Zephyr with Ian Buckle (piano)
Friday 28 th September 2007, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue
Zephyr gave us a wonderful start in 2004 with a typically varied programme, and we’re delighted to be able to welcome them back. Led by clarinettist Chris Swann, who introduces the programme in a delightfully informal (but informative!) way, they will present four superb works from the wind and piano repertoire, beginning with Beethoven’s magnificent Quintet in E flat, Op 16, often overlooked in favour of Mozart’s classic masterpiece but surely ranking alongside it. The programme ends with Gordon Jacob’s brilliant Sextet for piano and winds, very rarely performed these days but a staple repertoire piece for the Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble in the 1950s and 60s (when our Artistic Director heard it and longed to be able to programme it some time). Zephyr and Ian Buckle have all taken to this piece and are eagerly looking forward to playing it. The programme is completed by two shorter, very contrasted works, John Ireland’s richly romantic Fantasy-Sonata for clarinet and piano, in which he evokes a sense of past legends, and Poulenc’s typically high-spirited outburst of Gallic sentiment and humour, his Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano.
|Gordon Jacob||Elgar||Poulenc cartoon||Ireland|
The City Waites
Friday 26 th October 2007, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue
This concert is being given in association with the Canterbury Festival Fringe
‘How the World Wags’
With all the exuberance of an early travelling band, The City Waites sing, play and jest their way through songs like The Downright Merry Wooing of John and Joan, The Maid’s Complaint and The Perils of Tobacco. These were the pop songs of 17 th Century London, churned out in their thousands by the ballad-hacks around St Paul’s and heard everywhere from street corner to the royal court. From a sentimental Restoration love song to the tuneful cries of street traders or the funky foot-stomping jollity of a village green knees-up, this deliciously eclectic and frequently bawdy repertoire was imitated, admired and collected by the likes of Purcell, Charles II and Samuel Pepys and constitutes one of the richest musical veins in all of Western tradition.
The City Waites ’ busy schedule has taken them all over the world. UK performances include the Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John’s Smith Square, and frequent collaborations with Shakespeare’s Globe, Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Royal National Theatre, where they had the honour of performing for Her Majesty the Queen. Lucie Skeaping is also well-known as the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.
Landscapes in Music Composers have long been fascinated by the challenge of expressing their reaction to landscape and the environment in music. From the medieval round Sumer is i-cumen in to the present day, music has always related strongly to the natural world. One thinks of the Pastoral symphonies of many composers, Richard Strauss’s flock of sheep (Don Quixote) and his Alpine Symphony, Haydn’s The Seasons (and Vivaldi!), and countless others. Our Brass Band concert on Saturday 24 th November, gives a programme of band classics that, by coincidence, reflect this passion. Elgar’s Severn Suite and Ireland’s Downland Suite vividly do so, Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue (from the film The First of the Few) could be said to relate to the wartime skies above Kent, and John McCabe’s Cloudcatcher Fells, often chosen by bands themselves as a contest test piece, stems from his lifelong love of the Lake District.
Unusually, we’re having a concert on a Saturday – please note the change from our usual day. This is because Cory, one of the world’s greatest ever brass bands, are coming from South Wales, and can only do so at a weekend. This bids fair to become a particularly spectacular concert, full of the virtuosity and brilliance this wonderful ensemble possesses. The programme has been chosen to reflect the richness and variety of the brass band repertoire produced by 20 th century composers – many works have been written by specialist band composers, but when people like Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Bliss, Howells, Ireland and many other “concert” composers wrote major works for the medium, it seemed a good opportunity to present a cross-section of this particular repertoire. Cory were delighted to agree to the programme idea, and as resident band at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, they are particularly keen to promote the repertoire in all its variety. We’re sure this will be a highlight of the SMS history.
The City Waites with Lucie Skeaping
Cory Brass Band with Robert Childs, at the RNCM
MONEY! There just isn’t enough of the stuff, ever – is there! So many good causes chasing money, and even as I write Northern Rock investors panicking about the safety of their funds. One thing that has disappointed me in running this Music Society is the lack of interest taken in it by local businesses. Since receiving our KCC start-up fund, thanks to our Chairman Peter Morgan, Swale Borough Council have been continually helpful. Through Peter we’ve also received a donation from Swale Housing Association’s Community Chest, to help us with publicity. Currently we’ve put some of this to good use, with ads for the current season in the East Kent Gazette, and the Sittingbourne Extra (Kent Messenger).
