Monday, 28 January 2013

Counterpoint Choir's spectacular first 2013 concert, Saturday 9 Februrary, Programme update from Director of Music David Acres

Counterpoint Choir
Buckfast Abbey
Saturday 9 February 2013

Following their baroque extravaganza, 'An evening of Handel' with special guest, countertenor James Bowman, in October last year, the Counterpoint Choir are back with another sensational selection of the music for which they are so rightly famous - English Renaissance.

Counterpoint Choir
Who can forget their beautiful 'In Memoriam' concert in February last year, which followed the funeral programme of the much loved heir to the throne of James the first, Henry Prince of Wales. The music dated back to 1612, which is borderline renaissance/baroque. Now they will take us further back in time to the time of  Herny's first cousin three times removed (his great grandmother's niece) Mary Tudor, who was England's first female monarch.

The Counterpoint  concert at Buckfast Abbey will include choral music from Mary's lifetime:

From her childhood:

Heinrich Isaac
Heinrich Isaac 1445-c.1517
1503: Virgo prudentissima For Emperor Maximilian I

William Cornysh 1465-1523
1505: “Ave Maria, Mater dei” The Eton Choirbook
1518: “Ah Robyn, gentle Robyn” Henry VIII’s Songbook

From her father's newly created 'Church of England':

Christobal de Morales
Christobal de Morales 1500-1553
1539: “Peccantem me quotidie” (I sin every day)
Officium Defunctorum for Empress Isabella of Portugal
and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
(parents of Philip II of Spain)

From her reign as Queen of England and Ireland:

Jacobus Clemens non Papa 1510-1555
1550: “Ego flos campi” (I am the flower of the field)
for the Marian Brotherhood at 's-Hertogenbosch

Thomas Tallis
Hernando Franco 1532-1585
Christus factus est (Christ is born)

Thomas Tallis  c.1505-1585
Loquebantur variis linguis
(They spoke in many tongues)


Nicholas Gombert 1495-1556
Lugebat David Absalon (David Mourned for Absalon)

Robert Parsons 1530-1571
Ave Maria (Hail Mary)

Robert Whyte 1538-1574
Regina coeli  (Queen of Heaven)

John Taverner
John Taverner 1490-1545
O Jesu Christe, pastor bone
(O Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd)
Votive Antiphon)

Thomas Tallis  c.1505-1585
O sacrum convivium (O sacred banquet)

Francisco Guerrero 1528-1599
O Domine Jesu Christe (Lord Jesus Christ)

John Sheppard  c.1515-1558
In pace, in idipsum (together, in peace)

A lifetime in music - an what a life it was!

Childhood: 1520s

Mary was born in 1516. For the first 18 years of her life, the English Church was part of the Roman Catholic Church. Her father, Henry VIII, was head of the church, and loyal to successive Popes, Leo X, Adrian VI and Clement VII in Rome.

Anne Boleyn
But, when Mary was only 11 years old, her father proposed marriage to Anne Boleyn, the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, who was Hanry's Ambassador to The Low Countries. However, Clement VII would not agree to the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine, despite appeals by Cardinal Wolsey.

When Mary was 16, Anne became pregnant with Henry's child and Henry and Anne were married the following year. Mary's half-sister Elizabeth was born in September when Mary was 17.  Henry's marriage to Mary's mother was annulled by Archbishop Cranmer the following May, three months after Mary's 18th birthday . In defiance of Clement VII and Catherine's nephew, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Henry passed the Act of Supremacy making himself the supreme head of the Catholic Church in England.

A Young Woman: 1530s

Jane Seymour
Mary's mother died a month before her 20th birthday. The cardiac tumour which caused Catherine's death was misinterpreted as a symptom of poisoning which was suspected to be the work of Henry and Anne. On the day that Catherine was buried, Anne, who was terrified by the fact that Henry's affections had been transferred to one of Catherine's maids-of-honour, Jane Seymour, suffered a miscarriage and lost the male child who would have been heir to the Henry's kingdom.

At that time Henry's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell Earl of Essex, initiated the 'Visitation of the Monasteries' to assess their value in preparation for confiscation by the King. Anne had opposed the proposed redistribution of property, and so made a very dangerous enemy. Henry appointed Thomas to gather evidence against Anne with a view to having her deposed and executed.

Jean Rombaud executes Anne Boleyn
Within five months Mary's step-mother had been found guilty of several acts of adultery and executioner Jean Rombaud was brought from France. As Cromwell looked on, Rombaud brutally decapitated Anne with a sword, just ten days before her third wedding anniversary. Two weeks later Henry was married to Jane Seymour.

The following autumn, Jane Seymour gave birth to the male heir that Henry had wanted for so long, but she died shortly afterwards. The 21 year old Mary was made Edward's godmother, and chief mourner at her second step-mother's funeral.

