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From The music of the church considered in its various branches ...

by John Antes La Trobe

At the appointed time they commence. The first specimen he has of his choir is perhaps ushered in by a clarinet, which, though rather a favourite in country churches, is the most hapless in untutored hands. This is commissioned to lead off, and after some dreadful hiccups on the part of the instrument, which is its infirmity when clumsily dealt with, and which chases the blood chill through the veins, the tune is completed, and the singing proceeds. Then other instruments are introduced -

the flute,
And the vile squeaking of the wry-necked fife,

and it may be, breaking suddenly in with portentous thunder, after three or four notes spent in gathering up the long clambering instrument, some unlucky, deep-mouthed bassoon. It may readily be conceived, that these instruments by their united clamour, will lay a sufficient foundation of noise, upon which the singers may rear their superstructure. This they proceed to do with their whole breadth of lungs, each striving to surpass his neighbour in vociferation; till, exhausted with the exercise, they gradually cease, according to the tenure of their breath; the bassoon player, for the dignity of his instrument, commencing his last note rather later than the rest, and, by a peculiar motion of his shoulders, pumping out the whole power of his lungs in one prolonged and astounding roar. All sit down - a smile of self-gratulation playing about the lip, supposing that they have given their new parson a good idea of the manner in which they can anticipate the joys of heaven, as if

'The air of Paradise did fan the house,
And angels officed all!'


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