Hornpipe by Mr. Festing

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X:1 T:Hornpipe by Mr. Festing M:3/2 L:1/8 R:Triple Hornpipe B:Neil Stewart – “Select Collection of Scots, English, Irish and Foreign B:Airs, Jiggs & Marches, vol. 1” (1784, p. 11) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D (df)(eg) f2 d4 AF|G2B2 (gf)(ed) (dc)(BA)|(Bg)(ed) (ca)(fe) (df)(gf)| (ec)(dB) (AF)(GE) (FA)(Bc)|(df)(eg) f2 d4 AF|G2B2 (gf)(ed) (dc)(BA)| (Bg)(ed) (ca)(fe) (db)(ag)|(fa)(fd) (Adce) d4::(fa)(fd) {f}e2 (dc) {e}d2 (cB)| (ce)(cA) (dc)(BA) {A}^G2 (FE)|(Fd)(BA) (^GB)(ed) (ce)(ae)|(fd)(ec) (dB)(A^G) A2(Bc)| (df)(eg) f2 d4 AF|G2B2 (gf)(ed) (dc)(BA)|(Bg)(ed) (ca)(fe) (db)(ag)|(fa)(fd) (Adce) d4:|]

HORNPIPE BY MR. FESTING. English, Triple Hornpipe (3/2 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Michael Christian Festing [1] (1705–1752) was a musician and composer and one of the leading violin virtuosos in early 18th century London. He was one of the original two hundred and twenty-eight subscribers at the formation of the Royal Society of Musicians in 1738. Along with a number of leading musicians in the city at that time he contributed his services towards raising money for the Fund for Decay’d Musicians. The city's leading musicians, opera dancers, and castrata were wont to gather at the Orange Coffee House in the Haymarket. At one such social occasion Festing, Thomas Vincent and Charles Weideman found themselves seated by a window or standing in the doorway chatting, when they spied two children selling brickiest and driving donkeys through the Haymarket. Upon closer inspection they saw they were the children of a late colleague, oboe player Jean Kytch. Moved by compassion they were inspired to plan for a society where members and widows might apply to the governors for support in times of need. The fist annual concert in support of the fund was performed under Handel's direction at the King's Theatre in 1739, followed by concerts for a number of years following.

One of Festing's rivals in virtuosity performance was Pietro Castrucci, a pupil of Corelli, who was born at Rome, 1689.

Pietro Castrucci was the better virtuoso, and was appointed as leader of Handel's Opera Band. He was the successor of Corbett, retaining his position until 1737, when he was superceded by Festing. In self-conceit and irascibility he seems to have been at least the equal of Matteis. Of Festing, who was but a mediocre violinist, but of gentlemanly deportment, and a great favourite, he was extremely jealous, and his sensitiveness was the source of amusement and sport for many who knew him. Whenever they met him they offered to shake hands, with the words : "How do you do, Mr. Festing? ah, excuse me, Signor Castrucci." This was sufficient to produce a paroxysm of rage in the poor man. Hawkins and others believed him to be the prototype of Hogarth's "Enraged Musician." But this has since been proved to be John Festin (as he spelled his name), a flute and oboe player, and brother of Michael Festing the violinist.[1]

See also "Festing's Maggot," "Festing's March," and "Festing's Minuet" from John Johnson's Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances (London, c. 1740-2), probably a reprint of a publication by Daniel Wright, an earlier 18th century London music publisher.

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  1. E. Van Der Srtaeten, The Romance of the Fiddle, 1911.