Bookings are coming in well for Michael Procter’s Kilburn weekend,
but we are still rather short of tenors. There are not many places
left for Sunday lunch at Pizza Express so please book as soon as possible.
You may be interested to know that Michael’s catalogue of his publications
(Edition Michael Procter - sacred music of the Renaissance and some
surprises) is now available online at www.michael-procter.com
Johanna Renouf is organising a day with Alison Crum called 'Introduction
to the Viol and Viol Consort Playing' for people who have never played
the viol before and also for people with enough experience to enable
them to play easy consort music. This will be a small course and therefore
rather more expensive than usual, and will be held at Alison’s house
in Cricklewood. More details next month.
Sponsorship money is still trickling in for the Background Baroque
Red Nose Day marathon. I’ll give you the final total next month.
If you still haven’t sent yours in, please send me a cheque payable
to Comic Relief at the address on the front cover. We did 27 sonatas
– I’m sorry that makes the sum difficult! Thanks again to everyone
who contributed. It’s still not too late if you didn’t get around
to it at the time.
I very much enjoyed the Baroque Day on Saturday at Oxford organised
by Peter Collier, the Director of the Oxford Baroque Chamber Music
week. Apart from anything else, it was so nice to be at the receiving
end of the organisation! I hope someone will review it next
month. And thanks for all this month’s many and varied contributions.
Had the email enquiry from a
nyckelharpa player arrived a couple of days earlier (on April 1st)
I would have been inclined, in my ignorance, to treat it as a hoax.
However it turns out that the nyckelharpa is a traditional Swedish
instrument that has been played, in one form or another, for more
than 600 years and is described by Michael Praetorius in his Syntagma
Musicum. I learn there is even a nyckelharpa society, and from
their web site at www.nyckelharpa.org/info/index.htm
I discover that there are about 10,000 nyckelharpa players
in Sweden today. I gather that it is a cousin of the hurdy gurdy,
being violin-like with a slider for each note that gets pressed against
the string, but the strings are played with a bow rather than a wheel.
A feature of the instrument is that it has metal strings which are
not played directly but vibrate in sympathy with the main strings.
A downloaded sound clip shows the instrument to have a distinctive
and rather poignant sound.I'm very pleased to announce that Jeremy
West will direct TVEMF's first ever workshop for cornetts, sackbuts,
curtals and recorders in June and Alison Crum will tutor one for viols
in July (see front cover for details). Although these instruments
must rank well below the nyckelharpa in popularity world-wide, TVEMF
is not yet planning any events for the latter instrument as yet!
Whilst the present Chancellor of the Exchequer is one of the most
expert in the art of relieving us of our money unnoticed, other Chancellors
have been more obvious in their efforts. For example in 1662 the Hearth
Tax was introduced at the rate of two shillings for every hearth in
a house. With the help of a builder it could of course be avoided
but the consequences for comfort were a sufficient disincentive.
The Window Tax which replaced it in 1662 was imposed at the rate of
2s for houses of up to 9 windows, 4s for those of 10 to 20 and 8s
for mansions with more than 20 windows. Blocked-up windows
in houses of the period from then until 1851 are clear evidence of
a reluctance to pay up.
Scholars have recently unearthed details of
an earlier tax along similar lines, targeted at musicians. The tax
was levied on musical instruments at a rate of 6d per hole or string.
The rationale was that amateur musicians clearly had plenty of money
if they could afford viols, whilst buskers and itinerant wind players
needed to be discouraged. The consequences were predictable: many
recorders were replaced by three-hole pipes, the theorbo suddenly
became a luxury few could afford, whilst the fretted blasthorn, having
both strings and holes, became extinct overnight. The recorder,
which had originally been known as la flûte à neuf trous on
account of having alternative holes for left- and right-handed players
(one of which was blocked with wax), was hastily renamed flûte
à bec lest it incur even more tax. There were court cases which
established, amongst other things, that topologically the natural
trumpet was equivalent to a doughnut, and therefore only had one hole.
Fortunately the modern practice of having finger holes to aid in tuning
had not then been introduced, so it became the most economical of
At a time when music-making was one of the cheapest amusements available,
this badly conceived tax was exceptionally unpopular. It was repealed
on the 1st of April 1603 after a series of Hole Tax riots caused massive
disruption in London and other major cities.
D George Arrowsmith
I maintain it; the battle for early music has been won, although the
ABRSM hasn’t yet got the news across to all the troops out in the
sticks. The battle for authenticity was never winnable.
