Hampshire Voices - Hampshire's enduring legacy of folk song.
Hampshire Carols Workshop

The Madding Crowd

Christ Church, Emery Down, Nr Lyndhurst, New Forest

Saturday, 12th November 2011

Mike Bailey's goal in preparing the music for the workshop was to make a good entertaining sing for everyone, whilst respecting Gardiner's material, using it where it was convincing and finding alternatives where it was not.
Since the material collected was at best only a melody, and most of the songs are known to have been composed in harmony, Mike used available printed or MS harmony settings for six of them, and arranged two himself. The sources were all acknowledged in the workshop book that he produced especially for the event. He made an effort to explain to the participants on the day the relationships between what they were singing and what was collected. The Madding Crowd have the benefit of 100 years of continued research, 35 years of it their own contribution.

Videos of four of the eight carols have been uloaded and can be viewed via the link below.

Hark, Hark Let Us Behold
Words sung as in Gardiner GG/1/6/328. In part the words are recognisably from Psalm 148, part recognisable as Isaac Watts, and part is probably made up or reconstructed from various memories.
Music sung was from the 4-part setting of the tune in the MS of John Barrow of Barton-in-Fabis, dated 1848. The music of Gardiner's collection can be found therein, mostly in the tenor part, but conspicuously omitting the first two phrases and repeating the next two instead. Mike attributes that to the fact that the first two phrases of the music are much less attractive and memorable, and surmises that George Blake only remembered the second two clearly. The music, by Lewis Edson, was first published in 1782 in New Haven, CT, in "The Chorister's Companion", and in many books in the USA up to 1820. It appears in some English collections about 1835-40. Other tunes are known to have crossed the ocean in both directions in Georgian times.

Rejoice Mankind and Sing
Words from Gardiner GG/1/5/271 were sung. Words from the music MS were also provided for comparison.
The music as collected is recognised as the second half of a well-known and wide-spread tune called Lonsdale, first printed in the collection "Sacred Harmony" by Revd. Ralph Harrison of Manchester in 1788. They provided the whole 4-part setting from the Bundell MS, ca. 1837, in which a variant of the same words appears.

Hark, Shepherds, Hark
This is not from the Forest, but it is a favourite of The Madding Crowd's, with good Hampshire connections.
Gardner collected two versions, GG/1/2/56 (Twyford) and GG/1/8/485 (Dummer). These have different words, and the music of 56 from the notebook says it was in part 'obscure'. They recognised the music, and took the 4-part setting from the Bundell MS, words as well, of which the first verse agrees broadly with both 56 and 485. The other two verses are different in GG, and agree broadly with each other.
The Madding Crowd have not found a printed version yet. The bass part occurs twice in the MS from Hannington.

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
GG/1/19/1198 gave Mike the melody and first verse. He added a second line harmony, which was sung by altos if they wished, and a simple bass line for the cello.
Additional words from William Sandys "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern", 1833.

Mike described the rest in similar terms. The carols collected from Frank Harrington (H1252, H1253) and Blake (H332) accurately match known printed sources, which The Madding Crowd used. Mike arranged H1201 "The Moon shines bright" from other sources, the melody not being precisely any of them. He felt this to be the least satisfactory, and hopes to find a MS somewhere matching H1201.

Please be patient. Some of these are large files and, depending on the speed of your internet connection, may start to play and then stop to allow for buffering. If this a major problem I suggest pausing video by hovering cursor over video and then clicking on pause when the control bar can be seen. After more of the video has downloaded onto your PC (as can be seen in the bar) hit play and then it should play through without hesitating.

Return to top