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William, Duke of Cumberland, King George II’s younger son, had taken command of the government forces and pursued Bonnie Prince Charlie in Scotland. He defeated the Jacobite army at Culloden and was given a hero’s welcome on his return to London. This rousing song was published in the London Magazine in July 1746 with a note that it had been sung at Vauxhall Gardens by the famous tenor, Thomas Lowe. The words are by John Lockman with the applauding chorus line ‘Your Glasses charge high; tis in brave William’s Praise’.
It has an unspecified treble instrumental line which a trumpet or other wind instrument could play and indeed, the famous trumpeter Valentine Snow (c1700-1770) was a regular performer at Vauxhall and he like others, became ‘stars’ in their own right. By 1745 Snow was the most respected trumpeter in the country after succeeding John Shire and became the Sergeant Trumpeter to the King from 1753.
This song contains melodic fragments from ‘Volate amori’ in Handel’s opera Ariodante and from his orchestral minuet used in 1749 in the Music for the Royal Fireworks, a movement originally composed for the overture to the Occasional Oratorio.
1746 was a prosperous season at Vauxhall following the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden (16 April). This song was only one of many triumphalist lyrics of that year’s repertory, following the brutal putting down of the Catholic Jacobite uprising. Burney captured the spirit of the times in 1746: ‘The season at Vaux Hall was very prosperous, and songs of triumph were sung every night. The King went thither several times in person, and the prince and princess of Wales … very frequently.’
from notes by Bridget Cunningham © 2017