User talk:Alfietucker

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The Ascent of F6[edit]

This play is linked like music by Britten, - if he wrote music for it, the play article should mention it, or we should have a article on Britten's music, --Gerda Arendt (talk) 09:40, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Exactly what I've been doing while you've been writing that message. :-) Alfietucker (talk) 09:42, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

Prokofiev GA[edit]

Excellent, and just as it should be. Very pleased to see the gong. I'm not passionate about Prokofiev, but nonetheless I think one could make the case that he's the only composer of the 20th C. who was top-flight in all departments: real symphonies, concertos, ballets, chamber music and operas. Discuss. Candidates over thirty need not attempt questions 10,2,5,3,4, 11, 9, or 1. Where was I? Oh, yes. I was, and am, applauding loudly as your fine article is elevated. Tim riley talk 21:27, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

I think you might have Shostakovich fans on the war path with such a claim. ;-) Thank you, anyway, for your very kind words - much appreciated as always. Your work, of course, is in an entirely different league, and since you *really* have done so much to elevate classical music articles through your sterling work, I am particularly touched by your encouragement. All my very best wishes, Alfietucker (talk) 07:43, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

User messages.[edit]

Please do not leave messages on my user talk page. BelziBhaal (talk) 21:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

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"Plot" versus "plan" in Operation Trojan Horse[edit]

You reverted my change of "plot" to "plan" in Operation Trojan Horse, and I'm asking that it be restored. The word was part of the following sentence 'A number of governors and the Muslim Council of Britain dubbed the reaction of authorities to the plot a "witch-hunt"'. Using the word "plot" in a sentence on complaints of over-reaction implicitly discredit those complaints. It is also a charged and angry word that moves the article away from factual reporting and towards evangelizing a position. "Plan" is an accurate word here, and any missing implication of secrecy or harm that "Plot" would convey is sufficiently supported by the rest of the article. -- Dan Griscom (talk) 10:30, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Sorry not to have replied sooner - real life work intervened, and so it is only now I've got around to checking my talk page.
It does seem, to be honest, that the complaints of "over-reaction" (to adopt the term you've used) were disingenuous and - as you say - the rest of the article bears out the implications of "secrecy" and "harm" that the word "plot" implies. If you feel differently, please take your case to the article's talk page. Alfietucker (talk) 19:25, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Recent Calormen edits[edit]

I misunderstood your edit summary. I thought you meant that the criticisms themselves were not cited. I understand what you were saying now. LloydSommerer (talk) 02:55, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your civil feedback - it's always good to know when there's understanding and resulting goodwill. Alfietucker (talk) 19:30, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

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RVW to the rescue[edit]

What think you of this, about two thirds down? I haven't read this quotation anywhere else and am dubious about it. Thoughts, please? Tim riley talk 15:39, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

I'm afraid Tony Palmer is a great one for elaborating and embroidering facts to make a good story, and to find an actor or actress to impersonate a personal friend of his subject to endorse his - i.e. Palmer's - version (e.g. claiming that Holst *stayed* in a street of brothels, rather than simply visiting it, while on his Algerian holiday). So I wouldn't trust any quote from that source, but I'm interested enough to see if something similar might be found from a more reliable source. Do let me know if you find anything promising in the meantime. All best, Alfietucker (talk) 15:52, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
I think the ultimate source of the anecdote that RVW "reproved" the LPO at the rehearsal is a letter Sophie Wyss wrote to his widow, Ursula, in August 1958. The fullest quote from this I have found reads: "the orchestra behaved like naughty schoolboys, not understanding Britten's musical idiom. Dr Vaughan Williams was at the rehearsal and reproved them and they pulled themselves together and gave a fair performance." (quoted in Michael Kennedy Britten, p. 22) Alfietucker (talk) 16:03, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Good. As Ko-Ko says to Nanki-Poo, "Very glad to hear my opinion backed by a competent authority." Tim riley talk 16:15, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Tangentially, RVW is about the last of the big beasts of 19th/20th century British music to have escaped the attentions of Boulton, Riley or even both. I feel I really must have a go at getting him up to FAC level, and I wonder if by any chance you might be interested in joining me in the enterprise? Quite understand if not, naturally. Tim riley talk 16:19, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

I'd be very happy to "tag along", though I'm not sure how much time I'd have for major writing/re-writing. If you're happy for me to look at versions in sandboxes, for instance, then I'd be very glad to help (or perhaps a bit more than that, time allowing). Do feel free to e-mail me, too, though it's probably best to alert me when/if you do so. Alfietucker (talk) 16:22, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
p.s. Thanks so much for asking - I'm very flattered! Alfietucker (talk) 16:24, 15 June 2014 (UTC)


Hello and congratulations on your excellent changes to Peter Grimes. I hope you don't mind that I have made some further, very minor changes which I hope have helped. One thing about which I was unclear (and have therefore left alone) was this: "Grimes's sudden entry [ ... ] unites almost the community in their fear and mistrust of his "temper"." I couldn't quite see how "unites almost the community" was meant to work; could you please very kindly clarify it? Thanks and best wishes DBaK (talk) 21:53, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

