Tuesday, 31 July 2007

‘Hole in the Wall’ by Purcell!

Oh, be still, my beating heart! Yes, my dearest BJ lovers, Hole in the Wall, written by Henry Purcell in 1695 (published in 1698). I cannot thank you Michelle enough for tipping me the title of the dance song (the second ball in Lady Gresham’s manor) of Becoming Jane… for it is truly there. Ah… just to recall the dance scene where Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy gazed at each other’s deepest souls… I want to see the movie again now!

Apparently, Hole in the Wall (sometimes also called Hornpipe or St. Martin’s Lane) was not only used in the A&E Emma, but also in BBC's Wives and Daughters in a flashback scene between Mr. Preston and Cynthia. Hole in the Wall was so popular that it was issued as a single in the 18th century.

Here’s what the UK Traditional Music wrote about Purcell:

Purcell, Henry (1658-1695) an English court musician who has been called England’s greatest composer. He was familiar with the Playford family (and was first published by them) and so had access to a huge number of traditional tunes. Whether he did any borrowing of any of these is a good question, but if so, he wouldn’t have been the first to cop a good tune from the folk tradition. His fame in general today comes from the arrangement of the Rondo from "Abdelazer, or the Moor’s Revenge" into "The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra" by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). Aside from writing beautiful melodies in his various airs for the theater, his claim to fame in folk music is that the Hornpipe from "Abdelazer" was so popular that it was published as "Hole in the Wall", and then issued as a single in the 18th century! This lovely dance tune was renamed in the sheet music with the appealing title of "St Martin’s Lane". It later passed into the country dancing tradition via the Playford Dancing Master, still with the dreadful title of "Hole in the Wall", under which name it’s played today.

Despite the rather strange title, the particular piece of music really hits me! But then, Mr. Beveridge's Maggot also has a strange name, but it was lovely as well… Oh, and Hole in the Wall also reminds me of Pyramus and Thisbe and the mulberry tree…and the hole in the wall separating the lovers’ houses.

For piano lovers (I wish I was one of you), here’s the pdf arrangement of Hole in the Wall. Play it after you see Becoming Jane, see if you’re not mellow… This is another piano arrangement:


and midi files:





(the last one is my favourite).

Also, read this letter from Marshall Barron about the Hole in the Wall. It is indeed a beautiful arrangement, three-two (3/2) instead of six-eight (6/8).

And watch for this particular post as well, for I’m still looking for Purcell CDs that contains Hole in the Wall. I've found several here. There's one called the Hornpipe in 'Abdelazer; Or, The Moor's Revenge' Z570, in the 3rd disc of Purcell: Complete Ayres for the Theatre, but the beat is too fast. There's another one here, Purcell's Fantasias & Suites in Amazon.com, but no sample track. If you want to listen to the harp version, you might want to buy the Celtic Muse's Merry & Bright (I love the harp version so much!). And Assembly Players has a CD titled A Purcell Ball, with both St. Martin's Lane and Hole in the Wall. I want to order that one... but I want to listen to the sample first.

Pic1: Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) and Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) dancing with ‘The Hole in the Wall’, from www.james-mcavoy.net

Pic 2: Henry Purcell, from www.naxos.com


Rachel said...

Thank you so much Michelle for this information! This piece of music is possibly the most beautiful I have heard and it is wonderful to know who wrote it.
I agree with Icha that the 'Abdelazer, The Moor's Revenge' version is too fast for our memories of Tom and Jane but is still a delight to listen too. Thanks again.

Icha said...

Yeah... you can only browse as much... I'm getting tired of browsing now. Anyway, anyone who have the chance to browse any classical CD shops in UK, you might be able to find it under Classical (Abdelazer, Henry Purcell) or folk song.

I love the music so much, I hope we'll be able to detect a proper music CD for it soon.

Anonymous said...

... And thanks to the poster at IMDB who postively identified it as "Hole in the Wall"! (I am fascinated by the title).

It was exciting to log on this evening and see the new post - fantastic work! Very enjoyable reading.

