Oscar and Malvina

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OSCAR AND MALVINA. AKA and see: "Kempshot Hunt/Kempshott Hunt." English, Slow Air (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDDEEFF. O'Farrell directs "very slow" and says his tune is "set for the pipes," indicating it perhaps was originally written in another key and was transposed to 'G' major to better fit the uilleann pipes. Although little is known about O'Farrell, it is ascertained that he was a piper who performed in the London production of the ballet-pantomime Oscar and Malvina (1791) at the end of the 18th century, as advertising playbills confirm. Oscar and Malvina were characters in the story of the bard Ossian; Oscar was Ossian's son (and the grandson of Irish hero Finn McCool, or, in the Scottish version, Fingal), while Malvina was Oscar's wife, and, after he died, the caretaker for the blind bard. Music for Oscar and Malvina was initially composed by the famous theatrical composer William Shield, however, he abruptly left his position as Covent Garden's house composer in the autumn of 1791, and William Reeve completed the score (which borrowed in part from existing melodies). There are other airs from the pantomime, sometimes called "Oscar and Malvina" (see "Leslie's March (1)"); Glasgow publisher James Aird printed six of them in his Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4 (1796, pp. 16-17, see "Battle (The)," "Leslie's March (1)," "Groans of the Wounded," "Soldier's Dance after the Battle".

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. II), c. 1806; pp. 134-135.

Recorded sources:




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