This release is a lively and entertaining collection of Victorian songs and tunes which are all associated with the life and work of Charles Dickens. The twenty tracks include everything from genteel parlour ballades to cockney ditties such as The Ratcatcher's Daughter and Shiverand Shakery. Here too are Home, Sweet Home (with which Dickens, playing the accordian, regaled the ladies' cabin during his first voyage to the United States) and dance medleys - The Christmas Carol Quadrilles and The David Copperfield Polkas - brought out by enterprising 19th century music publishers to cash in on Dickens's name.
Of special interest are several of Dickens's own songs. They include two charming pieces from The Village Coquettes, a comic operetta written by the young novelist in 1836. You will also find period settings of The Ivy Green and Mr Wardle's Carol from The Pickwick Papers, and a savagely satirical ballad, The Fine Old English Gentleman (new version), which Dickens penned for The Examiner.
1. The College Hornpipe (1.27) A popular dance tune, perhaps 18th century in origin. Dickens refers to it both in Dombey and Son and in David Copperfield
2. Some Folks Who Have Grown Old (2.50) A song from The Village Coquettes, a comic operetta written by the young Dickens, with music by John Pyke Hullah.
3. The Ratcatcher's Daughter (3.29) Dickens notices the sheet music for the Ratcatcher's Daughter in a music shop 'having every polka with a coloured frontispiece that ever was published’.
4. Home, Sweet Home (2.53) Dickens regaled the ladies' cabin with an accordion during his first voyage to the United States. 'You can't think with what feeling I play Home Sweet Home every night, or how pleasantly sad it makes us,'
5. Begone, Dull Care (1.49) A 17th-century glee still sung in Victorian times. Dickens makes reference to the song in several writings.
6. The Ivy Green (3.18) This piece, recited in The Pickwick Papers (Ch. 6) by the clergyman of Dingley Dell, proved to be Dickens's most popular song. The piano setting is by Henry Burnett, Dickens's brother-in-law.
7. The Young Jolly Waterman (3.11) A piece by Charles Dibdin, dramatist and songwriter, from his ballad opera The Waterrman. It is sung in The Pickwick Papers
8. The Soldier's Tear (3.44) A sentimental song in the great Victorian tradition. Reference is made to the song in Our Mutual Friend
9. Old Towler (3.04) A favourite hunting song written by John O'Keeffe, to which Dickens refers in Our Mutual Friend
10. The Fine Old English Gentleman (New Version) (3.23) Dickens wrote this savage satirical ballad ('to be said or sung at all Conservative dinners') for the liberal journal The Examiner; it was published in August 1841 The song is a parody of a popular ditty about a Fine Old English Gentleman who, 'while he feasted all the great,/ He ne'er forgot the small.'
11. The David Copperfield Polkas (4.40)
Composed by W. Wilson, these were among many melodies put out by Victorian music
publishers to exploit the sales potential of Dickens's name. The tunes take their titles
from characters in David Copperfield
12. All's Well (3.54)
A duet from The English Fleet (1805) with lyrics by Thomas Dibdin and music by JohnBraham. Dickens
refers to the song in Our Mutual Friend (Bk 3 Ch.7), and in The Old Curiosity Shop
13. A Country Life (3.30)
A song written by Dickens for the comic operetta The Village Coquettes
14. Shiverand Shakery, the Man that Couldn't Get Warm (3.34)
A comic song by Jacon Beuler with accompaniment by J. Clinton, to which Dickens refers in 'Dr
Marigold's Prescription' in the Christmas Stories
15. Mr Wardle's Carol (4.12)
A carol written by Dickens and sung in The Pickwick Papers by Mr Wardle during Christmas festivities at
16. The Christmas Carol Quadrilles (5.39)
A set of tunes 'composed and dedicated to Charles Dickens Esq. by Edwin Merriott' according to the
17. Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms (2.27)
One of the great 19th-century love songs, written by the poet Thomas Moore whose Irish Melodies had a
special attraction to Dickens. Mention is made of the song in The Old Curiosity Shop and in Bleak House
18. The Workhouse Boy (2.37)
Comic and gruesome ballad of a workhouse boy who disappears on Christmas Eve only to be found later
in the stewpot.
19. A Child's Hymn (2.26)
Possibly written by Dickens himself, this hymn appeared in the Christmas number of Household Words
20. Sir Roger de Coverley (4.51)
The most famous of all English country dance tunes, often played at the end of a ball. A fiddler strikes
up the tune to conclude Mr Fezziwig's party in A Christmas Carol and Dickens's delight in the dance is
evident from his many references to it in his letters.