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Robin Hood

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Robin Hood

audio sample
The Life of Man

THE BALLAD OF ROBIN HOOD

"A brief touch of the life and death of Robin Hood, who died in 1198, being the 9. yeare of the reigne of King Richard Lionheart. Carefully collected out of the truest Writers of our English Chronicles. Written down and published for the satisfaction of those who desire to see truth purged from falsehood."
( "A True Tale of Robin Hood" by Martin Parker, London, 1632)

Preface of CD-booklet: Robin Hood was born in song. His legend started life in ballads which were passed on, from at least the 13th century, by oral tradition. The hero of the mediaeval ballads was of unkown background, an anarchistic gang-leader, unpredictable, brutal and without a female companion. His skills on the longbow made him invincible and the stories of his adventures gave young men a vision of a free, self-determined life. Robin Hood songs were sung, Robin Hood morris dances danced, and Robin Hood plays acted on stages and village greens all over England and Scotland. The mass-production of printed media began in the sixteenth century with the publication of broadside ballads. These were single sheets of paper, with eyecatching illustrations, "sold very cheaply". Around 250 broadsides have survived from the 16th century and around 10,000 from the 17th, Robin Hood being one of the most popular themes. In these ballads the rough outlaw had become a tamed aristocrat in doublet and hose, who would go to church every Sunday even if it cost his life, who was engaged to a noble woman, Maid Marian, and who had noble motives for stealing. These commercial Robin Hood ballads again entered oral tradition. Once the texts were printed, the stories remained stable, were known all over Britain and were also carried to America by emigrants. Television series from the 1960s still told the same stories. Even today children throughout the world know the adventures of this mediaeval hero. From this abundance of material we have chosen ballads, songs and dance tunes mainly from the time of the baroque. We are grateful to all the diligent collectors of Robin Hood balladry throughout the centuries, and would particularly like to mention the amazing collections of Francis James Child for the printed sources, and Bertrand Harris Bronson for the oral tradtition.

 

CD "Robin Hood"

a co-production with German radio station Deutschlandradio Kultur

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