Monday, September 08, 2008

Oh Bryn - How COULD You?

Scarpia never did to Tosca what Terfel is about to do to Danny BoyAnyone that’s getting sniffy about Paddy’s Revenge, a dance/trance/happenstance version of Music for a Found Harmonium that’s an underground hit about to go mainstream had better start digging his or her fallout shelter now. The news isn’t going to get any better.

Bryn Terfel, the Welshman considered one of the great operatic baritones of his generation, is releasing a populist album of songs from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales mid-way through September. He’s going to use an appearance at the Last Night of the Proms on the BBC this coming Saturday to sing four tracks from the album – Loch Lomond for Scotland, The Turtle Dove for England, Cariad cyntaf for Wales and Molly Malone for Ireland.

And that’s lovely. An Spailpín Fánach has no problem with nice songs being nicely sung and Terfel is the boy that can sing them.

The album goes on release the following Monday, and this is where the problem begins. It’s called First Love – Songs from the British Isles, and the Irishman’s back immediately arches at that unfortunately all-inclusive moniker. But, you know, we plough on and look at the track list and think “oh, Carrickfergus, nice, My Lagan Love, very classy, Danny Boy, well, of course, you couldn’t ... what? Who? Oh dear God in Heaven, no! No! No! Aieee!”

The problem is that Terfel has decided to duet Danny Boy, and this then begs the question: with whom shall Terfel sing?

It has to be an Irish singer but don’t forget the big man has his eye on dollars here, so there’s no point in Terfel singing with Jack L, say, as nobody outside of Ireland has heard of him. A duet with Ronnie Drew might have been interesting, but Ronnie is free of all earthly concerns now.

Bono is the obvious choice, not least as a duet tends to reduce his ego a little - from gargantuan to merely enormous, of course, but still. Andrea Corr did a nice version of Summer Wine with Bono not so long ago – maybe Andrea could get the gig? Sadly, she didn't; the sister Sharon is doing some fiddling on the record, but there’s no place for lovely Andrea.

Who then? Moya Brennan? In a Lifetime was a great duet with Bono (him again!) twenty years ago but goodness gracious, after the barbarities Moya and Ronan Keating committed on the helpless Fairytale of New York that time the idea of anyone ever wanting to duet with either of them again is laughable.


Ah no. No. You’re kidding. Not him? Surely not him. I mean, could they not have got Dustin the Tucking Furkey?

Jesus tonight. Bryn Terfel, the great baritone of his age, a man that’s sung Wotan at Covent Garden, Figaro at the Met and, even more importantly perhaps, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau at the National Stadium in Cardiff, has only gone and recorded a duet of Danny Boy with Ronan Fecking Keating.

Avoid, avoid, avoid. For the love and honour of God, avoid.

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