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Meyer Lutz, resident musical director and conductor at the Gaiety Theatre, London, 1869 to 1894

May 1, 2014

(Wilhelm) Meyer Lutz (1829-1903), German-born English composer and conductor, and resident musical director and conductor at the Gaiety Theatre, London, between 1869 and 1894.
(photo: Russell & Sons, London, circa 1885)

‘A LONDON FAVORITE ‘MEYER LUTZ.
‘The death of one so popular with all who know him as the late Herr Meyer Lutz has caused widespread regret among the older generation of London playgoers. A man of the most genial temperament and a musician of no small accomplishment. M. Lutz had always at command a fund of amusing anecdote and reminiscence relating alike to his twenty-five years’ experience at the Gaiety and to his earlier career as organist in Birmingham, Leeds and elsewhere, while his capacity for hard work and business aptitudes made him an invaluable helper in all the enterprises with which he was associated. Some of his stories of the famous artists he had known – Mario with his perpetual cigar, Grisi (ready to give a street singer a diamond ring if his efforts pleased her), Madame Sainton Dolby, Mrs Kendal, Alfred Wigan, Terry, Royce, Fred Leslie, Nellie Farren, Kate Vaughan, Arthur Roberts and others whose genius burned in the old days at the shrine of the sacred lamp [of burlesque (i.e. the Gaiety Theatre)] – were very amusing, but never unkind, for Lutz was as much beloved by his fellow artists as he was admired by the general pubic who found such delight in his bright and captivating music.
‘On one occasion, Lutz used to relate, when he was conducting a performance or Maritana, the leader of the orchestra was particularly bad, so, when it came to his violin solo in the second Act, Lutz pretended as if by accident to known the desk down on which was the music. Then while the player was fumbling about on the ground to find it, Lutz started his solo on the harmonium, and so got over the difficulty. Another instance of similar resourcefulness on the part of [Alfred] Wigan he used to recall. In this case Wigan was supposed to play the piano in a certain piece, but as he knew nothing of music a dummy instrument was provided, and it was Lutz’s business to play on another piano behind the scenes. On the occasion in question the boy forgot to call Lutz, so that when Wigan sat down and proceeded to play not a sound resulted. Grasping the situation in a moment he blandly observed that he had ”forgotten his music,” left the stage, routed out Lutz, returned with a roll of music, and sat down once more at the ”dummy,” when of course all went well.’
(widely printed in the Press, including West Gippsland Gazette, Warragul, Victoria, Australia, Tuesday, 14 April 1903, p. 5b)

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