This was the title of a presentation by Ruth Barlow which included a range of music popular in that century. London at that time was a rapidly growing city and the largest in Europe. The country was becoming prosperous as a result of the growing empire and people were looking for entertainment which would of course have included music.
Music was also coming out of the great houses and into the public sphere with an ever-increasing number of public concerts. Indeed, it was noted that if you wanted to learn about music you went to Paris or Italy, if you wanted to earn a living, you came to England.
The evening started with a performance of Corelli’s Concerto Grosso No 8 (excerpts) and ended with the last movement of Haydn’s Symphony No 4 nicknamed the ‘London’. This framing so to speak seemed to sum the century up with Corelli’s piece echoing the previous century and Haydn’s symphony, written in 1795, which ended it and gave hints of what was to come.
In between, we heard pieces by Handel, JC Bach, Thomas Arne, and William Boyce. We also heard part of the Beggar’s Opera, hugely popular in its day receiving 62 performances in its first season, on a recording directed by Ruth’s husband Jeremy which must be a first for the Society.
Music from men only ‘catch clubs’ was also performed. Today we would call them rounds but they are centuries old and involve singers coming in one by one singing the same melody. We heard examples by Henry Purcell and JS Smith sung by the Hilliard ensemble.
A sad moment was a Violin Sonata in A major by Thomas Linley, and English prodigy born in Bath who was certainly destined for great things. He was a friend of Mozart and they met and became friends in Italy. Unfortunately, he died at the tender age of 22 thus ending what was likely to have been a successful career.
Altogether a well put together programme and an interesting evening.
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.
The next meeting of Salisbury Recorded Music Society will be held tonight, Monday 5th March 2018 at 7.30pm in the usual venue when Jon Hampton will present: “Earth, Air, Fire and Water – An exploration of how the elements have inspired composers from Haydn to Mahler and beyond.”
Hope to see you there. Free parking and £3 to non-members
During the years 1781 – 1791 the residents of Vienna enjoyed a golden age. There was freedom of speech, the establishment of an open and tolerant society and even an end to the death penalty in the Hapsburg empire. Indeed, the enlightenment had truly arrived.
And the music: both Haydn and Mozart were alive producing between them, masterpieces at the rate of one every other month. 1791 saw the untimely death of Mozart of course (and Mozart’s last year will be the subject of a future presentation on 28th of November) and by now political events were beginning to have their effects in Austria.
Tim Rowe took us through some of these masterpieces with some carefully selected excerpts from the great works. He started with the Gran Partita by Mozart which is a serenade for 13 mostly wind instruments. Wind ensembles of various kinds were very popular at this time and the K361 is certainly the most popular.
This was followed by a Haydn string quartet, opus 33/1 played by the Casals Quartet (pictured). Haydn is considered the ‘father’ of the string quartet and the form had a profound influence on Mozart. Even though there are only 4 instruments, the form is extremely difficult to master and although Mozart could compose at great speed, modern paper studies show that he struggled to complete several of his own quartets.
Opera was hugely popular at this time and we heard extracts from several of Mozart’s pieces. These included the overture from The Marriage of Figaro, arias from Don Giovani and finally three arias from Cosi fan Tutti. For many, this is his finest opera, but strangely it was condemned by both Beethoven and Wagner.
Other pieces included part of the Mass in C minor and the piano sonata Alla Turca played on a forte piano.
A most interesting evening of a momentous period in musical history.
We must apologise to members for the problems we had with the keys to our normal venue. Unfortunately, we were given the wrong set of keys so we had to repair to Ed and Sue Tinline’s house to hold the meeting.
The next meeting is a member’s evening and is on 14 November at the usual place – assuming that is we can get in!
The next meeting takes place tonight, 28 November when Peter Curbishley will be presenting ‘Mozart’s last year’. Mozart died in December 1791 and the last year of his life was full of incident and great music. Some masterpieces including the Requiem and the Magic Flute were composed as well as La clemenza da Tito.
Many people have been influenced by the Peter Shaffer play, Amadeus which, although entertaining, was full of nonsense. The presentation will try and give some of the facts surrounding his last year and of course, play some of the music …