Mudcat Café message #2448572 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16979   Message #2448572
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
23-Sep-08 - 08:00 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
Subject: RE: Origins: The Snows They Melt the Soonest
I didn't suggest that it was. I merely pointed out that it wasn't 'well off', as the blow-in poster thought (having evidently not read much of the discussion before adding to it), but was an accurate transcription from the original source. You seem to have misunderstood what I wrote, despite quoting it in full (though without a line break to separate your own comment). I have, and expressed, no opinion (subjective or otherwise) as to whether or not the modern adaptation is 'better' -that is the sort of thing you go in for. It does involve, as 'Volgadon' noted, a significant change of mood; so it is useful to note that.

I wonder why the producers of the Hardy adaptation shoe-horned it in, though. There are any number of fine songs that we know were sung in Wessex at the period in which 'Tess' was set, and many of these Hardy himself refers to in his books. Not only is there no evidence that 'The Snows' was ever known there, there's no particular reason to think that it was sung anywhere at all until it began to be reprinted in collections of Northeastern music; all after 'Tess' was written, incidentally.

It's another example, I fear, of the shoddy research that is so often evident when folk song is included in television drama. A great deal of effort and expense is put into ensuring that costume and other detail is accurate, and in this production reasonable care seems to have gone into seeing that the dance music was appropriate. A pity, then, that they have lapsed into crass anachronism in this case. The tune (Briggs' 1960s form of it) made a nice effect at the closing credits, but with a little effort something that Tess (or Hardy) might actually have known could have been used with equal effect.

Further comment on that side of things might usefully be made in the discussion Tess of the D'Urbervilles.