The next meeting will be on Monday 22nd November which will be our Members’ Evening. There is still room for a few more pieces so if you have a piece on CD of around 10 minutes that you would like to bring and have played, please would you email Ed Tinline details quickly, so he can complete the play list.
As before we shall have an interval when we will offer tea or coffee, but you’re welcome to bring your own drink.
We ask all attending to follow the Covid safety measures we have in place including signing in and sanitising procedures on arrival, well spaced seating, wearing a mask, minimising moving around and maintaining social distancing. After this, our final meeting before Christmas will be on 6th December 2021 when: Ruth Barlow will present ‘Classical Music in Animations’ and invite us to join her in an end of term scamper through some cartoons with great classical music, including considering whether Fantasia was Mickey Mouse’s finest hour and listening to Tom and Jerry playing Liszt.
We hope you will be able to come on Monday 22nd November at 7.30 and to feel comfortable with the arrangements we plan to have in place.
A members’ evening following the agm doesn’t sound like a barrel of fun but in fact it was an outstanding evening with some interesting pieces. We must thank Robin for assembling the programme for the Society.
First up was the first half of Brahms’s magisterial Piano Concerto No1 played by Stephen Kovacevich. This can be ‘overplayed’ and I have been to concerts where the pianist seems determined to put the concerto to death but what we heard of this version was finely balanced and it was a pity we could not have heard the whole of it.
Second up was Joseph Kosma’s Les Feuilles Mortes sung by Gigi Marga – a version with the composer can be seen here: https://youtu.be/12BRQQd7myM
Few may have heard of Ginette Neveu, a French violinist but her playing is quite distinctive and, at the risk of sounding like a Classic FM announcer, extremely smooth. The sound was somewhere between a violin and a viola, quite magical and the adagio from Sibelius’s Violin Concerto was wonderful.
Beatrice and Benedict was Berlioz’s last opera and had some success in Germany. He wrote it soon after the Trojans disaster and we heard Je vais le voir – Il me revient fidèle in a performance by the LSO and conducted by the late Sir Colin Davies.
The first half ended with the amazingly difficult Violin Sonata in G minor – 3rd movement “Devil’s Trill Sonata” by Tartini the inspiration for which supposedly came to him in a dream.
In the second half we had a audio-visual presentation of Gigue Fugue BWV 577 by JS Bach, played on the organ and which was the music played at the presenter’s marriage. This mode of playing music was the first for the Society.
Few will have heard of the woman composer and pianist Guirne Creith not least because although not prolific, many or her compositions were lost after her death. She had a very varied life, not just as a musician but – following her move to France – as a food writer under the name of Guirne van Zylen. Her best known work is a Violin Concerto from which we heard the Adagio.
After Andantino from Sibelius’s 3rd Symphony, The Man I Love by Gershwin played by Don Shirley. Shirley was a precocious musician who was the subject of the 2018 film Green Book. Being black, he had to take a bodyguard with him when he performed in the southern states of the USA.
A most interesting and varied evening with a mixture of the well known and some more or less completely unknown works.
The next meeting is on 11 November and is a presentation on some less well known British composers. 7:30 start as usual.
Members’ evening had a wide range of interesting pieces
Last night’s members’ evening had a wide range of music – eclectic even – from the traditional, to some pieces with jazz influences and a rarity from South America.
The traditional selections were from the Well Tempered Clavier by Bach and the chosen pieces were from Book 4 – the most difficult to perform. Angela Hewitt was the pianist and her recordings show great skill and fluidity. The other traditional selection was of Mozart’s first violin concerto the K207. Composed when he was probably 17 it is one of five that he composed although there are possibly two more. Paper analysis suggests an earlier date than originally supposed.
Completely different was Michael Torke’s Javelin one of a series of pieces exploring the relationship between music and colour. Termed a ‘vitally inventive composer’ by the Financial Times, Javelin is a ‘sonic Olympiad composed for the Atlanta Olympics.
Jazz influences were clearly at work with two acoustic guitar compositions by Clive Carroll The Kid from Clare and Black Nile. Guitar phenomenon Clive Carroll’s masterful compositions, coupled with his versatility and unparalleled technical virtuosity, have rendered him one of today’s most admired and respected guitarists.
Diego José de Salazar is largely unknown and in writing this it was hard to find anything much about him. If you do know something, Wikipedia would like to hear from you I am sure. Bolivian, born in 1659 and his music is classical in style but quite unique. We heard Saiga el torillo hosquillo this was one of the hits of the evening.
Bantock’s The Frogs of Aristopanes would get the prize for the most curiously name piece of the evening but not only that, it was a version performed with a brass band, in this case the Grimethorpe Colliery band, said by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to be ‘the finest band in the world’. They are performing in Sturminster Newton in Dorset in June.
The first half ended with Victoria de Los Angeles performing Piu Jesu from Faure’s Requiem.
The mystery piece turned out to be an orchestrated version of one of Debussy’s preludes by Colin Matthews. Two arias by Caruso, one from Rigoletto and the other from Othello, the latter sung with Tito Ruffo followed and the evening ended with Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams from a poem by George Meredith.
A truly amazing selection of pieces and the chair thanked Anthony for skillfully assembling them especially as he would have been unfamiliar with some. Evenings such as this can be a collection of hackneyed favourites with little that is unfamiliar. Although there were some well-known items, the unusual ones added considerable interest.
