April 1949: Orpheus Choir in London

Please note before reading the article below, that it contains words and terms, in common use in the twentieth century, which may offend

the reader.


An article from The Glasgow Herald’s “Own Correspondent” in London, is on page three, on Monday the

25th of April, 1949, and reads:



… LONDON, Saturday.


Despite stifling heat the Glasgow Orpheus Choir attracted large audiences in London this afternoon and

evening. Between 2000 and 3000 people were turned away from the box office earlier in the week, and the

only empty seat seen in the hall belonged to an enthusiast who could not stand a tropical temperature—even

when beguiled by Sir Hugh Roberton’s happy wit.


The conductor was in better form than at any time since the war, his laments about old age being as

stylised as any Highland mourning-song. He referred to the amusing fact that there had been complaints

about the number of non-Scots items heard in recent programmes, these letters coming almost

invariably from the English.


As it was, an admirable Scots selection did have some strong rivalry from a negro spiritual, ‘Great Day.’

This and the virility of ‘Westering Home’ gave some of Roberton’s own favourites a tough time, although all

the applause had that ‘thick’ quality seldom heard in London.


Certain adaptations sung by the guest-artist—Andrew McPherson—were memorable. Annie Tait continued

to show humour as well as artistry in her solos, and David Anderson was that rarity, a genuine accompanist.”



George Fairfull-Smith, February 2024.