Those members who came to the first meeting this year given by our chair Ed Tinline might like to know there is a live follow up, in Salisbury, to his presentation in September of Music from a Sibelius 150th Anniversary Festival!
Folke Gräsbeck (two of whose recordings he included in his programme) will be giving a piano recital on Wednesday 4th November at 7.30pm in St Martin’s Church, Salisbury.
The publicity for the event says
Finnish pianist Folke Gräsbeck has recorded much of Sibelius’s piano music for Scandinavian record label BIS’s Sibelius Complete Edition, including a well-reviewed recital on the composer’s own piano at his home Ainola.
The programme is still to be confirmed in detail, but will feature several more well known pieces such as valse triste and may well include some UK premières of Sibelius’s lesser known piano works.
The next meeting of the Society is on Monday 5 October – usual time, usual place. It is entitled 1911 – New music of a sunset year and will be given by Barry Conaway. It will include music by Mahler, Delius, Sibelius, Elgar and Nielsen. We look forward to seeing you there.
The new season started well last night with a presentation by Ed Tinline of the
music of Sibelius. His music is familiar enough of course and it got a good hearing at this year’s proms concerts in honour of his 150th anniversary. He is Finland’s most famous composer although curiously, he spoke Swedish – a reflection of that country’s complex history.
Ed had just returned from Lahti in Finland where he attended the anniversary festival there. He selected for the Society music played at that festival which mixed familiar works with several less well known. It is often a curious fact that even top flight composers have a body of work which may seldom if ever be heard. This might be because it received a poor review when it was first performed or because the composer was unhappy with it and it was ‘withdrawn’.
The evening started with a performance of the Wood Nymph from 1894 performed by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under Otto Vänskä in a world premier recording made in 1996, that is a century after it was composed. At 21 minutes it was quite long but contained much interesting and delightful music. It is a mystery why Sibelius never arranged for its publication but it might be because he was unsure of its merit.
After the second movement of Symphony No 3 we heard two songs sung by Lilli Paassikivi: Since then I have questioned no further and Astray from a set of songs opus 17.
Another rarely heard piece was Oceanides a ‘Rondo of the Waves’ by the same orchestra and conductor, recorded in 2003. Originally written in D Flat major, Sibelius transcribed it into D major for its first performance in the States because of the difficulty for the strings in playing it in the original key. It was favourably received.
We also heard the fourth movement from the familiar Symphony No 6 under Otto Kamu recorded last year and the evening finished with Andante Festivo op 34 performed by Tempera String Quartet.
Don’t forget you can see us on Twitter now and you can find us at @salisburyai.
On a sad note, members will be sorry to hear of the death of David Phillips who passed away on 25th of August after a short illness. David was a loyal member for many years although he wasn’t able to attend recently. Our thoughts are with his family.
Members and supporters might like early sight of the new provisonal programme for 2015/16. We have continued the recent innovation of having a live performance even though we are called the ‘recorded’ music society. We have some speakers who are familiar as well as some new faces so there should be plenty to interest music lovers. You will find the pdf version clearer for technical reasons.
Ed Tinline. Music from Sibelius 150th Anniversary Festival, Lahti, Finland
Barry Conaway. ‘1911 – new music of a sunset year’ including Delius, Elgar, Mahler and Sibelius
Peter Curbishley ‘… but I don’t like modern music’. Music by Schoenberg, Shostakovich and other ‘moderns’
Christopher Guild. ‘The music of Roland Center (1913 – 1973) and the influence of Britten, Shostakovich, Ravel and Vaughan Williams on his work’ (provisional title)
Alastair Aberdare. ‘A Berlioz Miscellany’. Lord Aberdare is a member of the Berlioz Society
A Baroque Evening. David Morgan, Sue Wyatt, Sally Reid and David Davies will bring their baroque instruments to give a live performance, including music by Corelli, Gottfried Finger and Handel
Anthony Powell. ‘A personal musical journey – 60 years of discovery, including works by Beethoven, Mahler, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Butterworth
Robin Lim. Title to be confirmed
Jon Hampton. ‘The art of the arranger’. To include works by Boccherini, arranged by Berio, Bach by Elgar and Schubert by Britten
Please note that some elements may change so it is always worth coming to this site to get the up to date position. We are always looking for new presenters and if you would like to volunteer that would be appreciated. If you are nervous about being on your feet then someone else can do the presentation for you if you prefer. We look forward to seeing you in the autumn.
It is with great sadness that we have to record the death on Sunday of Ron Seaman. Ron was born in Bristol in 1933 and pursued a career as an accountant. He was one of the founder members of the Society and has been a loyal supporter for all that time. Recently he was the treasurer and was once the chair. Ron had made a number of presentations the most recent being on Pietro Mascagni in April. His unfailing courtesy and quiet wit will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with Jan. Funeral was on 17th.
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.
The last meeting of the Society took place on Monday 20 April. It focused on the Italian composer Pietro Mascagni. He was the son of a baker in Lavorno and studied at the Milan Academy. He lived from 1863 to 1945 and in the 1930s and during World War II worked reluctantly, and with difficulty, under Mussolini’s fascist regime. He wrote 15 operas and one operetta.
In England we tend to remember him only for his one-act opera Cavalleria Rusticana, the piece that made him famous overnight and gave him financial security for the rest of his life. At its first performance it received no less than 60 curtain calls. In his native Italy and elsewhere in Europe his works are better remembered and the presenter Ron Seaman played us some examples. He was seen as the heir to Verdi but as time went on, it was Puccini who wore that mantle. Among the pieces played were Mein ester Walzer, my first waltz; the Apotheosis of the Stork; and the ballet music for Fiori del Brabante. We also heard extracts from Cavalleria including the final scene; Intermezzo and the Easter Hymn. We also heard extracts from his last opera Nerone.
He is a composer who made it big early in his life and yet did not quite follow it up as he matured. Listening to the range of his work it was perhaps surprising that he never composed film scores as some of his compositions, which had strong melodic lines, could have been adapted.
It was interesting to hear some works not often performed to gain a wider perspective of this composer.
The last meeting of the Society was a presentation by Robin Lim of the music of Nino Rota. He was born in 1911 in Milan and showed early musical talent with an oratorio composed when he was 12. He followed this up with a cello concerto aged 14 and a musical career clearly beckoned. After early training in Italy he came to the notice of Arturo Toscanini in America who arranged for him to further his training in Philadelphia. Whether it was the influence of his dominant mother or for other reasons, he did not finish his training there but returned instead to Milan.
Robin played examples of his compositions which included: a Clarinet Sonata; the overture; Il Cappellodi Paglia di Firenze; Concerto Soiree and excerpts from Il Gattopardo. All the music had strong rhythm and some good melodic interest but perhaps a problem was a lack of a clear ‘voice’ of the composer. One kept hearing echoes of other composers such as Neilsen, Dvorak and even Bruckner. Indeed he was criticised by critics for this but of course ‘borrowing’ themes from other composers is not unknown even by the greats.
It was to film music where he found a degree of fame and success. An early composition was the score for the Glass Mountain and we saw and heard an excerpt from the film. Others included Juliet of the Spirits; 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita. Altogether, he wrote some 150 film scores. But the one which will bring him immortality and the music just about everyone can whistle or hum the main theme to, is the score to the Godfather series. It was the highest grossing film of all time. Amazingly, he did not get an Oscar for the score but after an outcry, he did get it for Godfather II but did not attend the ceremony to receive it.
It was an interesting evening and showed again the difficulty of making the leap from prodigy to an established artist. There are so many who show early precocity but developing that to become an original composer (or artist or author) can be the hardest thing.