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Benjamin Rose, his book, January 29 1820

Vic Smith 13 Jul 10 - 03:02 PM
tijuanatime 13 Jul 10 - 03:43 PM
Vic Smith 13 Jul 10 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Lucy Allen 20 Apr 14 - 09:07 AM
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Subject: Benjamin Rose, his book, January 29 1820
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 03:02 PM

I often read the Country Diary column on the editorial page of The Guardian. It can be a bit whimsical but it is usually well written and it is that which attracts me. Normally, the subjects range through agriculture, wildlife, botany, landscape and ecological concerns, Today's column by John Vallins was of a subject that would be of more interest here. It reads:-

Two villages, Ibberton and Belchalwell, lie side by side under the shadow of the Dorset downs at the southern edge of Blackmore Vale. We had been invited to their village hall to hear about a little book from this very place that had come to light in an antique shop and was to be brought to life again. The title page reads: "Benjamin Rose, his book, January 29 1820." It is a beautiful manuscript collection of country dance tunes, some unrecorded elsewhere, many unlikely to have been heard for very many years.
We learned that the writer had had a smallholding in Belchalwell and run an ale-house. Some of the older folk in the audience recalled his descendants and knew which fields had been his. He was only 24 years old when he wrote the title page. How had he come to have the skill to write out musical notation so neatly that it sits elegantly on the page and can be read with ease?
In the interval, we drank tea outside as a warm, low evening sun spread long shadows across the hillside. Then the musicians unpacked their instruments: several fiddles and assorted squeeze-boxes, a cello, a harmonica, guitars and a serpent ? the instrument celebrated by Thomas Hardy in Under the Greenwood Tree: "Old things pass away, 'tis true; but the serpent was a good old note: a deep, rich note was the serpent." We were to revel in the serpent's deep, rich note and the fact that neither Benjamin Rose's music nor the serpent's authentic note had altogether passed away. The musicians played with verve and joy. When copies were handed round and someone set a tempo, they combined with effortless skill and no fuss at all to bring to spontaneous life the very music that the folk of Belchalwell, forbearers of some of those present, had heard 200 years ago. And it might never have been heard again.


This sounds fascinating and I wish I had been there but I would like help on these questions ?
?        Who was giving the presentation?
?        I'd imagine that the musicians in this part of the world would have been Tim Laycock and/or Dave Townsend and their associates, but can anyone confirm this for me?
?        Where are these manuscripts held and are they accessible to the public?(I cannot see any reference to them at the Village Music Project website though I have emailed John Adams with the details.)
?        Have these tunes been published or are there are plans to publish them?


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Subject: RE: Benjamin Rose, his book, January 29 1820
From: tijuanatime
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 03:43 PM

Funnily enough, I was just reading today on the Wildgoose website that Tim Laycock has released a new album of Dorset songs and tunes, and the name Benjamin Rose cropped up a couple of times. Worth a look.


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Subject: RE: Benjamin Rose, his book, January 29 1820
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 04:07 PM

John Adams replied saying:-
Hi Vic,
Yes, I know about this and contributed to a Radio 4 programme which included a section on it contributed by Colin Thompson.

I didn't have any detail on it though so your description will be very
useful and I'll adapt it for the web site if that's OK.


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Subject: RE: Benjamin Rose, his book, January 29 1820
From: GUEST,Lucy Allen
Date: 20 Apr 14 - 09:07 AM

For anyone who doen't know, Colin Thompson and Tim Laycock have now brought out 'Benjamin's Book, The complete Country Dance manuscript of Benjamin Rose' and includes an MP3 CD of all 133 tunes.


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