Composer Trusts have also been helpful, and while not wanting to exhaust your patience with long lists, the John Ireland Trust is helping to support two concerts this year (Zephyr, on 28 th September) and Cory Band (24 th November). Among local sponsors, we’ve been very grateful to those in the past (including an anonymous donor), and grateful once again that The Swale Charity has assisted with a small, but welcome donation. M-Real is generous in kind, in photocopying our programmes, and the Wyvern Press kindly realistic in pricing our brochure printing. Otherwise, local business response so far (when approached) has been disappointing, not least a firm I’d rather hoped might help in cash or kind with the brass band concert – naming no names, but brass playing is thirsty work!
Away from the Swale area, we are grateful for a donation very kindly provided once again by The Lord Ashdown Charitable Trust, and another from the Beryl and Joe Stone Charitable Trust. However, we cannot count on regular support from these resources, as some of them are in the process of closing down.
We run as tight a financial ships as we can, and our artists, too, are very understanding. We try to keep ticket prices down (though have felt the need to raise them for non-members this year). Membership is still an amazing bargain – please encourage your musical friends to support us, even if you/they can’t get to every concert. And if any of you have ideas as to possible local sponsorship, do let us know. MMcC
VIRTUALLY THERE 2007 has been a frantic year for the McCabes, and although John doesn’t like to blow his own trumpet, I think it’s fair enough for me to point out some of his recent activities. His Symphony No. 6, Symphony on a Pavane, was premièred by the London Philharmonic in London in January. His Horn Concerto (Rainforest IV), written for David Pyatt and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, received its premières in Cardiff and Swansea in February and was broadcast by the BBC. Currently completing a Cello Concerto for Truls Mørk and the Hallé, for January 2008, John has just been involved in an amazing concert with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in Liverpool – amazing because it was the first-ever concert to be disseminated across the world in virtual reality. No, I don’t understand it either. This opening concert of the RLPO’s 2007/08 season, marking the city’s 800 th anniversary and the opening season of the Capital of Culture Year, included the première of Labyrinth, John’s 7 th Symphony, a BBC commission also broadcast on 17 th September, four days after the première. It was a fabulous occasion, with a packed hall come to hear Labyrinth, a short new work by the young Liverpool composer Kenneth Hesketh, Ravel (sung by new soprano sensation Kate Royal), and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, a stunning performance received with shouts of acclaim – all under the baton of the RLPO’s inspiring new maestro, the 30-year-old Russian, Vasily Petrenko. After the concert which the virtual reality audience was able to watch in the concert hall, “avatars” of Hesketh and Petrenko interacted with participants across the world in interview, while you could apparently purchase virtual drinks with virtual money from the virtual bar. How you virtually drank them is another question. The Press found it all fascinating, and the New York Times even sent a photographer.
Finally, Birmingham Royal Ballet are bringing back the stunning Bintley/McCabe ballet Edward II with performances in Birmingham, London, Plymouth and Sunderland, in September and October. It’s not for the squeamish, but for those interested in going, the Sadler’s Wells performances in London are on 11 th, 12 th and 13 th October. With costumes by Jasper Conran, sets by Peter Davison, and lighting by Peter Mumford, it is truly spectacular. MMcC
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY We would like to draw your attention to the following:
Saturday 29 th September, in the Alexander Centre, Faversham, at 7.30 pm : The Oare String Orchestra, conductor Peter Aviss, present Horn Concertos by Telemann and Neil Bramson (soloist: Tony Halstead), Alwyn’s 2 nd Concerto Grosso, plus Elgar.
Saturday 13 th October, in the Mote Hall, Maidstone: The Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, with their conductor Brian Wright, perform Sibelius’s Violin Concerto (soloist: Jennifer Pike) and Elgar’s great 2 nd Symphony in E flat.
Thursday 25 th October in the Assembly Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham at 8 pm: The opening concert of Faversham Music Club presents a recital by the Crowther Wind Quintet. SMS members receive a discount on ticket prices.