PS I am going to see him on Saturday, and am therefore quite excited right now :)
I've just made a tweak in response to your message - hope that's clearer. Have fun with Grimes - have you been to see it before? Alfietucker (talk) 22:01, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks - that's great. Actually now I stop to think, no, I haven't seen it on stage. I feel as if I know it and have certainly played Op 33a and b enough times but no - this will be a new, and I think splendid, experience! Thanks and best wishes DBaK (talk) 22:17, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
I hope it's splendid indeed - it's certainly a great opera. Alfietucker (talk) 22:38, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Bliss!!!! :) DBaK (talk) 00:14, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
 :-) Glad it was good. Alfietucker (talk) 16:12, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Bryan Drake[edit]

Thank you so much for doing the page for my father. I shall try to put a photograph up. He did write a memoir- would you like an emailed copy to expand your entry? olliedrake (talk) 19:12, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

My pleasure - it only seemed right that such an important baritone as your father was should have his own page. Forgive my ignorance, but did he ever have his memoir published? I ask, partly because Wikipedia's policy these days is that articles in this on-line encyclopaedia have to be based on published, verifiable sources - on the whole a good thing, I think, but a pain when there's what I know to be reliable sources which I can't use because they haven't been published by a recognised publisher. That said, I would personally be very interested indeed to see the memoir: so even if it hasn't been published, and if you're happy for me to see it (perhaps, as a freelance writer on classical music (under a different name), I could place an article based on this about your father in time for his ninetieth anniversary in a journal or magazine I write for), do please send it over - there's a tab "Email this user" on the Tools menu on the left. Alfietucker (talk) 19:38, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

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1989 in British music - compilations[edit]

Hello there - could I please ask you what you mean by describing the compilations chart as "unilluminating" and "trivia"? 1989 was in fact the first year that compilation albums were split off into their own separate chart, so it is kind of a historical point in chart history. Richard3120 (talk) 19:14, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Hi there. Sorry if I was a bit blunt, and I admit I missed the fact that compilation albums were split off into their own separate chart: certainly this fact should be mentioned in the summary at the start of the article. I'm not sure, though, that it's of particular interest to list details of that chart as such, and would be inclined to resist cluttering the article with such detail unless there's a compelling reason to do so. Alfietucker (talk) 19:21, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I know what you mean about cluttering up articles with unnecessary detail: I and several other editors have clashed with one particular editor who has insisted on populating the articles from 2011 in British music charts to 2014 in British music charts with a summary of each week's charts, making the articles ridiculously long and full of information that frankly is irrelevant – I pointed out to him that I would have to change his week numbering system as it didn't match up with the official chart week numbers, and he accused me of "vandalising" his project. Against this backdrop adding the year end compilation chart seems small fry, but I take your point. I'll refrain from adding the chart to the other years for now, but I may put it to a vote in Wikipedia:WikiProject Music or Wikipedia:WikiProject Albums and see what the consensus is. Richard3120 (talk) 20:08, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm certainly all for getting the charts off this particular series of articles - or rather, shunting them onto a separate page with a link from the article for those who are interested. Sorry you have had some grief from another editor - I guess they'll have to learn there's something called consensus in WP. I'll keep an eye out for any discussions. Alfietucker (talk) 20:14, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Made my day[edit]

Your edit presents a wonderful new idea: "Let's call xyz's work by the title he himself called it." Der fliegende Holländer. A Boy was Born. Endless possibilities! --Gerda Arendt (talk) 19:24, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

