Mudcat Café message #3178170 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138735   Message #3178170
Posted By: Jack Blandiver
29-Jun-11 - 05:10 AM
Thread Name: Do purists really exist?
Subject: RE: Do purists really exist?
which immediately made me think of early English translations of the Bible - though not, perhaps, the Psalms.

Whilst I'm a King James man in general, give me Common Prayer for the Psalms every time! In fact, Purcell's setting of the first verse of Psalm 102 is probably the most devasting 2+ minutes (depending on the choir) of music ever written.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKijWFSkIdE

Just as well he didn't set the rest of it, I doubt I could have coped.

where's your heart and soul man???

I agree with everything the leveller says here; I'd even bring in Kipling's landscapes and continuities - especially The Puck Songs (Puck's Song itself being one of the most definitive celebrations of the human landscape there is), likewise The Land, of course). But sentiment ain't heart nor is it soul, and so much of what I hear these days is mired in a bathos I find quite - inhuman! In Traditional Songs we might weep at the intimate human truths which have a more common resonance - both heart and soul - which is much of the appeal I reckon. Stuff like An Bunnan Bui (not strictly speaking traditional but in Paddy Tunney's translation it takes wings) is hard to sing for the tears.

Funny though - between maybe 1988 and 1996* we had one of the finest singers clubs in the country at The Colpitts in Durham. Not 100% Traditional - regular songs included Andy Barne's The Last of the Great Whales and Harry Robertson's Ballina Whalers. The first is regular folky fair that doesn't move me in the slightest - nice to sing and harmonise on, but even as a lifelong member of Greenpeace I'm indifferent to the emotion of the thing. The second one, however, just tears my heart out. How's that work? Maybe it was just the musical power of the chorus, or the resolute humanity of the thing, but much as I'm gravely concerned about the wales of the world, whenever I hear Last of the Great Wales all I think of is that old cartoon about the opera singing wale (actually, that's quite moving too, used to freak me out as a kid - just watched it now on YouTube & it still does!). But those Weep-All-Ye Folk Songs (The Band Played Waltzing Matilda etc.) leave me cold & they always have; way too obvious; whereas The Plains of Waterloo is a different matter, or Hamish Henderson's Banks of Sicily both of which I had to stop singing because I could never get through them without cracking up.

* 1996 is when Rachel left university to do her nurse training in Lancaster; it was never the same after that somehow. We were back in 2000, but largely absent for five years owing to me giving up smoking (the associations of Sam Smith's OB, Folk Songs and Golden Virginia were too strong) so sadly missed out on The Boden Years. It's always been a good club though, attracting great singers, but at The Colpitts we were all crammed in this tiny old room so the sound was just - transcendant! And there was a cameraderie back then I've never really found in a folk club since... Sniff, sniff... Maybe I should write a song about it?