Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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The Black Man, a pedlar of boot polish, stove black, ironware etc
Thumpkin, a country clown
Two Gentlemen, city bullies/pimps
Brush, a brush pedlar
Susan, a barmaid
In a touching pastoral scene, sweethearts Thumpkin and Susan declare their love. They are interrupted by the Two Gentlemen, who kidnap Susan. Disguised as an old man, Thumpkin returns to rescue her and, while her captors are fighting over her, the young couple escape. The Gentlemen catch up with them again and, in revenge, force Thumpkin to stand on a stool covered by a sheet and command him only to cry ‘Mum’. A passing brush pedlar takes Thumpkin for a ghost. Deciding to have some fun, Thumpkin changes his ‘Mum’ to a devilish ‘Ho ho’ and at first frightens The Black Man (whose blackened face may, like the collier, have associated him with the devil). The two friends change places and the returning Gentlemen are scared away, first by the ‘ghostly’ Black Man’s ‘Ho ho!’ from under the sheet, and then by—the now also blackened—Thumpkin whom they take to be the devil.
from notes by Lucie Skeaping © 2009