Here's a couple more links to CDs featuring Hole in the Wall:

This is fairly close to the BJ tempo: http://www.dragonscaleconsort.com/CD%20Page.htm

There is some "interesting" things going on in this version: http://cdbaby.com/cd/musicasubterranea1

The Mince Pye version: http://cdbaby.com/cd/mincepye2

Woodley Yeomen Dance music: http://www.fsc.org.uk/glee/dance.htm

Country Dance Society Boston Centre's "Simple Pleasures" lists Hole in the Wall, but the sample link is broken: http://www.colonialmusic.org/CDS-Bost.htm

Melissa the Loud's version: http://www.melissatheloud.com/recordings.html

-- 1651: John Playford, a few years after Cromwell’s execution of the king, starts a family dynasty by publishing the English Country Dancingmaster. This is a record of country dances and music. Many editions are made by him and his descendants, stretching into the late 18th century. Hole in the Wall appears in the 1696 edition.

The Celtic Muse Harp version is gorgeous!

You should watch Wives and Daughters sometime. It's a beautiful mini series, and their version of Hole in the Wall is slow and romantic.

If only there was a lush orchestra recording! It's such an evocative piece of music. :)

Icha said...


Have you read the post about Mulberry tree in Sense & Sensibility in BJF? Pyramus & Thisbe, the doomed Babylonian lovers always conversed secretly using a hole in the wall between their houses - http://becomingjane.blogspot.com/2007/07/mulberry-tree-in-sense-sensibility.html

I;m not sure it's coincidence or not, but Pyramus & Thisbe's love story was very similar to Tom Lefroy & Jane Austen. Without the death in the second couple... not immediately, at least.

Thanks a lot for the links; I like the Dragon Consort version most. Check this one out too:
http://www.celticharper.com/stringwood/swmp3/Stringwood_Trio_Hole_in_the_Wall.mp3; very similar to the dragon consort version, but I think it's prettier because of the harp.

I'm in love with this version already. It's strange though... many people love Hole in the Wall, but it's not readily available in Amazon.com, unlike Mr. Beveridge's Maggot.

Unknown said...

You can actually get the music from the balls from itunes, they have 6 bonus tracks at the store.... they're 99cents each....

Icha said...

Thanks Ployathina. Can you direct us to the right link, please? So want to listen to it offline. And I've ordered my 'A Purcell Ball' CD last night...

Unknown said...

I would, but unfortunately you have to have itunes on your computer.... but I did find it also on Rhapsody: http://www.rhapsody.com/originalsoundtrack2/becomingjanedigitalversion?tstart=20 you might have to apply for an account and you get 25 free plays.... I hope this helps!!

Icha said...

Great! Thanks a lot, P! Really helps. I will download it at home, I'm running out of university internet quota for my constant searching for the tunes!

Anonymous said...

Gosh! THANK YOU! I searched on iTunes but with no luck. Back for a second attempt to download. :)

Anonymous said...

Ok ... I am in luck with iTunes. :)

For those of you outside of the USA who can't stream Rhapsody (or can't be bothered resetting your time-zone so that you can) here is another link for digital downloads (.99c ea)


I am so tempted to download the entire album while I wait for my copy to arrive from the States...

Thank you again, Ployathina!

Anonymous said...

I'm really embarrased to post my third straight comment (sorry) - but Bonus Track 26: The Basingstoke Assembly: Softly Good Tummas is used in another recent period drama (Emma/Sense & Sensibility/P+P/etc). I can see the dance now, but can't for the life of me remember which film it's in. Ergh! Does anyone here recognise this music?

Icha said...

That's alright darling, that's what this blog is for... exchanging BJ ideas and info!

Anyway, 'Softly Good Tummas'. Funny you should mention it, for I've been in contact with Nicolas Broadbridge (he and his 'Assembly Players' made 'A Purcell Ball' that I've ordered). Nic said that his son was the fiddler (or one of the fiddlers?) in Becoming Jane! (and also in PP 2005). And 'Softly Good Tummas' can be found here:


His other collections also have various tracks of assembly ball scores:


I hope my CD arrives quickly, so I can tell you all what I think about it! Good, I hope!

