Prince Charles Commissions Cello Concerto in Memory of His Grandmother, the Beloved 'Queen Mum'
Thursday, December 02, 2004
LONDON, December 1 (AFP) ó Britain's Prince Charles is honouring his late grandmother, the Queen Mother, with a specially commissioned piece of classical music, the composer revealed Wednesday.
Sir Richard Rodney Bennett told The Guardian newspaper that he had completed the 27-minute piece, for cello and orchestra, titled Reflections on a Scottish Folksong.
It will be publicly premiered early in 2006 by cellist Paul Watkins and the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which Charles ó heir to the British throne ó is patron.
Bennett, who twice met the Queen Mother before her death in April 2002 at the age of 101, said he had visited Highgrove, the Prince of Wales' country estate in the west of England, to discuss the work.
"We talked about his grandmother a lot," he said. "I wanted to know whether she had any favourite Scottish folk songs."
"There weren't any in particular," he recalled, "but it turned out that she loved Edwardian music hall songs. She used to sing them to her grandchildren as she tucked them up in bed at night."
Charles then broke out in song with a bawdy rendition of "Cock of the North", Bennett said. The lyrics go: "Auntie Mary had a canary, up the leg o' her drawers ..."
"He was absolutely charming," said the composer. "Quite informal the whole afternoon. He gave us a lovely tea."
Charles studied the cello in his youth, and has taken up conducting at private events with the Philharmonic.
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