December 2017

Dear ECMC Member,

We hope to see you on 11th December for some playing followed by festive eats and wine. Do please bring your instrument, plus a food contribution if you feel so inclined.

Please look at the AGM Minutes, sent in the latest email. For the first time in many years Hugh Mather actually presided – as the main guy in the Friends of St Mary’s he is effectively our landlord as well as our President, which has been a beneficial situation with very rare hiccoughs (none in the last year).

John has already told you that Crowood Press has recently published  A PLAYER’S GUIDE TO CHAMBER MUSIC by Paul Jeffery.  I haven’t seen it; it sounds similar to the “yellow book” by Harold Haynes, of which the latest edition came out in 2006, but includes illustrations – whether these actually add to its usefulness is another matter.

Copies are available to the Club at 35% discount off the retail price with free carriage to your club address.  Minimum order quantity is two copies.  Alternatively members can order via our website and follow the link and receive 20% discount off this book and any other books on the site.

 Now for the programme, the first part of which consists of just one mighty work.

The run of Brandenburg Concerti which we are planning opens in December with No.5. They are of course a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, in 1721, although they were probably never played at his court and did not get the current title until 150 years later. They had been written from 1708 onwards while he was working at Cöthen and probably revised for presentation.

The fifth Brandenburg is thought to have been the last written, intended as a vehicle to show off the new Cöthen harpsichord. Bach presumably played the solo part himself. The Fifth is the most historically important of the Brandenburgs, as it is the earliest known instance in which the harpsichord is elevated out of the role of continuo accompaniment to solo status. While the other Brandenburgs held little interest for the following generations, the Fifth is the only one to have circulated after Bach’s death (in copies by others) as it spoke to their interest in the emerging solo keyboard concerto. One almost feels sorry for the other two instruments, since throughout, the harpsichord not only holds its own but keeps escaping its role as accompanist to override and grab the spotlight from the solo flute and violin especially in the huge cadenzas.

 Li Lin Teo takes the very prominent keyboard part (on the piano), and the other soloists are Saori Howse (violin) and Theresa Cory (flute).

The chamber orchestra at the moment consists of:

  • Violins: Richard Vinter, Kate Day, Lowri Norris.
  • Violas: David Smith, Hilary Potts
  • Cello: Paul Robinson
  • Bass: Linda Shanks

It is nicely balanced as it is, but one more of everything (except bass) would be fine; I expect there to be other string players available because of the Play-in, so it is first come first served, i.e. let me know in advance if you want to play in the Bach.

After that, the Play-in is of course for all-comers, the more the merrier. Liz has asked for early warning, especially from wind players, please make her task easier by doing so, as she does make every effort to make sure there is a part for everyone. Reply to her direct. I have left it to Liz to describe her arrangements for the Play-in:

 “I decided to have early music this year so trawled through the Petrucci website.

  1. O Nata Lux  by Tallis – originally a choral piece which I’ve always loved.

O nata lux de lumine,
Jesu redemptor saeculi,
dignare clemens supplicum
laudes precesque sumere.
Qui carne quondam contegi
dignatus es pro perditis,
nos membra confer effici
tui beati corporis.


O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with kindness deign to receive
the praise and prayer of suppliants.
You who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be made members
of your blessed body.

  1. Pavane by Purcell . This is the companion to the Chaconne we played before, & is surprisingly different, & chromatic. I took some outrageous liberties with the arrangement to make it longer & in Rondo form. The wind & string episodes contrast with the returning theme, which necessitated the creation of a few links. I hope the Sharma bars merge with Purcell as well as can be expected, & that he won’t spin in his grave.
  1. Canzona by Bach. This appeared in Petrucci as a fugal string quartet, so I just added wind parts.
  1. The Festive Season”. This is the last movement of a wind quintet I wrote a few years ago, ‘Minutes of the Year’ in which there are 2 movements for each season – each lasting a minute. In this 8th movement I’ve crammed 10 Christmas tunes in counterpoint into a minute, & also the New Year’s Eve midnight chimes. We won’t be playing it quite up to speed so it will last a bit longer than a minute. If you can name all the tunes your prize will be that you don’t have to help with the clearing up at the end of the evening.”

We hope you enjoy these arrangements.

 And a merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all ECMC members and friends,



November 2017

Dear ECMC Member/Friend,

We are now approaching our 2017 AGM, which will be after the concert on Monday November 13th. I have sent out the proposed Agenda, but if you would like to raise any topic please let me know and I will add it before the day. I have also attached the Minutes of last year’s meeting; they are also on the ECMC Website along with a lot of other information, including the programmes of previous concerts. You might care to glance at this – we are always interested in any ideas members might have for improving the website and the Club generally. We would also be particularly interested to hear from anyone who would like to take over running the website, as Toby Louw has long since moved away from Ealing.

After the AGM we are hoping to have a rehearsal for Bach Brandenburg Concerto No.5 with string orchestra. I tried to run a Doodle poll which didn’t really work, but we are hoping that enough string players will be around this month, will stay for a rehearsal after the AGM, and will be able to perform at our December 11thmeeting, hopefully with a run-through beforehand.  Otherwise it would be rather a disappointment for the three soloists!

 Liz Sharma is the Organiser for the December programme and has written separately to members asking you to let her know whether you plan to come, so that she can make sure there is a part for everybody who wants to join in the Play-in. Please respond in good time, and then stick to your decision, otherwise it’s very difficult to organise.

 Now for the November programme, which you can also download and print.

The first item is contributed by Liz Sharma as both composer/arranger and performer. The two folksong arrangements are of   “I gave my Love a Cherry” and  “The Lark in the Clear Air.”  Liz writes, “I arranged 3 folk songs about 5 years ago for cor anglais & piano, after hearing the set arranged by Vaughan Williams performed by Nick Daniels at Dartington. My set of 3 have been published in their original form, for cor anglais, by Egge-Verlag. I started teaching myself the tenor horn at the end of February, & adapted the first two of the folk songs for it.” Liz is accompanied by David Smith.

David will then accompany Andrew Lewandowski (clarinet) in Schumann’s “Soireestucke” Op.73. This is usually known as “Phantasiestucke” but today’s performance is of the original version of Schumann’s manuscript not the later edited version. Numerous important differences exist between the original manuscript and the first published version (the further model for all later editions). Alan Hacker in his Foreword comments on the superior strength of the original: ‘greater asymmetry, slightly varied harmony and many other touches all intensify passionate and impulsive instability, the main expression of the work.’

Finally, we have two items by the Trio Naoko Sawada (Clarinet), Lowri Norris (Flute) and Zillah Myers (Piano). The first is the Trio K 407 by Mozart, which seems to have started life as a horn quintet in 1782, and has since been arranged many times. There are three movements.  Secondly they play the ever –popular and much arranged Tambourin and Gavotte by Francois Joseph Gossec (1734-1829), arranged by Russell Denwood.

Best wishes,