LAST MODIFIED Friday 21 June 2019 10:19

Lewis Henry Lavenu

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Lewis Henry Lavenu", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 30 March 2020

LAVENU, Lewis Henry

(M. Lavenu; Mr. L. H. LAVENU; Lewis Henry LAVENU; incorrectly Louis Henry LAVENU)

Pianist, cellist, conductor, arranger, composer

Born London, England; baptised, St. George, Hanover Square, London, 3 February 1817
Married Julia BLOSSETT (c.1822-1864), St. Luke's, Chelsea, England, 21 July 1841
Departed England, for America, 1851
Arrived (1) Sydney, NSW, 11 May 1853 (per Abyssinia, from San Francisco, 3 March)
Departed, Adelaide, SA, 28 November 1854 (per Norna, for Calcutta, from Melbourne, 25 June)
Arrived (2) Melbourne, VIC, 28 June 1855 (per Glendargh, from Batavia, 26 May)
Died Sydney, NSW, 1 August 1859 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (NLA persistent identifier) (WorldCat identities)

Cover portrait of the late L. H. Lavenu (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1859])

Summary (to 1853)

LAVENU, Lewis Henry (1817-1859),

Lewis Henry Lavenu (1817-1859), English pianist, cellist, conductor, composer, music seller and publisher

Lewis Henry Lavenu was son of the London music seller and publisher, Lewis Augustus Lavenu (c.1767-1818), and his second wife Eliza Mary Brooks (c.1787-1838). After her husband's death in 1818, Eliza went into partnership with the violinist Nicolas Mori (1796-1839), whom she later married, at St. Paul's, Covent Garden, on 24 January 1826. Born well before this marriage, their eldest son, the pianist and composer Frank Mori (1820-1873) was thus Lewis Henry's stepbrother.

Lavenu, largely brought up in music by his stepfather, studied at the Royal Academy of Music under Bochsa, and later with Charles Lucas, George Alexander Macfarren, and Cipriani Potter in composition, cello, and piano.

After the deaths of his mother in 1838 and stepfather in 1838, the family business continued to trade variously as "Mori & Lavenu", and "L. Lavenu, late Mori & Lavenu" until Lewis Henry sold his interest to his partner Robert Hosdon in May 1844.

Between August 1840 and January 1841 Lavenu, assisted by his half-brother Frank Mori, managed Liszt's tours of the British Isles.

In July 1841, Lavenu married Julia Blossett, daughter of Col. John Blossett, head of the British expedition to assist Simon Bolivar in the war of independence in Venezuela. One of his daughters was the actress Ethel Lavenu (1842-1917), who was mother of the silent screen actor Tyrone Power, Sr., and grandmother of the Hollywood film star Tyrone Power.

In November 1846, Lavenu's Loretta; a tale of Seville, a grand opera in three parts with libretto by Alfred Bunn, premiered at Drury Lane Theatre, with Anna Bishop in the title role.

After falling into insolvency in 1848, Lavenu became the conductor of the Irish singer Catherine Hayes, first in Britain, then briefly in the United States (1851-53), and finally in Australia.

Britain and Ireland (February 1817 to September 1851)

3 February 1817, baptism of Lewis Henry Lavenu

Baptisms solemnized in the parish of St. George, Hanover Square . . . in the Yesr 1817

No. 90 [1817 February] 3 / Lewis Henry / [Parent's names] Lewis [&] Eliza / Lavenu / Bond St. / Music seller / . . .


21 February 1833, minute book of the Royal Academy of Music

Quoted in Frederick Corder, A history of the Royal Academy of Music (London: F. Corder, 1922), 48-49 

21 February 1833: The Revd. Mr. Hamilton having directed Miss Wallace to attend the Committee this Day with her Mother, to explain to them the circumstances of her having written a very improper letter to Master Lavenu, one of the Resident Students of the Academy . . .

NOTE: The complaint concerned the passing of love-letters between students, and several female students "were severely reprimanded for such improper conduct"


August 1834, Lavenu, aged 17, begins his public career as accompanist on Bochsa and Mori's summer tour of the south coast

[Advertisement], Exeter and Plymouth gazette (16 August 1834), 2

. . . Mr. L. H. LAVENU, Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London, will preside at the Piano Forte . . .

"WEYMOUTH. August 30", Salisbury and Winchester journal (1 September 1834), 4

The grand morning concert, on Monday last, at the Royal Hotel Assembly-rooms, by Messrs. Bochsa, Mori, Miss Bruce, and Mr. Lavenu, was numerously aud fashionably attended, and the performances elicited the most unqualified approbation. A second grand concert, by the same distinguished performers, took place the theatre on Tuesday evening, which was equally well attended, and received with unbounded applause. Our races commenced on Wednesday last, and, the weather being favourable . . .

"BRIGHTON. OCT. 26", The morning post [London] (27 October 1834), 3

. . . Mori has announced a Concert, in which he is to be assisted by Monsieur and Madame Storkhausen and Mr. Lavenu, the pianist . . .


Liszt, Mori, Lavenu, concert program, Stamford, 16 September 1840

"LEAMINGTON ROYAL MUSIC HALL", The musical world (September 1840), 189 

The long-expected and much-talked-of visit from the great phenomenon, M. Liszt, took place on the 7th inst., when a morning concert conducted by Mr. Lavenu, introduced the miraculous pianist for the first time to a Leamington auditory. Those who went prepared to hear wonders were certainly not disappointed; but their anticipations were more than realized in the beauties which were combined with his astonishing performance. It would be needless to observe that the company were loud and unanimous in their plaudits, calling vehemently for an encore of his last and greatest effort, the Morceaux Choisis from his "Recitals," with which he readily favoured them. Frank Mori ably sustained the reputation attached to his name, and proved by his performance that he largely inherits his father's genius. From Nicholson's favourite pupil, Mr. Richardson, we had all that could be desired in listening to the sweetest tones of the flute produced by an accomplished master of that fascinating instrument; and the song given by Miss Bassano and Mme. de Varney afforded convincing evidence of the judgment which Mr. Lavenu has displayed in the selection of his vocalists. But next to Liszt, the grand attraction was John Parry, who has long been unrivalled as a singer both of the plaintive ballad and the genteel comic ditty. In each he shone to perfection on Monday, especially in the latter, receiving, as usual, a vociferous encore for his "Musical Husband," followed (of course) by the "Musical Wife," and also that humorous composition, "Wanted a Governess," which, as a specimen of his admirable talent in this style is quite unequalled. Parry's accompaniments are, moreover, the constant theme of praise; but all the world knows that he is a universal genius, and that whatever he undertakes is executed with gentility and taste.

"MISCELLANEOUS", The musical world (October 1840), 223 

Liszt completed his first tour through the provinces on Saturday last, at Brighton, and set off for the continent on Tuesday. His performance at all the towns he visited was most rapturously applauded. Mr. Frank Mori played duets with the great pianist in a manner that reflected infinite credit on his talents. The vocalists were Mdlle. de Varney, Miss Bassano, and Mr. John Parry; all of whom gave great satisfaction, particularly John Parry, of whom the provincial papers speak in the highest terms. His song of "The Inchcape Bell" created much interest everywhere, in consequence of the extraordinary style in which it was accompanied on the pianoforte by Liszt; while his "Governess," and "Musical Husband" were regularly encored. Mr. Lavenu was the conductor, as well as the speculator; the rest were engaged by him. Owing to Grisi, Persiani, Rubini, Tamburini, &c. &c. going pretty much the same route as Lavenu and his party, the concerts were not so well attended at some places as might have been expected; but another tour in the north, Scotland and Ireland, will be commenced in November with every prospect of success.

