HANDWASHERS’ NEWSLETTER 27th June 2021
The omens are looking good for our hoped-for Rehearsal Restart on Tuesday 20th July so now is the time to start rediscovering our voices by singing along to Vivaldi’s Gloria with score provided here: https://youtu.be/0ICW_iZcti4?list=PLqoxLZYtkEEEWORdSBtRoqfkDvsgph-MF and do enjoy my favourite movement Vll Domine Fili Unigenite!
In an attempt to make CC relevant to current affairs, this week I did contemplate sharing clips from ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ – but then I thought better if it!
Instead, here is a performance of Francis Poulenc’s Gloria. Written in 1960, the work is scored for soprano solo, chorus and orchestra, and received its premiere in Boston the following year. It was an immediate success. As with Vivaldi’s famous work of the same name, the text is taken from the ordinary of the mass although, due to its length and the large forces required, it clearly has no liturgical function. The work is divided into six movements.
Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963)
Poulenc sets the familiar words with characteristic freshness and vivacity. As with so much of his music, he successfully combines a sense of solemnity and mischievous exuberance. Poulenc himself recalled, ‘When I wrote the piece, I had in mind those frescoes by Gozzoli where the angels stick out there tongues, and also some serious Benedictine monks seen revelling in a game of football.’
Poulenc’s distinctive style relies on strong musical contrasts. Harmony moves between Stravinskian dissonance and lush sensuous chordal progressions, whilst vigorous counterpoint in clipped, angular phrases alternates with lyrical, melodic writing.
TEA WITH THE FABULOUS Tim Remembers:
In the early 1960s I was living in a student hall in London and became friendly with a Classics student named Ivan Vaughan from Liverpool. Having just completed National Service I was a conventional sort of bloke and definitely not into pop music, whereas Ivan (aka Ivy) sported drainpipe trousers, maroon jacket, bootlace tie, teddy-boy hairstyle etc. He had a marked Liverpool accent, a great sense of humour and a lovely girlfriend called Jan, a Modern Languages student whom he later married.
One Sunday Ivy told me that he was having some friends in for tea and invited me to join them. Having grabbed a cuppa, I went into the Common Room where he introduced me to his 4 friends. I had a very amusing teatime during which I noticed that the friends all had similar haircuts with fringes.
After they left to catch a train, I asked Ivy who they were and he replied, ‘The Beatles’ to which I responded, ‘The what?’ He repeated in deep scouse, ‘The Beatles. They’re a group and they’re gonna be great’. I can remember him saying that as though it was yesterday, but I was none the wiser and Ivy patiently explained:
He was a boyhood friend of John Lennon, though they were at different schools, and he played tea-chest bass with Lennon in The Quarrymen. At his own school Ivan knew Paul McCartney, they were born on the same day, and Yvy introduced McCartney to Lennon at Woolton Village Fete in 1957. The rest you know!
Schoolboys Paul (born 18/6/42) and Ivy (born 18/6/42)
Ivan’s girlfriend, Jan wrote the French lyrics of this song, Michelle: https://youtu.be/DvYhIotxgOA
I lost touch with Ivan but discovered that he became a lecturer at Homerton College and, tragically, died of pneumonia aged 51 in 1993 leaving Jan and two children. Paul McCartney wrote this poem about him:
Two doors open
On the eighteenth of June
Two babies born
On the same day
One was Ivan
We met in adolescence
And did the deeds
They dared us do
Jive with Ive
The ace on the bass
He introduced to me
At Woolton fete
A pal or two
And so we did
A classic scholar he
A rocking roller me
As firm as friends could be
A tear is rolling
Down my eye
On the sixteenth of August
One door closed
Bye bye Ivy
NOW FOR SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT Catherine offers the locked down London Philharmonic Choir singing Awen: https://youtu.be/_0olQuUc3pM
AND FINALLY . . .
Prompted by Carleton’s Column here is video of Hancock supporting the NHS: