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Alfred Concanen

Alfred Concanen - Lithographer - Irish Sheet Music ArchivesAlfred Concanen (1835 - 1886) was a leading lithographer of the Victorian era, best known for his elaborately illustrated sheet music covers. His covers often featured illustrations of the popular music hall performers of the times or scenes from the songs themselves.

Biography

Concanen’s family originated from the borders of County Roscommon and County Galway, Ireland. One of his ancestors was a well-known artist in that area in the 1760s. His parents were Edward John Concanen (c1814-1868), a portrait painter in Ireland in the early decades of the 19th century, and Mary Ann Concanen (neé Burgess) (1815-1884).

Concanen's birthplace is somewhat of a mystery. Some have him born in Ireland and coming to England later, while others claim he was born in London or Nottingham. He was described as "slight of build with a fair full moustache, something of a dandy, good natured, generous, a play copy of the lions comiques whom he immortalised in his lithographs.”

On September 8, 1858 Concanen married the 18 year-old Mary Anne Tholen (born April 1840) at a registry office in London. They lived at 43 Bloomsbury Street in London, while his studio was at 12 Frith Street in Soho.

According to the 1861 census, Concanen was living in 66 Greek Street in Soho with his wife and two children, Eleanor Maud Concanen (born 1859), and Hugh Tholen Transton Concanen (1861-1917); his occupation was listed as a 'Lithographic Artist'. Later, at their home in St. Mary Square in Lambeth, more children were born: Georgina Susane Concanen (1863-1869), George William Concanen (1864), Kate A. Concanen (c.1864 ), Barry Percy Concanen (1865).

By 1881, census records indicate that time Concanen was married to Ellen (1856 - 1916). (It would seem that Violet Eileen Concanen, born in 1874, was the daughter of his second wife. Victorian Sheet Music Covers lists his second wife as Sarah Cohen, not Ellen). He had two grandsons from his daughter Violet Eileen, the actors Derrick De Marney and Terence De Marney.

Sheet Music and Lithography

ConcaneFairy Visions - Alfred Concanen Sheet Music - AlConSL00007n made his sheet music debut in 1860, succeeding John Brandard as master of that art form, a position he held until his own death twenty-six years later. The 1860s were the peak of British music hall tradition and gave rise to the lion comique - such song and 'patter' performers as George Leybourne ('Champagne Charlie'), Alfred Vance - billed as 'The Great Vance', and G. H. MacDermott were hugely popular, and Concanen captured both their acts and their personalities in his beautifully executed lithographs.

Concanen worked with artists and his major partner for years was Lee and frequently the two names appear on music covers.

In Victorian Sheet Music Covers, Ronald Pearsall describes Concanen's style as:

His work falls broadly into two parts-straightforward portraits of the music hall singers in costume as in finely executed and as bright as a new pin, and genre scenes illustrating the title. "The Excursion Train" depicts a platform scene on Victoria Station, a confusion of day-trippers clambering into the Brighton train; "The Flunkey or She Loved a Man With a Monkey" portrays a top-hatted servant in collision with an organ-grinder and his monkey; "Ain’t You Sorry You Dress’d Yourself" shows a disgruntled swell with a dirty footprint on his white waistcoat caused by an urchin doing handsprings on the pavement; "The Husband’s Boat" centres around a bucolic bunch of trippers on board a paddle-steamer to Margate.

Knife-board omnibuses, costermongers’ barrows, carriages and hackney cabs, the hustle and bustle of London life, these are frozen on to the lithographic stone by Concanen. London out-of-doors is his special interest; he did not care for domestic scenes, leaving these to other illustrators.

Not unnaturally, considering the volume of work he turned out, Concanen’s work is uneven, but he never potboiled as some of his colleagues did. It is surprising that in the endless series of illustrations of music hall singers in costume he never falls below a certain level. The quality of the stone seems to have stimulated Concanen, who did not need a new-fangled substitutes such as prepared zinc. (Page 80)

During his career Concanen probably created thousands of designs for sheet music covers, usually charging between two and twenty guineas each, depending on the work involved and the amount of detail desired by the publishers. In addition, in 1869 he illustrated Carols of Lockayne by H. S. Leigh; in 1874 The Wilds of London and, in 1876 Low Life Depths, both by James Greenwood. He also designed a number of theatre posters. He was a member of the London Irish Rifles.

