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Over The Hills And Far Away

7/8" x 1"        
28 pages

This little book is a version of a old English folk song that John Gay included in his fabulously successful ballad opera THE BEGGAR'S OPERA. This production opened in 1728 and ran for 62 performances, a record at the time, and started a vogue for theater pieces that intersperse dialogue with popular songs, a style that has popped up in theatrical history as recently as Baz Luhrman's MOULIN ROUGE.

The song itself had been around for years, and had various lyrics attached to it, sometimes with a military or political flavor. Gay turned it into a romantic duet between his anti-hero, the highwayman Macheath, and one of his many sweethearts, Polly Peachum. The traditional tune is lovely, and I've included a copy of the music from a 20th century production, arranged by Frederick Austin, tucked into a folder bound into the book.

The lyrics flow through the book as a banner rolling past an 18th century proscenium, taken from one of William Hogarth's designs for an actor's benefit ticket.

The book is bound in Italian marbled paper, and has a paper title pasted on the front, of a pair of crossed pistols tied together with a pink ribbon.The endpapers depict a couple of "gentlemen of the road" at their nefarious work.

Also available in miniature here: Over The Hills And Far Away

This product was added to our catalog  October 24, 2009

$36.00