Sunday, 3 February 2013

Karl Jenkins, The Cloths of Heaven, and Cornish cider for my Pirates ?

I am sitting on the First Great Western train from Saltash to Paddington having finished my lovely 4 days at the festival. The adult classes were all day yesterday and it was such a fun day ! These Cornish singers are really up for a joke, and we laughed so much during the course of the classes.

A lady who had entered a number of classes, and whom I have previously adjudicated at other south of England festivals was there and singing very beautifully. She is a lady over 70, and has the voice of a 40 year old! She is a classic text book case, proving that if one really looks after one's voice, a lifetime of good singing is the happy result. I have lady pupils of a certain age in Paradise, and only recently did I have a conversation with one of them about the fact that progress and learning both technically and musically is totally possible, even when one assumes one is into the 'can't teach an old dog new tricks' era of life !

This particular Cornish lady even managed to introduce me to a new song ! Nowadays that is pretty hard to do in the field of standard song repertoire ! Singing so much myself, and adjudicating for the past 13 or more years means that I have come across most stuff in that field!

I love hearing something new, and whilst I am not necessarily a huge fan of Karl Jenkins in general, this lovely setting of Yeats 'The Cloths of Heaven' was utterly delightful. Right in a comfortable middle range, and with wonderfully tender phrases for the ' tread softly ' lines which wove a musical line that gave the feeling of wandering quite magically. I will buy it and use it I told her, and her face broke into the widest and most jolly smile. ' how lovely that I can teach you a little something' she said!

A man well into his eighties sang with such bass gravitas in a few classes, and held us spellbound with an Edwardian ballad called The Diver, about a chap who is an early deep sea diver, complete with huge suit and large helmet and just a 'hosepipe' for air ! He sang with much drama and flourish, lots of crescendos and diminuendos, thoroughly pulling us with him in this fearsome tale! I recommended him for the end of festival concert, he will bring the house down!

I was given a huge whoop of glee and a massive round of applause when, whilst adjudicating the Gilbert and Sullivan class, told the audience I had started a G&S Society in Paradise. Clearly good old G&S is very much alive and kicking in Cornwall !

Well after all, Penzance is the home of their (probably) most popular show! I felt like importing a few accent coaches and possibly a truck load of Cornish cider for the benefit of the Paradise pirates !

I treated myself to a first class weekend upgrade for the journey back to London. Wicked woman.

Karl Jenkins conducting - it could be a 21st century Beethoven !

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