Posted on

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?

Jane Austen's WorldSurely 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


Jane Austen, The Music
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 of the Season
Steam Engine
Willoughby
Excellent Notion
Combe Magna
There is Nothing Lost
The Dreame

Pride and Prejudice
Opening Title Music
Elizabeth Observed
Canon Collins
The Gardiners
Rosings
Farewell to the Regiment
Pemberley
Thinking About Lizzy
Lydia’s Wedding
Double Wedding

Single sheets for Weep You No More Sad Fountains and My Father’s Favorite are available from the Hal Lenoard Corp. Additionally, music for just Sense and Sensibility, more recently, Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Becoming Jane have also been published. Of course, this only covers the pieces written for the films. For a list of classical music used in the movies (including many Bach and Chopin pieces in Persuasion and Mozart in Pride and Prejudice) and ordering information for all these pieces, visit the Republic of Pemberley’s Music page. For printable country dances, try Christ Peterson’s Traditional Music Page.

Posted on

The Moonlight Sonata

One of the most recognizable pieces of music from Jane Austen’s era is surely, The Moonlight Sonata. A supremely romantic piece, it’s emotional depth and complexity would no doubt have appealed to Austen’s most musical heroine, Marianne Dashwood.

Miniature from Beethoven's belongings, possibly Julie Guicciardi.
Miniature from Beethoven’s belongings, possibly Julie Guicciardi.

The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 27, No. 2, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata, is a piano sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi,  it is one of Beethoven’s most popular compositions for the piano.

Dedication page to "Moonlight Sonata".
Dedication page to “Moonlight Sonata”.

The first edition of the score is headed Sonata quasi una fantasia, a title this work shares with its companion piece, Op. 27, No. 1. Grove Music Online translates the Italian title as “sonata in the manner of a fantasy”. (Directly translated “sonata almost a fantasy”).

The name “Moonlight Sonata” has its origins in remarks by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name “Moonlight Sonata” (“Mondscheinsonate” in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name.

Many critics have objected to the subjective, Romantic nature of the title “Moonlight”, which has at times been called “a misleading approach to a movement with almost the character of a funeral march” and “absurd”.  Other critics have approved of the sobriquet, finding it evocative or in line with their own associations with the work. Gramophone founder Compton Mackenzie found the title “harmless”, remarking that “it is silly for austere critics to work themselves up into a state of almost hysterical rage with poor Rellstab”, and adding, “what these austere critics fail to grasp is that unless the general public had responded to the suggestion of moonlight in this music Rellstab’s remark would long ago have been forgotten.”

Continue reading The Moonlight Sonata

Posted on

Ludwig van Beethoven, Immortally Beloved Composer

Beethoven
Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820

Ludwig van Beethoven, (baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets. He also composed other chamber music, choral works and songs.

Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and Christian Gottlob Neefe. During his first 22 years in Bonn, Beethoven intended to study with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and befriended Joseph Haydn. Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 and began studying with Haydn, quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in Vienna until his death. In about 1800 his hearing began to deteriorate, and by the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf. He gave up conducting and performing in public but continued to compose; many of his most admired works come from this period.

Jane Austen and Ludwig van Beethoven shared not only the same birthdate (December 16, if not the year, she was born December 16, 1775) but also a similar publication timeline. Both were demonstrating their respective creative powers at an early age, and though Beethoven outlived Austen by 10 years, their works , produced contemporaneously, are both now regarded as pure genius. We will never know if Beethoven had a chance to read Austen’s works. She was not granted the immense public acclaim he enjoyed, during her life, however, we know that several pieces (Scotch and Irish airs, in particular) in her private music collection were arranged by Beethoven and his mentor, Joseph Haydn. Continue reading Ludwig van Beethoven, Immortally Beloved Composer

Posted on

Create a Jane Austen’s Room Box: Dollhouse Style

One of our readers recently shared a project that he has been working on. Author and art historian, Alexander Chefalas also happens to be a 1/12 scale miniature enthusiast. On his blog, MyGreekMiniatures.com, he shares numerous Regency themed projects, and has offered to here detail, in English, the step by step process he undertakes in creating his windows into Jane Austen’s world.

The completed Austen inspired room box.
The completed Austen inspired room box.

As a true & loyal fan of Miss Austen I decided to make a roombox inspired by her last and beloved home at Chawton cottage.

A view of Jane Austen's pianoforte at Chawton Cottage.
A view of Jane Austen’s pianoforte at Chawton Cottage.
Jane Austen's writing desk inspired this room box.
Jane Austen’s writing desk inspired this room box.

I found a small wall-case display in my store room and I decided to create a small roombox in order to put it next to her novels in my bookcase. Continue reading Create a Jane Austen’s Room Box: Dollhouse Style

Posted on

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 searching for.

