The second meeting of the Society using a combination of Zoom and YouTube took place on 19 October 2020 and concerned the Czech composer Zelenka presented by Peter Horwood. There are many who may not have heard of this composer, born in the town of Lounovice near Prague in 1679. His problem – if it can be described thus – was to be around at roughly the same time as Bach and Handel and so his fame was eclipsed after his death.
We listened and watched his Missa Votiva in E minor performed by Collegium 1704 under the energetic baton of Václav Luks. The playing and singing was of a very high standard and the conductor kept to a brisk tempo. The YouTube video was not of a high quality and may also have been compressed so that the full range of sound was not fully available. The recording took place in a large church yet there were no dynamic problems one usually experiences in these large spaces.
Although the music was harmonically rich, it did lack much in the way of memorable melody which might explain his low profile after his death. He was nevertheless a composer of great talent and does deserve to be heard more. As we have said before, one of the roles of the Society is to bring to the fore some of these lesser lights who sometimes get swept aside by musical titans of Bach, Mozart or Beethoven etc.
For those who want to know more there is a Website which tells you more and also lists recordings available on CD or for download.
We were planning to restart but new government restrictions and the rule of 6 has meant – along with many other organisations – we are unable to do so. Various ideas are being looked at and the committee has a meeting this Friday (18 September) to look at options. So for now, it means we shall not be restarting.
Previous post no longer valid.
[We shall be restarting on 5th October at a new venue! This will enable us to meet Covid 19 requirements. Details later today!]
We hope to restart meetings in the Autumn
We need hardly note that the programme at the start of this year had to be abandoned so it is with pleasure that – tentatively at least – we hope to restart in the Autumn with a programme up to Christmas. The first session will be on Monday 21 September and will be The Legend of Orpheus and the Birth of Opera by Jeremy Barlow.
Starting at 7:30 as usual and at the usual place which if you haven’t been before is at the rear of the Guide’s Centre in St Ann St. By car go down to the end of Exeter St and left before the roundabout into Carmalite Way. Then left and almost back to St Ann St and there are some green gates on the left into a free car park. Access is easy for those with disabilities.
It is a modest £3 for non-members.
Please keep an eye on this site or on Facebook in case we have to cancel.
Once we have finalised the remaining evenings we will post the full programme here.
Look forward to seeing you or welcoming new members in September!
Since our last email it has become clear that we are very unlikely to be able to resume any of our sessions this season, and so we have regretfully decided to cancel the rest of this season’s sessions.
We plan to re-schedule the two sessions with a presenter (Peter Horwood and Richard Langham Smith) into the 2020-21 season.
If it happens that things ease sufficiently in the next 2 months (one can but hope) we might look at arranging a session, perhaps a special members’ evening in June to round off the season.
The committee is endeavouring to prepare the 2020-21 programma which we hope will commence as usual in September 2020.
Meanwhile, I hope we all stay healthy and safe.
We regret to say the meeting planned for Monday 23 March has been postponed because of the current Covid-19 situation. Things are obviously changing fast – COBRA met this morning – so what happens in the future is in the lap of the gods.
We will let you know what we plan to do once we know more of what is going to happen.
Our next meeting will be on Monday 24th February at 7.30pm in our usual venue
where Jon Hampton, chair of Music in Salisbury and a good friend of our Society, will be presenting “From Art to Music – how great art has inspired great music”.
Jon will deliver a wide ranging survey of how great works of art have inspired composers to write great music with a few surprises in store.
I hope you will be able to attend.
Free parking outside the venue. Only £3 for non-members.
Our next meeting will be on Monday 10th February at 7.30pm in our usual venue, hen Peter Curbishley will be presenting: ‘Berlioz’s Vocal Music’. Peter will explore Berlioz’s vast output of vocal music, with a wealth of examples.
I hope you will be able to attend.
Free parking. £3 to non-members
It is perhaps not too surprising that an island nation should feature the sea in the compositions of its native composers. Examples of these – from well known and some less well known composers – featured in the last meeting of the Society on 27 January 2020.
Society member Ed Tinline kicked of the second half of the season with a wide selection of pieces composed by British composers, all with the sea as their inspiration.
We started with part of Vaughan William’s Symphony No 1, A Sea Symphony composed in 1909. Inspiration for the symphony came in part from Walt Whitman. It was premiered when he was 38 and established him as a leading composer.
Brighton born Frank Bridge was next with his Symphonic Suite: The Sea composed in 1910. Then a piece by Judith Weir with her Lament, Over the Sea from her The Bagpiper’s String Trio first performed in 1989. Judith was the first woman to be appointed Master of the Queen’s Music.
Next – another woman – Ethyl Smyth with her Overture: The Wreckers from 1906. I wrote ‘jaunty’ at one point with some interesting orchestral colours. Dame Ethel Mary Smyth attained prominence as one of the most accomplished female composers in a male dominated environment, and as one of the main representatives of the suffragette movement. Tchaikovsky said of her ‘[she] one of the few women composers whom one can seriously consider to be achieving something valuable in the field of musical creation’. Source: British Library.
The first half ended with Arnold Bax’s On the Sea-shore And Elgar’s Sea Pictures.
The second half started with the unfamiliar Mass of the Sea composed by Paul Patterson composed in 1983. Next was By the Sleepy Lagoon written at Selsey by Eric Coates – who like Frank Bridge, was born in Brighton – looking across the bay and is used as the theme for Desert Island Discs on Radio 4.
The Kent coast inspired David Matthew’s Overture: From Sea to Sky composed quite recently in 1992. The Sea Interludes from Britten’s Peter Grimes are very familiar. Interestingly, Britten was taught composition by Frank Bridge.
The penultimate piece was The Needles by Matthew Taylor commissioned by the LSE Music Society in 2000. Finally we returned to Elgar and another of his Sea Pictures composed at the end of the nineteenth century.
A fascinating evening and a wide range of music based on this one idea.
Next month’s meeting is Berlioz’s vocal music and is on Monday 10 February.
The second half of the season kicks off on Monday 27 January with an evening devoted to the music of Vaughan Williams and other British composers . Ed Tinline will present the evening entitled Behold the sea.
It starts at 7:30 and where to find us is on one of the tabs at the top of the site. There is free parking outside and access is reasonable for those with disabilities (a small step). £3 for non-members. We look forward to seeing you.
The meeting tonight (Monday 11 November) concentrates on some less well known English composers presented by Christopher Guild. 7:30 as usual.