New season gets underway

The Society was able to meet for the first time in many months at our normal venue off St Ann Street in Salisbury. Covid arrangements meant we could not offer refreshments unfortunately. Being back in person was good however.

The topic for the evening was the legend of Orpheus and the birth of opera. We tend now to think of opera in terms of major theatrical productions by Verdi, Wagner or Mozart etc replete with arias, an overture and full orchestra. It did not start out that way.

The presenter, Jeremy Barlow, introduced the evening with a discussion of the legend of Orpheus. This is a Greek myth and there are several versions but essentially, his wife, Euridice, is bitten by a snake and descends to Hades. Orpheus descends into Hades in an effort to see her again. Orpheus had been given a Lyre by Apollo and taught him to play which he did so well that few could resist his playing, even animals. Jeremy showed a number of artist’s representation of the myth and how the things like the instrument Orpheus played changed as those like the lyre went out of use.

Opera started he explained with things called intermedio which were short intervals between straight plays. These were put on during special court events in Italy such as feasts and weddings. After around 1600, operas as we now know them really began.

Monteverdi was not the first but is remembered because his music is still performed today. Various extracts from these earlier operas were played. Many composers through history have based their work on this legend.

A most interesting evening and the use of the monitor meant it was a new departure for the Society. Jeremy was able to mix legend with history and weave in musical examples to show the early development of the genre. We will almost certainly be using these methods in future and during lockdown, we were able to use YouTube to great effect.


The next meeting, on 27 September, will be ‘committee member’s choices’. We hope to see some returning members then. The full programme can be read here.

PC

Programme 2021 – 2022

The programme for the next two seasons can be accessed from the link below. Copies of the programme will be available during meetings and we hope to have them in the Tourist Information Centre in Fish Row, the Library and in the Oxfam Music room in Catherine St.

We’re back!

The Society is to hold its first session of the new season starting on 13th September

Yes, we’re back and we are planning to hold our first meeting on 13th September 2021 in the Guide’s Centre starting at 7:30 as usual.

The season will get off to a flying start with a presentation by Jeremy Barlow entitled The Legend of Orpheus and the birth of the Opera. The Greek legend has been the source and inspiration of many pieces of music by composers as varied at Gluck and Stravinsky.

We hope to have as normal a meeting as possible and we look forward to meeting members again. Please keep check back on this site, or on Facebook, for any last minutes changes or announcements.

The full 2021 – 2022 programme will be posted here in a few days.

What a strange season!

We held our last meeting on Monday evening (10 May 2021) using a combination of Zoom and YouTube. It was a presentation by Ruth of a selection of humoresques. She said  ‘a humoresque is not necessarily funny, but they do tend to have a whimsical, flippant character, and a general disregard for musical convention.’ You can listen to her selection – which is well worth while – by following this YouTube link:  https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDYYr-sXg1St6Iys2ElVT3tRHS-btqDs2

It has been a funny season where we have not of course, been able to meet. However, the online format has worked surprisingly well and has enabled a different perspective from our normal modus operandi. We have been able to see some of the performances as well as listen which does sometimes add to the experience. When we meet in person again – which we hope to do in the autumn – we plan to do more of the visual presentations using the screen the music room has installed.

Details of the 2021/22 programme are now being put together and will be posted here and in leaflet form around the town as before (Oxfam, TIC and Library).

We hope to see you again when we reconvene.

Stokowski

Many older readers may well have come to classical music via the Disney film Fantasia in which a visual story was accompanied by various classical pieces. The last presentation via Zoom and YouTube looked at the life of the conductor of the music, Leopold Stokowski and featured other performances he conducted and an interview with him.  An extremely interesting programme carefully put together by the chair of SRMS, Peter Horwood. 

Stokowski was actually English with a Polish father and Irish mother and he died near Salisbury at Nether Wallop in Hampshire.

As well as the Rite of Spring (from Fantasia), we heard the Adagio by Samuel Barber, an orchestral version of Bach’s Air on a G String and Ave Maria

Not as good as meeting in person of course but these sessions have their own value in that we can watch performances and interviews via YouTube.  New and existing members are welcome and to get details of the next meeting on 22 March, please leave a message here, on Facebook, or contact a committee member if you know one of them.  We look forward to seeing you. 

