2010

Autumn 2010

SBC SPONSORSHIP

We are grateful that Swale Borough Council have given a generous donation to help fund our first concert this season by ‘Fine Arts Brass’, at Kemsley Village Hall, on Friday October 15 th, 7.30 pm. We take heart from this support and hope for more opportunities in the future to collaborate with SBC in the musical life of Swale.

Text Box:

And for our second concert…

PAVAO STRING QUARTET

Friday 12 th November, 7.45 pm

Sittingbourne Community College

 

SOME REVIEWS

‘ Four finer musicians you could not come across’ (Henry Kelly, Classic FM)

‘Five Stars’ (Financial Times)

‘Sparkling performance’ (Sean Rafferty, Radio 3)

Arrangements of songs by Gershwin will be followed by two popular string quartets.

Arnold Bax’s richly melodic String Quartet No 1 was written in 1918. Dvorak wrote his lovely F Major ‘American’ String Quartet in 1893, while he was Director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York. The second movement has echoes of an African-American spiritual, as does his New World Symphony composed also in the USA. Dvorak supported the belief that American composers should look to African-American and Native-American music to develop a national style, just as he himself drew much on Czech folk music. Incidentally, Bax was a friend of E J Moeran (see below).

 

Composer E J Moeran’s link with Swale

Monica McCabe has unearthed a remarkable piece of local history:

Thanks to detective work by PhD student, Ian Maxwell, an intriguing story has been uncovered, linking the composer E J Moeran with the Swale district. Moeran was one of the English romantic pastoralists of the early 20 th Century and a close friend of Peter Warlock and Frederick Delius. Monica writes that she was glancing through the September edition of the British Music Society News when she noticed, in Maxwell’s article about Moeran, a mention of Gore Court, Tunstall. She succeeded in making contact with Ian Maxwell in Germany, and she has put the following story together with the help of his assiduous research, and the added help of local historian, Helen Allison, Sittingbourne Heritage Museum, and Meresborough Books.

 

E J Moeran was of Anglo-Irish ancestry and his music evokes particularly the landscapes of Ireland and Norfolk. Moeran’s grandfather was a talented musician from King’s Lynn who married Esther Smeed from Kent. Esther died two years later giving birth to a daughter, Ada Esther. When the child’s father quickly remarried, her maternal grandfather, George Smeed, made the baby a ward-in-chancery and brought her to his home in Tunstall, near Sittingbourne, where she grew up in the family mansion, Gore Court.

George Smeed’s own story is worthy of a Dickens novel, and the two could well have met since they were both born in 1812 and Dickens lived not far away at Gadds Hill, near Rochester. George is believed to have been one of the many children of a poor widow and was a millionaire magnate. He became a smuggler but made his fortune as a local brick maker, barge owner and industrialist. When he bought Gore Court one of the local gentry wrote, ‘Unfortunately Gore Court has been bought by some low fellow…’ However, George Smeed’s bricks built much of 19 th Century London, including the new Houses of Parliament, King’s Cross Station, Tower Bridge and the Victorian Underground system.

 

Ada Esther was striking, intelligent and well educated. When her grandfather died she went to live with an aunt in St. Paul’s Vicarage Upper Norwood, where she met the young curate, the Rev. Joseph Moeran. They married and had two sons, the second being the composer, E J Moeran, born in 1894. Joseph supplied the main Norfolk connection since his father, the Rev J W W Moeran, EJ’s paternal grandfather, was Vicar of Bacton–on-Sea from 1873 until his retirement in 1910 at the age of 94.

 

Moeran surely owed much to his mother, nurtured in Swale, while he himself lived for some years in other parts of Kent. Described as a quiet and lonely man, Moeran was severely wounded while serving in the First World War. We owe gratitude to Moeran as a composer, but also as a collector of many English folk songs which otherwise might have been lost forever. His music has rather fallen out of fashion. However, his highly regarded Symphony in G Minor, was last performed at the BBC Proms in 2009. Two recordings of the symphony, particularly recommended, are those conducted by Vernon Handley, on Chandos, and by David Lloyd-Jones, on the budget label Naxos, which is coupled with Moeran’s ‘Sinfonietta’. CDs may be ordered through Swade Music.