I’m still not really convinced John. There are not many early music
programmes on Radio 3 these days, just occasional items in a mixed
programme. Performances by period orchestras and smaller groups at
the major concert halls are more often of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.
You only have to look at the lists issued by St John’s Smith Square
(one Haydn and Mozart concert in May) and the Wigmore Hall (one concert
in June). At least Chapelle du Roi have got into the Royal Festival
Hall foyer at lunchtime on 22nd May with Gesualdo and music
from the Song of Solomon. That should give the lunchtime crowd a surprise.
Tenebrae factae sunt: Lamentations and responsaries – A workshop
for singers directed by David Allinson
The Dutch Church at Austin Friars, London EC2, provided the setting
for the latest TVEMF workshop, an exploration of music for Holy Week
led by David Allinson on 15 March 2003.
The church itself is strikingly unusual, being a post-war replacement
for the medieval church of the Friar Hermits of the Order of St Augustine
of Hippo that was destroyed by bombing in 1940. The new church is
a remarkably consistent design of its period, and is tucked away like
so many City churches in a quiet backwater behind the main thoroughfares.
The foundation stone was laid on 23 July 1950, almost 400 years to
the day after King Edward VI confirmed permission for Dutch Protestant
refugees to hold their own services in England and shortly before
granting them the use of the nave and the two aisles of the former
Austin Friars church.
The day was spent for the most part in the church’s Social Hall on
the ground floor, with an excellent kitchen, good coffee and unexpected
service from church members. We also made two forays upstairs into
the church, singing variously on the altar steps and in the aisle.
All three locations had good acoustics, and the church was pronounced
an excellent venue on all counts, except perhaps for those who do
not really go for 1950’s design!
We explored: sections of Victoria’s Lamentations for 4 and 6 voices,
and his ‘Amicus meus’ and ‘Caligaverunt oculi mei’ for four voices;
the beginning of the five-part Lamentations (‘Incipit…’) by Lassus,
with the same composer’s ‘Tenebrae factae sunt’ and ‘O vos omnes’
for four voices; Palestrina’s four-part ‘Incipit’; and Gesualdo’s
‘Una hora non potuisti’ for five voices. David commented favourably
on the warm rounded tone we produced, to which the unusually large
number of men present doubtless helped to contribute. We were
pretty competent with our notes, too, and did not have as much trouble
with the Gesualdo as David expected (though I have known ‘worse’ Gesualdo).
However, we did tend to wallow, maybe partly a consequence of our
sightreading. This was a pity as it was quite clear that David knew
the pieces extremely well, and had complete and consistent ideas for
their realisation, but we made him work pretty hard.
The finest piece of the day for me was the 6 part Incipit by Victoria.
David evidently has a special fondness for Victoria, and under
his expert guidance this piece seemed to come off the page in a more
potent way than the others, the most attractive polyphony combining
with the greater sonority of six parts and some expressive word painting.
In addition there were David’s excellent vocal warm-up exercises,
and his perceptive and helpful comments about vocal tone, sound production
and other advice for performance from a singing perspective, delivered
with tact and humour.
All those present surely had a useful and stimulating day, and our
thanks go to David for his enthusiasm and humour, and to Johanna Renouf
for the organisation, and particularly for locating such an excellent
Cheshire comes to Cambridge
Having been approached by both EEMF and TVEMF and asked to write a
report on the workshop at Newnham College on March 23rd, it seemed
churlish to say no to one after saying yes to the other, but I am
afraid that the same account will have to do for both. So those of
us who are members of both fora will probably want to skip it the
second time they come across it.
The workshop, entitled Byrd and his Chester contemporaries,
was given by Roger Wilkes (returning to old haunts - he was a choral
exhibitioner at Clare College), whom some of us had already encountered
at the NWEMF summer school at Ambleside. He confessed to a certain
diffidence in offering the work of a couple of minor composers from
Chester at a venue in East Anglia, which has such a wealth of excellent
music from the likes of Amner, Tye and Morley, not to mention Byrd
himself, but by the end of the day had, I think, convinced us that
Bateson and Pilkington were well worth revisiting.
