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Robert Pindar, Thomas Busby, and the Mysterious Scoring of Henry Purcell's 'Come Ye Sons of Art'

Rebecca Herissone
Music & Letters
Vol. 88, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), pp. 1-48
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4140351
Page Count: 48
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Robert Pindar, Thomas Busby, and the Mysterious Scoring of Henry Purcell's 'Come Ye Sons of Art'
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Abstract

In a recent article published in Early Music Performer, Clare Brown and Peter Holman drew attention to a set of plates, entitled 'FAC SIMILES OF CELEBRATED COMPOSERS', printed in Thomas Busby's Concert Room and Orchestra Anecdotes of 1825. The plates seem to be lithographic reproductions of tracings from composers' manuscripts, and include a short extract from Purcell's 1694 ode, Come ye sons of art, apparently copied from an autograph that is no longer extant. Fascinatingly, the scoring of this fragmentary passage differs from the corresponding section in the only surviving complete source of the ode, a manuscript copied in 1765 by one Robert Pindar. The discrepancy appears to confirm Bruce Wood's suspicions, noted in his 1998 edition of the ode, that Pindar made a number of 'improvements' to his copy of Come ye sons of art. We know, indeed, that Pindar tampered with the other three Purcell odes he entered in the same manuscript-Welcome to all the Pleasures, the Yorkshire Feast Song, and Hail! Bright Cecilia-since these survive elsewhere in reliable sources; surprisingly, however, his adaptations have never been investigated thoroughly. In this article detailed analysis of Pindar's reworkings to the scoring, structure, part-writing, and other characteristics of these three odes is used alongside the evidence of Busby's fragment in order to identify the alterations Pindar is likely to have made to Come ye sons of art, culminating in an attempt to reconstruct a version of the ode closer to Purcell's own conception of the piece.

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