"THE INCHAPE BELL. To the Editor of . . .", The musical world (5 November 1840), 292 

SIR, - I was highly amused with a well concocted article in your publication last week, respecting "the Inchcape Bell," which I conclude was written by a country correspondent; but I felt a little drawback on my pleasure, when I reflected that there was not a word of truth, in the paragraph. Miss Bassano never sung the song during Lavenu's tour, nor did "Mr. John Parry, the poet, painter, and musician" toll a bell "cast expressly for the occasion," for there was no bell to toll withal; but he sung the song himself, accompanied by Liszt, "the celebrated pianist," who never rushed out of the orchestra in the manner described by your facetious correspondent. For your satisfaction I enclose a copy of Lavenu's programme. I should not have troubled you with this, had I not been a great stickler for upholding the motto of the Welsh bards, which is, "Truth against the world." Your's, &c. JOHN PARRY, Sen. Store-street, Nov. 2, 1840.

[We readily give publicity to our correspondent's statement. Our information was obtained, as we thought, from authorities that might be relied on, which even handed to us the name of the bell-founder. The programme certainly makes no mention of the tintinnabulatory accompaniment, and we sincerely thank Mr. Parry for correcting this very important mis-statement. - Ed. M. W.]

"PROVINCIAL", The musical world (December 1840), 376 

LIVERPOOL - Grand Subscription Concerts. - The first of the scries for the present season took place on Tuesday the 1st inst., and was numerously attended. The great magnet of attraction on this occasion was Liszt, who played four times, to the great delight of the audience. Miss Steele and Miss Bassano, together with John Parry, jun., and a most efficient orchestra, made up the remainder of the performers . . .

WOLVERHAMPTON. Mr. Lavenu gave a concert here on the 27th ult., Liszt being the great attraction, assisted in the vocal department by Miss Steele, Miss Bassano, and Mr. John Parry: Mr. Lavenu conducted . . .


[Notice], The London gazette (3 May 1844), 1530 

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership lately subsisting between the undersigned, Lewis Henry Lavenu and Robert Hodwon the younger, of No. 28, New Bond-street, in the county of Middlesex, Music Sellers and Publishers, traditing under the name of Mori, Lavenu, and Co. is this day dissolved by mutual consent. All debts due to an from the said firm will be received and paid by the said Robert Hodson the younger and Company, at No. 28, New Bond-street aforesaid: As witness our hands this 1st day of May 1844.
Lewis Henry Lavenu.
Robert Hodson, junr.


"DRURY-LANE THEATRE", London Evening Standard (10 November 1846), 1

A grand opera, called Loretta, a Tale of Seville, was brought out at this theatre last night. It is the first operatic production of Mr. Lavenu, the son-in-law of the late M. Mori, with whom he was for a while in parmership in Bond-street. Acting upon the advice of his celebrated relative, he became a pupil of the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied the pianoforte, the violoncello, and composition, principally under the guidance of Bochsa, in each of which acquirements he made considerable proficiency. When Mori died Mr. Lavenu left the Academy, and confined himself almost exclusively to the management of the business in Bond-street, speculating, it will be remembered, to a large extent, in the autumn journeyings of foreign artists in the provinces. For some years past he has been living in retirement, and beyond publishing a few songs of but trifling importance has made little or no sign in the musical world. His leisure, however, seems to have been consumed in the revival of his musical studies, and we have now the first fruit thereof in the opera which Mr. Bunn has put into representation with all those decorative adjuncts that allure and recommend.

Before entering into any details, we may at once remark that the reception of the opera was immensely euthusia[stic], although its general execution was far from perfect - suggesting once, again, regret that in this, as in everything else of the same kind, the necessity for hasty preparation is so urgent. We have been informed that the opera was scarcely finished by the composer a week ago; consequently, the copying, the learning, and the rehearsing have all been matters of extreme and inconvenient hurry. The wonder is, that works of this magnitude, brought out under such great disadvantages, should go so smoothly as they do. Our English executants, however, are of singular expertness in these exigencies, and accomplish so much in a limited time as to greatly diminish the chances of failure; and in all these exercises of rapid acquirement - instructed no doubt by experience - they perform feats that astonish and confound foreigners. But though their ability in this way is thus frequently tested, it is almost a pity that it exists. The concerted pieces of last night, of which the opera contains an unusual number, would have told infinitely better had they been more closely and simultaneously developed. It is obvious that such large vocal, orchestral, and histrionic complications - involving the coincident readiness and address of vast numbers of people - can only be made to "go" with proper nicety by frequent preliminary trial. This, however, is a sore of long standing; and perhaps, when the necessities of the house are remembered, should hardly be alluded to; still it is to be lamented that the first night of a new opera is doomed to be scarcely aught more than a dressed rehearsal - that is, in those critical aggregates to which we have specifically alluded. The ballads, duets, and trios, &c, which fall into the hands of the principals, generally fare well enough, and upon these maybe the chief reliance is placed.

The opera opens with the bustle and revelry of a Spanish inn, and the arrival of Philippo (Borrani), a recruit on his way to join his regiment, accompanied by his old father, and his sister, Loretta (Madame Anna Bishop), who now prepare to take leave of him. A certain cavalier, Don Carlos (Harrison), breaks in with a party of roystering companions, and, full of tipsy recklessness, offers an insult to the pretty sister of the recruit, which being fiercely resented by the brother, leads to a disturbance, and the arrival of the police, in the persons of a troop of alguazils. Loretta is carried off by the audacious Carlos, and conveyed to his apartment in the palace of Don Henriquez (S. Jones), whose daughter, Florinda (Miss Poole), he is about to marry; and under the cover of night she becomes the victim of his guilty violence. In the meanwhile, love of a purer kind has taken possession of the profligate's bosom, and he becomes serious and sentimental. Taking advantage of the temporary absence of her seducer, whose rank and identity she is ignorant of, Loretta escapes through a window by means of a sash which she finds in the chamber, and the perilous process of scaling the balcony is subsequently seen by Carlos in the distance as he is coldly and uneasily associating with his betrothed wife in the festivities of a ball-room - with which tableau the first act terminates.

Before the second commences a period of five years is supposed to have elapsed. The action is transplanted to a village on the banks of the Guadalquiver, where Loretta is living in seclusion with a child of four years old, the fruit of her unlucky intimacy with the unknown Carlos. The latter coming into the neighbourhood to celebrate his nuptials with Florinda, unexpectedly encounters her, and feels all his former sentiments of affection revive. The brother of Loretta also comes, now promoted to the rank of captain; and Carlos, at first jealous of the tenderness involved in the recognition of the brother and sister, is led, by the honest impulses of his passion, when he discovers the relationship, to forget his obligations to Florinda, and offer Loretta his hand. She instinctively declines; and then the sudden appearance of the child, implying the mysterious infamy of its author, brings about an exciting dramatic collision. Philippo is furious, Loretta terrified, and Carlos perplexed; while the soldiers and villagers, ignorant of the cause of the embarrassment, espouse opposite sides; and, in the language of the libretto, a scene of the "utmost tumult prevails."

In the third act the preparations for the wedding of Carlos and Florinda are going on at Seville, in the midst of which Philippo, having been told by his sister her tale of sorrow and misfortune, comes dejected and heart-broken to lay his commission at Carlos's feet. Loretta, who accompanies him, suddenly recognises the apartment as that to which she was conveyed by her ravisher, and amid violent agitation challenges Carlos as the author of her misery, establishing the proof of his villany by the production ef a diamond rosary she had torn from the scarf which enabled her to escape. Overflowing with brotherly wrath Philippo strikes the convicted gallant. The unfortunate captain is anon condemned to death for assaulting his superior oflicer, and in the last scene is led out to execution, the prelude to a situation of powerful interest, wherein Loretta, armed with the child, frenziedly confronts her destroyer and upbraids him for his base and unrelenting cruelty; at which the better feelings of the cavalier come into play, and he contritely declares his guilt in the face of everybody. A youth named Ferdinand (King) being at his elbow to take Florinda off his hands, he gladly transfers himself to Loretta, who - having saved her brother, found a father for her child, secured a husband, and repaired her honour - naturally enough sings a brisk rondo of triumph and delight.

