Christmas meeting

Our next meeting will be on Monday 5th December 2022 at 7.30 when Ruth Barlow will be gently challenging us with ‘Christmas Crackers’ – her classical music quiz. Ruth’s presentation last year was a great success, so we are looking forward to this years. Non-members will be very welcome and entry is only £3.

It will be our last meeting in 2022. 

We will resume in the new year on Monday 30th January 2023 when Jeremy Barlow will be presenting: “Sergio Celibidache: the greatest conductor of the 20th Century?”

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Scriabin

Our next meeting will be on Monday 21st November 2022 at 7.30 when Simon Nicholls from the Scriabin Society will explore aspects of the work of Alexander Scriabin. Simon is a leading authority on this composer and we are delighted that he has agreed to come to Salisbury for this presentation.

Looking ahead our last meeting before Christmas will be on 5th December when Ruth Barlow will present  ‘Christmas Crackers’ – her classical music quiz.

We hope we will be able to welcome you on Monday and on 5th December.

ET

Music in eighteenth century London

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.

New season about to start!

NOTE: please note that the first meeting does not take place tomorrow, 12th September as printed in Music in Salisbury. We had to change our programme at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. The first meeting is on 26th. We are sorry for this sudden change.

The new season gets underway soon and the programme is printed and will soon be in various locations around town. A pdf version is below. It is a varied and extremely interesting programme so we look forward to seeing you again on Monday 26th September for a presentation of music from Ukraine. We look forward to seeing you again or welcoming new members.

New programme

The new programme for 2022 – 23 is available and the print version can be found in the Library, TIC, and the Oxfam music Room. We have some outside speakers including someone from the Scriabin Society and old friends returning with new topics.

There will be a coupon in the programme entitling you to a free evening* for those who are curious about what we do. Keep an eye on this site – better still put it into your favourites – and we look forward to seeing you when we kick off again in the autumn.

*can only be used once

Sibelius – the less well known works

Last meeting of the season focused on Sibelius

Just over a century ago, Finland declared its independence at the time of the Russian revolution in 1917. At the start of the second world war in 1940, they then had to fight a fierce war against Stalin’s Russia who invaded the country with overwhelming force. The Russian general assumed it would all be over in around 12 days but the Russian army, although vast, was poorly led – following Stalin’s murder of thousands of Red Army officers – poorly equipped and the Finns put up a fierce resistance. They were ultimately successful losing only a small piece of territory but, they maintained their independence.

There is something faintly familiar with that story in the current events in Ukraine. Russia invading a neighbouring country with overwhelming force with the hope of a quick victory, being resisted by a much smaller but better led army. So what has this to do with the Recorded Music Society you ask? Living through this period was Finland’s greatest composer, Jean (as he is known today) Sibelius. His music contributed to Finland’s sense of nationhood from the time of independence and subsequently the war against Russia. So in addition to writing brilliant music, he was important giving the Finns a sense of national identity and pride. These things are significant during a time when a country is under threat.

Many of Sibelius’s works are well known and receive a regular airing in concert halls around the world. But like many composers, there is the well known and there is the less familiar. At last nights meeting, we were delighted to welcome again, Simon Coombs, who presented a range of less well known works, combining them with the life of the composer through his nation’s sometimes troubled history.

Sibelius started by studying law but while doing so, joined the Helsinki Music Institute. He was a capable violinist but decided to concentrate on composition and to that end, studied in Berlin and Vienna where he met Bruckner. He returned to Helsinki to compose his first major piece Kullervo. Among the pieces selected by Simon was A Conferment Cantata, A Song for Lemminkäinen, Finlandia, and a number of examples of incidental music. Also an extract from Pelléas et Mélisande and incidental music the the Tempest.

Simon was helped in his presentation by discs produced by Bis Records who have produced recordings by all of Sibelius’s music. Simon ended with some fragments of the 8th Symphony: it is not clear if Sibelius ever finished the work and destroyed it. Members were delighted with the presentation and the curation of the pieces linking it to key events in the composer’s life.

Sibelius’s music was an element of Finland’s struggle to achieve statehood and independence from Russia. It is strange to note that Ukraine’s famous composers; Prokofiev and Szymanowski among others, have not played a similar role in Ukraine’s resistance. Tchaikovsky is of Ukrainian extraction – the family name was originally Chaiko before the move to Russia.

This was the last meeting of the current season and the programme for the autumn is in final stages of preparation.

Peter Curbishley

Next (and last!) meeting

Secret Sibelius is the title of the last meeting of the 2021/22 season

TONIGHT!

We are delighted to welcome back Simon Coombs who is going to speak on the

subject of Sibelius and he will be focusing on the lesser known works by this famous composer. Like many composers, people are often familiar with the great works but there is often a hinterland of lesser known works which are worth listening to.

This is the last meeting of the current season so we look forward to meeting you at 7:30 as usual. Work is well advanced with the 2022/23 season and we will be producing a leaflet as usual in the summer.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is tonight, Monday 28th March when Robin will be presenting: “Women composers who won the Prix de Rome”.

I hope you will be able to attend.

Note that we have a range of CDs for sale at a £l each or less as well as a selection of books for sale including biographies of Mahler and Ben Britten as well as other books on musical topics. All at bargain prices!

Next meeting

Our next meeting will be on Monday 14th February 2022, when Angus Menzies will be presenting: ‘H is for Heinichen and Hesse, masters of the Dresden baroque’.

 As before, we feel it is appropriate to ask all attending to follow the Covid safety measures we have in place including well spaced seating, wearing a mask and as far as possible maintaining social distancing. 

 The following meeting on 28th February will be Peter Horwood presenting favourites from his own collection.

Looking ahead you may be interested in a Palm Sunday recital on Sunday 10th April, in St Mary & St Nicholas Church, Wilton at 4.00pm of string quartets, featuring the concert premiere of Variations on Love Divine by Ailsa Dixon (1932-2017)  www.ailsadixon.co.uk.   Ailsa Dixon was one of the many female composers side-lined in musical history, but her work has been the focus of new interest since she died in 2017, with posthumous premieres of a number of works found in her archive. 

We hope you will be able to come on Monday.

ET

New season starts

Second half programme kicks off on Monday, 31 January 2022

The second half of the programme starts in style on Monday with a presentation by John Challenger of Salisbury cathedral on the Father Willis organ, one of the finest organs in the country. He will explore the highs and lows, delights and difficulties of recording on the organ.

As before, we feel it is appropriate to ask all attending to follow the Covid safety measures we have in place including well spaced seating, wearing a mask and as far as possible maintaining social distancing.  

The next meeting after this will be on Monday 14th February, when Angus Menzies will be presenting: ‘H is for Heinichen and Hesse, masters of the Dresden baroque’

Reduced membership for the second half of the year available. £3 at the door for non-members