Music & Song
The website for Dr Martin Shaw OBE FRCM (1875 –1958)
"...we try as girl and boy, to catch our flying joy and keep it in a cage."
The Melodies You Sing
3: The Melodies You Sing
The Melodies and Philomel
From Shaw's Log Book it appears that The Melodies you Sing was rescued from the rubble of Philomel –a play with songs and an improbable plot by Jefferson Farjeon, one of Eleanor Farjeon's brothers.
The songs for Philomel were created by Martin Shaw and Clifford Bax, but however good the music and lyrics, they could not save the production.
As any artist knows, when you set out on a combined project, there are some things over which you have no artistic control, such as the talent of the playwright. This was especially true for Philomel: the talents of Shaw and Bax were shipwrecked on its shores.
On November 6th 1932, Jefferson Farjeon wrote to Shaw, basically apologizing:
Perhaps, if I had had the chance –and the time– to turn the play into an operetta, we might have made something out of it.
...But no music could have been more lovely, or could have fought more happily against [the play’s] difficulties, than yours, and I only wish it had attached itself to something that could have completed its expression.
... Meanwhile please know that I love your music, and agree with all the writer of the enclosed notice says [a review which praised the music, but was realistic about the plot] and with all the other numerous critics who have given you high praise.
TS Eliot and The Rock
This was not entirely the end of Shaw and the theatre as has been written elsewhere.
He went on to collaborate with TS Eliot on Eliot's first foray into the theatre: a pageant piece, The Rock, which was performed at Sadler’s Wells in May 1934, with a cast of hundreds.
The dedication To ARTHUR WONTNER shows Shaw’s appreciation of the actor.
Wontner was the first actor to portray Sherlock Holmes on screen, in several films in the 1930s. The two men may well have shared the same circle of friends in Hampstead.
Shaw loved reading detective stories; in fact reading detective stories is one of the ‘Recreations’ Shaw put in his entry in Who’s Who in 1916, the first year it appeared.
|Clifford Bax (1865 – 1939)||Cramer||1933||in print|
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