Tamesis Issue 256 July 2016
Many thanks to our reviewers this month. I was sorry to miss David Allinson’s workshop
which inspired two people to write about it but I was in Triora in Italy on a remarkable
course which put on a 17th century opera in a medieval village. I’ve written about it on
page 10, just after David Butler’s review of the Monteconero week. That’s another place I
would have liked to be. It’s wonderful but frustrating that there are often so many good
things on at the same time these days. Even arranging the TVEMF workshops to avoid
clashes is almost impossible.
I was very sad to hear of the death of James Wyld, a fine singer and flute player who had
been a member of TVEMF for many years. For about fifteen years James and I comprised
the bass section in a small singing group that meets monthly in Kilburn and we had many
good hours of music together.
I have no musical qualifications whatsoever, having never even passed grade 1 on any
instrument. Such musical knowledge as I have has been picked up over more than fifty
years of informal music making and some evening classes, many summer schools and
workshops. I'm not especially good at playing or singing but I can claim to have
facilitated quite a lot of other people in doing music. For many years I provided most of
the music for a recorder group which is still going after 47 years and I now perform the
same service for a recorder quartet, three cornett & sackbut groups, two singing groups
and sometimes a baroque group, plus of course TVEMF which I sparked off in 1988.
Consequently I now own a substantial library of sheet music amounting to over a hundred
box-files and am custodian of much music used for TVEMF workshops. There is a
catalogue of this TVEMF sheet music library on our web site at
www.tvemf.org/music/tvemflibrary.htm and there is a link to it on the home page. I have
recently heard from Edward James, who is custodian of the Schütz Choir Library. This is
mainly music for a large choir of all the big choral works of Heinrich Schütz and some
others. We would both be very happy to lend any of our wonderful cornucopia of music
to other organisations and would really like to find a permanent home for the music where
it could be accessed by anyone who wanted it.
Sometimes I hear people saying that they don't do enough music, to which my answer
would be “why not organise something yourself”. Tamesis is a good place to advertise for
potential participants - I started a singing group this way in about 1998 and it's still going.
If anyone needs help in providing music then please get in touch with me. My own
collection includes over a hundred pieces in 9 or more parts, and many smaller works.
Jon Dixon 1928 – 2016
Jon Dixon of Carshalton Beeches, Surrey, the founder of JOED Music, died peacefully
on the 3rd June after a long illness.
Jon had a distinguished career in the Ministry of Agriculture, which included three
years in Brussels as one of the UK’s Delegation to the EEC. He took early retirement
in 1986 and then launched a second career as editor of JOED Music, publishing a wide
range of Renaissance polyphonic choral music, including the works of Victoria and the
complete Byrd Gradualia.
He established a local group, the Cantores Fagini [Beeches Singers], who would meet
at his home once a month for delightful evenings of singing and supper. An
accomplished carpenter, artist and builder of harpsichords, Jon, who had no formal
musical training early in life, composed music himself in a variety of styles, including
entertaining settings of Edward Lear’s Nonsense Songs, the Leuven Carols and the
Jon’s clear scores, often transposed into E flat or A flat for comfortable vocal
performance, are used in cathedrals throughout the country, and by specialist choral
groups such as the Tallis Scholars.
A brilliant man and a kind and charming gentleman, Jon will be remembered with
affection by all who knew him, and he leaves a wonderful legacy of music to be
performed and enjoyed.
New Membership Secretary
TVEMF has a new membership secretary, Kate Gordon. Many thanks to David
Fletcher for doing the job for so long. This is a good time to remind you that it will
reduce the work load on both Kate and our Treasurer, David King, if you fill in a
standing order for your subscription. You’ll find one on our web site at
http://www.tvemf.org/standingorder.pdf. You could fill it in now in good time for next
year’s subscription, and you can of course cancel it at any time.
