(J. J. Grandville, 1844)
We have just witnessed the first humano-mechanical concert of the incomparable Dr. Puff. It would require a style as entrancing as Mozart and as majestic as Gluck to do justice to this grand event. Thanks to this admirable invention, we need no longer worry about singers catching cold, coming down with bronchitis, or losing their voice. The voice of the tenors, basses, baritones, sopranos and contraltos is safe from all accidents; the steam-powered instruments produce effects of surprising accuracy; the great composers of the age have finally found interpreters equal to their melodies. In this century of progress, the machine is a perfected human being.
Words could not describe the excitement elicited by each piece played by the virtuosi of Dr. Puff. His orchestra could rival that of any conservatory in the world. In the grand diurne Right Bank and Left Bank, Mademoiselle Tender attacked the low A of the bass octave with a fullness of voice and steam that won bravos from the entire audience. A young virtuoso of 22 months, six days, and one night, who has out of modesty chosen to remain anonymous, executed the most difficult variations on the vapor-harp without for a single moment going off the railway of harmony, with an emotional warmth and delicacy of touch which place her at once among the ranks of the most celebrated performers. […]
An accident marked the end of the concert. During the fireworks in D, where the fugue ended smorzando in a sweet and dreamy melody, an ophicleide, overloaded with harmony, suddenly exploded like a bomb, launching aloft the black and whites notes and the grupetti of sharps, eighth- and sixteenth notes. Clouds of musical smoke and flames of melody were dispersed into the air. Many dilettantes had their ears blown out, while others were injured by the shrapnel of the F and G clefs. Measures have been taken to ensure that such an accident does not happen again.