The music, as we have already hinted, consists of an almost ceaseless current of recitatives, trios, and ensembles. Its character is light and me!odic, exhibiting facility rather than power; while the voluble clothings of the orchestra denote skilful workmanship, and a sense of picturesque effect. If there is little absolutely original to excite the surprise, there is much to attract the fancy, and the opera - provided the second act is shortened, and some of the noise elsewhere abated - is likely to please the public. The memory is so clogged after the first hearing of a work of this length and copiousness, that it is scarcely able to refer with clearness to the better points of invention and art which may happen to have been presented, for with such a profuse abundance of "airy strains" the attention is apt to get jaded and irregular. We have, however, a distinct remembrance of a clever round for soprano and two basses, "Before this heart, my father;" a contemplative tenor ballad, "That feeling which exalts the soul;" a trying dramatic duet for soprano and tenor, "Some hopes there are;" and a soothing and reposeful quartette, marvellously like "Farewell to Lochabar" - all occurring in the first act. In the second, Loretta's romance, "On ths banks of Guadalquiver," one of the themes of the overture, is a graceful and artless gem, followed by another long dramatic duet, parts of which are of great merit. In this act there is a trio, "It is not wealth," which, though well harmonized, is nevertheless dry and uninteresting; and a sentimental ballad, "Oh, I can well believe." The notabilities of the third act consist of a romance, "Happy heart," which it is plain will make the music-sellers' fortune; a delicious morceau d'ensemble, "Do not leave;" a well-conceived dramatic scena "When pale and clouded;" and a charming closing rondo, "Ah! heart be hushed," for the prima donna. The choruses come in legions. Those of the prettiest burden may be found in the first act; and let us refer particularly to one, half pastoral and half devotional, "Around us are closing the curtains of night," which, though simple, is very fascinating. The dramatic choruses of the second act, during the progress of the rustic fete and the evening fair, are light and fluent; but the short choral passages which precede the last scene, and are combined with the principal dramatic situation, are, if we remember rightly, the most striking.

We have but small opportunity of doing justice to Madame Anna Bishop, who sang with great sweetness and effect - acting also with force and ability. Her exquisite voice, always clear and accurate, was of immense value in the concerted pieces. Her execution of the little romance in the second act, "On the banks of Guadalquiver" was faultlessly chaste, and obtained a loud encore; but her principal efforts were in the business involved in her discovery of Carlos, and her denunciation of his infamy, wherein she disclosed a far greater amount of breadth and energy than might have been looked for. The final air was a superb instance of promptitude in the art of vocal leaping and of sureness during the process. The applause which overwhelmed her here was tremendous, and she was not only vehemently encored, but has more bouquets to pick up than she could well carry. Miss Poole was also in grand repute whenever she appeared, and by her pure and excellent style of singing the romance m the third act, no less than by her frank and unaffected manner, wrung a double encore, without, we believe, a single voice being lifted up in denial. Mr. Borrani sang as he usually sings - so also Mr. Jones and Mr. Harrison. The ballads of the last-mentioned individual provoked the usual contests in the score of repetition, and angry were the struggles before the compliments produced any fruit.

The scenery and decorations betoken Mr. Bunn's liberal hand, and few stage groupings that we have seen surpass that of the village fair, with its coloured lanthorns and its busy gaiety. The singers were all called for when the curtain fell. Mr. Lavenu also appeared, led on by Harley, who presented him a bouquet with a crisp and diverting sort of politeness. Lastly, Mr. Bunn was required; and the audience were once more refreshed with a sight od an obeisance, which, like Taglioni's curtsey, is inimitable.

"DRURY LANE", The athenaeum (14 November 1846), 1169 


"LAW NOTICES, THIS DAY. INSOLVENT DEBTOR'S COURT", Morning Advertiser (22 May 1848), 4

Final Orders ... Lewis Henry Lavenu ...

[News], The theatrical times (23 September 1848), 382 

The Concert Season will this year far exceed in splendour any that has preceded, for many seasons. The attractions will be of the first character, including the principal artistes of the rival Operas, headed by Jenny Liod, who, contrary to custom, remains with us during the winter.

The season will be commenced on Monday next by Mr. Lavenu's Grand Concert, at Exeter Hall. We may safely assert that this will be one of the finest entertainments that will be given this winter: it will prove a fitting herald to the coming musical gaieties; indeed Mr. Lavenu has acquired a just celebrity for the delightful concerts which he annually gives to his patrons. On the present occasion the list of artistes includes Alboni, Miss Poole, Emma Lucombe, Miss Miran, the Misses Williams, and Miss Durlocher, Messrs Machin, Weiss, and numerous others. We have no doubt that a crowded auditory will greet this brilliant galaxy of vocal talent.

"MR. LAVENU'S CONCERT", The theatrical times (30 September 1848), 389 

The torpor into which the musical world of London was fast subsiding in consequence of the departure of the whole mass of talent for the benefit of our provincial friends, was suddenly cast off by the announcement of Mr. Lavenu's Grand Annual Concert, which took place on Monday evening, at Exeter Hall. The beneficier is well known to the dillettanti as a musician of great taste and genius; and to the world, more particularly, by the excellence of his concerts, and by his recent composition of the opera of "Loretta;" but he may most certainly be thanked for the very delightful entertainment he provided for his numerous friends and patrons, so early (or late, for we scarcely know which to call it), in the present concert season, may undoubtedly be styled a concert of female vocal talent: for though Messrs. Machin and Weiss, Mies Kate Loder, and the powerful band from the Royal Italian Opera, contributed towards the evening's entertainments, yet they merely created a variety; whilst the success of Mr. Lavenu's speculation must be attributed to the brilliant array of stars with which his very admirable programme was studded, including Mademoiselle Alboni, the Misses Williams, Mrs. Weiss, and the Misses E. Lucombe, Miran, Poole, and Durlacher; and most glad were we to see at the present dull period, so crowded and fashionable an audience assembled to greet these well known artistes.

The Concert opened with a very noisy MS. overture by Mr. Lavenu, and in the course of the evening the band likewise performed the Overtures to "Oberon," (Weber), "William Tell," (Rossini), and "Men of Prometheus," (Beethoven): these were all executed in the first-rate style for which this orchestra is so famed; that to "William Tell," was unanimously encored. Mr. Blagrove was the leader: the beneficier conducted very efficiently; and Mr. Lindsay Sloper ably presided at the pianoforte. Not the least interesting event of the evening was Miss Kate Loder's very effective pianoforte performance of the second and third movements of Mendelssohn's "Concerto in G Minor;" it was played with great taste, but required more vigour.

Having dismissed the instrumental portion of the Concert, we must bestow some attention to the vocal attractions of the evening, of which, (though each fair lady had their particular admirers in the room,) the principal feature was Mademoiselle Alboni . . . The Misses Williams sang Donizetti's "Io l'udia," "The Swiss Maidens" by Holmes, and Lavenu's "Sea Elves," in their usual sweet style . . . they likewise shared the honours of the evening, as did Miss Poole, by her execution of F. Romer's Ballad "They bid me never see him more," and one by Lavenu, both of which displayed the bell-like tones of her voice to the greatest advantage, and were unanimously encored. Miss E. Lucombe was very successful in a scena by Pacini, "I tuoi frequenti pala piti," and a ballad by Loder "The Charm of Love" . . . The trio from Loretta by Lavenu, was respectably rendered by Mrs. Weiss, and Messrs. Weiss and Machin . . .


