Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Saint Saens, Charles Ives, Reynaldo Hahn - some challenging stuff !

Back home......and back is good ! It was a wonderful holiday but it is always good to be back in ones own bed, and with a little peace and quiet !

I have been teaching some more unusual repertoire this week. Three or four of my students are taking the Trinity Recital Certificate examination and it is good to delve a bit deeper and find some different and challenging music for the 7 minutes own choice section of the recital. I think this ability to sing a little of ones own choice is a revelation in music exam regulations. It does not take away the use of standard rep and the bench mark which that denotes, but it has a flexibility which the other exam boards do not allow, and a flexibility which makes it possible to add something interesting and personal to the whole 20 or 30 minute programme.

Adding in music which the singer just loves also gives an extra layer of reality, or a frisson of excitement to that programme - after all in the profession one designs one's own programme every time according to the singers whim ! So this week some of the 'own choice' repertoire has included Saint Saens ' Fair Spring is Returning', Dalila's less vengeful aria in 'Samson and Dalila', and a very interesting song by Charles Ives called 'A Nun takes the Veil', a haunting and floating piece, very short but very telling. 'A Chloris', that most heavenly of songs by Reynaldo Hahn is in another programme, and it always manages to take the breath away, however many time I teach it.

I love these Recital Certificate exams - if one can love exams at all that is - they give me so much opportunity to introduce real music, grown up music, and songs of such depth which otherwise might never be taught to a largely amateur group of singers. It stretches them and makes them move on technically in ways they never thought possible.

The pleasure in teaching and learning this music is very much a two way journey - thanks ladies !


Charles Ives looks like he should be a film star, he has the rugged good looks of Harrison Ford !

A little known fact about Saint Saens ! Our lovely G in Inner Sound bears more than a passing likeness !


A sweet and young Hahn, with delicious curly black locks !


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