Piano Classics from the World of Jane Austen

One of the best “Jane Austen” CDs available, Piano Classics from the World of Jane Austen features classical piano music accurately reflecting the musical milieu of Jane Austen’s period and social sphere. Only imagine, this is what was heard emanating from the elegant drawing rooms graced by many of Austen’s immortal and pianistic heroines. All musical selections are drawn from Austen’s personal library, social sphere, or time period.

The CD contains 73 minutes of music by well-known and lesser-known composers, including four complete sonatas, and premiere recordings of works by Cramer, Clementi, and Schobert. Included is a delightful 16-page booklet featuring a bibliography and in-depth program notes discussing Jane Austen’s pianistic background, the role music performance fulfills in Austen’s plot/character development and social satire, historic/stylistic sketches of each piece, and the artist’s personal speculations as to who might have played what, where, and under what circumstances.

The Jane Austen Companion

Produced by Nimbus Records, this CD, The Jane Austen Companion, is just that. A terrific companion to reading her works, writing your own Regency pieces or for simply getting you in that “Regency” mood. This CD is a delightful mix of popular pieces of the time. As the intelligent and interesting notes maintain, “London at the time of Jane Austen was one of the most exciting centers in all of Europe for music,” and this was an era of great fertility of composers in general. Lucky Jane! Imagine publishing your second novel the same year that Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony receives its premiere. Or offering your fourth novel to the public near the time of the first performance of Schubert’s Fifth Symphony. The program highlights popular music from Austen’s time by Mendelssohn, Haydn, Fasch, J.C. Bach, Boyce, Schubert and others.*

While there is no proof that Jane, herself, favored these composers or even listened to these particular pieces, they do provide a lovely picture of this period’s music for the upper classes. Other CDs may contain country dances or chamber pieces- both popular and important styles of the time- this is just a slice of life- a peek into the Regency’s orchestral scene.

*Gwendolyn Freed and other quotes from Amazon.com

Posted on

The Harp as a Status Symbol

A young lady plays the harp

The Harp as a Status Symbol

A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself, and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any man’s heart.

Mansfield Park

Next to the Pianoforte, the Harp is the most mentioned instrument in Jane Austen’s Novels. Lessons on the Harp were reserved for the privileged daughters of indulgent parents. While the piano was necessary and functional, the harp was stylish. It was an expensive indulgence taught by visiting “Masters”. Some music training, along with art and dancing lessons was deemed necessary to finish off the training provided by the family governess, regardless of Whether the family daughters were sent to school or not.

Indeed, the level of education obtained by Jane Austen’s heroines is in direct proportion to her family’s financial and social status. Jane Fairfax, Marianne Dashwood and Anne Elliot play the piano, but Catherine Morland, daughter of a country curate neither draws or plays. Mary Crawford, Georgiana Darcy and Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove, wealthy, fashionable young ladies, all, play the harp.

In his essay on female accomplishments, Henry Churchyard notes, “For women of the “genteel” classes the goal of non-domestic education was thus often the acquisition of “accomplishments”, such as the ability to draw, sing, play music, or speak modern (i.e. non-Classical) languages (generally French and Italian). Though it was not usually stated with such open cynicism, the purpose of such accomplishments was often only to attract a husband; so that these skills then tended to be neglected after marriage (Lady Middleton in Sense and Sensibility “had celebrated her marriage by giving up music, although by her mother’s account she had played extremely well, and by her own was very fond of it”, while Mrs. Elton in Emma fears that her musical skills will deteriorate as have those of several married women she knows). In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet displays her relatively detached attitude towards the more trivial aspects of this conventional game by adopting a somewhat careless attitude towards her “accomplishment” of playing the piano, and not practicing it diligently.”

The harp’s origins may lie in the sound of a plucked hunter’s bow string. The oldest documented references to the harp are from 4000 BC in Egypt and 3000 BC in Mesopotamia. While the harp is mentioned in most translations of the Bible, King David being the most prominent musician, the Biblical “harp” was actually a kinnor, a type of lyre with 10 strings. Harps also appear in ancient epics, and in Egyptian wall paintings. This kind of harp, now known as the folk harp, continued to evolve in many different cultures all over the world. It may have developed independently in some places.

The lever harp came about in the second half of the 17th century to enable key changes while playing. The player manually turned a hook or lever against an individual string to raise the string’s pitch by a semitone. In the 1700s, a link mechanism was developed connecting these hooks with pedals, leading to the invention of the single-action pedal harp. Later, a second row of hooks was installed along the neck to allow for the double-action pedal harp, capable of raising the pitch of a string by either one or two semitones. With this final enhancement, the modern concert harp was born.