Thomas Cranmer
When Mary was 21 years old, Thomas Fitzgerald, 10th Earl of Kildare, led an uprising against the parliament in Ireland. When this failed, the 'Parlaimint na hÉireann' declared Henry King of Ireland as well as England, in order to restore central control. Mary was now first in line to succeed to the throne of both countries.

Despite pressures for protestant reform, Henry's church had remained Catholic, even though it was independent of Rome. In 1539, five years after the act of supremacy, Henry passed the 'Act of the Six Articles' which made it a capital offence to question or defy six of the basic Catholic beliefs. The beliefs chosen were precisely those rejected by the Protestant church - so that actively professing Protestant belief now carried a death sentence. Archbishop Cranmer kept his family abroad for safety, and Bishop Latimer, amongst others, fled the country.

Inheritance: 1540s

Edward VI
Henry died when Edward was 9, and Mary 30. Edward became Edward VI of England and Ireland.

By the time Henry died, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary had had three further step-mothers. Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves had been annulled. Thomas Cromwell, who had arranged the marriage, had been executed without trial. (His great-great-great nephew, Oliver Cromwell, would later become Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.) Catherine Howard, like her cousin Anne Boleyn, was executed for adultery - less than two years after marrying Henry. Catherine's body was buried alongside Anne at the Royal Chapel of St Peter in Chains at the Tower of London.

Katherine Parr
Henry's sixth wife and widow, Katherine Parr, was only four years older than Mary. She had married Edward Borough when Mary was 13. She had become the third wife of Baron Latimer when Mary was 18, and married Mary's father when Mary was 27. Katherine was made Regent a year after their marriage, when Henry left for a military campaign in France. Shortly before he died Henry ordered that she should retain her position as Queen after his death.

Within a year of Henry's death, Katherine  married for a fourth time - to Jane Seymour's younger brother Thomas. Mary went to live at the Seymour's family home, Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, with Princess Elizabeth and also Henry's niece, Lady Jane Grey. Shortly afterwards, Katherine became pregnant for the first time. During the pregnancy Thomas directed his sexual attention towards Elizabeth, whom he had previously hoped to marry, and she had to sent away from her step-mother's home, although Katherine and Elizabeth were very fond of each other.

Thomas Seymour
Katherine died shortly after giving birth to her daughter, whom she named Mary after her elder step-daughter - who was by then 33 years old. Thomas was suspected of poisoning his wife, although she probably died of puerperal fever. In any event he was executed for treason the following year.

The powerful position of 'Lord Protector of the Realm' had gone to Jane Seymour's older brother Edward, the Earl of Hartford - who then became Duke of Somerset. It was he who had Thomas executed for scheming to control the young King, and for proposing marriage to Edward's cousin, Lady Jane Grey..

John Dudley
Edward Seymour was succeeded by the John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, just two years later, and was executed for felony not long afterwards. Both Edward, and subsequently John, pursued policies of reformation of the Church of England, making it a protestant church. Warwick's son, Lord Guildford, was married to Lady Jane Grey.

Edward repealed the 'Act of the Six Articles' and oversaw six years of Protestant reformation of the Church of England.

Edward died of a chest infection when he was only 15. Mary was 37 and impatient to take over power and reverse Edward's policies. Edward changed his will just before he died, to make Henry VIII's 17 year old Protestant niece, Lady Jane Grey, his successor. Jane was never crowned Queen. Mary raised forces in East Anglia and Lady Jane took refuge in the Tower of London, which became her prison. In the face of Mary's popular support, the Privy Council pronounced Mary Queen.

Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane was found guilty of treason, having signed herself Queen Jane on several documents. She was sentenced to burning or beheading, at Mary's discretion. Mary deferred any decision about her cousin's fate. However, Mary planned to marry Prince Philip of Spain, the son of her maternal cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Jane's father and brothers joined a Protestant rebellion in a vain attempt to prevent this. The failure of this rebellion led to their execution, and the execution of Lady Jane and her husband, Lord Guildford. Princess Elizabeth, despite her insistence that she had not been involved in the rebellion, was imprisoned indefinitely in the Tower.

Royal Marriage: 1550s

Philip II of Spain
The 37 year old Mary was crowned Queen of England and Ireland. Her husband, Prince Philip of Spain, who had been made King of Naples and Jerusalem by Emperor Charles V, to raise his status to that of Mary, became King of England and Ireland.

Mary was soon diagnosed to be pregnant and, as the time for the birth approached, Elizabeth was released to attend her half-sister's confinement. Philip had been made Regent in case Mary died in childbirth, and was planning to propose marriage to Elizabeth in the event of Mary's death.

The royal physicians had been mistaken, however. Mary had not been pregnant and there was no baby. The process was repeated again three years later, again without any baby being born. Philip did not become regent and Elizabeth remained heir to the throne. Mary died the following year, aged 42. Her 25 year old half-sister Elizabeth became Queen of England and Ireland.

