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G 12.045 CoverGeorge Bingham (fl. 1702–1705)
English Airs, Vol. I

for alto recorder solo (no. 1–20) / 2 alto recorders (no. 21–30) /
alto recorder and basso continuo (no. 31–50)
Edited by Franz Müller-Busch
Realization of the thorough bass by Yo Hirano

Girolamo G 12.045, score and 1 part, € 19,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-072-5

sample page

G 12.044 G 12.046





During the years from 1702 to 1705, four volumes of Airs Anglois were published by Roger & Le Cene in Amsterdam, containing solo pieces, duets, suite movements and sonatas for recorder composed by various English masters. Although no specific instrumentation for the upper part(s) is mentioned on the title page of the prints other than the general designation dessus, the parts themselves and the publisher's catalogues contain the more precise description Fluto or pour la flute. These works were published by one George Bingham, who, as composer, also contributed the majority of the suite movements.
Considering that they were also printed by other music publishing houses as a licensed edition, using Roger & Le Cene printing plates, and still appeared as late as 1744 in the catalogue of La Coste,1) successor to Roger & Le Cene, the volumes must have enjoyed great popularity, which is not surprising, given the high quality of the frequently short movements and a level of difficulty ranging from easy to moderately challenging.

Only two facts are known about George Bingham:
1. He was a member of King William III.'s Private Musick in London from around 1689 to 1695/96.2)
2. Between 1702 and 1705 he published four volumes of Airs Anglois in Amsterdam.3)
Further details of his life remain largely in the dark.

A major portion of the pieces contained in the four volumes was composed by Gottfried Finger, who also worked as a musician in London until 1701. Though Finger returned to Germany in 1702, his works were printed mostly in Amsterdam. It can therefore be assumed – on the basis of both the musical work of the two musicians and their connection with the same publisher in Amsterdam – that Bingham and Finger knew each other and worked together even after 1701.
After leaving the royal chapel, Bingham may possibly have lived in Amsterdam, earning his living as an instrumental teacher. Whilst the first volume of the Airs Anglois is dedicated to one Pierre de Roode, the following volumes bear the dedication "Dedié a Messieurs ses Disciples", i.e. to his gentlemen students.

All four volumes were printed in the form of two part books each. The bass part is largely unfigured – more extensive figuring is found only in the second volume.
The only ornamentation sign used is //, which commonly denotes "close shake" and should be played as a normal trill, starting on the upper auxiliary note. However, it should be borne in mind that this symbol was used as a generic ornamentation sign, and as such might also denote a (lower) mordent, a suspension (from above or below) or even finger vibrato (open shake).
In the present edition, typographic errors in the source and compositional ineptitudes such as parallel octaves were corrected. These corrections are documented in the audit report. The notation of key signatures and accidentals was adapted to modern practice. Additions of the editor are shown in brackets, added slurs are shown as broken lines.
A bass part for violoncello or viola da gamba is available at if required.

The present 1st volume has the title

50 Airs Anglois
Dont les 20 Premiers sont à un Dessus seul
les 10 suivants à 2 Dessus
& les 20 Derniers à un Dessus & une Basse.
Choisis & mis en ordre par
George Bingham
& Dédies à Messieur Pierre de Roode
A Amsterdam
Chez Estienne Roger & M: C: Le Cene

and is kept in the Royal Conservatory of Brussels under the signature WQ 5526.

A tabular list of all pieces contained in the four volumes can be found at the following web address:
75 of the 174 pieces were composed by George Bingham himself, 41 by Gottfried Finger, 31 were included without naming a composer. The remaining 27 pieces are by a variety of composers, among them Jacques Paisible, Henry and Daniel Purcell, William Williams, A. van Heerde and others. It is probably no coincidence that movements written in the same key are almost always combined into short suites.

Translation: Christa Lange-Rudd

Celle, December 2018, Franz Müller-Busch


1) Rudolf Rasch, The Music Publishing House of Estienne Roger and Michel-Charles Le Cène 1696–1743
(= My Work on the Internet, Volume Four), Catalogues in Facsimile: La Coste 1744

2) New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, London 2001, Vol. 10, p. 165; entry "Gorton, William"

3) Rudolf Rasch, The Music Publishing House of Estienne Roger and Michel-Charles Le Cène 1696–1743
(= My Work on the Internet, Volume Four), Part Two: Catalogues in Facsimile: Roger 1702–1705