The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #122008   Message #2670770
Posted By: GUEST,Shimrod
03-Jul-09 - 01:12 PM
Thread Name: Pronunciation of Gaelic/Norn in 'King Orfeo'
Subject: RE: Pronunciation of Gaelic/Norn in 'King Orfeo'
"The story of how the tune was discovered is interesting, as for many years the ballad featured in many collections, including Child (#19) without a melody until an old singer (forgive me, I know not who!) piped up with a single verse, introducing it as a piece of nonsense, or words to that effect, thus completing the picture. Perhaps someone can provide the actual details of this?"

To quote from the notes to Alison Mc Morland and Geordie McIntyre CD mentioned above:

"In 1952 the eminent collector Pat Shuldham Shaw recorded five verses set to this wonderful pentatonic tune from John Stickle of Unst (Shetland). Bertrand Bronson, the ballad tune scholar, stated that to hear this whisper from the middle-ages was "as little expected as we should hear the horns of elfinland* blowing""

* The CD note reads "England" but I'm certain that this is a mis-print and Bronson's original word was "elfinland".

If you can lay your hands on a set of the Caedmon/Topic 'Folk Songs of Britain' LPs - and something to play them on - you can actually hear Shuldham Shaw's original recording of John Stickle (Topic 12T 160; TFSoB Vol.4., The Child Ballads No. 1, Side A, Track 7).