 :-) "Sinfonia Concertante" is a particular bugbear of mine, since to the best of my memory Prokofiev himself actually gave it the title (using the Western alphabet) of "Symphony-Concerto" (and indeed, that's what the article devoted to that work is called). That said, I think you're perhaps being a bit mischievous to suggest I was promoting a particular policy: I wouldn't suggest, for instance, that we should call Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture "Светлый праздник"! Best wishes, Alfietucker (talk) 19:37, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
There's a distance (if not "ein Abgrund") between share an idea and promote a policy ;) - The examples of Russian, Greec, Chinese etc characters are without limit. However, when we could easily change to a name that the composer used and the Grove and major opera houses, as for Wagner's work, there is just the lack of consensus which keeps things as they are (keeping it the only one of his stage works not in German). Did you see that my latest motto is "Ich gehe nicht schnell", to eventually replace "Ich steh hier und singe" (on top of my user page), as a bit faster? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 20:32, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
My point is that many Russian musical works (Russian music being one of my interests/loves) are not even remotely known by the title given by their composer: even if we didn't spell Rimsky's title in Russian Cyrillic, it would read Svetliy prazdnik - how many anglophone readers would think to look under that title? Likewise, I suppose it could be argued that most English speakers would know Le nozze di Figaro and Der fliegende Holländer as respectively The Marriage of Figaro and The Flying Dutchman. I personally don't have a problem with this - so long as people find the article they're looking for, then I'm happy - though arguably we should ensure that somewhere in that article the work's original title is available for readers to see. So, er, I guess I've a little edit to do to Russian Easter Festival Overture... Alfietucker (talk) 20:42, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Will that edit include to tell us the translation of the original? - Back to Wagner: better known as Flying Dutchman, certainly. But can we say Wagner composed The Flying Dutchman. Some say yes, I say no, I came from Kafka where all titles are in German (as the author gave them) with a translation, and during the FAC for Wagner, Dutchman left that article (kept only once in a translation). However, the article on the piece: there was a move request, - see above, no consensus = statusquo. See Chopin also.--Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:28, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure the Kafka articles make your point, or perhaps I've misunderstood it: his three best-known works are all to be found under their English titles - The Metamorphosis, The Trial, and The Castle. Alfietucker (talk) 21:39, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
p.s. I realise I didn't answer your first question. I'm not sure whether it's helpful to give a translation, which means something like "Bright holiday" or "Holiday of light". Alfietucker (talk) 21:46, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
(ec) What did I not understand? In Kafka, all works are in German with a translation to English. (All works' articles are in English, - that is history, and hard to change.) But in Wagner, one work was in English ("he nevertheless reworked both the Dutchman and Tannhäuser on several occasions"), all others in German. It was changed during the FAC process. - Different question: I would be interested in the biblical quotations in the score, however, the links are not too helpful. What do you think of Psalms 68:1–2 instead of a link to Psalm 68? - Bright holiday is a wonderful title, yes, please, make that known! Incidentally, I heard the premiere of Bright Blue Bird... on Sunday. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 22:04, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Hi Gerda - I've had a long day (because of "real life" events), so I think I'd better turn in now. I'll come back to this later. All best, Alfietucker (talk) 22:12, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Britten's cause of death[edit]

By coincidence Jack of Oz has been on the case too. Please see my talk page, where your comments at User talk:Tim riley#Kildea's claim about Britten's medical condition would be most welcome. Tim riley talk 16:53, 26 June 2014 (UTC)7

I say! The above sprat caught not a mackerel but a large and tasty turbot or halibut. Thank you, dear Alfie. Tim riley talk 18:38, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
My pleasure. Or at least, I felt it important enough to reply: having thought it was too trivial to make a fuss about, I realised on second thoughts that the basis for such a claim was so slender that to add anything further would be WP:UNDUE, or at least contrary to Wikipedia:Reliable sources and undue weight. 'nuff ced (as Gustav would have signed the matter off). Alfietucker (talk) 18:48, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
Your clear-eyed weighing of the evidence is invaluable. I'm a credulous soul who usually believes the last thing said to him. Cf Bertie Wooster: "Anybody can talk me round. If I were in a Trappist monastery the first thing that would happen would be that some smooth performer would lure me into some frightful idiocy against my better judgment by means of the deaf-and-dumb language." Tim riley talk 19:31, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe a word of this - but glad what I said made sense. :-) Alfietucker (talk) 20:11, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

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Removal of articles on "Noye's Fludee" and "Royal Hospital School.[edit]

The participation of the RHS band was an important milestone for them. The band often performed gratis at local garden fetes and exchanged with the HMS Ganges band for Victoria day ceremonies. But outside of that had never performed publicly and certainly never in conjunction with the likes of Benjamin Britten, Owen Brannigan and Jimmy Blades et al.

Also the reference to the tea cups being "ill-tuned" is obviously incorrect!!! To imagine that Benjamin Britten and Jimmy Blades would have done that is preposterous!!

My name is Ken Franks, RHS 1953-1958, Blake 26 and I was part of the Bugle contingent at both performances as was my friend Beckett of Howe house. We were billeted at a "holiday" camp (educational camp?) in Chigwell. We were positioned in the Nave of the church (for acoustical purposes) for both performances so I can't imagine that we appear on any photos.

The incident with the tea cups was startling and I am sure they had a reserve set in future. Try starting the rain with one of the centre cups missing!

If we only publish what has already been published then obviously we will eventually reduce our knowledge to nothing! (talk) 20:29, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

Hi User:, I added your signature this time, but do please add this next time you post by adding four tildes to the end of your message.
I see your point about only publishing what has only been previously published, but that's a principle Wikipedia works by to ensure verifiability. On the other hand I think it would be a shame to lose the details you can provide about that first performance of Noye's Fludde, and wonder whether you shouldn't see if you can publish an article somewhere about your memories of that performance, perhaps involving any other performers you are still in touch with. Perhaps the Britten-Pears Foundation may be interested, or could point you to an appropriate place to publish such an article.
I'm not sure which reference you have in mind re "ill-tuned" tea cups: do you mean where the article says "roughly tuned tea cups"? I think the wording is meant to cover the fact that teacups don't give a "pure" note but each tend to have what might be called "splashy" (and so quite appropriate to represent rain drops!) overtones - in effect a cluster of notes with one note predominating.
I've also posted a reply to your message at the talk page of the Royal Hospital School. Best wishes, Alfietucker (talk) 19:53, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

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Noye's Fludde[edit]