Mary reigned for just five years. During that time she reversed the changes to the church in England made by her father and half-brother. Archbishop Cranmer and others were imprisoned. Edwards religious laws were abolished and Mary brought back Henry's 'Act of the Six Articles' from 1539, which made it a capital offence to deny, as protestants did, that bread and wine became flesh and blood during the mass. Celibacy was also made compulsory for priests, meaning that married priests lost their positions.

Thomas Cranmer is burned
Mary returned the Church of England to the control of the current Pope (Julius III) but could not return the land confiscated from the monasteries. The new owners were too powerful. over a period of five years 283 Protestant church leaders were executed by burning. Archbishop Cranmer was forced to watch as Bishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer (who had returned to England during the Edward's Protestant Reign) were burned to death. Cranmer recanted Protestant belief and reaffirmed his belief in Six Articles, but was still burned to death five months later.

Mary also set out to consolidate the authority she had inherited from her father in Ireland. She initiated a policy of 'plantation' of English settlers in the Irish midlands, creating two new counties for the King and Queen of England (which now form the Dáil Éireann constituency of Laois-Offaly). The regally named administrative centres were 'Maryborough' and 'Philipstown' (now Port Laoise and Daingean).

Henry II of France
When Philip became King of Spain (and also 'Lord of the Seventeen Provinces' - in what is now Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and parts of France and Germany) he convinced Mary to make an allied invasion of France, despite the alliance between Henry II and the new Pope, Paul IV. England was poorly prepared for war and made no gains. In the end the one remaining English possesion in Europe, the port of Calais, was lost.

Mary's reign ended in way that would seem familiar to us today. Several years of continuous rain led to crop failures and famine. Philip, despite being King of England and Ireland, would not allow England to share in the benefits of Spain's new world trade. In the autumn of 1558, while Philip was in Brussels, Mary died of influenza and Princess Elizabeth became Queen.

A fascinating and terrible life.

Incredible music.

Mary Tudor
Counterpoint Choir
Buckfast Abbey
Sunday 9 February 7.30pm
QUEEN MARY I (1516-1558)
director of music: David Acres
choral music by:
William Cornysh Heinrich Isaac
Nicholas Gombert Christobal de Morales
Jacobus Clemens non Papa Roger Parsons
Robert Whyte Rodrigo de Ceballos
Thomas Tallis Francisco Guerrero
Hernando Franco John Sheppard
Tickets: £10 (advance £8)
from David Acres: 01392 490398
Counterpoint website

Roger Woodward Info Reviews provided by Angela Boyd

Roger Woodward


Roger Woodward completed his studies at the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Alexander Sverjensky and at the Fryderyk Chopin National Academy in Warsaw with Zbigniew Drzewiecki before rising to international prominence in performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Cage, Morton Feldman, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Hans Otte, Toru Takemitsu and Arvo Pärt that were recorded extensively by the world’s major recording houses and radio and television Chopin, Brahms and Debussy. Collaborations followed with Olivier Messiaen, Iannis Xenakis, John networks.

Woodward has worked with a wide range of orchestras and musicians including the New York, Los Angeles, Israel and Warsaw Philharmonic orchestras, the Cleveland orchestra, the five London orchestras, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, l’orchestre de Paris with such distinguished conductors as Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Georg Tintner, Charles Dutoit and Witold Rowicki. He has also worked with Frank Zappa, Ivry Gitlis and the Alexander, Arditti, Tokyo and Jack string quartets.

He has performed at hundreds of international festivals ranging from Le festival d’automne a Paris, Sviatoslav Richter’s festival at La grange de Meslay in Tours, the Venice Biennale, Wien Modern, Warsaw Autumn, the Music Today festival in Tokyo, to festivals in Edinburgh, Guadalajara in Mexico and in July, 2011, Les XXII flâneries musicales de Reims. He also founded and directed four festivals himself: the London Music Digest, the Kötschach-Mauthen Musiktage, Austria, Joie et Lumière at Le chateau de Bagnols, la Bourgogne and the Sydney Spring at the Sydney Opera House. On numerous occasions he performed the complete works of Chopin around the world. He is also a conductor who has directed throughout Australia and Western Europe.

Woodward is a Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a recipient of the Polish Order of Merit and Polish Solidarity award, the Order of the British Empire and a Companion of the Order of Australia. In November 2011 he will be awarded Poland’s highest “Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis” by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic for his distinguished contributions to the development of Polish culture. In November he plays twelve concerts in Australia and in January tours Germany.

Among nearly two hundred recordings his performance of the C minor and E minor Bach Partitas was awarded the prestigious German critics’ award: Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. He was also awarded the Goethe prize, Diapason d’or and reviewing his recent release of J. S. Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” the chief music critic and arts editor of Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, Reinhard J. Brembeck, described his performance as ” four-and-a-half stellar hours of the Bach discography…. Never before did Johann Sebastian have such a future ahead of him.”

