Tamesis Issue 180 March 2006
Donít forget about Davidís renaissance playing day next weekend. Iím really sorry that I canít
go this time as itís a great opportunity to play all those unusual instruments that donít come out
very often (as well as recorders, viols etc.) Singers who can hold their own are welcome as
well. Talking of singers, Iím told that the Cambridge weekend (same weekend) singing in
Trinity College with Michael Procter is short of sopranos! I never thought I would hear that!
I was going to talk about the Carwood day last month, but itís been very well covered by
Christine in her review. Iíd just like to thank Michael and Mary for giving me such an
enjoyable day. Itís not often that I go to a TVEMF event that I havenít had to organise any
part of, and St Maryís church is a little gem, hidden away behind a pub opposite the famous
Actually the baroque day next month is another event I donít have to organise at all, and Iím
really looking forward to it. Peter Collier always has everything set up in advance, with the
groups arranged and music allocated. Pitch is 415 and 440 so he can cater for all appropriate
instruments. Singers really have to have to be happy singing solo and tell him in advance what
music they would like to sing and the required instrumentation. I canít remember if it said on
the form, but itís sensible to take a picnic lunch because the waiting time for food at the pub is
Thanks to all the people who have sent me contributions this month. It really helps to make
Tamesis a good read and not just a list.
Not quite so many thanks to the enormous number of people who have sent concert listings
(though of course youíre most welcome to), only because Iíve had so much trouble with
having to juggle the information youíve sent me. Please try to send your listing in the order in
which it will appear in Tamesis and NEVER send a huge file with a poster attached to it!
Have a look at this monthís list to see what order I put it in, because this will save me a lot of
time. If you are doing the same concert in several venues, repeat all the info with each event.
I should say that some people are always very good at sending something I can just paste in.
The star prize for this goes to Skeleton Crew! Please note that I donít include the conductor
unless they are also playing, or long lists of performers and detailed works, glowing
descriptions etc. I donít put in prices either unless itís tickets at the door only. Times are
assumed to be 7.30 unless otherwise stated, but if you're going itís always a good idea to
check with the contact number or the website in case there are any updates.
I very much enjoyed the workshop at Perivale with Andrew Carwood, whom I had not
previously encountered. He had many interesting things to say and kept us alert by asking
questions, which was slightly disconcerting at first but certainly kept our attention! St. Mary's
seems a good venue for an event of up to 50 singers as it is easily accessible and has
considerable charm. Michael and Mary Reynor set new standards for event organisers with
their attention to detail and especially the refreshments.
Don't forget that our annual renaissance music playing day is on the 25th of March. This is an
opportunity to make new contacts and explore fresh music or perhaps those pieces that have
been lurking in a cupboard for so long. We have a reasonable number of players, but more
would definitely be welcome, particularly those instruments or voices capable of playing or
singing an alto or tenor line. Instrumentalists and singers who can hold a part are welcome - let
me know by Thursday the 23rd of March if you would like to come.
The following week is the Baroque Day, which is always popular, very well organised by Peter
Collier and attracts a varied set of players and singers. I hope to see many of you at both of
MAGNIFICAT Ė Music for the Annunciation February 25th
The little 12th century church of St Maryís Perivale in Ealing West London is a new venue for
TVEMF. We arrived on a d; but after the cofistinctlyfchillee break we were iy morning and it took time for the heaters and our
Andrew Carwoodísvoices to warm up enthusiastic and encouraging direction.n good spirits and responding well to
We started with Alma Redemptoris Mater by Peter Phillips (1560 Ė 1628), the latest of the four
works we studied, and then moved on to Magnificat Regali (1464 Ė1521) the earliest piece, by
Fayrfax. For someone like myself who rarely sings music of this period it was of particular
interest. The music was rhythmically intricate with long phrases on one syllable, which was
tricky to read. Fairfax gives long episodes to duets and trios and then brings back the other
parts, drops them out again, but builds up to a splendidly sonorous ending.
The other music we tackled was Byrdís Propers for the Annunciation which included a lovely
Ave Maria, and Verbum Caro Factum est by John Farmer. There were a good number of men
and so we had a balanced choir and some excellent sightreaders in all parts to keep us afloat.
Andrew is a highly accomplished conductor and choir trainer and I personally learned a great
deal during the course of the day. As an OFSTED Inspector might put it, he kept us ďon taskĒ
and completely involved with the music, while giving us the benefit of his vocal expertise and
dropping in helpful and interesting nuggets of information along the way. Singing to ďdingĒ
kept us on our toes metaphorically and gave shape and energy to the music. Taking much
greater care of our vowels Ė avoiding diphthongs- helped us to sing in tune.
I had not realised that treble voices were used in English choirs earlier than on the continent
and were much admired and commented on by European visitors.
