The Annual General Meeting will be held immediately after the Christmas event on Sunday 7th December at 5.15. On past experience it is likely to be quite short, so please stay for it. You will see from Hazel’s comments on page 4 that the Greenwich exhibition went much better this year. I managed to get there twice, travelling via a variety of interesting routes involving the Docklands Light Railway which I had not used before. Trinity College occupies the buildings of the Old Royal Naval College where the exhibition is held and played a much greater part this year. They organised a number of excellent concerts including some by their own staff and students, many of which were included in the £5 price of a day ticket. What a bargain! It was just a pity that some overlaps made it necessary to make very difficult choices about which ones to attend. There was some astonishingly virtuosic recorder playing, not least by Philip Thorby whose concert in the Chapel was completely full. The Forum stand was in a corner of the magnificent Painted Hall, a much better position than the cramped corner we had last year. The only drawback was the catering, which simply could not cope with the numbers, but luckily there are plenty of restaurants and pubs just outside the gate. If you did not go this year because of adverse reports of last year’s exhibition, do make a note to go in 2004 as soon as the date is confirmed.
The beginning of the Baroque day was a bit of a nightmare for me this time, so I hope everyone had a good day in the end. As a result of the post strike a lot of bookings arrived very late – one of them not until after I had left home on the day itself. Several people got stuck in traffic so that the first session kept having to be rearranged. Our chairman’s email system was misbehaving so he didn’t get my request to bring his keyboard and had to go home for it. Many thanks David. I’m always very grateful to people who bring harpsichords and other keyboards. They really make all the difference to the day, although we have a lot of very competent continuo players on cello, gamba and bassoon. We had two magnificent harpsichords this time as well as the usual spinets and keyboards. Everything sorted itself out in the end and it was a pleasure to walk down the school corridor listening to all the music going on.David mentions later how good it was to have so many singers this time. I would particularly like to mention the string players, including several new ones. I hope they all enjoyed it and will come again as people usually ask to play in larger groups with strings and it isn’t always possible to arrange this. This time I had four (yes, four!) typed pages of requests but I think I managed to fit most of them in. One thing that singers might bear in mind for a future occasion – when you are choosing what pieces to request, try to include as many recorder players as possible. This time nearly all the requests were for pieces with strings, and there is of course a very good repertoire of music with obbligato wind parts.Thanks to everyone who helped carry in the music and harpsichords, arrange the classrooms, and did it all again in reverse at the end.
There will be no December issue of Tamesis, so the next one will appear in January. I have far too many friends in TVEMF to be able to send them all a Christmas card, so I am taking this opportunity to wish everybody a very happy Christmas.
The most telling rest
in early music is one
that's played on a shawm. DF
Amongst the wonderful selection of limericks sent in for last year’s competition was a rather good haiku (above). According to Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, a Haiku is a Japanese poem in three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables, usually comical, developed in the 17th century, incorporating a word or phrase that symbolises one of the seasons. For our competition you are invited to use an early music theme instead. Entries by 10th January please to the Editor by email or post to the address on the front cover. Selected entries will be published in the January Tamesis and the winner will receive a year’s free subscription to TVEMF.
The Baroque Day on the 15th November was, as usual, a great success and we had about 45 participants. It is good to see increasing numbers of singers attending these events so that we were able to perform an anthem by Blow (admirably directed by Hazel Fenton) and still have voices to spare for other groups. Many thanks to Victoria for the huge amount of work she puts in to these events and for her skill and patience in reworking the groups when problems arise on the day, such as the non-arrival of a person or instrument.Because there will be no December Tamesis you will find more leaflets this month than usual. The Genius of the Bach Family, a workshop with Peter Leech, will give us an idea of the musical background of Johann Sebastian and a taste of something different from our usual large-scale Italian and Spanish repertoire. I very much enjoyed Peter's workshop of Portuguese music last January so am keenly looking forward to this one. Jan Joost van Elburg comes highly recommended and has plenty of teaching and conducting experience in this country as well as in Holland, including Lacock and the Oxford-based Batholomew Consort. It will be interesting to have his perspective on the madrigal.
