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Classic FM's resident rhyme expert, More Music Breakfast presenter Tim Lihoreau, crafted this most epic of poems in celebration of Sir Neville's 90th birthday - and there's not an albatross in sight!
Now he's turned 91, rediscover the life and music of one of the world's greatest musicians with our classically inspired ode about our favourite musical Marriner. You can hear Tim reciting his poem here, and read it below.
Part the First
There’s a not-so ancient Marriner
Who from Lindum’s fields was hurled
With Guarneri’s box and coiffed white locks
He rocked the music world.
Cast from a builder’s worthy mould
He was soon in the muses’ thrall
The RCM was not just fate...
‘Twas handy for the Albert Hall.
Part the Second
Once merciful Mars returned him home
He sought that fine ‘grand prix’
Not money’s giddy fortune
But time in gay Paris.
Here he learnt from masters
He sat at their feet below
He drank in René’s wisdom.
(Not the one from ‘Allo ‘Allo)
Part the Third
Soon this lithe young Marriner
Found himself a second fiddle
He would oft ‘rondeau’, with the LSO
Near the back, sort of....in the middle
He loved this band of warriors
But yearned for a more ...Romanesque mob
For though he’d music every day
‘Twas not for him – a second desk job.
Part the Fourth
Soon, he had 13 good men and true
In his Kensington home rehearsing
They’d move the sofas, stop the clocks
But you’d ne'er hear Molly cursing
Then ‘Little John’ Churchill offered up
His church in Martin’s field
So midst cynical snorts, and homeless sorts,
Their musical fates were sealed.
Part the Fifth
The eyes were here, the eyes were there,
The eyes were all around
And oh how they all widened
At this Academy’s sound.
Three times twenty living men and women
A heady cocktail to imbibe, inhale,
With our hero...the maraschino cherry
Part the Sixth
Day after day, they struck gold upon gold
We bought them on LP
So good, so great, they grew not old
So we bought them again, on CD.
No sleep - it is a loathsome thing
Though loved from pole to pole.
With Water Music everywhere,
‘Twas the life of Baroque and roll.
Part the Seventh
So this Knight, this Commander, this Marriner true,
whose baton and eye is bright,
whose locks, still coiffed, whose flawless craft
still burn with fiery light:
We salute you and your music.
Your baton and your bow.
All your rounds, your exquisite sounds
“Sir Nev”...at Ninety: bravo.
Don't forget, you can discover more of Tim Lihoreau's brilliant witticisms on the More Music Breakfast show, every weekday morning from 6am.