New season gets underway

The new season started well last night with a presentation by Ed Tinline of the

Sibelius

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because it received a poor review when it was first performed or because the composer was unhappy with it and it was ‘withdrawn’.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.

The next evening is on October 5th.

Salisbury Journal

New season kicks off at the end of the month

The new season kicks off at the end of this month with Ed Tinline playing music by

Sibelius
Sibelius

Sibelius.  This is on 21st  September at the usual time of 7.30.  Ed is currently researching his presentation and where else but Finland itself at the 150th anniversary festival?

Copies of the programme are to be found in the Collector’s Room in Endless St; Oxfam upstairs; the Tourism Information Centre and the Library.  You can also download it here:

2015 16 programme

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.

Hope to see you on 21st.

#Programme for 2015/16 now being finalised

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)

Date Speaker and title
2015
September 21 Ed Tinline.  Music from Sibelius 150th Anniversary Festival, Lahti, Finland
October 5 Barry Conaway.  ‘1911 – new music of a sunset year’ including Delius, Elgar, Mahler and Sibelius
October 19 Peter Curbishley  ‘… but I don’t like modern music’.  Music by Schoenberg, Shostakovich and other ‘moderns’
November 2 Christopher Guild.  ‘The music of Roland Center (1913 – 1973) and the influence of Britten, Shostakovich, Ravel and Vaughan Williams on his work’ (provisional title)
November 16 Alastair Aberdare.  ‘A Berlioz Miscellany’.  Lord Aberdare is a member of the Berlioz Society
November 30 Members’ Evening
2016  
February 1 TBA
February 29 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
March 14 Anthony Powell.  ‘A personal musical journey – 60 years of discovery, including works by Beethoven, Mahler, Vaughan Williams, Britten and Butterworth
April 4 Robin Lim.  Title to be confirmed
April 18 TBA
May 9 Members’ evening
May 23 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.

Shostakovich
Shostakovich

Final meeting of the season takes place on 1 June

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.

Nino Rota

nino rota 2
Nino Rota

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.

Organ music

David Davies 3 croppedThe last meeting of the Recorded Music Society, which took place on 16 March, was a further break from tradition as there was – and there is no other way to put this – no recorded music.  Instead we had local keyboard player David Davies (photo) play organ pieces and he called his talk Brought down from the attic: rarely heard organ works played live on the piano.

David played a wide range of pieces from composers stretching back to Tallis in the sixteenth century and a piece from the Robertsbridge Codex which is from the fourteenth.  He explained something of the history of the organ noting that the pedal was a late arrival to these shores, in fact not until something like 1840 did any appear.  All organs were destroyed by Cromwell is another interesting fact.

Among the pieces was one of Mozart’s ‘epistle sonatas’ which may have contributed to his dismissal from Salzburg because, famously, it was too long.  Other pieces included Walton’s music for Richard III and an Air by Samuel Wesley who was the first to spot how important the music of Bach was.  A really interesting programme – and we didn’t miss the CDs.

The list of music played:

Anon Organ Estampie in the Robertsbridge Codex: the earliest surviving music written specifically for the keyboard
Tallis Hymn: Iste confessor
Sweelink Toccata in the Aeolian mode
Gibbons Prelude in G
Walton Elegy from music for Richard III
Frescobaldi Gagliarda Terza from the second book of toccatas
Tomkins Voluntary
Locke Voluntary 3 from Melothesia
Pachelbel Fugue in D major
JS Bach Fughettas on Vom Himmel Hoch und Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Couperin Kyrie of the Convent Mass
Stanley Voluntary op 7 No. 5
Boyce Voluntary in D
Lidon Sonata para organo con trompeta real
Mozart Epistle Sonata 15
Beethoven Prelude through all the twelve keys op 39
Wesley, S Air and Gavotte
Brahms Chorale prelude on Es ist ein’ Ros entsprugen
Elgar Vesper Voluntary 5
Ferguson  Kellow Pye Variations and Scherzo

Meeting

The last meeting of the Society was on Monday, March 2nd.  We were pleased to welcome a speaker from EM Records, based locally at Blandford Forum, which is the recording arm of the English Music Festival and fulfils the EMF’s aims of celebrating and preserving overlooked works by British composers throughout the centuries.  It has a strong focus on the early twentieth century: the Golden Renaissance of English music. EM Records resolves to bring this glorious music to a world-wide audience. In keeping with the unique spirit of the Festival, each disc released by EM Records will contain at least one World Première recording. 

