This is a 1735 fourth ed. of the three-act ballad opera "The beggar's opera" by John Christopher Pepusch and John Gay. It includes the score for the overture (for violins (2), viola, and bass ensemble) and the melodies of each song. The inscription, "Nos haec novimus esse nihil" (transl. as, We know these to be nothing) that appears on the t.p. is an epigram by Marcus Valerius Martialis from his Books of Epigrams. On the back of the t.p. appears the advertisement of these works printed by John Watts: Fifty one new fables in verse; The tunes to the songs in the Beggar's Opera, transposed for the flute; and Gay's opera "Achilles." A table of songs shows the first lines of text for each act. The item includes a list of characters.
Creator: Pepusch, John Christopher, 1667-1752. & Gay, John, 1685-1732.
John Gay is credited with inventing the ballad opera, a genre that blends spoken plays and previously composed songs to new texts. Although The Beggar’s Opera (1728) was his most successful endeavor, he continued to compose English musical dramas. Achilles was finally performed in 1733, one year after Gay died. In this story, Achilles appears as a girl named Pyrrha, unknown to most of the inhabitants of the island of Scyros, in order to circumvent a prediction that he will die in battle. Deidamia (the king’s daughter) knows the secret, however, because she is carrying the disguised man’s child. After Achilles’s identity is revealed, he and Deidamia are able to wed. Then, in a fateful twist of irony, Achilles plans to join the Greeks in the Trojan War.
English libretto to Charles Coffey's ballad opera The devil to pay or, The wives metamorphos'd. The Devil to Pay is an adaptation of Thomas Jevon’s play The Devil of a Wife (1686). Nearly fifty years later, the ballad opera appeared at Drury Lane with Charles Coffey and John Mottley each responsible for half of the three acts. However, a much shorter and more well-received one-act version, edited by Theophilus Cibber, is represented in the printed libretto. Today Coffey is generally the only name widely attached to The Devil to Pay. The opera’s popularity is attested by the frequent performances and a translation into German, which contributed to the development of the Singspiel.
This collection of six anthems for various combinations of voices employs a figured continuo accompaniment. Instrumental interludes labeled "symphonies" can also be found interspersed among the choral selections. Though the music cites no particular scriptural passages, the text seems inspired by - if not directly derived from - the Bible.