2007

Autumn 2007

Zephyr with Ian Buckle (piano)

Friday 28 th September 2007, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

Ian Buckle

Zephyr

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.

Text Box: Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was largely self-taught as a composer, and made himself an immensely successful and versatile practitioner. He became a legendary teacher, wrote textbooks on composition that remain standard works of reference, and wrote a huge amount of music in most forms, from symphonic to band, from film to choral work, and including a lot of arranging in the 1940s and 50s for radio comedy programmes such as ITMA.  Text Box: John Ireland (1879-1962) wrote much orchestral, chamber and instrumental music, and some of the most beautiful English songs – Sea Fever is one such classic. He was especially interested in legends and myths, and expressed this not only in programmatic works (like the orchestral The Forgotten Rite and Mai-Dun) but even in apparently abstract works like his clarinet and piano Fantasy-Sonata. Born in Bowdon, Cheshire, he lived for a while in Deal, and then Sussex.




 
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.

 

Text Box:    Cory Brass Band, conducted by Dr Robert Childs   Saturday 24th November 2007 in the Millennium Hall,      Fulston Manor School, Brenchley Road, Sittingbourne ME10 4NG

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

 

Text Box: Choral Evensong for St Cecilia  There have for some time been ideas floating around here on the Island that a service in celebration of the arts would be a good thing; and there has, I believe, been discussion on the committee as to the possibility of a SMS church service. If you will, these ideas can come together! There is planned for Sunday, 18th November, 3.00pm, at Holy Trinity Church, Queenborough, Choral Evensong: in honour of St Cecilia, patron saint of music, whose feast day is 22nd November, and in celebration of music and the arts. The service is a parish event, organised by the parish priest, the Reverend John Streeting, but a special invitation is extended to SMS members and all arts and music lovers.    Evensong will be sung by the choir of St. Michael’s, Sittingbourne, directed by Ian Payne; as many of you will be aware, St. Michael’s have a long tradition of choral music, and we are delighted that the choir are willing to be our guest singers. Full details of the service are yet to be finalised, but I can say that one of the lesson readers will be our Artistic Director, and that there will be an anthem specially composed for the occasion by John Streeting. Following the service there will be Kentish Cream Tea in the Church Hall, and, we hope, an opportunity for some publicity and recruiting for SMS.    Do make a note of the date, and, better still, do come!  								Margaret Mascall  		       SMS member; Honorary Assistant Priest at Queenborough

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.

Summer 2007

MEMBERSHIP SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP FOR THE 2007/08 SEASON:
The following membership fees have been agreed for the 2007/08 season:
Individual Season Ticket £50 (this is a massive saving compared to individual tickets through the season) Corporate Season Ticket £200, Family Season Ticket £100 The Newsletter-only for £5 scheme is discontinued because of lack of editing time.

A Brochure and Membership Form are enclosed. Do renew your membership as soon as possible – and it would be wonderful if most members could entice somebody else to join us.

Our Membership Secretary is Jeane Holmes, 106 College Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 1LQ. Tel: 01795 423 589.

 

John Lill The Carducci String Quartet The City Waites

LOOKING FORWARD We have what we think are six particularly exciting concerts for 2007/08:

Please note: the new Membership and Ticket prices mean that those who take out a membership Season Ticket save no less than £22, i.e. one free concert and most of the price of a second. This is a really special bargain, and we hope people will take advantage of it.

