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The Sheet Music for Austen Film Scores

Jane Austen loved to play the pianoforte. She used to copy out music from her friends into books that remain in the Chawton House library to this day. Many of these pieces- classics by Bach, Mozart, Handel and others – are readily available for today’s musicians. If you want to try your hand yourself, A Carriage Ride In Queen’s Square, a wonderful compendium of original ‘easy to play piano pieces for Jane Austen’s Bath’ with a playalong CD included, is currently available from the Jane Austen Gift Shop. But what if you want to play music from the movie soundtracks? Surely these evoke the spirit of Jane Austen at least as much as the period pieces. Fortunately, many of these- from the original dances used in the movies- to sheet music of the film scores are easily obtained. Perhaps the most comprehensive collection of works is Jane Austen’s World published by Faber music. It includes: Emma by Rachel Portman- Frank Churchill Arrives Emma (End Titles) Sense and Sensibility by Patrick Doyle- My Father’s Favourite Devonshire All The Better For Her Excellent Notion The Dreame Pride and Prejudice by Carl Davis Pride & Prejudice Theme Canon Collins The Gardiners Summary Persuasion by Jeremy Sams Persuasion Main Theme Tristesse Italian Aria Another book, Jane Austen, the Music  includes a greater range of pieces from both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Its contents are: Sense and Sensibility Weep You No More, Sad Fountains A Particular Sum My Father’s Favourite Patience All the Delights (more…)
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English Echoes: English Country Dance Favorites

It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; — but when a beginning is made — when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt — it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more. Emma This CD anyone who’s ever wanted to hear (or even dance) the dances that Jane Austen was familiar with. Dancing plays an integral part in all of Austen’s romances, from Darcy leading Lizzy to the floor at Netherfield, to Mr. Knightley’s “not so much brother and sister” at the Crown Inn.Henry Tilney first engages Catherine Morland’s notice at an assembly in Bath and Willoughby’s duplicity with Miss Grey is discovered at a similar assembly in London. English Echoes features 14 dance length country dances and waltzes that would have been well known to the Austen family. Several are by John Playford, of Playford’s Dancing Master fame. Another, Shrewsburry Lasses, (by Charles and Samuel Thompson, 1765, Dances as they are performed at Court, Bath, and all Publick Assemblys.) is familiar from the 1995 Pride and Prejudice. Discerning listeners will recall Lizzy and Mr. Collin’s failed attempt at dancing at the Netherfield ball (“Other way, Mr. Collins!)*. All in all, it is a delightful collection, evocative of “Jane Austen movies – at times smooth and elegant, others bouncy (more…)
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First Impressions: The CD

First Impressions (1959) is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by George Weiss, Robert Goldman, and Glenn Paxton, and book by Abe Burrows (Guys and Dolls), based on the stage adaptation by Helen Jerome of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. The Broadway production premiered at the Alvin Theater, New York City, on March 19, 1959, and played 84 performances. The stars of the original cast were Hermione Gingold (as Mrs. Bennet), Polly Bergen (as Elizabeth Bennet), and Farley Granger (as Mr. Darcy), supported by Phyllis Newman, Ellen Hanley, Christopher Hewitt, and James Mitchell. The original production’s lavish scenic design (the period was 1813) by Peter Larkin is particularly noteworthy. The time is 1813, the scene is Longbourn, the home of the Bennets in Hertfordshire. The family consists of Mr. Bennet, his busy wife and their five unmarried daughters: Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Lydia and Kitty. Mrs. Bennet’s primary aim in life is to see her children well married, which is not easy when one has five daughters. Nor are the daughters, particularly Elizabeth, entirely sympathetic to her schemes. But good news comes to Mrs. Bennet that a rich young man, Charles Bingley, is coming to live at nearby Netherfield Hall, accompanied by his even richer friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, and she hurries out to tell her friends. Darcy and Bingley make their first appearance at the Assembly Dance, where the latter is immediately attracted to Jane, but an intense dislike springs up between Elizabeth and Darcy, arising from her (more…)
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The Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack

The Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack By Dario Marianelli Before filming ever began on Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice, he knew the type of soundtrack he wanted—and he knew who he wanted to write it: Dario Marianelli, best known for his scores for The Brothers Grimm and I Capture the Castle. Wright wanted music that would sound appropriate for the period—something Jane Austen herself, might have listened to or played; music that would seem not to be written for the movie, but taken from life. Since the film is set in 1797, the same year that Jane Austen wrote the first draft of Pride and Prejudice, Marianelli found inspiration not only in the composers of the time, but also in dances, chamber pieces and Beethoven’s piano Sonatas. At times haunting and lonely, at others lilting and flirtatious, his music is the perfect accompaniment to Jane’s own “two or three families in a country village.” In keeping with that feeling,Marianell never uses more than three or four instruments at a time, performed by French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra. Often we are treated to piano solos, which become Elizabeth Bennet’s voice on her journey towards self discovery. As in Nick Dear’s 1995 version of Persuasion, Joe Wright has chosen to show us less of the “light, bright and sparkling” and more of the grime of life. Pigs do wander into gardens and people do forget to comb their hair. We are given a more accurate portrait of true Georgian (more…)
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The Jane Austen Songbooks

The Pianoforte was one of the most popular instruments for young ladies to learn to play during the Regency. With this, they could accompany dancers or singers or play solos that would entertain guests at gatherings and display their talents for all to see. Jane Austen, herself, was an accomplished musician and the following CDs give a glimpse into the types of music that she might have enjoyed. Jane’s Hand: The Jane Austen Songbooks Borrowing from Jane Austen’s own meticulously kept music books, Jane’s Hand reproduces 22 pieces of music written for piano and voice. The CD, which runs nearly 80 minutes, includes pieces by Handel, Gluck, Gay and even Georgiana Cavendish, the notorious Duchess of Devonshire. With guest appearances from an array of Sopranos and Tenors, as well as period instrument players (the Harpsichord, Fortepiano, Baroque Violin and Baroque Guitar), familar pieces are interspersed with period gems. The included 20 page booklet provides the history of Jane Austen’s music, as well as photographs of Chawton Cottage and Jane’s fortepiano. Information on the musicians as well as the full text of each song is also given. For those who can’t get enough of the music from the movies, How Can Show How Much I Love Her? (Virgins are like a fair flower…) and Silent Worship (Did you not hear my lady?) – both featured in Emma2, are here performed. Click below for a sample. This CD was released in 1996 by Vox Classics. Though difficult to find, it’s well worth (more…)
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A Very Innocent Diversion

[Aunt Jane] began her day with music – for which I conclude that she had a natural taste…she practiced regularly every morning – she played very pretty tunes I thought – I liked to stand by her and listen to them…much that she played was from manuscript, copied out by herself – and no neatly and correctly that it was as easy to read as print. From the Memoirs of Jane Austen’s neice Caroline, 1867 Piano music seems to be very much at the heart of Jane Austen’s life. Her neice Caroline tells us that she practiced every day and the majority of music in the writer’s music collection at her house in Chawton, Hampshire, includes something to be played on the piano, whether as a solo instrument, or a song accompaniment or an important part in a chamber music piece she would have performed with friends and family. The music by Piccini, Pleyel and Eichner on this recording can all be found in the Chawton music collection. Further volumes of music known to have been associated with Jane Austen but not kept in her Chawton house include music by Haydn, and so two of his sonatas were chosen for the recording. Muzio Clementi was such a major musical figure at the time – he was active as a publisher, composer and piano maker – that his music must have been known to Jane Austen. Jane Austen’s own piano was made by Stodart and would have been very similar to (more…)