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9 TREBLES Featured Boy Sopranos | All Trebles | Boy Altos | Soloist Recordings | Chorister of the Year | 78 RPM | Pop Singles

  Thomas Meddings   [Thomas Edward Meddings]    (b. 1 Januar 1922) Boy Soprano Soloist 
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Thomas Meddings Born in 1922; member of the Temple Church Choir 1931-38, Head Chorister from 1937 and, according to Lewer, affectionately known to the choristers as "Meddy". Meddings had an intensely expressive and penetrating voice of a lovely slightly tentative quality.

Fellow chorister (1931-33) David Lewer described him as "an extremely intelligent singer with a fine voice which continued to develop in musical stature, and he was without doubt the outstanding soloist of the 'thirties at Temple." He was chosen (with others from Temple) to sing in the choir for the 1937 Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (parents of the present Queen). Donald Simpson (Temple chorister 1936-41) wrote of him: "He had a great voice and, what is often absent in a boy, the artistic temperament necessary for a consistently high standard of singing."

Thomas Meddings became an architect and designed the City of London School on Queen Victoria Street which opened in 1987. He died in December 2004.

See David Lewer's book "A Spiritual Song" (London, 1961), especially chapters 12 & 13.
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Featured Recordings Compact | Full
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Spohr: As pants the hart (arr. Stimpson) / Blest are the departed (HMV B.8380 (10-inch), 78 RPM) November 1935
Featuring Thomas Meddings  
A: As pants the hart (versification of Psalm 42 by Nahum Tate (1652-1715) & Nicholas Brady (1659-1726) in "A New Version of the Psalms of David" (1696: "As pants a hart . . . So pants my soul."; 2nd edn 1698: "As pants the hart . . . So longs my soul.") - tune from aria & chorus "Und wenn sie alle weichen" from Part I of Spohr's "Des Heilands letzte Stunden", 1834-35 aka "The Crucifixion" or "Calvary"; first publ. as a setting for Psalm 42 in "The Musical Times" for 1 September 1857, adapted by Birmingham organist James Stimpson (1820-86)) (matrix 0ER101-2) - with Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ. Now on Amphion's CDs "The Better Land" vol. 2 & "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1.

B: Blest are the departed (Quartet & Chorus from Part II of Spohr's "The Last Judgment" - see B.8123) (0ER102-2) - soprano soloist in the quartet, with Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ. Available on CD "Glory" vol. 1.
Both pieces rec. 23 July 1935.

Review in "The Gramophone" (Nov. 1935) by the secular priest Alec Robertson said the performances were of a high order and that Meddings "has a voice of lovely quality, not in the least emotional, and it possesses that slightly tentative quality which is much more endearing than the assured ease of some treble soloists."
  Side A -   As pants the hart (Spohr arr. Stimpson)   3' 09
  Side B -   Blest are the departed (Spohr)   3' 01 (From "The Last Judgment")
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Spohr: Lord God of Heaven and Earth / Bach: Jesu joy of man's desiring (HMV B.8123 (10-inch), 78 RPM) März 1934
Featuring Thomas Meddings  
A: Lord God of Heaven and Earth (Quartet & Chorus closing Part I of Louis (Ludwig) Spohr (1784-1859) "Die letzten Dinge" or "The Last Judgment", 1825-26, orig. wds (Johann) Friedrich Rochlitz (1769-1842), Engl. version Edward Taylor (1784-1863), 1830) (matrix 0BR307-3A) - soprano soloist in the quartet, with Dennys Lake (alto), Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ.
B: Jesu joy of man's desiring (J.S. Bach (1685-1750) Cantata No. 147 (1723), arr. Allen) (0BR305-2) - with Leon Goossens, oboe, Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, piano. (This is basically a choral item, but Meddings can clearly be heard leading the treble line.)

Dennys Savage Walton Lake (b. Hampstead, 1919), whose fine alto voice is heard briefly, was a member of the choir 1931-35. He lost his young life aged only 21 on 16 June 1941 during a bomber attack when serving as a Pilot Officer with RAF 78 Squadron.