      • The artists range from Zephyr with pianist Ian Buckle, who gave us such a great start at our first concert in 2004; The City Waites, with a delightful programme of early music from court, theatre, tavern and countryside, the famous Cory Brass Band, a household name for their virtuosity and musicianship; the internationally celebrated harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock; another of the brilliant young British string quartets the Carducci String Quartet (playing outstanding works by Haydn, Vaughan Williams, and Beethoven); and finally a recital by the great pianist John Lill.
      • The repertoire ranges from 17 th and early 18 th century music (The City Waites), through established masterpieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Bach and Vaughan Williams, to a programme of brass band classics by composers such as Elgar, Walton and John Ireland. The concerts once again give a wonderful overview of the great classic repertoire.
      • Two concerts fall outside our normal type of arrangements. The visit of the Cory Band is on a Saturday (24 th November), because they are only able to give us that date – coming from South Wales, they cannot easily get away for a concert this far away during the week. But it will be a treat for all brass band followers, and those who don’t normally go for this kind of concert will appreciate a programme with some of the best-loved major works for band from the repertoire. John Lill’s recital is later in the season than usual, because it is also forms the opening concert of the Swale Festival, a collaboration with a local event to which we are eagerly looking forward, and which marks our concern to find ways of linking in with the community of which we are part. This recital will be at the Wyvern Hall, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne, a new venue for us and one that we hope will be successful.

MEMBERSHIP SUBSIDY The comment is sometimes made that people don’t take out a subscription because they can’t come to every concert. Of course, with our 6-for-5 membership, we have been giving members one free concert anyway, quite apart from the Newsletter and any Members-only events we may put on during the year. Next year, however, we are offering a bigger discount for membership – this will still cost only £50 (we have kept this level for four years), but individual concert tickets will be priced at £12, so joining us produces a saving of £22 over the whole season. This works out at about 44 % saving for members. For performances of the quality we present this is an outstanding bargain. (Indeed, it’s already a bargain at £12 a seat anyway!) You also have the knowledge that you are guaranteed a seat – members have priority. And membership means ensuring the future of the Society by supporting its activities even if you can only get along to, say, 4 out of 6 concerts. So please do think about it. It will help us more than you realise.

Trevor Pinnock Zephyr Robert Childs (Cory Band)

LOOKING BACK Among many memorable events in our last season, the concert by The King’s Singers was certainly a highlight, but we have been able to maintain the highest standards of performance, as well as continuing to present a wide range of repertoire. Our average audience, even discounting the very large numbers who attended The King’s Singers, was well up on last season. Much of this is due to those who buy tickets on the night (and we should express our gratitude to Swade Music for acting as our ticket agency in town), and we still desperately need more full memberships.

The Galliard Wind Ensemble gave us a splendid start, with a programme of attractive wind quintet works ending with Berio’s Opus Number Zoo, presented with all their usual panache. Nielsen’s Wind Quintet in A was the established classic of the programme, and the programme ranged from a delightful arrangement of Mozart’s Overture The Marriage of Figaro to tuneful, often folk-based works by Ligeti, Barber and Grainger, as well as Malcolm Arnold’s popular Sea Shanties.

An equally delightful programme was given by the superb young piano duet team of Joseph Tong and Waka Hasagewa, with established masterworks by Mozart and Schubert, the original version of Debussy’s La mer (how often will we be able to hear that great work in Sittingbourne?), and the première of the specially commissioned work swings and roundabouts by Matthew Rogers, which was very well received. More duos were heard in the outstanding cello and piano recital by Alice Neary and Gretel Dowdeswell, in a powerful performance of Brahms’s great F major Cello Sonata, plus solo items, from Beethoven’s Waldstein Piano Sonata and Bach’s 2 nd Suite in D minor for solo cello to Walton’s Passacaglia for solo cello.

The King’s Singers gave us pieces by Thomas Tallis, followed by items from their most recent CD Landscape and Time and the première of John McCabe’s Cartography, written for the concert. In the second half, they followed some delightful early music by Spanish composers with a typical group of close harmony arrangements – a programme selected with all their usual care and attention to detail. We were delighted to welcome guests from far and wide for this concert, including our own Mayor of Sittingbourne and our local Member of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Derek Wyatt.

The two remaining concerts were a massive contrast. The Sacconi String Quartet, led by Ben Hancox, began with a wonderful String Quartet by Haydn, and they were then joined by the outstanding clarinettist David Campbell for memorable performances of the well-loved Clarinet Quintets by Mozart and Weber. David also gave us a bonne bouche in three effective pieces for solo clarinet by David Matthews. Finally, we hosted a concert, prefaced by highly successful school projects, given by Maraca2, a brilliant young percussion duo from Birmingham – an exciting evening of rhythmical and surprisingly wide-ranging music, played with such athleticism it was almost exhausting to watch!

