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The Stories Behind the Songs

Wednesday 17 April 2024, 6.00pm

RNCM Carole Nash Recital Room

David Owen Norris

We’re delighted to welcome pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris to present a series of masterclasses exploring the lives of composers and their music.

Journey through personal tales, letters, and live performances as David and our students bring new insights into some of the most beloved pieces in song repertoire. The third instalment of The Smallwood Masterclasses, this session explores familial relationships and their influence on the production of music.

Roger Quilter arranged many old songs to sing with his favourite nephew, Arnold, who eventually became a prisoner-of-war, and was murdered in Italy by the Gestapo. Quilter published The Arnold Book of Old Songs in his memory, including two familiar favourites with translations by Quilter’s friend, Rodney Bennett: ‘The Ash Grove’ and ‘My lady’s garden’.

Under the alias Royden Barrie, Rodney Bennett also wrote the words for two of the most famous English songs of the 1920s: ‘Bird Songs at Eventide’ by Eric Coates, of Sleepy Lagoon & Dambusters fame, and ‘A Brown Bird Singing’ by Haydn Wood, whose greatest hit was ‘Roses of Picardy’.

Rodney’s son was Richard Rodney Bennett, one of Britain’s most versatile composers, and his daughter is the poet M.R. Peacocke. We’ll hear Richard Rodney’s settings of some of his sister’s verses that were inspired by the discovery of a collection of snapshots of their parents on holiday in the South of France in the 1920s with their friend – Roger Quilter.

Finally, a painting of a family picnic by Wilfrid de Glehn sets the mood and inspiration for the last set of songs in this performance.

Samuel Lover arr Quilter What will you do, love?
Welsh Traditional arr Quilter The Ash Grove
French Traditional arr Quilter My lady’s garden
Eric Coates Bird Songs at Eventide
Haydn Wood A Brown Bird Singing
Richard Rodney Bennett In Isas Bed; Sweet Isabell; Foxtrot

David Owen Norris piano

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£4 (Under 26s and Students) + £1 Booking Fee
£8 (Full) + £1 Booking Fee

This event will end at approximately 7.30pm.

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Wednesday 17 April 2024, 6.00pm - Tickets from £5