Samuel Hay, The London and Continental Pianoforte, Harmonium, and American Organ Rooms, 91 and 93 Renfield Street.—
One of the oldest and most notable music establishments in Glasgow is that controlled to-day by Mr. Samuel Hay at the above address. This successfully developed and representative business was founded as far back as 1837, in Bridge Street, by Mr. Samuel Hay's father, Mr. James Hay, and progressed so favourably there, especially after the accession of the present proprietor to an active part in its administration, that it became necessary to seek larger premises. The needed accommodation was found about eleven years ago at the present eligible address.
Here the premises occupied comprise five very spacious and commodious pianoforte saloons, with a total floor area of upwards of 6,000 superficial feet. These fine showrooms are extensively stocked with a magnificent range and variety of pianofortes, harmoniums, American organs, and all accessories thereof ; and some idea of the capacity of the warerooms, as well as of the magnitude and diversity of the display, will be conveyed in the statement of fact that as many as four hundred and thirty pianos, all different in either style or make, are prominently and effectively exhibited. The total stock exceeds five hundred instruments, and in it are represented the production of nearly every maker whose work, either in piano, organ, or harmonium manufacture, has met with appreciation in Great Britain. The stock, in fact, is eminently and essentially cosmopolitan, and its characteristics in this respect are creditable to the liberal ideas and tastes of Mr. Hay, who has manifested a most commendable zeal in leading the inclinations of the public beyond the narrow limits of conservatism in an art to which such confinement should be utterly foreign.
Fine specimens of the famous standard pianofortes of Messrs. Erard, Broadwood, Collard & Collard, Kelsey, Kirkman, Alison, Schiedmayor, are exhibited, and will command attention and just admiration from everyone familiar with the magnificent qualities of these makers’ instruments. But Mr. Hay has gone beyond all this, and is agent for Arthur Allison & Co., Ralph Allison, C. G. Kelsey, and Neumayer, Berlin : Muir Smith, Hilton & Hilton, and Justin Brown - all manufacturers of pianofortes that are rapidly acquiring an international reputation for purity and fine quality of tone, power, effective action, durability, and beauty of finish.
Many specialities are shown in this department, but space forbids the mention of more than one. The violin orchestral pianoforte is the title of this ingenious contrivance, and upon it can be played solos for the violin, viola, 'cello, or contrabass, the quality of tone and general effect produced being quite equal to those of some fine old Cremona. A simple knee-movement is capable of producing the effect of a string quartette, or even of a full string orchestra. The instrument has a compass of seven octaves ; its keyboard is similar to that of a piano, any pianist can play it with ease, and it certainly bids fair to create, as indeed it has already done, no inconsiderable sensation in musical circles ; and Glasgow Exhibition, where most of the instruments can be seen in court 31, class 22 in Catalogue. Everyone should see and hear it ; it is a unique departure, even in this musically inventive age.
Mr. Hay’s organ and harmonium department is replete with attractions, especially notable being the fine reed organs of the Smith American Organ Company, for which world-renowned concern Mr. Hay has, with characteristic enterprise, secured the Glasgow agency. The instruments of this firm need no introduction to readers of this review ; their merits have made them famous throughput the world, and Mr. Hay has gathered together in his showrooms a stock of these organs which could not be surpassed in representative completeness. The “Smith” Company have come as near to the attainment of perfection as is possible in American organ manufacture, and their reed-sets are noted for the closeness with which they simulate the rich and mellow quality of tone that belongs to the organ proper of the church or cathedral. Their stop combinations are always, beautifully effective, and are in many instances magnificent.
Mr. Hay holds a splendid stock of harmoniums, and an equally attractive array of the genus musical box, in all sizes and styles, ranging in price from the modest £2 2s. to the plutocratic £800. Mr. Hay controls an enormous volume of trade, the home division of which is supported by the patronage of the most distinguished circles ; and he has been conspicuously successful in establishing commercial relations of great value with the colonies, New Zealand, Australia, and other distant parts of our colonial domain.
Mr. Hay has just obtained the contract to supply pianos to the Govan School Board. The success of this business can in a large measure be traced to the high musical attainments of its popular and esteemed proprietor, whose talents as a composer have been exemplified in his highly successful “Royalty” Polka, “Connoisseur” Waltz, “Oaks” Polka, and the “Stella Maris” Waltzes, which have all met with well-merited public appreciation. For the rest, the prosperity of the house has hinged upon Mr. Hay’s marked technical ability as an exponent of the merits and qualities of the various instruments he has so successfully specialised, and upon the sound commercial principles of honourable integrity and straightforward dealing which have always been identified with his conduct and administration of the business.
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