Although we covered 8 pieces in the course of the day, this involved
only 5 texts, as we looked at Byrd's and Pilkington's settings of
Care for thy soul and Praise the Lord all ye heathen/gentiles,
and Bateson's and Pilkington's settings of When Oriana walked
to take the air. Comparing composers' different takes on the same
texts is usually an interesting and useful exercise, and so it proved
on this occasion. We started with Pilkington's Amyntas with his Phyllis
fair, a lighthearted piece reminiscent of Fair Phyllis I saw sitting
all alone, both in its Arcadian setting and its straightforward four-part
diatonic music, and went on to the three Oriana pieces. Bateson's
Hark, hear you not? is subtitled "Orianaes farewell",
and the refrain of the Oriana madrigals ("Then sang the shepherds
and nymphs of Diana, Long live fair Oriana" - referred to as "the
Gloria" by a conductor with whom I performed the Triumphs many years
ago) is amended to "In heaven lives Oriana", forming a posthumous
tribute to Queen Elizabeth. The quatercentenary of her death fell
on the day following the workshop, so it was most appropriate. With
its use of the Lachrimae motif it conveys the regret of Oriana's
subjects at her departure as well as their realisation that she is
enjoying delightful music in heaven. The other Bateson piece, When
Oriana walked, has the usual refrain, and was intended to be a
contribution to the Triumphs, but did not reach Morley in time to
be included, so Bateson published it himself, with a rather disgruntled-sounding
note, "This song should have been printed in the set of Orianaes".
Pilkington's setting of the same words, however, was not made till
after the Queen's death, and so also has the amended refrain. Bateson's
lively setting was preferred by a majority of us to start with, but
more people came round to Pilkington's more homophonic setting after
we had done some work on it.
I personally found the two settings, by Byrd and Pilkington, of Care
for thy soul particularly rewarding. In Byrd's deceptively simple-looking
setting, which started life as a consort song, the feeling is almost
of "tune and accompaniment". The "First singing part" has a straightforward
melody, very much following the word rhythms, while the other parts
are more melismatic, their instrumental origins indicated by a melisma's
often falling on an unimportant syllable, and by not sticking so closely
to the word rhythms they often give a "three-against-two" effect to
the whole. Pilkington's setting, of some 36 years later, is a more
overtly emotional piece, opening with a sighing figure like the one
in Weelkes' When David heard, and using chromaticism and false
relations to keep the intensity at a high level - it is moving in
a more flamboyant way than Byrd's serious, but plainer setting.
Musically we were somewhat hampered by the gratifyingly large turnout.
These pieces were not written for choirs of 45 voices, and it seemed
to be impossible to achieve the light and articulate quality that
Roger was striving for (the one piece that did start off rather more
briskly and lightly, Byrd's Praise the Lord, lost it fairly quickly),
and it all tended to be a bit ponderous. Possibly taking the tempi
up a notch might have helped, but increased speed also brings with
it the risk of superficiality and the runaway train effect when the
numbers are large. There had been talk of getting a viol consort to
play with one-to-a-line voices to give an idea of how the music might
have sounded in the domestic context for which at least some of it
was probably composed, but this didn't materialise, and although we
did have a few viols (and an assortment of wind instruments) on some
of the lines, this doesn't give the same effect with a large group
of voices; and I'm not sure that the wind instruments, which go so
splendidly in large polychoral pieces, are really suited to this type
of music - the composers often say that it is "apt for violls and
voyces", or words to that effect, but do not mention any other instruments.
But the standard of sightsinging was good enough to enable us to concentrate
mostly on the music rather than just the notes, which is what one
wants to be able to do at a workshop, and Roger proved a most genial
guide to these Cheshire composers, whose music I suspect quite a few
of us were meeting for the first time.
There were some bons mots along the way - I rather liked the suggestion
that the basses should think of Hagrid dancing a pavane when trying
to achieve simultaneous weight and articulateness. Roger had made
his own editions of the Bateson and Pilkington pieces we worked on,
and we were able to buy copies (also sets of parts) afterwards.
My acquaintance with Cambridge being of the slightest, I was rather
expecting something called "The Old Labs" to be some kind of seedy,
run-down shack, so was delighted to find that, on the contrary, this
was a most civilized venue, with a bright, lofty room to sing in,
set in the spacious grounds of Newnham College - one of the pleasantest
places I have ever been to for a workshop - many thanks to the Professor
of Mediaeval History, Rosamind McKitterick, for arranging for us to
use it. It was a beautiful day, and we could all enjoy the sunshine
and the daffodils during our coffee/tea breaks, which, owing to a
slight misunderstanding about keys, took place outside, with the provender
being passed out through a window (which worked perfectly well). After
the morning session we had a short walk to another building for lunch,
which was included in the price of the day, and was considerably more
than just the bread and cheese advertised in the publicity - after
which there was time to enjoy the outdoor scene for a bit longer before
returning to the Old Labs for the afternoon session. Congratulations
and thanks to Lorna Cox for arranging such an enjoyable day.
