The meeting tonight (Monday 11 November) concentrates on some less well known English composers presented by Christopher Guild. 7:30 as usual.
George Lloyd was born in 1913 in St Ives (Cornwall) and had a traumatic life. Both his parents were keen musicians and encouraged his talent from an early age. Illness meant he was taught at home then left to continue his studies in London.
He wrote his first symphony at 19 which was premiered in Penzance. We heard the Introduction, Theme and Five Variations and it was music which showed great accomplishment. Two other symphonies followed as well as two operas; The Serf and Lernin. The latter was also first performed in Penzance before being transferred to London where it had an unusually long run. Alan Forshaw, the presenter, played the Duet from the opera and it was an outstanding piece of music.
A crucial event in his life was joining the Marines as a bandsman and took part in the awful North Cape convoys to supply the Red Army in WWII. A most terrible event took place in many of his fellow marines were drowned in fuel oil. This affected his mental wellbeing and prolonged hospitalisation with what was still being called shellshock, now called PTSD.
It was physically difficult for him to write music because of the shaking but with devoted care from his wife he was able to start again. A movement from a subsequent symphony demonstrated a change in style.
He wrote music for brass bands and one such was HMS Trinidad March, the ship he had served on. He had almost no success with commissions from the BBC with his scores returned with no comment. A member of the audience suggested this might have been the influence of William Glock and the pressure to use the 12 tone scale which Lloyd has little time for.
He quit the musical life and he and his wife opened a market garden in Dorset. He began to be appreciated in later life and had some of his work performed at the Proms and he did well in America. Albany Records recorded several of his works. We heard a movement from the 4th Piano Concerto and a movement from the 6th Symphony. Other pieces included extracts from the Requiem, and the Black Dyke Mills Band playing a memoriam following the IRA atrocity in the Royal parks.
For those of us who knew little of this composer’s work it was a revelation. He had a sure touch when it came to orchestration. I felt his style would have suited film music where he may have done well. We were grateful to Alan for his work in preparing the evening.
Please note we now have a page on Facebook – Salisbury recorded music society.
Next meeting on 28 October
The new season’s programme is now available
We are pleased to attach the new programme for 2019 – 20. It is an exciting programme with a lot to interest people who like classical music. Several presenters have chosen an English theme this year – five in all – as well as other classics such as Handel and Berlioz. There are two members’ evenings which are open to non members. You can download the programme from here although there will be hard copies available in the Tourist Office; Oxfam’s Music Room and the Library.
Hard copies of the programme is available in the Tourism Information Centre in Fish Row, Oxfam Music Room in Catherine St; and in Salisbury and Amesbury Libraries.
Entrance for non members is £3.
Members’ evening had a wide range of interesting pieces
Last night’s members’ evening had a wide range of music – eclectic even – from the traditional, to some pieces with jazz influences and a rarity from South America.
The traditional selections were from the Well Tempered Clavier by Bach and the chosen pieces were from Book 4 – the most difficult to perform. Angela Hewitt was the pianist and her recordings show great skill and fluidity. The other traditional selection was of Mozart’s first violin concerto the K207. Composed when he was probably 17 it is one of five that he composed although there are possibly two more. Paper analysis suggests an earlier date than originally supposed.
Completely different was Michael Torke’s Javelin one of a series of pieces exploring the relationship between music and colour. Termed a ‘vitally inventive composer’ by the Financial Times, Javelin is a ‘sonic Olympiad composed for the Atlanta Olympics.
Jazz influences were clearly at work with two acoustic guitar compositions by Clive Carroll The Kid from Clare and Black Nile. Guitar phenomenon Clive Carroll’s masterful compositions, coupled with his versatility and unparalleled technical virtuosity, have rendered him one of today’s most admired and respected guitarists.
Diego José de Salazar is largely unknown and in writing this it was hard to find anything much about him. If you do know something, Wikipedia would like to hear from you I am sure. Bolivian, born in 1659 and his music is classical in style but quite unique. We heard Saiga el torillo hosquillo this was one of the hits of the evening.
Bantock’s The Frogs of Aristopanes would get the prize for the most curiously name piece of the evening but not only that, it was a version performed with a brass band, in this case the Grimethorpe Colliery band, said by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to be ‘the finest band in the world’. They are performing in Sturminster Newton in Dorset in June.
