Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago
Rescue Polka Mazurka

Rescue Polka Mazurka

Sidney Lambert (c.1838-1905) BMI

Neither polka nor mazurka, Rescue Polka Mazurka is in 3/4 time. And like the mazurka proper, but unlike most polka mazurkas, this piece stresses the second beat of each measure. Its melodies consist of scales and arpeggios graced and followed by leaps, all bespeaking the elegance of the dance for which it was written.

Sidney Lambert is one of several black Americans who left New Orleans, Louisiana, in the middle of the nineteenth century to settle abroad in order to pursue successful careers in music. Between 1848 and 1899, these expatriates wrote a large number of compositions and saw them published in New Orleans, in countries abroad (most notably and frequently in Paris, France), and in other cities in the United States. The composers were free blacks, all but two being Creoles of color. These Creoles were Edmund Dédé, Lucien and Sidney Lambert, Victor-Eugène Macarty, Samuel Snaër, Basile Barès, and Laurent Dubuclet; the non-Creoles were Thomas J. Martin, and Frances Gotay.
Sidney Lambert came from a family in which his father, Richard, and his brother, Lucien, were also musical. Lucien grew up in New Orleans playing piano in the pit of the Théâtre d'Orléans. Later in his life he served as a pianist in the royal court of Portugal and also taught in Paris. Only one of Sidney Lambert's compositions was published in New Orleans, the remainder being printed in Paris, where thirty-two of his pieces are held by the Bibliothèque Nationale. He died in Paris in the first decade of this century.