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The York Waits Early Music Miscellany

Series Editor: James Merryweather. Peacock Press, published by Ruxbury Publications, Scout Bottom Farm, Mytholmroyd, HX7 5JS Tel: 01422 882751 Email

The problem so far with Early Music has been that not much of it has been published in modern editions. There's masses of it out there, but few publishers find it economical to publish much other than a few of the pieces that are already well-known, and chances are, by the time you order them they will already be out of print! Many of us have been forced to "dis-arrange" pieces from keyboard collections such as the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, or make our own arrangements of tunes gathered from Playford or elsewhere.

Now, however, thanks to the generosity of The York Waits and the industry of James Merryweather, a large part of their repertoire of renaissance music, suitable for Waits, recorder consorts and other ensembles, even of modern instruments, is to be made available from Ruxbury Publications under the title of The York Waits Early Music Miscellany.

A large number of pieces and collections are already available direct from Ruxbury, ranging from the 15th to the early 19th centuries in date, and from two to five instrumental parts, and the music is incredibly reasonably priced at from £3.00 for a three-part arrangement of The Duke of York's Cotillion to £5.50 for Simon Ives' splendid five-part Saraband, which comes as five complete scores, together with transpositions for Bb clarinet, french horn and viola.

Where available, the arrangements are the composers' or by contemporaries such as Praetorious and Byrd, and the rest of the pieces are in the York Waits' own excellent arrangements, mainly done by Tim Bayley, as played by them in concerts and on CDs during nearly thirty years of performance.

The music is clearly printed and easy to read and comes in A4 portrait format protected by an attractive white card cover. Apart from single pieces, there are five collections available so far, such as Six Tudor Ballads, arranged by Tim Bayley, which comes at £3.75 for a stapled book of scores so that buying one book for each of the four players only comes to £15, giving no excuse for illegal photocopying! Where applicable, lyrics of songs, interesting and amusing historical notes, facsimilies of original scores and appropriate illustrations are given.

Already in the pipeline are four large Christmas collections, with more items planned for the future. Together with Dr Merryweather's Song-booke - a comprehensive collection of popular songs from earliest times to the 19th century, also published by Ruxbury, this collection is going to keep Early Music players and singers happily busy for a long time to come. Don't hesitate - get it while it's hot!

© Chris Gutteridge, Chief Waite, King's Lynn Waites.

For a full list of York Waits publications so far, visit The York Waits' website.

To email the Peacock Press, click here.

For a review of Dr Merryweather's Song-booke, click here.