A bit of a softie.

Some may not think so, but that’s me. A mate just sent me this and when I was watching I seemed to get something in my eye…

39 thoughts on “A bit of a softie.”

  1. You might say that buddy,

    But to be honest they cannot sing for toffee. I think the powers that be have ever so slightly egged the pudding in the positive on this one. I love the sentiment but the noise is nothing but painfull.


  2. Well I watched and considered my opinion before Furry’s comment.

    Sentimental claptrap was my opinion.

    Never be a Christmas No.1.

    I too am sorry 🙂

  3. The ladies also performed at the Remembrance concert at the Albert Hall, bravo.

    Ferret and Soutie, bad singing and sentimental claptrap is what Christmas No. 1 always is.

  4. I didn’t watch the series, but I wish I had. I heard Gareth, the choirmaster talking about the amazing time he had training these women, and how they really responded and indeed bonded with each other.

    It’s incredibly hard for these women to have their husbands away and never know if they will return.

    It may well be sentimental, but claptrap no, it most certainly is not. They are not a professional choir, but they didn’t sound bad to me, and I found it very moving.

  5. Bravo, anyone who loves music and who watched the 4 part series of the Choir with Gareth Malone cannot fail to have been moved by the hard work, emotion and joy engendered by their singing. The last episode, following the womens preparation for the Remembrance Day service at the Albert Hall had me close to tears throughout with big lumps in my throat. Yes I am a BIG SOFTIE. I sincerely hope it will be number one at Xmas. Maybe, maybe they filtered some diva singers into the group but hey that’s show biz and it was an entertainment programme but none of that deflects from the inspirational leadership of Gareth Malone in giving focus to these women both in spotlight and in song. Sod anyone who says the singing was not professional – that is not the point. Happy Xmas!

  6. Well, well – hold on to your hats and pin your ears back, ‘cos The Bear has a contrary opinion.

    As you all know, I’m not a great supporter of the concept of lauding anyone’s military, and I’m frequently critical of music or singers that I regard as crap (like Freddy bloody Mercury), but

    This choir sang very well, in my opinion. I do not understand how Ferret and others can criticise their voices which are uniformly in tune, on beat, well synchronised and pure.

    The message is clear and heartfelt. Sentimental claptrap it is not.

    Thanks for posting, Bravo – and thanks for your supportive professional view PG. Good on ya’ both. 😀

  7. No, Furry. It may end up on X Factor or be a Christmas hit, but that was not the original intention. I find it impossible to doubt the emotion and sincerity in this choir.

  8. That is not my point Minty MBE,

    They have all the right reasons but they sound like shite. Sorry but thats the way I see it. I would dearly love to manage Man United for example. I would be absolutely crap at it but could retire happilly on th ewages for the 3 months it would take them to find that out. 🙂

    They are certainly very good wives and mothers and should be applauded for their gumption, but good telly or music? I don’t think so.

  9. Fair enough, Furry One, but have you ever sung in a choir? It is really the most amazing experience, I honestly think they are genuinely good, but no, they are not professional but I don’t think this was ever the intention.

  10. Thanks for this Bravo – beats ‘Randolph the Red-nose Reindeer’ any day.

    I know nothing about music, but it seems to me to be sung from the heart – and I’m not sure that it was intended to be a No.1 Best Seller.

    Perhaps it seems sentimental clap-trap because it reminds us that their husbands are dying in a conflict that many do not support. I doubt that their Christmas will be as Merry as most of ours.

  11. Minty MBE,

    I can neither confirm nor deny the choir thing.

    I do however have a Grade 7 in Brass and Grade 6 (A Level, I know) in theory. I have been playing in a band since I was knee high to a pinemartin.

  12. Cough, cough – Ferret, old bean, some other Charioteers are not exactly devoid of musical qualifications, and PG is up there with the best … 😯

  13. They are not the best choir in the world, by any means, (I have played in a band that was much appreciated locally and sung in public) BUT in the context in which they were created, they are superb. You need to see the TV series detailing their creation. If you have not seen Gareth Malone before, I think he should get a knighthood. He has created several choirs in TV series, some of them good, out of some very unpromising material.

    He works on the theory that communal singing brings people closer together. He created a choir from a bunch of stroppy comprehensive schoolkids that got as far as an international Youth Choir Tournament in China and created a passable choir from the inhabitants of a sink council estate.

  14. I think they sound absolutely wonderful; warm, harmonious and very feminine. The lead soprano is, in my opinion, particularly outstanding because of the purity of the voice. And without wishing to sound clinical or pretentious, I always refrain from judging music or literature on the ‘background story’ or the biography, a la X factor, because I prefer to take art as it stands, for its own sake. This is very, very good, musically speaking, and that is all there is to it. 🙂

  15. Context

    Well then, had I had any idea that this was the culmination of a TV series supporting / promoting the armed forces and not a simple money making racket to tug at peoples loyalties and conscience (conveniently released at Christmas) I might have tempered my opinion.

    I’ve never heard of Gareth Malone nor his previous successes (thanks FEEG)

  16. Backside and I were choristers in our yoof. Our ‘Once in royal…’ reduced old ladies to tears. Nothing wrong with sentimentality, provided it doesn’t involve Welsh male voice choirs, IMHO.