[Advertisement], Liverpool Mercury (29 August 1851), 1


Later documentation and reminiscences:

"Musical Society", The athenaeum (9 August 1873), 187 

THE death of Mr. Frank Mori, at the age of 52, is announced. He was a son of the Mori, a famed violinist, who was so long connected with the King's Theatre when Spagnoletti was conductor. Mr. Frank Mori was the composer of several popular songs, and was a well-known accompanist for the concert-room in town and country. Mr. Frank Mori was attacked with paralysis some two years since, but he rallied sufficiently to attend to his duties as one of the Professors of Singing at the Crystal Palace, until recently.

Francis Hueffer, Half a century of music in England, 1837-1887, essays towards a history (London: Chapman and Hall, 1889), 125 

. . . The provincial tour had not been a success, and Lavenu, the impresario, lost money over it, whereat Liszt repaid every penny of the honorarium he had already received. "He told me so," said Moscheles, with a smile, "calling Lavenu a 'pauvre diable.'"

Walter Maynard, The light of other days seen through the wrong end of an opera glass (London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1890), 102, 105-07, 138, 143, 149 

[101] . . . Crowds were attracted by the announcement that Alboni would appear at the Worcester and Norwich Festivals . . . [102] . . . At Norwich we stayed at the Black Bull Inn - now Levett's - in the Market Place. Our sitting-room was over the portico, and outside our windows was the effigy proclaiming the name of the house. A touring party before us, headed by Lavenu - one of the merriest musicians that ever lived - had occupied the same apartment, and the night prior to their departure had obtained a pailful of colour and a brush, and therewith had painted the Black Bull white. The waiter informed us it had been done to punish the landlord for an over-charge in his bill. Had the master caught them, said the waiter - I suppose by way of cautioning us - he would have charged them before a magistrate . . . 

[105] . . . On our way from the North we visited several provincial towns, and ultimately reached London, where a concert was given with Alboni and her companions at Exeter Hall, by Lavenu, whose name I have already mentioned as being concerned in painting the Black Bull white at Norwich. He was partner in a music-publishing firm in Bond Street, whose copyrights and good-will were purchased by Addison when starting in opposition to Cramer and Co. The firm of Mori and Lavenu was long established and well known. Mori died, and Lavenu sold the business. He met with reverses, and had to rely upon his talent as a violoncellist and composer for an income to [106] support a large family. He produced an opera, "Loretta," at Drury Lane Theatre. It was full of melody, admirably put together, but Madame Anna Bishop, for whom the soprano part was composed, failed to please the public, and the opera was withdrawn after twenty or thirty representations. The importance of the words of a song being clearly pronounced was remarkably proved in the performance of this opera. Miss Poole (Mrs. Bacon), who played the second soprano part, tells me she was alarmed at the rivalry of Madame Bishop, and consulted her singing-master as to how she should sing "Happy Heart," a song allotted to the second soprano in the third act. "Fear nothing," said the master, "forget all about the music, and let your words be distinctly understood." Miss Poole, or rather Mrs. Bacon, followed the advice, and so pronounced the words of her song that they were audible and intelligible in the remotest part of the theatre, the result being that "Happy Heart" had to be sung three times every evening, and was the greatest success in the opera, Madame Anna Bishop notwithstanding. Lavenu was indefatigable in his exertions as a composer and instrumentalist, writing and scoring all kinds of music, playing, teaching, and conducting, whenever and wherever the chance of an engage-[107]-ment offered. Fortune rarely smiled upon him, although its frowns could not repress his innate love of fun and inexhaustible flow of good spirits. We shall meet Louis Lavenu again in these pages before he ultimately leaves England for America and Australia, where I believe he met with all the success he deserved, and was better appreciated than in his native country . . . 

[138] . . . Having given concerts and operas at Manchester, Liverpool, and other towns on the way, we proceeded to Ireland, where we intended to make a lengthened tour. Upon reaching Dublin, to my surprise I found that Sims Reeves, accompanied by Whitworth, Lavenu, and others, had preceded us in opera at the Theatre Royal, their performances ending with "La Sonnambula" the evening before ours were to commence. They were staying at Morrisson's Hotel, where we also alighted. I called on them, and we met as old friends. There had been some misunderstanding between Catherine Hayes and Reeves, which interfered unpleasantly with their professional pursuits, during which they were frequently engaged to sing together . . .

North America (September 1851 to March 1853)

"AMERICAN EXTRACTS", Empire (21 January 1852), 3


[News], The musical review and choral advocate [NY] (January 1853), 

Mr. L. Lavenu, who came over with Catherine Hayes as the conductor of her orchestras, contemplates, we are glad to learn, making New-York his residence.

[Advertisement], The musical review and choral advocate [NY] (March 1853), 48 

L. LAVENU. The Rose of My Heart. Words by G. Linley. 38
" " Let some Gentle Word be Spoken. Words by J. Simmonds. 38
" " Flowrets of the Grave. Wordsby J. Simmonds. 25
" " The Joyful Summer's Come. Words by H. C. Watson. 38
These are four as beautiful ballads as have been published in a very long time. Mr. Lavenu originally came to the United States as director for Miss Catherine Hayes' company, and the first-named ballad was composed for and sung by this distinguished artist. He is one of the most successful of English ballad composers; and the immense success of many of his former works, "On the banks of Guadalquiver," etc, etc., will make the above little gems a welcome addition to every singer's repertoire.

3 March 1853, Levenu sailed from San Francisco for Sydney

"CALIFONIA", The musical review and choral advocate [NY] (April 1853), 59 

Hauser, the violinist, and Lavenu, the pianist and composer, have arrived at San Francisco, and will doubtless reap an auriferous harvest.

[Advertisement], The musical review and choral advocate [NY] (April 1853), 64 

L. LAVENU. Song of the Breeze. Words by Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt 56
" " The Cottage Rose. Words by J. Simonds. 38
These two Songs of Mr. Lavenu's are real gems, and are among the most beautiful English ballads published in this country.
The first named is very brilliant, and is dedicated to Madame Wallace . . .
Harmonized Songs, for Three or Four Voices, ARRANGED By JAMES G. MAEDER . . . No. 6. My Dreams are now no more of Thee. L. Lavenu. 38 . . .
L. LAVENU. Clarendon Polka. Dedicated to Mrs. Putnam. 38 . . .

[News], Empire (12 May 1853), 2

Later recollections

Max Maretzek, Crotchets and quavers; or, Revelations of an opera manager in America (New York: S. French, 1855), (186), 187

[186] . . . The troupe which accompanied Miss Hayes to the United [187] States was by no means conspicuous for its first-rate talent. It consisted of Messrs. Mengis, Augustus Braham, and Lavenu. Mengis, you know, had been an unsuccessful tenor, and when his upper notes had failed him, had transmuted himself with the remainder into an incomplete barytone. As for Augustus Braham, he had been an officer in the English army, and had quitted it with a reliance on a fair tenor voice, and his patronymic, to endorse him as a vocalist. Lavenu was a good-fellow, with small claims to rank as a Conductor, for anything save quadrille-music. Now, when this company was compared with that which had assisted Jenny Lind - when Benedict and Lavenu were named together, when Mengis was measured with Beletti, and the Brahamling had his vocal inches counted off against those of Salvi, the result could scarcely remain doubtful. It was also very greatly inferior to the Havana Opera troupe, who were at this time playing under my direction in New York and Philadelphia. This fact, those who had the charge of Catherine Hayes and the artists who had accompanied her, soon found out, and it was thought necessary by them to add a portion of my attractions to the only attractive part of their company - Catherine Hayes herself . . .

