Arts In Berwick -- Music
Music for civic ceremonies from 16th-19th.Centuries were provided in Berwick
by the town 'waites'. Early on some of these were quite talented -- for
example between 1735 and 1758 John Oswald from Crail was employed to lead
the waits. His son James Oswald (1710-1769) became one of the leading
composers of his day in the Scots/Italian style eventually ending up at
the court of George III. Oswald's music is now enjoying something of a
But by the 19th.century the waits' lack of talent had become an embarrassment
and the post was abolished. The eccentric beggar 'Jimmy Strength' (1728?-1844)
was little better, most people giving him money to get him to stop playing.
Rather more talented was the famous virtuoso Niccolo Paginini who gave
a recital in Berwick on 2nd.October 1833. But then, as everyone knew at
the time, he had sold his soul to the Devil to play like that.
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