Just seen your message on Tim's talk page. If it's OK with you, I'll produce a tentative structure for the expanded article within a few days. We can discuss this, and I should also like to mention the proposed expansion to one or two of the other editors who've made significant contributions. I look forward to working with you. Brianboulton (talk) 20:24, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I'm particularly fond of Noye's Fludde, so very pleased to be involved. Alfietucker (talk) 21:39, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
I have opened a workpage here, where I've listed the sources which I have to hand at present. If you have suggestions for others, perhaps you'd add them. Brianboulton (talk) 16:22, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Great - I've now added some suggestions for printed sources, all of which I have immediately to hand except for the Peter Evans (I used to have, but lost it - it seems - in the course of one of my house moves), of which I've ordered the updated paperback edition. Evans, I think, is essential for any articles on Britten's compositions intended for FA promotion. One or two of the others I've listed are perhaps optional, but I would think Imogen Holst would be most valuable for background to the composition and its first performance, as would obviously be the collected letters. If any other sources occur to me, I'll let you know/add them to the list. All best, Alfietucker (talk) 22:27, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
I have added a "Chester miracle play" subsection to your sandbox, with an appropriate image. I like your text, although I have made a few changes to your "background" text, mainly changing the paragraph sequence, and deleting what seemed to me unnecessary details about some of the earlier works. I have not read through the "Creation" section yet, but we can't use the Colin Graham image. The supposed Fair Use rationale is wholly inadequate, and anyway there is no possible justification for non-free use of this image in this article – Graham is an entirely peripheral figure.
Thank you. I'm not particularly worried about the Colin Graham image, though Graham was the director of the first staging, and it effectively launched his career as an opera director. Still, his picture was there mainly (I must admit) because the text looked a bit bare, and I doubted that I could find non-copyright images of the original production or any photos of Britten rehearsing with the first performers (desirable though those would be).
I will have a proper look at your "Chester mystery plays" text tomorrow evening when I've a clearer head. A quick glance suggests there's a lot of interesting material, though I'm a bit worried that a lot of detail may not be directly relevant to Britten's opera (maybe we could consider transferring some of your text into the main Mystery play article - for instance, I transferred a lot of material I found about Boris Ford into the article devoted to him - unless you've an eye on raising *that* to FA?). Anyway, I'll have a more careful look when I'm a bit more awake. All best, Alfietucker (talk) 21:39, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree the Chester play intro was too long; I generally reduce my first drafts by around 30% before finalising them, and I have a rather shorter version in hand which I will post later. Incidentally, I think it's time to move the drafted sections into the article page, using an "underconstruction" banner, so that other editors can see what we're doing. We can obviously continue to work on the article there, where we'll also get a better idea of how the article is looking – and get some edit credits on the page. To avoid possible duplication of effort, I'd prefer to work on the music section myself, at least to to first draft stage. Brianboulton (talk) 11:10, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I read your message while on the move today, but managed to forget you had a shorter version on hand before having a go at cutting the Mystery play background text myself, by - as it happens - about a third. I thought the information you compiled very interesting, though I was inclined to restrict the text to detail relevant to the original play (about Noah and the Flood) and its performance, with just enough information to give it context. Or, if you prefer, post the shorter version for me to look over.
I've also gone through the edits you made to the background and creation texts of Noye's Fludde: generally I'm very happy with these, though I've restored some detail (e.g. the audience singing the overture to Little Sweep, as this prefigures what happens in Noye's Fludde; also the detail about Canticle II, as this involves a detail reused in Noye's Fludde - i.e. how God and the protagonist to whom he gives instruction speak in unison before the main protagonist breaks into solo). Anyway, thanks for your time over this.
If you're happy for me to go ahead and add the "Inception" and "Creation" sections, I'll do so. I'll leave it to you to add the "Chester mystery plays" section (so you get due credit).
Would you like me to do a section on preparing Noye's Fludde for publication (as it would deal with practical problems caused by some of the unusual instrumentation)? Alfietucker (talk) 19:02, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
p.s. I hadn't realised when I wrote the foregoing that you had gone ahead and posted all the written sections - including the ones I wrote. No problem: I will go ahead and edit what's there, at least partially on the work I did in the past hour, though I realise you've made some changes to all the text since then. Alfietucker (talk) 19:33, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

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Newham Recorder[edit]

Thanks for your watchful eye on Operation Trojan Horse when I inserted that reference from the Newham Recorder. I could see from Google News that there was no "related news" to the subject, so I googled "Michael Rosen Trojan Horse" and saw that he had views on it, which I thought was enough. I really should have had the sense to realise that an "open letter" should be well...viewable! '''tAD''' (talk) 13:27, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

No problem. It's possible, I guess, that we've both missed it somehow, but until someone can find a link or something to confirm its existence I was inclined to leave it out. Isn't it odd, btw, that the reporter in Newham Recorder obviously was too coy to admit that both Rosen and Alan Gibbons are children's authors (and none the less notable for that)! Certainly they have recently campaigned together against Gove on educational matters, but to do with teaching literacy AFAIK rather than religious bias. Alfietucker (talk) 13:33, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
Mr Rosen has written other people's statements on OTH on his blog, although, being a children's literature writer as you said, his own pieces on his blog attacking Gove are solely for general education '''tAD''' (talk) 13:46, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
I've had another look, and here is the nearest I've been able to find, titled "Open letter to people of all religions, all faiths" - not explicitly addressed to Gove, I notice. Alfietucker (talk) 14:17, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

