Now that the May week celebrations here (in June, of course) are well and truly over and the summer holidays have begun in earnest, what better than a little exercise for the grey cells to keep them in trim for Michaelmas Term. Timely, then, that I should just happen to stumble across the perfect thing whilst sorting yet another box of the Keller “Attic Anhang” (my shorthand for the considerable quantity of extra material found last autumn in the loft of the Kellers’ former Hampstead home generously donated to the Library by the Cosman Keller Art and Music Trust). The year is 1946, the war is over and the UK can turn its attention once again to more pleasant aspects of life. A rash of new journals focusing on leisure and entertainment springs up and the young Hans Keller wastes no time in taking advantage of this peace-time opportunity to advance his career as a music journalist. In the spring of that year he sends a potential text to J. M. Templeton, Editor of the new National Entertainment Monthly – a little music quiz. Here it is …no prize other than the honour of being mentioned in dispatches here at MusiCB3 (surely prize enough). Answers at the end of my next post – if I remember!. Enjoy:
Last November we commemorated the 250th anniversary of the death of the great English composer ? (1). In homage to him, the outstanding contemporary composer ? (2) wrote a string quartet (his second one, by the way) and “The Holy Sonnets of John Donne” for tenor and piano. Take it easy, you needn’t know yet who the composer (2) is. Let me continue my story.
The distinguished tenor ? (3) who, together with the composer (2), performed the above-mentioned sonnets at Wigmore Hall (22nd November 1945 and 4th January 1946) has the same Christian name as the man whose name was chosen as the the title of an English opera ? (4) by the composer (2). The tenor (3) also sang the title role of this opera which was first performed by the Sadlers Wells Company. As a member of this company (though no longer now, I gather), the tenor (3) moreover delighted Mozart fans by singing in the latter’s opera ? (5). Radio listeners, too, will remember this accomplished singer (3), for at Christmas they had the opportunity to hear him as soloist in ? (6). (incidentally, a German composer ? (7) was born in the same year as the composer ? (8) of the last mentioned, sorry, last questioned, work (6).
May we on this occasion express the hope that we may, at some future date, hear our tenor (3) in another Mozart opera ? (9), one about a man (not himself sung by a tenor) who gave his name as title not only to this opera (9), by also to a symphonic poem ? (10) by Richard Strauss? Funny as it may sound, the titles of these two works (9) (10) are nevertheless not the same!
Speaking of not strictly musical links between composers, I know of an Austrian, a Czech and a German composer – all dead – who each composed a work associated with an honorary degree received by them. In the case of the Austrian ? (11) and the Czech ? (12) it was a symphony, the German ? (13) wrote an overture.
Now this last paragraph was pretty stiff, so let’s skip it and round off all this torturing by thanking another contemporary composer ? (14) for, amongst other things, his beautiful music to two films, i.e. “The first of the few” and “Henry V”. Oddly enough, there is again identity of Christian names in this case, i.e. as between Shakespeare and this composer (14).