Picnic (The)

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PICNIC, THE. Scottish, Slow March (2/4 time). C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD. Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831) evidently pieced the arrangement of this tune from three sources: himself, an eight-bar second part by “Mr. Giornovichi” and an eight-bar third part by “Dr. Haydn”, with a return to a final part by Nathaniel. Peter Brown (Musical Times, vol. 129, No. 1747, Sept. 1988) notes the similarity to the slow movements of the Paris Symphony no. 82 (1786) and the String Quartet op. 64, no. 1. Prominent classical-period composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) resided in London for two periods: 1791-1792 and 1794-1795), where he concertized to great acclaim. Contemporary music historian Charles Burney (1726-1814) wrote in his memoirs: “Haydn himself presided at the piano-forte; and the sight of that renowned composer so electrified the audience, as to excite an attention and a pleasure superior to any that had ever been caused by instrumental music in England.” Haydn and the Gows were all associated with the Prince of Wales and the King’s Theatre in London during the same period. Giovanni Mane Giornovichi (1735-1804), who contributed the second part, was a late-Classical period composer, born in Sicily (some say in a ship off the coast of the country). He studied with Lolli and was a proficient violinist, and a very good composer who traveled the Continent widely. Unfortunately, Giornovichi did not possess an excess of good judgment and decorum to accompany his talent, and his life seems to have been one flight from scandal to another, propelling his wanderings. He spelled his name variously depending on the country he was in, and was also known as Giornovici, Jarnovich, and Jarnovic, and he was nearly as famous as a billiards player (by which he earned his living during fallow musical times). The composer was in London in the 1790’s, but left for Russia by the end of the decade. He died there in 1804, reportedly immersed in a game of billiards.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Carlin (The Gow Collection), 1986; No. 598. Gow (Fifth Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1809; p. 18.

Recorded sources:




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