[Sheet music] The fair land of Poland : ballad from The Bohemian girl

Accession Number RC11022
Collection number Sheet Music Collection 537
Collection type Published Collection
Measurement Overall: 36 cm x 27 cm
Object type Sheet Music
Maker Balfe, Michael William
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c.186-
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Recording provided for personal, non-commercial and commemorative use. Permission from copyright holder must be sought for commercial use. Attached digital images provided for personal non-commercial use

Sheet Music for "The Fair Land Of Poland: Ballad from The Bohemian Girl", composed by Michael William Balfe. This piece of music featured in the opera titled 'The Bohemian Girl'. It is sometimes titled 'When the fair land of Poland' and is performed by Thaddeus, an exiled Polish prince who lived with a gypsy band. The lyrics of the song tell of the love that he has for fought for Poland in the past and the love that he has for the daughter of a count. This copy of the music has been published by W Paxton, London and is believed to date from the 1860s.

Balfe was a baritone singer, composer and violinist who was born in Dublin, Ireland. He first appeared as a violinist at the age of 9 and at the age of 15, moved to London to study violin with C F Horn. His first ballet, La Perouse, was produced in 1825 followed by his first opera, The siege of Rochelle, which was performed at Drury Lane in 1835. His most popular work was 'The Bohemian Girl' which was first performed in 1843. Balfe also spent time living in Paris, Berlin and St Petersburg.

Towards the bottom of this page is a sound recording of this sheet music, or a parody, that was created as part of the Music and the First World War project. More information about this recording, including names of the performers, can be found on the catalogue record for the sound recording. A link to the catalogue record for the sound recording can be found at the bottom of this page, under the heading ‘Related objects’ where it can be identified with the prefix [sound recording].

History / Summary

The first mention of the song ‘The Fair Land of Poland’ in Australian newspapers during the First World War period appeared in a short story titled ‘Miss Maythorne’ published in a Queensland newspaper on 22 January 1916. The song title also featured in another literary work, a poem that incorporated the titles of many popular songs and hymns into one story. This poem was published in the Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate newspaper on 1 April 1919.

Performances of works from the opera 'The Bohemian Girl' were also popular internationally during the First World War. The overture from 'The Bohemian Girl' featured in a concert held on Wednesday 26 January 1916 at Caxton Hall, Westminster, UK, to celebrate Australia's Foundation Day.

The Bohemian Girl was known to Australian service personnel with selections from this opera featuring in several concerts during the First World War period. One of these was during a joint performance by bands of the Australian Imperial Forces at the Pavilion Theatre in Weymouth, England, on Sunday 15 June 1919. The bands of the 6 Australian Infantry Brigade also performed selections from the opera during an aquatic carnival held on Monday 24 June 1918.