Both items rec. 20 Dec. 1933 and now available on CD Amphion "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1.
  Side A -   Lord God of Heaven and Earth (Spohr)   3' 23 (From "The Last Judgment")
  Side B -   Jesu joy of man's desiring (Bach)   2' 35 (From Cantata No. 147)
Thomas Meddings - Foster: Oh! for a closer walk with God
Foster: Oh! for a closer walk with God (HMV 12-inch matrix unissued on 78 rpm, 78 RPM)
Featuring Thomas Meddings  
Oh! for a closer walk with God (Anthem for Whitsuntide, 1884: wds William Cowper (1731-1800), written 1769, publ. 1772 - music Myles Birket Foster (1851-1922)) (matrix 2ER100-2, rec. 23 July 1935) - with Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ. Unissued at the time but now available from a test pressing on Amphion CD "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1, where it is misattributed to the composer Spohr and the singer Harold Langston.

The adjacent portrait shows Meddings at age 13, about the time this disc was made.
  Side A -   Oh! for a closer walk with God (Foster)   4' 24
Other Recordings Compact | Full
Thomas Meddings - The Glory of the Temple Church Choir
The Glory of the Temple Church Choir (Amphion PHI CD 172, CD) Januar 2002
Featuring Temple Church Choir   Denis Barthel   Harold Langston   Ernest Lough   Ronald Mallett   Thomas Meddings  
"Doctor" George Thalben-Ball's famous choir, recorded 1922 - 1935.
The success of "The Better Land" series, featuring boy sopranos of the 20th century has awakened interest in that great choir to which several of the boys belonged, and in the man who trained them. Several of the "boys" have been closely involved with the preparation of this CD.
  1.   King of Glory  
  2.   I Waited for the Lord   Soloists: Ernest Lough and Ronald Mallett
  3.   O come everyone that thirsteth   Soloists: Lough and Mallett
  4.   How Lovely are the Messengers  
  5.   Lullay my Liking & There is no rose   Soloist: Dennis Barthel
  6.   See amid the winter's snow   Soloist: Barthel with tenor
  7.   O Little Town of Bethlehem   Soloist: Barthel
  8.   As pants the hart   Soloist: Thomas Meddings
  9.   Lord it belongs not to my care  
10.   Jesu joy of man's desiring  
11.   Blest are the departed   Soloist: Meddings
12.   He was despised   Soloist: Barthel
13.   Remember now thy creator   Soloists: Harold Langston and Barthel
14.   Oh for a closer walk with God   Soloist: Thomas Meddings (misattributed on CD as Langston)
15.   If ye love me, keep my commandments  
16.   O filii et filiae   Soloists: Lough and Horton
17.   Lord God of Heaven & Earth   Soloists: Meddings (soprano) and Dennys Lake (alto)
18.   Angels ever bright and fair   Soloist: Langston
19.   Psalm 150  
20.   Hear my Prayer   Soloist: Lough
21.   The Heavens are telling  
Email   Purchase from the Producer, Stephen Beet You can order the Better Land and Temple Church CDs directly from the producer Stephen Beet for £11.00 plus postage and packing. Please apply for postal rates and discounts on the set of both series. StephenRBeet@gmail.com Paypal address beetstphn@aol.com
Thomas Meddings - The Better Land Volume 2: Great Boy Sopranos 1930 - 1950
The Better Land Volume 2: Great Boy Sopranos 1930 - 1950 (Amphion PHI CD 159, CD) 2000
Featuring Derek Barsham   The Better Land Series   Billy Neely   Denis Barthel   Harold Langston   Thomas Meddings   Graham Payn   Temple Church Choir   Denis Wright  
This volume is now deleted but replaced by the double CD volume The Better Land Volumes 1 & 2. See above.
  1.   Jerusalem (Parry-Blake) (L)   Master Denis Barthel
  2.   Silent Worship (Handel-Somervell) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  3.   Passing By (E. Purcell-Herrick) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  4.   Ninepenny Fiddle (Trad- arr. Moore) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
