Monday, 7 February 2011

Classical Journey Tuesday 8th February

No posts yet this week, not because of a lack of concerts - too many!

Michèle and Iain at Glenorchy
On Wednesday last week David Lee staged another wonderful lunchtime concert at Glenorchy United Reformed Church in Exmouth.  This unbroken series is an amazing achievement, especially considering that he charges nothing for admission.  This time we enjoyed the baritone voice of Iain McDonald, accompanied by Michèle Banting.  They gave us eleven songs and two piano solos in all, ranging from Franz Schubert to Cole Porter.
Christopher Redwood in the music room

On Thursday morning there was a class by Christopher Redwood on the music of Johannes Brahms in the Music Room at Exeter Central Library, organised as always by Performing Arts Librarian, Clare Greenall.  The classes will continue for the next two weeks at a pro-rata price of £10 per session.  On Thursday evening at the Cathedral the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with piano soloist Angela Hewitt performed 'Mostly Mendelssohn' which actually started with Brahms 'Variations on a Theme of Haydn' which featured in the morning's class.  There was also Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No 1 and Symphony No 5 ('Reformation') as well as Schumann's 'Introduction and Allegro Appassionato'.  Sorry there won't be any news about that on this site, but you can read the review from the Evening Standard here.
Four great soloists at Holy Trinity
Conductor Laurence Blyth
On Saturday evening David Lee was in action himself as a Tenor with the Exmouth Choral Society at Holy Trinity Church, Exmouth.  Under their new Director, Laurence Blyth, they performed Haydn's 'Missa Augustiis' or 'Nelson Mass' and, as if that weren't enough, they then performed the Duruflé Requiem as well in the second half of the programme - an incredible performance.  The choir were superbly accompanied by the visiting instrumentalists led by violinist Mary Eade.  Just to give you the idea we shall be listening to the Kyrie and Gloria from the Nelson Mass, performed by the London Symphony Chorus on today's programme.

 On Sunday afternoon The Dartington Hall Trust staged an extraordinary and overwhelming performance by the Britten Sinfonia.  This all string ensemble amazed us non-stop with music ranging from Henry Purcell to Michael Tippet, not forgetting Benjamin Britten himself, of course.  Special guest, Mark Padmore, provided the voice for Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, originally composed for Britten's lifelong companion, the tenor Peter Pears.  This morning, for our 'scratchy '78' (not at all scratchy actually) we can listen to Pears' original recording from 1964 with the strings of the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by - Benjamin Britten!  The Britten Sinfonia finished their performance with Sir William Walton's 1971 Sonata for Strings.  What can I say - that was quite out of this world.
The audience leave the Great Hall - enchanted!
All three concerts will be getting a full write-up after the programme today.
Just as the concert at Dartington was drawing to a close Evensong began at the Cathedral with the St Peter's Singers were performing the 'Sequence of Music for the Queen's Accession' by George Frederic Handel.  Among the anthems was the essential anthem 'Zadok the Priest' which has been sung at the coronation of every British monarch since George II in 1727.  Let's listen to that again this morning.  In case they're reading this, I should like to dedicate 'Zadok' to Nick and Sheila in Exmouth.
Another dedication this morning will be for Wendy Gluyas' daughter Jane who is currently at Northampton University.  We shall have 'Julia Florida' by the great Paraguayan himself, Agustin Barrios-Mangoré - played by local guitarist David Cottam.
The show will end with a couple of requests.  Tim emailed the studio last week to ask for Arvo Pärt's 'Tabular Rasa'.  We've got a special treat for Tim, Pärt's 'Festina Lente' for string orchestra and harp closely followed by 'Tabula Rasa' for two violins and 'prepared piano'.  One of the violinists will be familiar to listeners.  She will be appearing at Blundell's School in Tiverton on Saturday 26th February - Tasmin Little!
One listener from Skye, with the wonderfully romantic Gaelic name of Iseabail NicCloid (listen out for the pronunciation of that name on the programme), asked if we could hear a piece by Philip Glass which she enjoyed.  She only remembered that it was sung by a man, possibly a 'contralto'.  That sounds like 'Vessels' from Glass's epic film score 'Koyaanisqatsi' - the male voice?  Counter-tenor William Zukov.  Iseabail will have to tell us if that is the right piece of music.  I'm sure she will enjoy it anyway!

