Friday, 7 September 2012

The Second Minuet

It is 'free Friday' today, the one day when I really try not to teach, and do other, and musically unrelated things. Today I took my cavalier Gretel to have her first hair cut/beauty treatment. She looked like a million dollars when we got home, once let loose from the car, some of my more rural residing readers will be delighted to hear that she promptly and with a wide doggish smile went behind the hedge and joyfully rolled in the most smelly and disgusting stuff she could find ! A true farm dog indeed !

My return to teaching after illness has been very pleasing. I had a pretty full timetable so it was not a light week, but full of lovely music.

One of my teenagers M, who has been learning since she was knee high to a crotchet was due some new music and since she is working very hard for her Grade 5 singing I decided to try and find her something light and suitable for a concert.

During my summer holiday 'file and clear' I put every piece of awol music away in it's correct red boxfile, each neatly titled General Duets 1, or Single Operatic Arias and every other genres known to singing teachers. One piece was left out - I don't know why I left it out, but I felt I really wanted to use it.

Middy was of a past era in some ways, and when I inherited some of her music there were some wondrous Victoriana songs sequestered amongst the largely appropriate and standard repertoire.

I filed it all in a box especially for this
kind of light, yet sweet and innocent song. My lovely friend from Yorkshire J, helped with some of the clearing at middy's house and she it was who thought I might like to have this precious collection, and during this time she had a mini clear out of her own music pile! It was infact one of her old pieces which was left on the table ready for this term !

'The Second Minuet' is the piece. Utterly charming, a beautiful yet simple melody, innocent words which would have not raised a blush in a bilious Queen Victoria, and perfectly suitable
for a concert if sung by a singer who can capture the gentle humour of the text.

Young M is the perfect person for the job. She can 'do' humour, she sings with such clarity of diction and will sell the song so well to her audience. When I gave it to her she was almost as excited as I was. A few weeks ago I wrote about finding the right song for the right singer, well here we have a text book example of a piece of music which could have been written for the singer.

The song is a little poem sung by a granddaughter, herself most likely a child of the 1920's, telling the story of how Grandpapa met Grandmama in 'the second minuet' !

Sounds trite I know, but these Victorian gems were written with the same sincerity as music by other more 'worthy' composers, and should be treated with the same respect and integrity.

After all, music is just music, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it means much to somebody, somewhere. And that's all that matters.

You will enjoy it at our next concert. (NB any of my pupils who are reading!)

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