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Q: Music by the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots.. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Music by the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots..
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Music
Asked by: mevlana-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 01 Mar 2005 16:15 PST
Expires: 31 Mar 2005 16:15 PST
Question ID: 483182
David Rizzio, Rizzo has a song either by or attributed to him in the
old Concord Series (EC Schirmer) which I used in music classes from
1959 - 1963. The text of the song, as I recall, began thus:"Ah for my
peaceful prime/The time of youth and gladness./  Then was my gay
springime/Unknown were grief and sadness......."
Could you find the music for me?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 02 Mar 2005 14:25 PST

Your question is turning out to be quite a challenge.

David Rizzio is the name of an opera written in the 1930's by Mary
Carr Moore.  I had a look at the libretto, but there is nothing in it
resembling the text you gave.

David Rizzio was also an historical character who was, indeed the
secretary (to put it politely) to Mary Queen of Scots, and was himself
a court musician.

Am I correct in thinking you're looking for music written by Rizzio
himself, rather than from the opera that bears his name?

I had a look at the Schirmer catalogue, but did not see anything by
Rizzio (or Rizzo).  Are you quite sure it was Schirmer?  Do you
remember anything else about the music that would help in tracking it

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 02 Mar 2005 15:32 PST
And one last thing...was the music for voice, piano or something else?

Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 03 Mar 2005 03:13 PST
mevlana --

One approach to getting your information (admittedly a long shot)
would be to try to track down a library or other copy of a the Concord
Series volume in which the song you remember appeared.  I don't expect
you to recall the volume number (!), but do you remember any details
about it, such as an approximation of its title (e.g., "150 songs for
Grades 4,5 and 6," e.g.) or the genre of the volume (e.g., I have come
across volumes of folk songs, choral works, etc.).

Any further details might help.


Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 03 Mar 2005 06:08 PST
mevlana --

It also might help if you can remember the titles or composers of any
other pieces of music that may have been contained in the same Concord
Series volume as the Rizzio piece.


Clarification of Question by mevlana-ga on 04 Mar 2005 19:30 PST
Yes, I ,am asking about the composer. It was, as I recall, rather like
 an air for lute aand voice. The book (part of the Concord Series) was
the work of EC Schirmer NOT G. Schirmer. Somemof the other works?:>
hmmmnnn. I knokw there was awork by Grieg. Then, I recall a Scots air
called Turn ye to me.Damn I wish I had purloined the book when I left
the Anerican College for Girls in Istanbul. I don't think it was ever
used again.
No, I cannot remember the volume number, alas. It had a tan binding.
Thde one book I wish to find is the teacher's copy which had all the
accompaniments in it. The students' copy had just the melodic lines.
In the years 1959 - 1963 I made a great deal of use of this book.
There was  another in the series (green binding) that was more or less
all folk music. Obtaining sheet music  was well nigh impossible in
those Istanbul days, so we relied on the Concord Series.

By then way,  think that Randall Thompson's "Velvet Shoes" was in
cluded in the book I am seeking.

Just in case you want to contact me, let me give you my phone number.
I am Donald Hoffman. My number is (701) 224 - 9049. I am usually by a
phone 24/7.
Thank you for all the good work you have done in the past.
One question: do you provide translations of Greek texts? This will be
a modern ms of no literary merit.. It is only one page long.

Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 05 Mar 2005 03:24 PST
mevlana --

Thanks for your clarification.  I will follow up on your new clues,
which are interesting.  Since Randall Thompson was a choral composer,
I am deducing (for the moment) that the volume you used contained both
solo and choral pieces. It also appears to contain works by both
American (Thompson) and European composers.

Of course, any further details you can remember might also be useful.
One further question that comes to mind is the age of the children to
whom the book was directed (Concord Series volumes were sometimes
expressly geared for various grade levels).

Finally, Google Answers researchers are not allowed to contact
customers directly, so you may want to check your email regularly for
notifications of postings on your question.


Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 05 Mar 2005 15:55 PST
mevlana --

Here is an update.

