It was sad to read this afternoon that the fine English Baritone John Carol-Case died on 28 December 2012. Although he has been long retired and has led a life out of the limelight in North Yorkshire, one cannot help feeling somewhat sad about the loss to English music – although his contribution to English song in particular lives on through his recorded legacy.
After reading the article on The Independent’s website (see here), I went (as one does in this digital age) to YouTube – being more readily (lazily!) available than the CD shelves – and found this performance of John Carol Case and Tod Handley performing Finzi’s ‘Fear no more the heat of the sun’ from the string version of Let us Garlands bring.
Carol Case’s performance did that (too-?) rare thing to me as I listened: it made me think, yes! I really do want to be a singer! Having several strings to my bow, as such, as editor, researcher, writer, lecturer etc etc, I came to the point a few years ago where I was considering giving up the singing to make way for these other activities. Instead of giving up, I decided to lay my hand to the plough and try to see if there was something in it – which it is beginning to seem there might be. It is moments like this, prompted by Carol Case’s passing, that reaffirms my desire to perform and remember what it is about it that makes me want to do it. So as long as there are people who wish to listen, I shall sing. If I can create something as special and truly beautiful as Carol Case does in this performance – not to mention his numerous others which I must revisit – then I shall have truly achieved something. It is a rare thing though, so I shall just hope that people will get some enjoyment from what I do and carry on. If the spark of magic happens, which one must always seek to capture, then it will be a blessed thing.