2
89 EN, 11 Apr 1908, p.15
90 SMH 15 Apr 1908, p.9
91 Toirrsville Daily, I Jun 1908, p.5
33 SMH,3 Sep 1887, p.13
34 SMH, 24 Dec 1887, p.4
38 SMH,
70 SMH,
85 Sunday Times
N04, 2l Apr 1883,p.7
lA.{ 26 Apr 1883, p.4
Ntr\{ 8 Jul 1882, p.5
NMH,4 Oct 1884, p.8
24 SMH, 20 NIay 1882, p.7
25 ltr\4, 13 Jwl 1882, p.5
26 MM, 27 Jan 1885, p3
27 Letter in Sydney CityArchives.
28 MM, 23 Feb 1886, p.s
29 Andrew MCre4 RCO, pers. comm.,
30 MNI27 Nov 1886, p.4
31 SMH, 17 Dec 1887, p.3
32 SMH,29 Nov 1886, p.8
53 EN, 18 May 1895, p.l1
54 SMH, l1 NIay 1895, p.7
55 SMH, 16 May 1895, p.6
56 SMH, 17 May 1895, p.3
57 Freeman's Jou]]lal,25 May 1895, p.9
58 EN,28 May 1895, p.5
59 EN, 19 Oct 1895, p.2
60 EN 1l Nov i895, p.7
61 EN 29 Feb 1896, p.2S
62 Freemans Joumal, 7 Mar 1896, p.10
63 Glasgow Herald,3 Sep 1897, p-7
64 Lloyd's Weekly,20 Feb 1898, p.7
65 Moming Posl 2i Jr.u:r 1898, p.1
66 Momjng Post, 4 Dec 1898, p.9
67 British Lihary Catalogue
68 Meyer P 2011, 'Fi[ing the Cib/ Orgardsts' Shoes', SOI v42, n.2
69 EN,23 Feb i900, p.3
Saiurday '15 November at 4pm
Pops,'SOl v.44, n.4
Ample parking in church