Advent calendar day #26: Those extra fouettés and turns in 2nd – Good King Wenceslas

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Sir David Wynne’s ‘Boy with a Dolphin’ near Albert Bridge, festively adorned on Christmas Eve 2013

To download the song, either right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) the player above and select ‘save audio as’, or right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as‘.

It was only last year that I realized that St Stephen’s day, celebrated by the carol Good King Wenceslas (who looked out ‘on the feast of Stephen’), is the 26th December.

To reflect real ballet classes, where enthusiasts ask you if you would mind playing some music for their fouettés and turns in 2nd after the class has officially finished (I never mind, by the way), here’s a coda-by-request that appropriately celebrates St Stephen’s day, the coda or afterthought to Christmas, if you like.

If you’re wondering why I chose to put a pedal G all the way through this piece, it’s because I have a theory about fouetté music, based on two of the most famous ones in the ballet repertoire (Don Quixote and Black Swan) that the less the bass moves, the more of a stable (harmonic) floor the dancer has to turn on.  It also ‘desaturates’ the harmony, so to speak, so that your attention doesn’t get distracted, either as performer or audience.

Hold on tight and fly… 

I took the picture above on my way home from class (where I got the idea for this post). I’d never really stopped to look properly at this sculpture, but I’m glad I did. There’s so much élan, and vitality in it. Looking for details of the sculptor and the proper name of the statue, I discovered from A view from the mirror – A taxi driver’s London, this great quote from Sir David Wynne, the sculptor:

“the boy is being shown that if you trust the world, the thrills and great happiness are yours… if one meets a dolphin in the sea, he is the genial host, you the honoured guest.”

What more could you wish for 2014?  Happy Christmas, and a thrilling, happy 2014 (and now this class really is over). Here’s a sequence of pictures of the statue including some from angles you can’t see from the street.

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