BRANWELL’S FLUTE AND HARDY’S HORNPIPE

Peter Harrison, playing an historic flute, explores the music collections of Branwell Brontë and Thomas Hardy.

Presenter Julia Elliott joins Peter in this exploration in words and music of the fascinating musical worlds of Branwell Brontë and Thomas Hardy. Both Branwell Brontë (1817-1848) and Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) were keenly interested in, and influenced by, music. Branwell’s sisters Emily and Anne played the piano and Branwell the flute. He kept a notebook of his favourite tunes arranged for the instrument including popular songs of the time, ‘Home, Sweet Home’ and ‘All Through the Night’. Thomas Hardy was born into a musical family and he inherited his father’s and grandfather’s handwritten collections of traditional tunes. In boyhood he learned to play the violin and joined his father in the local village band.

Peter Harrison is director of the early music ensemble Concert Royal. He has given many hundreds of recitals in every corner of the UK, in Europe and the USA and for the British Council in South America. His boxwood flute of 1790 is of the kind played by Branwell and is perfectly suited to the country music of early nineteenth century Dorset so loved by Thomas Hardy.