New season kicks off

The new season of the Recorded Music Society kicked off with a flying start with a presentation by Tony Powell entitled One Composer’s journey into silence and then resignation.  He was of course referring to Beethoven who, as is well known, became progressively deaf starting at quite a young age in his 20’s.  By 1816 he had lost nearly all his hearing and visitors had to write down what they wanted to say.

This clearly had a traumatic effect on his musical life.  He was a fine pianist and conductor so he was no longer able to do these things.  Even though the music was in his imagination, not to be able to hear what he had composed was a heavy burden to bear.

Tony attempted to take us through his musical life, starting with the youthful compositions and ending with some of the last completed pieces.  It might be tempting to use the major pieces – the symphonies or concertos for example – but instead he chose the smaller scaled compositions: piano trios; ‘cello sonatas; string quartets and piano sonatas.  These are often give a truer insight into a composer’s ‘soul’ if you will, and are harder to compose.  Some may be surprised at this but even composers like Mozart, who could dash off pieces seemingly at will, found the shorter forms harder to complete sometimes taking months.

The big change in the piano trios Tony explained, between Beethoven and the earlier composers, was the role played by the other two instruments.  With Haydn, they were in support of the piano, in the Beethoven’s work, they played an equal role.  This was particularly evident with Op 1 in G Major composed in 1795 when he was in his 20’s.

The style changed and in Op 70 No 2 composed in 1808 we see a greater intensity.  Events in Europe would no doubt had a role to play, in particular the French Revolution and the increase in enlightenment thinking.

He only wrote 5 ‘cello sonatas and we heard extracts from Op 5; Op 69 and Op 102, again a spread through his lifetime showing stylistic changes between 1797 and 1815.

Next to the string quartets and if you were not a Beethoven scholar and heard string quartet No 6 in B flat Op 18, you might be forgiven in thinking it was a piece by Haydn.  The jaunty theme and structure of the quartet typical of that composer.  You would not make that mistake with the last completed quartet (by Beethoven) No 16 Op 135 composed in 1826 the year before he died.

The piano sonatas were a compositional form Beethoven was most comfortable with, possibly because of his piano playing background.  We heard extracts from three: No 1; No 23 (Appassionata) and No 32.  The increase in intensity and complexity was most marked.

This was a most interesting presentation, showing the changing style of Beethoven’s work over his life.  No doubt events in his life – revolution, the Napoleonic wars for example played their part – but his retreat into an inner life would also have been a powerful influence.

Peter Curbishley


Next meeting 1 October at 7:30 as usual

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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.

 

 

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.

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)

 

 

 

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.

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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