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Summer Concert - 2016
Twyford Singers held their annual Summer Concert at Loddon Hall on the evening of
Saturday July 25th 2016.
They sang a selection of 24 lovely melodies from the mid 13th century to the present
day, many of them well known. All the songs were introduced by members of the
choir, and these introductions described how the words “Fa la la” were used in many
early madrigals, and even Gilbert and Sullivan, to denote racy behaviour between,
say, a shepherd and a shepherdess, when the action was being left to the listener’s
We also learnt, from the Orlando Gibbons madrigal The Silver Swan, that a swan only
sings when about to die – leading, of course, to the expression ‘swan song’. And
who was Bobby Shaftoe? It turns out that he was an 18th century British MP whose
broken-hearted mistress died after he married someone else.
A similar fate was suffered by Dido, Queen of Carthage, who was abandoned by her
lover Aeneas. She sings the beautiful Dido’s Lament by Henry Purcell, before ordering
a funeral pyre to be set ablaze and stabbing herself. The solo part was sung by Helen
After these more tragic pieces, there was comedy from Flanders and Swann, and Gilbert
and Sullivan, and nostalgia from Welsh-born Ivor Novello’s We’ll gather Lilacs and
Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Memory.
Scotland was represented by the beautiful Skye Boat Song and EriskayLove Lilt, both
places where Bonnie Prince Charlie sought refuge around the time of his defeat at
the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
Danny Walsh sang The Streets of London accompanying himself on guitar
And finally, Reading was represented by Sumer is icumen in, a medieval English
round, of which the earliest known copy was found at Reading Abbey!
The Twyford Singers, their Musical Director Helen Styles and Accompanist Judith Creighton
were thanked for a very varied and entertaining concert, with some talented soloists
and even some community singing. A great way to spend a Saturday evening.
Taken from a report on the concert by Ellen Lindsay.
Preparing Loddon Hall for the concert
The Twyford Singers and Musical Director, Helen Styles