"Gosh! Man, I've Got A Tune In My Head!"
And also proud possessor of a Sunbeam bicycle.
And those words above: " Gosh! Man, I've got a tune in my head!".... they were written by Elgar in a letter dated January 1901, to his music publisher friend, August Jaeger of Novello and Co.
Elgar was excited.
Those words referred to his desire to write the D major march, part of his " Pomp and Circumstance" Marches.
And that May, still excited, Elgar wrote to another friend:" I've got a tune that will knock'em...knock 'em flat!"
AND it did .
And it still does.
It knocked ME flat when played by The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Chester Cathedral last night.
Even though I've heard it countless times, it Hits The Spot Everytime..
The programme was the closing concert of Chester Summer Music Festival* ( see end of post) featuring the Festival Chorus, with two acclaimed singers, Jane Irwin ( mezzo-soprano) and baritone Marcus Farnsworth.
Also performed was Elgar's " The Music Makers"; this is Arthur O'Shaughnessy's poem set to music. As a child in a misty-moisty primary school classroom, I heard its opening lines:
" We are the music makers.
And we are the dreamer of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams..."
And although hardly world-shattering poetry ( I think I was expected to copy it out in best Marion Richardson handwriting...anyone remember those exercises?!) ...those opening words thrilled me and together with Elgar's music...Mmm. .
Elgar ( once he said: " The trees are singing my music...or have I sung theirs?" ) was born near Worcester 150 years ago this year. His father , a piano tuner, kept a music shop on Worcester High Street. Elgar hid in the dark gloom of the shop amid musical scores and instruments; his father's violins, flutes, trumpets, all were magical. He yearned to play them all.
And so later, some said, Elgar wrote music to make the heart soar.
And his refrains, his patterns; they call us and echo, they call us and echo.......they remind us of our past, yet they take us to our future, move our thoughts on to other places.... where we never expected to be...
** Chester Summer Music Festival (http://www.chestersummermusicfestival.co.uk/ ) was born 30 years ago this summer.
A good friend/neighbour and her family were main instigators... so I've seen JUST how hard the organisers work; their planning, their skills, their wonderful choice of artists.
BUT distressingly, a major grant is no longer forthcoming; the Arts Council doesn't see fit to award. This, therefore, puts the Summer Music Festival at risk.
AND this is disappointing; it shows lack of vision, it shows lack of appreciation of a thriving event which gives huge pleasure in a small English city.
Some might call it a tragic decision.
Many certainly would.