Week 9: Grand conversation on Napoleon, Plains of Waterloo

Week 9 has been a long time coming – sorry about that. Hopefully normal service will be resumed for week 10. (The 52fs week runs Thursday to Wednesday, so it won’t take long to find out!)

This week and the next couple of weeks I’m going to be dipping into the repertoire of songs on Napoleon, perhaps with a couple on Nelson for balance.

The Grand Conversation on Napoleon is an odd song, as wordy as the title implies but with a distinctive (and fiddly) tune spanning two octaves. After the song – backed with a Bontempi drone – I play through the tune on flute, then run it into a version of the dance tune “The cuckoo’s nest”; they’re closer than might appear.

Plains of Waterloo looks, indirectly, at the human cost of the events described in the previous song. (It’s also one of the songs that the Grand Conversation tends to spark off in singarounds.) It’s unaccompanied, and very much in the footsteps of June Tabor.

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