Monthly Archives: July 2016


When we were talking about the Arabian Oud last week for our #ThrowbackThursday post we mentioned an even older instrument, the Barbat, and left you with the teaser “of which more on another occasion”.

Well, the good news is that this is the occasion.

28 - barbatThe barbat is one of the oldest instruments in the world and is thought to have originated in Central Asia.  A two-stringed lute, the barbat was an important instrument of the Arab Ghassanids in pre-Islamic times.  The earliest image thought to be of the barbat dates back to the 1st century BC from ancient northern Bactria; although there is a clearer image of it from a Gandharan sculpture dating between the 2nd-4th centuries AD.

According to Encyclopedia Iranica, this type of instrument may have been introduced by the Kushans and later adopted by the Persians. Whatever it’s origins, by the 7th century, the barbat was developed by the Arabs into the oud.

We hope you’ll forgive the poor quality picture under the circumstances.

François-Hippolyte Barthélémon

Today we’ve a birthday tribute to French violinist and pedagogue François-Hippolyte Barthélémon; born this day in 1741 in Bordeaux (Gironde).

27 - François-Hippolyte BarthélémonBarthélémon was educated in Paris, where he studied musical composition and violin, and performed in the orchestra of the Comédie-Italienne. In 1764, he travelled to England to lead a group at the King’s Theatre as well as Marylebone Gardens, where he was received with enthusiasm. This led to a commission for his first dramatic stage work, Pelopida, an opera in three acts in the Italian style, that was performed at the King’s Theatre in 1766.

David Garrick, of the Drury Lane Theatre, then engaged him to compose music to his own two-act farcical burletta based on the Orpheus myth, which premiered in 1768. In the same year, Barthélémon also premiered Oithona, a three-act dramatic operatic poem; La fleuve Scamandre (“The Scamander River”), a French-style comic opera based on a Greek myth; and The Judgment of Paris, another two-act burletta. Further engagements lead him to decide to stay in England, where he married soprano and composer Polly Young, settled down, and started a family.

He is probably best known for his tune ‘Morning Hymn’ to Thomas Ken’s hymn ‘Awake my soul, and with the sun…’, but he also wrote the tune of the hymn, Mighty God While Angels Bless Thee.

Barthélémon’s dashing French style of composition allowed him to produce musical entertainments in a wide range of styles; composing salon and chamber music as well as volumes of popular songs, some of which were published in London in 1790, with the King’s Theatre engaging him to write ballet music. Barthélémon also composed scenes for humorous English ballad operas and for masques. The Maid of Oaks, a masque within a comedy in five acts based on Sylvain by Jean-François Marmontel, enjoyed much success in 1774. He also wrote six symphonies, and some concertos.

As a private tutor, Barthélémon received approval for his “scientific” technique of violin playing, however, some popular critics felt his musical compositions lacked “a clearly developed personal style.”

Barthélémon died at Christ Church, Surrey, England, aged 66.


[Apologies for the poor picture quality; it was the only one we could verify as being Barthélémon]

Take Care when visiting

As many of you know The Old Dairy was just that once upon a time and is still part of Brickwall Farm. The farm is not just a pretty address but is still very much a working farm and, as such, has farm animals and vehicles.

As one of the farm dogs was recently run over and killed, not by one of our visitors thank goodness, we thought we’d better remind you to take care when visiting us; abide by the low speed recommendations and watch out for animals, especially the dogs and chickens that are loose.

Don’t worry, though, the dog doesn’t usually drive the tractor 😉 :O

07 - farm