 

FROM THE AGM – 10 th September

TWO NEW DIRECTORS were elected and welcomed onto the SMS Committee. Anne Ryback has taken over from Jeane Holmes as Secretary and Margaret Broughton is our new Treasurer. Warm thanks were expressed to Jeane; she continues as Membership Secretary. Pauline Panton was also welcomed as our new Patron, joining Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

 

THE LONG TERM FUTURE of SMS depends upon sustaining and increasing our membership. John McCabe urged all who enjoy SMS concerts to become members, whether or not they can attend all the concerts. Membership, he said, was more than buying a season ticket; it expressed a commitment. As at 24 th September membership stands at about 40. Application forms are included in the Programme for the 2010/11 season, or may be obtained from Jeane Holmes (106, College Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1LQ).

Summer 2010

‘BOLD AS BRASS’

Friday 15 th October, 7.30 pm

at Kemsley Village Hall

Entry Free

 

Fine Arts Brass

Simon Lenton and Angela Whelan (trumpets);

Chris Parks (horn); Katy Jones (horn); Sam Elliot (tuba)

This first concert in the refurbished Kemsley Village Hall will be a collaboration with Swale Borough Council, as part of their initiative to promote the arts and music making in the Borough. We are grateful for their generous sponsorship, making all tickets free. It will be a light-hearted programme, with music by Vivaldi, Mozart, Leonard Bernstein and others, and will conclude with great tunes from Broadway Shows, in New York’s Tin Pan Alley, including songs by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and Fats Waller. Fine Arts Brass was formed in 1980 and has become a highly accomplished group of British musicians, firmly established around the world. Their widely varied choice of music has led them to perform regularly for the BBC, on Radio 2, 3 and 4.

NEW PATRON

We are honoured and delighted that Pauline Panton, LGSM, an ardent supporter of the arts locally and well-known to many of our members, has agreed to join Sir Richard Rodney Bennett as a Patron of our Society.

PREMIER IN MAIDSTONE

A new orchestral suite by our Artistic Director, John McCabe, will be premiered by Maidstone Symphony Orchestra on 26th March next year. John’s ‘Three Portraits from Arthur’ are based on music from his two ballets, Arthur Pendragon and Morte d’Arthur.

RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT EXHIBITION

This collage is one of the art works currently on display in the first public artwork exhibition by our Patron, the composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The exhibition is at the South Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre and runs until 10 th September (Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm). It is part of the Nightingale Project, of which Bennett is a patron, which aims to bring life and colour into a hospital or clinic, creating a conducive setting for medical and therapeutic work.

(Location: 1 Nightingale Place, London SW10 9NG; nearest tube stations, South Kensington and Fulham Broadway.)

THANKS AND BEST WISHES

Sadly, we shall soon be losing our Membership Secretary. Jeane Holmes, who has long been an energetic member of our Management Committee almost from the start. In 2009 she also took on the responsibilities of Company Secretary. Jeane will leave a big hole; we shall be very sorry to lose her, and are so grateful for all she has done for SMS. Our good wishes go with Jeane and her husband Ben, who plan to move to Dorset to be nearer their family.

OUR NEW SECRETARY – Anne Ryback

We are grateful to Anne for responding to our appeal for a new Secretary. Anne has been a member of the Orpheus Choral Society since 1974. She came to Sittingbourne forty years ago to work in Shell Research. Later she became a science teacher, in Rochester and in Highsted Grammar School.

SOME MEMBERS’ VIEWS

Allan Foot:

‘I enjoy the concerts – I’ve not missed any. The artists are so talented and the music magical…. It is a rare opportunity in this area to hear music-making of the highest order.’ (Allan conducts the Freegard Singers.)

Dorothy Mill:

‘I find I enjoy chamber music more than I thought I did…. Some outstanding artists, like the Kings Singers.’ She enjoys meeting people – ‘It’s a good social occasion.’

Eve Lee:

‘I appreciate the friendliness, which adds to the enjoyment….I like it now the audience sits in the round; much better than sitting in rows….I’m a bit on the fringe, musically; I want to expand my interest….New music is fine, but not too much at once.’

AGM AGENDA – 10 th September 7.30pm – Avenue Theatre, Avenue of Remembrance

1. Chairman’s Welcome

2. Apologies for Absence

3. Minutes of AGM 2009

4. Reports:

Chairman – Secretary – Treasurer – Adoption of Accounts

5. Retirement and Adoption of Directors

6. Election of Officers:

Chairman – Company Secretary – Treasurer

7. Any other Business

Please join us then. The meeting will be followed by a short musical entertainment.