As well as learning some of what is involved in preparing, recording and producing CDs of the highest quality, we also gained an insight into the issues raised when unearthing and interpreting previously unpublished manuscripts.  Recordings of better known English composers like Vaughan Williams, Holst and Stanford were interspersed with some lovely recordings of works by lesser known lights such as David Owen Morris and Henry Walford Davies, the latter being the composer of the instantly recognisable RAF March past.

This is the second time the Society has gone behind the scenes, so to speak, and heard about the process of recording a CD.

See also English Music Festival

Telemann

Telemann was a prolific composer and probably composed more music than any other – over three thousand works are known including 1043 cantatas.  He was a contemporary of JS Bach and to Handel and was probably better known than either in his lifetime.   However, he is less well known now and the fame of his contemporaries has eclipsed him.  There is much to admire and the Society’s presentation by Angus Menzies on 16 February introduced us to the range of his output.

Telemann
Telemann

George Philipp Telemann was born in 1681 at Magdebourg in Germany and was clearly a child prodigy being able to play four instruments by the age of 10.  His parents wanted him to go into the church and he did indeed start studies in this direction but gave them up after a year.  He studied at Leipzig and at 21 became the musical director of the opera there.  There were subsequent appointments in Zary, Frankfurt and finally in Hamburg.  His first wife died young and his second left him for a Swedish nobleman.

Angus played a range of music from some of his earliest compositions up until his death in Hamburg.  Pieces included Concerto in G major for recorder; oboe and violin; Overture in D major from Jubeloratorium; a scene from Orpheus, and the curious Volker overture Turcs; Suisses and Muscovites.  He wrote nine operas.

telemann scoreHe titled his talk: Geese, frogs and old pepper sacks.  The frogs referred to sounds included in one of his early works – a violin concerto; the opera house was once in the goose market (much like Covent Garden used to be adjacent to the market) and pepper sacks was how prosperous members of the Academy were referred no doubt because of their girth.

It was interesting hearing echoes of Handel in some of the pieces with whom he exchanged bulbs as they were both keen on this activity.  Handel borrowed much from Telemann.  Telemann was godfather to CPE Bach.

He was ‘an amazing, varied and fascinating composer’ Angus said.  Although far from unknown he has been overshadowed certainly by Bach and to an extent Handel but nevertheless, he composed much that can be admired.  Part of the entry in Groves says: Telemann’s music is easily recognisable as his own, with its clear periodic structure, its clarity and ready fluencyThough four years senior to Bach and Handel, he used an idiom more forward looking than theirs and in several genres can be seen as a forerunner of the Classical style.

An enjoyable evening and we were pleased to welcome some more new members.

New Season gets underway

Frida cropped
Frida Backman

The Society’s new season got off to a flying start on Monday night with a presentation by Frida Backman of the Backman Trio.  The substance of her talk was the making of a music CD which rather underplays what might have been a rather workmanlike presentation.  However, it was much more than that.  Frida had uncovered a previously unpublished work by Sibelius no less, which they had managed to piece together and perform as part of their first CD.

Frida won’t be unknown to local music lovers and only last Friday, she performed with Salisbury based pianist Lynda Smith in Sarum College as part of their lunch time series of concerts.  The Trio was founded in 2009 in London by British pianist Marcus Andrews, Finnish violinist Freda Backman and British cellist, Ruth Beedham.  In 2014 they returned to Finland and performed at the Aino Atke festival in Helsinki as part of the CD launch.  With financial support from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, the group was able to resurrect the composer Eric Bergman’s piano Trio No 2 of which we heard an extract.  Bergman (1911 – 2006) is another of those composers of whom little is heard today but he has a large repertoire of work.

Backman Trio
Backman Trio

Frida went through the lengthy process of making a CD and included a discussion of the differences between a live and studio performance. With the former of course, there is only one chance and the tension is high to get it right.  A studio performance on the other hand involves many hours of takes and retakes and keeping the performance fresh can be difficult to achieve.  Unless one is lucky to have a recording contract, there are the costs to consider and then how to launch and promote the finished thing.

The evening ended with a performance of a previously unknown work by Sibelius – Fantasia, performed by the group.  It was remarkably accessible and the recording was – in the opinion of the writer – clear, well balanced and bright.  It is available from the Collectors Room in Salisbury UK.

A most enjoyable and informative evening.