Andrew discussed problems of vocal range in the music we had been singing with some wry
observations about the fashion for transposing up a third, seemingly on flimsy evidence,
causing even more problems along the way. Andrew obviously has an in-depth knowledge of
early music but he is never pedantic and his common sense approach to early music
performance was very refreshing.
As a local it was a treat to have a TVEMF day on my doorstep. I know St Maryís and was
aware of some of the problems of the venue. Fortunately Michael and Mary Reynor were
models of efficiency and with their organisation, good humour and the help of the local pub,
the day went smoothly and Maryís homemade cakes were a triumph! Many thanks to all
concerned for a very successful workshop.
The Wooburn Singers gave their concert of Mozartís Requiem and Haydnís Theresa Mass to a
packed audience at St.Maryís Church, Amersham on Saturday 4th March. Since their young
and dynamic Music Director, Greg Beardsell, joined them in April 2005 the reputation of the
choir has grown and I knew we were in for a treat.
The choir started their programme with Mozartís beautiful motet Ave Verum Corpus which
they sang from memory. What a difference it makes when all eyes are on the conductor. The
sound was warm and rich with a particularly strong tenor line.
Mozartís Requiem came next. This was an exciting performance with many contrasts in
dynamics and articulation. I imagine that much work went into rehearsing the light and
detached semi-quaver fugal lines which came over so clearly at the start of the Kyrie. What I
found memorable were the powerful chords at the start of ĎRex tremendaeí followed by the
descending lyrical Ďsalva meí and again the punctuated chords at the beginning of the
ĎLacrymosaí followed by the contrasted legato phrase. There were times when the soloists
were rather swamped by the enthusiasm of the brass but in general the balance was good.
Haydnís Theresa Mass was an unfamiliar work to me. It is one of Haydnís last six great
masses of which the Nelson Mass is the most famous. When the Mass was composed in 1799
there was a shortage of wind players at Eisenstadt so the scoring is for two clarinets, a bassoon
and two trumpets. Again the choir gave a spirited performance with some excellent contrasts
Although the teenagers I took with me found that sitting through two masses was quite a
challenge, for me it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
The Wooburn Singers in Amersham
I had a difficult choice that day, whether to go to the Wooburn Singers concert which Alison
has reviewed above, or the Chiltern Baroque Soloists a few miles down the road. What a pity
that they were both on the same evening. You expect duplications in London, but not round
here. I obviously missed a really good concert in Amersham, but Iím still glad that I went to
Chesham for the Bach Family concert with Chiltern Baroque. To be honest, some of it wasnít
quite up to their usual high standard, particularly in the CPE Bach trio sonata where the players
didnít seem to have quite decided amongst themselves what speed to play it and the violin
entries always seemed to be a bit faster than the flute had just been playing. But Silas
Standage played a very interesting organ prelude and fugue by one of Bachís uncles, Johann
Christoph, and there was a good performance of the Trio Sonata from the Musical Offering.
The absolute star of the show was the cellist David Watkin who even managed to make the
not specially interesting continuo part of the CPE Bach worth paying attention to. His
performance of the JS Bach second cello suite in D minor was absolutely amazing, with all the
movements beautifully characterised and some wonderful hurdy-gurdy effects in the gigue. I
see from the programme that he is also principal cello of the Philharmonia Orchestra. How
versatile can you get! Definitely a player to watch out for.
The (paper) programme itself was a little disappointing, with more space given to information
about the players than about the music. How I wish performers wouldnít do this. Iíve got a
CD to review at the moment with just the same problem. The lack of information in the
programme notes (there was some) was made up for by the players who said a little about
some of the pieces in advance. I could really feel Peter Hanson trying to avoid difficult words
like basso continuo and obbligato, though, and I do think performers should give the audience
credit for having some musical knowledge.
Chiltern Baroque Soloists in Chesham
hing Iíve said put you off going to a Chilter
Donít let anyt playing is usually excellent and ití n Baroque concert in the future.
Their standard of s good to have professional early music
concerts away from the big centres.
What a wonderful response to the number plate challenge. Unfortunately someone else (long-
lost relative?) has bagged SEV 10R - I saw it on a Ford Capri some time in the 1970s.
Another challenge - can anyone recollect a concert of contemporary/pop/rock/jazz/world music
which included an item of baroque music (played of course on period instruments)? This
thought struck me when reading the brochure for this year's Lufthansa Festival of Baroque
Music. Even with the aid of reading glasses it was hard to find much baroque music.
Impressive web sheet music resource
Wayne Plummer has just given me this address for finding public domain sheet music. For
music by Heinrich SchŁtz look at http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Schutz You can then
work out how to find other composers.
Itís sometimes difficult to find somewhere where you can make a loud noise if you live in a
flat in London, so you might be interested to know that itís possible to hire the Wigmore Hallís
rehearsal rooms during the day at quite a reasonable rate.