Roger Woodward – Debussy Preludes

Debussy Preludes Books 1&2

I find myself in difficulties when writing about recordings which are so very good, it is hard to find a balance which describes a believeable truth as I hear it, without making a text which just ends up turning into sycophantic hyperbole. Looking on the Celestial Harmonies website, at least I am supported by the artist himself, who “considers [this] possibly the best recording of his career”. Even on only a first hearing, taking the music and performance in by osmosis while engaged in another little sideline of translating Dutch into English, the magic of this recording soon established itself. Having heard many of these pieces live and at times being rehearsed frequently, and having examined and worked with them in detail while making arrangements, I do feel a close affinity with this music, even though it will always be way beyond my meagre abilities at the keyboard.

Roger Woodward’s first complete recording of both books of the Préludes by Claude Debussy was made after a highly successful concert at the Chamber Music Hall of Radio Bremen. He clearly felt at home in the location, and one with the Bösendorfer piano used, the instrument having been restored by a factory technician, and tuned and engineered to perfection. The recording brings out the warmth and sustaining power in the piano, which has a notably different sonority to the more bright and brilliant shine of a Steinway. Just listen to the low final notes of the opening Danseuses de Delphes and you will hear where the foundation of the sound sits in the soundboard, the strings encouraging an almost endless field of colour for Debussy’s harmonies.

My own reference in terms of recordings has for a long time been that of Cécile Ousset on her 1986 EMI two disc set 7 47608 8 which is now long out of print, though she does have a recording available on Berlin Classics label. I also lived with Claudio Arrau on Philips for a long time, which is another beautiful set. I found it made me depressed for some reason, in the same way as rainy afternoons when there are no CDs to review. Roger Woodward does not make me feel in any way sad and soulful though his playing – on the contrary, his performances are life affirming, a spiritual journey indeed and one which at times may move you to tears, but one which ultimately lifts one beyond the clouds. Even his Des pas sur la neige have a ‘Scotch snap’ feel to that rhythmic feature of the main theme, something given a certain broad expressive licence by many pianists. In this case it might illustrate someone picking their way over thin ice rather than leaving a trail in deep snow. The massive tumult of the following piece, Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest, is a remarkably powerful statement in Woodward’s hands, and one can hear where Messiaen would have picked up on such a wild image of nature in music.

Contrast, rich imagery and drama are all composed into these Préludes, but Roger Woodward breathes life into the notes at every turn. The sonorities of the Bösendorfer suits La cathédral engloutie particularly well. Just listen to the notes from about 00:40 in: the most evocative distant bells I think I’ve ever heard in a recording. The build-up to the great bass chime at 2:38 is a truly cathartic moment, and the whole experience is a remarkable monument to Debussy’s pictorial imagination and modernist thinking. Woodward takes 7:22 here compared to Ousset’s 5:46 but the difference is no indulgence, the sustaining power of the Bösendorfer strings making a lengthier exploration of this music all the more powerful. Woodward’s timings are by no means excessive in general, and he frequently comes in under Ousset’s durations in the lighter pieces. What Woodward is prepared to do is allow Debussy’s curtains of sound full expression with his pedalling in something like Brouillards which begins Book II of the Préludes. His clarity is faultless to my mind, but washes of sound are allowed to grow and swirl like the spread of watercolours over damp paper. The mysterious dance rhythms which grow out of the music here and there are also particularly piquant in these performances. The Habanera of La puerta del viño works on us like an echo from a lost and distant past, a sound to which ghosts may dance, but which mortals may only witness through sidelong glimpses around the corners of the Alhambra Palace, and a deeply felt awareness of its past peoples. This seriousness of purpose does carry through to the cakewalk of Général Lavine – eccentric, whose asymmetrical gait carries a ruminating frown despite plenty of bounce in the rhythms, and whose quasi-pomposity raises a wry grin rather than a belly laugh. The humour of Pickwick is also pretty much subsumed in marvellous and colourful pianism, though the spirit of fun in this music has perhaps always had a Gallic way of escaping me.

Without wanting to gloss over the marvels to be found in all of these Préludes, I’ll just mention the fireworks of Feux d’Artifice. I hope Roger Woodward’s fingernails didn’t suffer any painful damage, but you can hear them rattle hard against the keys on the downward glissando at 00:25. This performance has everything: those washes of colour, and the sharp contrast of clarity in those notes which rise and sparkle through those improbably rich textures, those harmonic progressions pushed strongly by that chunky Bösendorfer resonance. A favourite of my mate and accompanist Johan the piano, I’ve heard this piece on innumerable different instruments and in more than one hemisphere, but I’ve never heard it in as spectacularly a breathtaking performance as this.