Roger is the choral tutor at the NWEMF summer school, and this year
has taken over the organising of the whole thing, which has opportunities
for viol players, wind players and lutenists as well as singers. I
look forward to working with him again there at the end of July, and
can recommend the week as an enjoyable experience - many people, some
from abroad, return there year after year. If you are interested,
you will need to get your skates on, as it fills up quickly.
Concerto Cristofori - "Italian Virtuosi" Purcell Room Fri
Recorder and viol devotees, lured my the magical names
of Pamela Thorby and Susanna Pell, and hoping for incandescent displays
of virtuosity, were only disappointed in that their luminaries were
allotted so little time in the spotlight. The same could be said of
Jacob Heringman's compelling intricacies on the lute. Centre stage
was, however, beautifully occupied by Faye Newton's limpid soprano.
Her diction was clear enough to understand the original Italian text,
and the many virtuosi flourishes, runs and trills, such as in Luzzasco
Luzzaschi's poignant O primavera were both flawless and wonderfully
moving. By contrast, in the popular Ostinato vo' seguire Faye's
lively soprano was combined with an exciting filigree of rapid recorder
This varied feast of madrigals, dances, rustic items, and pieces
in the new stile recitativo, with its emphasis on portraying
strong emotions, gave a good idea of the melting pot of ideas and
styles prevailing in 16th century Italy and Venice. The instruments
came into their own in such pieces as the cheeky Chi bussa (Who's
knocking?) where Jacob Heringman on lute and Sharona Joshua on harpsichord
had a witty exchange of knocks and taps, contrasting more obviously
virtuosic pieces such as the Divisions for viol on Ancor che
col partire by Richardo Rogniono, played with great panache
by Susanna Pell, and Pamela Thorby's powerful Divisions on Un
gay bergier by Crequillon.
For those with perfect pitch the harpsichord (a copy of the Royal
College of Music's Trasuntino harpsichord, commissioned by Sharona
Joseph) afforded a rare opportunity to hear early music performed
in such unexpected keys as E, A and B major. With such an unusually
low pitch (a = 348) the other instruments also adopted unusual keys
and tunings, which contributed overall to a pleasing sense of brilliance
and mellowness. Sharona Joseph will be giving a solo recital of
Renaissance music on this copy of the Trasuntino harpsichord on
Sunday June 29, at 7pm at the Streatham Synagogue, 45 Leigham Court
The Feinstein Ensemble 16 March Purcell Room"The
Three Faces of Bach" - The years at Cothen: Inspiration and Tragedy
One of a series of three, this concert focussed on the chamber music
emanating from J S Bach's years at Cothen (1717-23), when he produced
the glorious Brandenburg Concertos and the Orchestral Suites, but
also suffered the unexpected loss of his wife. Wall to wall Bach not
being everyone's cup of tea, the programme also included flute and
recorder sonatas from Handel's opus 1 and concluded with the splendid
recorder and violin Trio Sonata in G Minor by Telemann, with its lovely
mixture of elegiac lyricism and the sparkling fast movements derived
from wild gypsy music.
Martin Feinstein (flute/recorder) believes in building a warm, informal
rapport with his audience, and this comfortable ambience was created
from the first in the Handel Flute sonata in G (op 1 no 5) and sustained
throughout, with a hospitable invitation to join the performers for
tea and biscuits in the interval. Bach's Trio Sonata in G (BWV1038)
for flute and violin successfully addressed the difficulty of balancing
the quieter baroque flute with the violin, while still allowing both
to shine. Adrian Butterfield (violin) achieved a light, dancing touch
in Bach's Sonata in G for harpsichord and violin (BWV1019); although
occasionally the lightness became too fragile for comfort. It was
nice to hear Nicholas Parle (harpsichord) emerging from the shadows
of the continuo team to give a dazzling harpsichord solo in the second
Allegro; and one could have wished for a similar chance to hear more
of Nicholas' wife, Asako Morikawa on viola da gamba, whose playing
seemed overshadowed throughout, although this was a minor point in
what was a rich and very enjoyable Sunday afternoon concert.
Performathon! Take part in a unique musical event
The Brighton Early Music Festival, of which Clare Norburn is the co-Artistic
Director, is holding a large fundraising event on Saturday, 31st May
in Brighton. Clare writes:
We've called it a Performathon! and it's an event involving hundreds
of different performers of all different ages, combinations, abilities
and musical styles - school choirs, youth orchestras, wind bands,
folk groups - amateurs and professionals.