The first half ended with Victoria de Los Angeles performing Piu Jesu from Faure’s Requiem.
The mystery piece turned out to be an orchestrated version of one of Debussy’s preludes by Colin Matthews. Two arias by Caruso, one from Rigoletto and the other from Othello, the latter sung with Tito Ruffo followed and the evening ended with Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams from a poem by George Meredith.
A truly amazing selection of pieces and the chair thanked Anthony for skillfully assembling them especially as he would have been unfamiliar with some. Evenings such as this can be a collection of hackneyed favourites with little that is unfamiliar. Although there were some well-known items, the unusual ones added considerable interest.
The next and last meeting of the current programme of the Society is a presentation by Tim Rowe of the music of Handel. Starting at 7:30 on May 13th as usual it is entitled intriguingly: Pebbles to Polished Diamonds.
This has been an excellent programme this year and Tim’s evening promises to be a good coda.
Easy parking to the rear.
The next meeting of the Salisbury Recorded Music Society will be held on Monday 1st April 2019 at 7.30pm in our usual venue, when Ed Tinline will be presenting The trumpet (and other brass) shall sound – a focus on the brass section from Handel onwards. Given the date, although it will be a bit late in the day for tricks as such, Ed hopes to include a little musical humour during the evening.
We hope to see you on Monday.
The second half of the season gets underway on Monday 4th February at 7:30 as usual with a presentation on organ music. We have not had such a presentation in recent years (if at all) and yet there is a large corpus of music written for this ‘king of instruments’. The music will included works in the 17th century and some written in modern times. At least one recording was made with the Cathedral’s organ.
Hope to see you there.
The new season of the Recorded Music Society kicked off with a flying start with a presentation by Tony Powell entitled One Composer’s journey into silence and then resignation. He was of course referring to Beethoven who, as is well known, became progressively deaf starting at quite a young age in his 20’s. By 1816 he had lost nearly all his hearing and visitors had to write down what they wanted to say.
This clearly had a traumatic effect on his musical life. He was a fine pianist and conductor so he was no longer able to do these things. Even though the music was in his imagination, not to be able to hear what he had composed was a heavy burden to bear.
Tony attempted to take us through his musical life, starting with the youthful compositions and ending with some of the last completed pieces. It might be tempting to use the major pieces – the symphonies or concertos for example – but instead he chose the smaller scaled compositions: piano trios; ‘cello sonatas; string quartets and piano sonatas. These are often give a truer insight into a composer’s ‘soul’ if you will, and are harder to compose. Some may be surprised at this but even composers like Mozart, who could dash off pieces seemingly at will, found the shorter forms harder to complete sometimes taking months.
The big change in the piano trios Tony explained, between Beethoven and the earlier composers, was the role played by the other two instruments. With Haydn, they were in support of the piano, in the Beethoven’s work, they played an equal role. This was particularly evident with Op 1 in G Major composed in 1795 when he was in his 20’s.
The style changed and in Op 70 No 2 composed in 1808 we see a greater intensity. Events in Europe would no doubt had a role to play, in particular the French Revolution and the increase in enlightenment thinking.
He only wrote 5 ‘cello sonatas and we heard extracts from Op 5; Op 69 and Op 102, again a spread through his lifetime showing stylistic changes between 1797 and 1815.
Next to the string quartets and if you were not a Beethoven scholar and heard string quartet No 6 in B flat Op 18, you might be forgiven in thinking it was a piece by Haydn. The jaunty theme and structure of the quartet typical of that composer. You would not make that mistake with the last completed quartet (by Beethoven) No 16 Op 135 composed in 1826 the year before he died.
The piano sonatas were a compositional form Beethoven was most comfortable with, possibly because of his piano playing background. We heard extracts from three: No 1; No 23 (Appassionata) and No 32. The increase in intensity and complexity was most marked.
This was a most interesting presentation, showing the changing style of Beethoven’s work over his life. No doubt events in his life – revolution, the Napoleonic wars for example played their part – but his retreat into an inner life would also have been a powerful influence.
Next meeting 1 October at 7:30 as usual
The new season kicks off on Monday 17th at 7:30 as usual and at the usual place. You can access the programme here:
Hope to see you!
Tonight, Monday 23rd April, is a member’s evening. Starts at 7:30 as usual and details of how to find us are on the front page.