Vento's Farewell

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VENTO'S FAREWELL. AKA and see "Kilkenny Girl (The)," "Woman's Dance," "Women's dance in the Ombres Chinoises." English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The title perhaps references Italian composer and harpsichord teacher Mattio Vento (1735-1776), who, in 1763, removed to England where he spent the rest of his life. He was a composer and producer of operas, a director of the King's Theatre, and conducted at public concerts, including those at the Pantheon.

The tune also appears in the c. 1770 music manuscript collection of William Clark of Lincoln, although may have been entered at a later date by another hand. Surprisingly, the tune made its way to America and turns up in sources associated with Irish music. Patrick O'Flannagan called the tune "Kilkenny Girls" in his Hibernia Collection (1860), published in Boston by Elias Howe. O'Flannagan's version was reprinted by Francis O'Neill in his Music of Ireland (1903) as "Kilkenny Girl (The)." Cumbrian multi-instrumentalist John Rook (Waverton) entered the jig into his large 1840 music manuscript collection as "Woman's Dance" (possibly, 'woman's' is a miss-hearing of 'Vento's'). The tune was played for "Women's Dance" in Ombres Chinoises productions, pantomime shadow plays popular in the 18th century in England and the Continent (see note for Women's dance in the Ombres Chinoises" for more.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 5), 1788; No. 167, p. 84.

Recorded sources:

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