If you are a performer of any style and are free to come along and
sign up for a slot of either 10, 15 or 30 minutes, we would be thrilled
to welcome you. And we also need an audience, so please come along
and eat lots of delicious cake and drink lots of tea and give us donations!
More details from www.bremf.org.uk
News of Members’ Activities
Forum members Alison Bowler (spinet, chamber organ), Judy Deats
(soprano, recorder) and Roger Deats (viola da gamba, recorder) return
to the Oak Room at the Wycombe Swan Theatre Complex with their group
Stromenti and a brand new programme "Life, Love and La Folia", featuring
a dramatic cantata on the death of Dido by Monteclair, Folies d'Espagne
by Marais, and Corelli's La Folia variations. Stromenti has a new
line-up and now includes Alex Webb (baroque violin, soprano). The
concert starts at 7.30 pm on Friday 6th June and tickets are obtainable
from the Wycombe Swan Box Office
Alison will also be playing the harpsichord in a lunchtime recital
of Scarlatti, Monteverdi etc from 1 to 2pm on Monday 16th
June with Pellegrina. The other players are Maria Sanger (recorders)
and Amanda Seaborn (viola da gamba) with Kyoko Murai (soprano).
Towards the end of 2002 musicians began to be aware of a new threat
to the public performance and enjoyment of music in England and Wales
(Scotland has other rules!) The Government was trying to revise the
Licensing laws relating to the sale of alcohol but, buried away in
a Schedule on Page 108 of the Bill was the section relating to "The
provision of regulated entertainment". Careful reading of this
section and its supporting definitions revealed far-reaching implications
for all musicians and particularly for amateur musical societies.
It appeared that the Government was intending that all public "performances"
of music, in any place and at any time except for religious services,
should be licensed and regulated. A licence would have to be obtained,
even for impromptu "performances", for singing in pubs, for school
and choir concerts, perhaps even for rehearsals, music lessons and
dancing classes. Such a licence would be costly and the associated
regulation might mean expensive and complicated inspection and monitoring
of venues by fire and other authorities. This would impact heavily
on churches and other small local venues where costs could well exceed
any income derived from a concert. Failure to obtain a licence would
result in fines of up to £20,000 and up to 6 months in jail. Examples
of the effect of existing and planned regulations have been appearing
in the newspapers, like the publican fined for allowing "Happy Birthday"
to be sung in his pub, or the group prosecuted for "rhythmic tapping
of feet" to music because this was evidence of "entertainment". What
was to come could only be worse. Breaking into song in public could
become a criminal offence!
Ominously, there were to be exemptions from regulation and licensing,
for example, the "broadcasting" of recorded music, implying that the
loud TV or sound system in a public place was permitted, but not the
performance of live music. Representative groups seemed
to wake up to the threat only after the Bill reached the House of
Lords, then Societies, Unions and individuals raced into action.
MPs were contacted, petitions drawn up and the fun began. An example
of the public response is given by an on-line Internet petition which
attracted many thousands of "signatures".
To: UK Government
We, the undersigned, are concerned
that the Licensing Bill proposals to make the performance of live
music licensable in pubs and clubs, in places where alcohol is served,
in churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship, in
schools and colleges, in community centres and village and parish
halls, and in private homes and gardens where private parties and
weddings may be held will have an enormously detrimental effect
on musicians and live music performances; fear that the raising
of money for charities by musicians will be seriously compromised;
consider it will seriously impinge on the folk community including
folk music and traditional folk activities such as morris dancing,
wassailing, etc; believe that the penalties for breaking the law
of a six month jail sentence of a £20,000 fine are far too draconian;
consider it grossly unfair and inconsistent that live music will
not be licensable in Scotland but will be in England and Wales;
regret that the Government has decided to replace the anomalous
two in a bar rule with a none in a bar rule which will catch all
live music performances; believe that the requirement for the provision
of entertainment facilities to become licensable which will ensnare
music shops, music and dance studios and teachers, represents a
totally unacceptable regulatory intrusion into mainstream activities;
and call on the Government to amend the relevant parts of bill in
order to remove the iniquities faced by musicians and the music
industry as a whole.
The reference to "raising money for charities" was important
because the Bill states that such monies will be regarded as "profit"
and therefore subject to both regulation and taxation.
The Musician’s Union has been very
active in fighting these proposals and seem to have secured some
concessions from the Government. It is disturbing to note that the
Minister and other politicians are saying first, that the Bill does
not actually say what it clearly does say and, second, that the
responsibility lies with Civil Servants for faulty drafting - whatever
happened to Ministerial responsibility?
