Home! Sweet Home!

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This article is about the 19th century song. For other uses, see Home Sweet Home (disambiguation).
"Home, Sweet Home"
Home Sweet Home - Project Gutenberg eText 21566.png
Cover of the sheet music for a version published in 1914.
Song
Composer(s) Henry Bishop
Lyricist(s) John Howard Payne
Language English
Sheet music version.

"Home! Sweet Home!" (also known as "Home, Sweet Home") is a song that has remained well known for over 150 years. Adapted from American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne's 1823 opera Clari, or the Maid of Milan, the song's melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop with lyrics by Payne. Bishop had earlier published a more elaborate version of this melody, naming it 'A Sicilian Air', but he later confessed to having written himself.

The song's lyrics are:

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there
Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home
There's no place like home!
An exile from home splendor dazzles in vain
Oh give me my lowly thatched cottage again
The birds singing gaily that came at my call
And gave me the peace of mind dearer than all
Home, home, sweet, sweet home
There's no place like home, there's no place like home!

When the song was published separately, it quickly sold 100,000 copies. The publishers made a considerable profit from it, net £2100 in the first year, and the producer of the opera did well. Only Payne did not really profit by its success. "While his money lasted, he was a prince of bohemians", but had little business sense.[6] In 1852 Henry Bishop 'relaunched' the song as a parlour ballad, and it became very popular in the United States throughout the American Civil War and after.

As soon as 1827 this song was quoted by Swedish composer Franz Berwald in his Konzertstück for Bassoon and Orchestra (middle section, marked Andante). Gaetano Donizetti used the theme in his Opera Anna Bolena (1830) Act 2, Scene 3 as part of Anna’s Mad Scene to underscore her longing for her childhood home. It is also used with Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs and in Alexandre Guilmant's Fantasy for organ Op. 43, the Fantaisie sur deux mélodies anglaises, both of which also use "Rule, Britannia!". In 1857 composer/pianist Sigismond Thalberg wrote a series of variations for piano (op. 72) on the theme of Home! Sweet Home!.

In 1909, it was featured[citation needed] in the silent film The House of Cards, an Edison Studios film.[1] In the particular scene, a frontier bar was hurriedly closed due to a fracas. A card reading "Play Home Sweet Home" was displayed, upon which an on-screen fiddler promptly supplied a pantomime of the song. This may imply a popular association of this song with the closing hour of drinking establishments.[citation needed]

The song was reputedly banned from being played in Union Army camps during the American Civil War for being too redolent of hearth and home and so likely to incite desertion.[2]

The song is famous in Japan as "Hanyū no Yado" ("埴生の宿"?) ("My Humble Cottage"). It has been used in such movies as The Burmese Harp[3] and Grave of the Fireflies. It is also used at Senri-Chūō Station on the Kita-Osaka Kyūkō Railway.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The House of Cards at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Patrick Browne (2 January 2011). "Auld Lang Syne Banned". Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  3. ^ Tony Rayns (16 March 2007). "The Burmese Harp: Unknown Soldiers". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 

External links[edit]

6 [Charles H. Sylvester, "John Howard Payne and 'Home, Sweet Home' ", Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 6, p. 221 (published 1922), The Project Gutenberg eBook]