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.