Spring 2012

WELCOME BACK,  after a mild, wet and very windy Christmas and New Year. Writing, as I am, in early January, the festive period already seems to have been blown away in the wind….Anyway, the reputation of the SMS continues to spread, with an article about the first seven seasons in BMS News 132, the December 2011 issue of the British Music Society’s newsletter. Read more →

Early Ripening

Review by Don Goodsell.

Two consecutive recorder events took place in Kent back in April, unrelated but for one vital link – recorder virtuoso John Turner, a presence to awaken many a composer’s muse. The first was staged by Sittingbourne’s forward-looking Music Society – rescued from the doldrums not so long ago by composer John McCabe and his wife Monica, encouraged by music-loving Kent councillor Peter Morgan, and violin teacher Miles Attwell.

Read more →

Winter 2011


Friday 11 th February, 7.45 pm, Sittingbourne Community College

Something really to cheer our hearts in a cold, cold winter! Not only is Malcolm Binns one of the foremost interpreters of Chopin’s music, world-wide, but he is generously donating the recital to SMS as a fund raiser. To boost this gift, one of our Society members, John Penry, is generously lending his Steinway piano for the occasion. What a great way for us to start the Year. Read more →

Autumn 2010


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…


Friday 12 th November, 7.45 pm

Sittingbourne Community College



‘ 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


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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


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.

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).



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 .



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:



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’.



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.



If you have any news or views for the Newsletter please send these to David Williams: email:


Winter 2009

Our Next Concert – Friday 13 th November

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, 7.45 pm



This celebrated group of string musicians will be bringing us a delightfully varied programme of popular works by Mozart, Rossini, Samuel Barber, Elgar, Holst and Bartok, as previously advertised. The London Concertante has earned high praise at home and abroad. To whet your appetite, here are some quotations from reviews of their playing.


‘Quality musicians. Quite excellent…pursuing each new pulse with the unanimity of a school of fish….tone as soft as velvet, bow strokes that really sing…’ (Evening Standard)


‘Played with silky-toned elegance…extraordinary unanimity. The London Concertante members, fine chamber musicians that they are, played with an uncanny clarity of texture…quite exquisite.’ (The Strad)


‘Drum-tight. This is superb chamber playing.’ (The Scotsman)

BBC Proms Celebrate

One of the featured composers celebrated in this year’s BBC Proms Festival at the Royal Albert Hall was our Musical Director, John McCabe, whose 70 th birthday was earlier this year. Two works by John were performed; of particular note was his recent Horn Concerto, which was given its London premiere on 5 th September by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The soloist was former Young Musician of the Year, David Pyatt. Geoff Brown, in ‘The Times’, was warm in his appreciation of Pyatt, for his ‘mellifluous’ playing, and of John, for ‘the friendly craftsmanship…. a contemporary composer who actually communicates’. Before the concert John was the guest at a Pre Prom Interview with Stephen Johnson in the Royal College of Music. He explained that the contrasting elements in the Horn Concerto were inspired by the impact made upon him by the equatorial rain forest, on the one hand, and by big band jazz music, on the other. Students of the RCM also played some of John’s chamber music including his Cello Sonata, during the interview.


Celebrations have continued through the year with John being much in demand both as a composer and concert pianist. During the Three Choirs’ Festival in Hereford, in August, John was Composer-in-Residence where two new works by him were premiered. He gave the Wulstan Atkins Memorial Lecture on Joseph Haydn and his piano sonatas. More of John’s works were performed at a special Birthday Concert in the Cadogan Hall, in London, on 24 th September. John himself was piano soloist and was joined by the Kings’ Singers and the Sacconi Quartet, both of whom have performed for SMS. Also, at the esteemed Presteigne Festival, seven composers wrote fantasies in honour of John and of Haydn.


Swale Festival Invitation

We have received an invitation from Swale Borough Council to provide a summer classical concert during the Swale Festival next year. SMS would be delighted to respond, as we have in the past. It is an opportunity to participate more widely in the local musical scene. Unfortunately, the approach came too late for us to include such a concert in our budgeted plans for the 2009/10 season. SBC have offered financial help, but this is not sufficient to enable us to meet the considerable costs that would be involved. We are hoping for a meeting to discuss this.


Any one for Treasurer? – Please!

Our need for a Treasurer is now urgent. The Treasurer does not need to be well informed about classical music. We are looking for someone comfortable with book keeping. It would not be too onerous a task, as the Society’s accounts are not complex. Could it possibly be you? Or do you know someone whom you could approach or suggest to the Committee. Offers and suggestions please to SMS Company Secretary, Jeane Holmes (contact details below).


From the AGM

The following were elected Directors of the Society:

Peter Morgan (Chairman) 01795 423215 –

Jeane Holmes ( Co. Secretary) 01795 423589 –

John McCabe (Artistic Director) 01795 423551 –

Monica McCabe (Artistic Administrator)) – as above

Miles Attwell (Communications) 01795 477233 –

David Williams (Newsletter) 01634 372545 –

(Co-opted) Sandra Payne 01795424731 –


Deficit in 2008/9

The Annual Accounts for 2008/9 revealed a disappointing deficit of income over expenditure of £2,580. The draft report was presented by the Chairman, in the absence of a treasurer, and accepted, having been scrutinised by the accountant examiners, McCabe Ford Williams. The Directors agreed to look into comments and recommendations made by the examiner.

