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Earth, Air, Fire and Water

This was the title of the last presentation to the Society by Jon Hampton and it featured music based on these Greek elements.  Before all, there was chaos and we started with an excerpt from Haydn’s Creation which for its time, was harmonically daring.  Next were some songs by Finzi and then an unlikely titled piece by Martinu – Thunderbolt P47 a near relative of which is shown here at the Chalke Valley History Festival.   This was followed by Bantock’s Sea  Reivers.  Bantock is not often heard now but he was influential in the founding of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and both Elgar and Sibelius dedicated pieces to him.

Poulenc’s Un Soir de neige followed and then the lively Ritual fire Dance by Manuel de Falla – a piece where the ending never quite seems to come.  More Haydn – this time a movement entitled Earthquake from the Last seven Words of our Saviour on the Cross.

Possibly the loudest work in the classical repertoire is the Icelandic composer Leif’s Heklar.  This is a musical depiction of the eruption of a volcano by this name which Leif witnessed.  Leif studied in Germany and was responsible for organizing the first orchestral concerts in his home country.

The Russian composer Lyadov is not often heard nowadays.  He taught at St Petersburg and one of his pupils was Prokofiev.  We heard his The Enchanted Lake.

Bruckner’s Abendzauber followed which was composed in 1878 and not performed in his lifetime.  It was a popular piece in Austria after the First World War but is seldom heard now.  We then heard Messiaen’s Fetes and a piece by Klami just called BF3.  Weber’s Ocean thy Mighty Monster was followed by Frank Bridge’s Seafoam.  The evening concluded with Britten’s Storm  from Peter Grimes.

This was an entertaining evening with the chance to hear some unfamiliar pieces around the central theme.  The audience were grateful for the time Jon Hampton  put into selecting the works and compiling the programme.

Peter Curbishley


Next meeting on Monday 19 March and will feature the Russian composer Shostakovich.  There will be a few slides of Leningrad taken when the composer was still living there.

 

 

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First meeting tonight

The first meeting of the new season starts tonight, 18 September, in the usual place at the usual time.  It will be a presentation on Busoni by Christopher Guild.  The full programme for the coming season is available at the Collector’s Room in Castle Street, the Tourism Information Centre in Fish Row and the Oxfam Music Room in Catherine Street.  It is also available to print yourself from our previous blog post.

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Programme available

The new programme for 2017/18 now available

The Committee has now put together the new programme for the coming 2017/18 season and a pdf version is available below for you to print.  Copies will be available at the first meeting which takes place on 18th of this month and also at the Collector’s Room in Endless Street, Oxfam Music Room in Catherine St. and in the Tourism Information Office in Fish Row.

It is an interesting and diverse programme and includes a speaker from the Vaughan Williams Society.  Bach, Busoni, Shostakovich and Schubert all feature as well as a presentation on Scottish music and music for wind instruments.

On the subject of the leaflet, if you are able to distribute them near to where you live or elsewhere that would be helpful.  If you are for example a member of a choir or other music society, why not ask if you can leave some for members to see?  Or leave some copies in the village hall or in one of the local libraries eg Tisbury; Wilton or Amesbury.

We look forward to seeing you on 18th in the usual place and if you are not a member and would like to give a meeting a try, it is only £3 for the evening. 

Programme 2017/18 (pdf)

(if you cannot download this, you can download a pdf reader for free from Adobe)

 

 

 

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Forthcoming events

At Salisbury Recorded Music Society we are now into our Christmas and New Year break, and will start again in February 2017 with what promise to be really excellent presentations by several very good friends of the society:

On Monday 6 February, Angus Menzies will present “Fit for an Emperor: music at the Austrian court 1650 – 1750”.
 
On Monday 20 February, we shall host a live concert by David Davies (piano), with David Morgan (violin) and Warren Driffill (‘cello), exploring the piano trio.
 
On Monday 6 March, Frida Backman will be presenting “The solo violin in classical music”. 
Meanwhile, can I mention that Frida Backman is giving a series of solo violin concerts, the first of which is this Thursday (1 December) at 7.30pm in St Martin’s Church, Salisbury (with pre concert talk at 7.
We hope you will be able to support some or all of these events.  For details nearer the time, look at this Web site for any updates or changes.

