Music: John Valentine (c1785)
John Valentine was a wait of the city of Leicester in the second half of the eighteenth century. He arranged subscription concert series, and taught and published music. Most of his publications were instrumental pieces, carefully arranged so that they could be used by different ensembles (for example, solo wind instrument were fully included in the violin parts, in small notation). His one venture into psalmody publishing was
Thirty Psalm Tunes
In four Parts
with SYMPHONIES, INTERLUDES, and an
Part to the OLD, and Part to the NEW VERSION
JOHN VALENTINE OF LEICESTER.
Transcriptions of all the psalms from 1 to 16 are available in a single download. I'll add Psalms 17 to 30 as and when I have time.
Link to transcription: ValPs01-16.pdf (336 KB)
In contrast with most of the other pieces currently available on this site, these psalm tunes include instrumental interludes and an instrumental bass line.
In all the pieces, the alto line was originally in the alto clef and the top two lines of the instrumental interlude appeared on the same staff line; I separated them because my own group found it easier that way. Throughout the book, Valentine printed the words for only the first verse as an underlay to the music; I've usually added the rest of the psalm, so that you can choose which verses to add.
Vocal line 3 usually carries the air. If you like to double the first and third vocal lines, that usually works well for the simpler pieces and choruses, but it's best to follow Valentine's marking for 'verse' lines to bring out the contrast.
- Psalm 12 NV -- problems between choir and church minister? Castle Cary choir had them in the 1760s with no less a person than Parson James Woodforde who chronicled the incident in his famous diary (see Ken Baddley's paper in Georgian Psalmody 1 for the full story). The entry for 17 December 1769 reads: 'The singers at Cary did not please me this afternoon by singing the 12th psalm -- New Version -- reflecting on some People --' The psalm starts: 'Since godly men decay, O Lord, ...', so you can see why Woodforde was displeased. While the Castle Cary choir of course would not have used Valentine's tune, it's very satisfying to sing. We normally use verses 1, 2 and 6, the 'drossy mixture' line being particularly enjoyable.
- Psalm 13 NV -- a splendidly passionate piece in D minor (particularly if you follow the 'p' marks). Although I've added the rest of the psalm, I suggest that only verses 3 and 4 should be used in addition to verse 1 (the words of these best fit the pattern of the music).
- Psalm 23 OV -- a contrastingly simple and quietly happy four-part piece in B flat major. Again, I've added the rest of the psalm, only verse 4 of which causes (slight) difficulty with the word rhythm.
Link to transcription:
Source: Bodleian Library (Mus 54 d98(8))