The Sound of Christmas, 1916

A traditional Greek tune used in ‘Aladdin in Macedonia’, first performed in 1916 by 85th Field Ambulance at the Kopriva Palace Theatre in the Struma Valley.

The music of this dance is based on a native melody heard at a village dance on Old Christmas Day. The performers joined hands in a long line and danced slowly to the accompaniment of solo clarinet and drum. The dance reproduces the quaint rhythm of the original music. This note and the musical score are from ‘Music in Macedonia’ published after the war by Charles H. B. Jaques, who also wrote the music.

On this recording – possibly the first ever – “Greek Village Dance” is played by Sam Braysher (clarinet) and Joe Sweeney (drum). Sam and Joe are alumni of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. I mention this because, by coincidence, ‘Aladdin in Macedonia’ was performed at the Guildhall School of Music Theatre in 1929 by the 85th Club. The programme for this production, which I bought on eBay, gives the following credits:

  • Book by Frank Kenchington
  • Lyrics by N.M. Hadfield, F. Izod and G.G. Horrocks
  • Music specially written by C.H.B. Jaques and G.H. Davies
  • Director : Arthur M. Lewis
  • Musical Director : G. Herbert Davies
  • Stage Manager and Property Master : G.W.F. Sexton

What is especially notable is that the cast contains eight real women!

A programme for a 1929 production of 'Aladdin in Macedonia' performed at the Guildhall School of Music Theatre, by the 85th Club.

Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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