One of an increasing number of recordings of the complete Préludes on a single CD, this disc is not only terrific value in terms of its timing, but also the best performance I have ever heard. There is competition of course. Pascal Rogé on the Onyx label is a single-disc release and has to be a contender, and Steven Osborne on Hyperion also provides good value. Krystian Zimerman comes in at an even more improbable 84:00 on his single Deutsche Grammophon CD. I’m happy to stick with Roger Woodward though. This recording has been something of a revelation for me, crammed full with new discoveries in the potential of these pieces and of the piano as an implement for pure musical expression. I’m left lacking superlatives, and can only urge you to try this recording for yourself. DOMINY CLEMENTS

Album Review: Roger Woodward, Debussy: Preludes,
Books 1&2 (Celestial Harmonies) (Rated 5/ 5 )

reviewed by Andy Gill The Independent 26 March 2010

In this masterful series of Debussy's Preludes, pianist Roger Woodward perfectly evokes the composer's intuitive musical spirit, and his inimitable sense of quiet, measured exploration.

His interpretation of "Voiles", for instance, embodies the Satie-esque poise and mystery which got Debussy compared to the Impressionists. Woodward's greatest asset here is his restraint: even the direction animé, as for "Le Vent Dans La Plaine", produces just enough of a breeze to ripple one's interest, rather than the gusts of less sensitive hands; imagine the profondément calme with which he realises "La Cathédrale Engloutie". A matchless recording.
From International Piano 2011

Roger Woodward is, in many ways, ideally suited to this music; he has the flair, the musical wit and of course the technical ability and, and of course, range to offer strong and fresh interpretations. From Book One, there is a wonderful freedom and fantasy in Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir, a nervous power and abandon towards the climax in Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest and a tremendously haunting and expansive opening of La cathedrale engloutie. Des pas sur la neige too has a wonderful stillness. There is a sense of a live performance here with plenty of risk taking and evident enjoyment in surprising the listener with, for example, unexpected use of pedalling or startling voicing of chords. Such playing is intriguing and I would very much look forward to hearing Woodward play the Preludes live in a concert hall to get more of a sense of overall development and direction of the cycle.

…… For the notoriously fiendish Feux d’artifice Roger Woodward clearly steps up another gear and brings the whole cycle to a really enthralling close. This is a very interesting and illuminating recording which promises an even more compelling live performance. GRAHAM CASKIE

XXII Reims International Festival Review
- Debussy/Bach Recital June 2011
Roger Woodward, Perfection at his Fingertips

A critic must always question whether a concert is worthy of being showered with praise. This evening, it was a joy to answer this question. Even before the pianist emerged, the programme impressed: three ‘Estampes’ and 12 pieces comprising book 2 of the Debussy Preludes, followed by the six suites of the 6th Partita in E minor BWV830 by Bach. Suffice to say, the audience was expecting to be wowed!

The first part of the concert in Debussy’s honour was remarkable, insofar as Roger Woodward’s playing attained perfection. Remaining imperturbable throughout, he seemed to let the pieces follow with childlike ease. The notes flowed, imbuing the music with an image of harmonic mistiness, which was illustrated by the simple melodic lines he created with consummate ease. More than a contrasting rendering, the artist gave each note a precise intensity, letting us glimpse the contours and perspective the composer wanted to give to his Preludes. Although Roger Woodward is an Australian, this evening he seemed to be French music’s worthy heir.

His dazzling, transcendant touch appeared again in Bach’s work. His mastery of this music enabled him to offer it to us nakedly and deprived of artifice. His impartial playing allowed gusts of emotion to be released, particularly when the fugue themes began: each time the subject appeared, it found its identity throughout the entire Partita. This is the extraordinary talent of the artist: to give life and careful attention to each musical segment so that we’re kept in suspense for two whole hours!

If this concert was unified by the precious gem that epitomises his playing in the service of absolute art, the artist’s talent was his masterly handling of two periods in time, totally distinct one from the other. The small audience can rejoice at having finally been a privileged elite this evening. Their ovation and enthusiasm prompted an encore and, by overwhelming us with Debussy’s ‘La Cathedrale engloutie’, here again, and perhaps most symbolically, Roger Woodward proved he knew what constitutes a complete concert. JADE GODART

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Jonathan Watts accompanies an opera gala Dartington Great Hall Sunday 27 January

tenor: Anando Mukherjee   soprano: Suzanne Manuell

Two wonderful opera stars will be at Dartington Great Hall this afternoon to performa a dazzling selection of Italian opera arias.

They are billed as Diva|Divo - La Diva is soprano Suzanne Manuell. Il Divo is tenor Anando Mukherjee.

Operatic Bass Roderick Hunt will provide the narration, while Jonathan Watts will provide the accompaniment on the piano.



