|Friday 6th November 2015 at 1900hrs|
Glebe Music Festival
In conjunction with The Glebe Society Inc
Friday 6th November 2015 1900hrs
With thanks to everyone at Gleebooks and for the support of the Glebe Society
Lyrics of Un Jour, un Enfant
wide eyes of a child look upon a world reborn
clearly sees the flower and the bird
sleep he hears the star’s distant song
Rex Melville (vocals)
David McIntosh (piano)
Holly Conner (drums)
OUR PROGRAMME TONIGHT
How do certain songs enter one’s psyche? How do they take root? We all recall music which wells up at unexpected times. We might find ourselves humming the tune - much to the amusement of our companion in the lift!
The songs that we have chosen for you tonight have various origins for us. For example, I grabbed a few CDs at random some years ago while in the famous Fédération nationale d’achats (FNAC) shop in Paris, selling vinyl/cassette (not to be confused with choisette – “a random compendium of the witty, ravishing and obscure)/CDs/DVDs. I thought I deserved an introduction to French “pop” music (or correctly musique populaire). One of the CDs featured the Moroccan-French vocalist Frida Boccara, whom I’d never heard of. At home, looking into the background of the beautiful song “Un Jour, un Enfant” I was intrigued to learn it was France’s entry in the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest. I’ll tell you how it fared during the show.
“Anything Goes” is a fun, brash song by my favourite American composer Cole Porter, and I first learned it (along with the rest of the cast) for a stage revue in Melbourne in the 1980s, when I joined the Malvern Theatre Company. Its quick-fire lyrics have been hiding in me ever since, waiting to leap out.
“Tonight” burst onto out Technicolor screens in 1961 as one of the great songs from West Side Story; I was probably sitting wide-eyed eating a violet Crumble with my Mum at the time, in the Blackburn Picture Theatre, now sadly demolished…
Ivor Novello, now almost forgotten, bequeathed us a huge number of songs from his operetta-style shows from the 1930s and 40s. I was introduced last year to some of his lush melodies while singing with my current London choir Diversity. David and I will however be dusting off one of his earlier fun ditties, “And Her Mother Came Too”, from way back in 1924. Very posh and amusing.
Although he recorded it way before I was born, I would have first heard Al Jolson sing “About a Quarter to Nine” on my family’s portable Philips radio; it sat on the kitchen sideboard and accompanied all our comings and goings. Jolson’s energy, joy and smile shine through this sentimental song (which he recorded in 1947, quite late in his career), and it became one of his signature tunes.
I’ve been fortunate to have seen several of tonight’s songs sung live on London’s West End stage by great (and not so great!) artists. While neither are grand nor brash songs, “I Won’t Send Roses”, from Mack and Mabel, and “Losing My Mind” from Sondheim’s “Follies” can send a frisson through your heart…
Were you lucky enough to have seen the musical biography about Peter Allen, “The Boy from Oz”, when it opened in Sydney in 1998? If so, you would have heard the touching “Don’t Cry Out Loud”. Although I missed out, I may have had fragments of Melissa Manchester’s 1979 hit parade version sleeping in my head for decades. And when I chanced across the album of the show a few years ago, its melody and power came flooding back. We are delighted to present it for you tonight, in memory of this important Australian singer and composer.
Although David and I are often separated by distance -- he in Amsterdam, Zurich, Moscow and elsewhere, and me in London -- we perform as often as we can together. So we take great pleasure tonight in presenting to you these delightful and memorable songs from stage, film, and the forgotten recesses of memory.
Living in inner London, Rex devotes as much time as he can to music and the arts, despite maintaining his medical work as a consultant in an outer London hospital.
As well as performing in cabaret here and there, he has recently appeared in a couple of short films with young directors--”Path to Paradise” and “The Fruits of Donna Terrani”--in which he plays respectively the Devil and a guitar-playing hitman hired by the Calabrian mafia!
As well as appearing on the Sitting Room stage on London's South Bank in 2009, Rex also created several characters when he appeared in the 2010 premier of “Desire”, the musical based on the book “States of Desire” by the American writer Edmund White.
David is a paediatrician with a special interest in infectious diseases, working in Zurich and resident in Amsterdam. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Glebe Music Festival.
Holly is a drummer and percussionist, currently studying Jazz Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. (Photo courtesy ABC Jazz).