Monday, 16 May 2011

Classical Journey Tuesday 17 May

What Might Have Been . . .

This week's programme features musicians who were billed to appear in concert but weren't heard for one reason or another. I can't show you any photo's either because of an internet go-slow (but hope to add those later!) However, through community radio we can hear what they would have sounded like . . .


The remote Essex village of Stondon Massey is where Tudor composer William Byrd lived for the last 30 years of his life, and is buried. The Local people have been holding a festival in memory of Byrd for the past two weeks with concerts of Tudor song, special church services and talks by visiting speakers. Despite being too far away for Exonians to visit easily, the festival has been of interest to renaissance music enthusiasts here in Devon. There has also been interest from other parts of the world as well. Organiser Andrew Smith sent in this press release to the programme:

Successful Stondon Byrd Festival Gains International Reputation
Stondon Singers with Richard Turbet (centre)
photographed at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey, Essex,
just before the matinee performance of 'William Byrd: His Essex Years'

Stondon Massey’s tribute to the Elizabethan composer, William Byrd, culminated last weekend with a concert by the Writtle Singers at St Peter and St Paul Church (Saturday) and service of favourite hymns (Sunday). The William Byrd Festival was organised by members of the congregation in order to raise money in support of the building of a new Garden of Remembrance in the churchyard where Byrd is believed to have been buried in an unmarked grave in 1623.

Last week one of the congregation visited the church in order to set up the space for a choir rehearsal to find affixed to the door a bunch of flowers with a request to place them on the grave of the ‘English composer’. The flowers were sent by well-wishers from ‘Tom Garrison and the Trinity Choir’ which following a little Internet research turned out to be the Episcopal Cathedral in Kansas City over in the United States of America. Festival Organiser, Andrew Smith, said, “This was a lovely surprise. We were not able to place the flowers on an unmarked grave so instead decided to arrange them on the Memorial Tablet to the great composer inside the church.

Our Festival website ( shows that William Byrd is very popular in America with over a third of the hits coming from that country. We have received goodwill messages from many and some lovely comments on the singers who appeared at the Festival”. “The William Byrd Festival has been a tremendous success, both in raising Byrd’s profile and financially. We have raised around £2000 toward the Garden of Remembrance project”.

To read all the details of the festival go to

In recognition of a festival that was sadly too far away to attend, Tuesday's programme will open with another beautiful choral work by William Byrd (followed by music from many other concerts which have been missed one way or another):

1605  London     William BYRD    Gradualia: Iustorum Animae  Choir of King's College Cambridge
1691  London          Henry PURCELL           King Arthur                          Crispian Steele Perkins
1716  Venice            Tomaso ALBINONI     Concerto for 2 Oboes           The Handel Players
1718  London          G F HANDEL               Acis & Galatea                      Thomas Hobbs
1763  Salzburg         Michael HAYDN          Concerto for Trumpet            Crispian Steele Perkins
1787  Prague            W A MOZART            Le Nozze di Figaro                Leslie Garrett
1808  Vienna            L Van BEETHOVEN   Fifth Symphony                      Herbert Von Karajan
1840  Leipzig            Robert SCHUMANN  Widmung                               Mary O'Shea
1854  Pennsylvania   Stephen Foster              I Dream of Jeannie                 Gareth Keene
1862  St Petersburg  Giuseppe VERDI          La Forza del Destino              Emma Johnson
1875  Paris               Georges BIZET            Carmen                                  London Festival Orchestra
1888  Paris               Erik SATIE                  Gymnopodie III                      Sir Neville Mariner
1901  Bayreuth         S RACHMANINOV   How Fair this Spot                 Joyce Clarke
1920s Brazil              TRADITIONAL          Serteneja                               Ruth Avis and Clive Betts
1924  New York      George GERSHWIN    Fascinating Rhythm               Crispian Steele Perkins
2003  St Vincent       Klaus BADELT            Blood Ritual                      Hollywood Studio Orchestra
2005  Bristol             Andrew DALDORPH  Full Circle                             Jewels of Jazz
2009  London         Susie HODDER-WILLIAMS  Gigha Quartz                          Music on the Edge

The beautiful quartz outcrops on the balmy Inner Hebridean island of Gigha

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