More Noye[edit]

I'd like if possible to add the following (or something like it) to the Creation section:

The first published vocal score includes numerous suggestions to guide performers. Noye and Mrs Noye should be sung by professional singer-actors, and the Voice of God, although not necessarily a professional actor, should have "a rich speaking voice, with a simple and sincere delivery, without being at all 'stagey' ". Noye's children should be between 11 and 15 years old, with well-trained voices and lively personalities; Jaffet, the eldest, could have a broken voice. Mrs Noye's Gossips should be older girls with strong voices and considerable acting ability. The children playing the animals should vary in size and should range in age from seven to eighteen. The older age groups, with perhaps some broken voices, should represent the larger animals (lions, leopards, horses, camels etc), while the younger play rats, mice and birds.

This can be cited to the Vocal Score, already on board as a source. What do you say? Brianboulton (talk) 17:06, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm beginning to wonder if we should do a subsection titled (I can't think, but something like) "Special performance requirements"? Noye's Fludde was clearly unlike any other opera published by (certainly) Boosey & Hawkes, who long insisted that they couldn't go ahead and publish either the full score or vocal score until Britten had devised a simpler orchestral score.
Such a section ("Special performance requirements") would cover such issues as the questions Britten had to resolve before publication, such as the relative scarcity of full sets of handbells (not as widely available as Britten had expected, so necessitating his suggesting that B&H bought several sets for hire; and resulting in a compromise when the opera was first performed in Germany); the unwieldy size of the full score (in terms of publication, at least) given the varied forces involved; and could include specific instructions such as you suggest re the voice requirements and specifications of different abilities involved for a production of the opera. (Hope that makes sense - I'm typing in some haste as I need to turn for a bit to other matters to do with a planned house move - shades of Britten for Noye's Fludde!) What think you? Alfietucker (talk) 18:00, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
p.s. I'm now experimenting with creating such a section, incorporating the text you prepared and posted at the start of this thread. I hope to have something to show you in the next couple of hours, or at any rate by first thing tomorrow if not later this evening. Alfietucker (talk) 18:31, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I think a "Performance requirements" subsection is an excellent idea. Placed just before the Premiere details, it will be very helpful to readers, but I'd prefer to limit it to summarising the vocal and instrumental requirements of the work, rather than embellish with anecdotes and narrative detail; these could, if important enough, be added as footnotes. A lot of the information is already in the article, in a somewhat piecemeal manner, so there will be some necessary adjustments to then prose in some existing sections (forget the lead, which will be entirely rewritten).
A couple of other points:
  • In the Premiere section, the two sentences beginning "To aid rehearsals..." really belong in the Creation section, as they precede the premiere. (But is the information really noteworthy enough to warrant inclusion?)
  • I can't help noticing that almost everything in the Premiere section is cited to Britten's selected letters – even the DT and Times reports, and various comments attributed to Graham. The same issue exists to some extent in the "Creation" section. We're not short of sources, so shouldn't overuse one book, as details relating e.g. to set design, costume design, conducting and casting etc can be found in almost all the Britten books and relevant articles. Brianboulton (talk) 20:49, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

PS: I've replied to your points on my talk there. Brianboulton (talk) 20:49, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Glad you approve of my suggestions re subsections. Am now actioning the points you've raised. Re. references to Letters from a Life, it's an remarkably comprehensive resource, but I see your point. I admit I referred to this first since it has most of the info in handy form, though I do in fact have some of the sources it draws from, so where possible I'll substitute references from these. Alfietucker (talk) 21:09, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I like the Performance requirements draft. Structurally speaking, I think this should be a level three subsection within the "Creation" section, and I've made this adjustment pro tem - we can always readjust the structure when we are finalising the text. I am also doing some sandbox work on the Premiere section, which doesn't seem quite right, yet. Brianboulton (talk) 09:50, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you - also quite happy about trying it out as a level three subsection. Re. the Premiere section, I've added part of The Musical Times review (Rollo H. Myers) and a footnote giving a more accurate account about orchestral numbers (Roseberry, which tallies with the actual premiere programme).
I did some searching last night about Jonathan Miller's production and found date and cast. :-) Will now try to find more about Ede's production, and will work through what has already been written by other editors in "Later performances". Alfietucker (talk) 13:39, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Lew Grade

I was puzzled by the following:

"[Britten] had completed about two-thirds of the opera when Ford was dismissed from Associated Rediffusion, allegedly for administrative shortcomings and inexperience. A-R then decided to withdraw from the project, which was taken up by Associated Television (ATV), whose chairman, Lew Grade, instructed that Britten "should be told to start work on this opera at once".