Many musicians expressed their concern to Government
through "Making Music", the National association to which many musical
societies are affiliated. Individuals, too, have had an effect.
One amateur musician received the following reply to her letter
to Cheryl Gillan, MP, who turns out to be a member of the Parliament
"Thank you very much for your letter
of 7 January about the Licensing Bill. You will see from the enclosed
press release that I too was very concerned about the implications
of this legislation for churches and other places of worship.
I am pleased to say that the Early
Day Motion, which I signed, and other pressure put on the Minister
by MPs and by many members of choral societies, etc., has persuaded
the Minister to change his mind about this damaging proposal. Earlier
this week, Dr Kim Howells MP announced that places of public worship
across the country will not require a licence to put on entertainment
performances of any kind.
In addition, the Government intends
to exempt village and community halls from fees associated with
the provision of entertainment or entertainment facilities under
the licensing regime.
I agree with you absolutely about
the place which music plays in local life and, it goes without saying,
in charitable fundraising efforts. Locally, this daft idea would
have had a devastating effect on the Amersham and Chesham Bois Choral
Society, the M40 Orchestra, the Amersham Festival and the Misbourne
Orchestra, to name but a few. Licensing would have affected everything
from nursery school concerts to major international events like
the Three Choirs Festival. One Bishop said in the House of Lords
that it would cost the Church of England alone £2.6 million in just
one year of operation.
At long last, the Government has seen
sense, but let me assure you that I will keep a close eye on this
when the Bill comes to the House of Commons from the House of Lords.
Thank you so much for letting me know your concerns and for reinforcing
the arguments which I have put on behalf of constituents to the
Now, all this seems to be very positive,
but we should be wary of any and all undertakings from Ministers
and a Department who do not seem fully to understand either what
the Bill actually says or what the substance of public concern is.
MPs and Lords have pressed their case and tabled amendments. In
reply some bizarre statements have been made in support of the Government’s
position. Here is an example from the Musician’s Union:
LORDS BATTLE FOR LIVE MUSIC
Currently, 95% of 110,000 bars,
pubs, restaurants and similar premises in England and Wales do not
hold the public entertainment licence required to allow more than
two musicians to work.
To-day, Tuesday 11 March, music-loving
Peers will table a radical amendment to the Licensing Bill that
could lead to a renaissance in live music in such venues.
Under the Government's new Licensing
Bill, even providing a piano for public use would become a criminal
offence unless first licensed by the local authority. A performance
by one unamplified musician in a bar would similarly be illegal
unless licensed. The Government says this is necessary for safety
and noise reasons. The maximum penalty for unlicensed entertainment
is a £20,000 fine and six months in prison. However, big screens
and pub jukeboxes are exempt, no matter how powerfully amplified.
Last month the Lords won an exemption
for unamplified background music. But Culture Minister Kim Howells
has since opposed this on the grounds that it would allow 'six Japanese
drummers' to perform in pubs.
Opposition Lords, led by Conservative
Shadow Culture Minister Baroness Buscombe, will argue tomorrow for
an exemption for small events that finish by 11.30pm. The limit
on attendance will be no more than 250 people at any one time.
Musicians' Union General Secretary
John F Smith said: 'This amendment is crucial for our 32,000 members.
Except for performance in churches, the Bill would make it illegal
to host any live music without a licence, regardless of the circumstances.
This seems ridiculous when set against the exemption for big screen
broadcast entertainment and jukeboxes. We believe that there is
adequate legislation already for safety and noise. An exemption
for small events that finish at a reasonable hour would not just
protect members' jobs, it would create thousands of new work opportunities.'
Have you seen "six Japanese drummers"
in any of your local pubs? An important point here is that the law
is not determined by what a Minister says but by what is printed
in the Act. Unless there are major revisions to the Bill it is possible
that any of us could find ourselves falling foul of the legislation.
Promises and reassurances are not enough, we need to see the words
This point is made all the more important
by the most recent developments. The Bill has reached its Committee
stage and already the Government is reversing earlier concessions.
For example, an exemption previously offered to schools has now
Is there anything to worry about?
Not if you believe what the Government say about the Bill:
"A balanced package of freedoms
and safeguards – clamping down on the crime, disorder and anti-social
behaviour perpetrated by a minority whilst giving the responsible
majority more freedom and choice about how they spend their leisure
What do you enjoy in your leisure time? Crime,
disorder, anti-social behaviour or making music?