The composers of the 1910s era we continue to cherish to this day, among them Debussy, Fauré, Ravel, Delius, Mahler and Elgar were not well represented in Titanic’s request list - only Elgar’s music appeared. It seems as though the society of the golden age preferred their waltz kings and old “classic” standards to the hazy harmonies of French Impressionism.
It is also possible that music agents C. W. & F. N. Black were limited by the choice of sheet music available to them in arrangements for Titanic’s ensembles. In a way, this shows which composers were in demand enough (or had been around long enough) for their music to have been arranged. Even great composers have had a difficult time breaking into the larger market while alive.
As an appendix to my last post, here is a sampling of well-known composers represented in the WSL songbook, as well as one musical example (some composers were listed more than once). Composers who have fallen into obscurity have not been listed here. The composers’ years of death give an idea as to who was still alive in 1912.
Overtures 1-15 (WSL songbook numbers)
1. Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini, 1868
17. The Night Birds, Johann Strauss, 1899
27. Samson and Delilah,, Saint-Saëns, 1921
29. Aida, Verdi, 1901
35. Orphee Aux Enfers, Offenbach, 1880
36. Butterfly, Puccini, 1924
58. Carmen, Bizet, 1875
64. The Mikado, Sullivan, 1900
73. Tannhauser, Wagner, 1883
Suites, Fantasias, etc. 81-99
81. Casse-Noisette, Tchaikovsky, 1893
82. Peer Gynt, Grieg, 1907
85. Faust, Gunod, 1893
Waltzes 100-148 (plus additional unlisted waltzes)
115. Rosenkavalier, R Strauss, 1949
148. The Merry Widow, Lehar, 1948
J Strauss, 1899 (his unlisted waltzes were a category of their own, ex. Blue Danube, Emperor)
Waldteufel, 1915 (unlisted, ex. Ice Skater’s)
Sacred Music 149-156
149. Selections from Elijah, Mendelssohn, 1847
150. Selections from The Cross of Calvary, Gounod, 1893
152. Selections from The Messiah, Handel, 1759
Titanic's WSL songbook - Intermezzos and Popular tunes
The popular side of the WSL songbook
Did Titanic's band play music by memory?