From this, Grade had obviously been misinformed as to the state of the project when ATV took it over, and I don't see any point in including his misconceived instruction to Britten, which tends to confuse the reader. I've chopped it – unless you have a sound reason for reinstating it. Brianboulton (talk) 21:09, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Grade's instruction was reported in a letter by Boris Ford, written 18 November 1957 to the general manager of A-R. I agree that it's confusing, as Britten (perhaps Ford wasn't aware of this at the time) had indeed written more than half the opera by that stage (admittedly quite rapid work since this was only a month after Britten had last met with A-R, presumably to firm up details of the commission). So try cutting the instruction - the fact Grade took personal responsibility says enough, I think. Alfietucker (talk) 21:28, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Also: Can you provide a date and reference for this: "Britten replied to Ford's proposal that he was "frantically busy travelling this year, and will have very little time for writing. ... Besides, I feel that with Let's Make an Opera [i.e. The Little Sweep] I have rather done this idea before, and although I firmly intend to write another Opera for Children one day, it would be boring to make it follow the same plan as that piece." Brianboulton (talk) 21:21, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Looking at that extracted quote "cold", I'm worried that it misrepresents the tone of Britten's reply (probably my fault - though I did originally say Britten "replied to Ford's proposal with some enthusiasm"); the preceding sentences of his letter say: "It is a most interesting idea of yours that I should collaborate over a series of programmes for Schools, and something which, under different circumstances, I should love to have done." That opening gambit, and the fact Britten suggested that despite his hectic schedule they should nonetheless meet while he was in London to "talk about other possibilities" seems to me in principle - at least - receptive. Could we say something like 'Britten replied with some warmth to Ford's proposal, though noting that he was "frantically busy [etc]'?
The letter was dated 15 April 1957 (in reply to Ford's of 10 April), and is quoted on p. 564 of Britten (2008): p. 564. Alfietucker (talk) 21:38, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
Something like that would, I believe, clarify matters, but it would be better to paraphrase, rather than using the actual words of the letter. There is rather a tendency to quote sources at length, e.g. in Britten's letter to Brannigan, and the article needs to be substantially in our own words. While I'm at it, from your sources can you say when the following took place: "Later, Ford and his script editor, Martin Worth, travelled to Aldeburgh, and with Britten looked around at possible churches for the performance. Orford Church was chosen as, unlike most other churches in East Suffolk, its pews were not fixed, so offering a more flexible performing space." You don't have to do this tonight, though! Brianboulton (talk) 22:29, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
The searching for an appropriate church is according to Ford's account, given some years later and - it seems - without mentioning a date, though I would guess it was that summer before Britten went on tour to Canada. I'll check tomorrow whether there's any other account with a more precise date.
Point taken about paraphrasing - I'll bear that in mind when going through the article. Alfietucker (talk) 22:46, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Noye update on my talk: I hope your day went well. Brianboulton (talk) 23:07, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

PS: I am taking a break for Noye today - will be back tomorrow. There is a temporary hiatus on my preparation of the Music section, because I and everyone else have temporarily lost our WMF JSTOR access while the Foundation renogiates terms with JSTOR. Brianboulton (talk) 16:49, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm so sorry that you're having (I trust, temporarily) a hiatus in accessing JSTOR. I know you are very keen to do this section, so I'm resisting temptation to offer to assist here, unless you'd welcome it (I myself still have access, and also the excellent Peter Evans book on Britten's music) which I totally understand if you'd rather pass and wait for access.
Meanwhile I've added a bit to "Later performances", which in a way is still work in progress, but still I would welcome your thoughts on a) whether I'm adding the right sort of material (i.e. up to and including the paragraph on Jonathan Miller). Should I give more on any of the productions I mention (e.g. Miller using T-shirts rather than head-dresses to identify the animals in his production)? b) The rest of the section - I've already made some trims without removing any actual productions apart from John Langstaff for which I've as yet found no citation to support the info that was there. How does it look to you? Should there more trimming/summarising? Alfietucker (talk) 10:20, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
p.s. I've now transferred the text to the actual article - I think at least it's an improvement on what was there, though maybe it could do with either more or a bit less. Let me know your thoughts. Alfietucker (talk) 13:19, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

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Noye progress[edit]

I have now reordered the article's sections in accordance with our earlier discussions. I've also done some copyedits in the "Inception" section, where we had three mentions of The Little Sweep in the first two paragraphs, and a fourth mention in the third! I've also reduced/paraphrased the long quotes from the letters. The substance of the section has not changed.

