Friday, 27 January 2017

General Graham's Waltz

In about 1810 Goulding, D'Almaine, Potter & Co. published 'Goulding & Co.'s Collection of new & favorite. Country Dances, Reels & Waltzes, arranged for the Piano Forte and Flute or Patent Flageolet, by John Parry.'

One of the dances in this collection was Genl Graham's Waltz

George Goulding was probably in business before 1784. His earliest surviving sheet music is from 1787.

His address at this time was at "The Haydn's Head, No. 6. James Street, Covent Garden," and it is from this address he began to issue annual sets of dances.

Early in 1799 he removed to 45, Pall Mall, and took partners.

The new firm was Goulding & Co., or Goulding, Phipps, & D'Almaine, and they became music sellers to the Prince and Princess of Wales.

In 1803 they took additional premises at 76, St, James Street, and in 1804-5 had given both these addresses up, and removed to 117, New Bond Street, with an agency at 7, Westmoreland Street., Dublin.

In 1808-9 they moved again to 124 New Bond Street. About this time Phipps retired and the firm became Goulding, D'Almaine, & Potter.

John Parry was born in Denbigh, in northern Wales, the son of a stonemason. He taught himself to play the fife on an instrument that he made himself from a piece of cane, and a dance-master who lived nearby taught him the clarinet.

John Parry

In 1793, Parry joined the Denbighshire militia's volunteers' band, becoming its conductor in 1797. He became a master of the harp, the clarinet, and the flageolet and learned to play many other instruments.

In 1807, he left the militia and settled in London.

By 1809, he was appointed the musical director of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and composed much of the music performed there. It is probably this connection that caused Gouldings to use him as an arranger.

Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch, had been promoted to the rank of major general, in the summer of 1809, to command a division under Lord Chatham, in the fatal Walcheren expedition. An attack of malaria fever, however, compelled him to return home.

General Graham

On his recovery he was raised to the rank of Lieutenant General and was sent to Spain, to take command of the British and Portuguese troops in Cádiz.

The suggested figures for this dance are fairly simple:

1st and 2nd ladies and first and second gentlemen change places, down the middle and swing corners

The London dancing master Thomas Wilson's book 'An Analysis of Country Dancing' published in 1808 explains what was meant by swinging corners at this period.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Beau Nash in the Ballroom

In 1703 the year before Beau Nash came to Bath Oliver Goldsmith tells us that "Queen Anne had been obliged to divert herself, in 1703, with a fiddle and a hautboy, and with country dances on the bowling-green."

Even after Nash took charge the rules of the Assemblies were very ill-defined. As Goldsmith says "If the company liked each other, they danced till morning, if any person lost at cards, he insisted on
continuing the game till luck should turn."

Beau Nash 1750

It was against this background that Nash posted his "RULES to be observed at BATH."

1. THAT a visit of ceremony at first coming and another at going away, are all that
are expected or desired, by ladies of quality and fashion,-- except impertinents.
2. That ladies coming to the ball appoint a time for their footmen coming to wait on
them home, to prevent disturbance and inconveniencies to themselves and others
3. That gentlemen of fashion never appearing in a morning before the ladies in gowns
and caps, show breeding and respect.
4. That no person take it ill that any one goes to another's play, or breakfast, and not
theirs,-- except captious by nature.
5. That no gentleman give his ticket for the balls, to any but gentlewomen.-- N.B.
Unless he has none of his acquaintance.
6. That gentlemen crowding before the ladies at the ball, show ill manners, and that
none do so for the future,-- except such as respect nobody but themselves.
7. That no gentleman or lady takes it ill that another dances before them;-- except
such as have no pretence to dance at all.
8. That the elder ladies and children be content with a second bench at the ball, as
being past or not come to perfection.
9. That the younger ladies take notice how many eyes observe them. N.B. This does
not extend to the Have-at-alls.
10. That all whisperers of lies and scandal, be taken for their authors.
11. That all repeaters of such lies, and scandal, be shunned by all company,-- except
such as have been guilty of the same crime.
N.B. Several men of no character, old women and young ones, of questioned
reputation, are great authors of lies in these places, being of the sect of levellers

The balls were to begin at six and to end at eleven. Each ball was opened with a minuet, danced by the two people judged to be of the highest rank present. When the minuet concluded, the lady was to return to her seat, and Nash would bring the gentleman a new partner. This continued until every gentleman had danced with two ladies a process that usually occupied two hours. At
eight, the country dances began, ladies forming lines in order of their rank. About nine o'clock a short interval was allowed for rest before the country dancing continued. At 11O'clock precisely Nash would order the musicians to stop playing, by lifting up his finger. At the end of the ball, some time was allowed for people to rest and cool down before the ladies were handed into sedan chairs.

Although much of what happened during balls was determined by rank Goldsmith tells us that Nash would impose limits on the behaviour of superiors towards their inferiors in status.

"When he observed any ladies so extremely delicate and proud of a pedigree, as to only touch the back of an inferior's hand in the dance, he always called to order, and desired them to leave the room, or behave with common decency, and when any Ladies and Gentlemen drew off, after they had gone down a dance, without standing up till the dance was finished, he made up to them, and after asking whether they had done dancing, told them, they should dance no more unless they stood up for the rest; and on these occasions he always was as good as his word."

In a letter to the Countess of Suffolk in 1734 Lord Chesterfield gives us a glimpse of Beau Nash at a grand ball thrown to mark the birthday of George II on the 30th October.

Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

Chesterfield describes Nash as wearing "his gold laced clothes" and tells us that "he looked so fine, that, standing by chance in the middle of the dancers, he was taken by many at a distance for a gilded garland"