Listen to excerpts from the first six song sung by Mark Stone:
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The Bath was composed in 2004 for the mezzo, Catherine Hopper, who was looking for songs ‘on a watery theme’!
The lyrics are from the collection, Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes (1899), by Harry Graham writing as ‘Colonel D. Streamer’. The Rhymes transcend their influences (The Times compared him to Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, W. S. Gilbert) in terms of whimsicality, laconicism and outrageous ‘moralising’. One of the Rhymes is the succinct:
Father heard his children scream
So he threw them in the stream
Saying, as he drowned the third,
‘Children should be seen, not heard!’
The story in this song revolves around an unfortunate incursion into a bathroom by a maiden aunt, unaware that her nephew is in the bath… one section in the song is marked ‘Valse’, another ‘March (Funeral)’… The final sentiments typically fuse tragedy with banality. Corp provides an entertaining and melodious setting, sure to cause mirth in any performance.
Graham, incidentally, wrote the libretto for Harold Fraser-Simson’s The Maid of the Mountains, an operetta or musical comedy of 1917 – a work recorded by Corp with the New London Orchestra. He also made English adaptations of Franz Lehár’s The Land of Smiles and Robert Stolz’s The White Horse Inn, among others.