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Subject: Re: [Fwd: A Whistle on the Wilde side]
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 14 Sep 2009 17:10:04 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain
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In John Gielgud's recording of the play released by Angel
about fifty years ago, they whistle a very brief
snatch of the tune called "British Grenadiers"  which
is attributed to no known composer but was made famous in an
arrangement by the composer of English operas, Thomas Arne.
I don't think the identity of the
tune has the slightest importance in the context of
Wilde's play, and that his direction was intended as
the merest guideline.  Gielgud also filmed the play
at around the same time but I do not recall what was
whistled in it.  It is the most fleeting of moments, to
be sure.

Donald Kane

-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion of opera and related issues
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of R G
Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 4:48 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [Fwd: A Whistle on the Wilde side]


Really a fascinating approach. I am still doing research on
this, and have had some very good private answers, including
G&S - of course, it would be a wonderful conceit for it to
have been something from Patience, which inspired by the
younger Wilde - but this makes a lot of sense. There's
nothing to Jack that suggests 'culture', but music halls and
so on certainly.



I have one research source to try to get a  hold of, and I
will then get back to you.



All best and thanks

Richard



Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 08:31:15 +1200
Subject: Re: [Fwd: A Whistle on the Wilde side]
From: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
CC: [log in to unmask]; [log in to unmask];
[log in to unmask]

Hello from Kurt Gänzl

If my memory serves, EARNEST is 1895? And is supposed to be
contemporary?

I would think thus a ‘popular air from a British opera’
would be unlikely to mean MARITANA, LILY OF K or BOH GIRL,
already getting slightly mouldy in the ranks of the
Valentine Smith touring opera company, and no longer
precisely ‘popular’!
‘English opera’ in the 1890s? Well, we know there were a few
but ‘popular’ would be grossly exaggerating.

I think the answer is simple. ‘A British opera’ to – above
all a not operatic person — would in the terminology of the
time have indicated equally well the produce of the Gaiety
Theatre, the Prince of Wales’s or Daly’s .. Spots,
donchathink, very much more likely for Jack to have visited
on his trips up to town than Covent Garden or Drury Lane. So
maybe something from IN TOWN, THE SHOP GIRL, AN ARTIST’S
MODEL or even the ageless CLOCHES DE CORNEVILLE or the works
of Messrs Sullivan and Gilbert..
It would be nice to think it might have been PATIENCE, but I
have never heard of a specific tune being mentioned in
relation to this spot .. Hardly worth it, when its two
debonair phrases and off ..
I think debonair is the key word. The whistling is to
establish Jack’s off-hand man-about-town character. A
recital of ‘The Light of Other Days’ or ‘Farewell to the
Mountain’ would hardly do that! More likely to be ‘Her
Golden Hair was hanging down her back’

Cheers
Kurt



On 9/14/09 11:44 PM, "Basia" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:




-------- Originele bericht --------
 Onderwerp:  A Whistle on the Wilde side
 Datum:  Mon, 14 Sep 2009 07:35:56 -0400
 Van:  Beckmesserschmitt <[log in to unmask]>
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
 Antwoord-naar:  Beckmesserschmitt <[log in to unmask]>
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
 Aan:  [log in to unmask]

Can anyone point me to a source which might answer this
question, which
may be more theatrical than operatic in terms of an answer,
but which
obviously involves opera?

In the third act of The Importance of Being Earnest, after
Cecily and
Gwendolen have retreated to the Manor House upon finding
that neither of
their beaux are quite whom they purport to be, Jack and
Algernon enter, and
Wilde's stage direction is "Enter JACK followed by AlGERNON.
They whistle
some dreadful popular air from a British opera."

I would be very curious just 'what' was whistled, assuming
something was, at
the early performances of Earnest. One can imagine, for
example, Wallace or
any of the ballad operas (I hope not Balfe! but perhaps
Marble Halls), but I
suspect something specific was whistled by the actors at the
time of the first
performances.

Any ideas where one might search for this information?

Many thanks
Beckmesserschmitt

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