Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/295

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

second, containing 75 additional airs (words by Campbell and others), and a dissertation on the Irish Harp, appeared in 1809. A third collection, containing upwards of 150 airs, of which more than 120 were then for the first time given to the public, was published in 1840. This last collection is remarkable for a dissertation of 100 pages upon the history and practice of music in Ireland. According to this dissertation 'the occasion which first confirmed him in his partiality for the airs of his native country, was the great meeting of the Harpers at Belfast in 1792. Before this time there had been several similar meetings at Granard, in the county of Longford, which had excited a surprising degree of interest in Irish music throughout that part of the country. The meeting at Belfast was however better attended than any that had yet taken place, and its effects were more permanent, for it kindled an enthusiasm throughout the north which burns bright in some warm and honest hearts to this day. All the best of the old class of Harpers—a race of men then nearly extinct, and now gone for ever—Dennis Hempson, Arthur O'Neill, Charles Fanning, and seven others, the least able of whom has not left his like behind, were present.' Aided by O'Neill and the other harpers, Bunting immediately began to form his first collection. He travelled into Derry, Tyrone, and Connaught, where, especially in the last, he obtained a great number of excellent airs. His first and second collections contain the best Irish airs, although in his third there are several very good ones, and some very curious. Among these last are the 'carinans or dirges, and airs to which Ossianic and other old poems are sung,' and which the editor gives as 'very ancient'—many hundred years old. He afterwards endeavours to analyse the structure of Irish airs, and to point out their characteristics.

Bunting died at Belfast Dec. 21, 1843, and was interred at Mount Jerome. His death was absolutely unnoticed. 'He was of no party, and therefore honoured of none, and yet this unhonoured man was the preserver of his country's music.' (Dub. Univ. Mag., Jan. 1847; Private Sources.)

[ E. F. R. ]

BURDEN or BURTHEN. Old songs and ballads frequently had a chorus or motto to each verse, which in the language of the time was called a Burden or Bob. One of the most ancient and most popular was 'Hey troly loly lo,' quoted in 'Piers Plowman,' 1362, and other early songs. It occurs after every line of a song of the time of Edward IV (Sloane MS. No. 1584); and in Isaac Walton's 'Compleat Angler' is the burden of 'O the sweet contentment the countryman doth find,'

         'Heigh trollollie loe,
          Heigh trollollie lee.'

The ancient 'Frogge Song' has the ridiculous burden—

        'Farthing linkum laddium,
         Fann—ho—fanny ho,
         Farthing glen.'

In the ballad of 'feir Eglamore,' which was very popular in the i?th century, the burden is 'Fa la, lanky down dilly.' In Shakespeare's 'Tempest ' we find—

     'Foote it featly heere and there,
      And sweet Sprites the burthen beare.'

The stage direction to which is 'Burthen dispersedly'; and the burthen follows—

     'Harke, harke, bowgh-wough;
      The watch-dogges barke

The second song in the same play has 'Ding-dong' for the burden. In 'As You Like It' Celia says 'I would sing my song without a burthen, thou bring'st me out of tune.'

The ballad 'The Jolly Miller' has been a favourite from the 16th or 17th century, and was sent to Beethoven to harmonise on account of 'its merited popularity' by Thomson, who inserted it in his 'Scotch Songs,' 1824. In it we find the lines—
<poem> 'This the burden of his song
      For ever us'd to be,
      I care for nobody, no, not I,
      If nobody cares for me.'

It is probable that the burdens were accompanied by motion or dancing. [ Ballad.] In 'Much Ado about Nothing' Margaret say 'Claps into Light-a-love (that goes without a burden). Do you sing it and I'll dance it.' Burden also means the drone or bass of a bagpipe. [ Faux-Bourdon.]

[ W. H. C. ]

BURGMÜLLER, Norbert, composer; born at Düsseldorf, Feb. 8, 1810; son of the then music-Director there, who died in 1824 well known and honoured as one of the founders and conductors of the Lower Rhine festivals. Norbert very early showed extraordinary musical talent. After leaving his father he studied at Cassel under Spohr and Hauptmann. But a sickly constitution prevented his full development, and he died at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1836. He left much music behind him, of which two symphonies, an overture, and some other pieces were published by Kistner, all, notwithstanding their natural immaturity, manifesting great ability, lively imagination full of ideas, freshness of invention, and a strong feeling for classical 'form.' There is every reason to believe that, if his life had been spared, concentration and strength would have come with years, and that Burgmüller would have reached a high place in his art. Schumann valued him greatly: he begins a memorial notice of him by saying that since the early death of Schubert nothing more deplorable had happened than that of Burgmüller (Ges. Schriften, iii. 145).

[ A. M. ]

BURLA, or BURLESCA, a musical joke or playful composition; J. S. Bach's Partita 3, engraved with his own hand on copper, and published in 1727, contains a Burlesca as the fifth piece. Schumann has a Burla in op. 124. No. 12.

[ W. H. C. ]

BURLETTA, a droll or facetious musical drama or farce, which derives its name from the