05 May 2021

Bonaparte and his retreat (update)

The BIB editor writes:

Today is the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. To deal with his vast historical significance would be outside the BIB's remit; but to mark the occasion, here are links to a few of the most notable performances of the tune 'Bonaparte's retreat' by American traditional musicians.

In 1937 William Hamilton 'Bill' Stepp of Kentucky recorded this version, which was adapted by Aaron Copland as part of the music for the ballet 'Rodeo'. Also in 1937, Luther Strong of Kentucky recorded this version. And Thomas Jefferson 'Tommy' Jarrell of North Carolina played it this way.

Many other versions of the tune, some under different titles (or different tunes under the same title) can be heard on YouTube. See also the Traditional Tune Archive, and the comments posted below.

© Richard Hawkins

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At 10:56 am, Blogger Denis McCarthy said...

And listen to "Bonaparte crossing the Rhine" by Norman Blake, among others.

At 1:47 pm, Blogger Richard Hawkins said...

Thanks, Denis: this can be heard on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrJ9rZGfQ-w, as recorded on the 1994 Shanachie album 'While passing along this way'. The track that follows is 'The grave of Bonaparte', sung by Norman and Nancy Blake (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PelqtYTeQ8U).


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