Australia (11 May 1853 to 5 December 1854, and 28 June 1855 to 1 August 1859)
Sydney, NSW (11 May to August 1853)

11 May 1853, Lavenu arrived Sydney

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", Empire (12 May 1853), 2

May 11. - Abyssinia, barque, 399 tons, Captain Thomas J. Ferrers, from San Francisco 3rd. March. Passengers - . . . Lewis Lavenu . . .

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (14 May 1853), 3 

The first part of the Abyssinia's voyage was attended with tolerable success, she getting abreast of Norfolk Island in 38 days . . . Amongst her passengers are . . . Mr. Lewis Lavenue, a composer of much note from London, who has for the last two years conducted the concerts of Miss Catherine Hayes in the United States, and arrived in San Francisco with Miska Hauser, the violinist, which gentleman will shortly follow Mr. Lavenue to Australia.

Hobart, TAS (12 August to 19 November 1853)

12 August 1853, Lavenu arrived Hobart with Carandini

SHIPPING NEWS. HOBART TOWN. ARRIVALS", The Courier (13 August 1853), 2 

August 12. - Emma, brig, 170, Brown, Sydney, sundries. Cabin: Mad. Carandini and two daughters . . . Messrs. . . . Lavenu . . .

"To the Editors of . . .", The Courier (11 November 1853), 2 

"To the Editor of the Tasmanian Athenaeum", The Courier (11 November 1853), 2 

19 November 1853, Lavenu, with Maria Carandini and Frank Howson, sailed from Hobart for Melbourne

"SHIPPING NEWS. HOBART TOWN. DEPARTURE", The Courier (19 November 1853), 2 

Nov. 19th . . . Tasmania, iron steamer, 285, Bentley, Melbourne, sundries. Cabin - . . . F. Howson . . . Lavenu . . . Madame Carandini . . .

Melbourne and regional VIC (22 November 1853 to 31 May 1854)

22 November 1853, Lavenu, with Maria Carandini and Frank Howson, arrived Melbourne

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Argus (23 November 1853), 4 

November 23 - Tasmania, S.S. S., 181 tons, G. V. Bentley, from Hobart Town 17th Inst. Passengers . . . Mrs. Carandini . . . F. Howson . . . Caverner [sic] . . .


31 May 1854, Lavenu, with Maria Carandini cleared out from Melbourne for Launceston

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE . . . CLEARED OUT", The Argus (1 June 1854), 4 

May 31 - Clarence, steam ship 199 tons, W. H. Saunders, for Launceston . . .

Launceston and Hobart, TAS (3 June to 24 August 1854)

3 June 1854, Lavenu and Carandini arrived Launceston

"SHIPPING NEWS. LAUNCESTON. ARRIVALS", The Courier (5 June 1854), 2 

JUNE 3RD. Steamer Clarence, 199, Saunders, Melbourne. Passengers - . . . Mde. Carandmi, M. Lavenu . . .

24 August 1854, Lavenu and the Wheelers sailed from Hobart for Sydney

"SHIPPING NEWS. HOBART TOWN . . . CLEARED OUT", The Courier (25 August 1854), 2 

August 24th - Emma, brig, 139, Brown, Sydney. Cabin - Messrs. Gulley, Lavenu, Wheeler, Mrs. Wheeler . . .

Sydney, NSW (31 August to 18 October 1854)

31 August 1854, Lavenu and the Wheelers arrived Sydney to join Hayes's party

"SHIPPING", The Sydney Morning Herald (1 September 1854), 4 

AUGUST 31 - Emma, brig, 139 tons, Captain Brown, from Hobart Town 24th instant. Passengers . . . Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler . . . Mr. Lavenue . . .

18 October 1854, Lavenu sailed from Sydney for Melbourne, with Hayes's party

Melbourne and Geelong, VIC (October to 25 November 1854)

October 1854, Lavenu arrived Melbourne with Hayes's party

25 November 1854, Lavenu sailed from Melbourne with Hayes's party, per Norna, for Adelaide, and beyond

Adelaide, SA (27-28 November 1854) and Albany, WA (5 December 1854)

27 November 1854, Lavenu arrived Adelaide, with Hayes's party

"MISS CATHERINE HAYES", South Australian Register (28 November 1854), 2 

The P. and O. Company's steamer Norna reached the Lightship anchorage about 5 o'clock, and Miss Hayes, fearful that the completion of the assiduous arrangements of Dr. Kent might have been prevented by some accident, landed near the Semaphore Hotel in the Norna's barge, crossed Lefevre's Peninsula, and reached Galton's Port Admiral Hotel at about half past 6 o'clock. Dr. Kent, accompanied by Mrs. Kent, had left the Port in the Government Steam-tug about 4 o'clock, and his kind endeavours having been partially frustrated by equally kind intentions, he returned to Calton's Hotel, where he found Miss Hayes and her mother, who had awaited his return, and the party shortly after reached Adelaide in a carriage and four. Mr. Newman and other gentlemen at the Port were most politely attentive to the charming visitor and her suite, and exceedingly anxious to assist her in affording to the citizens of Adelaide the much-desired opportunity of enjoying that musical treat which had given such unbounded satisfaction in Sydney and Melbourne, after charming "the old world and the new". Miss Hayes, accompanied as before mentioned, reached the York Hotel, in this City, at about 10 o'clock last night. The reception, at that late hour, if not enthusiastic was most respectful, kind, and unobtrusive. Mons. Coulon does not accompany Miss Hayes; and we regret to learn that it was only at the last moment, almost, that he signified his intention to remain in Melbourne. Mr. Lavenu, who will take the place of Mons. Coulon, is highly spoken of, but the change has necessitated some alteration in the programme for the concert of this morning, which will take place at 11 o'clock, at the Victoria Theatre, as announced. The liberality of the Sydney proprietors has already been recorded. We have now to add that the like sentiments were found to animate the proprietors of the Melbourne Theatre, who presented the admired songstress with a piece of plate, very valuable diamond necklace, and bracelet.

Our readers will be delighted to hear that Miss Hayes appears to be in excellent health, and much gratified by preparations so greatly beyond what she had allowed herself to expect from so short a visit. A special advertisement will supply all the remaining information as to the Concert, which is expected to bring a very large and highly respectable attendance.

Miss Hayes proceeds hence to Calcutta, where she will probably remain about six weeks; from thence it is her intention to return to England, and afterwards to cross the Atlantic again to New York.

28 November 1854, morning concert, Royal Victoria Theatre, Adelaide, SA

[Advertisement], South Australian Register (28 November 1854), 3 

MISS CATHERINE HAYES. - The CONCERT This Morning, at the Victoria Theatre, will commence at 11 o'clock precisely; and although the absence of Mons. Coulon will necessitate some alteration in the programme, it is hoped that the professional devotedness of Miss Hayes, and the effective assistance of Mr. Lavenu, will go far to obviate the possibility of disappointment. As the arrangements will not admit of the receipt of money at the entrance-doors of the Theatre, it will be necessary for all who wish to attend the Concert to provide themselves with tickets at Mr. Main's, King William-street.

"MISS CATHERINE HAYES", Adelaide Times (29 November 1854), 2 

"MISS CATHERINE HAYES", Adelaide Times (30 November 1854), 2 

"MISS CATHERINE HAYES'S CONCERT", South Australian Register (30 November 1854), 3 

"MISS CATHERINE HAYES", Adelaide Times (30 November 1854), 3 

5 December 1854, Lavenu at Albany, WA, with Hayes's party, en route to Calcutta

"LATEST COLONIAL INTELLIGENCE", The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News (15 December 1854), 3 

. . . The Norna, steamer, arrived Albany on the 5th instant, having Miss Hayes on board on her way to Calcutta . . .

