It was a gloriously blue sky hot day in Plockton yesterday for the wedding of a young lady from said village ! I was there as accompanist to Fiona Mackenzie who was acting as friend, bridesmaid, general supporter and not least of all, singer during the signing of the register.
As a singer, one is asked over and over again to sing at weddings, and at funerals too. It comes with the territory, so to speak, and it means that one is always up at the front with the best view in the house ! In my career I lost count of the weddings at which I sang a Panis Angelicus, or a Bach/Gounod Ave Maria, but yesterday was slightly unusual in that Fiona was singing relatively non mainstream French Chanson, 'A Chloris' by Reynaldo Hahn.
It is simply one of the most ravishing small songs in the repertoire. With an accompaniment which sweeps us back to the early Baroque or even Renaissance Eras, It is in essence, Neo Early Music I suppose ! The complex rhythms make it almost barless, and the wandering right hand in the piano with its triplets and slightly clashing resolves are magical.
The modern twists however, allow it to be sung with a warm, even full bodied tone quality, and Fiona's chocolatey mezzo quality made for such gorgous expansion that the song was of the past, but so definitely in the present. It was an unusual but perfectly suited choice of song for an outdoor wedding in a garden where the sun was beaming down both on the people and the blooming highland wild flowers. Wonderously, the midgies did not make even so much as a small appearance, so it was the best of all that the West Highlands at the peak of high summer has to offer.
What a lucky girl she was on her big day !
Sun, warmth, her family and friends, flowers and mountains.
And 'A Chloris'................Perfection.
Susan Graham singing a lovely performance, enjoy.
If it’s true, Chloris, you love me,
And I’ve heard it said you do,
All the joys that kings might know
Won’t equal those I feel for you.
Should a visit by ill-timed death
Change my fortune, steal my breath
To find bliss in Olympian skies,
No promised ambrosial delight
Will tempt my sorry appetite
As does the charm within your eyes.