Posted 27 November 2007

Wheatstone, His Sighing Reed,
and The Great Regondi

Presented by Bernard Richardson

BBC Radio4
Broadcast 27 November 2007

Charles Wheatstone was a classic inventor in the dynamic industrial atmosphere of nineteenth century Britain. An eminent scientist in the fields of electric telegraphy, electric clocks, typewriters and power generation, he also carried out a lifetime's research into acoustics and music. He invented the English Concertina , probably the only musical instrument to be invented in this country in the nineteenth century.

Wheatstone’s creation was eagerly adopted by Italian composer and musician Giulio Regondi, who became a master of the instrument and wrote many of his compositions for it. The genius of the performer allied with the genius of the small hand held instrument caught the public imagination and became a craze in the last half of the nineteenth century.

—adapted from a BBC Summary

sighing-reed-audio Wheatstone, His Sighing Reed, and The Great Regondi
Presented by Bernard Richardson
BBC programme on the history and music of the English concertina, focusing on its inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone and the first concertina virtuoso Giulio Regondi. In addition to the presenter, Bernard Richardson, the program features (in order of appearance) Allan Atlas, Neil Wayne, Brian Bowers, Alistair Anderson, Douglas Rogers, Jenny Cox, and Dave Townsend. BBC Radio4 programme broadcast 27 November 2007. Audio file in WMA format (13,320 KB) and MP3 format (26,338 KB). Time 28 mins 05 secs.
Posted 27 November 2007
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The concertina pictured is a very early 48-key English concertina in Amboyna wood by C. Wheatstone, London, serial no. 649. According to the Wheatstone Ledgers now at the Horniman Museum (as discussed in the programme) it was originally sold on 18th April 1843 to Giulio Regondi. This instrument is now in the collection of Stephen Chambers.

Giulio Regondi portrait with signature
Giulio Regondi, the
first virtuoso performer
on Wheatstone’s concertina


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Links to related documents

wheatstone-homepage C. Wheatstone & Co.
Concertina Library directory of all information on this website about C. Wheatstone & Co.
Posted 01 January 2005
» go to directory
atlas-regondis-golden-exercise Signor Alsepti and “Regondi’s Golden Exercise”
by Allan Atlas
Discussion and explanation with new fingering of a celebrated excercise from James Alsepti's English tutor, published by Lachenal c. 1895, with the explanation “The following exercise, which has never before been published, was taught to Signor Alsepti by Regondi. It is very difficult for all instruments, especially the Concertina, and to thoroughly master it with the correct fingering &c. will enable the Pupil to play passages in all keys.”. As published in Concertina World 426 supplement (2003) pp. 1-8.
Posted 22 December 2003
» read full article
atlas-41-cent-emendation A 41-Cent Emendation: A Textual Problem in Wheatstone's Publication of Giulio Regondi’s Serenade for English Concertina and Piano
by Allan W. Atlas
In Wheatstone & Co.’s 1859 publication of Regondi’s Serenade, there is one note that is at least highly suspect—surely the most interesting wrong or questionable note in the entire repertory of Victorian art music for the English concertina. This appears to be the only instance—regardless of period or instrument—in which what is likely the correct emendation of a wrong (or at least suspect) note is driven entirely by the temperament/tuning of the instrument for which it was written. The original version of this article appeared in Early Music, Vol. xxxiii, No. 4 (November 2005), pages 609–618, published by Oxford University Press.
Posted 01 February 2006
» read full article
» read original publication in pdf