THE LATE C. S. PACKER.
Charles Sandys Packer, one of the most accomplished musicians Australia has known, died on friday last, and was buried yesterday afternoon at Waverley Cemetery, his grave being situated on a slope overlooking the Pacific. He had reached the advanced age of 73 years, being born in Reading, Berkshire, England, in 1810. While very young Charles Packer evinced such a love and talent for music that his father,
himself a musician, placed him at the Royal Academy of Music, where he achieved the highest honours that institu- tion was capable of bestowing, carrying out the best prices awarded for composition, pianoforte playing, and singing. His masters were :- For composition, Dr Crotch, Regius Professor at Oxford, Mozart's pupil Attwood, Bochsa, the great orchestral master, and Weber, the celebrated composer, and for singing, Crivelli and Veluti.
He was selected, when but a youth, to compose an opera for the opening of the new Royal Lyceum Opera House, a building erected in place of one which was destroyed by fire, and his literary coadjutor was Mary Russell Mitford, the authoress of " Our Village. " The production was a successful one, and enjoyed a long run, and Mr. Packer's composition was favourably noticed by the most eminent critics of England, France, and Germany. The young composer was favoured by the notice and friendship of such men as Mendelssohn, Thalberg, Hummel, and Weber, and he was the chosen accompanist of such great singers as Mario, Giulia Grisi, and Lablache. He frequently had the distinction of playing duets with her Majesty Queen Adelaide - consort of Wil- liam IV.- both of them being pupils of Hummel. His first composition was an aria " Basta, basta." the words being from Metastasio's "Morte d' Abelle," and when, in 1828, this was performed at a concert given in the Hanover- square Rooms, the Harmonicon, the best journal of the day as regards musical criticism, spoke of it in terms of the highest praise, and predicted a bright future for the composer, throughout his long life - he was 73 when he died - Mr. Packer was a prolific composer, although the number of his published works is compara- tively small. His "Crown of Thorns" and "Song of the Angels," and some lighter efforts, are widely known and as widely admired, but Mr. August Huenerbein has the scores of " David, " a grand oratorio, and of many other compo- sitions, which will yet be published, and which will long preserve Charles Packer's name from oblivion. His life was a chequered one, and from Tasmania, where unhappy circumstances had brought him some years before, he in 1852 came to Sydney, where he remained ever since. For the last three years of his life he suffered from bad health and bad fortune, and a week ago he was seized with fatal illness, the cause of death being inflam- mation of the lungs and bronchitis. He has left a large family, poorly provided for.
The funeral cortege set out at half-past 2 o'clock yester- day afternoon, from the deceased's late residence, Point Piper-road, Woollahra, to the Waverley Cemetery. Mr. August Huenerbein and Mr. C. B. Foster, thinking that one who during life had displayed such rare musical talent, should be accorded musical honours at his funeral, and that the members of the musical profes- sion should be given an opportunity of evincing the last tribute of esteem to an old friend, had made such arrangements that for some years there has not been such an imposing procession as that which accom- panied Charles Packer's body to the grave. First marched 25 members of the City Band, conducted by Mr. Sebastian Hodge, then followed 12 members of Thompson's Premier Band, several members of Herr Küster's Band, and of the Headquarters Band, many of our best vocalists, and members of the dilferent city choirs. Then came the hearse, drawn by four horses, two mourning coaches, and a large number of other vehicles. The footpaths on the line of route were thronged with people, and as the procession moved along, the bands constantly relieving one another in playing the " Dead March in Saul," the train swelled and lengthened, until at the cemetery there must have been 6000 people present. Here the mourners were met by the Rev. W. J M. Hillyar, B. A., Paddington, and conducted to the grave, the pall-bearers being Messrs C. B. Foster, August Huenerbein, Charles Huenerbein, William Morgan, John B. Bushelle, G. F. Jackson, Llewellyn Jones, F. J. Hallewell, Ramsay, R.T. Gibson, and E. Stephen, and Signor Fabris. There were also present Signor Giorza, Mr T. P. Banks, Mr. T. Rainford, Mr. F. Pines, Mr. T. A. Gread, and Mr. J. C Fisher. The coffin was covered with wreaths and garlands of exquisite beauty, and as soon as it was lowered the choir sang "The Song of the Angels," composed by Mr. Packer last Christ-
msa time, and scored by Herr Raymond Pechofsch for the bands only a few hours before the funeral cere- mony took place. Then followed the majestic hymn from the church service, " Nearer, my God, to Thee," sung to a tune also composed by Mr. Packer. Signor Giorza con- ducted the vocalists and instrumentalists, and, the throng of people around taking up the strain, rarely has such a grand swell of harmony resounded in an Australian cemetery as that which yesterday rose over the grave of Charles Packer. The Rev. Mr. Hillyar - himself a per- sonal friend of the deceased - read the burial service very impressively, and those who were present will not soon forget the imposing scene, the funeral being in a sense a public one - that of a man whose work was for the public. It was so largely attended that after the ceremony was over the trams from Waverley to Sydney were overloaded, and many hundreds of people had to walk back to the city.