The Greenwich Festival/Exhibition
Thank you to all the gallant members of TVEMF and other forums, who helped to man the stand, at what was for me a wonderful weekend. Those who promised to come, came, and others just arrived, which enabled me to go to some of the concerts, and, I hope, no one felt they worked for too long a spell. We signed up several new members, and took bookings for our next 2 events. Special thanks to Jackie and Geoff Huntingford for the loan of the stands, so that we could display our pictures. It would be good to have a few new photos each year, so if you get any memorable shots please send them to me. Incidentally, we are also looking for pictures for our new TVEMF web site.
Agenda for the TVEMF AGM
Sunday 7th December 2003, 5.15pm at the White Hill Centre, Chesham
1. Apologies for absence
2. Approval of the minutes of last meeting (see page 5)
3 Matters arising from the Minutes4. Chairman's report
5. Secretary's report (see page 7)
6. Treasurer's report (see page 7)
7. Election of officers and committee
8. Any other business
Minutes of the AGM held on Sunday 10th November 2002
1.Apologies. There were no apologies for absence.
2. Minutes. Hazel Fenton’s apologies were added to the Minutes of the 2001 AGM. The minutes were approved.
3. The Chairman’s report is printed below.
4. Secretary’s Report. The Secretary reported that as usual committee meetings were informal. We could do with some more active members of the committee.
5. The Treasurer’s report had been published in Tamesis. More up-to-date information was in her computer. The report was accepted (proposed Kathy Edmonds, seconded Bryan Healing) The Treasurer thanked the Honorary Auditor Oliver St John.
6. Election of officers and committee. The Chairman said that Judith Hughes had effectively retired from the committee. The rest of the officers and committee were proposed for re-election by Pat Field, seconded by David Cox, and were elected unopposed.
7. Any other business. The Forum stand at the Greenwich exhibition was discussed. It was decided that the Forum should have a presence there in spite of the rather high cost (£300). Other Forums had been invited to contribute to the cost and send representatives but there had been a rather poor response. It was suggested that we should try for a reduction because we are a non-commercial organisation and a partial refund because of the storm. Bryan Healing offered to speak to Vanessa at the Chiltern Street branch of the Early Music Shop. There were comments about the suitability of Greenwich as a venue for the exhibition, and a suggestion that there should be a better site plan.The Chairman asked for suggestions for events.
Paul Crosby commented that our web site was the dullest of the three forum sites. He suggested that we should add some photos. The Chairman said that he was doing as much as he could. Paul offered to look at it and make some suggestion and might be able to do more later. Anne Scruby commented that the concerts and events lists were not as legible on the web site as they were in Tamesis. David would look into this. The Secretary commented that people do not realise how much time the committee already spend working for the Forum. If they were paid for their time they would get quite a good income.
Jackie Huntingford mentioned that the last two booking forms had been quite late. The Secretary said that this was because the details had been finalised too late for the previous issue, but that the dates had been in Tamesis for several months so that people could put them in their diaries. There was some discussion about the frequency of the issue of Tamesis. Bryan Healing said that it did not come out too often. There was general agreement.
Elaine Mordaunt asked for more reports of events. The Editor agreed that all contributions would be most welcome.
Chairman's Report 2002(from the 2002 AGM)
The events held since last AGM are as follows:"The Christmas Story" by Schütz with David Allinson De profundis by Lalande for baroque orchestra and singers with Philip Thorby Missa Et ecce terrae motus by Brumel with Alan LumsdenA Mass by Lassus in a liturgical context with Michael ProcterA newly published Morales mass with Alistair DixonRenaissance choral music with David AllinsonItalian baroque recorder sonatas with Philip ThorbyTwo Baroque days with Victoria Helby and another held jointly with Oxford Baroque weekTwo Renaissance chamber music days with David Fletcher
The attendances were encouraging especially at the last two Renaissance Days - much better than the last time they were held. Membership is 334 which is slightly up from last year Since it somehow came to be mentioned in the previous year's minutes I should say that the Christmas event went pretty well in spite of David Allinson's perceived lack of experience with instrumentalists. He turns out to have been a violinist and has no problems in dealing with instruments, though perhaps a small bias towards singers could be detected. I enjoyed the day greatly as a cornett player.
