Saturday, 30 August 2008
I myself would of course consider it an honour to accept the commission for an alternative composition. (Anything as long as it doesn't go to Johnny Rutter.) But even if the honour did not fall my way, I can think of any number of more inspiring anthems: Land of Hope and Glory, for example; or 'Barwick Green' by the late, great Haydn Wood. So come on, dear reader. What would your choice be for 2012?
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Now, where was I? Ah yes, choral singing. And Radio Four. Jenny Murray first. Her mellifluous tones informed the world that when the Olympics come to Britain next it will be greeted by massed choirs of choral singers echoing to the joyful strain and enjoining all-comers to raise the happy refrain (as long as said refrain isn’t something by John Rotter). This gave rise to a discussion of the role which choral singing has traditionally played in the cultural life of this sceptered isle. Of course, a selection of so-called ‘experts’ had been wheeled into the studio to inform the listeners that approximately 80% of men are baritones and a similar percentage of women, mezzos. Utter rubbish. Complete balderdash. Total piffle. How do they think a four-part choir could function if only one tenth of the sound was generated by the soprani? (The same would not, of course, apply to the tenors, whose number could be dimished almost to zero without any adverse effect on most choirs - sorry, Mr Clack.) Nevertheless the lady speaker did at least say that to be sure of one's tessitura one must consult an expert – a singing teacher. Yes! So if anybody out there wants to know precisely what they are, I’ll tell them. For, of course, a small fee.
Thursday, 21 August 2008
I have already written to the Director General at BBC HQ to complain in the sternest manner about the sobriquet 'choir' being applied to the musical (ha!) ensembles participating in this so-called competition. I happened to be trapped into viewing it whilst sojourning with my sister. And it proved difficult to avoid. Having endured it once with something of a rictus grin on my face on the Saturday evening, I then had to repeat the entire ordeal again on Sunday. Dear Lord above, it was enough to drive a man to drink (and if my sister had had any in the bungalow, I might have been forced to take it - intravenously). And the cause of my frustration? The reason for my somewhat negative reaction? Why, the term 'choir' of course. In the course of two entire episodes of the so-called entertainment, I witnessed only one ensemble which could justifiably aspire to the title 'choir'. And they were Welsh. All the others seemed to be made up of unfeasibly young persons up well beyond their bed-times prancing about the stage and dancing to the sound of their microphoned voices. Dear readers, such exhibitionist behaviour does not a choir make. Where was the subtle harmony of voices - the lyrical beauty of soprano; the matronly stability of contralto; the incandescence of the tenor and stentorian splendour of the bass? Nowhere. Instead we were treated to a succession of grinning and gyrating boobies singing songs the like of which I'd never heard and whose lyrics made my sister blush! And now I find they're advertising on my site. Help! Please help! The choral scholars don't return until September. I am bereft. Please tell me, what am I to do?
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
What about that, then? An entire wall of glass! How wonderful! (Makes our own rather poky east window look a bit sick by comparison, I can tell you.) And that's not all. Oh no. For beyond the aforementioned window, in a tiny chapel-off-a-chapel in the southern-most corner of the eastern protrusion lies this little gem -
God, in the form of a church musician (should He have required another incarnation)!
On my return home I immediately appraised the so-called Director of Music here of my proposal for a similar memorial window to be erected in our own cathedral. I could tell he was rather taken with the idea, at least until I reminded him that he would have to die in order to be similarly recognised. No matter. Only one thing about my trip to Gloucester left me slightly ill at ease. It was this:
Yes - a homosexual. And a king! And if Gloucester Cathedral could be so magnanimous towards Edmund II, why on earth couldn't the wallah's at Lambeth do the same for Bishop Gene Pitney?