Spring 2010

See you at our next concert

LINOS WIND QUINTET 

Friday 26 th February – 7.45 pm

Sittingbourne Community College

T his brilliant young chamber group was formed in 2001 while the artists were still students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where in 2004/5 they became ensemble-in-residence. Since then they have been building a reputation throughout Britain, including the Edinburgh Festival, and have travelled widely overseas, including Italy, Australia and the Far East. Since several of the players settled in Faversham the Quintet have gained popularity throughout Kent. Their varied programme includes works by some composers less familiar.

Franz Danzi (1763-1826) was a lesser-known German composer and contemporary of Beethoven, who is remembered mostly for his tuneful wind quintets, of which we shall hear the one in B Flat.

August Klughardt , a contemporary of Brahms and Dvorak was also famous in his lifetime, but his music fell out of favour after his death. His Wind Quintet has remained a favourite among wind players and is a thoroughly enjoyable work.

 

Gustav Holst wrote his Wind Quintet in 1903, at the age of 29. Mysteriously the work was lost until it was rediscovered in Woking in 1978. It is a beautiful and significant work in the progress of British music in the early 20 th Century.

Paul Hindemith and Jacques Ibert contribute two light 20 th Century works; Hindemith’s ‘Little Chamber Music’ and Ibert’s ‘Three Short Pieces’.

Paul Patterson, the modern British composer, provides the final work; his humorous ‘Comedy for Five Winds’. In four movements, the last, ‘Hornpipe’, has echoes of the Last Night of the Proms.
GREAT START TO THE SEASON

The London Concertante – November 13 th

G iven the excellence of this ensemble, their musicality and their most entertaining programme, it was encouraging that so many turned out on a wild November evening to hear them. We were not disappointed. Furthermore, the leader of the group had battled his way from Derby through dense motorway traffic and after the concert drove all the way back again.

If you enjoyed their playing you might be interested to know that they will be returning in the Spring, to Faversham.

LONDON CONCERTANTE: Thursday 18 th March, 8 pm, in the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School. Their programme will include Mendelssohn’s great Octet, written when he was 16, and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Souvenir de Florence’. Tickets £10 (£9 if you take your SMS membership card with you).

 

PETER MORGAN MBE

C ongratulations to our chairman, Peter Morgan, who has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List, in recognition for a lifetime of public service; a well deserved honour for all Peter’s many outstanding involvements and leadership in Swale .

 

WE HAVE A NEW TREASURER!

F ollowing an appeal at our November concert, we are delighted that we now have a new treasurer. Margaret Broughton, who lives in Sittingbourne has been co-opted onto the Committee. Our great thanks to her. Margaret has a B.A. in Mathematics and has taught maths and bookkeeping in Swale schools and Sittingbourne Adult Studies Centre. She was formerly Head of Management Accounting in the Banque Nationale de Paris, in London, and Administrative Assistant to the former National Coal Board.

 

OUR NEXT VACANCY – Company Secretary

Before the end of 2010 we shall need to appoint a new Company Secretary. SMS is not a complex organisation so it is an important but not onerous role. It largely involves maintaining records (not finance), setting agendas for Committee Meetings (five or six at the most), and preparing for the AGM. If you are reasonably computer literate, how about you? If you are interested contact: Jeane Holmes: email: jeaneholmes@blueyonder.co.uk

 

FOR YOUR DIARY:

Our third concert:

Tunstall Parish Church , Friday 23 rd April, 7.45 pm.

JOHN TURNER (Recorders) and LESLEY-JANE ROGERS (soprano)

Their varied programme will include canzonets by Morley, duets by Dowland, three flower songs by Arnold Cooke and works by Bridget Fry and John Joubert. Joubert’s ‘Torches’ has become a popular Christmas carol in recent years. Many will remember John Turner’s virtuoso performances in his previous SMS concert, in 2006. Lesley-Jane Rogers, also in 2006, was a much-appreciated soloist with Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society in Poulenc’s ‘Gloria’ and Faure’s ‘Requiem’.

 

LOOKING AHEAD

After the three concerts in the current season we are hopeful we shall be able to restore four concerts in 2010/11. We will give more news as soon as we can.

 

HAVE YOU ANY COMMENTS OR MUSIC NEWS?

If you have any news or views for the Newsletter please send these to David Williams: email: wendyanddavid@talktalk.net