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Purcell, Automatic

In which we go back to a musical original

Musicology news of the week: the discovery by a Manchester University academic, Rebecca Herissone, that one of the best known pieces by composer Henry Purcell was largely rewritten seventy years after Purcell’s death, and that the original version is probably lost.

She’s only guessing, of course. Her logic goes: the only copy we have of Purcell’s Come Ye Sons Of Art was written out in 1765, by a chap who rewrote several other pieces by Purcell. So, he probably rewrote this one too. Circumstantial, but there you go. She has “reconstructed the original”, which was relatively easy because the rewriter wasn’t a very good composer himself.*

Quite apart from the slightly spurious validity of her reconstruction – given that she’s producing what she thinks Purcell himself ought to have originally written, isn’t there a risk of her producing a pastiche herself? – what amuses me is the idea that bad remixers have been around on the musical scene for years. It’s nice to know that the bad cover version isn’t something that’s only been around for fifty years.

* I’m going by what she said in a radio interview this morning, on Radio 4. But if the second composer was so awful, how come his version has been one of the most popular “Purcell” pieces ever since?

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In which we care for hedgehogs

A couple more links about yesterday’s post. At least one BBC editor was surprised that not everyone has believed the government’s line on the issue. Meanwhile, a Guardian blogger points out that the proposals are based on people who believe they don’t need any evidence, and it could be the thin end of the wedge.

Enough of all that. Direct campaigning clearly works: McDonalds has finally given in to the Hedgehog Preservation Society’s hedgehog preservation campaign, and is going to redesign its McFlurry cups to make them less hedgehog-toxic.* Hurrah! Clearly there’s something in this campaigning thing; I just need to find something of my own to campaign for. Suggestions, please.

That’s enough for this week, I think. It’s gone by far, far too fast.

* link via BoingBoing

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Things I don’t need to write

In which this site’s posts are superfluous

I was thinking of writing an exciting political post* about last week’s terrorist alerts, and how I was a mite suspicious of them. But, of course, this being the internet, lots of people have done it already, wondering if it really was necessary to jump so suddenly. Chris from, particularly, was very suspicious of the vagueness of the reports, and apparent lack of hard evidence so far.

Hard evidence may well turn up, eventually. Or, more likely, it may turn out that the plotters hadn’t even made their bombs yet. The government are starting to have a bit of a Boy Who Cried Wolf problem. The more times the police raid innocent houses, or paralyse air travel, especially if it comes at politically sensitive times, the less we are going to believe them.

* well, OK, not that exciting

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