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Angel at my table- what was the tune?

Paul Burke 21 Jul 08 - 05:34 AM
Little Robyn 21 Jul 08 - 07:13 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 22 Jul 08 - 06:36 AM
Little Robyn 22 Jul 08 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Jane Z. 21 Mar 14 - 07:16 PM
Jack Campin 21 Mar 14 - 08:19 PM
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Subject: Angel at my table- what was the tune?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 05:34 AM

The New Zealand song in a neighbouring thread reminded me of the BBC series a few years ago about the NZ author Janet Frame, An Angel at my Table, and brought to mind the theme tune... I can remember the tune, but not the song that went with it. Any clues? And why was it attached to that series?


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Subject: RE: Angel at my table- what was the tune?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 07:13 AM

Duncan Grey.
But we don't know why the producer chose that one.
Robyn and Mitch


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Subject: Lyr Add: DUNCAN GRAY CAM' HERE TO WOO (Robt Burns)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 06:36 AM

Words were written by Robert Burns, dated 1792. But I don't get the connection either, except that maybe the girl's illness (as punishment?) is relevant in some way. But if so, the use of this song suggests an agenda that I didn't see in either Frame's autobiography or the film of it. Anyway:

Duncan Gray cam' here to woo,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
On blythe Yule-night when we were fou,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Maggie coost her head fu' heigh,
Look'd asklent and unco skeigh,
Gart poor Duncan stand abeigh;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

Duncan fleech'd and Duncan pray'd;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Duncan sigh'd baith out and in,
Grat his e'en baith blear't an' blin',
Spak o' lowpin o'er a linn;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

Time and Chance are but a tide,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't,
Slighted love is sair to bide,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Shall I like a fool, quoth he,
For a haughty hizzie die?
She may gae to-France for me!
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

How it comes let doctors tell,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't;
Meg grew sick, as he grew hale,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.
Something in her bosom wrings,
For relief a sigh she brings:
And oh! her een they spak sic things!
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.

Duncan was a lad o' grace,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Maggie's was a piteous case,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't:
Duncan could na be her death,
Swelling Pity smoor'd his wrath;
Now they're crouse and canty baith,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't.


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Subject: RE: Angel at my table- what was the tune?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 04:12 PM

We suspect that it's the sort of tune/song that school kids were taught to sing and to play on recorders at that time and so is meant to convey an influence from her childhood.
The people from the Oamaru/Dunedin/Otago area tended to have a Scots background anyway so maybe it was a song Janet knew - was it mentioned in any of her books?
I read 'Owls do cry' many years ago but can't recall if there was anything vaguely related in it.
It may simply have been a choice made by the TV Producer.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Angel at my table- what was the tune?
From: GUEST,Jane Z.
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 07:16 PM

I also think the song was meant to evoke the Scots background, and it suggests childhood, a major theme of the movie.


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Subject: RE: Angel at my table- what was the tune?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 08:19 PM

I am now doing a mashup in my head of "Duncan Gray" and "God Defend New Zealand". You can sing either to the tune of the other.

I just looked up Michael King's biography of Frame and there's no mention of "Duncan Gray". Dunedin was founded by Burns's nephew and Frame had the Robert Burns Fellowship to Otago University in the early 60s; Burns was significant in her background. Frame's father (a railway worker) played the Highland pipes so he will have known the tune.

The one tune he does mention as being significant to her was the "Invercargill March" - as a small child she fantasized about it being used to welcome people into heaven. It doesn't sound anything like "Duncan Gray".


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