Today is Mozart’s 258th birthday. He was my favorite composer as a youth (did you know my nickname in High School was “Wolfgang?!” Partly because of my very public and enthusiastic love for Mozart, but also because I was one of those high schoolers who could grow a full beard … so I did), and I’ve never outgrown him. The world has never seen his like, certainly. I’ve long thought that he deserves more credit for the creation of the Romantic style than he gets. Just compare an early- to mid-era symphony to the Jupiter and you hear more of a jump in stylistic evolution than one hears even between Beethoven’s 1st and 3rd. Anyway, happy birthday, Wolfie.
Here’s a complete list of the works to be sung in SMCC’s upcoming “Celtic Echoes: British Folksongs and Partsongs” concert. As you will see, it is organized according to nation first, and county next, concluding with three partsongs:
County of origin not known:
Greensleeves arranged by W. H. Anderson (1949)
The Turtle Dove arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
“Blow away the morning dew” arr. R.O. Morris (1886-1948)
”I love my love” arr. Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
The Poacher arr. George Dyson (1883-1964)
”Dance to your Daddy” arr. David Stone (1961)
Yarmouth Fair arr. Peter Warlock (1894-1930)
An Cronan Bais (The Death Croon) arr. Granville Bantock (1868-1946)
Loch Lomond arr. Thomas Dunhill (1877-1946)
Afton Water arr. Lee Kesselman (2001)
Shule Agra arr. Arthur Somervell (1863-1937)
Colcannon arr. Stephen Hatfield (b. 1956)
Irish Tune from County Derry arr. Percy A. Grainger (1882-1961)
”Hush, my dear one” (Suo Gan) arr. K. Lee Scott (1988)
Lay a Garland Robert Lucas Pearsall (1795-1856)
The Blue Bird Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)
Linden Lea Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
As you can see, quite a variety, and the arrangements are all really inventive. Morris’ arrangement of “Blow away the morning dew” elides the verses quite creatively; and, in one of my favorite pieces of musical suggestiveness, at the end of one verse, where the boy and girl of the song’s text encounter some “pooks” (stacks) of hay and decide to stop off and play, he skips the refrain and replaces it with the choir humming some chords (describing the nature [ahem] of their play…). The Holst is positively chilling in its depiction of separation, resulting madness and grief, and reunion. The Dyson and Warlock are as playful as can be; and the Grainger, Vaughan Williams, Somervell, and Scott are atmospherically lush and beautiful. Then we conclude with three of the most famous partsongs of all – “Lay a Garland,” “The Blue Bird,” and “Linden Lea,” to round the concert off with a bit of “frosting on the cake.”
This promises to be a truly gorgeous concert, with both tunes that are very familiar (Greensleeves, Suo Gan, Irish Tune from Couny Derry [i.e. “Londonderry Air”], Loch Lomond, Afton Water) and some not-so-familiar but sure-to-please arrangements.
I hope to see you there!