strings quartet {Recommendations for 'music heard on the voyage'?} : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

I have read the messages on MHWGO, the hymns, the soundtrack. However, wanting to relive Titanic over and over again, I wonder if any of you can name the classical music they play in the dining room and especially the music the strings quartet plays on deck? I think I remember Strauss being played the night Jack has dinner in First Class. Any information on this point is very welcome!

-- mariaclara (, April 26, 1998


Response to strings quartet

I've played in a number of string quartets professionally, doing gigs such as wedding receptions, Christmas parties, and so forth. Watching the musicians of Titanic, knowing that the movie's depiction is essentially accurate (whatever their last piece was) is always a terribly moving experience for me, personally. I know just how they felt when one of the players complains, "they aren't listening to us," and the other replies, "they never listen to us at dinner either...come on, lets keep playing." By the way, I believe that the group was a string quintet (two violins, viola, cello, and double bass) rather than just a quartet.

Anyway, the music they played in the film: you are correct that the ensemble is playing Johann Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz" when Jack comes up for dinner in First Class. Later, when the ship is sinking, and the group's leader, Wallace Hartley, calls "Orpheus", he is referring to a popular selection from Offenbach's operetta, "Orpheus in the Underworld." This is the music that is still playing when Tommy, Fabrizio, Jack, and Rose all run along the deck and Tommy comments, "music to drown I know I'm in first class!" Much of the other music played in the film by that ensemble, and in real life, was light, popular music, such as ragtime and Broadway tunes. There was, I believe, another musical group on the ship, a trio that consisted of a pianist, violinist, and cellist, which played more serious "classical" concerts, but we never see then in Cameron's movie. I'll have to check the next time I see the movie if there are any other classical pieces worth mentioning here.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, April 27, 1998.

Response to strings quartet

My understanding, Tom, is that the dialogue you mention the string quartet players saying was improvised by the actors, and Cameron liked it and kept them in. Also, I read somewhere that Cameron used members of I Salonisti, the real-life string quintet that played the music, as musicians in the movie string quintet. (I think only the person playing Hartley was a professional actor.)

And didn't the Titanic string quintet consist of 2 violins, viola, cello, and piano? If so, what the heck did the pianist do during the sinking? I can't imagine they'd wheel the piano anywhere....

ml (who sings, and has done that for her wedding and Christmas gigs!)

-- Mary Lynne Nielsen (, April 27, 1998.

Not that this happened, but if you watch the 1953 "Titanic" they did get the piano out on deck with the band! However, I doubt that did happen but it was a nice touch!

Regards, Peter

-- Peter Nivling (, April 28, 1998.

There's a Grammy award-winning CD:

Ian Whitcomb has created a stunning time-capsule and genuine collectors item, a CD that boasts 24 tracks and 71 minutes of the original music that would have been heard on board the Titanic on her fateful voyage.

Check out

-- Thomas M. Terashima (, April 28, 1998.

I'm not sure what the pianists did after the other musicians were sent out on deck to play. Like you say, it's hard to imagine someone wheeling a piano out on deck.

After looking at several other sites, I still am not sure of the exact make-up of the larger musical group on Titanic; clearly it was a quintet, but of what instruments, I'm not sure. I'm getting contradictory information from different accounts.

One intereting tidbit, however. All of the Titanic's musicians were players on other ships before the Titanic's voyage, in many cases not even White Star ships. Several of the players were "raided" by White Star from...the Carpathia.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, April 28, 1998.

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