The European harp tradition seems to have originated in ancient Ireland over a thousand years ago. In Irish mythology, a magical harp, Daurdabla is possessed by The Dagda. Most European-derived harps have a single row of strings with strings for each note of the C Major scale (over several octaves). Harpists can tell which strings they are playing because all F strings are black or blue and all C strings are red or orange. The instrument rests between the knees of the harpist and along their right shoulder. The Welsh triple harp and early Irish and Scottish harp24s, however, are traditionally placed on the left shoulder. The first four fingers of each hand are used to pluck the strings; the pinky fingers are too short and cannot reach the correct position without distorting the position of the other fingers, although on some folk harp25s with light tension, closely spaced strings, they may occasionally be used. Plucking with varying degrees of force creates dynamics. Depending on finger position, different tones can be produced: a fleshy pluck (near the middle of the first finger joint) will make a warm tone, while a pluck near the end of the finger will make a loud, bright sound.

 

Enjoyed this article? Browse our non-fiction books at our online gift shop.

Posted on

Jane Austen’s Piano

Jane Austen Piano Brooch

On the left is the Jane Austen Gift Shop’s beautiful new piano brooch, designed to reflect the importance of the piano both in Jane Austen’s life and her works.

Though crafted for the first time in the early 1700s, the piano-forte was, by Jane’s era, the most widely played instrument in the growing middle class. In a time before recordings of any kind, live performance was they only way to enjoy music. Proficiency on an instrument was equally essential for entertainment and as a marketable skill, whether in the job market (as a governess, perhaps) or the marriage market, as yet another accomplishment to add to one’s list. Public performance at parties gave young ladies added exposure on an already crowded field.
More of Jane Austen’s heroines play the piano (in her books, known as the piano, pianoforte and piano-forte) than any other instrument. In fact, as in life, the majority play to some extent and it is, rather, those who do not that we may look to for character observation.

Elizabeth Bennet assists Georgianna Darcy at the piano. A&E, 1995.Catherine Morland and Fanny Price, models of modest simplicity, have no desire to learn (and perhaps an inferred desire to avoid performance) Practical Elinor Dashwood leaves the playing to her younger sister Marianne, who excels at both the emotional side of musical interpretation and the art of performing. Anne Du Bourgh is, her mother thinks, too ill to learn (or is it her mother, who similarly never learnt, trying to control her daughter in this area as well?)

Learning to play the piano posed its own problems. Most young ladies would have been taught by a governess or traveling master, though Jane, studied with the respected composer and organist, William Chard well into her twenties, long after most girls would have given up their lessons. After that point, it was up to the student to progress if she wished, on her own. Jane owned a small piano at various times during her life and, when this was not an option, rented one. She played for her own enjoyment and would rise an hour before the rest of the family in order to get her practicing done. This determination made her a delightful player and no doubt in demand for entertainment and impromptu dancing when her nieces and nephews came for visits.
Sheet music was expensive at that time and friends would often loan their copies to each other to be copied into private notebooks. Jane Austen penned several such books, eight of which are held by the Jane Austen Memorial Trust in Chawton.

Now available from the Jane Austen Gift Shop:

Piano Brooch in silver, marcasite and pearls

Jane Austen’s Piano Favourites – part of a wide range of CDs

A Carriage Ride In Queen Square – Sheet music with accompanying CD

Posted on

The History of the Waltz

the history of the waltz

The History of the Waltz

“Here ceased the concert part of the evening, for Miss Woodhouse and Miss Fairfax were the only young lady performers; but soon (within five minutes) the proposal of dancing — originating nobody exactly knew where — was so effectually promoted by Mr and Mrs Cole, that every thing was rapidly clearing away, to give proper space.

Mrs Weston, capital in her country-dances, was seated, and beginning an irresistible waltz; and Frank Churchill, coming up with most becoming gallantry to Emma, had secured her hand, and led her up to the top.”
Emma

Few sights are as romantic as that of a couple, absorbed in each other, sweeping across the floor in a dreamy waltz. It is certainly the highlight of many a fairy tale and even Jane Austen allows her couples ample time on the dance floor. While the English Country Dance is most associated with Jane Austen’s novels, many will be surprised to discover that by the early 1800’s the waltz had also made it’s way across the channel and was being danced by the more progressive of the Beau Monde. The fact that it was a couples dance (as opposed to the traditional group dances), and that the gentleman actually clasped his arm around the lady’s waist, gave it a dubious moral status in the eyes of some.

By 1814, the waltz, originally considered decadent, was finally sanctioned as appropriate behaviour when it was approved at the ultra fashionable Almacks, though the patronesses there still kept a firm hand on who was allowed permission to dance; no debutante could waltz unless one of the patronesses had given her permission, something that was only granted to girls “whose deportment was considered impeccable.”* By 1815, when Emma was printed, it was acceptable dancing, even in the humble home of the Coles, in the small village of Highbury. This detail from frontispiece to Thomas Wilson’s Correct Method of German and French Waltzing (1816), shows nine positions of the Waltz, clockwise from the left (the musicians are at far left).

