Thames Valley Early Music Forum
Tamesis Issue 264
Are you coming to the baroque day on Sunday by train? If so, I’m told that Burnham station will be closed. I’m arranging lifts to meet the 9.35 from Paddington which arrives at Slough at 9.52. If you would like a lift or could offer one from Slough, please contact me.
David King has asked me to remind you that a small continuo team is needed for the January Scarlatti workshop. Details are on the form with this mailing.
Tamesis is rather late this month because there wasn’t time to finish it between my weekend in Antwerp and the Greenwich Early Music Festival. Antwerp has a fantastic collection of museums, including the Rubens House and MAS, but for me the highlight is the Plantin Moretus house. Plantin and Moretus were highly successful 17th century printers and the house and printing works were in continuous use until relatively recently, with the result that the building still contains its luxurious furniture and paintings, many by Rubens, displays of printed books and music, and a vast collection of printing presses and type. We spent the whole day there and still didn’t feel we’d seen everything.
I was surprised how few forum members there seemed to be at Blackheath. I know the venue isn’t as glamorous as the Painted Hall, but there were plenty of exhibitors and the concerts were outstanding. Many thanks to Jerry Burbidge of Jacks Pipes and Hammers for giving us and NEMA enough room for our leaflets after the forum stand was cancelled for safety reasons (due to its position, not our inflammable literature!)
Thanks very much for all the contributions this month, including the two contrasting views of the facsimile day.
There was a good attendance including a number of TVEMF members at the memorial event for Theo Wyatt last month and some former members took part in musical tributes. Apart from those his family, there were appreciations given by the chairman of the Kingston Chamber Music Society and from Philip Thorby, who co-directed many of the courses, including the current Ascot and Irish courses. I have fond memories of Theo's recorder courses in the 1970s which provided a week of mostly one-to-a-part playing with some larger ensembles and concerted gathering in the evenings. The mornings started with a “permanent” group which met every day and today I play regularly with two people I met in one of those groups, though we have moved on to early brass. Theo organised compatible groups for the week and my own experience with Renaissance playing days tells me just how much effort went into this.
Theo had a huge collection of music and pioneered low-cost music-publishing with his Oriel Library publications for recorder which continue under his daughter Cathy Gaskell, and Merton Music, his chamber music publications, which also continue. On his courses Theo was an wonderfully unassuming, kindly tutor who would gently put a group on the right path before going on to the sort out the next one. If recorder players ever choose a patron saint then I hope it will be St Theo, though as a confirmed atheist he might be rather shocked.
Another recent occasion where I recognised a number of fellow-members was at the 35th Anniversary concert by His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts in St John's, Smith Square. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert in which the brass were joined by Charles Daniels (tenor), Ben Davies (baritone) and William Whitelaw (organ). As I have been on courses with all three of the group's cornett players and had lessons with Jeremy West it was particularly good to hear them in such fine form. Two us in the audience had been playing in the afternoon and thus had our instruments with us but fortunately no reinforcements were required!
As usual we are looking forward to the Christmas event directed by Philip Thorby. As I write this I have no idea what the subject will be but if Philip decides to do a detailed study of “Jingle Bells” I'm sure it will be fascinating.