For a period he was a staff illustrator for the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News where he sometimes used photographs (which could not be reproduced in the newspapers or magazines of the time) as a basis for his illustrations. At other times he might be seen in a theatre sketching a scene from a new comic opera or in a music hall drawing a performer such as Jenny Hill or Nellie Farren for a sheet music cover.

The theatrical designer Edward Gordon Craig, the son of the noted actress Ellen Terry, recalled meeting Concanen in a tavern in the Strand near to the Lyceum Theatre, where the sixteen year-old Craig was working for Henry Irving. Craig may have been the last person to see Concanen alive, because he died that evening, December 10, 1886, in Marylebone. He was a great influence on future artists such as Mallyon.

Comprehensive collections of his sheet music covers are held by the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Library, among others.

Sheet Music

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A Legend of the Rotunda: Mr. Perkins's Pic-nic AlCon SL 00-019
  • Weber
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Amy RobsartAlCon SL 00-115
  • Godfrey, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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An Awful Little ScrubAlCon SL 00-148
  • Grossmith, George
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As Jolly As a Sandboy (As Happy As a King) AlCon SL 00-071
  • Tabrar, Joseph
  • Concanen, Alfred
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As You Like It AlCon SL 00-011
  • Wright, Adam
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Awfully Clever AlCon SL 00-048
  • Hunt, G. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Barney : The Tight Lad of Derry AlCon SL 00-040
  • Nelson, S.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Beau Belles or That's the Way the Bell Goes AlCon SL 00-041
  • Vernon, Frank
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Beautiful Nell AlCon SL 00-059
  • Coote, R.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Billy Johnson's Ball : Lar Dar De Dar and Doodle Doodle Diddle AlCon SL 00-032
  • Hunt, G. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Black Crook Valse, TheAlCon SL 00-089
  • Coote, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Blue Beard AlCon SL 00-085
  • Jefferys, Rose
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Bohemian Girl, The AlCon SL 00-025
  • Gantier, Felix
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Bold British Rifleman, TheAlCon SL 00-098
  • Walker, Henry
  • Concanen, Alfred
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British Volunteer's National Song, The AlCon SL 00-109
  • Thomson, James
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Burlesque William TellAlCon SL 00-106
  • Cherry, J. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Hardwick, J. A.
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Champagne CharlieAlCon SL 00-095
  • Lee, Alfred
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Leybourne, George
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Chinese Military Fantasia AlCon SL 00-033
  • Pridham, John
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Citizen Galop, TheAlCon SL 00-157
  • Volti, Carl
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Clicquot AlCon SL 00-021
  • Riviere, J.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Colleen Bawn Quadrille, TheAlCon SL 00-099
  • Forde, William
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Colleen Bawn, TheAlCon SL 00-096
  • Browne, T.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Continong, The AlCon SL 00-046
  • Lutz, W. Meyer
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Coote's Twelfth-Night Quadrille on Popular MelodiesAlCon SL 00-091
  • Coote, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Could I Live My Time Over AgainAlCon SL 00-143
  • Burnot, W.
  • Coote, C., Junior
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Danish National Song, TheAlCon SL 00-111
  • Mudie, T.M.
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Farnie, Henry
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Dear Me Is That Possible! AlCon SL 00-084
  • Tabrar, Joseph
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Dolly Varden Polka, The AlCon SL 00-003
  • Levey, W. C.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Don't Make a Noise or Else You'll Wake the Baby AlCon SL 00-049
  • Hunt, G. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Downy Old Sparrow, TheAlCon SL 00-145
  • Lee, Stacey
  • Coote, Robert
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Duchesse Olga : A Son Altesse Royale La Princesse de Wurtemberg AlCon SL 00-013
  • Leduc, Alphonse
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Eastern Courier GalopAlCon SL 00-125
  • Adams, George H.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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EnchantmentAlCon SL 00-088
  • Connolly, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Escort Galop, TheAlCon SL 00-149
  • Godfrey, Charles
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Fairy Land AlCon SL 00-053
