Members’ evening

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.

Peter Curbishley


Next meeting on May 13th

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Members’ evening

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.

PC

Member’s Evening

Member’s Evening on 15 October 2018

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.

Peter Curbishley


Next meeting on 29th October

Members’ evening

A range of interesting music from members

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.

Derek Bourgeois. Picture: YouTube

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.

Renee Fleming. Picture: Broadwayworld.com

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.

Source: en-wiki

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.

Next meeting on 28 November on Mozart.

 

 

Next meeting

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.

We look forward to seeing you.


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Final meeting of the season takes place on 1 June

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.