Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Right Mr Wright all right, but This is All Wrong!

Remember I was telling you about Daniel Wright, the other day?  Well, I haven't exactly gotten to the bottom of his story, because it's more complex than I imagined.

I found someone had written a dissertation about a series of publications published by a prolific London publisher named John Walsh.  And the contents of one volume exactly matched the contents of the Daniel Wright book that is in Dundee, minus its cover.  So, who compiled the compilation, Walsh or Wright?  Kidson says the two publishers were rivals, and Wright is known to have pirated Walsh.

But it gets more complicated. Whoever did it first, they put two collections together, one on the front and one on the back (or vice versa) of each page.  I haven't yet established the identity of the two collections.  I've found tunes that appear in THIS book and a Wright book of country dances, but the latter has only a melody line, and I haven't yet looked at any Walsh books.  

Moreover, there's another compilation by Wright, which doesn't appear to have any connection with Walsh, and I need to compare the contents of that, with Daniel Wright's untitled (or John Walsh's titled) collection.
Give me time!

I had a small disappointment this afternoon, though. The dissertation author mentioned an unpublished manuscript by Wright.  As you might guess, I was intrigued, and followed up the reference very carefully.  Only to have my anticipation dashed to a thousand pieces.  It isn't an unpublished manuscript - they've seen a reference to the untitled PUBLICATION in Dundee, and jumped to the erroneous conclusion that it's an unpublished manuscript.  The fact that it's in Dundee with the same catalogue number, is proof enough that the untitled publication is just that.  A publication with the front pages missing.

Takes me back to a memorable occasion many decades ago, when I was eagerly anticipating seeing an Augustinian plainsong manuscript at the British Museum.  I sat, pencil and notebook in front of me, almost salivating at the thought of the tasty treat I was about to have placed in front of me.  Instead, I was apologetically handed a slip.  

"Lost in enemy action."

I don't know what's worse! A manuscript that used to exist, or one that never existed at all!

More about Pirate Daniel Wright anon.......

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