Gaetano Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore
"Caro elisir ... la, la, la, ... Esulti pur la barbara"

(Dear Elixir, you're mine! - Nemorino)

Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata
"Oh qual palor ... Un dì, felice

(Oh what pallor ... One day happy and ethereal - Violetta & Alfredo)

Giacomo Puccini: La Bohème
"Non sono in vena ... Che gelida manina ..."

(I'm not in the mood ... Your little hand is frozen - Rodolfo)

"Sì, mi chiamano Mimi ... O soave fanciulla"

(Yes, they call me Mimì - Mimì)



Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly
"Vogliatemi bene ... Via dall’anima"

(Love me please ... from my soul - Cio-Cio San & Lt B F Pinkerton)

Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana
"Ah! lo vedi!"

(Ah! You see! What were you told? - Turiddu & Santuzza)

Umberto Giordano: Andrea Chenier
"Vicino a te s’acqueta"

(Your presence soothes my restless spirit - Andrea to Maddalena)

Tickets: £16 (student/U18 £5)
Box Office: 01803 847070

Monday, 21 January 2013

Dorothy Ferrier and Dorothy Worthington return to Glenorchy Church for a Burns celebration Wednesday 23 January

Dorothy Ferrier & Dorothy Worthington
(see 23 Nov 2011)



Cominʼ throʼ the rye
(words by Burns)  old Scottish melody

Ye banks and braes
(words by Burns)  arr. Roger Quilter

The brisk young widow
(words anon.)  arr. Nicholas Marshall

Down by the sally gardens
(poem, W. B.Yeats)  arr. Herbert Hughes

She moved thro' the fair
(old ballad)  arr. Herbert Hughes

The man in the mune
(poem, Maurice Lindsay) Theodore Musgrave

Greenfinch and linnet bird from “Sweeney Todd”
Stephen Sondheim

Lorelei from “Pardon my English”
George  and  Ira  Gershwin

Song of a nightclub proprietress
(poem, John Betjeman)  Madeleine Dring

Tell me the truth about love
(poem, WH Auden)  Benjamin Britten

Old Sir Faulk
(poem, Edith Sitwell)  William Walton

and to send you on your way...
Song to the seals
(poem Harold Boulton)  Granville Bantock

Glenorchy Lunchtime Series
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 23 January 12.30pm
mezzo soprano: Dorothy Ferrier
pianist: Dorothy Worthington
- a concert for Burns' Night:
"Comin' Thro' the Rye"
(Robert Burns 1782 q.v.)
Ballads, Cabaret
& Songs from Musicals
Admission: FREE

An incredible preview performance of Roger Woodward's Sheldonian Piano Recital - in Bradninch Thursday 14 March - Full programme provided by Angela Boyd

Australian Pianist Roger Woodward

Bradninch Recital by Roger Woodward

14 March 2013 

Debussy:  Estampes

Pagodes (Pagodas)
La soirée dans Grenade (The Evening in Granada)
Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens under the Rain)

Debussy:  Preludes Book 2 

Brouillards – Modéré
Feuilles mortes - Lent et mélancolique
La Puerta del Vino - Mouvement de Habanera
Les Fées sont d'exquises danseuses - Rapide et léger
Bruyères - Calme, doucement expressif
Général Lavine - eccentric - Dans le style et le mouvement d'un Cakewalk
La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune – Lent
Ondine – Scherzando
Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C. – Grave
Canope - Très calme et doucement triste
Les tierces alternées - Modérément animé
Feux d'artifice - Modérément animé


Chopin: Nine Mazurkas

A minor, Op.17 no.4
C-sharp minor, Op.63 no.3
C-sharp minor, Op.30 no.4
C major, Op.56 no.2
F major, Op.68 (posth.) no.3
A-flat major, Op.41 no.4
G-sharp minor, Op.33 no.1
C minor, Op.56 no.3
F minor, Op.68 (posth.) no.4 (original version)

Roger Woodward
St Disen's Church Bradninch
Thursday 14 March 7.30pm
Debussy & Chopin
Tickets: £8 (U18 FREE)

from Spar in Bradninch, or
Simon Tytherleigh 01392 881825

This is a preview of the recital
which Roger Woodward will give
on Saturday 16 March at the
Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford

Monday, 14 January 2013

Classical Journey Tuesday 15 January '13 (8-12am)

