Sacramento in the 19th century was awash in music. Live music was an important entertainment option for the residents. There was the Sacramento Philharmonic, church choral and organ recitals, and marching bands, along with professional entertainers who put on concerts. The music spanned from somber hymns and classical music to rousing patriotic songs of the time and occasionally new works composed locally.
Wine maker B. N. Bugbey was a patron of the musical arts in Sacramento and Folsom where he lived. In the late 1860s Bugbey’s wine, brandy and emerging sparkling wines were popular and sales were very good. Bugbey was always looking for different marketing vehicles to promote his Natoma Vineyards and all of his alcoholic beverages. Bugbey heard music recently composed to honor a specific purpose, person, or industry at the concerts he attended.
Sacramento Music Resurrected And Recorded
He most likely had heard Gungl’s Railroad Galop played at the Mechanics’ Industrial Fair in San Francisco in 1869. Bugbey entered his wines, sparkling wines and brandies into the Mechanics’ Institute annual fairs. The Railroad Galop was composed to celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railroad. There was also the Railroad Kings Galop musical score that displayed the illustrations of prominent railroad barons.
Bugbey had also attended concerts where a young German pianist had performed various pieces. In 1864 a young man by the name of Hugo Yanke settled in Sacramento. He was a pianist and organist at the Congregational Church on Sixth Street. Yanke was born in Prussia, commonly referred to as Germany in U. S. documentation, in 1845. He immigrated to the United States in 1860 with his father and mother. His father was a doctor whose last name was spelled Janhke. Somewhere along the process of assimilating into the American, Hugo, or some government official, would codify the spelling of the last name as Yanke. He would later change his last name to Mansfeldt.
Hugo Yanke Sacramento Composer
Yanke’s musical career blossomed in Sacramento. In addition to his duties at the Congregational Church, he worked with the Sacramento Philharmonic Society and began teaching students in piano, choral, and individual singing lessons. In 1864 he married Annie Sanderson in Sacramento, also a musician, who would perform with him on occasion. Until he moved to Marysville in 1870 to open up a singing school, Yanke was either performing in concerts or organizing his own events that were staged at the Congregational Church, Metropolitan Theater, Agricultural Pavilion, or the Good Templars’ Hall in Folsom. He was also able to recruit musical talent from the San Francisco area to perform in his concerts in Sacramento. The concerts were usually a mix of classical, contemporary, and patriotic music and songs.
Bugbey’s Champagne Waltz and Galop
Bugbey commissioned Yanke to compose a galop and a waltz. The galop premiered on July 4, 1870. Bugbey was heavily involved in politics and the Republican Party at the time. So his galop was part patriotic pomp and part marketing for his sparkling wines that he was shipping to the East Coast market and Europe. Similar to the Railroad Kings Galop, Bugbey’s Champagne Galop displayed his image on the cover of the sheet music. His portrait is surrounded by grapevines and bordered on one side by an overflowing champagne flute and an exploding cork and champagne bottle on the other side.
Bugbey’s Champagne Waltz second edition was released in 1871. The cover of the sheet music has the pastoral scene of Bugbey’s Natoma Vineyard with his house on the hill overlooking the ranch. The illustration must have been done a couple years before the release of the music as Bugbey’s second house on the hill had burned down in 1869.
I tripped across the music commissioned by Bugbey while researching a book on his interesting life. He came to California as a gold seeker in 1849. When gold mining didn’t work out he tried his hand at furniture importing, hotel management, farming, and finally law enforcement as Constable of Granite Township. He was living in Folsom when he was elected sheriff of Sacramento County. He acquired some land on the south fork of the American River in the early 1860s and started growing grape vines and making raisins.
The grapes led to wine making along with brandy and then sparkling wine. Bugbey was in the forefront of promoting California viticulture and wine making. Unfortunately, he over leveraged his property to expand his wine making business and eventually went bankrupt in the 1870s. The music he commissioned is a testament to his enthusiasm for the musical arts and wine production in California. It also provides us with a glimpse of what Sacramento sounded like in the 1870s because this was music composed in Sacramento for a regional Sacramento product and businessman.
When I saw the cover of Bugbey’s Champagne Waltz I wondered what this music sounded like. I was able to track down the sheet music for both the waltz and galop. I then commissioned a young pianist, Ryan Whyman, to record each piece. I can’t say for certain, but other than the Gungl’s Railroad Galop, Bugbey’s waltz and galop must be some of the earliest music composed in Sacramento and ultimately published.
We can’t go back in time, but we can resurrect the music composed over 140 years ago. The performance by pianist Ryan Whyman is far superior to my feeble attempts to pair images of the era to provide a thumbnail sketch of Bugbey’s Natoma Vineyard. Enjoy the music and may it carry you back to Sacramento in 1870.
My book on B. N. Bugbey is set to be released in the autumn of 2018. For more information on B. N. Bugbey’s life visit my page Bugbey, The Last Sacramento ’49er
Bugbey’s Champagne Galop
Bugbey’s Champagne Waltz
Ryan Whyman is a gifted pianist and composer with a diverse array of influences. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Ryan works as a freelance pianist, performing and recording for a variety of bands and artists. He works regularly as a keyboardist in local musical theater productions and corporate events, and can be found playing piano at the Beverly Hilton on weekends. His musicianship and versatility have led to performances with ensembles of all shapes and sizes in venues around the country, including Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ace Hotel Theater, and others. Most recently, he was awarded the opportunity to perform and collaborate with prominent rapper, Watsky. Ryan is especially known for giving entirely improvised solo piano concerts.
In addition to his piano performances, Ryan is an established composer in the Los Angeles area. He has composed for ensembles of all shapes and sizes, from 60-piece orchestras to jazz small groups. Ryan currently composes for The Whyman Project, an award winning ensemble which has performed all over Southern California, including a performance for Yo-Yo Ma in 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Media Composition from California State University, Northridge and has composed for numerous film, TV, and independent media projects. Ryan has had the privilege of working alongside many prominent composers, including Jimmie Haskell, Mark Watters, and the Newton Brothers.
For more information, feel free to visit www.ryanwhyman.com