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 www.crowood.com and follow the link http://crowood.com/details.asp?isbn=9780719814969&t=Player%27s-Guide-to-Chamber-Music 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,

Hilary

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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,

Hilary

October 2017

Dear ECMC Member

Before giving you the October programme, I’d like to give you advance notice that we are hoping to run a series of Bach Brandenburg Concertos, starting with No.5 on November 13th, when Li Lin Teo will be playing the virtuoso harpsichord part and Theresa Cory the flute solo. We need strings for the orchestra and there will be at least one rehearsal plus a run-through on the day, so please volunteer by filling in the Doodle poll – copy and paste this address into your browser (https://doodle.com/poll/s85rawru8pn8vvce) and hopefully we will find a day and time which suits everyone. It can’t be a big orchestra, so obviously it’s first come, first served.

If you have your eye on one of the solo parts in another Brandenburg, please let me know.

The AGM will follow the music on November 13th, and we hope for a good turnout. If you would like to join the Committee (which does virtually all its work by email), please let Hilary know.

PROGRAMME FOR 9th OCTOBER

We’ll begin with recorder duos, played by Liz Sharma ad Hilary Potts, and in the course of the evening using three of the four sizes of recorder used before the 20th century. We will begin on basses with Thomas Morley’s (1557-8) “Go ye my Canzonets” followed by “La Sampogna” on tenor and Bass. “La Sampogna” means “bagpipe” or possibly panpipes, though the music does not seem particularly characteristic of either.

Next in date order, John Maw (mandola), Tilly Mattich and Stuart McGowan (mandolins) will play the Trio Sonata Op.4 No.1 of 1694 by Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713). This is transcribed from the original for two violins and basso continuo, and the movements are:

Largo (Preludio), Allegro, Adagio, Presto (Allemande)

There is no record of Corelli himself having played the mandolin, but the instrument was generically a plucked-string version of the violin, and there are many pieces of this and later eras where they were both identified on the title pages. Of course later publications have tended to not include this. And in a general sense composers were much less tied to particular instrumentation than was true from mid-classical times onward – naturally, as they wanted to make what sales they could in an era before copyright protection.

We move forward and across the Channel to Michel Corrette (1707-1795). His second Sonata may have been written either for treble recorders or flutes, but more likely the latter as it tends to lie rather low on the treble and Liz has opted to swap to the tenor halfway through. The four movements are a gracious Allemande, a Courante, movement styled “Lentement” with sections of imitation suggesting a pair of birds singing to each other, and a lively Rondeau.

Jo Parton and Li Lin Teo will then perform Mahler’s “Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen”, a song cycle on his own texts. The cycle of four Lieder for medium was written around 1884–85 in the wake of Mahler’s unhappy love for soprano Johanna Richter, whom he met while conductor of the opera house in Kassel, Germany, and orchestrated and revised in the 1890s.

The four sections are:
Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht (“When my sweetheart is married”)

Ging heut’ Morgen über’s Feld (“I went this morning over the field”)

Ich hab’ ein glühend Messer (“I have a gleaming knife”)

Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz (“The two blue eyes of my beloved”)

For the last item, Li Lin will be joined by Nicholas Bryer (cor anglais) to play Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise”.  This is a song composed and published in 1915 as the last of his 14 Songs or 14 Romances, Op. 34. Written for high voice (in practice, more often soprano than tenor) with piano accompaniment, it contains no words, but is sung using any one vowel of the singer’s choosing. It was dedicated to soprano Antonina Nezhdanova. It has been arranged for just about every known instrument and combination (some of them by the composer himself), including orchestra, choir and orchestra, theremin and piano, piano trio, jazz ensemble, and on the oboe in the Pet Shop Boys’ 1999 album “Nightlife.”

Finally, sad news of an ex-member, FIONA THOMAS, which came too late for the last mailout. Karen Benny has send us the following memoir: –

Fiona had been a member of ECMC for several years up to 2012 playing in various ensembles, from wind quintets to dectets.  A graduate of the Royal College of Music she was a wonderful French horn player and soprano and a dedicated and passionate musician.  She passed away in August 2017.  She was a passionate supporter of Ealing Youth Orchestra and donations in her memory can be made towards the EYO bursary fund. 

Here’s the link to the donations page:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/eyo?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Yimbyprojectpage&utm_content=eyo&utm_campaign=projectpage-share-owner&utm_term=4KBvz9GAx

Hilary

The New Season Begins!

Dear ECMC Member or friend,

I hope you have had a good summer break. Some will, like me, have had plenty of music and come back energised for more playing. I would like to feel that the Club did more to get members playing outside of concert events. I always hope that members, especially new ones, will email me to say

I joined last year and have this work I would love to play, even if it’s only at home in private, so please would you help me find other members to play it with.

Whether or not it turns into a concert item shouldn’t be the only issue. This approach works particularly well with pianists – familiarise yourself with a work you like and then, if necessary, consult a committee or other long-term member for the right people to ask.

Yours,
Hilary

Organisers

Here are the dates and Organisers for the season

2017
Sept 11 Andrew Lewandowski
Oct 9 Li Lin Teo
Nov 13(& AGM) David Smith
Dec 11 Liz Sharma
2018
Jan 8 John Heffernan
Feb 12 Saori Howse
March 12 Andrew Lewandowski
April 9 Li Lin Teo
May 14 John Heffernan
June 11 Saori Howse
July 9 Liz Sharma