Deck the halls…..Banquet Fugue….John Rutter!!

“There?s a fly in my soup!” It is very common to see our students giggling when singing “Banquet Fugue”, written by John Rutter. I, as a member of High school choir, also laughed and giggled about the lyrics of this song. This made me curiosity and made me wonder about the meaning of thetitle, “Banquet Fugue”, and who John Rutter is.

John Rutter is a famous British composer, conductor, and arranger. He studied in Clare College, where he first published and recorded his music. His styles of musics were influenced by French and English choral traditions of the early twentieth century and light music. He arranged many famous songs such as, “Born on Earth”, “Deck the Hall”, “Cantique de Noel”, and “Angel Tidings”. He wrote many famous melodies such as, “Gloria”, “Mass of the Children ”, and “Banquet Fugue”. As you can see, he wrote and arranged many carols and light music.
To find the true meaning of the song, “Banquet Fugue”, I sang and read the lyrics of the song myself. From doing this, I learned that this song is about unusual dinner conversation. In the lyrics, there are phrases like, “Pass the salt and the pepper and the mustard and vinegar and the bread”, “There?s a fly in my soup!”, “Well – it won’t drink much, Sir!’, and “Burp”. This shows that something weird and strange ( such as a fly in the soup) is happening at the dinner table. I really like and enjoy this song as this describes well what is going on, explains things in a funny way, and uses repetitive words ( such as Guzzle-guzzle). I could understand John Rutter better from reading his autobiography. He wrote “Mass of Children”, after his son, Christopher’s sudden death while studying at Clare College. I can’t exactly relate to this as I don’t have children and I can’t understand the sadness when your daughter or son is suddenly dead. However, my best friend died from a car accident. One normal day, I stared at the empty chair where my best friend Samuel usually sat. We had fought a day before he died because of a very little thing. After the class, our teacher told us that Samuel went to heaven about 20 minutes ago from a car accident. I was so sad because his death was so sudden that I couldn’t even say sorry to him. Before that class, I received a call from Samuel but I rejected it as I was mad. Because of my friend’s sudden death, I could see John Rutter’s perspective and feel some of his sadness.
Searching the background information of John Rutter and understanding the story and the meaning of “Banquet Fugue” really helped to interpret and focus in the song. The next time, I will always research the background information about the songs as this really helped to understand the song better.

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