Very good work, and thank you for doing it so sensitively (you may notice that I pressed that "thank" button). I would only question your footnote about Britten's falling out with Crozier (is it actually that relevant, or demonstrable, that the rift started in 1949?). Alfietucker (talk) 22:32, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Re. Crozier - having done some more reading/re-reading, I appreciate more why you made that footnote. It seems pretty hard to find a simple reference when Crozier's rift with Britten became total; and indeed - as I'd forgotten - there's good reason to believe it was Crozier's machinations over royalties in 1949 which started the rot. I may still try to find a more solid reference for 1952 (which seems essentially sound to me) to avoid having to give an explanation for that date.
I've now copy-edited the "Subsequent performances and publication" section, paraphrasing a good deal and making it all more succinct and clearer. I do think on reflection, though, that my initial idea of combining the Southwark and Ettal performances with the publication problems makes sense: the implicit contrast between Britten's Orford production, and an early production which exemplified what he felt went against the spirit of the work, and not least how the problems at Ettal demonstrated the issues Ernst Roth was concerned about.
All very best, Alfietucker (talk) 12:39, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

I've been looking in more detail at the "Subsequent performances and publication" section, and have some concerns:

  • The performances at Southwark Cathedral and Ettal are worth mentioning, but it hardly seems worth separating them in a section on their own. There's no mention of these performances in either of my two Britten biographies (Carpenter and Kildea) or in any of my books that discuss the opera. In fact, judging by your citations, the only books that mention them are the Britten letters – which brings me to my second point.
  • I've already expressed concern about the overuse of these letters as a source, and the tendency to overquote from them. In this section, getting on for half of the prose is quotation. Quotes should be used sparingly, mainly to highlight arresting or memorable phrases; generally they should be paraphrased. They are an inefficient means for driving the narrative. Here, events are being seen too much through the prism of Britten's private concerns, so that his particular worries, obsessions etc become inflated in importance. This is particularly the case in the amount of prose – virtually two whole paragraphs – that you devote to handbells. This side issue, apparently a minor obsession with Britten, is of very little signifcance in the context of the opera as a whole. Consider the detail here: "Roth made enquiries to the firm Mears & Stainbank, the bell foundry based in Whitechapel, London, having reported to Britten that the firm was, "I am told, the only founders making handbells". Roth subsequently passed the company’s reply to Britten. Britten wrote back to Roth, insisting that the firm's letter confirmed that handbells were not so uncommon, though he conceded that "[w]hat may be rare is handbells in E flat, and the right number. Would it not be a good idea for Boosey & Hawkes to invest in a set of these which could be hired for a limited period? … my feeling is that we should not publish a reduced version, but that the handbells should perhaps be cued in the piano duet part." None of this is appropriate in a summary encyclopedia article. Likewise, the detail in the final paragraph could be reduced to a single short sentence.
  • I know it is hard to censor your own prose, but we all have to do it. We need to rethink this section. My preference is to subsume the two performances into your improved "Later performance history" section, and have a short "Publication history" section at the end of the article (what I called "Editions" in my original structure plan), to deal with publication issues – mixing publication and performance history doesn't work. I will give you my thoughts on the later performance later; one thing I notice is the number of dead links to the supposed sources.

Are you getting JSTOR access via your university? I'm still without; if it doesn't come back soon I will ask for your help. The article I'm particularly interested in is The Music of 'Noye's Fludde', which you may like to read. Brianboulton (talk) 22:14, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for speaking so frankly about the "Subsequent performances and publication" section. Certainly, I think it could work well to integrate the Southwark and Ettal performances in the "Later performance history" section and then, as you suggest, do a more succinct summary of Britten's correspondence with Roth/B&H about publishing the work. However I would question your characterising the issue about the handbells as "a minor obsession" of Britten's - more on that anon.
I also understand and accept your concern about quoting too extensively from the letters, and am happy to have a try at paraphrasing and condensing their substance - would you mind if I at least make the first pass at this? May I assure you, notwithstanding your comment "I know it is hard to censor your own prose", that I have no problem at all about editing my own prose. (I welcome suggestions, but I would feel more comfortable if you could avoid making them come across as de haut en bas.)
I'm also rather surprised by your saying there's a danger of overusing the Letters from a Life series "as a source". I would argue, on the contrary, that the series should be a prime source for the article (or indeed, any article on Britten and his work): not least, they contain much detail not to be found in the biographies, largely due to research which is more up-to-date - for instance, correcting the erroneous claim (by Carpenter among others) that Britten completed Noye's Fludde without any support from any independent TV company (indeed, there's a lot of detail I have not included, nor propose to include, where it is evident that Britten relied on the support not only of ATV, but also the BBC transcription service). Secondly, by being themselves based so closely and in a scholarly fashion on primary material, and not attempting to create a sensational biography as both Carpenter and Kildea have in their different ways (for all the undoubted value of much of their original research), they are a more sober basis on which to create an article. (FWIW, I have so far only found one error in the annotations, based on a false inference by the editors.)
Finally (re "Subsequent performances and publication"), can I make a plea for the composer, who surely knows the nature of his work and certainly had a formative influence on both its creation and how it was introduced to a wider world? I fully accept that the handbells issue is covered at too great a length, and I'm willing to work at this (I realise that I lost sight of the fact we're writing an encyclopaedic article rather than something for a journal). But I would still argue that it's important for two reasons: 1) it is a key element that Britten drew from a local amateur group, exemplifying what Peter Evans called the sui generis nature of the work; 2) something I think we should consider is how much the sound recalled the Balinese metallophones Britten had so recently heard first-hand (which were evoked in his ballet The Prince of the Pagodas), and which a number of commentators (for instance Christopher Palmer) have commented on. This explains why the sound (which is indeed strikingly beautiful) was so important to Britten.
On your remaining points. Sorry about the dead links: they are remnants - as you know - of what was added by other hands. I was hoping you might have an opinion whether the sentences they are in are important enough to try to replace the links: i.e. I'm happy to chase up alternative links, but am rather reluctant to do so if the sentences concerned are just going to be chopped.
And yes, I still have access to JSTOR: maybe I can e-mail you relevant articles. Have you got Peter Evans's book (warmly recommended if not)?
I hope I haven't been too aggressive in the foregoing, but I do think some of the issues (nothing to do with how I presented them - I fully accept, as I've said earlier, what you say about paraphrasing and style) are too important to be dismissed merely because Carpenter, Kildea et al don't cover them. Alfietucker (talk) 23:21, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for this reply, cogently expressed. I will deal with it tomorrow – I have to attend a funeral in the morning, worse luck, but I should be back on duty by the afternoon. Brianboulton (talk) 23:36, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
My best wishes and condolences. Thank you for understanding. Alfietucker (talk)

