William Vincent Wallace

Mixed chorus
by popularity


2 Valses espagnoles24 Preludes and Scales6 Etudes de Salon, Op.77


Adieu, Dear Native LandAlpine MelodyAnnie Laurie


Ballade de 'Rigoletto', Op.82Bella figlia dell'amoreBird of the GreenwoodBohemian Melody


Chant des pèlerins, Op.19


EugenieEvening Star Schottische


Fantaisie brillante de Salon sur des Melodies EcossaisesFantasie brillante sur "La traviata"Fantasie de salon sur 'Der Freyschütz'Fantasie de salon sur 'Don Giovani'Fantasie de salon sur 'Ernani'Fantasie de salon sur 'Fra Diavolo'Fantasie de salon sur 'La sonnambula'Fantasie de salon sur l'opera MaritanaFantasie de salon sur 'Lucia di Lammermoor'Fantasie de salon sur 'Martha'Fantasie de salon sur 'Norma'Fantasie de salon sur 'Otello'Fantasie de salon sur 'Stradella'Fantasie de salon sur 'Zauber-Flöte'Fantasie elegante sur des themes de 'Don Pasquale'Fantasie on 'The Low Back'd Car'Farewell SchottischFirst Love SchottischFloraForget Me Not


Galop brillant de salonGood Night and Pleasant DreamsGrande Polka de Concert No.2, Op.68Grande Polka de Concert No.3, Op.72Grande Polka de Concert, Op.48Grande valse de concert, Op.27


Happy Birdling of the Forest, Op.63


Impromptu en forme d'EtudeImpromptu Robin AdairInnocenceItaliana


La belle anglaiseLa CracovienneLa gondola, Op.18Last Rose of Summer, Op.74Le rêve, Op.21L'heliotrope valseLurline


Marche militaireMaritanaMatilda of HungaryMélodie irlandaise, Op.53Mélodie péruvienne variée


Petite polka de concert, Op.13Psalm 100


Rosebud PolkaRoslyn Castle


Souvenir de NaplesSouvenir de Varsovie, Op.69


The Amber WitchThe Angler's PolkaThe Bee and the RoseThe Invitation PolkaThe Lotus LeafThe Winds that Waft My Sighs to TheeThe World's Fair PolkaTremolo Schottisch


Variations brillantes sur la barcarolle de 'L'elisir d'amore'