I have identified the Concord Series volume that has the Rizzio piece
in it and one (so far) online used bookseller who has it in stock.  I
have asked him by email whether his volume is the teacher's edition
(with the accompaniment).

I will let you know when I get his response, which, I suppose, might
not be until Monday.  Even if his happens to be a student edition
(without the accompaniment), I am now optimistic about being able to
find the right one for you from another source.

As for your Greek translation, I am not sure whether there are
researchers who can do it for you (I can't).  I suggest that you post
a separate question asking for volunteers.  If someone "takes the
bait," you can work with him or her to find a convenient way to post
the manuscript (e.g., there are ways to "upload" a document to a
website, at no charge, where a researcher would have access to it).


Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 07 Mar 2005 09:16 PST
mevlana --

I am disappointed to have to report that the copy of the book that I
had confirmed to be available turns out to be the Student's Edition
with only the words and the vocal parts.

I currently have two more potential sources for the book on the West
Coast.  I will call them this afternoon to see (1) if they do indeed
have it in stock, and (2) whether it is the Teacher's Edition.

Now that I know which book in the Concord Series we are looking for, I
still hope to be able to find you a copy (although most of the extant
copies would logically be Student's Editions).


Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 07 Mar 2005 13:44 PST
mevlana --

Final update for the day (unless I hit pay dirt).

The Student's Edition of the volume you are looking available is
available online from several sources.  I am still awaiting
confirmation from two online sellers as to which edition they are
offering, but I am not too hopeful that they are offering the rarer
Teacher's Edition.

I do have one live lead on the Teacher's Edition.  I have an
unanswered voice mail message and an email in to the one online seller
who explicitly purports to have that edition for sale.  However, this
could be obsolete listing.  We'll see.

Now that I know the exact book that I am looking for, I will also try
to find a library copy.  Whether this would be of use to you may
depend on whether your local library or university library could
arrange for an interlibrary loan.  I await your advice on whether a
library copy would be useful to you.

If I don't "come up with the goods" by tomorrow, I will unlock the
question (so that I am allowed to work on others at the same time),
but I not yet ready to declare myself at a dead end.

Subject: Re: Music by the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots..
Answered By: markj-ga on 07 Mar 2005 16:37 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
mevlana --

Well, I finally found one copy for you.

The complete title of the book is the "Concord Junior Song and Chorus
Book,for Unison and Part Singing for Grades 7,8,and 9" and its
Teacher's Edition is Volume 15 in the Concord Series. It was compiled
and edited by Archibald T. Davison, et al., and the edition you are
getting was republished in 1955 by Schirmer Music Co., Boston (The
original edition was published in 1928.)

The book is currently available online from Peaceful Valley
Booksellers for $20.  Here is a link to the ordering page from, which is the site that is handling the listing: Order Form: Concord Junior Song and Chorus Book,000735 

I have confirmed directly with the bookseller that the book is indeed
the Teacher's Edition and that it contains the David Rizzio piece that
particularly interests you.  Here is an excerpt from the email I
received from the bookseller about an hour ago:

"The song IS included in this book - Mary Queen of Scots is listed as
the author and that is how it appears in the index (though Rizzio's
name appears on the actual music)."

Additional Information:

In the course of looking for the Teacher's Edition of this book, I
found several copies of the Student's Edition.   If by any chance, a
copy of that edition (with voice parts and words only) is also of
interest to you, here is a link to online listings of this edition on Title Search

Search Strategy:

I have been at this project so long that I have forgotten some of the
details, but I began with a round of Google searches looking for the
name of the Rizzio song that you remembered.  While these searches led
to some fascinating information about David Rizzio (also known as
"Riccio"), information about his musical output was very scarce and
inconclusive.  (It was especially interesting to discover that he was
the subject (and the title character) of an opera by Mary Carr Moore
and a cantata by Jules Massenet.

