Monday, 6 December 2010

Ill Wind

It has been great today - all those pupils who took the dreaded E word, which I promised not to mention again, could be given new music, fresh repertoire, so the long sung songs of the last term or more can be filed under 'done and dusted', or burnt to a crisp!

One new piece today was the wonderfully witty 'Ill Wind', by Flanders and Swann. I have used it with a number of students in the past, all very very low altos or black basses, and it has always proved a total success.

It consists of the popular Mozart's 4th Horn Concerto last Movement melody (the one everyone knows!) set to very funny lyrics telling the story of a person who has 'found my Horn, gorn!' It is a relentless sing, and an even harder play for the accompanist, but an audience winner par excellence !

I love Flanders and Swann, they are like the 20th Century Gilbert and Sullivan, musically accessible, fantastically clever lyrics, and full of humour for all walks of life. Another favourite is 'The Elephant', who will 'live in the elephant's nursing home til he gets his memory back' a great song about a hypochondriac elephant. The words, much like in a G&S show seem to trip off the tongue, scan beautifully, and seem ridiculously simple. I bet both Michael Flanders and William Schwenk Gilbert sweated blood and tears to achieve that deceptive simplicity !

Enjoy the original version by the chaps themselves, pure gold!

I found a concerto and wanted to play it,
Displaying my talent at playing the horn.
But early today to my utter dismay,
It had totally vanished away.
I practised the horn and I wanted to play it,
But somebody took it away!
I practised the horn and was longing to play it,
But somebody took it away!

My neighbour's asleep in his bed,
I'll soon make him wish he were dead,
I'll take up the tuba instead - WAA WAA

1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much - I've been looking for a copy of that for ages as eldest plays French Horn. Its a wonderful piece of music to sing and I have always liked Flanders and Swann.

    I have a rather neat copy of the Hoffnung Festival with a Swann arrangement of the Surprise Symphony which is also lots of fun. Thus showing that he, too had a great sense of humour even if he did get a little overlooked.

    viv in nz