Sunday, 6 June 2010

Roses of Picardy

On the road once again and up to the granite city in Scotland. After a false start at the Tyne Tunnel which was closed, I had to make a long diversion back to the M6 and 'begin again'.

In the car I was thinking about the short birthday performance the singers gave last night, and what a diverse programme it was. A young baritone in his early 20's sang such a sensitive performance of Roses of Picardy, which is a wartime ballad written by lyricist Frederick Weatherly while he was an army officer in 1916. Set to music by Haydn Wood, it was one of the most famous songs from World War I. This music is oftimes much derided in the modern world of voice repertoire, and frankly it is the singing worlds' loss.

I feel certain that Mozart and Verdi were much derided as old hat 100 years after they were gone, and Bach is a prime example - if Mendelssohn had not championed the cause of Bach think what divine and inspirational music would have gone by the board largely un-noticed! The Edwardian Ballad is a style to be sung with the same integrity and passion with which it was composed. These songs are of an era, and a life (and of course death)just as valid as any other. I found his youthful performance most touching, and even more poignant when thinking about the environment in which it was composed.

On a less serious note, there was a very amusing Papageno/Papagena duet sung with a disgruntled extra soprano who thought it should be her singing - a little poetic licence for the gag value. So our rather more than usually 'cool' Papageno took both girls back to his nest!

Mozart would have been thrilled!

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