Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kathleen Ferrier Centenary Year started in Scarborough

Proceeds to Cancer Funds
I have been playing my CD's of Kathleen Ferrier for days in anticipation of my evening out. And what a fluke we even heard this concert was on, as daughter no 1 mentioned it casually as her choir, Graham Community Choir was doing stewarding for it . I doubt that any of my children even know who Kathleen Ferrier was. Actually I should say IS, for her legacy of recordings is very much still with us. My  family know that I am waiting for someone to digitally remaster Bachs Cantata 11 for Ascension Day  , the Ferrier One, though they will all recognise her picture as it is on the front sleeve of the record which is on my desk next to my Peter Blake Beatles sleeve.
The concert today marked the first in her Centenary Year, and I think might be a unique one as the recital had exactly the same music as the one in Scarborough 60 years ago tonight. 
My singer husband thinks Anna Stephany has a glorious voice. My daughter thought Simon Lepper is drop dead gorgeous. I think they are both right, but still like RogerVignoles .
I was waiting to hear the 4 Brahms songs, thinking they would be the emotional highlight of the evening,but Imogen, Colin and I all agree that the Vaughan Williams song Silent Noon was the top spot. The Programme is here. I am too tired to type it out.

We are planning to go the the Albert Hall in November to hear another Centenary Year  Concert, of  The Dream of Gerontius . That will be something, Colin has sung it several times, and I have argued about its theology, but am informed that the doctrine of  Purgatory has been abolished by the Roman Catholic Church , all that aside, the music is sublime.

Here is  a recording of Kathleen Ferrier herself singing  Silent Noon.

Thanks for the link! A treat indeed and the whole work ! See Comments


  1. Thanks so much Margaret, for the chance to hear this recording of Silent Noon. I'd never heard her sing it before.
    I have or had, may still have, John Shirley Quirke singing it, and it is something i have tried many times to sing myself, but it is agonisingly slow and needs perfect breath control so have never made more than a stab at it.
    Ferrier's voice was absolutely unique wasn't it?
    Despite its velvety depth, it had an amazing top, most unusual for a true contralto.
    After her death, the very first book ever bought me by a boy was a biography of her with wonderful photographs. I still have it, though it is slightly the worse for wear these days.
    Thanks again.

  2. Last night was very special. Part of the joy was the place itself , an ordinary Methodist Church opposite an Indian Restaurant . No one was dressed up, and lots of people attending. (Good for Scarborough-as I have been to hear Colin sing many times when the Choir has had more people in it than the audience). Just sitting there and then out came this most wonderful voice..........

    I remember John Shirley Quirke (that hair!)sang in the first Oratorio I ever heard, Messiah (of course) in about 1962 , with a school friend at Hull City Hall, with Norma Proctor. All such magic -I will never forget it.
    I have been playing Ruckert Songs today. Will have to move on to something jollier later!Do you ever sing Oratorios ? XX

  3. Not since the late 60's (1960's not mine). These days the church choir is as much as I do and even that is something of an effort. Though I amazed myself - and everyone else - by singing a bottom F last Friday.
    The musical director was highly amused and threatened to put me with the basses.
    I love "Gerontius" but have never sung it.

  4. Anonymous17.1.12

    You may also be interested to see/hear Anna St├ęphany singing Dream of Gerontius recorded early this year in the Netherlands. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABfbz7_Zu-o

  5. Thanks so much for the link, Margaret. I grew up with the music of Kathleen Ferrier as she was a local girl, born in the neighbouring town. I reckon every school class for miles around had at least a couple of Kathleens named after her. My parents thought her voice was wonderful and I completely agree. She died far too young.

  6. I have posted the Anna Stephany 'Dream'. Normally I delete anonymous comments , so please leave your names .

    I think we are going to have a wonderful Centenary Year. I hope it encourages all those young people starting off their careers that their voices and skills are much appreciated and they need as wide an audience as possible, which these days with the new media is so much easier .
    Its is no longer a Saturday Morning spent in Sidney Scarboroughs (a Record shop) in Hull listening in a booth to a track from a a 33 1/3 or a 445 rpm Vinyl ,or those breathtaking moments in Hull Music Library when the librarian checked a record you had brought back for new scratches by comparing the disc with the chart taped to the sleeve!!
    I heard most of the music I love the first time by a random pick from the shelves of the record library , when I was teenager. Thank God for Utube

  7. That should have read 45rpm of course!

  8. Anonymous21.1.15

    I'm afraid you were misinformed about the Catholic position re purgatory; there has been no change, and the doctrine still stands.