Thursday, 25 August 2016

Menotti and Yorkshire at its beautiful best !

I am in Yorkshire at the moment for a bit of holiday combined with some teaching and choral work. The teaching is always very rewarding - generally the ladies who are hungry for lessons are those who come to Song School, so only have imput once or twice each year, or ladies who cannot make SS and thus hardly ever have me for lessons.

The difference this year is very marked - those who are not Song Schoolers have been going for lessons to another of my older singing friends, E. She has always had the most exquisite natural voice, and was a Middleton Singer star from a very early age. Quite why she has not thought of teaching since the redoubtable Middy died, baffles me a little. She plays the piano, has had years of teaching and is utterly rock solid in her own technique and musicianship ! I want it recorded that she has done a marvellous job with those younger ladies who have been seeing her regularly, and they now have much more technical discipline and their voices are developing at a rate of knots ! We didn't really tackle much in the way of repertoire, it was more technical imput that was needed, and they all worked their socks off !

I recorded new music for my old duet partner Julia, and gave her some more taxing and more tricky music than she has had before. The wonderful song Rhyme by Walton, so breezy and clever but so tricky, then a couple of Puccini arias in the original Italian, she having sung them years ago in an English translation ! Mostly I so enjoyed giving her the lovely and interesting Monica's Waltz from The Medium by Menotti. Fortunately she loved it and was clearly excited by the dramatic possibilities of this aria. It changes as Monica's madness swerves in many different directions, and was completely new venture for Julia !

I had a great evening with Renaissance doing some hard choral graft on pieces which need vocal as well as interpretational work, and by the end of the two hours they were exhausted but flying, and sounding like a wonderfully homogenous group, swelling and falling like one voice. A most satisfying rehearsal !

Yesterday, in the searing heat we went to Egton Country Show. A real old Yorkshire event full of elderly farmers in vintage tweeds and hats which have seen many a year of wear, each carrying a stick or carved top shepherds crook. Their accents are almost impossible to decider, even for a born and bred white rose woman ! We wandered around the rings, marvelling at the sparkly white sheep, the clean and mud free milking cows, and the majestic and slightly terrifying bulls being walked around the ring by folk who weighed about as much as one of the legs of these great beasts. Then the glorious moment when the gigantic and beautiful Dales heavy horses with their splendid be ribboned manes, looking as proud and perfect as a Yorkshire Pegasus ! 

It was a day which zoomed me back to my childhood when I rode horses and jumped in gymkhanas during the long school summer holidays. I rode a great deal, like many Thelwell girls, but I am secretly pleased to say that at about 15 the horse addiction waned and the singing addiction kicked in. 

A trip back in time...........

Ready for the show jumping !

Proud junior handlers

Contented and hot cows ?

Just magnifique !!


The view from the benches specially put out for watching the sheep dog trials.

Henry, the resident teenage peacock at Littlebeck. 

He is having a gaze through the kitchen window - wondering what is for tea ?







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