Anonymous said...

-> 88c each: http://downloads.walmart.com/swap/

Scroll down for the BJ Bonus Tracks. ;P

Icha said...

Michelle, Ployathina, help!

I'm in Australia, thus Wallmart and the Rhapsody don't accept my purchases! And the other one (the connect) got weird and said a file was missing in my computer.

Any other sites? :-(


Anonymous said...

Eek I know :( I was going to ask you how you got around the problem! I live in NZ, and these files are not available outside of the US (& maybe some other countries). I, erm ... changed my country to USA but then ran into problems with Credit Card Details/Address. Ergh. I will keep looking, but I am almost 100% certain that we Australasian countries will be out of luck because of licensing issues. (otherwise they'd be on our local iTunes). :(

I will email you!

Icha said...

You changed your country! LOL! Michelle, you're so funny!

But it didn't work, for the billing address should be in the US...Bummer!

Will wait for your musical investigation, darl. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Hmmm.... that's weird. I mean I guess your best bet would be Rhapsody or iTunes, which is a pain in the butt if you don't use either or.... I'm sorry that I can't be of any help :(

Unknown said...

iTunes and rhapsody's online versions of the soundtrack include bonus tracks. Perhaps the music of the second ball may be found among these extra tracks? There are two extra tracks titled "Lady Gresham's Ball," and one of them is subtitled "The Hole in the Wall." I haven't seen the film yet (it's not in Asia yet, and no knows when it will be) so I don't know what the music in the second ball sounds like. As it is, I'm immensely disappointed I can't buy the iTunes soundtrack, because I live outside of the US.

Icha said...

Music of the second ball is something titled 'Lady Gresham's ball' or actually, the proper title is 'Hole in the Wall' by Purcell.

Yeah, I'm from Asia though I live in Australia. Sad that the movie has not reached Asia yet, I bet many Asian people would love the romantic tone!

Unknown said...

It's a huge pity those extra tracks are available only on the online versions of the soundtrack then! I shall have to badger some friend in the US to purchase them for me.

Yes, sad it hasn't reached Asia, or specifically, Singapore, where I'm at. And no planned release date either! So I can't even count down to it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks you so much for various useful information - about specific tracks and music (I love it!!),film and Jane Austen biography.

Anonymous said...

i just recently watched the movie and im absolutely in love with it. i think ive watched it six times in one weekend. anyways, i have checked out the soundtrack and many other sites from the music played on the trailer. its not the one from dido but it is the song you hear on the becoming jane movie site with all the strings and everything. i was wondering if you knew the title or how i could get it?


and ps. your site is awesome

Icha said...

Thanks a lot, guys. And Anon 2 (sorry, I don't have your name, hence the Anon :-D ) - you watched it six times?! WOW! I only watched it four times... and now anxiously waiting for the DVD to arrive in Oz.

Yeah, the song from the US Website. Everyone has been looking for it, asking questions &c. I've emailed the US website, but have not received the reply yet. I've asked Michelle (one of our Assoc. Researcher/Observer) to have a better look, for she's a musician. Once we find out the title of the song, we will definitely post it here.

Anonymous said...

ooo! i love the song 'Lady Gresham's Ball: The Hole in the Wall'! i think it's one of the best versions of Hole in the Wall. but it's quite hard to find. anyone willing to send the mp3 to me?? my email is conkwe87@yahoo.com. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi! My name is Carol and I´m from Brazil! I am so in love with both Purcell´s songs (from P&P and BJ) and I saw here in Icha´s post that there is a group that has recorded an album (or a lot of albuns!), so I became desperate to get it! But in Brazil...?? =( Could anyone who has it help me, sending by e-mail or msn or something? I intend to give a ball with my friends (I have already printed a big manual of Country Dances and learned to dance the whole in the wall!). My e-mail is carol_baroneXXXterraXcomXbr. (XXX = @, X = dot)
By the way, congratulations for the blog, it´s so clear and full of precious informations! =D

Anonymous said...

