Saturday, 28 December 2013

“Bloomfield’s Songs”

Following Bloomfield's death in 1823 a two-volume book, The Remains of Robert Bloomfield, was published (London, 1824) for the benefit of his family. The first volume concludes (pp.191-92) with a “Prospectus” advertising “Bloomfield's Songs” with an appeal for subscribers to a proposed publication of at least twenty-four of “his best songs, set to music”, which Goulding & Co. [i.e., Goulding & d'Almaine] would print.



It notes that
THE Songs of the late MR. ROBERT BLOOMFIELD are justly esteemed for the purity of their sentiment and the beauty of their poetry. No poet displays the influence of the “tender passion” with more feeling, and very few treat the amiable objects of it with so much delicacy and respect;—on this account he has always been a favourite with that sex, whose approving smile he valued as his best reward. 
To render his poetry still more worthy of their patronage, and if possible more available to the wants of his widow and family, it is proposed to publish by Subscription a Collection of his best Songs, set to Music, some by himself, some by his brother Isaac, and some by celebrated living composers.

The collection was intended
to consist of Twenty-four at least, of his best Songs, printed in folio; price 20s.
The following Songs were proposed for the collection.

├ćolus   from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

Dawn of the Day   from The Remains (1824)
music by R. W. Evans (London: Bates, 1824)

Donald   from Hazelwood Hall
no setting traced

Eolian Harp   from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

Farewell, my sweet, my budding Flower   from The Remains (1824)
Matthew Cooke (unpublished)

Flowers of the Mead   from The Remains (1824)
music by R. W. Evans (London: Bates, 1824)

Gleaner’s Song   from Banks of Wye
no setting traced

The Highland Drover   from Rural Tales (1802)
music by Robert Bloomfield (lost)

The Highland Drover (another setting)   from Rural Tales (1802)
music by Isaac Bloomfield (lost)

Hunting Song   from Rural Tales (1802)
music by Isaac Bloomfield (unpublished)

Irish Duck Woman  from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

Irish News  from The Remains (1824)
to the traditional tune Yorkshireman

Jenner’s Birth-day  from The Remains (1824)
music by Robert Bloomfield (lost)

Kentish Mary  from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

Love in a Shower  from Hazelwood Hall
music by Mr. Firth (London: Bates, 1824)

Lovely Shelah  from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

Lucy  from Rural Tales (1802)
music by Isaac Bloomfield (lost)
another setting by James Adcock (London: Walker, 1810)

Maid of Dunstable  from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

The Maid of Landoga   from Banks of Wye
music by R. W. Evans (London: Bates, 1824)

The Man in the Moon  from The Remains (1824)
to the traditional tune Ligoran Cosh
another setting by Matthew Cooke (unpublished)

Mary’s Grave  from Banks of Wye
no setting traced

Morris of Persfield  from Banks of Wye
no setting traced

Nancy  from Rural Tales (1802)
music by Isaac Bloomfield (lost)
another setting by James Hook (unpublished)

Norah  from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

Rosamond’s Song  from May-Day
music by Isaac Bloomfield (lost)

Rosy Hannah  from Rural Tales (1802)
music by Isaac Bloomfield (London: the authors, 1801)
another setting by James Hook (London: Phipps, 1810)

Simple Pleasures  from Hazelwood Hall
music by Matthew Cooke (unpublished)

Soldier’s Lullaby from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

The Soldier’s Return  from The Remains (1824)
no setting traced

Welcome Silence!  from Wild Flowers
no setting traced

Winter Song  from Rural Tales (1802)
music by Isaac Bloomfield (lost)
also a setting by James Hook (s.l.: s.n., 1810)

Woodland Halloo  from Wild Flowers
music by Miss Nina d’Aubigny (London: Vollweiler, 1806)

Yield thee to pleasure  from The Remains (1824)
music by William Crotch (London: Bowles, 1815)

Of these thirty-three songs, no composer can be traced for thirteen, seven have been lost though their composers are known, and some at least of the rest were already in print. My assumption is that it is unlikely that composers waited until all subscriptions were in before turning their hand to setting Bloomfield’s verse.  Indeed, the multiple settings of the same poems in earlier years suggest that when Bloomfield’s poetry was selling well, composers competed in setting his verse. The number of subscribers presumably did not reach the hundred required, as “Bloomfield's Songs” never appeared. Nevertheless it is probable that song settings exist for all the poems cited and much more work will need to be done revising my earlier list of “Bloomfield set to music”.

Source

Robert Bloomfield, 1766-1823.—The remains of Robert Bloomfield ... In two volumes.—London: printed by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars, for the exclusive benefit of the family of Mr. Bloomfield; and published by Baldwin, Cradock , and Joy, 1824.
2 v. illus. 17-19 cm (8vo)
Edited by Joseph Weston with Bloomfield’s daughter, Hannah, a year after his death.—With half-titles and 6 folding plates of engraved music in vol. 1.—Includes a list of subscribers.