Music for a Bavarian Wedding (14th May at Waltham Abbey)
According to a recent article in Brides magazine, the average cost of a wedding in the
UK is now more than £30,000. While pondering what seems to me an improbably
large sum I discovered that the purchasing power of £30K today is about the same as
£100 in 1600, which helps put things into perspective. The royal wedding of the heir
to the throne of Bavaria, Duke Wilhelm, to Princess Renée of Lorraine in February
1568 in Munich was certainly a magnificent affair. The celebrations lasted for over two
weeks with ‘banquets, tournaments, dances, fireworks, masquerades, theatre
performances and specially composed music’. In such circumstances, I don’t imagine
£100 would have gone very far! Just how much was Annibale Padovano paid for his
Mass, I wonder? I suspect that the total cost of such celebrations must have been
nearer to £100M in today’s money.
This all made sense of Philip Thorby’s occasional admonitions to ‘play something
expensive’ as we worked through the Gloria of Padovano’s 24 part mass in the
splendid surroundings of Waltham Abbey. The piece has become almost a standard in
the repertoire of the EMFs as it lends itself very well to the inclusion of many
instruments - recorders, strings, sackbuts, curtals and cornetts - along with large
vocal forces. I have played through it several times, most recently in the beautiful
Chiesa di San Rocco in Venice, again with Philip directing, and it never loses interest.
For the same wedding it is believed that Alessandro Striggio’s Ecce Beatam Lucem
motet in 40 parts was also featured. This too allows for expanded forces as Striggio
specifically indicates for the voices to be doubled by instruments. In the Bavarian
performance in 1568 the forces included eight flutes, eight violas, eight trombones,
harpsichord and bass lute (I think we managed the eight flutes and seven of the
trombones, plus lute – though were somewhat short on violas). This also has become
something of a standard piece for EMF performance, yet always remains very
rewarding to play and provided a splendid closing piece for the day’s workshop. It is
perhaps a measure of how far the EMFs under directors like Phil Thorby have come
that a significant work such as this can now be performed quite credibly with only a
minimum of rehearsal.
The great novelty for me, however was the discovery of Leonhard Lechner’s Quid
Chaos motet, again in 24 parts and with similar scope to include a variety of
instruments. This was a wonderful piece of word painting in which the spirit of Chaos
competes with that of Love to capture the soul of sinful Mankind, while God looks on
in despair: ‘Yikes, how much they have moved away from the righteous path!’ (credits
to Google translator). This too, was composed for a Bavarian patrician wedding, this
time in Nuremburg in 1582. Much of the day was spent on this work and I look
forward to it also becoming a standard feature in the EMF repertoire.
It is always a great pleasure to return to Waltham Abbey for these annual events. The
building itself contributes enormously to the reward of playing these great works from
the past, not only by its physical splendour but also through its direct connections to
our Venetian heritage, for records show that several members of the Bassano family,
musicians at the Tudor Court and close relatives of the great Venetian cornettist
Giovanni Bassano, lie buried here.* The San Rocco may have had Gabrieli, but
Waltham Abbey has its own Bassanos!
*Jeronimo Bassano (1559-1635) of Walthamstow, musician to Elizabeth I (1579)
James VI and Charles I. Son of Antonio Bassano and Elena de Nasi, husband of
Dorothy Symonds. Baptised 20 March 1559 at All Hallows Barking, London, Buried
22 August 1635 at Waltham Abbey.
TVEMF Portuguese penitential masterpieces
We were not the largest of gatherings, but seemed to include the cream of TVEMF’s
sight-singing talent, who needed relatively little knocking into shape. This must be
one of the few occasions when we got through, at a reasonable amateur standard, all
the music provided, and could perform the pieces when mixed up and even mixed up
totally a cappella and once or twice without the conductor. So there was the good
buzz that comes from success.
Singing day with David Allinson on 25 June 2016
David Allinson was inspirational. I’d say the essential elements in his task are:
1. To accept the standard of singing available but try to tweak it up a little without
2. To talk just enough, with the occasional joke, but not meander endlessly into
arcane musicological matters.
3. To get everyone to feel they are singing to the best of their ability and keen to re-start
after each break.
4. (on this occasion at least) To introduce the company to music they did not know
I’d give Mr Allinson all four ticks. There was a good, not overlong, warmup. (I am not
a huge fan of the extended warmup.) He dealt calmly with our tendency to go
dreadfully flat, especially after lunch – the graveyard slot in any full-day event –
pointing out that pitch has been a moveable feast, with the current standard only
fixed a century ago. Not that this should excuse dropping a semitone in the course of
a few bars, which he generously attributed to the humidity. He did just enough
sectional work, usually with 2 or 3 parts at a time, and he got over many points so
fluently and entertainingly that I had trouble making sufficient notes, and it was very
agreeable to find him open to comments from us. He told us very little about the
composers, so I have Googled them for any further information and added it below.