VOLUNTEERS We are still in real need of Volunteers. At present, the Society is very much a cottage industry and probably always will be, but the burden borne by the Committee is a very heavy one. There are all sorts of things you can help us with – so please come forward and help.

 

Poulenc Elgar Young Beethoven and Older Haydn RVW

 

 

However, I must one more time take the opportunity of thanking all those who already help us so much in various ways during the year. We owe much to Geoff Rutt, Garrie Harvey and the staff at Sittingbourne Community College for their ever-helpful support, as well as those who help with the concert box office including Swade Music, Roman Square, Sittingbourne. Tickets are available there one month before each concert, and of course by post beforehand (please note: no personal cheques – see brochure) and at the concerts themselves. From a funding point of view, we have been fortunate in obtaining financial assistance from the Lord Ashdown Charitable Trust, and in support of Maraca2’s highly successful schools performances from the Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust.

LUCAS/DARNBOROUGH CD Many people will remember the performance by Claire-Louise Lucas (mezzo-soprano) and Jonathan Darnborough (piano) at our The Year of the Sea event in 2005. Their first CD, now released, includes Elgar’s Sea Pictures as well as other songs by Elgar and some lovely ones by Vaughan Williams – the Claudio Bohemia disc (CB5258-2) can be purchased at £10 (including postage and packing) from Midsummer Management, tel. 01684 565 651, Email: artists@midman503a.freeserve.co.uk.

OTHER RECENT CDs Malcolm Binns’ famous recording of the two piano concertos by Rawsthorne has been reissued on Lyrita (SRCD 255), with Nicholas Braithwaite and the London Symphony Orchestra. John McCabe’s recent CD releases include two John Joubert issues (Songs and Chamber Music on Toccata Classics TOCC 0045, and a 2-CD set of the 3 Piano Sonatas plus Chamber Music on Somm SOMMCD 060-2) and a reissue of the Moeran Rhapsody in F sharp for piano and orchestra, with Nicholas Braithwaite and the New Philharmonia Orchestra (Lyrita SRCD 248). John’s ‘Pilgrim’ for Double String Orchestra , Ballet Suite No1 ‘Arthur Pendragon’ and Piano Concerto No 1 (with John as soloist), with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, under Christopher Austin, has been issued on Dutton Epoch CDLX 7179.

OTHER EVENTS Malcolm Binns , who gave us such a splendid recital in January 2006 and who is President of the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society, is giving a recital at the Wigmore Hall, London, on Sunday 8 th July at 7.30 pm. His programme includes two great Beethoven Sonatas (Op 54 in F, and Op 111 in C minor), three Lyapunov Transcendental Studies (members may remember his superb performances of some of these at his SMS recital), and the world première of McCabe’s Epithalamium (Study No 11 – Homage to Mussorgsky).

The Oare String Orchestra is performing on Saturday, 29 th September, 2007 at 7.30 pm in the Alexander Centre, Faversham, with their conductor Peter Aviss. Tony Halstead is the soloist in Neil Bramson’s Concertino for horn and strings and Telemann’s Horn Concerto in D, and the programme also includes William Alwyn’s superb Concerto Grosso No 2, and music by Harry Wild and Elgar.

Don’t forget the piano recital on Saturday 14 th July 2007 at 7.30 pm in the Shirley Hall, King’s School, Canterbury: the talented young pianist Benjamin Grosvenor plays in aid of the Save the Children Fund.

Spring 2007

David Campbell (clarinet) and the Sacconi String Quartet
Friday 23 rd February, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

David Campbell

The Sacconi String Quartet

Our fifth concert this season presents one of the most popular of all classical works (in the classical top 20, according to one recent poll), Mozart’s lovely Clarinet Quintet, in a performance by one of the greatest clarinettists ever to come from Britain, David Campbell. He will be joined by the brilliant young Sacconi String Quartet, who are garnering praise from all quarters and making a great success of their career. Their leader, Ben Hancox, comes from Canterbury –a few years ago he gave a superb recital at Sittingbourne’s Avenue Theatre.