  5.   Lark in the Clear Air (Trad) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
  6.   Cradle Song (Schubert-Claudius)   Master Denis Wright
  7.   I'll Walk Beside You (Murray-Lockton) (L)   Master Derek Barsham
  8.   Beyond the Dawn (Sanderson-Weatherly)   Master Derek Barsham
  9.   The Birds (Britten-Belloc) (L)   Master Billy Neely
10.   Child & the Twilight (arr Moore)   Master Billy Neely (1950)
11.   Remember now thy Creator (Sterndale-Bennett)   Masters Harold Langston & Denis Barthel, with the choir of the Temple Church, London.
Recorded July 1930. Acc. Dr. George Thalben Ball. Unpublished recording 3rd. July 1930.
12.   Lullay Myn Lyking (Trad 15th Cent-Terry) (L)   Master Denis Barthel
13.   Uncle Mac's Favourite Hymns: All Things Bright & Beautiful, There's a Friend for Little Chil   Master Denis Wright with the Greenbank Children's Choir
14.   Hymn that I Sang as a Boy (Miller-Burnaby)   Master Graham Payn
15.   Meadowsweet (April)   Master Graham Payn (1933)
16.   Anchor Song (Smith)   Master Derek Barsham
17.   A Fairy Story by the Fire (Merikanto)   Master Billy Neely
18.   Vergin Tutt 'Amor (Francesco Durante) (L)   Master Billy Neely
19.   Star of Bethlehem (Adams-Weatherly)   Master Derek Barsham
20.   As Pants the Hart (Spohr) (L)   Master Thomas Meddings with the choir of the Temple Church
21.   Il Mio Bel Foco (Benedetto Marcello-Baker)   Master Billy Neely
22.   "The Libertine: Nymphs & Shepherds"   Master Derek Barsham.
Transcription disc of B.B.C. Children's Hour broadcast, with Nancy Phillips, violin. First issue on "Better Land" vol. 2.
23.   Cherry Ripe (Hurn-Herrick) (L)   Master Billy Neely (1949)
24.   Halleluja (Easter Hymn dating from 1623)   Master Denis Barthel
25.   Star of God (Coates-Murray) (L)   Master Derek Barsham.
Recorded 3 or 4 May 1946 with piano accomp. Live direct-disc recording at the Royal Albert Hall during the Boys' Brigade Annual Display, Physical Phantasmagoria. First issue on "Better Land" vol. 2.
Review at   The Better Land
Email   Purchase from Stephen Beet
Books Compact | Full
Thomas Meddings - Better Land, The: In Search of the Lost Boy Sopranos
Better Land, The: In Search of the Lost Boy Sopranos (Rectory Press , Book) April 2005
Featuring The Better Land Series   Temple Church Choir   Clifford Adams   Derek Barsham   Denis Barthel   John Bonner   Richard Bonsall   Alan Bradbrook   Master John Brookman   Richard Brown   Master Gordon Carter   Master (Arthur) Iwan Davies   Master Leslie Day   Robin Fairhurst   Frederick (John) Firth   Michael Ginn   John Gwilym Griffith(s)   Robert Harris   Michael Hartnett   Aled Jones   Beverley Jones   Raymond Kinsey   Harold Langston   Ernest Lough   Robin Lough   Thomas Meddings   Brian Moody   Billy Neely   Graham Payn   Robert Duncan Peel   Kenneth Purves   The Choir of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy   Steffani and his Silver Songsters   Thomas Tweedy   Denis Wright  
By Stephen Beet. Features much newly-discovered material, telling the often very human stories of the boys behind the voices, at the height of their singing careers and in their later lives. Copiously illustrated with many previously-unpublished photographs and manuscript samples, with a Foreword by Peter Purves.

As well as chapters on Iwan Davies, Derek Barsham, and Denis Wright, amongst others there are also chapters under the following headings: The Temple Boys, The Manchester Boys, The Music Hall Boys, The Fleeting Boys, and The Broadcast Boys.

This book is available directly from the author: Contact StephenRBeet@gmail.com Price Seven Pounds Sterling plus postage

This book is available for the cost of postage and packing only if the set of six The Better Land CD albums is ordered.
Email   Stephen Beet The book costs £10 plus postage. Cheque or PayPal.
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