  17. It’s not fair – you lot were all having fun without me while I was asleep! I didn’t get in on the interesting discussion around Araminta’s post, either


    I didn’t mean to post-and-run – bit of a bugger being seven hours in front of UK and not far enough East to really interact with OZ, except for a brief window, still, back in the UK in a couple of weeks, then off to Cyprus for Christmas.

    I really enjoyed that clip, and I don’t think they were that un-musical, either, especially the lead, semi-professional or not. And there’s nothing wrong with a bit of schmalz every now and then, either. Let’s fac it, ‘Silent Night’ is not the greatest song ever written, is it? I defy most people, however, not to get a wistful little smile on their face when they hear children singing it – out of tune or not!

  18. Bon soir

    Voici le resultat du vote du jury ecossais.

    Ever since I first met her, Mrs M has told me that everybody in the entire world could be taught to sing in tune, except me. It’s probably what first attracted her to me.

    So, I had to play the clip to her for a decision, as I am profoundly unable to tell Stork from butter when it comes to music. I know all of the words and none of the right notes;

    Mrs M is Diploma in both piano and voice (performer). Taught music for over 30 years and has been a member of the choirs of both the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Edinburgh Festival Chorus for much the same period. She’s also taught a few choirs in her time.

    Her verdict is that the choir is in tune with itself throughout and gives a fine performance. She feels that there could have been a bit more brightness (technical term, apparently) particularly from the soloist at the end but that it was, overall, an excellent effort.

    I told her that my guru, Ferret, had rubbished it. She enquired about his expertise.

    Haw, Ferret and my apologies in advance for this.

    Mrs M says:-‘ A brass player? They always play far too loudly anyway so how would they know what was going on elsewhere?. Is he a trumpeter, by any chance.? They are the worst.’

    More importantly. Bravo, good evening and thank you for the post. You hit my soft spot too.

  19. Tuba akshully Jay Em!

    Your good lady has ever so diplomatically put her expert finger on the arabica. There is much to what she says, but even more to what she does not. While the choir were in tune with each other, they were flat and she knows it.

    I know what she means about trumpet players, far too far up their own mouthpiece. 🙂

  20. Ferret :

    While the choir were in tune with each other, they were flat and she knows it.

    That’s a contradiction in terms, Ferret, unless you have some esoteric definition of “flat”.
    A doesn’t have to be 440. It can happily be 415, 430, 435 or 466.

    In the immortal words of Pauline Hanson, “Please explain”.

  21. It’s complex Bearsy,

    It’s all about the key in which you are supposed to be playing. If you take a bunch of notes, ie ‘a tune’ which was designed to be played in the key of C, then unintentionally transpose every note uniformly down by a semitone it doesn’t sound right. I just know because its what I hear, I don’t fully understand the mechanics of it. I have forgotten most of my teachings about the theory of music, I just read the notes and make them come out the other end. If it sounds right, it invariably is.

    You can easily make a happy tune sound very sad simply by shifting the key in which it is played. Every instrument or voice can be perfectly in tune, but the end result sounds awful.

  22. Without going into the musical theory or the physics of the intervals of different keys, Furry – b****cks! 😀

  23. Erm,

    Thats a little motion towards Bearsy, are you suggesting that it is not possible to be in tune with every instrument/voice but still a semitone out of key?

  24. Sorry, but I find your terminology opaque, Ferret.

    “Thats a little motion towards Bearsy” – brain’s not up to that one, I’m afraid.

    Songs are frequently transposed into different keys to accommodate the range of a singer’s voice. If you have perfect pitch (I don’t) you can distinguish between the versions (heard at different times), but I dispute any significant colour change. Yes, there are fractional differences in the intervals between the key of C and, say, A♭, but not sufficient to whack it from major to minor.

    Someone sounding ‘flat’ does not usually correspond to being a full semitone off pitch; it’s usually only a fraction of a semitone.

    But I give up, yield, surrender and accord you best. 🙂

  25. I grant you that “I left my heart in San Francisco” if sung in a key a semi-tone down from the original (that is, the Tony Bennett version most people are accostomed to) might well sound not quite right but it wouldn’t make the tune itself flat; though possibly less bright as it was lowered half a tone in pitch, but any micro-interval changes, from transposing a tune from one key to another would in my view be indiscernable, even non exisitent.

    Furry, you would have to KNOW which key the piece is written in to discern whether the version you heard was flat, for as you now say, the voices were in tune!

    My guess is that all that brass has left your ears furred up but I shall leave you the last word. For the record I go along with what Bearsy has said though I spell bollox differently!

  26. I have to agree with Bearsy here; a wholesale key change, or a transposition, as it is known, does not create the effect that you describe as flatness, Ferret. It is purely mathematical, although it is thought that certain composers favoured certain keys with lots of flats because of their warmth, or conversely, lots of sharps because of their brightness. While heightened musical sensibilities may have enabled the likes of Chopin to be discerning to the point of madness over pitch and key, I’m afraid that for the rest of us, it can never be anything but mathematical 🙂

  27. Ferret – This song is now number 1 in the UK charts. Are you still insisting that it’s out of tune? ❓

  28. The song sold over 500,000 copies (according to SKY, last night) more than the other 9 songs in the top 10 put together!

    Well done ladies.

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