Wild FlowersWinter Polka


Ye Banks and Braes
(William) Vincent Wallace (11 March 1812 – 12 October 1865) was an Irish composer and musician. In his day, he was famous on three continents as a double virtuoso on violin and piano. Nowadays, he is mainly remembered as an opera composer of note, with key works such as Maritana (1845) and Lurline (1847/60), but he also wrote a large amount of piano music (including some virtuoso pieces) that was much in vogue in the 19th century. His more modest output of songs and ballads, equally wide-ranging in style and difficulty, was also popular in his day, some numbers being associated with famous singers of the time.
Wallace was born at Colbeck Street, Waterford, Ireland. Both of his parents were Irish; his father, Spencer Wallace of County Mayo, one of four children, who was born in Killala, County Mayo in 1789, became a regimental bandmaster with the North Mayo Militia based in Ballina. William was born while the regiment was stationed for one year in Waterford, one of several successive postings in Ireland and the UK. The family returned to Ballina some four years later, in 1816, and William spent his formative years there, taking an active part in his father's band and already composing pieces by the age of nine for the band recitals.
The band, having a reputation for high standards, apart from regimental duties would have featured at social events in big houses in the area. Under the tuition of his father and uncle, he wrote pieces for the bands and orchestras of his native area. Wallace became accomplished in playing various band instruments before the family left the Army in 1826 (their regiment then being the 29th Foot), moving from Waterford to Dublin, and becoming active in music in the capital. Wallace learned to play several instruments as a boy, including the violin, clarinet, organ, and piano. In 1830, at the age of 18, he became organist of the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Thurles, County Tipperary, and taught music at the Ursuline Convent there. He fell in love with a pupil, Isabella Kelly, whose father consented to their marriage in 1832 on condition that Wallace become a Roman Catholic. The couple soon moved to Dublin, where Wallace was employed as a violinist at the Theatre Royal.
Economic conditions in Dublin having deteriorated after the Act of Union of 1800, the whole Wallace family decided to emigrate to Australia in 1835. Wallace, together with his wife Isabella and young son, Willy, travelled as free emigrants from Liverpool in July. His father, with his second wife Matilda and one child, travelled with the rest of the family, Elizabeth, a soprano, and Wellington, a flautist, as bounty emigrants from Cork that autumn. The composer's party first landed at Hobart, Tasmania in late October, where they stayed several months, and then moved on to Sydney in January 1836, where, following the arrival of the rest of the family in February, the Wallaces opened the first Australian music academy in April. Wallace had already given many celebrity concerts in Sydney, and, being the first virtuoso to visit the Colony, became known as the "Australian Paganini". His sister Elizabeth, at age 19, in 1839 married an Australian singer John Bushelle, with whom she gave many recitals before his early death in 1843 on a tour of van Diemen's Land. Wallace was also active in the business of importing pianos from London, but his main activity involved many recitals in and around Sydney under the patronage of the Governor, General Sir Richard Bourke. The most significant musical events of this period were two large oratorio concerts at St. Mary's (Roman Catholic) Cathedral in Sydney in 1836 and 1838, on behalf of the organ fund, which were directed by Wallace, and which utilized all the available musical talent of the Colony, including the recently formed Philharmonic [Choral] Society.
In 1838, he separated from his wife, and began a roving career that took him around the globe. Wallace claimed that from Australia he went to New Zealand on a whaling-voyage in the South seas and while there encountered the Maori tribe Te Aupouri, and having crossed the Pacific, he visited Chile, Argentina, Peru, Jamaica, and Cuba, giving concerts in the large cities of those countries. In 1841, he conducted a season of Italian opera in Mexico City. Moving on to the United States, he stayed at New Orleans for some years, where he was feted as a virtuoso on violin and piano, before reaching New York, where he was equally celebrated, and published his first compositions (1843–44).
He arrived in London in 1845 and made various appearances as a pianist. In November of that year, his opera Maritana was performed at Drury Lane with great success, and was later presented internationally, including Dublin (1846), Vienna, Austria (1848), and in Australia. Wallace's sister, Elisabeth, appeared at Covent Garden in the title role in 1848. Maritana was followed by Matilda of Hungary (1847), Lurline (1847/60), The Amber Witch (1861), Love's Triumph (1862) and The Desert Flower (1863) (based on the libretto of Halévy's Jaguarita l'Indienne). He also published numerous compositions for the piano.
Vincent Wallace was a cultivated man and an accomplished musician, whose work as an operatic composer, at a period by no means encouraging to music in England, has a distinct historical value. Like Michael William Balfe, he was born an Irishman, and his reputation as one of the few composers known beyond the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at that time is naturally coupled with Balfe's.
In 1854, Wallace became an American citizen after a (most likely common-law) marriage in New York with the German-born pianist Hélène Stoepel, sister of composer Robert Stoepel. In New York, in 1843–44, he had been associated with the early concert seasons of the New York Philharmonic Society, and in 1853 was elected an Honorary (Life) Member of the Society. In later years, having returned to Europe for the premieres of his later operas, he developed a heart condition, for which he received treatment in Paris in 1864. He died in poor circumstances at the Château de Bagen, Sauveterre de Comminges, in the Haute Garonne (the home of Hélène's sister, Marie-Therese, Baroness de Saintegeme), on 12 October 1865, leaving two widows, a son, Willy, from his first marriage who died in 1909, and two sons by Hélène, Clarence Sutherland and Vincent St. John, the latter of whom, faced with a terminal condition in the French hospital in San Francisco in 1897, committed suicide. Wallace was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London; the epitaph on his recently refurbished headstone (from 2007) now reads "Music is an art that knows no locality but heaven – Wm. V. Wallace".
Orchestral music
Songs for voice and piano
Piano music
Opera recordings
Other vocal recordings
Piano recordings