  • Buckland, George
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Fairy Visions AlCon SL 00-007
  • Coote, Charles Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Faust Galop, The AlCon SL 00-012
  • Coote, C.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Faust Polka, The AlCon SL 00-015
  • Wallerstein, F.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Fifteen Puzzle, TheAlCon SL 00-126
  • Meen, George
  • Concanen, Alfred
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First Surrey Volunteer Rifle, The AlCon SL 00-056
  • Callcott, J.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Flunkey, The AlCon SL 00-158
  • Lee, Stacey
  • Coote, Robert
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Garnet Wolseley March, TheAlCon SL 00-092
  • Tolkien, Alfred
  • Concanen, Alfred
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God Protect England AlCon SL 00-076
  • Williams, Warwick
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Gold, Gold, Gold! AlCon SL 00-050
  • Hunt, G. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Good-Bye Emily Jane AlCon SL 00-064
  • Fox, G. D.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Grand Exhibition March AlCon SL 00-061
  • Reiss, Carl
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Gymnastic Wife, The AlCon SL 00-022
  • Hunt, G. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Hankey Pankey GalopAlCon SL 00-144
  • Guy, G.
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Harbour Bar, TheAlCon SL 00-131
  • Green, Frank W.
  • Concanen, Alfred McNaughton, J. H. Tolle, Charles Steele
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Hardware Line, The AlCon SL 00-036
  • Clifton, Harry
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Harum Scarum Galop, TheAlCon SL 00-105
  • Cassidy, James
  • Concanen, Alfred
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He Went to a Party AlCon SL 00-075
  • Grossmith, George Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Hi Hi Hoopla AlCon SL 00-070
  • Thorn, Geoffrey
  • Concanen, Alfred
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His Lordship Winked At The CounselAlCon SL 00-135
  • Dance, George
  • Conroy, Peter
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Holiday Fantasia AlCon SL 00-005
  • Pridham, John
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Hoping, Fearing, Evermore AlCon SL 00-006
  • MacFarren, G. A.
  • Fricker, Anne
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Humming Bird AlCon SL 00-081
  • Coote, Charles Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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I Don't Like London AlCon SL 00-037
  • Eaton, W. G.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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I Kissed Her Under the Parlor Stairs AlCon SL 00-027
  • Day, David
  • Concanen, Alfred
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I Like To Be A Swell!AlCon SL 00-136
  • Murray, Gaston
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I Really Am So SleepyAlCon SL 00-141
  • Gatty, Alfred Scott
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I Tell Them My Father's A Marquis AlCon SL 00-042
  • Bint, W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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If I Was Only Long Enough, (A Soldier I Would Be)AlCon SL 00-156
  • Lonsdale, T. S.
  • Eaton, W. G.
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Immenseikoff!!! AlCon SL 00-079
  • Marriott, C. H. R.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Is It Likely? Oh Dear No! AlCon SL 00-044
  • Eaton, W. G.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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I've Been and Got Married To-DayAlCon SL 00-119
  • Barrett, T.W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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I've Gone Wrong For The Sake Of SarahAlCon SL 00-133
  • Hunter, Harry
  • Franks, Sidney
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Jolly Dogs Polka, The AlCon SL 00-031
  • Marriott, C. H. R.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Jones's SisterAlCon SL 00-108
  • Sydney, Harry
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Randall, W.
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Julia's CrinolineAlCon SL 00-104
  • Carpenter, J. E.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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King Coal AlCon SL 00-001
  • Coote, R.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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La Berceuse : A Messieurs les Membres Du Cercle Agricole de Paris AlCon SL 00-077
  • Waldteufel, Emile
  • Concanen, Alfred
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La Fille de Madame Angot AlCon SL 00-087
  • D'Albert, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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La Fille De Madame AngotAlCon SL 00-146
  • Coote, Charles
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Ladies' Rifle Corps, TheAlCon SL 00-124
  • Hodgson, Cha.
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Carpenter, J. E.
