A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
32                A CENTURY OF BALLADS
Sir John Hawkins in his History of Music tells an anecdote of Purcell, in connection with the old song of "Sir John Barleycorn," originally sung to the tune of "Stingo " or " Oil of Barley." This tune was afterwards called " Cold and Raw," and is, with a few alterations, the tune to which Henry Carey's "Sally in our Alley' is now sung.
"This tune," says the historian, "was greatly admired by Queen Mary, the consort of King William, and she once affronted Purcell by re­questing to have it sung to her, he being present. The story is as follows : The Queen having a mind one afternoon to be entertained with music, sent to Mr. Gosling, then one of her Chapel, and afterwards sub-dean of St. Paul's, to Henry Purcell, and to Mrs. Arabella Hunt, who had a very fine voice and an admirable hand on the lute, with a request to attend her. They obeyed her commands. Mr. Gosling and Mrs. Hunt sang several compositions of Purcell, who accom­panied them on the harpsichord. At length the Queen, beginning to grow tired, asked Mrs. Hunt if she could not sing the ballad of ' Cold and Raw.' Mrs. Hunt answered yes, and sang it to her lute. Purcell was all the while sitting at the harpsichord unemployed, and not a little nettled at the Queen's preference of a vulgar ballad to his music; but seeing Her Majesty
Previous Contents Next