Tamesis Issue 187
I had a very enjoyable two days at the Greenwich Early Music Festival and Exhibition in the Old Royal Naval College, though it was rather expensive for me as I bought a new baroque flute and a second-hand medieval recorder. The Forum also bought a rather nice-looking conductors’ stand. I thought it was surprisingly cheap and, alas, it turned out to have been made in China. It was nice to see so many of you there.
Johanna Renouf is organising a small-scale workshop for viol players. Details are inside this newsletter, rather than on a separate booking form.
I’m pleased to be able to tell you that David Allinson has now accepted our invitation to direct the Christmas 2007 workshop.
There will be quite a lot of people at the Christmas workshop next week, so I’d like to give you some information here. We will be starting in the upstairs room in the Whitehill Centre because the bigger downstairs room will be in use in the morning for archery. Please put your contributions for lunch in the downstairs kitchen, in the fridge if it ought to be kept cold. When you get upstairs, there will be coffee etc. Please pick up your label so that we know you’re there, as well as who you are. At lunchtime, when the archers have left, we will be moving to the bigger room downstairs for lunch and the afternoon’s playing. Please help with anything that seems to need doing – pouring coffee, laying out the lunch, moving instruments, clearing up etc – so that the day can proceed as smoothly as possible. The AGM will follow the workshop at approximately 5.15. The Agenda was in last month’s Tamesis. Apologies for the strange gremlins that crept into last month’s Tamesis caused by the new font. It all looked fine when I sent it to David for printing. I hope they don’t reappear this month, but if they do, suggestions for curing them would be gratefully received. They only seem to be associated with symbols.
Please note that there will be no December Tamesis because the copy date would be very near Christmas. The next Tamesis after that will appear in mid-January.
Many thanks to all who gave up some time to sit at the TVEMF stand and who managed to enrol 13 new members. There were the usual beautifully-made instruments on show and a fine selection of concerts. One in particular I enjoyed: the assortment of 15th and early 16th century items played by Alison Crum, viols, and Roy Marks, lute. These pieces such as the Tandernaken ascribed to Henry VIII (though a bit too good to be by him), and various La Spagnas, La Alta and the Ortiz divisions, are well known to me but I've usually played them on the cornett with sackbuts or curtals so it was fascinating to hear them in a different guise. The baroque day was as successful as we have come to expect, thanks to Victoria's hard work. As well as the stress of organising such a complex event she coped admirably with problems such as cancellations from three keyboard players and a singer who had lost his voice to a cold. I thoroughly enjoyed my day as always. A word of thanks too to those who nobly brought keyboard instruments - not the easiest of things to transport. I am looking forward to the Florentine Intermedii workshop with Philip Thorby as his take on anything is always interesting. The last time I did these pieces was several years ago at the joint event hosted by MEMF which was a great fun.
Edgar Hunt 1909 - 2006
There have been a number of tributes to Edgar Hunt who died in this summer but I hope you will not mind my adding my own, even though some of you will have heard my stories before. All involved in early music, especially recorder players, owe a lot to his pioneering work. To those of us who were brought up on Schott's recorder music, he was best known for his editing of such gems as the complete 5-part Holborne, the Handel recorder sonatas and much more. He was one of the earliest professional players of the recorder in its modern revival and began teaching the instrument at Trinity College of Music in 1935. My earliest encounter with the crumhorn was in the 1960s at one of Edgar Hunt's weekend courses at Missenden Abbey. I found the noise so comical that I could hardly play for laughing but he managed to get us to make a reasonable sound by the end of the session. He used to run a "Rena issance band" at the Recorder in Education summer school, where I made my public debut as a cornett player, and tested his patience by my inability to play less than fortissimo.
My most vivid memories of Edgar Hunt are of a summer school, in Keyworth I think it was, where he, Walter Bergmann and Brian Bonsor played trios by Godfrey Finger on three original Bressan recorders - a magical experience. In the afternoons one could sign up for informal playing and Jackie (my wife at the time) and I had said we would like to play music by Gaston Saux. It so happened that two other, rather more proficient, players also wanted to play the Saux quartet in G so we duly played it through a few times. Edgar Hunt heard us and suggested that we should play it in the master class given by Carl Dolmetsch. Jackie rather understandably found this prospect too daunting but Edgar offered to take her place in order that we could perform the piece. Thus it came about that we played in front of the assembled course participants under the stern gaze of the formidable Carl, but thanks to Edgar's presence we got off rather lightly. As it happens, his book The Recorder and its Music was a wedding present from the late John Thomson, sometime editor of Early Music, when Jackie and I were married in 1966. Although Edgar Hunt did join TVEMF a few years ago, the infirmities of age meant that sadly he never came to any of our events.
We were very sad to hear of the death of Chris Coulson, a TVEMF member for several years. Our sympathies go to his wife and family.
TVEMF Viol Consorts playing day
Saturday February 24th 2007 (10.00 – 5.00) at 87 Olive Road, London NW2 6UR
Sarah Mead, a well-known American viol performer and teacher of Early Music at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, will tutor this day. She will coach two different groups and also give a presentation on ‘Improving Resonance on the Viol’. This will be a small event limited to 12 intermediate/advanced players. The cost will be £20. Please contact JohannaRenouf @ phonecoop.coop if you would like to attend. Players will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis keeping in mind the need to have a balance of instruments. If you would like more information on Sarah Mead you can look her up on: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/music/faculty/mead.html
TVEMF Andrew Carwood day on 3rd March 2007
The music will be selected from the works of Hieronymus Praetorius (Hamburg, 1560 – 1629) who, Andrew Carwood says, is one of the great unsung geniuses of the period. The centrepiece of the day will be the Missa ‘Angelus ad pastores’ for 8 voices but we will also sing one of his magnificent polychoral motets and the double choir ‘Videns Dominus’ and his setting of the Lord's Prayer. These works were written for voices with an optional basso seguente but contemporary records suggest that they were often performed with instruments supporting or replacing voices. It would be helpful, but not essential, if instrumentalists were willing to join the singers for at least part of the day. Viols, recorders, cornetts, sackbuts, curtals, shawms, theorbos and continuo are all welcome. The booking form will be sent out with the January Tamesis.