Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Robin, William. “Traveling with ‘Ancient Music’: Intellectual and Transatlantic Currents in American Psalmody Reform.” Journal of Musicology 32 (Spring 2015): 246-78.

The early nineteenth-century “Ancient Music” hymnody reform movement sought to return American hymnody to a pre-revolutionary European ideal. This movement was grounded in the lived experiences of New England elites, notably Joseph Stevens Buckminster, who visited Europe during this period. One overlooked source for the early “Ancient Music” movement is Buckminster’s Brattle Street Collection, a hymnal compiled for the illustrious Brattle Street Church of Boston. The history of the hymn tune Pleyel’s Second in the United States demonstrates Buckminster’s influence on American hymnody. The hymn is a contrafact of Ignace Pleyel’s 1786 Symphonie Concertante in E-flat, B. 111 and was written and published by Thomas Costellow in Britain in 1801. During an 1806 trip to Paris, Buckminster met British poet and Costellow collaborator Helen Maria Williams, who likely gave him a copy of Costellow’s hymnal. When Buckminster compiled the Brattle Street Collection, Pleyel’s Second was included as “Hymn 2” (it is later transmitted as “Pleyel’s Ps. 2” and “Brattle Street”). Although a version of the hymn was included in the Columbian Sacred Harmonist in 1808, the Brattle Street harmonization has a much wider distribution. Tracing the personal voyages and connections made by non-musicians like Buckminster give a more complete picture of hymnody reform as part of broader cultural reform movements in New England.

Works: Thomas Costellow: Pleyel’s Hymn (Second) (267-74)

Sources: Ignace Pleyel: Symphonie Concertante in E-flat, B. 111 (267-74)

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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