As far as I could tell, the works, mainly in six parts with divided S & A, were new to
us, and the first one, “Circumdederunt me dolores mortis” not yet published. Aires
Fernandez was a Portuguese composer about whom literally nothing if known, even
Wikipedia can’t supply a guess at his dates. After this, up to the lunch break, we sang
“Commissa mea” by Filipe de Magalhaes (1571-1652). He studied with Mendes at the
Cathedral of Evora, and was a colleague of Lobo and Cardoso. Subsequently he went
to Lisbon to become a member of the Capela Real (Royal Chapel) choir and
then Mestre de Capela da Misericórdia. In 1623 he was appointed Mestre da Capela
Real, a position he held until 1641. While, in Italy, the baroque opera was now the
most popular form, these Portuguese composers were writing in a very antiquated
Palestrinan tradition, but nonetheless very beautifully.
After lunch we tackled the Agnus Dei from Cardoso’s Missa “Veni Domine”, the first
part in 4 parts and the second in 5. Manuel Cardoso, 1566-1650, attended the Colégio
dos Moços do Coro, a choir school associated with the Évora cathedral. In 1588 he
joined the Carmelite order. In the early 1620s he was resident at the ducal household
of Vila Viçosa, where he was befriended by the Duke of Barcelos - later to
become King John IV of Portugal. For most of his career Cardoso was the resident
composer and organist at the Carmelite Convento do Carmo in Lisbon. His style has
much in common with Tomás Luis de Victoria, in its careful treatment of dissonance,
occasional polychoral writing, and frequent cross-relations. Three books
of masses survive; many of the works are based on motets written by King John IV
himself, and others are based on motets by Palestrina. Cardoso was widely published,
often with the help of King John IV to defray costs. Many of his works - especially the
elaborate polychoral compositions, which probably were the most progressive - were
destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake and fire of 1755.
An interesting digression was the discussion on the aesthetic assumptions of
performance of masses today. David Allinson contrasted the blended, no bodily
movement, rather upper middle class feel of the Early Music movement of today, with
the more gutsy singing of e.g. Westminster Cathedral. An interesting feature of this
Agnus Dei was the repeated interposition of the line “Veni Domine et noli tardare”
(Come, Lord, and don’t delay – not usually part of the Agnus Dei and probably from a
Psalm) here given to the second sopranos as a sort of trumpet call at intervals over
the rest of the texture.
In the same session we also sang the Kyrie from a Cardoso Requiem, in which the
second sopranos held the original plainsong line. Mr Allinson pointed out that the
editor had probably misunderstood the format, which would have been in six
sections(?), or was it nine? – here I lost track of the details, but the upshot was that
we ignored the chant sections which should really have started and finished the piece.
There were lots of crunchy false relations, and we were told to make our tone “warm
like a tog 50 duvet.” This was our first unbarred item, but we all seem to have coped
OK with counting breves and – my bugbear – remembering the difference between
minim and semibreve rests. At this point, our conductor described the deep
emotional effect on him, coming from a school where apparently the only choral music
had been organised by him, of hearing this kind of music well sung. I was reminded
of coming from my school (which had several choirs and two orchestras) to the Oxford
Bach Choir and being knocked for six by Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in my first term.
Perhaps most of us have our own story to tell.
After the tea break we went on to “Pater Peccavi” by Duarte Lobo (1564/9 – 1646),
the last member of the ‘Gang of Four’ from Evora Cathedral who created Portugal’s
Golden Age of polyphony. His first position was as mestre de capela of the cathedral
of Évora; sometime before 1589, he became maestro di cappella at the Hospital Real,
Lisbon. By 1591 he was appointed as mestre de capela at the cathedral in Lisbon, a
position he held till 1639. This was the most prestigious musical appointment in the
country. The second sopranos having done their fair share of singing the plainsong
line, Mr Allinson kindly switched the two parts round. I think he said this work never
went flat, though I am sure we did manage it, only to be described as singing “like
mournful sheep in a fog”.