Music for this week's 'Classical Journey':

1603  London       DOWLAND, John      Time Stands Still        Emma Kirkby, soprano
1694  Venice        ALBINONI, Tomaso  Trio Sonata 10 Op 1  Parnassi Musici
1727  London       HANDEL G F             Zadok the Priest        Choir of the King's Consort
1798  Vienna        HAYDN, Joseph         Nelson Mass              London Symphony Chorus
1876  Karlsruhe    BRAHMS, Johannes   Symphony No 1         ORR, John Eliot Gardiner
1938  Costa Rica  BARRIOS, Agustin     Julia Florida                David Cottam, guitar
1943  England       BRITTEN, Benjamin   Serenade                    Peter Pears, tenor
1977  Estonia        PÄRT, Arvo                Tabula Rasa               Tasmin Little, violin
1982  New York  GLASS, Philip              Vessels                      William Zukov, counter-tenor

Concerts and other events coming up this week:

Exeter University Theatre Company
Northcott Theatre Tuesday to Saturday 8-12 February 7.30pm
Lawrence Till's 'Kes' (based on Barry Hines' 'Kestrel for a Knave')
Tickets £10-16 Box: 493493

The Beacon Piano Trio
Glenorchy United Reformed Church Exmouth Wednesday 9 February 12.30pm
Piano, violin and 'cello
Admission free, retiring collection

Natalya Zeman - Virtuoso Violin!
Exeter Cathedral Chapter House Wednesday 9 February 7.30pm
Piano, Christopher Guild - Violin Natalya Zeman
Ravel: Tzigane, Elgar: Viloin Sonata, Grieg: Violin Sonata No 2
Tickets £12 (Students £6) Box: 271345 (Cathedral Shop)

Tasty Music - Hilary Boxer and friends
Exeter Central Library Music Room Saturday 12 February 11am
'Bells and Whistles' concert for children age 5-11 - bring your own bell!
Tickets £2 in advance Box: 384217 more details here

Exeter Bach Society
Sidwell Street Methodist Church Exeter Saturday 12 February 9.30am-5pm
Choral workshop with Brian Kay
to study Joseph Haydn's last choral work, Harmoniemesse
Fee £12.50 Booking: Gill Manning 255177

Sidmouth Music - Alexandria Dariescu (Piano)
The Knowle Sidmouth Saturday 13 Feb 3pm
Beethoven - 32 Variations in C minor
Schumann - Abegg Variations
Chopin - Two Nocturnes
Debussy - L'Isle Joyeuse
Liszt - Ballade No 2
Liszt/Wagner - Liebestod
Chopin - Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brilliante in G
Tickets £12 (Students £2) Box: 01395 514413
Next Concert:

Counterpoint (Choir) - Conductor David Acres
Buckfast Abbey Buckfastleigh Saturday 12 February 7.30pm
'Tallis is dead and music dies" (music of Thomas Tallis and William Byrd)
Tickets £10 (£8 in advance) Box: 490398 

Vienna Mozart Trio
Northcott Theatre Sunday 13 February 7.30pm
Mozart Piano Trio No 2 in G K496
Beethoven Piano Trio Op 70 No 1 "Ghost"
Dvořák Piano Trio in E minor Op 90 "Dumky"
Tickets £15 all seats Box: 493493

Bartholomew Consort
St John The Baptist Church Wellington Sunday 13 February 6.30pm
Cecilia Virgo (choral music in praise of St Cecilia)
Palestrina, Massaino, Guerrero, Lassus, Cima & Philips
Tickets £12 Box: 01884 849172

Events next week:
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra: Arabian Nights - Cathedral Thu 17 Feb
(Mozart: Magic Flute, Strauss: Don Quixote, Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade)
Topsham Film Society: 'The House of Flying Daggers' Fri 18 Feb
Devon Baroque: 'Europe in Transition' Fri/Sat/Sun 18/19/20 Feb
Choir 97 afternoon benefit concert Sat 19 Feb

Coming up:
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra: Bolero - Cathedral Wed/Thu 23/24 Feb
(Rachel Barton Pine, violin - Albeniz, Glazunov, Shostakovich, Ravel)
Moishe's Bagel Eastern European dance music - Dartington Thu 24 Feb
Exeter Symphony Orchestra: Tamsin Little - Blundell's Sat 26 Feb
South West Music School: Words and Music - Dartington Sun 27 Feb



  1. Greetings music lovers! May I do a plug please for the William Byrd Festival, to be held at Stondon Massey Church in Essex from 7 to 15 May 2011? For more information see

  2. Thanks Andrew

    Nice to hear from early music lovers in Essex.

    You spotted the Byrd reference in the listing for Counterpoint at Buckfast on 12 Feb? That concert was superb. Some Devonians may indeed be interested to hear the Whittle Singers on 14 May.
    We'll have some recordings of Byrd's choral music in early May as well.

    "Tallis is dead and music dies" is a reference to the closing words of 'Ye Sacred Muses', a lament written by the 43 year old William Byrd when his friend and mentor Thomas Tallis died in 1585 - performed by Counterpoint at the Buckfast concert.