The Celebrated Circus Tunes performed at Edinburgh this season
by John Watlen
Full title: The Celebrated Circus Tunes, Performed at Edinburgh this Season, With The Addition of Some New Reels and Strathspeys Set For The Piano Forte or Violin and Bass by John Watlen
Printer: Printed for the Author
This is the music used by Watlen's Equestrian Circus (Baston).
Vol.1 has 73 items of which nine are by Watlen. Vol.2 has 74 items of which 12 are by Watlen and another 3 adapted by him.
The collection includes plenty of French (or cod French) music referencing the Revolution; a variety of repertoire, including named dancers for some tunes which appear elsewhere, battle pieces, and general exotica ('Pindaric Ode of the Ancient Greeks' [in French], 'Vulcans March composed by Countess Balcarres', etc.). The printing seems to have been compiled from various sources, with different engravers.
Vol.1 p.20 has 2 consecutive settings of 'The new Highland Laddie', the first with a very simple bass, binary octaves etc, whilst the second is explicitly 'for the Piano Forte'. Vol.2 includes the music for William Reeve's Oscar and Malvina (Shield?); and a 'Rondo for Union Pipes and Harp', naming the players as 'Mr [Denis] Courtney & Mr Meyer', to a broken chordal accompaniment.
In Vol.2, on pp.27-31, 'The 9 following Tunes were Composed by Miss J. Shirreff, a Young Lady at Nine Years of Age.'
On p.32 are two German waltzes 'presented to Mr Watlen by a Lady of Distinction'; the second has a pianistic 'Bass by J. Watlen'.
On p.33 'Tow'ring Tinto, a Strath'y' is 'corrected, with a New Bass by Mr Watlen': the first section is simpler than the second's Alberti bass.
Biographical info: In 1788, Watlen was listed as a music master and tuner, and he was publishing music in 1789, whilst his music warehouse opened in 1792. He was the first secretary of Edinburgh Musical Fund in 1790. He had to sell up c.1799 and by 1806 had moved to London, where he seems already to have had a business or agency (Glen 2, xiv-xv); Glen is dismissive of Watlen's attempts to compose Scottish tunes! Like many others, Watlen printed tunes by the Gows without attribution. (Alburger, 130)
- Aberdeen University Library
- Birmingham University Library
- Cambridge University Library
- Dundee Central Library (Wighton Collection)
- National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
- Edinburgh City Library
- Edinburgh University Library
- Mitchell Library, Glasgow
- Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
- University of Glasgow Library
- Royal Academy of Music, London
- British Library, London
- Royal College of Music, London
- Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, London
- Manchester Public Library
- Manchester University Library
- Newcastle University Library
- Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
- A K Bell Library, Perth
- Saint Andrews University Library
- Sheffield University Library
- National Library of Ireland, Dublin
- Trinity College Dublin
GB-A Hend inst Wat c (listed as Glasgow: McFadyen, 1801?)
GB-DUcl 10454 (book 1)
GB-En Glen 286 (books 1-2)
GB-Gu Ca12-x29 (books 1-2: book 1 lacks subscribers list, book 2 lacks pp.22-23)
GB-Lbl g.365 (book 1? with subscribers list and index, lacks pp.30-34 )
GB-Lbl g.365.a (book 2?)
GB-P Be72 (book 1)
GB-P Be73 (book 2)
This source has not been digitised.