Finally, we tackled another Cardoso setting of some of the Lamentations set for Matins
on Maundy Thursday; the Hebrew letter followed by the doleful Bible text and finally
the exhortation “Jerusalem, return to your God”. We sight read it all but only worked
on the second section. During this, David Allinson discussed issues which he is no
doubt preoccupied with in the book he is writing. Should we know in detail what we
are singing about? This is perhaps a rather Protestant attitude, but to the Catholic
composers and performers of the 16th and 17th centuries the music could perform its
function by being mysteriously beautiful and other-worldly, thus exciting the listener
to devotion. Probably there would have been only a very small circle who understood
Latin and had the text in front of them, everyone else outside it would have had only
a blurred understanding. The temptation of the privileged few who could create
beauty was to fall in love with their own voices rather than having the music turn their
thoughts to God. The Puritan disapproval of complex settings was based on the
assumption that the congregation would feel excluded rather than wafted towards
Heaven. With my part revolving round a very small range of notes, I found the
Lamentations very wearing on the voice; or perhaps it was just that I had been
singing all day and now it was after 5pm. I had regretfully to leave for an evening
engagement while the majority stayed for a final re-run of selected pieces. Thanks to
TVEMF for a superb day, I was delighted to buy the works and hope to sing them
Trawling through my archive, I came across the first review that I wrote for Tamesis
about an event at the United Reformed Church, Ickenham. It took place on 26 April
2008, was directed by David Allinson, and explored the work of some composers
whom he described as inhabiting the liminal area between Josquin and Willaert. On
25 June 2016, we went on another expedition with David, this time to a
geographically peripheral, rather than a compositionally liminal area.
Portugal, from its days of maritime power, colonial expansion and monopoly of the
spice trade enjoyed (says the New Grove) a considerable musical interchange with
Spain and Italy, and that same source tells us that Portuguese composers favoured
the parody mass, often using Palestrina as their model. John III of Portugal (reigned
1521-57) was a patron of music and schools of composition existed at Coimbra and
Evora. However, the great flowering of Portuguese sacred music took place not in the
days of its power and prosperity, but in the century which included sixty years of
subjection to Spain following its defeat at the battle of Alcantara in 1580 and saw its
economic decline. Nevertheless, nourished by the teaching of Manuel Mendez (1547-1605),
a leading figure at Evora, and the patronage of the duke of Braganza (later
John IV of Portugal, who reigned from 1640-56, and was himself a composer), a
galaxy of composers, three of whom, all remarkably long-lived, were represented in
David’s programme, produced a substantial body of sacred music.
However, just as he did eight years ago with the almost unknown Philip van Wilder,
David produced another rabbit out of the hat with the even more obscure Aires
Fernandez, who is mentioned in the New Grove in a list of ‘other leading sixteenth-century
composers…none of [whom] cultivated a style that was distinctly national’.
According to the website Requiemsurvey.org, nothing is known about him except that
he lived at the end of the sixteenth/beginning of the seventeenth century and that
such of his few works as survive have been preserved as manuscripts from the Royal
Monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, now in the University library there.
We began the programme with his six-part motet (SSAATB) circumdederunt me
dolores mortis; the text is from psalm xviii, vv. 4-5. The idea of being compassed
about by the pains of death is conveyed by the voices in succession singing the
opening motif until, by bar 6, all six parts are engaged, shortly after which the pains
of death become the pains of hell, expressed in a short homophonic passage with
major/minor shifts. The pains of death then continue their encompassment in a more
rapidly moving section, after which the second theme of the text is introduced with
the laying hold on the unfortunate victim (praeocuperaverunt me) by the snares of
death (laquei mortis) which are pictured in a sequence of descending figures, quietly
but relentlessly entrapping the victim and dragging him to his inevitable death, the
second altos playing a particularly conspicuous role in the final stages of that process.
On the Hyperion recording released in 1994 the work takes 2 minutes 45 seconds to
perform, and your reviewer would lay a small wager that there is no other work
extant which has packed so much human despair, with such consummate
workmanship, into less than three minutes. As David said, it is a little masterpiece-though
perhaps not to be recommended to persons of a nervous disposition.
