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When I was young, Christmas, and Family Parties always involved some music-making at the piano.
My Grandma and Grandad, on Dad’s side, often played The Robin’s Return, either Grandma on her own, or with Grandad adding some little embellishments on the top.
I had the music in an original Lilac Series copy - priced at the somewhat extortionate ’6d’ - that is, sixpence in pre-decimal currency, so 2.5p in the present UK system - or would have been, before the half-pence was phased out!
I thought it would be good to make the piece available in my PRB Piano Series, so set about trying to find out about the composer, Leander Fisher.
After a lot of searching on Google, the best I could come up with was that Leander Fisher, the composer, was born in 1850, but there doesn’t appear any reference to when he died.
Given this fact, it would certainly seem that the piece is out of copyright, and in the public domain.
To get further clarification, I contacted the Copyright Manager at one of the UK’s leading publishing houses for further guidance, who replied: ’Unfortunately there is no hard and fast way of finding out when artistic works go or have gone into the public domain. If Leander Fisher lived until the age of 90, he’ll have gone out of copyright at the end of 2010 or last year.
We have published things in the past without certainty on this issue, and have printed wording on the printed scores to the effect of “All possible efforts have been made to identify and locate the owner(s) of any copyright in this work. If anyone has any information to this effect, we would be glad to hear from them.”’
I have therefore done the same here.
The attached picture shows Grandma and Grandad Buttall, from Tottenham, London, whom I always loved seeing!
For further information on UK copyright issues, visit the following site: UK Copyright Law
I have dedicated this version to Grandma & Grandad - in the hope that they’re still up there playing it, somewhere!
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