Friday, 29 April 2011


I hear there have been recent reports of a 10-strong foreign choir, due to sing in remote parts of the Celtic fringe, flying into the UK and then absconding.

If you have been, please stop worrying. It's not my choir. Indeed, at the time of the Disappearing Choir, my troops were busy rehearsing for our forthcoming concert tour. I can account for everyone of them. At the time in question they were arranged in their usual semi-circle round the piano in our...well, I don't know what to call it.

In France they say salon, which I suppose translates as saloon, but that doesn't give the right idea at all. It's just a space between our sitting and dining areas large enough to accommodate 8 people of mixed nationalities, conductor and pianist.

We've put a programme together of church music, which is mostly good to sing whatever one's beliefs, including a magnificent piece called Abendlied, a motet written by Josef Rheinberger, the Pride of Leichtenstein, the only composer I know of who came from the tiny Alpine principality which, since we're on the subject, I believe you can hire by the day for a consideration and which, just to complete the topic, I once walked across in about 45 minutes way back in the days when any present under 50-year-olds were but zephyr-blown ripples on the surface of the gene pool.

So some church music, and a set of Languedoc folk-songs. You might get the wine-and-olives, aubergine-and-honey, goat's cheese-and-fennel flavour of these from their titles and summaries:

La lauseta (The lark)
(Who'll provide meat and drink at the birds' wedding?)

La croquinhòta (My little pal)
(Let's take a walk and see what a topsy-turvy world this is)

Lo cipressièr (The cypress tree)
(My love is lost in sad cypress: for me the month of May will never return)

O up! As pas entendut? (Hey, haven't you heard?)
(In the village they're organising a cuckoo hunt)

Lo boièr (The herdsman)
(Despite his goodly soup, the herdsman's sick wife goes to heaven with her goats)

So some church music, some local folk-songs, and then a set of 14 Shakespeare songs from my own pen for choir and piano. We've already sung most of them in France, but this will be the first UK performance, due to take place in Ullapool, in the far north-west of Scotland, then in Nairn (some miles east of Inverness) and finally in Grantown-on-Spey as part of a festival called Speyside in May. Exciting times. (And I'll be off-blog for a week or two.)

Wish us luck. The troops are so wildly excited by all this that I wouldn't be surprised if they too absconded.


dinahmow said...

C'est splendide!
Oh, alright, my French is worse than slightly corroded...
Have a fabulously fun time (as kids with no regard for grammar say)and I'll still be here when you return.
One small point that could be of great importance: I think Billy Connolly(note HM : when are you going to make him a Garter Knight, or at least give him a shiny medal?)said that Inverness[he may have said Aberdeen] is Gaelic for hyperthermia.

Bon voyage et bon chance et bon vivant!

Dave said...

See you on Monday.

Z said...

Safe journey, all of you. I'm looking forward immensely to seeing you and J on Monday.

Sarah said...

YUP Me Too. Huzzah and all that ! Which one are you in the pic? so i know what to look for LOL

Rog said...

The one on the right with the pigtail silly!

Rosie said...

What an appaling opening paragraph.
Good luck with the tour.

letouttoplay said...

No no, the one with a halo.
I hope you have a wonderful time. (Delighted that you're taking the heavenly goats with you)

Tim Footman said...

So "O up" is the Languedoc equivalent of "Ey up"? I'm practically fluent.

Spadoman said...

Missing you here.


Z said...

I'll be out until 4 o'clock this afternoon, so there's plenty of time for you to write a post before I return. Welcome home.