 

THE COMPOSER AND THE VIRTUOSO
The great tradition of composers writing for particular performers has applied especially to the clarinet repertoire. In his late years Brahms, for instance, was inspired by the playing of Richard Mühlfeld to compose his Clarinet Quintet, Trio, and two Sonatas. In our February concert, this tradition is represented by Weber’s Quintet, written for Heinrich Bärmann (for whom he also wrote a Concertino and two Concertos), and the Mozart Quintet, written, like his equally well-loved Concerto and the Kegelstatt Trio, for Anton Stadler.

The programme also includes the wonderfully virtuoso and lyrical Clarinet Quintet by Weber, as well as a typically imaginative String Quartet by the great master of the genre, Haydn, his B flat major Quartet, Op. 50, No. 1, full of warmth as well as wit. The programme is completed by a short work for solo clarinet by David Matthews, Three Roman Miniatures. David’s output of music is enormous, including symphonies, concertos, many string quartets and other chamber music – he was Artistic Director of the Deal Festival for many years (he still lives part of the time in Deal), and he has written authoritative books on Tippett and Britten, as well as Landscape into Sound, a study of the relationship between landscape and music. Roman Miniatures were inspired by Roman poetry (the Emperor Hadrian and Virgil) and myth (the death of Actaeon as described by Ovid), and are both short and very accessible.

Carl Maria von Weber

Steve Reich

maraca2

Friday 30 th March, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

The brilliant young percussion duo maraca2 hail from Birmingham Conservatoire, where they have recently successfully completed a gruelling postgraduate degree course. They are already fully-fledged professional artists, increasingly in demand for Music Societies and Festivals, and have already had a number of works written specially for them. Their performance is spectacular, since they play an enormous number of percussion instruments (probably about 100 – the platform is a fascinating sight when they play!) and have to choreograph their movements so they don’t keep bumping into each other as they dash from one instrument to another.

The music they play is varied, from arrangements of classical repertoire to modern classics such as music by the popular American minimalist Steve Reich, and many works with a pop or rock influence, but often within a classical format. It’s an intriguing mixture of styles, and anyone who enjoys music with strong rhythms will like this programme. Young people, including anyone who plays the drums in any kind of music, will also find it very entertaining. This programme, which they play from memory (in itself quite an achievement), will finish our season with a bang!

The duo is heavily involved in music education and frequently performs in schools, colleges and other institutes of learning in addition to working regularly with the Southern Sinfonia Orchestra as part of their excellent education projects. They recently visited the Royal Northern College of Music to perform, and have been invited to perform for the Juilliard Percussion Seminar at the famous Juilliard School of Music, New York. We are planning some school visits around their concert for the SMS.

 

Definition: ‘PERCUSSION’

‘Percussion’ is the name for a family of instruments ‘(perhaps the most ancient in existence) which are usually played by striking a resonating surface with a stick or the hand, or by a pedal.’ ( Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music , ed. Michael Kennedy.) They fall into two basic groups: (i) tuned or keyed percussion like xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone, etc., with a piano-type keyboard layout, and (ii) untuned, like drums, cymbals, and many exotic instruments. In recent years some solo percussionists like Colin Currie and Dame Evelyn Glennie have achieved international fame as percussion soloists, with many outstanding works written for them. Percussion ensembles have also become immensely successful, ranging from duos such as the Safri Duo from Denmark through to larger ensembles, often from Universities or Conservatoires. maraca2 are the newest stars of this genre.

GREAT START TO 2007’s CONCERTS

We hoped for, and even expected, a big turn-out for the King’s Singers, and so it proved – we had virtually a capacity audience, who expressed great enthusiasm for what was a wonderful concert. The Singers performed with all the deep musicianship and technical aplomb for which they are famous, in a programme ranging from Tallis to James Taylor and including a number of beautiful extracts from their new CD Landscape and Time. One feature of their performance stood out significantly – their diction was superb, and their words were clearly audible at the back of the hall. Their personalities won many new friends for them, as indicated by the fact that they sold £400-worth of their CDs!