Project Fear continued with unabated vigour in the second item of the programme,
Felipe de Magalhães’ six-part (again, SSAATB) Commissa mea pavesco in which the
sinner is awaiting judgment with no doubt justified trepidation. Felipe de Magalhães
was born near Evora in or about 1571 and died in Lisbon in 1652. His brief biography
in the New Grove portrays a life of unbroken success, from being Mendez’ favourite
pupil at Evora to his retirement in 1641 from the post of mestre of the royal chapel,
on his full annual salary of 80,000 reis and five motos of wheat. His works include
Cantum ecclesiasticum for 3-5 voices, an eight-part mass, and six motets for five or
The motet begins with a firm statement of the transgressions (commissa) followed by
increasingly melismatic passages illustrating the onset of fear (pavesco). David drew
our attention to the mirror shapes which pervade the piece, an interval in one voice
being followed by its mirror image. This happens in the very first bar where the
interval E-C in A1 on the syllables com-mis is overlapped by E-G in S1 and the figure
is then promptly repeated in reverse order by S2 and A2.. The volume is turned up in
a mainly homophonic section depicting the sinner before the judgment seat, beginning
to blush at the memory of his transgressions. So far, all is fear and trembling, but his
final plea for leniency (noli me condemnare) is infused with defiance-as David said,
when encouraging us to produce the appropriate stridently nasal vowel in
condemnare, it is meant to be a snarl, not a cup of tea with the vicar.
After lunch, we turned our attention to Manuel Cardoso. The date of his baptism is
recorded as 11 December 1566 and he died in Lisbon in 1650. He was enrolled in the
choir school at Evora and, like de Magalhães, was taught by Manuel Mendez. He
secured the patronage of the future John IV, dedicating his first book of masses
(published in 1625) and a collection of motets to him. The parody masses in his first
book are all based on motets by Palestrina, but those in the second book (published
1636) are based on motets by John himself. We first sang the Agnus Dei I (SATB)
and II (SSATB) from his Missa Veni Domine, which David (from whose edition we
sang) described as ‘dark and wintry’. The additional voice in Agnus Dei II (S2) sings
the text veni Domine et noli tardare throughout, while the remaining four voices
develop the usual dona nobis pacem theme. We then had a fairly brief encounter with
the Kyrie from Cardoso’s Requiem (SSAATB, but with the Christe in four parts, SSAT)
and with the chant in the upper parts.
The last composer represented in the programme was Duarte Lobo (ca. 1565-1646).
Another of Mendez’ pupils, he became maestro di capilla at Evora before taking up a
series of posts in Lisbon. The New Grove says of him that he was ‘one of the leading
Portuguese exponents of the polyphonic style, notable in particular for the ease with
which he combined mastery of learned counterpoint with refined and expressive
interpretation of the texts’. The motet pater peccavi (SSATB), with its text from the
parable of the prodigal son, is a short and powerful expression of the prodigal’s self-abasement,
beginning quite slowly and broadly to set the scene, but gathering pace
after et coram te, peccavi, with more rapidly moving and ascending phrases in the
lower three voices as he finally confesses his unworthiness to be called his father’s
Penitence was presented in a different context by the final item of the programme, an
extract from Cardoso’s Lamentations for Maundy Thursday, the text being
Lamentations i., vv.6-7. Here it is the impoverishment and desolation of Jerusalem
which is being expressed, though there is a brief touch, almost of levity, in the
depiction of her princes becoming like rams, but the funereal atmosphere is soon
restored as they are unable to find pasture and flee without strength. The setting of
v.7 conveys a profound sense of loss and isolation as the enemies of Jerusalem mock
her in her weakness. The day concluded with a reprise of the three motets,
circumdederunt me, commissa mea and pater peccavi.
This was another of the highly successful events which have taken place at Ickenham
and, once again, we are deeply indebted to David for a fascinating and informative
tour through a very much neglected tract of the musical landscape. Warmest thanks
are also due to Nicola Wilson-Smith for organising the event, David Fletcher for
producing the music, and the providers of refreshments.
