In addition to my Friday Favourites posts, and the slot on Wednesdays reserved for series (like the current ABRSM exam series), I hope to make a regular appearance of a short post on Mondays with my teaching notes on one classical and one music theatre song. I like to discover new repertoire, and I hope that this will inspire you to look at new songs, and go back to old favourites.
So, without further ado, here’s the first “Repertoire Corner”:
Handel – Where’er You Walk
[ABRSM 6(A); TG 6(A1); LCM DipLCM]*
Although a well-known tune, don’t be fooled by this, it still requires technical skill. All the phrases should be sung legato, but ended crisply. Special attention should be paid to the starting and finishing of each phrase and candidates should avoid the temptation to sing through the rests. The long runs of notes also need careful attention to be clean but still legato. The first repetition of “shall crowd in to a shade” needs particular attention. The da capo repeat of the A section should be ornamented, and suggestions can be found in the ABRSM Songbook 5.
* * *
Formby – When the Lads of the Village Get Crackin’
Wartime songs, while assumed to be “part of British musical culture” are often unknown to young singers, but can provide good variety and contrast in Music Theatre exams. When approaching this song, the melody itself is fairly simple, although it does modulate a little, which makes it more challenging for those who aren’t confident with pitch. The accompaniment is, however, very supportive. The challenge in performing this song well comes from really telling the story – getting the audience to believe that the singer is proud to be in the home guard, even if they are mocking it at the same time. Make sure there is ample time for the candidate to engage with the words in preparing this song. This peice could be sung in any natural British accent, but would be best performed using Formby’s own Lancashire accent.
*This gives the grade level of a song, if it appears on a list. Notes given in brackets refer to the specific list on the syllabus.