THIS MONTH’S PARODY (December) Christina’s Lament

CHRISTINA’S LAMENT is a hilariously bad song by Mrs Walter Creyke, the pen name of one Diane Chasseresse who seems to be best known for her 1890 publication Sporting Sketches. The lyrics were penned in 1909 to be sung to the tune of Dvořák’s Humoresque, Op.101 No.7. But we must be grateful to her, for it…

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A parp on the trumpet

A short fanfare and a modest pat on the back is called for – for me! Strange how things happen in groups. This week I have confirmation that my Godowsky biography, Godowsky – The Pianists’ Pianist –  is to be republished (Travis & Emery are putting it out sometime in January – the German translation appeared,…

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THIS MONTH’S PARODY (November) You’re the Top

YOU’RE THE TOP Cole Porter The best known song from the 1934 musical Anything Goes, ‘You’re the Top’ comes from Act 1 and is about a man and a woman (Billy and Reno) taking turns at complimenting each other. It inspired hundreds of parodies, most of them ribald. Here are just two following the Porter original (which,…

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Great Grosvenor

To the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Wednesday evening for Benjamin Grosvenor’s first recital there. Barely twenty years old, he’s already a media star due to his own exceptional abilities and canny management and marketing. What makes him stand out from his peers is his complete but unfashioable affinity with the repertoire and style of playing of the…

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Unpublished Revelations

  Over forty years ago, I started collecting material about Leopold Godowsky: newspaper clippings, magazine articles, references in autobiographies, recordings and music. To cut a very long story short and fourteen publisher rejections later, the book finally appeared between hard covers in 1989 thanks to Bryan Crimp of APR.             During the four years prior to…

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THIS MONTH’S PARODY (October) The Church’s One Foundation

HYMNS provide an endless source of parodies, either by imitating the verse structure or by singing alternative words to the hymn’s familiar music. Here are examples of both. Samuel Stone (1839-1900) wrote the original hymn in 1866 as a counterblast to a certain Bishop Colenso and the way he had explained the Old Testament to…

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THIS MONTH’S PARODY (September) I’ve Got a Little List

The Mikado, most popular of all The Savoy Operas, opened for business at the Savoy Theatre, London, on 14 March 1885. In Act 1, Ko-Ko, The Lord High Executioner of Titipu, declares that ‘there will be no difficulty in finding plenty of people whose loss will be a distinct gain to society at large’. He then sings his famous…

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THIS MONTH’S PARODY (August) Casabianca (‘The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck’)

CASABIANCA was written by Felicia Hemans in 1826 and first published in the August edition of the New Monthly Magazine that year. It is supposed to relate the events of a real incident during the Battle of the Nile in 1798 aboard the French ship Orient when Giocante, the young son of the commander Louis de Casabianca, refused…

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