Monteconero with Patrick Craig
The annual mountain top Lacock course differed from the usual fare by including four
pieces by the contemporary Arvo Pärt, which were interspersed with five by
Palestrina. We were led by the indefatigable Patrick Craig: he of the Tallis Scholars,
Cardinall’s Musick, and St Paul’s choir. Patrick always researches his subjects in
detail, and enlivens rehearsal sessions with short talks about the music and lives of
the composers. We learned about Pärt’s work being banned by the Russian
authorities, leading him to stop composing for a number of years, during which time
he studied plainsong, Gregorian chant, and polyphony. The pieces thus inspired, which
we studied (“Magnificat”, “Tribute to Caesar”, “I am the True Vine”, and “The Woman
with the Alabaster Box”) were composed between 1989 and 1997, and are among the
works which emerged after he was allowed to emigrate to the west from his native
We were on more familiar ground with Palestrina, particularly I felt, his magnificent
six part “O Magnum Mysterium”. This suited the numbers on the course admirably,
with split Sop and Alto parts. The final evening’s concert started with the rousing
“Exultate Deo” and then presented alternate Pärt and Palestrina pieces, with short
explanatory talks by Patrick. We finished in more contemplative mood with the six
part “Tu es Petrus”.
Whilst not specifically advertised as an “Early Music” course, we expect Lacock
courses to be just that. This was Something Completely Different: “early music” plus
“music inspired by early music”. Some of us undoubtedly approached it with some
misgivings, but ended up, under Patrick’s expert guidance, appreciating Pärt for the
modern master that he is.
We are happy to announce that Patrick has agreed to do a workshop for TVEMF next
year. Details to be announced later (but it won’t include any Pärt!)
This is another mountain top course, in the foothills of the Alps not far from the
French border – not far as the crow flies that is. To reach it you have to drive along
the autostrada with its superb views of the mountains and the sea until you reach
Taggia, then head north up a minor road. It looks as if it isn’t far but the road has so
many hairpin bends that it takes almost an hour to get there, going higher and higher
into the mountains. The scenery is wonderful and the drops are breath-taking, but all
protected by good barriers at the side of the road. We (my husband Alan came with
me for a holiday) had thought we would pop out every afternoon during the free
period and visit the coast and local villages but we soon realised that there wasn’t
really time to get anywhere and back in the time. Luckily this didn’t matter as Triora
is an amazing place and needs several days to explore it thoroughly. The town centre
is traffic-free apart from the local recycling and rubbish van which seems to be able to
get anywhere. The narrow lanes – paths really – are made of uneven stones and the
whole town is made of stone with arched passageways. There are several bars and a
good restaurant where most of us ate almost every evening.
One of the bars was our base for the day as most of the rehearsals took place in the
town square, though we also used the church in the square and the nearby ex-convent
which belongs to Deborah Roberts, the course director. The convent is a
beautiful building and has, a rare thing in Triora, a lovely garden where we gathered
in the evening for prosecco. Some people were lucky enough to stay there but we
enjoyed our shared self-catering apartment with views over the mountains.
The main subject of the course was La Liberazione di Rugiero dall’isola d’Alcina, as far
as we know the first opera by a woman composer, Francesca Caccini, the daughter of
the singer and composer Giulio Caccini. It is based on a section of Ariosto’s Orlando
Furioso (published in 1516) and described as a commedia in musica. It was first
performed at the Medici court in 1625 to an invited audience. I won’t attempt to
describe the fairly silly romantic plot, but Deborah cleverly adapted it to the local
area, with witches instead of the chorus of monsters (Triora is unfortunately most
famous for its witch trials). There are quite a number of individual roles, making it
ideal for a course involving young solo singers as well as the chorus and
instrumentalists. All the singers had been asked to learn to sing their parts without
music, a task in which some were more successful than others. Learning the major
roles with their long dialogues and recitative style arias must have been a huge task.
I found it quite a job just to learn a few choruses in 17th century Italian (and I speak
Italian) so I was a bit frustrated that in the end I only got to sing a few of them as I
was too far away from the action playing curtal and recorders to be able to join the
singers. The alto parts only have quite a small range so I’m surprised to find that I’m
still singing them to myself two weeks later.
