Bob Taberner of The Folk Mag
reviews Hampshire Dance Tunes CD by Hampshire Dance MusiciansI wish all tune collections were treated in this way. Hobgoblin have published a very attractive book of the tunes and Wildgoose have persuaded some of the most talented names in English music to record some of the best tunes on a CD. The CD also contains midi files of all the tunes in the collection.
The Pyle family manuscript is one of the most important tune sources in southern English music with lots of tunes that don't occur in other collections and unusual variants of some of the standard repertoire. The heyday of English music was the late 18th and early 19th centuries and we have a lot of the tunes that the musicians of that time wrote down, but, obviously, the style in which they played is open to conjecture.
No doubt drawing on their experience of the playing of more recent traditional musicians, the instrumentalists on the CD produce their interpretations of the Hampshire tunes and end up with a variety of styles which is probably how it was when the tunes were originally played. The music on the CD is excellent as you'd expect from the likes of Will Duke and Dan Quinn, Tim Laycock and Colin Thompson, and the Bursledon Village Band.
Both of the editors of the book, Bob Shatwell and Paul Sartin, are also on the CD and the book they have put together is one of the best books of its type I have seen with lots of illustrations and literary quotes of the period. Even if you don't read music, the book is worth getting for the wealth of information contained in the notes on tune origins.
So, at the end, the big question is this: Is it a book with accompanying CD or the other way round? I can't decide. I suggest you buy both and make up your own mind.