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The Cricket Story

SOUTH WALES EVENING POST - 1961

 

The music begins after a few seconds and is from a live recording session described below, Schubert's Song of the Spirits over the Waters. This historic recording was never released commercially. (Many thanks to chorister Alun Howells for making this available for the website.) Read the text of Goethe's poem

 

A cricket stumped the choir

 

            All was set for the Morriston Orpheus Choir to make a recording yesterday. The orchestra started playing and the choir began to sing.

            Then it was found that an uninvited chorister  was also making his voice heard on the tape.

            It was a cricket whose high-pitches song could be distinctly heard.

            A search was made of the Mond Nickel Works hall where Qualiton Records (Wales) Ltd., were making a 12 inch long player of the choir

 

TRACKED DOWN

           

            Finally, the offending cricket was tracked down. He was lying low beneath a grille covering a floor duct in the central heating system.

            One of the company technicians disturbed him with a piece of wire and kept him quiet while another recording was made.

            All went well that time, and the company were pleased with the results - unaided by the song of the cricket.

 

“THE MOST EXCITING”

 

The 100 strong choir, conducted by Mr Ivor Sims, were recording Schubert’s “Song of the Spirits Over the Waters,” with which they won the chief choral competition at last year’s Royal National Eisteddfod at Cardiff.

            Said Mr John Edwards, managing director of Qualiton Records, “The cricket made our recording session fae more labourious because we had to record several times.”

            “But we finally made one - without the cricket - which I think will be the most exciting the Morriston Orpheus has made so far.”

            Added Mr Edwards, “We have had all sorts of experiences in recording, but we have never met a cricket before.


The choir recorded Schubert's "Song of the Spirits over the Water", writes chorister Alun Howells. It was  accompanied by a section of the BBC Welsh Orchestra at the Mond in Clydach in October 1961. There was a cricket hiding behind one of the radiators and its chirping was audible on the tape, rendering it useless. Following the discovery, and silencing of the cricket a second recording was completed.
 
It had been the intention to record sections of Cherubini's Mass for Male Choir as accompaniment or "B" side , but because of the time spent in isolating the cricket, the Cherubini was not recorded, but posponed until a later day. Unfortunately however, Ivor Sims who was not a well man, passed away before this could be accomplished and the recording was never released as a record.

Fortunately, the tape came into the hands of Jack Richards of Alltwen who knew John Edwards the Qualiton producer, and I have a cassette copy of the recording.

Note: A copy of  this historic tape is in the Choir archives.


The text by the German poet Goethe that inspired Schubert to compose this great work
The soul of man
Resembleth water:
From heaven it cometh,
To heaven it soareth.
And then again
To earth descendeth,
Changing ever.

Down from the lofty
Rocky wall
Streams the bright flood,
Then spreadeth gently
In cloudy billows
O'er the smooth rock,
And welcomed kindly,
Veiling, on roams it,
Soft murmuring,
Tow'rd the abyss.

Cliffs projecting
Oppose its progress,--
Angrily foams it
Down to the bottom,
Step by step.

Now, in flat channel,
Through the meadowland steals it,
And in the polish'd lake
Each constellation
Joyously peepeth.

Wind is the loving
Wooer of waters;
Wind blends together
Billows all-foaming.

Spirit of man,
Thou art like unto water!
Fortune of man,
Thou art like unto wind!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

 
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