Exceptional handwritten musical manuscript of ‘Humoresque,’ unsigned, written in pencil by Capone on an off-white 9.5 x 12.55 musically lined sheet. While incarcerated at Alcatraz, Capone wrote out the music and lyrics to ‘Humoresque,' in full: “Strains of hum-or-esque di-vine, you / thrill and fill this heart of mine, with glad-ness like a sooth-ing sym-pho- / ny. Over the air, you gent-ly float, and in my soul, you strike a / note, of passion with your mel-o-dy. Sun-beams are / play-ing, flow-ers and trees are sway-ing, cap-tured with-in your mag-ic / spell. Lit-tle chil-dren are danc-ing, lov-ers are all ro- / manc-ing, is it an-y won-der, ev-ry one is sing-ing, strains / of hum-or-esque di-vine, you thrill and fill this heart of mine, with glad-ness / like a sooth-ing sym-pho-ny. Over the air you gent-ly float, / and in my soul, you strike a note, of pas-sion with your mel-o- / dy.” In fine condition, with intersecting folds. Accompanied by a photo of another musical manuscript written by Capone, entitled "Madonna Mia."
As a prisoner at the newly opened Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1934, Capone lobbied the warden for a year before prisoners were allowed musical instruments. Upon receiving permission, Capone had his family send top-of-the-line guitars, banjos, and music charts to the prison. He learned how to play the banjo and formed a prison band, The Rock Islanders, which included George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly on the drums. When Capone went solo after a fight in the band, he took to writing more songs with greater concentration. His most popular, ‘Madonna Mia,’ was a love song about his wife Mae, which he presented as a Christmas gift for his friend and confidant Vincent Casey, a Jesuit priest in training who visited Alcatraz to offer spiritual counsel to prisoners in the 1930s. Although Capone is known to have played and written music during his time at Alcatraz, only two examples, ‘Madonna Mia’ and ‘Humoresque’ have come to light. A tremendously rare piece.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.