ORATOR FOR THE TWO-CONCERT PROGRAM WAS TALENTED LOCAL ACTOR DAVID MALIKOFF, WHOSE AMAZING SKILL WITH THE SPOKEN WORD DELIGHTED PATRONS AS HE DELIVERED BOTH POETRY & ANECDOTES. THE BEAUTIFUL YOUNG VOICES OF BEL CANTO CHOIR FROM TACKING POINT PUBLIC SCHOOL AND THE EVER POPULAR CANTABILE FEMALE ENSEMBLE ALSO ADDED TO THE EXCELLENT LINE UP OF TALENT.
ENTHUSIASTIC AUDIENCES TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPERIENCE THIS GREAT PROGRAM - SATURDAY MAY 24 AT 4.00 P.M. & SUNDAY MAY 25 AT 2.00 P.M. IN THE VERY COMFORTABLE UNITING CHURCH IN SHERWOOD ROAD.
Songs of the Fleet
Sir Charles Stanford (1852-1924, music) and Sir Henry Newbold (1862-1938, words) were late-Victorian/Edwardian figures of the British cultural elite. Their works often displayed the grandeur, patriotism and imperial pomposity of the times. “Songs of the Fleet” was commissioned for performance at an International Naval Architects Congress of 1910, a period when competing fleets of huge battleships were under construction.
This new “golden age” for the Royal Navy followed a long period of torpor up until the 1890s. Resurgence and excitement provides the context of the piece which evokes the traditions and heroes of the Royal Navy (and was no doubt meant to impress the Congress attendees with British seafaring triumphs).
“Sailing at Dawn” is about revival and how the old heroes and the souls of sailors-past guide the new fleet, leading the line of battleships as they set out on their mission.
“Song of the Sou’Wester” harkens back to the days of sail when “the enemy most of might” was the savage sou’west winds which mocked the “militant ways of man”.
When the Giant calmed down, the fleet was to be found sailing gently in “The Middle Watch”, waiting for the constellations to fade to a new day; it provides an allegory o the revived fleet.
“The Little Admiral” turns to the heroes and legends of the Royal Navy (such as Admiral Sir Charles Howard and his bowls) and the swagger which would come from commanding a fleet of 10, 20, 30 leviathans crewed by thousands.
And just to remind us that all this is for our own good, but can result in tragedy and death, the piece ends with “Fare Well” – a lament of the mothers, and thanks from the nation. The Congress was cancelled upon the death of Edward VII but the work was subsequently performed in Leeds in July 1910.
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