(now i've realized that even in Brazil it´s possibile to buy it! did anybody buy? does it really arrive? is the whole cd beautiful?)

Icha said...

Hi Carol! I've sent you an email with Hole in the Wall attached, hope you like it (also sent it to Anon). The one that I had was from 'The Assembly Players', a CD collection titled 'A Purcell Ball'. It's also wonderful, though the beat is not exactly the same with the one in the movie (it's faster, a bit more like Emma). Nonetheless, one of the violist in the Assembly Players was playing for BJ, so it really is a treat.

Icha said...

Carol, I could not send the file to your email. Could you pls verify it again? It bounced back.

Anonymous said...

Hole in the Wall is, indeed, lovely music. I think that's why it gets chosen over and over again for movies (and turns up in lots of historic dance contexts, too). It's actually a bit early for Regency, though.

Check out this great article on what to look for in terms of authentic Regency dance. Unfortunately none of the Austen movies have quite nailed it yet, but one can dream. :)


Icha said...

Thanks a lot, Cathy!

I will make note of the site and try to make a post about it in my spare time. It does have interesting stuffs!

Unknown said...

hey guys i dont know if im posting correctly but if anyone has got a hold of hole in the wall please could u send it to my email..


Thanks again

Unknown said...


Just watched this film today and it was fantastic! Absolutely fell in love with it. Unfortunately, Rhapsody and etc don't work with me - but if anyone has a copy of this, I'd be so grateful if any of you could send me it via email at schweitzer006325@yahoo.co.uk

Thanks ever so much and cheers!


Unknown said...


Are the bonus tracks (specifically, The Hole in the Wall track) not on the CD soundtrack? I have the CD but cannot find the bonus tracks on it. I want to download it to my ipod but can't figure out what is going wrong. Thanks in advance for anyone's help!

Icha said...

Barbara, email me at tara_parvati@yahoo.com and I will email you the Hole in the Wall, BJ edition.

Anonymous said...

Oooh! Could someone please email me the BJ version??
my email is danielle_caltabiano@bigpond.com
I'm from Australia and tried everything possible to try and find it.
It would be much appreciated :)

Anonymous said...

Can someone send me the link or mp3 to the Hole In Wall? I adore that music. try send it to me at gotta_go2paris@yahoo.com

Also the Mr. Beveridge's Maggot if anyone have it. I love this one too.

Carol said...

Hi! I´m the Carol from Brazil who asked long time ago the song hole in the wall... my e-mail had some problms! Icha, I sent you an e-mail! do you still use this tara_parvati@yahoo.com ? my name is Anna Carolina

Icha said...

Hi Carol, I've sent you the Hole in the Wall per email, hopefully you've got it by now. Take care!

Unknown said...


I've fallen in love with this music too, and tried everything possible to find it, but no use!
Even itunes, amazon, lastfm and so on don't work with me... Thought it would, I lie in France but...
Could anyone send me this music by mail? ;_;
Here: myny-chan@wanadoo.fr
Thank you so much in advance!

Icha said...

Hi Myriam, I will send the music now to your email. Thank you for visiting us!

Owen said...

Hello Icha,
Could you please send me the BJ version of Hole In The Wall? my sister asked me to find it for her wedding and I've been on a quest across the internet to find the mp3.
Thank you,

ps. This is a lovely forum/blog.

Icha said...

Hi Owen,

I've sent you the song. Lemme know if it satisfies the needs. All the blessings and happiness for your sister! We're so happy to help her!


Rachael Orlos said...

I have a copy of the Lady Gresham's ball version of The Hole in the Wall. It was tricky to get but I'm happy to send via email free to anyone who wants it. Email me on rachaelorlos@gmail.com. It really is a beautiful piece. x

Icha said...

Hi Rachael, thank you so much for the offer! I will email you soon for the mp3. Would love to get a hold of it, thanks!