The Exhibition was not a great success as the Sunday was pretty much written off by the closure of the building containing our stand because of fear for the safety of the scaffolding over the doorways during the gale. We shall have to consider whether or not to continue with a Forum stand in future years.
The production of Tamesis is now split between Victoria Helby and myself - she does the preparation of concerts and events lists (a huge task) and the editing. I look after the printing and mailing with help from others such as Jackie and Geoff Huntingford, for which many thanks. We omitted the August issue and may possibly skip the January one too. Many thanks to the officers and the committee for their efforts throughout the year.
Secretary’s Report for the 2003 AGM
The Committee continues to meet informally at Forum events but relies more and more on email. The majority of the work load still falls on the Chairman, who doubles as Membership Secretary and coffee provider, the Secretary who doubles as Tamesis editor, and the Treasurer who also organised the Greenwich stand this year. Everyone is very busy but the other committee members arrange events when they can find time as well as providing back-up at events, and most of them are in the process of fixing a future event. Don Gill’s area of expertise is our relationship with the Charity Commissioners, for which we are most grateful. As you can see, a few more committee members with fresh ideas would be very useful, but there is no need to be a member of the committee to take a more active part in the Forum. Linda Hill is in the process of improving our web site. John Graham organised a very successful day with Peter Leech in January and is now taking bookings for another one at the end of February next year. Forum members are mostly very good at helping with catering, putting out chairs and so on, but if you too would like to play a more active part do talk to us. We, the Committee members, are always happy to give assistance and advice if required to anyone who knows a good tutor and would like to put on an event.
Treasurer’s Report for 2002(for the 2003 AGM)
We have had another successful year, with a modest overall surplus income generated by the membership subscriptions and adverts in Tamesis. No increase in membership fees is therefore required. Events have incurred a loss, so we need to keep an eye on the cost of venues and consequently of our day events. I am sorry not to be at the AGM, and at the Christmas Party. I hope you have all had a wonderful day. I am happy to stand as Treasurer again if this is the wish of the membership.
The Income and Expenditure Account for the year 2002 was published in the October edition of Tamesis.
Old Bach is alive and well
The "Altbachisches Archiv" manuscript went missing from Berlin at the end of the Second World War. It was recently located in the Ukraine State Archive (Kiev) and has now returned to the Bach Family homeland. We can join the rejoicing by listening to a CD from Harmonia Mundi produced this year. Cantus Cölln with Concerto Palatino (Bruce Dickey), directed by Konrad Junghänel, have excelled themselves in the production of a small choir Bach sound with a distinctive violin flavour. Both voices and instruments are fundamentally one to a part; much as Johann, Johann Christoph, Johann Michael and even Johann Ludwig might have performed their works. Equally you could rejoice by coming to the TVEMF workshop and celebrate the polychoral genius of the Bach family in rather larger numbers under the skilful direction of Peter Leech on Saturday 28th February 2004. [CD: HMC 901783.84. 2 CD set of 24 works, two and a half hours, expensive! Altbachisches Archiv, Cantus Cölln/Konrad Junghänel 2003]
On the first weekend in November there was a memorable day at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, thanks to the diverse talents of Philip Pickett, who was in charge of two days of Monteverdi's music. I went for the Saturday events surrounding his Orfeo. In the morning Pickett gave a lecture on the background to the opera: the hall was half full already and got fuller with each of the four public events. Second was a public rehearsal in the afternoon, and before the final semi-staged performance, director Peter Hall kept the attention of an almost full hall for well over an hour, talking without notes. The final performance was a triumph, beautifully performed by everyone. Pickets orchestra, heavenly strings to the left, hellish brass to the right, played beautifully: subtle amplification allowed the sharp attack of the chitarrone supporting the soloists to be clearly heard. This was my first opera: I shall probably stop there while I am winning. Chris Thorn
Friends of the Bate Collection
Jeremy Montagu has been elected Chairman of the Friends of the Bate Collection. He hopes to build up the membership so that the Friends can take a more active part in helping the Bate. There are several projects in the pipeline: two major prospective acquisitions (a beautiful oboe by Brod frères and a B flat tenor recorder, a tenor 4th flute, by Stanesby Junior), a Sound Guide for visitors, and the preparation of more plans and measured drawings. He would be very glad to hear from any of our members who have enjoyed visiting the Bate Collection who might be interested in joining the Friends. You can contact Jeremy by writing to him at 171 Iffley Road, Oxford OX4 1EL.