This Week's Concerts

Piano: Josephine Pickering
Clarinet: John Walthew

(see 26 Oct 2011)
Glenorchy Lunchtime Concerts
Glenorchy Church Exmouth
Wednesday 16 January 12.30pm
clarinettist John Walthew
pianist Josephine Pickering
1. Gabriel Grovelez: Sarabande et Allegro
2. Howard Ferguson: Four Short Pieces
    (Prelude, Scherzo, Pastoral, Burlesque)
3. Victor Babin: Hillandale Waltzes on a
     theme by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
       (Theme, Passionée, Triste,
          de Bonne Humeur, Volante)
4. Francis Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
5. Richard Walthew: Concerto for Clarinet
    (mvt II: Commodo, mvt III: Vivace)
Admission FREE
(relax with a tea or coffee from 12.00)

that Midge Mullin!
(Ben in Harold Pinter's
The Dumb Waiter)
'From Devon with LoveFestival
Exeter Bike Shed Theatre
Mon 14 - Thur 24 January 7.30pm
New works by local theatre groups
(with two plays 22,23&24 Jan)
Tickets: £7 (two plays £10)
Featuring Rose and Midge Mullin's
1. Exeter Bike Shed Theatre
    Wednesday 16 January 7.30-8.15pm
2. City Gate Hotel Exeter
    Fri 25 & Tue 29 Jan 7.30-8.15pm
Tickets: £7 (concession £5)
Bike Shed Box Office: 01392 434169
full Jan listings on Bike Shed website

Giles King
Craig Johnson"ALASKA"
Laugh Out Loud Theatre Festival
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Thur/Fri 17/18 January 7.30pm
Cornish theatre company
'Black Fish & Makin Projects' present
writer: Carl Grose
with: Giles King & Craig Johnson
Tickets: £12.50
(student standby £8)
Northcott Box Office: 01392 493493
Exeter Northcott website

Julia Biel
Julia Biel & Phil King
Totnes FM Studio Lounge
Friday 18 January 7.30 for 8.30pm
two singer/songwriters
Tickets: £9 (advance £7)
from 'tickettaylor'
or call David Parsley
01803 862267 / 07912 694581

Puertas Quartet
(photo: Tracy Trinder)
Puertas Quartet
St Margaret's Church Topsham
Saturday 19 January 7.30pm
violin: Ellie Fagg
violin: Tom Norris
(see Living Room in London- in Exeter!
Classical Journey 24 Jan 2012)
viola: Julia Joyce
'cello: Andrew Joyce
Tickets: £10
Topsham Bookshop 01392 877895
Proceeds to 'Friends of Buburi'

Exeter University Footlights
present 'Copacabana'
Exeter University Footlights Society
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Wed-Sat 23-26 January 7.30pm
producer: Kath Darke
director: Ed Johnson
Tony Starr: Cam Jones
Lola La Mar: Jess Philips
Tickets: £10-16
Northcott Box Office: 01392 493493
(Footlights facebook page)
Classical Journey Footlights feature

Press Release from Totnes FM: Julia Biel & Phil King at Totnes FM Studio Lounge Friday 18 January

Julia Biel
Singing with Phil King
Totnes FM Studio Lounge
Friday 18 January 8.30pm

Singer hailed as the ‘next Norah Jones’ plays Totnes this weekend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MONDAY 14 2012: ONE OF the UK’s most highly regarded singer/songwriters is performing at the Studio Lounge in Totnes this Friday (18th January) in what can only be described as a sensational line up to kick off gigs at the venue for 2013.

Described by critics as the new Norah Jones, Julia Biel is set to release her second album, a self-penned collection of jazzy/folk/pop songs. Hailed by The Independent as “the best British vocalist to emerge in an age”, her credits include featured lead vocals with Mercury Prize nominated cult band Polar Bear, and collaborations with Everything But The Girl svengali Ben Wright.

The Guardian wrote Julia has a voice of supreme subtlety and honeyed depth. Her mesmerizing voice and magnetic stage presence should encourage many to follow where she leads . . . about to hit the big time”.

Phil King
Joining Julia on this double header UK tour is Phil King, who Time Out described as having a voice to die for".

Phil also has two albums under his belt and he performs regularly in Paris, Zurich, Barcelona, and New York. Phil can also count BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris and BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq as huge fans. Harris said simply: “Absolutely brilliant.”

And to kick the evening off will be Totnes’ very own Crow Puppets, who have created something of a stir around Devon since forming in 2012, especially during an incredibly charming set at Live At The Great Hall in Dartington last November. Crow Puppets is the folk/pop creation of Cara Roxanne and Emma Marshall, and whisper it quietly, but they are going places.

Tickets are £7 in advance and £9 on the door and can be bought online at, over the phone on 01803 862267 or by visiting the box office on Wills Road on the Totnes Trading Estate.

This is a incredible night to open the 2013 season at the Studio Lounge, which welcomes some wonderful musical, theatrical and poetical heroes over the coming year, including folk legend Steve Tilston, Broadway multi-award winner Barb Jungr, the incredible Liz Lawrence, Lotte Mullen, who is currently in production with Elton John on a film about her rise through the musical ranks, and even the reformed 1990s pop icons Dodgy in June! Plus, there’s lots, lots more coming from the Studio Lounge this year so keep an eye on the listings at

Studio Lounge
The Totnes FM Studio Lounge is the community arts venue for Totnes and surrounding villages.

