Born in 1922; member of the Temple Church Choir 1931-38, Head Chorister from 1937 and, according to Lewer, affectionately known to the choristers as "Meddy". Meddings had an intensely expressive and penetrating voice of a lovely slightly tentative quality.
Fellow chorister (1931-33) David Lewer described him as "an extremely intelligent singer with a fine voice which continued to develop in musical stature, and he was without doubt the outstanding soloist of the 'thirties at Temple." He was chosen (with others from Temple) to sing in the choir for the 1937 Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (parents of the present Queen). Donald Simpson (Temple chorister 1936-41) wrote of him: "He had a great voice and, what is often absent in a boy, the artistic temperament necessary for a consistently high standard of singing."
Thomas Meddings became an architect and designed the City of London School on Queen Victoria Street which opened in 1987. He died in December 2004.
See David Lewer's book "A Spiritual Song" (London, 1961), especially chapters 12 & 13.
Thomas Meddings A: As pants the hart (versification of Psalm 42 by Nahum Tate (1652-1715) & Nicholas Brady (1659-1726) in "A New Version of the Psalms of David" (1696: "As pants a hart . . . So pants my soul."; 2nd edn 1698: "As pants the hart . . . So longs my soul.") - tune from aria & chorus "Und wenn sie alle weichen" from Part I of Spohr's "Des Heilands letzte Stunden", 1834-35 aka "The Crucifixion" or "Calvary"; first publ. as a setting for Psalm 42 in "The Musical Times" for 1 September 1857, adapted by Birmingham organist James Stimpson (1820-86)) (matrix 0ER101-2) - with Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ. Now on Amphion's CDs "The Better Land" vol. 2 & "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1.
B: Blest are the departed (Quartet & Chorus from Part II of Spohr's "The Last Judgment" - see B.8123) (0ER102-2) - soprano soloist in the quartet, with Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ. Available on CD "Glory" vol. 1. Both pieces rec. 23 July 1935.
Review in "The Gramophone" (Nov. 1935) by the secular priest Alec Robertson said the performances were of a high order and that Meddings "has a voice of lovely quality, not in the least emotional, and it possesses that slightly tentative quality which is much more endearing than the assured ease of some treble soloists."
Thomas Meddings A: Lord God of Heaven and Earth (Quartet & Chorus closing Part I of Louis (Ludwig) Spohr (1784-1859) "Die letzten Dinge" or "The Last Judgment", 1825-26, orig. wds (Johann) Friedrich Rochlitz (1769-1842), Engl. version Edward Taylor (1784-1863), 1830) (matrix 0BR307-3A) - soprano soloist in the quartet, with Dennys Lake (alto), Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ.
B: Jesu joy of man's desiring (J.S. Bach (1685-1750) Cantata No. 147 (1723), arr. Allen) (0BR305-2) - with Leon Goossens, oboe, Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, piano. (This is basically a choral item, but Meddings can clearly be heard leading the treble line.)
Dennys Savage Walton Lake (b. Hampstead, 1919), whose fine alto voice is heard briefly, was a member of the choir 1931-35. He lost his young life aged only 21 on 16 June 1941 during a bomber attack when serving as a Pilot Officer with RAF 78 Squadron.
Both items rec. 20 Dec. 1933 and now available on CD Amphion "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1.
Thomas Meddings Oh! for a closer walk with God (Anthem for Whitsuntide, 1884: wds William Cowper (1731-1800), written 1769, publ. 1772 - music Myles Birket Foster (1851-1922)) (matrix 2ER100-2, rec. 23 July 1935) - with Temple Church Choir & G.T. Thalben-Ball, organ. Unissued at the time but now available from a test pressing on Amphion CD "The Glory of the Temple Church Choir" vol. 1, where it is misattributed to the composer Spohr and the singer Harold Langston.
The adjacent portrait shows Meddings at age 13, about the time this disc was made.
Temple Church ChoirDenis BarthelHarold LangstonErnest LoughRonald MallettThomas Meddings "Doctor" George Thalben-Ball's famous choir, recorded 1922 - 1935.
The success of "The Better Land" series, featuring boy sopranos of the 20th century has awakened interest in that great choir to which several of the boys belonged, and in the man who trained them. Several of the "boys" have been closely involved with the preparation of this CD.
You can order the Better Land and Temple Church CDs directly from the producer Stephen Beet for £11.00 plus postage and packing. Please apply for postal rates and discounts on the set of both series. StephenRBeet@gmail.com Paypal address email@example.com
Master Derek Barsham. Recorded 3 or 4 May 1946 with piano accomp. Live direct-disc recording at the Royal Albert Hall during the Boys' Brigade Annual Display, Physical Phantasmagoria. First issue on "Better Land" vol. 2.
As well as chapters on Iwan Davies, Derek Barsham, and Denis Wright, amongst others there are also chapters under the following headings: The Temple Boys, The Manchester Boys, The Music Hall Boys, The Fleeting Boys, and The Broadcast Boys.
This book is available directly from the author: Contact StephenRBeet@gmail.com
Price £10 plus postage
This book is available for the cost of postage and packing only if the set of six The Better Land CD albums is ordered.