[English Music] Dibdin, Charles. (1745–1814) & Shield, William. (1748–1829) & Braham, John. (1774–1856) & Kelly, Michael. (1762-1826)
Early 19th-Century Bound Volume of Collected English Songs
Bound collection of sheet music, London, ca. early 1800's. Folio, engraved throughout, containing approximately twenty pieces of printed music and one manuscript piece. Musical and historical highlights include the song True Courage by Charles Dibdin (the composer of more than 600 songs, many for the theater, and many sea songs), from the entertainment "A Tour to the Land's End"; a song from composer William Shield's 1781 opera Rosina; two songs performed by the celebrated tenor John Braham (one of which is also composed by him); a song composed and published by important Irish tenor and composer Michael Kelly, and a setting of Lord Byron's poem "Fare Thee Well" (written to his wife, Annabella Milbanke) by organist and composer John Whitaker. Also interesting is the song "Could a man be secure," which is billed as having been sung at the "Jene scai quoi club"—a convivial society founded in the 1790's by the Prince of Wales, and which boasted the best entertainment of the London theaters at its (sometimes scandalous) private dinners. Publishers of these editions include Clementi, J. Dalen, Preston, and Goulding, with several of the editions also sold in Dublin and one published in Liverpool by Hime & Son.
Ex libris Ann Maria Dickinson with her name to the front wrapper and inscriptions on the pieces. Limp paper binding with spine and corners in marbled paper re-used from a book. Toning, some water damage and heavy wear to the wrappers; internally fine and overall very good. 13.75 x 10 inches (24 x 34.5 cm).
Songs in order: The Favorite Castanet Song as Sung by Miss De Camp; Whilst with Village Maids I Stray; True Courage by Dibdin; On this Old Flinty Rock I Will Lay my Head, Sung by Mr. Braham; A Rose Tree Full in Bearing; Faithless Emma; Forget Me Not by Mr. Braham; Could a Man be Secure; The Wife's Farewell, or No, My Love, No by Michael Kelly; The Mid-Watch; Love's a Tyrant; Why Stays my Love; The Mischievous Bee; Come Tell Me Says Rosa; The Minstrel's Harp; The Voice of her I Love; The Celebrated Poem, Fare Thee Well by Lord Byron; The Cypress Wreath; The Favorite Song Sung by Mrs. Bland in the Stranger; The Beggar Boy; [and] The Mermaid's Song.
The present volume gives a glimpse at two of the most important singers of the day. An important Irish tenor, composer, theatre manager and music publisher, Michael Kelly worked with many important contemporaries, but is most remembered for his close association with Mozart, who wrote the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio for him. He, however, considered his colleague John Braham to be "decidedly, the greatest vocalist of his day." Both tenors studied with the male soprano Venanzio Rauzzini, and Braham starred in Italian operas in London around the turn of the nineteenth century, and became the first English male singer to command a European reputation.