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Members’ evening

The next meeting is a members’ evening and we listen to short pieces brought along by members themselves.  23th November, same place.  We are short of contributions so if you can volunteer that would be appreciated.

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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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A personal musical journey

Details of the next meeting

The meeting was held  last night, Monday 14th March at the usual time and usual place.  The presentation was by Anthony Powell and the title of the talk was A personal musical journey – 60 years of discovery.  Tony presented a range of works he has enjoyed over the years which  included Beethoven; Mahler; Richard Strauss and Robert Simpson.

For details of where we meet see the ‘Find us’ tab on the home page.  Parking is right outside and is free.  A fuller report will appear soon.

The presentation will be preceded by a Committee meeting so if any member has a point to bring to their attention please get in touch.

We look forward to seeing you. Next meeting is on 4 April.


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Bernstein: musical polymath

bernstein

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein had many talents and at the last meeting of the Society three of them were on vivid display in a presentation by Alan Forshaw.  First was his ability as a pianist was shown in a recording, made in 1946, of Ravel’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra from which we heard the first movement.  It is no surprise Bernstein liked this piece with its strong jazz influences and powerful rhythms.  We also heard him play one of his own compositions, Seven Anniversaries recorded in 1947.

His second great skill was as a conductor for which he was in great demand.  He was the principal conductor for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for many years.  Examples we heard included the second movement from Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the NYPO with Bernstein conducting from the keyboard and also the Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th Symphony.

He was an accomplished composer in a wide range of genres.  Few may of heard of his Clarinet Sonata for example, his first composition.  More familiar perhaps is his Symphony No. 1 from which we heard the second movement with its strong rhythms and echoes of Stravinsky.  We also heard part of his Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra both recordings with the NYPO.

He was a composer of operas and first was Trouble in Tahiti – an opera in seven scenes – from which we heard scene 2.  Candide did not achieve critical acclaim unfortunately and had to wait two decades before it found a place in the repertoire again.  West Side Story is undoubtedly his most successful work, loved the world over and was made into a film.  Two extracts were played: Tonight performed by Jose Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa, and Somewhere, in a performance conducted by Bernstein himself.

Alan explained that Bernstein was the son of a Ukrainian immigrant and it is perhaps worth reflecting on the enormous contribution east European and Russian immigrants made to the life of the United States.  Not just musicians, but scientists, writers, mathematicians and in many other areas of cultural life.  As the UK is struggling with the ‘threat’ of immigrants fleeing Syria and other war torn areas, it is worth remembering on the benefits that they can bring, as Bernstein did to the USA and musical life generally.

This was an accomplished presentation which gave an insight into the range of talents Bernstein had and the musical legacy he has left behind. A musical polymath indeed.

 

 

 

 

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Amusing YouTube video

Members might be amused by this YouTube video.  There are others in the same style but this is very good!

Video

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English music – the third wave?

Patrick Hawes

Patrick Hawes

Is this another renaissance in British music? asked Michael Salmon in the first meeting of the Society’s new season.  British music seems to have gone through several waves with composers like Purcell and Arne in 17th Century followed by something of a lull until the first half of the last century with composers such as Elgar, Walton, Delius and Vaughan Williams.

Today there is a strong field of composers and Michael played examples by Michael Nyman, John Foulds, Patrick Hawes and Paul Carr.  The evening started with a brief extract of one of Eric Satie’s Gymnopedie — no, Satie was not an undiscovered Englishman, but the piece illustrates the minimalist and impressionistic style adopted by some British born composers today.

If there is a British style, then based on the pieces we heard, it is characterised by a frequent evocation of the countryside and powerful harmonic development.  It is also accessible.  It is probably too soon to say if the music we heard represents a ‘new wave’ but the breadth and depth of talent was impressive.

John Rutter

John Rutter

Pieces played;

  • Michael Nyman – the Piano
  • John Foulds –  April – England
  • Patrick Hawes – The Highgrove Suite; Fair Albion; Song of Songs
  • Paul Carr – Concerto for Oboe and Strings; Requiem for an Angel
  • John Rutter – The Lord is my Shepherd
  • Stuart Mitchell – Seven Wonders Suite
  • Richard Harvey – Concerto Antico
  • Nigel Hess – Piano Concerto

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