Condolences unnecessary, it was a "duty" attendance (I never even met the bloke). Anyway, I'm back, now. I did not mean to imply that BB's letters are not a useful source, only that too much reliance on them can give a distorted impression, particularly when we quote overgenerously in Britten's own words. I think the point you make about writing for a general encyclopedia rather than a music journal is important, as it helps us to focus on what's important to general readers rather than music experts. We have 5000-odd words with which to do the lot. I like your comment about handbells exemplifying the sui generis nature of the work. If you can work this sentence into the end of the "Performance requirements", the importance of handbells is covered without the need for much further explanation.

I think I understand the point you're making re handbells, though it does seem to me that it also exemplifies a longer-term issue, which ultimately led to Britten leaving Boosey & Hawkes (and the unimaginative/insensitive handling of his music - not just Noye's Fludde - by Ernst Roth) and join Faber Music (formed more or less at his behest) which then published such innovative works as Curlew River and the other Church Parables. I don't think we need spell this out, but assuming that the Church Parables (to which Noye's Fludde to some extent looks forward to) are going to be expanded at some stage, this is - so to speak - one of the icebergs which informs Britten's work and his relationship with his publisher. Alfietucker (talk) 21:28, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I will leave you to work on the rehash of performance history. With regard to those performances which are cited to dead links, I wouldn't waste time hunting alternative sources. With Southwark and Ettal, there are about 15 performances listed, possibly too many to meet a strict criterion of interest/notability. If you do wield the axe, I knew Michael Williams (Judy Dench's old man) so try and keep the Miller production in. [Rather amused by that comment, since I wrote that paragraph about Jonathan Miller's production! AT]

On other matters: I have beefed up the synopsis with more detail, and a few quotes from the text (in the vernacular). The music detail, e.g. the role of specific instruments during the storm and in the finale, are not part of the plot synopsis (see WP:PLOTSUM for guidance); I'd like to include these in the music section, so have deleted them here – but rest assured they are not forgotten. I've left a few music details in the synopsis, at least until the music section is written. I have started work on this section – I don't need the Roseberry article yet, but if I do before JSTOR is restored, I'll ask you to email it. Brianboulton (talk) 16:04, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Let me know if/when you want the article sent over. Alfietucker (talk) 21:30, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Still no JSTOR despite assurances. Could you send it over – I'm getting impatient. Brianboulton (talk) 08:57, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
I have added my draft of the Music section. I have followed my previous practice in opera articles of making this descriptive, rather than analytical as would be the case if writing for a music journal – technical terms kept to a minimum, etc. I'm still working on it; there are footnotes to be added, some more refs – on that last point, could I ask you to find the Evans ref for the comment "the one jarring note in Noye's Fludde", in the last paragraph? I shall no doubt fiddle with it obsessively over the next few days: any thoughts of your own will be welcome. Brianboulton (talk) 15:08, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Great. I'll start looking at that now and will give you feedback on your talk page when I'm done. I'll also add the Evans reference (and check whether there's any supplementary info/insights he gives we should consider including). All best, Alfietucker (talk) 16:12, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Responses on my talk Brianboulton (talk) 19:07, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

Trojan Horse, jihad[edit]

Hi Alfie,

Operation Trojan Horse was linked in Template:Jihadism sidebar. I was unsure about whether to put this template in the article, as I'm not sure whether it is Jihadism (which always reminds me of paramilitary violence) or mere Islamism. Do you have enough knowledge to tell me whether it is valid to call this "Jihadism" or not?

Thank you '''tAD''' (talk) 20:23, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Hi tAD. I won't pretend to have sufficient expertise about Jihadism, but - I suspect for reasons similar to yours - I rather hesitate to couple it to the Trojan Horse affair: unless we can find a reliable source which makes such a link, I fear that to do so, however implicitly, may be at least WP:SYNTH, and as such should be avoided, particularly on such a sensitive subject. Alfietucker (talk) 21:36, 23 July 2014 (UTC)