We had some very nice comments after the concert, not least from the Singers themselves – they were very complimentary about the audience, and indeed the hall itself (they relish the clarity of the sound), and even expressed a real wish to come back to us. Something we will try and organise without hesitation, if funds permit!

 

APPRECIATION

We also had a letter from Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa, whose piano duet recital was so marvellous last October – they say: “we really appreciated the level of planning which went into the concert and the way everything was so brilliantly organised, not just on the day itself but also in the weeks and months leading up to the recital.” All testimonials gratefully received! Joseph and Waka gave us a wonderful evening, with a feast of great music (including some of the most established masterpieces of the duet repertoire from Mozart, Schubert and Dvořák), Matthew Rogers’s excellent new piece, which we were able to commission thanks to the kindness of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, and of course the original duet version of Debussy’s La mer. The last really works splendidly in this version, and quite apart from their great musicianship, what was so impressive about their performance was the colours they obtained from the keyboard, and, especially in the Debussy, the rippling demisemi quavers.

SPONSORSHIP AND DONATIONS
We are delighted to acknowledge a generous donation from the Lord Ashdown Charitable Trust, of London. This is the first such donation we have received from a major giver outside our immediate area, and it enables us to proceed with our plans for next season with renewed confidence. Donations and Sponsorship are an important part of the income for any artistic venture, and I hope local businesses and Foundations might be helpful to us in the future.

We have also gratefully received a generous private donation from a donor who prefers to remain anonymous, so I hope they read this and understand that we are indeed most appreciative.

 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY We would like to draw your attention to the following:

Thursday 15 th March, in the Assembly Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham, at 8 pm : Faversham Music Club present a recital of operatic arias by the soprano Marin Christensen.

Saturday 12 th May in the Millennium Hall, Fulston Manor School, at 7.30 pm: The regular Spring concert by Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society, with their new conductor Andrew Lowen: The Creation by Haydn, plus The Armed Man (Karl Jenkins).

Lost in Translation
A programme note on Wagner’s Die Walküre (English translation): “Deemest thou praiseworthy wedlock’s breach, then prate thou yet farther, and call it holy that shame now blossom forth from bond of twin-born pair!” The programme-note writer comments drily “Her reactions are expressed with force, if not brevity.”

Saturday 14 th July 2007 at 7.30 pm, Shirley Hall, King’s School, Canterbury: A piano recital by the talented young pianist Benjamin Grosvenor (who won the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition at the age of 11) – music by Chopin, Ravel, Scarlatti, Bennett (to be confirmed), the recital being given in aid of the Save the Children Fund.

AGM and Summer Newsletter There will be a further Newsletter, not just for Members, in the Summer, outlining next season’s programme and giving notice of our next Annual General Meeting.

Change of Editor

Sadly, David Williams’s recent illness left him feeling unable yet to resume his work as Editor of the Newsletter – we very much hope his recovery continues apace and look forward to his returning to the fold. So it means that for the time being the Artistic Director has taken up the challenge again – hopefully for not too long! David made several excellent changes to the layout and look of the Newsletter, and I hope he’ll forgive me if I continue to use some of them. Meanwhile, please note our Chairman’s Message, below! Editor

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE I feel that we have now made the breakthrough we have all been hoping for. The King’s Singers concert has shown that we can draw in the crowds with ‘quality’ programmes. We have survived the initial years of establishing ourselves in the cultural life of the town and district. I also feel that Year Five of our existence will be the ‘crunch time’. To meet that challenge we need your help. This is what I would like you to do:- 1. Renew your subscription for the full programme next season; 2. help us with publicity by ‘word of mouth’ and by accepting a poster to display in your front window/garden or in a public place. Please help us to expand and to reach more music-lovers. Peter J. Morgan