Saturday, 14 February 2015

St Mary's Church Totnes Coffee & Music Morning Saturday 14 February 2015 News from Julian Hall

St Mary's Church Totnes

A last minute reminder not to miss Saturday's Coffee Concert (doors open at
10.30am), which promises to be a rather special occasion.

As you may know, nearly all the musicians are past or present members of Exeter Cathedral Choir, ably accompanied by Bob Barsby.

I am now able to tell you that Andrew Millington, Exeter Cathedral's Director of Music, is coming to direct some of the motets, or maybe just to keep his cherubic choirboys in order. (I'm sure the choir girls will not need any such measures.)

If any of you have been wondering what a Canzonet is, you may like to read the following, which forms part of the extensive programme notes:

The Coffee Concert at St. Marys Church, Totnes, is a St. Valentine's Day
celebration of music from across the centuries. As its title would suggest, the musical canon is a central theme, and I have chosen five (perhaps) lesser known of these pure canons to be played with the clear clarion voice of the cornet by young choristers from Exeter Cathedral.

The voice of the cornett, the early ancestor of the modern brass valved instrument was once described thus: "the sound of the cornett is like a ray of sunshine piercing the shadows" M. Mersenne (1588- 1648)

In the 16th Century, players had to work very hard to produce the clear sound which today we take for granted. The carved wooden instruments were difficult to play, and although the higher register could sound spectacular, the mid-range wailing sound could often sound indistinct,
and for this reason it fell out of favour. Interestingly, one of the last pieces written especially for cornett was Matthew Locke's Music for His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts (1661).

During the 18th and 19th Centuries, man learnt how to use different metals, which allowed the valve technology to develop, and the brass family of Orchestral Instruments came into being. The instruments played today are all trumpets, and not cornets, which are a very slightly wider bored
and more compact instrument more suited to brass bands.

The Canzonets we sing this morning were written by Thomas Morley, a young courtier of Queen Elizabeth I. Morley was born in 1557, the year before Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558, and died the year before the Queen herself died in 1603. He was a pupil of the great English composer
William Byrd (1543-1623), and wrote both sacred and secular motets and madrigals.

It is claimed that he was friend of William Shakespeare, and that he wrote "It was a lover and his Lass" for the original performance of "As you like it" in 1599.

The use of canon in these charming love songs is always evident, and illustrates Morley's mastery as both poet and musician, something which would have given him much popular adulation in his day. I have chosen four canzonets from a series of twenty four which were scored for threevoices.

Listen to how the poetry is brought to life when a phrase is repeated by a lower, or higher voice, and how cascades of notes dovetail together to bring perfect harmonies.

The contrast in this mornings' concert is provided by two instrumental items, and although neither composer uses the canon form, both pieces could be seen as Romantic, and therefore would be fitting for a St Valentine's Day celebration. The first piece is the Meditation from Thais for solo Violin, by Massenet (1842-1912), which is played by Isabel Beamish, who is studying for her GCSEs.

The next is the slow movement from the Trumpet Concerto by Haydn (1732-1809), which is played by Isaac Weissler, who is a chorister in his final year at Exeter Cathedral.

Both instrumentalists are accompanied on the Pianoforte by Bob Barsby, to whom we are much indebted.

If that doesn't whet your appetite, there's always the coffee and cakes..

Julian Hall
Peter Oakley

Music at St Mary's Totnes
St Mary's Church Totnes High Street
Saturday 14 February 10.30 for 11am
A musical celebration of love
by choristers of Exeter Cathedral
past & present
Countertenor: Peter Oakley
Accompanist: Bob Barsby
Tickets: £5 on the door
Proceeds in aid of Matthew Locke Society
and Friends of St Mary's

St Mary's Church Totnes

Music at St Mary's Totnes
St Mary's Church Totnes High Street
Sunday 15 February 6.30pm
Introit: Orlando Gibbons "Drop, drop slow tears"
Responses: William Smith "Preces & Responses"
Psalm: "Why do the Heathen Rage" (Psalm No 2)
Canticles: Basil Harwood "Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in A♭"
Anthems: Maurice Green "Lord, let me know mine end"
                Thomas Tallis "If ye love me"
An Anglican church service - no charge to attend

St Mary's Church Totnes

Music at St Mary's Totnes
St Mary's Church Totnes High Street
Sunday 15 March 6.30pm
Details TBC
An Anglican church service - no charge to attend

Dr Todd Gray

Music at St Mary's Totnes
St Mary's Church Totnes High Street
Saturday 21 March 7.30pm
on Devon's historic churches
with special reference to St Mary's
by Dr Todd Gray

St Mary's Church Totnes

Music at St Mary's Totnes
St Mary's Church Totnes High Street
Saturday 28 March 7.30pm
Details TBC

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