Tuesday 8 December 2015

Christmas in Wales and the West Country - and Newcastle upon Tyne

A Child's Christmas in Wales - written and read by Dylan Thomas

Carol Singing - From Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee 

My own legendary carol singing came in 1979, when the six of us who shared a flat at college (two medical students, two lawyers, two music students - three of us tenors and three basses) plus, I suppose, some girl music students for the soprano and alto lines.

The singing would have been pretty good - we were all active in multiple choirs, and sang in four part harmony - probably David Willcocks arrangements.

This large-ish group went around to sing at only three houses: Emeritus Reader in Music Fred Hudson, current Reader Percy Lovell and then the Professor of music: Denis Matthews - concert pianist and scholar of Beethoven's sketch books...

That was the bit I most recall - sitting around his concert Steinway in a shadowy living room, sipping and nibbling something festive while 'Dennis' played and spoke. The bit I most remember - I think - was him extemporaneously playing Oh Little Town of Bethlehem with one hand, and some of Elgar's enigma variations with the other - and then triumphantly illustrating how Tiptoe through the Tulips might (tongue in cheek) be Elgar's mysterious and undiscovered theme...

Magical at the time, mythic in memory.

1 comment:

Ben Pratt said...

As newlyweds, and before either pair had children, my parents and uncle & aunt began singing together. Christmas caroling was a natural venue. Over time, a powerful and challenging repertoire was built up. I, my siblings, and my cousins only joined as teens. Now my children sing with us, and we are very, very good. We sang at one house last year that resulted in us singing the prelude to a musical event this past week.

Nothing quite brings Christmas cheer like old carols well-sung!