South and South-east Asia (January to June 1855)

"SHIPPING", Allen's Indian Mail and Register of Intelligence (14 February 1855), 68

BENGAL . . . Per steamer Norma (Jan. 3), from GALLE. - Col. Haythorne, H.M.'s 98th regt.; Mrs. and Miss Catherine Hayes, Messrs. Bushnell, Dency, Lavena [sic], Robertson, Stubbs, Wendelstalt, and Wrincolt; and Lieut. Hickey.

"CATHERINE HAYES", Bell's Life in Sydney (21 April 1855), 2

[Advertisement], Java-bode: nieuws, handels- en advertentieblad voor Nederlandsch-Indie (16 May 1855), 2 

[Advertisement], Java-bode: nieuws, handels- en advertentieblad voor Nederlandsch-Indie (18 May 1855), 2 

[Advertisement], Java-bode: nieuws, handels- en advertentieblad voor Nederlandsch-Indie (19 May 1855), 3 

"To Miss CATHERINE HAYES, prior to her departure for Australia", Java-bode: nieuws, handels- en advertentieblad voor Nederlandsch-Indie (23 May 1855), 4 

"VAARWELL! TOEGEZONGEN AAN Miss CATHERINE HAYES", Java-bode: nieuws, handels- en advertentieblad voor Nederlandsch-Indie (26 May 1855), 4 

"MISS CATHERINE HAYES", The Sydney Morning Herald (18 June 1855), 5

Many of our readers will be glad to hear that this gifted lady contemplates a second visit to our city; and her sojourn, we have reason to believe, will be of some duration. Miss Hayes writes in April from Batavia, where her success has been most complete, her magnificent powers of singing and acting being ably supported by the French operatic company located in that singular city. A file of Calcutta papers, just received, contains many enthusiastic critiques on her performances in the "city of palaces", and although it seems the first three concerts did not command overflowing audiences, yet the remainder of the series were entirely successful, the proverbial apathy of the people being at length overcome. The voyage from Melbourne to Ceylon in the Norna must have been unusually agreeable, as the passengers, with Miss Hayes' assistance, gave a succession of operatic and dramatic entertainments, and the addresses delivered on the several occasions written, we imagine, by our facetious friend, M. Lavenu, are very amusing. The programmes place Miss Hayes for Bishop's glee, "Blow gentle Gales", assisted by Lieutenant Woolridge, R.N., Captain Burne, and Mr. Bain; also a selection of her favourite songs, concluding on each evening with the National Anthem: the solos by Miss Hayes, M. Lavenu on the harmonium, a gentleman rejoicing in the patronymic of Fitz Stubbs on the guitar, with numerous vocal displays by the rest of the company.

ASSOCIATIONS: Napoleon Fitz-Stubbs (son of Thomas Stubbs)

Melbourne, VIC (28 June to 21 July 1855)


June 28. - Glendargh, ship, 682 tons, A. T. Smith, from Singapore 2nd May, via Batavia, 26th May. Passengers-cabin : Miss Catherine Hayes, Mrs. Hayes, Miss Kelly, Mrs. Nugent, Mrs. Millar and child . . . Messrs. W. A. Bushnell, L. H. Lavenu, J. McLean, W. W. Blow, J. Grey, J. Roberts; and one hundred and ninety-nine Chinese in the steerage. Captain Smith, agent.


21 July 1855, Lavenu sailed from Melbourne for Sydney, in Hayes's party

Sydney, NSW (24 July to 19 September 1855)

24 July 1855, Lavenu arrived Sydney, in Hayes's party

"SHIPPING. ARRIVALS", The Sydney Morning Herald (24 July 1855), 4 

July 24. - City of Sydney (s.), 700 tons, Captain Moodie, from Melbourne 21st instant. Passengers - . . . Miss K. Hayes, Mrs. Hayes . . . Messrs. . . . Bushnell, Lavenu . . . Wheeler . . .

19 September 1855, Lavenu sailed from Sydney for Melbourne, in Hayes's party

Melbourne and regional VIC (22 September 1855 to 19 March 1857)

22 September 1855, Lavenu arrived Melbourne, in Hayes's party

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. ARRIVED (HOBSON'S BAY)", The Argus (24 September 1855), 4 

September 22.-City of Sydney, A. S. N. Co.'s S.S.S., 750 tons. R. 1. Moodie, from Sydney 19th inst. Passengers - cabin : Mrs. Hayes, Miss Catherine Hayes and servant . . . Messrs. Bushnell . . . Lavenu . . .

26 September 1855, Melbourne, Theatre Royal, Lavenu's MS overture Anne of Geirstein

"THEATRE ROYAL. MISS CATHERINE HAYES", The Argus (28 September 1855), 5 

After a short but brilliant professional career in Sydney, Miss Catherine Hayes has returned to our city to fulfil an engagement at the Theatre Royal. She made her debut at that establishment in a concert, on Wednesday evening, under rather unfavorable circumstances certainly, the public mind being fully engrossed with the disastrous news received that day by the Champion of the Seas . . . In noticing the instrumental portion of the concert precedence must undoubtedly be given to M. Lavenu's MS overture to "Anne of Geirstein" which is a composition of no ordinary merit, and was to us a distinguished feature in the evening's entertainment. Ambitious it is certainly but the composer does not aspire to more than he is manifestly capable of accomplishing and the composition, in our estimation, surpasses any previous effort of his that we are acquainted with. It is introduced by an allegro movement in E, the motif of which is dramatically imagined, and worked out in a musician like manner. A skilful, and withal, brilliant modulation leads to an andantino in G of a Swiss character, and this is followed by a bold and Weberish burst in allegro time the key returning to E . . .



19 March 1857, Lavenu and party sailed from Melbourne for Sydney

Sydney, NSW (22 March to 18 July 1857)

22 March 1857, Lavenu and party arrived Sydney

"SHIPPING. ARRIVALS", The Sydney Morning Herald (23 March 1857), 6 

MARCH 22. - Governor-General (s.), 700 tons, Captain Watts, from Melbourne, 19th instant. Passenger - Madame Carandini, Mr. and Mrs. Kohler . . . Messrs. . . . Lavenu . . .

18 July 1857, Lavenu and Carandini sailed from Sydney for Melbourne

Melbourne and regional VIC (22 March to 7 December 1857)

21 July 1857, Lavenu and Carandini arrived Melbourne

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Argus (22 July 1857), 4 

July 21. - City of Sydney, A.S.N. Co.'s s.s.s., 730 tons, R. T. Moodie, from Sydney 18th inst. Passengers - saloon . . . Madame Carandini . . . Messrs. . . . Lavenu . . .

Hobart and TAS (9 December 1857 to 4 March 1858)

9 December 1857, Lavenu and company arrived Launceston

"Ship News", The Cornwall Chronicle (12 December 1858), 4 

December 9. - Steamer Royal Shepherd, 360 tons, W. H. Saunders, master, from Melbourne . . . Passengers . . . M. Coulon, M. Laglaise, M. Lavenu . . . J. Kohler, Madame Carandini . . .


4 March 1858, Lavenu and company cleared out Launceston, for Melbourne

"Shipping Intelligence . . . CLEARED OUT", Launceston Examiner (6 March 1858), 2 

March 4. - Steamer Black Swan, 300 tons, A. T. Woods, master, for Melbourne; George Fisher, agent. Passengers - . . . Signor Grossi, Madame Carandini, Mr. Kohler, Mr. Lavenu . . .

