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A Nightingale Sang on Saturday 9th June 2018
Why such an English title for a concert of American Music?
'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square' was introduced by Judy Campbell in Eric Maschwitz's New Faces Revue in London in April, 1940. It quickly became a wartime favourite in Britain and, after Pearl Harbor, in the States owing to its powerful evocation of feelings of separation and longing for a happier time. The song was written in the same style as American popular songs from what later became known as The Great American Songbook, and it was sung and played by the many well-known American singers and bands. Such American recording artists as Glenn Miller, Guy Lombardo and Sammy Kaye made it popular and as a result it was brought to ‘Your Hit Parade’, a radio show listened to by millions of Americans every week.
The song fitted so well the feelings and tastes of Americans that very quickly it was transformed into something American even though its imagery is so solidly English. It helped, of course, that the verse which opens with a reference to Mayfair, the London district where Berkeley Square is located, was dropped by almost all American singers!
The concert will include a wide variety of music which has either been composed by Americans or is loved by them. Works will include Bernstein – Chichester Psalms; My Country ‘tis of Thee; Battle Hymn of the Republic; Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre; O Magnum Mysterium by Morton Lauridsen and many more, including, of course, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.
Harrogate Choral Society will be accompanied by Thomas Moore on organ, Rhiannon Evans on Harp and Cherry Bratkowski on Percussion and will be conducted by the choir’s Music Director Andrew Padmore.
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