For further information:
Contact David Parsley on 01803 862267 / 07912 694581 or on

Julia Biel
Julia Biel & Phil King
Totnes FM Studio Lounge
Friday 18 January 7.30 for 8.30pm
two singer/songwriters
Tickets: £9 (advance £7)
from 'tickettaylor'
or call David Parsley
01803 862267 / 07912 694581

Monday, 7 January 2013

Classical Journey 8 Jan 2013 Music from Japan

Naoko Maeda
and John Pike Mander's
1998 11 stop organ
at Toyonaka Church, Osaka Bay
Classical Journey Tue 8 Jan 2013

(see also Naoko's Devon recital 2012)

L.S.O. violinists Ellie Fagg and Tom Norris return to Devon - The Puertas Quartet come to Topsham in support of the Friends of Buburi

The Puertas Quartet
violinists Ellie Fagg and Tom Norris
(Living Room in London - Sat 30 Oct '10/Fri 20 Jan '12)
are joined by 'cellist and violist Andrew & Julia Joyce
St Margaret's Church Topsham
Saturday 19 January 2013
(photo: Tracy Trinder)

Puertas Quartet
(photo: Tracy Trinder)

Puertas Quartet
St Margaret's Church Topsham
Saturday 19 January 7.30pm
violin: Ellie Fagg
violin: Tom Norris
viola: Julia Joyce
'cello: Andrew Joyce
Tickets: £10
Topsham Bookshop 01392 877895
Proceeds to 'Friends of Buburi'

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The return of talented Exeter Poet, James Turner, Classical Journey, Phonic FM Tuesday 8 January

"Time and Distance"
James Turner at Veronica Gosling's 'Gallery 36' in Exeter
with Chris Caldwell (clarinets & saxophones)
and Susie Hodder-Williams (flutes and gamelan)
Saturday 20 January 2010
Tune in to Phonic FM on Tuesday for a special recital by Exeter poet, James Turner.

James will be appearing on the 'Classical Journey' at about 11.15am.

James last featured on 'Classical Journey' when he performed "Time and Distance" with Throwleigh duo 'Music on the Edge' - who have since been joined by Emma Welton for 'Live at the Long Room' in Drewsteignton and 'Music in the Art Room' at Topsham.

James makes a welcome return to Phonic FM as he prepares for a recital with David Sawyer of 'The Chill Acoustic' (who played recently at the Daphne Cartwright memorial exhibition in Bickleigh). James will talk about his work, the new project, and give us a sample of his poetry.

James is hoping to give another impromptu recital at the Bicton Inn 'Classics Night' in Exmouth on Thursday 14 March. We hope he will be joined by David playing his now famous 'sanzakord'. There's only one thing you could call and act like that . . .

Sanza-Stanza !

David Sawyer playing 'sanzakord'
St Mary's Church Totnes
28 Aug 2012

P.S. James can't make it to the Classics night this week (10th January), but there will be plenty of other classical musicians there, with instruments, for an evening of music.

Bicton Inn - Exmouth - 8pm - second Thursday of each month

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Glenorchy Church Exmouth - Wednesday Lunchtime Concerts January and February 2013 - 12.30 start, FREE admission

Piano: Josephine Pickering
Clarinet: John Walthew

(see 26 Oct 2011)

9th: baritone Arthur Trenerry
       pianist David Lee

16th: clarinettist John Walthew
         pianist Josephine Pickering

1. Gabriel Grovelez: Sarabande et Allegro
2. Howard Ferguson: Four Short Pieces
    (Prelude, Scherzo, Pastoral, Burlesque)
3. Victor Babin: Hillandale Waltzes on a
     theme by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
       (Theme, Passionée, Triste,
          de Bonne Humeur, Volante)
4. Francis Poulenc: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
5. Richard Walthew: Concerto for Clarinet
    (mvt II: Commodo, mvt III: Vivace)
Dorothy Ferrier &
Dorothy Worthington
(see 23 Nov 2011)

23rd: mezzo soprano: Dorothy Ferrier
         pianist: Dorothy Worthington
- a concert for Burns' Night:
"Comin' Thro' the Rye"
(Robert Burns 1782 q.v.)
Ballads, Cabaret
& Songs from Musicals

30th: organ & piano recital: Roger Fordham

6th: 'cellist: Annabel Rooney
Tim Othen - 20th  March
(see 'End of Term' June 2012)
       pianist Christopher Meech

13th: soprano: Christine Marsden
         clarinettist: Betty Shipp
          pianist: Frances Waters

20th: The Sidmouth Orchestra

27th: baritone: Iain McDonald
         pianist: Michèle Banting

Michèle Banting accompanies Iain McDonald
(see 2 Feb 2011)