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Last Rose of Summer, The AlCon SL 00-072
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Les Cloches De CornevilleAlCon SL 00-150
  • Grenville, Arthur
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Les Cloches de Corneville (Bells of Corneville) AlCon SL 00-004
  • Coote, Charles Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Les Pres St Gervais AlCon SL 00-086
  • Arban
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Les Pres St GervaisAlCon SL 00-117
  • Coote, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Lights O' London, The AlCon SL 00-030
  • Coote, Charles Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Lights O' London, TheAlCon SL 00-102
  • Coote, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Little Jack Frost Quadrilles AlCon SL 00-026
  • Brown, Arthur Henry
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Little Maid : The Gay Deceiver, TheAlCon SL 00-112
  • Russell, Henry
  • Concanen, Alfred
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London Season, TheAlCon SL 00-147
  • Godfrey, Charles
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Madame Favart LancersAlCon SL 00-114
  • Marriott, C. H. R.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Manteaux Noirs LancersAlCon SL 00-090
  • Bucalossi, P.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Married To A MermaidAlCon SL 00-142
  • Watson, Michael
  • A. J. C.
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Mayflower Lancers, The AlCon SL 00-067
  • Liddell
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Merry EnglandAlCon SL 00-103
  • Williams, Warwick
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Moon Behind the Hill AlCon SL 00-010
  • Bishop, T. Brigham
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Muddled Maxims or My Father's AdviceAlCon SL 00-128
  • Albert, Fred
  • Concanen, Alfred
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My Boy AlCon SL 00-045
  • Lutz, W. Meyer
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Nancy Fancied a Soldier or Nancy's FanciesAlCon SL 00-118
  • Forman, Edmund
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Leach., Gus.
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Nancy Lee Waltz AlCon SL 00-009
  • Loffler, Fred
  • Concanen, Alfred
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New PromenadeAlCon SL 00-116
  • Coote, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Night with the Baby, AAlCon SL 00-129
  • Lonsdale, T.S.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Norah, Sweet NorahAlCon SL 00-139
  • Wrighton, W. T.
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Oh Joe! The Boat's A-Going OverAlCon SL 00-155
  • Read, John
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Olivette AlCon SL 00-054
  • D'Albert, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Only One AlCon SL 00-062
  • Douglass, Arthur
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Ours (Love's Secret)AlCon SL 00-014
  • Ball, J. Meredith
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Over the Garden Wall AlCon SL 00-055
  • Fox, G. D.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Pal-O'-Mine AlCon SL 00-018
  • Vance, The Great
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Parisian 'Arry or the Cockney Abroad AlCon SL 00-024
  • Hunt, G. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Parlez Vous Francais AlCon SL 00-043
  • Lutz, W. Meyer
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Parson And The Clerk, TheAlCon SL 00-130
  • Thorn, Geoffrey
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Pirates of Penzance Lancers, TheAlCon SL 00-138
  • D'Albert, Charles
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Please Give Me a Penny AlCon SL 00-069
  • Seibert, W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Plodding Through the Rain AlCon SL 00-028
  • French, Fred
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Polly Bluck or Married on Wed-nes-dee AlCon SL 00-023
  • Hall, Frank
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Polly Perkins of Paddington Green or the Broken Hearted Milkman AlCon SL 00-008
  • Clifton, Harry
  • Candy, J.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Princess Alexandra's Own Band March AlCon SL 00-065
  • Blockley, John
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Princess Louise AlCon SL 00-038
  • Godfrey, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Princess Louise AlCon SL 00-093
  • Godfrey, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Pulling Hard Against the Stream AlCon SL 00-110
  • Hobson, H.
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Clifton, Harry
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Riflemen's March, The AlCon SL 00-016
  • Glover, Stephen
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Roulette AlCon SL 00-060
  • Coote, Charles Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Sabbath Recreations No. 8AlCon SL 00-137
  • Pridham, J.
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Sailor Boy's Good-bye, The AlCon SL 00-083
  • Redmond, Walter
  • Wyatt, Wilton
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Sailor's Polka, The AlCon SL 00-029