The history of the waltz actually dates back to the 1500’s. There are several references to a sliding or gliding dance, i.e. a waltz, from the 16th century including the representations of the printer H.S. Beheim. The French philosopher Montaigne wrote of a dance he saw in 1580 in Augsburg, where the dancers held each other so closely that their faces touched. Kunz Haas, of approximately the same period wrote that, “Now they are dancing the godless, Weller or Spinner, whatever they call it.” “The vigorous peasant dancer, following an instinctive knowledge of the weight of fall, utilizes his surplus energy to press all his strength into the proper beat of the measure, thus intensifying his personal enjoyment in dancing”. The wide, wild steps of the country people became shorter and more elegant when introduced to higher society. Hans Sachs wrote of the dance in his 1568 Eygentliche Beschreibung aller Stände(1568).

At the Austrian Court in Vienna in the late 17th century (1698) ladies were conducted around the room to the tune of a 2 beat measure, which then became the 3/4 of the Nach Tanz (After Dance), upon which couples got into the position for the Weller and waltzed around the room with gliding steps as in an engraving of the Wirtschaft (Inn Festival) given for Peter the Great.

The peasants of Bavaria, Tyrol, and Styria began dancing a dance called Walzer, a dance for couples, around 1750. The Ländler, also known as the Schleifer, a country dance in 3/4 time, was popular in Bohemia, Austria, and Bavaria, and spread from the countryside to the suburbs of the city. While the eighteenth century upper classes continued to dance the minuet, bored noblemen slipped away to the balls of their servants.

Describing life in Vienna (dated at either 1776 or 1786), Don Curzio wrote, “The people were dancing mad […] The ladies of Vienna are particularly celebrated for their grace and movements of waltzing of which they never tire.” There is a waltz in the second act finale of the opera “Una Cosa Rara” written by Martin y Solar in 1786. Solar’s waltz was marked Andante con moto, or “at a walking pace with motion”, but the flow of the dance was sped-up in Vienna leading to the Geschwindwalzer, and the Galloppwalzer.

In the transition from country to town, the hopping of the Ländler, a dance known as Langaus, became a sliding step, and gliding rotation replaced stamping rotation.

In the 19th century the word primarily indicated that the dance was a turning one; one would “waltz” in the polka to indicate rotating rather than going straight forward without turning.

The Viennese custom is to slightly anticipate the second beat, which conveys a faster, lighter rhythm, and also breaks of the phrase. The younger Strauss would sometimes break up the one-two-three of the melody with a one-two pattern in the accompaniment along with other rhythms, maintaining the 3/4 time while causing the dancers to dance a two-step waltz. The metronome speed for a full bar varies between 60 and 70, with the waltzes of the first Strauss often played faster than those of his sons.

Shocking many when it was first introduced, the waltz became fashionable in Vienna around the 1780s, spreading to many other countries in the years to follow. It became fashionable in Britain during the Regency period, though the entry in the Oxford English Dictionary shows that it was considered “riotous and indecent” as late as 1825. The waltz, and especially its closed position, became the example for the creation of many other ballroom dances. Subsequently, new types of waltz have developed, including many folk and several ballroom dances.

Hummel was an early piano virtuoso to compose waltzes, and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations were on a simple waltz tune; but Schubert was the first major composer to produce music specifically described as waltzes. Weber’s piano rondo, Aufforderung zum Tanze (1819), foreshadowed the form later adopted by major dance composers: a sequence of waltzes with a formal introduction and a coda referring to themes heard earlier. This form was established in the 1830s by Joseph Lanner and the elder Johann Strauss, and from then the waltz was particularly associated with Vienna, although it was popular throughout Europe.

With Strauss’s sons, Johann and Josef, during the 1860s the waltz reached its peak as dance form, musical composition and symbol of a gay, elegant age. With Josef’s death in 1870 and Johann’s turn to operetta, the two major exponents of the waltz were lost to it. Their place was taken by minor composers, but some of the best waltzes of the late 19th century are found in the operettas of Lehár, Offenbach, Suppé and Messager. The waltz featured prominently in ballet and in such operas as Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Puccini’s La bohème and, especially, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Stylized waltzes are to be found in instrumental and orchestral works. Some of the most original are those for piano by Chopin, Brahms’s Liebeslieder Walzer for voices and piano duet, the third movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and the Valse triste of Sibelius. The waltz era is effectively summed up in the Valses nobles et sentimentales (1911) and the choreographic poem La valse (1918) of Ravel.

Historical information on the history of the waltz courtesy of Wikipedia. Additional information(*) on the history of the waltz from An Elegant Madness: High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray.

Enjoyed this article? Browse our Jane Austen Giftshop!