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.
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.
A century ago, the First World War was in full swing. The battle for Ypres was taking place in April 1916 and it was the first time phosgene gas was used. It is difficult to believe that out of this carnage and bloodletting, some lovely music, poetry and art was created.
At the last meeting, Richard Seal played a selection of pieces which were composed during the time of the war or inspired by it. Richard was much moved by visits to the war graves in Flanders including Vimy Ridge, Arras and Thiepval where he hopes to go to again.
He began with A Shropshire Lad by George Butterworth who died on the Somme in 1916 aged just 31. This is a familiar piece and his death was a great loss to music. This was followed by the last movement of Morning Heroes by Sir Arthur Bliss who lived until 1975 but who lost his brother in the conflict. He returned to the battlefield in 1928 and this piece was the result of that visit.
This was followed by Three songs by Ivor Gurney. Gurney had a troubled life and was both a poet and composer. He was gassed while serving with the Gloucester regiment but his biggest problem was his mental health. At the time he was thought to be the greatest of his generation but his full promise never materialised.
Britten was too young for the war but his War Requiem, which was composed for the consecration of Coventry Cathedral destroyed in WWII, was inspired by the poems of Wilfrid Owen who regrettably died a week before the Armistice.
This was followed by an Elegy for strings and harp by Frederick Kelly who died in 1916. An Australian he also had a gold medal for rowing in the 1908 Olympics and this elegy was in memory of Rupert Brooke who also lost his life.
Some pieces by Charles Ives followed including In Flanders’ Fields composed in 1917.
The evening finished with the last movement of the Pastoral Symphony by Vaughan Williams. The First World War, in which he served in the army in the medical corps, had a lasting emotional effect.
It was a fascinating evening and the presenter’s erudition about this moving period of our history shone through.
The next meeting is on April 18th
The next meeting of Salisbury Recorded Music Society, will be tonight Monday 4th April 2016 at 7.30pm, in our usual venue. Richard Seal will be presenting In Flanders Fields – music inspired by World War I including works by Vaughan Williams, Britten and George Butterworth. A great deal of attention is paid to the poets who were affected by the war, rather less attention is paid to the composers who were also strongly influenced by the carnage.
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.
2015 16 programme (pdf)
||Speaker and title
||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.