The instrumental tutor was Oliver Webber who is, among other things, director of the
Monteverdi String Band. It was such a pleasure to be playing alongside him and
absorbing, I hope, some of his lovely florid improvisations. The two violinists on the
course were pretty good too. Tutor Claire Williams provided the essential keyboard
continuo support along with two bass viols. There were several sackbut players who
probably felt that they didn’t have enough to do in the opera but they came into their
own in the separate concert of mostly well-known pieces by Giovanni Gabrieli and
Merulo. It seemed an extraordinary idea to do this sort of concert in the open air but
the square in Triora is so enclosed by high buildings that it provides a wonderful
acoustic. The weather kept fine for the concert but the opera nearly didn’t happen.
Just before it was due to start the heavens opened, there was thunder and lightning
overhead and rivers of water ran through the square. We grabbed our instruments
from the ground and waited under the arches to see what would happen. Luckily it
cleared up completely in about half an hour and the performance proceeded as
planned. The audience of mainly local Italians obviously enjoyed it, and so did I.
This is a Voice at the Wellcome Collection
Ruth Harris writes: I have just been to the (free) exhibition at the Wellcome, This is a
Voice. If you haven’t seen it and can spare some time in town before it closes at the
end of July, I think you would find it very interesting – it’s about all sorts of aspects of
voice production, speaking as well as singing. There is a lot of fascinating stuff there,
in fact I rather ran out of steam and didn’t get to listen to all the listening things, so I
shall have to try and pay it another visit.
The exhibition runs until 3st July and you’ll find more information, and some
interesting vocal exercises, at www.wellcomecollection.org
Opportunities to make music
Run by Singers have sent me details of a marathon sponsored singing event entitled
Requiem To Cancer. It starts at 8pm on Friday 2nd September and ends 24 hours
later at 8pm on Saturday 3rd. Three Requiems will be rehearsed and performed at St
Paul’s church, Covent Garden in aid of Cancer Research UK. There will also be the
world premiere of an anthem composed by Cecilia McDowall. This isn’t strictly an early
music event – the earliest requiem is by Mozart – but it sounds like something many
of you with the required stamina will enjoy.
Conducting duties will be shared between Neil Ferris, Jeremy Jackman and Joanna
Tomlinson. The accompanists will be Michael Higgins, Nicola Rose and Richard Hall.
There will be a tea and cake stall operating throughout the event and there will also
be a wine stall open during licensing hours.
There will be approximately 200 places available for singers and the cost of the event
is £40 plus any music hire. Get your ticket from www.requiemtocancer.org where you
will also find full details and the timetable. There is also a JustGiving site if you just
want to sponsor the event, and you can text donations by texting RTCT99
£1/£2/£3/£4/£5/£10 to 70070.
* * *
Run by Singers has an imbalance of men and women on its mailing list, although most
of the events they put on are fully booked. They would like more male singers to sign
up so if you are a tenor or a bass you are invited to join the mailing list at
www.runbysingers.org. I’m sure this doesn’t mean that sopranos and altos can’t join
News of Members’ Activities
TVEMF member David Allinson will be conducting the only Cantores concert of 2016
on Sunday 18th September at St Bartholomew the Less, West Smithfield, London EC1A
9LA. It starts at 5pm and lasts for just over an hour with no interval. His early music
chamber choir will perform a selection of Renaissance music composed in honour of
the Holy Cross. (The Feast of the Holy Cross falls in mid-September and inspired 16th
century composers to write some of their noblest, most emotive & uplifting music.)
There will be selections from Josquin: Missa Pange lingua and settings of Salvator
Mundi, O Crux, Ave and O sacrum convivium by composers including Tallis, Morales
and Victoria. Tickets are £10, on the door only.
available from teacher with over 18 years experience.
Whether you are looking to pass exams, diplomas,
improve your continuo playing, or just want to learn for fun,
lessons are designed to suit individual needs.
Please call Katharine May (GRSM Hons, ARCM) on 01628 783272 or email
I teach in Carshalton, Surrey, by the Suzuki method for all ages from 3 and a half,
to produce excellence in tone from the start.
Please contact me on 07557 958823 or alysonellimanaol.com