Manual Seal-Womans Croon, An Cadal Trom

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Does it mean anything? From: George Seto - af chebucto. I went In Cognito for 4 days to a county fair with sheep, not seals and couldn't wait to get back to find out what became of my post. Ain't this the greatest place???

I asked a Gaelic- speaking friend to confirm one of her "translations" once and he had a great howl over it So- grain of salt, people Cheers- Julia. Did they ever. Well, it's a better lyric than "Road to the Isles".

Tag: Songs of the Hebrides

This is pointed out in the books they produced, but people often don't read the notes as witness the number of times folk here have insisted that all manner of fairly modern songs "must" have been taken from tradition by their composers , so misunderstandings do occur. If Philippa's tune is different, I'd be interested to know where it came from; I don't think I've seen another set, though Kennedy-Fraser did imply that it was well-known. I wondered if it was the same as 'Yundah'.

I will be grateful for any further information. I'm now taking the liberty to copy and paste the abc which Malcolm Douglas has helpfully provided, so that you can have both tunes in close proximity. B:Songs of the Hebrides vol. Hi-o-dan dao od-ar da. This is the Arena edition based on the revised edition. The book was first published in Britain by Turnstile Press in I've sent a scan of the tune to Malcolm and to MMario for posting here.

The Seal-Woman is sadly not available on CD as yet. Kennedy- Fraser had a particular fascination for seals and for tales of the 'selchie' or seal-folk and the work is based upon a legend of ill-fated love first related to her on Eriskay. It is the story of an islander who meets, falls in love with, and marries a seal-woman, only ultimately to lose her as she retums once more, unable to resist the longing of her nature, to "the cool cradling sea", leaving behind both her husband and her daughter, Morag.

It is subtitled a Celtic Folk Opera and with the exception of one song Alan Doon it makes continual use of seal and mermaid airs and other Hebridean songs taken from Kennedy-Fraser's collections, most notably as forms of thematic characterisation: for instance, the Love-Wandering refrain is heard returning through the work as the isleman's love leitmotiv; The Seal-Woman's Croon, An Cadal Trom is associated with the seal-woman's mortal love for the islesman; and Seal-Woman's Sea-Joy, Mire-Mara is a song used complete but whose melody is also employed to identify the seal sisters' yearning for the sea.

In total nineteen Hebridean folksongs are used in some form, though sometimes, it must be said, without any apparent direct relevance to the overall plot. Originally mooted one weekend in at the composer's home, the opera was finally completed in on Bantock's fifty-sixth birthday and opened at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre that same year to full houses and to generous and appreciative reviews. Unfortunately since the '20s it has only intermittently been revived by local operatic companies.

Perhaps for more modem tastes it seems too much infused with some of the now seemingly quaint cultural caprices of its time, and certainly today is easy prey for hungry and uncompromising musicological vultures. Nonetheless, though undoubtedly of modest pretensions with a small cast of eleven one of which is silent and using only basic orchestral forces, it is a charming and graceful, beautifully crafted work full of exquisite and touching and at times rapturous melodies ornamented in a delightful and delicate orchestral tapestry.

It surely cannot be too long before this enchanting musical treasure receives the sympathetic and fitting production it so obviously deserves and is retumed to the catalogue in a performance that properly reveals its humble but noble radiance. Given the current trendy taste for all things Celtic a veritable buzz- word of the day and at a time when Gaeldom has become a critical sacred cow and Gaelic culture eagerly eulogised and idealised almost without question, it is surely a suitable season for the music of Bantock to acquire a greater and more general appreciation once more, and his Hebridean- influenced work given the respectful and sympathetic audience it so obviously deserves in the land of its inspiration, unburdened of the obsessive and dour stipulations of some revered aesthetic purity; certainly, at the very least, given the same critical courtesy that is so obviously accorded traditional songs interpreted and newly performed by, say, the originally innovative Runrig and the superb Capercaillic, and revealed for what it is masterly music, period.