I then did lots of searching on online book sales websites for the
Concord Series in general.  While there appears to have been many
volumes in the series, only a handful were represented in online used
book listings.  I also checked the Library of Congress catalog and
various large university music libraries, and found the some of the
same titles represented.

I then chose the most promising three or four of the Concord Series
titles on the major online sellers' sites and used their "Ask the
Seller a Question" to email seller of these titles to see if any of
them contained the Rizzio song and any of the others you mentioned in
your clarification.

As the responses came in, I found that one of them (the "Concord
Junior Song and Chorus Book") appeared to contain at least some of the
songs, although some of the sellers couldn't find the Rizzio song. 
However, when one of the sellers told me that David Rizzio was not
listed as a composer in the Index, but the song was in the book under
the title "Ah, for my Peaceful Prime,"  I concluded that this book was
indeed the one you wanted.

Unfortunately, this process initially only led me to copies of the
Student's Edition, not the rarer Teacher's Edition."

Finally, I rechecked more thoroughly the website of,
one of the online compilers of used book offerings, and came across
the offering of the aptly named "Peaceful Valley Booksellers." I then
called and emailed the seller to confirm the contents and the
availability of the book.

After communicating with the very helpful seller, I am confident that
this is the book you are looking, and that you can conveniently order
it at the above-linked site.  If anything remains unclear, please ask
for clarification before rating the answer.


Clarification of Answer by markj-ga on 10 Mar 2005 09:23 PST
mevlana --

As of yesterday, the bookseller with the volume you want (Peaceful
Valley Booksellers) says that they haven't received an order from you.
They have informally agreed to hold the book until Sunday, March 13,
but after that there is no guarantee that it will remain available.

Here, for your immediate reference, is the contact information for the bookseller:

Peaceful Valley Booksellers
11364 Links Drive
Reston, VA 20190

As noted in my answer, you can use the ordering page at the link I
provided there to order the book.

mevlana-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $50.00

Subject: Re: Music by the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots..
From: leli-ga on 03 Mar 2005 01:05 PST
Hello mevlana

I found out one or two interesting things about Rizzio and music, but
I'm afraid they make it even more difficult to track down your song.
It now seems to me that the words you remember are probably of a later
date than the tune.

While researching, I found five tunes which have been attributed to
Rizzio. One in particular is mentioned alongside his name: Tweed Side.
This has been combined with many different words, and it's just
possible it could be arranged with lines like yours. I say that since
it seems completely IMpossible to imagine your words combined with any
of the other "Rizzio" tunes I found!

This is one version of Tweed Side:

Here's a list of many different variations of Tweed Side:

According to the Grove Dictionary of Music, the first person to
suggest that Rizzio composed certain Scottish tunes was William
Thomson, who compiled "Orpheus Caledonius". Your song is definitely
not in this collection. Unfortunately I was not able to see the
original attributions to Rizzio, as I was using a facsimile of the
1733 edition and Rizzio is only mentioned in the first edition.
According to Grove:

"[Rizzio] went to Scotland in 1561 in the service of the ambassador of
Savoy, and there joined the court as bass singer and valet de chambre
to Mary Queen of Scots.
. . .
In the 18th century Rizzio acquired something of a reputation as a
composer of Scots songs. This curious and groundless fiction seems to
have started in William Thomson's Orpheus Caledonius (1725). The songs
ascribed to Rizzio are all native airs and though some, like "An thou
were my ain thing", can be traced back to the earliest (early
17th-century) surviving sources of Scots folk music, it is much more
likely that Rizzio simply sang part-music of an international style,
of which there was no lack at Mary's court. "

I also had no luck with a song index in my Scottish music library.

I hope a researcher on EC Schirmer's side of the Atlantic is able to
find the song you remember.

Good luck - Leli
Subject: Re: Music by the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots..
From: pafalafa-ga on 07 Mar 2005 16:53 PST
Very nice work!

Subject: Re: Music by the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots..
From: markj-ga on 18 Mar 2005 06:04 PST
mevlana --

Thanks very much for the rating and the generous tip.  This was a very
interesting project.


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