Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Mr Bear by Norah Blaney
'Daddy clicked the light off as he tucked me up in bed.....'
There is a brilliant, yet little known song that as yet I have never taught, which I have given to two of my pupils as of this week. I first heard 'Mr Bear' sung by an extraordinarily talented young singer whom I have known many years, and who brought it my Paradise Song School a few years ago.
It is by Norah Blaney, of whom I can find very little, except the following partial review from The Gramophone magazine, written in 1978 ! It is a review of a Ben Luxon CD of Victorian and Edwardian Songs. He says.....
'....Mr Bear, the only one of these thirteen songs that I do not recall. It is attributed to N. Blaney, a name I have not encountered before as a composer. Could it be, I wonder. Norah Blaney, of Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar, an excellent music-hall duo of the immediate post-first-war years?'
Well I assume it is correct and it was composed by the lady below!
Anyhow, it is a wonderful little song about a rather 'Just William' Violet Elizabeth little girl who sings about the fact that when she goes to bed she hears a little sound on the stairs, and it might be A BEAR ! Her Daddy will, of course, save her from said wild animal and the rest is not to be revealed, as it will be sung sometime soon in a recital in Paradise!
I love these characterful songs, and both sopranos who have been lucky enough to get it, are delighted, and indeed, one of them jumped up and down and clapped her tiny Edwardian hands in glee when she heard it!
To sing with real character and slightly over the top drama is a skill which must be acquired with patience and perseverance, as well as a few tablespoons of devil may care cheek! I like to put an entertaining song into an audition recital if I think the singer can a) show all their technical achievements in the first two songs of the programme, and b) they can deliver in a relaxed and polished way.
It is with this in mind that I think we will risk it for an audition. The first two songs from the programme will be Amarylli and V'Adoro Pupille, which show line, legato, tuning, breath control and all other ingredients of an accomplished singer, so a little comedy number will put the icing on the vocal cake! Both of the singers who are performing this have the capacity for comedy, and both will bring the house/panel down with this gorgeous song.
I thank R of North Yorkshire for bringing this song to me, rather late in my career, but never the less a most welcome addition to my red box file of Light Songs !