Alice in Orchestralia

Alice in Orchestralia by Ernest LaPrade. Published 1925 by Doubleday, Page and Co. First edition with dustjacket. 12mo.

Illustrations by Carroll Snell.

I think the book was also re-released as Alice in Orchestra Land, and as Alice in Music Land.

Alice enters Orchestralia via the horn of a brass instrument, and once there learns all about the characters of the different instruments in the orchestra.

The conductor Walter Damrosch is quoted on the fly:’ Alice is to be envied, for there is hardly anything about a modern symphony orchestra – its make-up, its functions, its manner of speaking that universal language of human emotions – that she does not learn through the pages of this book. And it is all done in such a beguiling way that one might swear that it had been written by the whimsical and immortal author of the original “Alice in Wonderland.”
I am glad that this work was written by an American, and am proud that he is also a member of my orchestra. I prophesy for this book a wide distribution wherever the English tongue is spoken and the love for music prevails.’

You can usually pick up a cheap copy on Amazon: Alice in Orchestralia

You can read the whole book here.


8 Responses to “Alice in Orchestralia”

  1. 1 Mark Wood
    February 19, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Hi, I was really enjoying your blog (Alice isn’t my main focus and I hadn’t discovered it before) until you recommended Amazon over a proper specialist bookshop like Marchpane. I clicked on your link to Amazon and there is one copy of Alice in Orchestralia there (perhaps a slightly later issue and priced at £32, so fractionally more expensive than the copy your friend bought for you) with only a minimal attempt at description (good/very good, there’s not even any mention of a dustwrapper!) There would either be a bit of guesswork involved or an exchange of emails, plus postage to be paid, as far as the Amazon copy goes, whereas your friend was able to walk into a shop and buy with confidence from someone who knows what they are talking about. Isn’t that something to be encouraged? Given the rents those shops must pay I’m amazed that they can match internet prices at all – I can’t imagine that the profit on a £30 book goes far. I’m a regular visitor to Cecil Court myself (I love the place and and I do buy books there), so I’m not unbiased, but I do think you owe Marchpane an apology! Why run it down to your readers?

    • February 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Mark,
      I’ve obviously not been clear.
      I think ‘you recommended Amazon over a proper specialist bookshop like Marchpane‘ is rather overstating the case.
      You’re quite right: it’s MUCH nicer to be able to buy a book you’ve checked out for yourself, and I enjoy my visits to Cecil Court very much- I have spend a considerable amount of time and money in there.
      However, as a simple Health Service drone, I can’t always afford to buy the best. An acceptable reading copy from abebooks or amazon is considerably cheaper, and so sometimes I choose that route.
      As for linking to Amazon, I do it because the books are more reliably ‘linkable-to’, if anyone wants to see rough prices, or to start trying to find out a bit more. I can’t link to CC as the books come and go so much more.
      When I posted the amazon link, there was a cheaper one from another seller (under £20 IIRC), with better details. I imagine it sold fast..
      Hope this helps put your mind at rest.

  2. 3 Mark Wood
    February 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks Esther, I appreciate what you’ve said, but I really think people need to be careful before making blanket statements which can be misinterpreted. You wrote that Marchpane ‘do tend to be rather overpiced’ – no qualifications about reading copies etc. – which is a very negative comment for someone to read who doesn’t know Cecil Court as well as you do. It would have been fair to write that Marchpane sold a nice copy for £30, but if condition isn’t an issue it would be possible to pick one up for less online, but that’s not what you said! Anyway, as long as we all buy from real bookshops whenever we can … all best, Mark.

  3. March 9, 2010 at 4:17 am

    I’ve got a copy at £15, no dw- possibly on a par with the Amazon copy. Currently there are no copies on Amazon. The copy at £32 has already sold, so it cannot have been `overepriced’, unlike mine which your partner got for £27.- I don’t know, there was no report about condition, dw etc. I’ve sold copies for as little as £5- it all depends on condition. I don’t catalogue books at that level- not worth it

    The next time you come to Marchpane, please introduce yourself

    • March 9, 2010 at 6:24 am

      Blimey: I don’t know if I dare! 🙂

      Maybe I should change the wording from ‘overpriced’ to ‘beyond my means’: like I say, I can’t afford to pay for condition: most of my books are jumble-sale-worthy.

      I wasn’t expecting anyone to find this blog at all: it was set up for me and my family to keep a track on what I already have to make duplications less likely: obviously I need to revise my position…

  4. March 11, 2010 at 2:06 am

    No offence taken, and thank you for removing the offending line

    But we have many `reading'(I hate that expression!) copies downstairs which never make the catalogue/ upstairs.

    I have specialised in Lewis Carroll for over twenty years. The Internet has changed things and to be competative, I have to match thoses copies sold by people who don’t pay taxes, business rates, corporation tax- have no access to bibliographies- no expertise, no experience… hobby-beasts.

    You got a rare 1925 book in a dust wrapper, not many of those around- for £27! I hope you thanked your partner!

    Everything on the Internet is checkable- it was a friend/ customer who pointed it out. He was offended on my behalf


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January 2010
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