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A Playlist for Jane Austen

A Playlist for Jane Austen

by M. M. Genet

It’s the holidays.  When I can steal a moment of quiet in between the chaos, I like to curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book.  Might I suggest the latest anthology from Meant To Be Press entitled, “Meant to Be Kissed”?  It contains two regency, holiday romances that readers are sure to love. 

I recently looked up more information about Regency Romance.  It’s incredible to me that a time period that only lasted nine years (1811-1820) could have captured the minds and hearts of so many readers.  Perhaps boasting one of the best romance writers of all, Jane Austen, has something to do with it.

I often wonder what her life was like.  Jane Austen has a plethora of information written about her, but we’ll never really be able to know her personally.  One thing I do know, from a musician point of view (I’m also a harpist) I can share with you the music, particularly, the holiday music of her day. 

While heading out to sing Christmas carols comes from the Victorian era, many people in the Regency time period had harpsichords and pianos in their homes.  My research indicates that the Austen home did, in face have a piano.  Everyone in her world would have sung these songs in church, particularly at Christmas Eve services.  Hence, I give you the holiday play list of Jane Austen.

  1. What Child Is This?/Greensleeves   Originally entitled Greensleeves in Jane’s day, most modern readers and music lovers will know this holiday tune with the lyrics rewritten but the same melody under the name of “What Child Is This?”

2.  O Come All Ye Faithful/Adeste Fideles  This song was originally written (and would have been sung by Jane) in Latin.  Written by John Francis Wade, a Regency period hymn composer, other musicians tried to take credit for his work.  The original compositions by Wade were found (and confirmed) by British historians and Wade’s reputation was restored.

3. Bring A Torch Jeanette, Isabella    One of my all time favorite Christmas songs to play on the harp.  Originally written in French, it was so beautiful that it was translated to English and surely would have been known in the time of Jane Austen.

4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Written in the Regency time period, this well known Christmas Carol wasn’t published until 1833.  The author is unknown.  Similar songs were sung as early as the 16thcentury in London taverns but the version we’ve all come to know and love was written down at some point while Jane was writing her novels.  If she didn’t know the version that we know today, she would have known one that was very similar.  A song for all men (and women), here is my personal favorite version. 

While drifting off and imagining myself tucked into the piano or harpsichord next to Mr. Darcy himself, I’m thankful for the literary world Jane created.  It’s a wonderful to place in which to escape, even for a short while. As I drive off to the next performance, I take a small piece of that world with me as the music of her time lives on.

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About authormmgenet

M. M. Genet writes stories with fresh, new plot lines and strong, female characters. Her erotica and romance are steamy and original. She writes other genres of fiction under a pen name but her work retains a similar theme throughout. Strong yet flawed female characters trying to make their way through the world, inviting adventure as well as sexy companions to come along for the ride.

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2018 by in music and tagged , , .
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