January 2018

Dear ECMC Member

Happy New Year – hopefully full of music-making.

It’s often difficult to put a programme together so soon after Christmas, but Li Lin has done so, and hopefully there will be a fair number of members there to enjoy it.


We are expecting to have a performance of Brandenburg No.5 in the February 12th concert. Any strings who would like to play in the orchestra, please let David Smith know.

By then, plans will be going ahead for Brandenburg 4. David is already fixing the soloists and has the orchestra parts – though they can easily be downloaded if you want to take a look  before booking a place in the orchestra.


January Concert

Our first concert in 2018 will be on Monday 8th January – tomorrow!

Our regular guests, John Maw and Stuart McGowan, will start their programme of mandola and mandoline music with Sonatas 3 and 4 Opus 4 by Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751) Born in Venice to a wealthy paper merchant, he studied violin and singing and gained fame as an opera composer. He wrote at least fifty operas, of which twenty-eight were produced in Venice between 1723 and 1740. (Albinoni himself claimed 81 operas.) He is mainly remembered today for his instrumental music because most of his operatic works are lost, having not been published during his lifetime. However, nine collections of instrumental works were published, to be met with considerable success and consequent reprints. He is therefore known today more as a prolific composer of instrumental music (99 sonatas, 59 concerti and 9 sinfonie). In his lifetime these works were compared favourably with those of Corelli and Vivaldi and were studied by Bach. Opus 4 was published in 1708, and both sonatas are in the standard Sonata da Chiesa Slow/Fast/Slow/Fast format

Finally, they will play the Capriccio à 2 Corne soli by Johann Vierdank  (1605- 1646), a less well-known figure, whom the variety of spellings of his name (e.g.  Virdanck, Vyrdanck, Feyertagk, Feyerdank, Fierdanck) must have made even more obscure. He was a violinist, cornettist, and composer born near Dresden. In 1615 he joined the court chapel of Dresden, where he became a student of Heinrich Schütz and William Brade. After visits to Copenhagen and Lübeck, Vierdanck occupied the post of organist in Stralsund from 1635 until his death in 1646.

Paul Robinson (cello) and David Smith (piano) will then play arrangements of “Arabic Dance” and “Solveig’s Song” from Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No.2. This originated as the incidental music to Ibsen’s 1867 play of the same name, a sprawling work little heard today, which premiered in 1876 in Oslo.. When Ibsen asked Grieg to write music for the play in 1874, he enthusiastically agreed. However, it was much more difficult for Grieg than he imagined.  Even though the premiere was a “triumphant success”, it prompted Grieg to complain bitterly that the Swedish management of the theater had given him specifications as to the duration of each number and its order: “I was thus compelled to do patchwork … In no case had I opportunity to write as I wanted … Hence the brevity of the pieces,” he said. It must have been rather like writing film music. Later, in 1888 and 1891, Grieg extracted eight movements to make two four-movement suites more suited to the concert hall, which were immediately successful.

Finally, Liz Sharma will play an “Aria” for also saxophone with Li Lin Teo at the piano. This was written for Marcel Mule (no relation to Muffin) Eugène Bozza (1905-1991) was a brilliant student at the Paris Conservatory, winning First Prizes for the violin (1924), conducting (1930), composition (1934), as well as the Grand Prix de Rome. He conducted the orchestra of the Opéra-Comique until 1948; he then became director of the Valenciennes Conservatory. His works include several operas, ballets, large-scale symphonic and choral works. But his worldwide reputation is derived mainly from his many chamber works, written for various instrumental formations, with a preference for wind instruments. As Paul Griffiths points out in his article in the New Grove, Bozza’s works reveal “ melodic fluency, elegance of structure and a consistently sensitive concern for instrumental capabilities.

Yours, Hilary


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