The next meeting is tomorrow, Monday 29th of April and is a members’ evening. If you haven’t already done so, please let Tony know of your selection which must be 10 minutes or less including any introduction. You can ask someone to do that bit of it for you if you are not keen to stand up! You can come with your piece if you wish and be fitted in on the night.
Usual place, 7:30 start and free parking outside. See you there.
We held our first member’s evening this season and it turned out to be excellent. A small, but perfectly formed selection of music was put forward and we heard a mixture of old favourites and some completely new pieces.
We started with a concerto in D by Johann Fasch a contemporary of Bach and Telemann. Not a composer we have heard played before I think so it was interesting to hear this.
This was followed by the familiar K393 Solfeggio and the Great Mass in c minor by Mozart. This was followed by some extracts from Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
A surprise addition was John Downland’s songs Go Crystal Tears, Mrs Winter’s Jump and I saw my Lady Weep. Forward in time to the romance from Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust which resulted in a considerable financial loss for the composer.
Finally, and perhaps to shake everyone up, we heard the Drunkard from Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. A rumbustious piece to finish the first half. This composition was banned from performance in Russia and led the composer to live in fear of his freedom.
After the break it was Darius Milhaud’s suite for alto sax Scaramouche.
This was followed by some songs which may have been played in Shakespeare’s plays presented from his own disc by Jeremy Barlow. This will merit a fuller presentation in future.
We finished with a live recording of Mahler’s symphony No 8 (final two sections) which rounded the meeting off wonderfully.
So we spanned the centuries and the styles and heard the new and the familiar.
The next meeting takes place on Monday 8th of May and will be a member’s evening. If you have a particular piece you like or want to hear played then liaise with Anthony Powell. Usual place usual time.
Members’ evening on November 14th produced a wide range of interesting, not to say eclectic, offerings from members. Clearly, as a group, we listen to a wide range of sources and this was reflected in the music played.
First off was a trombone concerto by Derek Bourgeois, born in 1941 and this piece was composed in 1988. We heard the 3rd movement which showed the incredible versatility of the instrument played by Christian Lindberg.
Next – and a complete break in time and tone after the flamboyance of the trombone piece – we heard some selected pieces from the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach. Quite what instrument these were written for as there is no instrument called the clavier but it is likely they were for clavichord, harpsichord or small organ. They were composed for purposes of tuition and to teach feeling as well as technique.
A complete change again with the title theme to the Carpetbaggers by Elmer Bernstein. Bernstein was a prolific composer for the film industry and his scores include 10 Commandments, The Magnificent 7 and the Great Escape. This was an arrangement by Lalo Schifrin.
Next, Korngold, a prodigy and prolific composer and from his opera Die Stadt, we heard the lovely Gluck, Das mir Verlieb sung by Renée Fleming.
Female composers are not that common and so it was a pleasure to be introduced to Marie Jaëll and her Cello Concerto from 1882. She was a pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns and Liszt. Marie Jaëll probably represents the most authoritative and accomplished expression of the nineteenth century woman musician. In spite of her coming from the provinces and despite the heavy social restrictions imposed on artists of her gender, she nonetheless succeeded in being recognized as a virtuoso, a composer and as a teacher. Support from her husband – the Austrian pianist Alfred Jaëll – greatly contributed to the positive reception of her initial works for the piano, but it was by herself, armed with her talent and her resolve in the latter part of her life, that she faced up to the Parisian hurly-burly in which she proved herself to be one of its distinctive figures. While her learning method is still taught in various different countries, little interest thus far has been shown in her music, which in the greater part is held in the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire in Strasbourg. Formidable and ambitious symphonic works are revealed on this book-cd as well as a significant facet of her compositions for the piano [Source; Wikipedia].
We then heard an extract from Schubert’s Piano Trio No 2 in E flat. Also by contrast – and harking back to the Venetian evening last month, part of Marcello’s music based on Psalm 11.
Rameau is not a composer we have heard much of at the Society so it was interesting to hear the lively Musette and Tambourin en rondeau pour Terpsicore. Not much is known about his life and he was fairly obscure for many years. There has been something of a revival in recent years and his pieces now appear in concerts.
Another American composer – albeit of Armenian and Scottish descent – is Alan Hovhaness who was another prolific composer who was very popular in the ’50s and ’60s but is less heard today.
Finally, a familiar composer to the Society – Gerald Finzi and his Romance for String Orchestra. There is something in Finzi’s music that seems to capture a sense of a pre First World War world of lazy afternoons in the country.
The next meeting of the Society – the penultimate – is on May 9th and is a members’ evening. This is where individual members can suggest pieces which can be played with or without an introduction by them as they wish. It is usually and enjoyable evening, eclectic of course and everyone’s choice is different. Usual place, usual time.
New members are welcome and the entry is a modest £2 to help us defray costs.
The final meeting of the season takes place on 1 June at the usual place and usual time. It is a change to the programme and will be a presentation by Ian Lance entitled ‘A critic’s choice, 2014’.
This has been an interesting year and members have heard a range of unusual pieces, some by rarely heard composers and some lesser played works by famous composers. The new programme is in preparation and will be available later in the summer. If you have any ideas for inclusion in the programme, or you know of someone who could present something, we would be delighted to hear from you.