'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.' So said The Bard. But I sometimes wonder, y'know. Would we be any less likely to admire our national poet if he wasn't called 'Jeremy'? And what of our assistant organist? If he hadn't been Christened 'Roger' we'd have had to change his name by deed-poll. And as for the Dean... well, suffice to say there has never been a better 'Geoffrey' since Bungle, Zippy and Co. were unceremoniously expunged from our moving television screens.
Anyone still following this erratic nonsense will recall that - last November - we admitted female choristers through our ancient portals for the first time. The boys choir continues to decline, both numerically and musically; the distaff side were forever burning their bras and banging on about equality of opportunity, and the choir school recently went co-ed. It was only a matter of time. There were those of us on the back row who expressed disquiet at the move. Rodney still refuses to sing anything lower than an 'E' when backing girls, on account of some misguided musical gentility; Drane (my opposite number on Decani) engages deputies more frequently when the men and girls are teamed up and the Boy (Roger) is allowed free-reign (rather literally) with the girls' choir on account of the fact that the DoM regards himself as 'above' that kind of thing.
But. But. If truth be told (and where else if not here?) these gels are rather good. They can actually sing. And they are an awful lot more fragrant than the farting boys. And is it, reader, a coincidence that their names are so... exotic? Here is but a small selection: Roxanna-Libby; Constanza; Emilina-Daisy; Clarissa; Grace-Olivia; Justinia and - my own personal favourite - Abigail-Louise, or Abi-Lou. What lovely, sophisticated monikas. What wonderfully evocative labels. No wonder Roger cannot keep his hands off them, with names like that to whisper ticklishly in adolescent ears.
And just compare them with the boys: Jack, William; John; Oliver, and Eric.
How can one in all honesty regard oneself as musical in any shape or form with a name as dull as that? I have no wish to cause offence to anyone thus maligned. But I fear Shakespeare may, for once, have been a little wide of the mark. Is it any wonder the traditional boys' choir is in such a sorry state?
Gustave Samazeuilh: Le Chant de la Mer (1918-19) for piano - It’s not British music…but…this major piano work was one of my major discoveries in 2015. I revisited this music whilst on holiday in the Mediterranean in ...
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