Outside Edge: Viscount Dilhorne, the singing barrister
Friday 14 January 1994
Actually, Dilhorne already has a proper job, as a barrister. Singing, he admits, can only be a hobby: but 'I approach the music totally seriously. I have the best of both worlds, enjoying a hobby to that extent and being able to enjoy the law as well. I do vocal exercises every day, usually in the car coming to Temple. I have a tape with the exercises on. The secret is never to press, to let it blow forth, give it space and lots of air.'
No doubt the advice works for barristers as well, although he is quick to point out that his practice covers such unglamorous areas as land law and inheritance tax. It would be wrong to suggest that John Dilhorne's title and job allow him to indulge passing whims, like recording his voice. Like many amateurs, he has worked for years with amateur choirs - notably the London Welsh Male Voice Choir - and peripatetic opera companies like Beaufort Opera and City Opera. And he regularly performs as a soloist, 'usually for charities, although sometimes I'm paid if the concert is sponsored - and I'm always very happy to be paid'.
The recording came about, he says, because 'my wife said she'd love to have some permanent record of my singing, so we did the recording in December 1992. Then the Bar got in the way of dealing with things, like finding the right person to do the artwork; then the floppy disc went wrong with the Cyrillic alphabet. In the end it took a year to come out. Now I'm trying to recover some of the costs.'
Dilhorne has a box of copies at his chambers, and sells as many as possible through personal contact. The rest go through the usual trade channels. Response has been positive: 'Victor Borovsky, who wrote a wonderful biography of Chaliapin, and who is Russian voice coach at the Royal Opera House, is very critical, and he said, 'After the first few bars, which I listened to critically, I found I was sitting back and enjoying it like a professional performance.' That was tremendously pleasing. And I'm thrilled with the disc - that sounds terrible] I listen to it, and I haven't got bored with it.'
Nor should he, for the voice is clean, rich, unforced, and with a pleasing lightness at the top of its range. What's more, the Russian accent is convincing, a fact which Dilhorne attributes to learning the language at Sandhurst. If the CD sells well enough, there may be a follow-up, but John Dilhorne isn't going to give up his day job, nor his seat in the House of Lords, where he sits on the Conservative benches - although, as he says, 'One doesn't always agree with what the Government is doing, and that is a very good safety valve.' Musicians as legislators? There are precedents.
'Songs of Glinka and Tchaikovsky' (Capriole) is distributed by Gamut (0353 662 366)
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 City traders pay £200 for a quick hangover cure
- 3 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gorillaz Phase 4: Cartoon supergroup is back as new artwork is unveiled
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
As Better Call Saul launches, here are the other spin-off shows we need to see
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him