Teresa del Riego

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Teresa Clotilde del Riego (7 April 1876 – 23 January 1968) was an English composer and musician of Spanish descent. She had a long career in the music industry, spanning almost 60 years, with a particularly famous song ‘O dry those tears’ which sold ‘28,000 copies within six weeks of publication’ in 1901. [1] She was also known for the charitable events in support of the troops in the two World Wars.

Early Life

Teresa del Riego was one of five of Miguel and Clara del Riego's children, but only three survived childhood [2]. She had one older sister, Agnes, who went on to become a Scoutmaster and founder of Women Signallers Territorial Corps [3], which was formed in order for women on the Homefront to defend themselves and their families [4]. She also had a younger brother, John, who went under the stage name 'Philip Desborough' and performed as an actor on the West End, in a handful of films, and also appeared on BBC radio as a voice actor [5].

Teresa's father was born in León, Spain, where he lived before following his uncle, José Rodriguez de Losada to London. Losada was famous in London and abroad for his watchmaking business on Oxford Street, although it is said that it was more popular with the Spaniards in the city that the locals [6]. After he died, Miguel took over the family business for a short amount of time and helped his brother, Francisco, to organise [The Spanish Exhibition] [7], hosting the event in his workshop. Although, after this date, we can gather from censuses that Miguel did not stay in that line of business. He was also recorded to be a hotel proprietor, moving his family from richer parts of London, to seedier parts of town, including Marylebone, dependent on what his job was [8]. As can be seen on one of the final censuses Miguel appears on, in 1911, the 'Naturalised' Spaniard is recorded to be a 'Retired Chronometer Manufacturer', living in Maidenhead, Berkshire, with his wife and daughter, Agnes. Her mother, Clara, was from Devonport, Devonshire [9].

Education

The first instrument del Riego learnt was the piano, which she became good at very quickly, claiming she wrote her first unpublished song at the young age of eight [10]. This early achievement put her in great stead for a career as a composer, later using her "" voice as well. She studied piano with Mr Sewel Southgate at school, La Sainte des Sacrés Cœurs, a Roman Catholic covent in Highgate [11]. She then went on to study at the West Central College of London with Sir Paolo Tosti and Marie Withrow. Interestingly, Tosti was confused as a peer of Teresa's later on in her career by The Observer in 1933, along with James Lynam Molloy who was 36 years her senior. The Observer wrongly put her with these musicians, much older than herself, when talking about a nostalgia for hearing these composers again showing how young she was when she started writing songs and also the style and genre of the songs she wrote. It could also be seen as an honour that she was considered as popular as these gentleman who have stood the test of time and are known to this day, even if del Riego did not see it this way, writing a response to the article and commenting that she was 'still "going strong" as a song writer.' [12]

Career

Early Career

Del Riego's career spanned almost 60 years [13], with over 200 songs in the British Library archives

World War One

Death

Legacy

References

  1. Miscellaneous, ‘Sixty Years of Song’ in Musical Times Publications Ltd., 95.1334 (1954), pp. 206-208 p. 207
  2. Miscellaneous, Census of England and Wales, 1911 (n.d.), <https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&db=1911England&h=44598629> [accessed 4 April 2018]
  3. The Imperial War Museum, Badge, Trade, Women Signallers Territorial Corps (n.d.), <https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30073140> [accessed 4 April 2018]
  4. Kimberly Jensen, 'Volunteers, Auxiliaries, and Women's Mobilization: The First World War and Beyond (1914 - 1939)' in A Companion to Women's Military History ed. by Barton C. Hacker and Margaret Vining (Leiden: Brill, 2012) pp. 189 - 232, p. 206
  5. Olegario Pérez Alija, ‘La familia del relojero Losada en Londres. Teresa del Riego y Philip Desborough, dos artistas ingleses de origen leonés’ Revista de la Asociación Cultural “Monte Irago”, 19.37 (2017) pp. 43 - 60, p. 57
  6. Olegario Pérez Alija, ‘La familia del relojero Losada en Londres. Teresa del Riego y Philip Desborough, dos artistas ingleses de origen leonés’ Revista de la Asociación Cultural “Monte Irago”, 19.37 (2017) pp. 43 - 60, p. 47
  7. Kirsty Hooper, A Tale of Two Empires? The Earl's Court Spanish Exhibition (1889) (Liverpool: Modern Languages Open, 2014) p. 4 <https://www.modernlanguagesopen.org/articles/10.3828/mlo.v0i1.5/> [accessed 27 April 2018]
  8. Kirsty Hooper, ___, p. 43 - 44
  9. Miscellaneous, Census of England and Wales, 1911 (n.d.), <https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&db=1911England&h=44598629> [accessed 4 April 2018]
  10. Teresa del Riego, Fifty Years Ago (London: The Observer, 1933) p.11
  11. H. Saxe Wyndham and Geoffrey L'Epine, Who's Who in Music: A Biographical Record of Contemporary Muisicians, (London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd, 1913) p. 64
  12. Teresa del Riego, Fifty Years Ago (London: The Observer, 1933) p.11