Thames Valley Early Music Forum
Tamesis Issue 245
This is rather a unusual Tamesis as nobody has sent me any reviews. I know someone offered to review the Peter Syrus workshop on Schein. If it was you, do send it to me for the November issue. Luckily there are plenty of short news items and additions to the concerts and events lists. This month there are forms for the baroque day and for our December workshop and lunch which this year is on Christmas in Rome with David Allinson. Both forms come to me so please note that though you’re welcome to send them in one envelope you need to write two separate cheques.
I’m asked to tell you that the Monteverdi Influence workshop with Robert Hollingworth is full with waiting list places only.
Most of you who knew Selene Mills will have heard the sad news from her husband Nick Webb that she finally lost her battle with cancer on August 10th. She was the administrator and inspiration behind the Cambridge early music courses and a member of the EEMF committee for many years. You’ll find on page 4 a box with a short extract from her final email. Nick wrote that he will let us know in due course his plans for a fitting memorial and celebratory event for Selene, and also, he very much hopes, a scheme by which her life and work can be fittingly memorialised in the long term.
I was very sorry to hear of Selene’s death as I have happy memories of making music with her going back to the days when she and Michael Proctor were running Benslow.
In March I mentioned that BBC Radio 3's Best of British playlist did not feature many renaissance composers – see www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03lzxnx/live for the current list. I'd say the situation is even worse after 8 months, as out of 241 pieces only the following baroque and renaissance composers figure: Thomas Arne (3), John Blow, William Byrd (3), Jeremiah Clarke, Robert Carver (2), John Dowland, John Dunstable (2), Robert Fayrfax, Orlando Gibbons (5), William Lawes, Robert Parsons, Peter Philips (my contribution), Henry Purcell (8), John Sheppard, Thomas Tallis (2), John Taverner, Thomas Tomkins, Henry VIII to which we can add 4 by Handel totalling 41* i.e. about a sixth. Time for some of you to suggest your favourites – Jenkins anyone?
I've just returned from Hawkwood College where James Weeks directed a very enjoyable weekend of music from Monteverdi's third book of madrigals. There were several TVEMF members amongst the seventeen participants and I signed up a couple more at the end. The pieces were very approachable and James was pleased with our achievements, as indeed were we.
There's plenty of TVEMF events to look forward to in the coming months as we resume after our summer break but don't forget to write a report on those summer schools.
TVEMF will have a stand at the Greenwich exhibition as usual and I hope plenty of you will volunteer to look after it for a few hours during the three days of the exhibition. The period you spend there can of course be arranged around any concerts you want to attend (see page 6 for list), but this year the Early Music Shop have a new rule which is that THEY HAVE TO HAVE VOLUNTEERS’ NAMES BY SEPTEMBER 26th. They will then issue free passes to stand helpers. If you offer your help after that date you will of course be most welcome but you will have to buy your own ticket to come in.
I’m busy on two of the three days this year so David Butler has kindly stepped in to organise the stand. If you can help, please contact him at d.e.butler @ ntlworld.com as soon as possible, and certainly before 26th September if you want a free pass.
Bach cantatas at choral evensong in Oxford
St Michael at the Northgate in Oxford has Bach cantatas with baroque orchestra in the context of choral evensong every Sunday at 4pm. Details can be found on the church web site www.smng.org.uk. This is the first time I’ve heard about this so I wonder if any of our TVEMF members take part and have forgotten to mention it.
There is no more precious gift than making music together, and I have based my life’s work on this principle. It doesn’t have to be great performances, or performances at all: some of the best moments have been playing tucked away in someone’s living room with no one else listening, but those moments are no less valid or important than the times in sold-out concert halls.
The list hasn’t changed this year but I’d like to publish an updated version so please could you send me any information you would like included. I’m told that the link for the following doesn’t work. Does anybody know anything about it? Wednesday 19.00 London EC1 Plainsong & Polyphony (term time) www.stmichaelschorale.org.uk