Melbourne, VIC (6 March 15 April 1858)

6 March 1858, Lavenu and company arrived Melbourne

15 April 1858, Lavenu and company cleared out Melbourne, for Adelaide

Adelaide, SA (17 April to 6 July 1858)

17 April 1858, Lavenu with Carandini, Laglaise and Grossi arrived Adelaide

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. ARRIVED", Adelaide Times (19 April 1858), 2

Same day [Saturday, April 17] — The screw-steamer Admella, 209 tons, Captain McEwan, from Melbourne April 15, and Portland April 16. Passengers . . . Madame Carandini . . . Messrs. . . . Laglaise, Lavenu, Grossi . . .

6 July 1858, Lavenu and Carandini sailed for Melbourne

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE . . . CLEARED OUT", South Australian Register (7 July 1858), 2 

Tuesday, July 6 - The steamer Admella, 473 tons, McEwan, master, for Melbourne. Passengers - Madame Carandini, Mons. Lavenu . . .

Melbourne and regional VIC (8 July 1858 to 23 March 1859)

8 July 1858, Lavenu and Carandini arrived at Melbourne

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE . . . ARRIVED", The Argus (9 July 1858), 4 

July 8. - Admella, s.s.s., 300 tons, Hugh McEwan, from Adelaide 6th inst. Passengers - saloon : Madame Carandini . . . Messrs. . . . Lavenu . . .


23 March 1859, Lavenu and company sailed from Melbourne for Hobart

Hobart, TAS (25 March to 12 May 1859)

25 March 1859, Lavenu and company arrived Hobart

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Hobart Town Daily Mercury (26 March 1859), 2 

March 25 - City of Hobart, steamer, 304 tons, Darby, from Melbourne, 23rd inst., with sundries. Passengers . . . Mr. Sherwin, Mr. Lavenu . . . Madame & Miss Carandini . . .

"OPERATIC", The Hobart Town Daily Mercury (26 March 1859), 3 

We have to congratulate the public upon the arrival by the City of Hobart, of Madame Carandini, Mr. Sherwin, M. Lavenu, and other distinguished members of an Operatic Company.

12 May 1859, Lavenu and company sailed for Sydney

"SHIPPING NEWS", The Courier (12 May 1859), 2 

THIS DAY . . . CLEARED-OUT. - Tasmania,, s.s., 285, Clinch, Sydney, sundries. Additional cabin - Mr. Lavenu; and 9 steerage.

"MISCELLANEOUS SHIPPING", The Hobart Town Daily Mercury (13 May 1859), 2 

By the steamer Tasmania, which sailed for Sydney yesterday, Messrs Lavenu, Gregg, and Sherwin, members of the Operatic Company lately engaged at the Theatre Royal, were passengers.

Sydney, NSW (. . . to August 1859)

"DEATH OF LEWIS HENRY LAVENU", The Sydney Morning Herald (2 August 1859), 5

OUR readers will learn with surprise and deep regret that Mr. Lewis Henry Lavenu, the late talented Conductor of the University Festival, expired yesterday morning, at his residence, Horbury Terrace, Macquarie-street. He had been ill for some days, but owing to pressure of business, connected with the University Festival and the Prince of Wales Theatre, had neglected to take care of his health, and had even for some time omitted to take food. His illness was not at first of a dangerous character, and the symptoms - vomiting, pain, and constipation - yielded to medical treatment, but on Sunday evening a fit of an epileptic character came on; from excessive pain he became occasionally delirious, and imagined himself still conducting a musical force. Yesterday morning, however, he rallied a little, and about an hour before his death rose from his bed and expressed his determination to go to rehearsal; shortly afterwards what was considered a favourable symptom took place, and gave some slight hope; but his sufferings had been so acute, and his nervous system was so completely exhausted, that nature succumbed, and he breathed his last about 11 o'clock. Mr. Lavenu's abilities as a musician were of the highest order, and in the many musical entertainments over which it had been his lot to preside he was eminently successful; his death will prove a serious loss to the musical portion of the community, by whom his talents have been appreciated and acknowledged. At the period of his decease, he was, we believe, somewhere about 41 or 42 years of age. Mr. Lavenu was the son of the well-known publisher of music of that name, who formerly resided in Edward-street, Portman Square, and whose widow was subsequently married to Mori, the eminent violinist. By Mori the lamented subject of this notice was at an early age placed in the Royal Academy of Music, where, under the system, of tuition carried out in that admirable institution, he soon gave ample evidence of his aptitude and talent for the divine art. His abilities as a composer were displayed when still a mere youth, in his opera of Loretta - performed at the St. James's Theatre with considerable success, and he held diplomas as professor of violoncello, piano-forte, and for composition. Mr. Lavenu was very felicitous in his ballad compositions, amongst which "By the banks of Guadalquiver" and the popular "Molly Asthore" stand preeminent in the degree of favour with which they have been received by the musical public. He was the first man who brought Liszt, the great pianist, from Ratisbon, in Germany; and was at one time engaged by Biel as musical conductor through the English provinces during the tours of Grisi, Mario, and others; subsequently he was engaged as musical conductor to Miss Catherine Hayes, and travelled with her as such during that lady's professional visits, to the United States, California, Australia, and India; and we think the justice of our award will scarcely be questioned when we state that much of that lady's success may be attributed to the valuable assistance she derived from Mr. Lavenu in all matters connected with the orchestral department. In that branch of his profession he undoubtedly ranked very high; his practice as a violoncellist in the orchestra of the Academy, under Lindley, having no doubt contributed much to the acquirement of that ready tact and skill which he displayed in this difficult branch of the musical art. He was a very good pianist, his skill in that respect being chiefly confined to the unobtrusive but delicate and difficult duties of an accompanyist. His love of music was very intense, and his thorough knowledge of all its branches may be inferred from the fact that he arranged the score and adapted the opera of Il Trovatore, for a full orchestral representation, from a pianoforte copy. Up to the time of his illness he was busily engaged in arranging the operas of Rigoletto, Traviata, and Ernani; the score of the last named opera having been fully completed by him for representation. It is a somewhat singular fact that many great musicians have, shortly before death, composed those mournful strains with which their departure from this world is associated; such as Mozart's "Requiem", Weber's "Last Waltz", and many others that will be readily brought to mind; without seeking to institute any comparison we might refer to one portion of the overture to Trovatore composed by Mr. Lavenu, in which the most melancholy and plaintive strains are introduced - not suggested by the music of the opera - this, we believe, is one of his latest compositions. Mr. Lavenu was much esteemed by his professional friends, many of whom watched over him during his last hours, for his kindliness of manner, and the urbanity which always characterised his intercourse with them. It may not perhaps be deemed irrelevant to mention as a somewhat singular circumstance, that Mr. C. S. Packer, who three years ago followed to the tomb the remains of his own master in the orchestral branch of his studies at the Royal Academy of Music - the celebrated Bochsa - will, to-day, perform the same sad duty to one who was one of his own earliest pupils in the same institution. The funeral of the deceased gentlemen is appointed to take place this afternoon at two o'clock; and it is understood that besides his professional brethren - by whom he was sincerely respected - his remains will be followed to the grave by members of the University and the Festival Committee. From his late residence the funeral cortege will proceed to Christchurch, where a portion of the burial service will be read, and a short selection from the oratorio of the Messiah sung; the body will then be conveyed to the Cemetery at Newtown, to be placed beside the resting-place of the greatest musical genius that ever came upon our shores - the Chevalier Bocsha. Mr. Poole, out of respect to the deceased gentleman, has closed the Prince of Wales Theatre for this evening, and we are requested to state that, in consequence of the lamented and sudden death of Mr. Lavenu, the Band of the 12th Regiment will not perform in the Botanic Gardens this afternoon.

