Image: Library of Congress.
From Daniel Cavicchi's new book Listening and Longing: Music Lovers in the Age of Barnum:
Touring European virtuosos outdid everyone else in creating concert spectacle. Niccolò Paganini and Franz Liszt, among others, had been performing mind-bending displays of technique and showmanship for European audiences throughout the early decades of the nineteenth century; this approach found great success in the music market of the United States . . . At one poorly attended performance by The Havana Opera Troupe in Boston, in 1846, Giovanni Bottesini, the troupe's orchestra leader, and known as the "Paganini of the double bass," "astonished the musicians by his converting a three stringed double bass into a violin, and the prodigies of execution he brought from an instrument so unwieldy to others." Henri Kowalski noted that "Leopold de Meyer played fantasies for the left hand while he ate vanilla ice-cream with his right; Wehli played a military piece; when he wished to imitate the cannons, he sat down on the keys in the lowest bass." Joseph Gungl, the German conductor, reported that "J. L. Hatton, the pianist and composer, at a concert appear[ed] with sleigh bells fastened to his right leg. When he came to the proper place in the piece he was playing, something about a sleigh ride, he shook this leg violently while an assistant made a noise like the cracking of whip."
I looked at a couple of James Wehli pieces in a military mode; alas, I could find no notation of what might be termed a "butt cluster."