PC

Next Zoom meeting

We have another meeting on Monday 8th March starting at 7:30pm.  We have done a number of these so far and they have been successful.  A slightly different format to our physical meetings in that speakers are introducing YouTube videos to discuss aspects or show performances.

If you would like to participate, leave a message here on on Facebook and we will get the joining instructions to you.

Come and join us

The Society is continuing to meet on line and we would welcome existing or new members to join us

We have been meeting with the aid of Zoom and YouTube and several successful evenings have been held in the past few months. I know many people are afraid of some of these programs such as Facebook, Twitter et al, but if you are sensible there is very little risk.

To get onto Zoom, just type it into your search engine* and there are several sites which will guide you through the installation which is easy. To join the Society’s evening, you will need to get an invitation from one of us: Peter, Ed or Ruth will organise this and you will receive an email with the necessary links.

The meeting starts with an introduction on Zoom, then we sign out and follow the relevant YouTube link to the performance(s). Then back together via Zoom for a brief discussion. It’s all free so there is no question of entering personal or bank details which worries a lot of people.

Last night (28 December 2020) for example, we listened to Beethoven’s Hammerklavier sonata Opus 106. To see and listen to this follow this link: https://youtu.be/Sf9eZdeS8es (there is an advertisement to start but at the bottom right you’ll see a counter and then you can close the ad). It really is that easy.

If you have not used Zoom before (or the other similar programs such as Teams or WebEx) there are a couple of extra things. You will need a webcam unless you have a Mac, laptop or other device with one installed (there will be a tiny camera in the middle at the top of the screen). You may find people cannot hear you because you are muted. Hover the mouse over the bottom of the screen and a row of symbols will pop up one of which is the mute button shown as a microphone.

So we hope to see you soon and the next meeting is on 11th January starting at 19:30. Just make contact with one of the Committee and we will get you onto the list and send an email invitation. If you are not a member, you can send a message using this site or via Facebook if you prefer (just type: Facebook, Salisbury Recorded Music Society). We look forward to seeing you again.

*Personally, I do not use Google because they use your information to sell to companies, hence those pop-ups which are so annoying. I use Startpage.com which is a private search engine. Others use DuckDuckGo another private search engine.

Peter Curbishley

Sad news

The death of Terry Barfoot

Society members will be sad to hear that Terry Barfoot has just died, aged 70.  Terry did several presentations to the Society the most recent of which was on Bruckner.  This was a difficult assignment in the context of a Society evening as Bruckner’s works are expansive shall we say, and putting together a programme to show the range of his oeuvre was not easy.

Terry and I spent some time discussing this and needless to say he came up with a programme of musical selections combined with visual material as well which was extremely well received.   He had a natural gift for presentation and combined with a deep knowledge and love of music and composers meant his presentations were both erudite and entertaining.

His Arts in Residence weekends were also hugely enjoyable and very popular.  He will be a sad loss to the music world.

Peter Curbishley

Jan Dismas Zelenka

The second meeting of the Society using a combination of Zoom and YouTube took place on 19 October 2020 and concerned the Czech composer Zelenka presented by Peter Horwood. There are many who may not have heard of this composer, born in the town of Lounovice near Prague in 1679. His problem – if it can be described thus – was to be around at roughly the same time as Bach and Handel and so his fame was eclipsed after his death.

We listened and watched his Missa Votiva in E minor performed by Collegium 1704 under the energetic baton of Václav Luks. The playing and singing was of a very high standard and the conductor kept to a brisk tempo. The YouTube video was not of a high quality and may also have been compressed so that the full range of sound was not fully available. The recording took place in a large church yet there were no dynamic problems one usually experiences in these large spaces.

Although the music was harmonically rich, it did lack much in the way of memorable melody which might explain his low profile after his death. He was nevertheless a composer of great talent and does deserve to be heard more. As we have said before, one of the roles of the Society is to bring to the fore some of these lesser lights who sometimes get swept aside by musical titans of Bach, Mozart or Beethoven etc.

For those who want to know more there is a Website which tells you more and also lists recordings available on CD or for download.

Peter Curbishley