  • Marriott, C. H. R.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Says Aaron to Moses AlCon SL 00-051
  • Thorn, Geoffrey
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Sentinel's March, TheAlCon SL 00-107
  • Pridham, J.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Shady Nook Quadrilles, TheAlCon SL 00-113
  • Vanderveil, Willem
  • Concanen, Alfred
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She Danced Like a Fairy or She Doated on Leybourne AlCon SL 00-078
  • Dudley, J.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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She Deceived Her JohnnyAlCon SL 00-154
  • Redmond, Walter
  • Hunter, Harry
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She Had Such Wheedling Ways AlCon SL 00-017
  • Witt, C. H.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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She'd a Brother in the NavyAlCon SL 00-120
  • Redmond, Walter
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Thorn, Geoffrey
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Singing Qaudrille, A AlCon SL 00-020
  • Dick, Cotsford
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Snap Dragon Polka, TheAlCon SL 00-123
  • Bonner, H.E.W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Snow-Drift Galop, The AlCon SL 00-052
  • Coote, Charles Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Song of SongsAlCon SL 00-152
  • Lloyd, Arthur
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Song Of The Perfect Cure, TheAlCon SL 00-134
  • Perry, F. C.
  • Blewitt, J.
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Sparkling StreamletAlCon SL 00-132
  • Woodley, Augusta
  • Pridham, J.
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Stonewall Jackson's MarchAlCon SL 00-100
  • Pridham, John
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Sunset AlCon SL 00-080
  • Amos, George W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Sussex Waltz, The AlCon SL 00-002
  • Smallwood, W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Sweet Linnet AlCon SL 00-073
  • Wilson, Leigh
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Take My Advice or If You Don't Ought ToAlCon SL 00-097
  • Ison., Geo.
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Hunter, G.W.
  • Cook, John
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The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe : Comic Medley Extravaganza AlCon SL 00-035
  • Clifton, Harry
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The Beatitudes, No. 4 : Peace AlCon SL 00-082
  • Glover, Stephen
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Jefferys, Charles
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The Irresistible Rifle CorpsAlCon SL 00-101
  • Amos, C. C.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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The Mouse-Trap ManAlCon SL 00-094
  • Godfrey, Charles
  • Concanen, Alfred
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The Squire or Far from the Madding CrowdAlCon SL 00-121
  • Jonghmans, E.
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Adams, Harry
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There Was a Little Maid or She Fastened the Door with a Skewer AlCon SL 00-039
  • Lonsdale, T. S.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Three Little Pigs, The AlCon SL 00-066
  • Gatty, Alfred Scott
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Tiddy Fol Lol AlCon SL 00-063
  • Bullen, Fred
  • Concanen, Alfred
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True Blue Quadrilles AlCon SL 00-034
  • Montgomery, W. H.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Vanity Fair AlCon SL 00-074
  • Coote, Charles Jr.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Very Improper IndeedAlCon SL 00-153
  • Stamford, John
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Wait For TheTurn Of The TideAlCon SL 00-151
  • Coote, Charles, Junior
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Wait Till His Ship Comes Home AlCon SL 00-047
  • Read, John
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Waltzing Round The Water-ButtAlCon SL 00-159
  • Farnie, H. B.
  • Hunter, Harry
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We're About to Have a Baby AlCon SL 00-058
  • Dunbar, E. C.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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We're Much Better Off As We Are AlCon SL 00-068
  • Witt, C. H.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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When Parnell's The King Of Old IrelandAlCon SL 00-140
  • Lonsdale, T. S.
  • Eaton, W. C.
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Where's My Dolly Gone or The Countryman's Visit to London AlCon SL 00-057
  • Hunt, G. W.
  • Concanen, Alfred
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Woman Lovely WomanAlCon SL 00-160
  • McGlennon, Felix
  • Durandeau, A. E.
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You Can't Do ItAlCon SL 00-122
  • Frontignac
  • Concanen, Alfred
  • Reece, Robert
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