Like great music of whatever type and form it has matured with time and it can once again be received and enjoyed by free- thinking and unprejudiced sensibilities; indeed perhaps more fully appreciated in this later age without the cultural blinkers of its creative contemporaneousness.

Tag: Marjory Kennedy-Fraser

Just as Birtwistle's recent music might well one day - if it is played at all - seem like some very time-bound fashion and anachronistic fetish for the disharmonious, an archaic negative anti-musical language which speaks almost entirely to itself and be utterly dismissed by a new generation of critical judgements and priorities, so perhaps Bantock's music might still be for many, in its own particular way, a lasting solace, an inspiration, a beautiful, harmonious, unifying, and positive expression of the varied and ever-changing spiritual power of music.

Although mention is often and quite justly made of other English composers, such as Malcolm Amold and Peter Maxwell Davies in historiographies of Scottish music, no mention is ever made of Bantock who so effectively used the native folksong of the Hebrides however unauthentic his sources are judged to have been and who in fact produced some of the most exalted orchestral and instrumental transmutations of the music of Scotland.

The pervading critical depreciation of Bantock and indeed of so many fine British composers of the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century such as Howells, Bridge, Boughton, Berkeley, Brian, and Dyson, and Scottish composers like Mackenzie, McEwan, Wallace, and MacCunn, to name but a few who immediately spring to mind is truly hard to fathom. It is a cultural folly that is only now beginning to be rectified. As Bantock himself once remarked: 'the Russians want only Russian music, the Germans rarely think highly of anything that is not German, the French specialise in their own music, but over here Bantock did conduct some recordings of his own music on 15th November in the Kingsway Hall: these originally appeared on 78s of course, and although only one piece, Comedy Overture: the Frogs , appeared on a Paxton 10" mono LP, it is hoped that they will eventually be transferred to CD.

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His music was also occasionally performed and recorded by other British conductors of his generation and after, and his music was once much more freely available than it is now - Beecham's famous and slightly edited recording of Fifine at the Fair partly funded by the Bantock Society incidentally is still out on 'EMI Classics' and an Intaglio CD of live recordings of the Hebridean and Pagan symphonies from the '60s under Boult and Handford respectively is also now available again.

More recently, the late Norman Del Mar conducted Bantock's choral and orchestral symphonies and Omar Khayyam , and recorded Pierrot of the Minute on Chandos in a compilation with Bridge and Butterworth. Although a recording of The Seal-Woman is not commercially available at the moment, some years ago the opera was performed in London under the direction of Joseph Vandernoot and there is talk of it being put on again next March and - like so much of the composer's work - it should find its way onto CD in the not-too-distant future.

With even more recordings in the pipeline for perhaps Bantock's time has come round again and this fascinating and awe-inspiring musical character, whom Brook once described as 'one of the most lovable men in the whole realm of music', will at last be accorded his own due in the history of the music not only of England but also of Scotland and of the land of the Gael.

One of my other favourite stories about GB comes at the end of H.


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Orsmond Anderton's book published in 'His favourite recreation is chess. One night he was playing late with a friend, and had occasion to go upstairs for a book. While finding it he forget all about the game, and went to bed; and his friend waited downstairs in growing bewilderment, till at last, finding everything silent, he was obliged to let himself out at 1 a.

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sandsingfablobal.tk: Yundah: Hebridean Selkie chant???

Made me smile for days - though Myrrha, in her own portrait of her father, would have us believe that it was not the lapsed memory of a preoccupied artist that had the friend left alone: 'My father had suddenly found the game tedious He delighted in playing unexpected tricks upon his friends and only the wise learnt to detect, in time, the twinkle in his eyes, and escape unscathed'. This is a slightly expanded and corrected version of an article, originally written for a local readership, published in the April and May issues of An Canan , the monthly arts supplement of the West Highland Free Press.

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