A Shadow’s on the Sundial: initial notes

My copy of the Virginia Glee Club‘s 1972 record, A Shadow’s On the Sundial, arrived today. I haven’t listened to much of it yet, but a quick scan of the first few tracks on the first side and a review of the liner notes (transcribed) provide the following observations:

  1. This is a completely different group than the rough-hewn group from 1951 (or was it 1947) that recorded Songs of the University of Virginia. No monophony here, no vigorously gasping phrases, no mediocre baritones. Don Loach should rightly be credited with introducing the tradition of countertenor singing to the Glee Club, as evidenced in the first four madrigals, and for generally setting a high level of musicianship. When I joined the group, in the second year after he and the group parted ways, much of the musical philosophy of the group was still proceeding in the fundamental direction laid down by him.
  2. Only four of the Summer Songs, settings written by the group’s conductor David Davis of poetry by the group’s student business manager, Michael B. Stillman (class of 1963), are included on the recording—not included is the oddly funny “Little Polly Ethylene.”
  3. The record’s liner notes reveal the identity of the mysterious Harrison Randolph, who in 1893 broke it out of the Glee, Mandolin and Banjo Club and set it on its path of independent existence: he was the organist in the University Chapel.

More notes as I finish listening to the record…

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