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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 setting of Six dukes went afishin' was first performed at the 1906 Brigg Festival. In all Grainger made three distinct arrangements of this folk-melody and the version recorded here was collected by ear from the singing of George Couldthorpe of Barrow-on-Humber (North Lincolnshire) by Grainger on 4 September 1905. Subsequent Edison phonograph cylinder recordings were made of the tune with variants phonographed from Joseph Leaning on 4 August 1906, and these were to form the basis of Grainger’s two other settings, the voice and piano version published as BFMS No 11 and the third and final setting, for four voices and flute, which was composed in 1910. The final setting makes great demands on the singers to produce a Lincolnshire dialect whilst this first setting indicates only one alternative for the word ‘body’. The words of this song have a curious history. Miss Lucy E Broadwood, who had noted down two extra verses at Brigg on 7 May 1906 (subsequently used in Grainger’s 1910 setting), believes the words relate to William de la Pole, first Duke of Suffolk, whose murdered body was washed ashore near Dover in 1450.
Six dukes went afishin’ down by yon seaside, And they spied a dead body come arolling with the tide. They one said to each other, these words I’ve heard them say: ‘It’s the Royal Duke of Grantham, what the tide has washed away.’
They took him up to Portsmouth, to a place where he was known, From there up to London, to the place where he was born. They took out his bowels, and stretched out his feet, They balmed his body with Roses so sweet.
He lies betwixt two towers, he lies in cold clay, When the Royal Queen of Grantham went weeping away.