Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pirates Run Aground

Once upon a time ... no, that's not a scholarly way to begin a blogpost.  Quick change of voice, here.

I've blogged several times about the eighteenth century publishers Walsh and Wright, in recent weeks.  (Both are known to have pirated other people's work - it's certainly not the case that one was always wronged, and the other guilty of the wrongdoing.  Nor that it was a straightforward borrowing between just two publishers!)  However, I realise that I haven't mentioned them since I went to Edinburgh to inspect Mr Wright's Aria di Camera.  (I'm surprised that Wright didn't know the plural of 'Aria', but it's a bit late to quibble, nearly two centuries after the event...)

Wright's early eighteenth century compilation was supposed to provide evidence that an untitled collection in Dundee was also published by him. I'm not convinced.  I'm waiting for a copy of a collection in the British Library which will enable me to make further comments in this regard, but I'll bide my time until I can make my pronouncements with more certainty.

So, in that regard, my pirates have run aground - I can't do any more until I get those scans.  However, with a colleague's assistance, I identified the flute tutor published at the beginning of Wright's Aria.  Yes - it was pirated.  A pirated translation, itself arguably pirated from a famous French original.

I also discovered that there's a modern edition of the Aria da Camera - which is very satisfying, especially since the editorial commentary is well-researched and presented.  Furthermore, there are some really lovely tunes in that collection.  So, even though it's a flute collection, with no bassline, I see scope for indulging in a little musical arranging.  I've recently been arranging music for saxophone choir.  They've got a good bit to be going on with, so maybe I could arrange some of Wright's flute tunes for flute quartet.  It's a tempting thought ...

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