The Next Friends Event will be on Thursday 11th December at 5.30 in the Faculty of Music, St Aldate's, Oxford, when David Harding will be talking about Serpents in the Making.
The London Motet and Madrigal Club
The London Motet and Madrigal Club, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, meets once a month (excluding August), on a Saturday from 6.30-8.30, and except in December the meetings take place at the, which is very near to Euston station. Our musical director is Jonathan Rennert, who is also director of music at St. Michael’s Cornhill, where we hold our December meeting. We have some 50 members, several of whom are members of TVEMF; the average attendance at any one meeting is about 30-35.The repertoire is (on the secular side) largely drawn from the Oxford Book of English Madrigals and Invitation to Madrigals Part 5; the main sources of the sacred music are the Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems and various of the Chester Motet Books, in particular the English, Spanish and Italian 4-part books. In addition, we study a mass, one or two movements at a time, during the first three or four meetings of our year, perform it at the December meeting, and revisit it at the last meeting, in July. This year’s choice is O magnum mysterium by Victoria; last year’s was Taverner’s Aeterna Mater Christi.
In the previous few years we have sung masses by Byrd, Palestrina, Tallis and Victoria.The group does not perform in public, although at our annual outing, which generally takes place in June or July, we sing sacred music in a church during the morning and madrigals in the afternoon in a house or its grounds, in the same area as the church, and people are welcome to come in and listen. We also have a New Year Party on either the first or second Saturday in January when the singing is on similar lines, with an excellent lunch in the interval.The group is friendly and informal, and we welcome new members of all voices. The annual subscription is £27 (which does not include the cost of music or the additional social events). We also welcome visitors; the first visit during any one year is free but there is a charge of £4 for each subsequent visit in the year. The Club has a small number of copies of the Oxford Books and of some of the other music for use at meetings by those who do not have their own copies. For further information please phone Sidney Ross on 0207 359 5996 (evenings) Meeting dates for 2004 (all at the Methodist International Centre) are 17th Jan, 21 Feb, 20 Mar, 24 Apr, 22 may, 19 Jun, 17 Jul.
News of Members’ Activities
Member David Allinson has asked me to mention the parish church choir of St George's church, Hanworth (Feltham) which he conducts on Friday evenings from 7.30 to 9pm. The repertoire is mixed (not much early music), but it is an ideal forum for those wishing to improve their sight-reading in a friendly, non-judgmental atmosphere. Info: Father Paul Williamson (020 8844 0457).His professional chamber choir Cantores has just produced a new CD – Gaude Virgo - which our chairman ecommends. Please buy your copy direct from David Allinson as the choir receives nothing from shop sales! There should be an order form with this mailing.
The John Storrs Workshop
The John Storrs Workshop, which has advertised on page 2 for several years, has had to close due to the downturn in the market. I was particularly sorry to hear this as I have a very reliable triangular spinet which I made from a John Storrs kit at least 20 years ago. It is so small that it goes into the boot of a normal car and my husband can carry it single-handed under his arm, although it plays at normal 8-foot pitch. At the moment the owner, Stephen Robinson, is only supplying spares but he might be able to make a few finished instruments in the future (especially spinets) if anyone is interested. You can contact him by phone on 01788 577134.