Thanks to Charles Coventry (MA, 1962-66, B Phil 1977-79) for this contribution
During my M.A. I played the clarinet in the orchestra under Cedric Thorpe Davie (Ed’s note: well-known composer and Professor of Music 1946 to 1978). During the year practices were in Kennedy Hall, the music department and various pieces were tried before the final selection. Of these one will be of interest to those who lived in halls of residenceat the time, “Variations on a theme of AB Mackenzie” by Cedric himself. The theme was the tune of
the Latin grace sung in hall.
The final selection included two serious pieces and two musical jokes, one a world premier. This was “Festivities for a young orchestra” by David Dorward. He gave
instructions that the instruments should have “everything including the
kitchen sink,” and an actual sink was found, marked “Steinway” and was on stage all
through the serious part of the concert. The other “joke” was
Beethoven’s “Battle Symphony” where the lid fell off one of the smoke
machines (cannon). The serious items were a local item from the 18th
century, a symphony by Thomas Erskine, Earl of Kellie, and Mozart’s
“Exultate Jubilate” performed by the choir and chamber orchestra.
I was a regular attender at lunch hour and other concerts with early
music from the Madrigal Group and the Renaissance Group formed as the
Spanish Department choir by Douglas Gifford as part of his study of
Spanish Renaissance church music.
After learning Gaelic I got into choral singing and during my year of
residence for my B Phil I joined Holy Trinity church choir under Tom Duncan , lecturer in English language. Originally from Glasgow he was a
very thorough choirmaster, “the teeth, the tongue and the lips.” This brings in a piece of town and gown collaboration. It was the Queen’s silver jubilee and there was a concert in the church consisting of the two Handel coronation anthems “Zadok the priest” and “The King shall rejoice.” The nucleus was Holy Trinity church choir, all town residents apart from myself, the university choirs and the chamber
orchestra. That year under Tom Duncan really boosted my choral singing.
Some great memories from Charles. Do follow the links for Douglas Gifford, Tom Duncan and David Dorward who all combined music with busy academic careers – real renaissance men.