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Lyr Add: A Word on My Ear (Flanders/Swann)


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keberoxu 28 Aug 18 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 29 Aug 18 - 02:11 PM
leeneia 01 Sep 18 - 12:45 PM
keberoxu 01 Sep 18 - 02:09 PM
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Subject: A Word on My Ear (Flanders & Swann)
From: keberoxu
Date: 28 Aug 18 - 12:58 PM

Can't believe this song isn't in here already!



[The soprano is concluding an encore before her audience. She sings.]

A prisoner to rapture by arduous duty pressed
A slave to the longing that lingers in my breast
Farewell! my friends, adieu,
I cannot stay with you.
Farewell ... farewell ... farewell ...

[The applause fades, while the soprano addresses her introduction to the listener.]

Before I deliver my seventh encore,
There's something I'd like to make clear.
They say I brought pleasure to millions or more,
They say that my singing half won the last War
When I sang to the troops in the rear:
I'm lauded! Applauded! Recorded! ... but, hist!
I've a musical flaw that they seem to have missed   ...

[At this point, the soprano is to segue from her introduction to
the song's chorus. But she cannot,
because she has lost the pitch,
and so the pianist, hammering a single key on the keyboard,
forces her to sing the correct note.
Thus corrected, she continues, accompanied by piano and orchestra.]

I'm Tone Deaf!
Music means nothing to me,
It's only the way my accompanists play
That makes it appear I'm in key.
Stone Tone Deaf!
Can't tell a Key from a Clef.
I stand by the pianist watching his face
For he's told me to start when it comes to the place
Where he'll give me a whacking great
***!! [pianist slams his hand on the lowest notes on the keyboard]
in the Bass!
Because I'm Tone Deaf [soprano wanders off-key again...]

I'm Tone Deaf!
Never could understand 'pitch',
Some people, you know,
Can sing 'So - La - Ti - Do'
And claim they can tell which is which!
Stone Tone Deaf,
Can't tell a B from and F.
Sir Thomas [Beecham, eminent orchestral conductor]
once said: 'Now, I don't want to carp,
But if that's a B-Natural played on the harp,
Then you're either B-Flat, dear, or ruddy B-Sharp!'
But then I'm Tone Deaf [you can guess what happens. Again.]

final chorus:
I'm Tone Deaf!
But, in most modern works for the voice,
[the melodic line zig-zags about like crazy]
The note that I hit doesn't matter a bit
So it's purley a personal choice.
Stone Tone Deaf,
Musically D-E-A-F !
Perhaps Covent Garden can do without me,
But while I command an exorbitant fee
I'll always get work from the dear BBC
[The pianist, trying to keep the soprano on pitch,
plays the BBC signature tune ... and again ... ]
Well, I'm Tone Deaf.
[at the top of the soprano's voice]
Yes, I'm Tone DEAF!!

words by Michael Flanders
music by Donald Swann
© The Estate of Michael Flanders

recording appears on "Hat-Trick", collection of compact-discs from EMI,
sung by Rose Hill with Donald Swann leading from the piano

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Word on My Ear (Flanders/Swann)
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 29 Aug 18 - 02:11 PM

I was unaware that this song had "gone viral"
until it occurred to me
to search on its title on YouTube.
I'm speechless. There must be DOZENS of homegrown videos
of, mostly women, with an occasional countertenor,
vamping it up in live performances of this song.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Word on My Ear (Flanders/Swann)
From: leeneia
Date: 01 Sep 18 - 12:45 PM

Sounds like professional jealousy to me.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: A Word on My Ear (Flanders/Swann)
From: keberoxu
Date: 01 Sep 18 - 02:09 PM

This song must have been included in a revue
in the days before At The Drop of a Hat,
but I'm not certain which revue/show it was.

Possibly More Airs on a Shoestring,
or was it called More Strings to Our Bow?

The Rose Hill recording is a charmer;
of course her singing is nearly flawless.

As eminent a classical-music singer
as mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker
has used it as an encore in her recitals.

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