"DEATH OF MR. L. H. LAVENU. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTICE", Empire (15 August 1859), 8 

"A Christmas Eve's Adventure, AND WHAT CAME OF IT. A TRUE STORY (BY PAUL TWYFORD)", Nepean Times (23 December 1893), 2 

... probably the better to show off the long hair saturated with grease or oil and turned under so as to form a roll low down on the neck. This style of hair dressing was known as "The Lavenu curl," from a musical gentleman of that name who led the orchestra at the "old Vic." theatre, in Pitt-street. The cabbage-tree mob were regular frequenters of the theatres, and Lavenu was a great favourite with them. And they not only imitated his style of dressing his hair but they borrowed his well-known airs and whistled them in the streets. Rough and quarrelsome as these fellows were they had a keen appreciation of music; thus their great admiration for Mr. Robert Farquharson, the great basso, and later on the Howson family ...

Musical works by Lavenu / publications (before Australia)

Loretta (opera in 3 acts) (1846

The new opera entitled Loretta, a tale of Seville, in three acts ... the whole of the music composed by M. Lavenu; the libretto by Alfred Bunn, Esq. (London: printed and published by W. S. Johnson, "Nassau Steam Press," 60, St. Martin's Lane, Charing Cross, London, [1846?]) [wordbook only] (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED) (DIGITISED)

Extant published excerpts (first edition: Cramer, Beale & Co., 1846):

If we are not loved again, ballad . . . (London: Cramer, Beale & Co., [1846]) ["The feeling which exalts the soul"; Loretta, Act 1 scene 2, wordbook page 10]

Copy at the British Library 

On the bosom of ocean, quartett . . . (London: Cramer, Beale & Co., [1846]) [Act 1 scene 3, wordbook page 13]

Copy at the British Library 

On the banks of Guadalquiver, ballad . . . (London: Cramer, Beale & Co., [1846]) [Loretta, Act 2, "Romance", wordbook page 17]

Copy at the British Library 

On the banks of Guadalquiver, ballad, song in the opera of Loretta, the music by L. La Venu (Boston: Oliver Ditson, [c.1850s]) (DIGITISED)

With thee I now will weep, ballad . . . (London: Cramer, Beale & Co., [1846]) ["Oh! I can well believe"; Carlos, Act 2, wordbook page 25]

Copy at the British Library 

With thee I now will weep, sung in the opera of Loretta, composed by L. Lavenu (Boston: Oliver Ditson, [c.1850s]) (DIGITISED)

Happy heart, could thy beating be, ballad . . . (London: Cramer, Beale & Co., [1846]) [Florinda, Act 3 scene 1, wordbook page 29]

Copy at the British Library 


Links to many digitised non-Australian editions can be browsed, along with Lavenu's Australian editions, here: (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Lavenu's editions of works by other composers

Beethoven's celebrated cantata, Adelaide, arranged for the piano forte . . . by F. Liszt (London: L. Lavenu, [1840/41]) 


Lavenu editions digitised at Hathi Trust: 

Musical works / publications (Australia)

KEY: Extant works (published or MS); Lost works (or no copy yet identified)

The Hellespont polka (1853)

". . . composed and dedicated to Captain Watts and the officers of the screw steamship Hellespont") ([Sydney: Henry Marsh, 1853]

Cleopatra polka (1853)

Cleopatra polka ("Composed and dedicated to Robert McKean, Esq.") (Sydney: H. Marsh and Co., [1853]) (DIGITISED)

Solo violoncello on airs from Somnambula:

[Advertisement], The Courier (8 October 1853), 3

It reminds me of thee (1854)

It reminds me of thee (ballad; "composed expressly for Madame Sara Flower"; "Sung by Madame Sara Flower ... dedicated to Mrs. Stephen H. Marsh") (Sydney: Henry Marsh, [1854]) (DIGITISED)

Fair land of Australia (1854)

. . . A tribute to Australia (words: F. H. Dicker; for Catherine Hayes) (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (17 October 1854), 1

"MISS HAYES' CHARITY FAREWELL CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (18 October 1854), 5

Serenade (1854)

Serenade (for orchestra; on popular ballads)

[Advertisement], The Argus (1 November 1854), 8

Ida May (1855)

("new" "composed by Mr. Lavenu for Mr. White" [of Rainer's Ethiopian Serenaders])

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (11 June 1855), 1

My Molly Asthore (1855 and later editions)

My Molly Asthore ("Ballad (new version) as sung by Catherine Hayes") (Sydney: H. Marsh, 1855; The Australian Cadeau No 17 (22 September 1855) (DIGITISED)

Molly Asthore ("sung by Miss Catherine Hayes") (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1857?]) (DIGITISED)

Molly Asthore ("Composed for and sung by Miss Catherine Hayes"; with cover portrait of Lavenu and printed signature") (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1859]) (Lavenu memorial edition) (DIGITISED)

See also US edition:

I cannot sing tonight (1857)

I cannot sing tonight (ballad; words: Haynes Bailey; composed by Lavenu for his pupil Maria Carandini; "Sung with great success by Madame Carandini") (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1857]) (DIGITISED)

Kate Kearney; or, The lakes of Killarney (1856)

("The music composed and arranged by M. Lavenu")

[Advertisement], The Argus (21 February 1856), 8

Once upon a time there were two kings (1859)

("The characteristic incidental music composed, selected, and arranged by L. Lavenu, Esq.")

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (15 February 1859), 1

Queen of the west (Lavenu, arr. Packer, 1859) (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

Queen of the west, new ballad, words and music by L. H. Lavenu, symphonies and accompaniments by Charles Packer

(Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1859])

Copy at the State Library of New South Wales 

Photocopy of the above at the National Library of Australia (DIGITISED)

The vocal gems of Il trovatore ("The beauties of Il Trovatore"; Verdi, arr. Lavenu; 1859)

("arranged expressly for the publisher by the late L. H. Lavenu") (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1859])

1 Ah! I have sighed to rest me (Ah! Che la morte) (DIGITISED)

2 Home to our Mountains (Ai nostri monti) (DIGITISED)

3 Tempest of the heart (Il balen del suo sorriso) (DIGITISED)

4 Breeze of the night (D'amor sull ali rosee) (DIGITISED)

5 Ah! Yes, thou'rt mine (Ah! Si ben mio) (DIGITISED)

6 In the combat (Mal reggendo) (DIGITISED)

Other sources

Bellini's grand opera of Norma, in two acts, as performed at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne ... musical director and conductor, M. L. Lavenu (Melbourne : Wilson, Mackinnon & Fairfax, 1855) 

Rossini's grand opera of The barber of Seville, a lyric comedy, rendered into English by J. Wrey Mould, and produced at the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, prima donna - Madame Clarisse Cailly, conductor - M. L. Lavenu (Melbourne: Wilson, Mackinnon & Fairfax, "Argus" Mercantile Printing Office, 1856) [wordbook] 

An English version of The favourite, composed by Donizetti, written and adapted by Edward Fitzball; performed for the first time, at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne, under the direction of Mr. L. Lavenu, who has arranged it expressly for this theatre (Melbourne: R. M. Abbott and Co., 1858) 

Prince of Wales Theatre ... An English version of Il trovatore"; or, The gipsy's vengeance, a grand opera in four parts written and adapted by Charles Jeffreys; to the music composed by Verdi; arranged expressly for this theatre by M. Lavenu (Sydney: Printed at the "Caxton" Printing Office, 1859) 

Prince of Wales Theatre ... Ernani, a grand opera seria, in four acts produced under the direction of Monsieur Lavenu (Sydney: Caxton Printing Office, 1859) 

Bibliography and resources

"Lewis Henry Lavenu", Wikipedia

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2020