Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE TO GEORGE II.                                631
Robert Hole. William engraved Parthenia, a collection of pieces for the Vir­ginals, dedicated to the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I. These were " composed by three famous masters, William Byrd, Dr. John Bull, and Orlando Gibbons, Gentlemen of His Majesties Most Illustrious Chappell," and first pub­lished in 1611. Robert Hole engraved a work of similar character for virginals and base-viol, under the title of Parthenia inviolata, which was published without date.
It was, no doubt, the demand for instrumental music, that first suggested the resort to engraving, and instrumental music was more cultivated in England than in any other country. Proofs of thi3 have already been given, but it does not rest wholly upon the testimony of English writers. Many allusions to the ex­cellence of our instrumentalists might be cited from foreigners, like that of Giovanni Battista Doni, in his De Prwstantia Musicce veteris, a book written in dialogue, and printed in 1647. One of the speakers is the advocate of the then modern music, the other of that of the ancients. On the subject of the tibiae or pipes of the Greeks, the latter says " The English are allowed to excel on the flute, and there are many good performers on the cornet in that kingdom, but I cannot believe them equal to the ancient players on the tibia, such as Antigenides, Pronomus, and Timotheus." No mention is here made of other instruments than the flute and cornet, because the discussion is confined to tibiae and their modern representatives.
The cornet was an extremely difficult instrument to play well. The Lord Keeper North says of it, " Nothing comes so near, or rather imitates so much, an excellent voice, as a cornet-pipe; but the labour of the lips is too great, and it is seldom well sounded." He adds, that in the churches of York and Durham, cornets and other wind music were used in the choirs at the Restoration, to supply the deficiency of voices and organs, but afterwards disused.
Instrumental music was much employed at our theatres, not only in operas, but also when tragedies and comedies were performed. Orazio Busino, in his account of the Venetian Embassy to the Court of James I., says, " We saw a tragedy [at the Fortune Theatre] which diverted me very little, especially as I cannot understand a word of English, though some little amusement may be derived from gazing at the very costly dresses of the actors, and from the various interludes of instrumental music, and dancing and singing; but the best treat yrsa to see such a crowd of nobility, so very well arrayed that they looked like so many princes, listening as silently and soberly as possible." {Quarterly Review, October, 1857.)
Down to the time of The Beggars' Opera, it had been the custom to perform three movements of instrumental music, termed " first, second, and third music," before the commencement of each play. A story is told of Rich, the manager, who when the customary music was called for by the audience at the first performance of The Beggars' Opera, came forward and said, " Ladies and gentlemen, there is no music to an opera" (setting the house in a roar of laughter),—"I mean, ladies and gentlemen, an opera is all music."







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