Continuing to increase our membership and size of audience is the only sure way to build a secure future. Pass on the word among your friends and acquaintences, or invite one other person to come with you.


Links with Schools

John McCabe expressed the Society’s gratitude to Sittingbourne Community College, for their co-operation and use of their hall for most SMS concerts. However, he was disappointed at the failure of music departments, in local schools generally, to make use of the concerts and workshops which SMS offers.


REMEMBER: First Concert in 2010

Linos Wind Quintet

Sittingbourne Community College , 26 th February, 7.45 pm

Summer 2009


As some of you may already be aware, our already too small Committee has been

decimated, as Julie and David Burns, Secretary and Treasurer respectively, are moving to another area. We wish the family well in their new home, and are most grateful for their efforts on our behalf. Meanwhile, Jeane Holmes will hold the post of Company Secretary as well as Membership Secretary. At the time of writing, we are still actively searching for a new permanent Treasurer – any offers please, for this position, or any other? Meanwhile, our member Sandra Payne has kindly agreed to be co-opted on to the Committe for next season, to assist in various capacities. I can’t say how grateful we are.

There is further trauma, in that Jeane Holmes, now holding two posts for us, had a bad fall in June. Again, at the time of writing, she is still in Medway Maritime Hospital, receiving surgery and medical treatment to a knee. This happened while John and I were on a concert tour in Israel, so our knowledge of the details is sketchy. We do wish her a speedy recovery, and all good wishes too, to Ben, her husband.

With all the pressures on the remaining Committee (and Peter Morgan is also very tied up with matters relating to the recent archeological discoveries locally), we are desperate for help, if only temporarily. John has been under enormous pressure of work due to his 70 th birthday celebrations, with concerts and recitals in many parts of the country, and his time has been almost entirely taken up with this, and writing new commissions for the Three Choirs Festival and the Proms. We are hopeful that a brochure will be available before long, for what will be a shortened season in 2009/10, and that the SMS will rise phoenix-like next year from these very heavy demands.


LOOKING FORWARD Our next season, 2009/10, only has three concerts – this is due to the pressure of work on those of us who organise the events, leading to a serious lack of time to do any more (which in turn is due to the lack of volunteers coming forward to help!). We have, however, three fascinating concerts, which should be extremely enjoyable, all very different and of the high standard we have maintained throughout our first five seasons. They are:



Friday 13 th November 2009 at 7.45 in the Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College: The LONDON CONCERTANTE, a crack group of string players giving us a programme of well-loved and inspiring string orchestra works (this almost qualifies as our first orchestral concert!): delightful pieces by Mozart and Rossini, the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, two popular English works (Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Holst’s St Paul’s Suite), with a rousing and tuneful finish to the concert in Bartok’s Rumanian Folk Dances.


Friday 26 th February 2010 at 7.45 in the Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College: the outstanding young ensemble the LINOS WIND QUINTET, several of whom hail from Faversham, give us another varied programme, starting with music from the Classical tradition in Reicha’s Wind Quintet in B flat, a rare and richly rewarding Romantic wind quintet by Klughardt (come and find out about him – this is a splendid piece), and several 20 th century works in which entertainment is the watchword, by Ibert and Paul Patterson (both works of standard and popular wind repertoire) and Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik. Don’t let the title put you off – this is a work from the 1920s and very much of its time in its humour, satire and romance. The programme is completed by Holst’s Wind Quintet, an early and enchanting piece giving us our second taste of this great composer this season.


Friday 23 rd April 2010 at 7.45 pm in Tunstall Parish Church: we’re delighted to be returning to this venue, which so many members enjoyed last time we were there, for a recital by JOHN TURNER (recorder), also making a welcome return visit in response to many requests, and the soprano LESLEY-JANE ROGERS, well-known for her appearances with the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society. Their programme ranges from Canzonets by Thomas Morley and duos

by Dowland to a charming song-cycle by John Joubert, the Three Flower Songs by Arnold Cooke, whose death a year or so ago robbed Kent of one of its outstanding composers, and the first performance of a short work by the Liverpool composer and harpsichordist Bridget Fry . An unusual programme, but it promises to be very special.


MEMBERSHIP Our Membership increased last season to 60. However, we need to increase this still further – membership enables us to keep going, and without support of this kind it is extremely hard for any arts group to prosper. Think of it as the artistic equivalent of membership of the National Trust or English Heritage!

Winter 2008

SMS At Home : Young Kent Musicians

Friday 13 th February 2009, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

Svyatoslav Antipov Harriet Burns Jasper Brownrigg


The Sittingbourne Music Society changes tack completely for the next concert to showcase Kent-nurtured young musical talent, in a special ‘AT HOME’ event, starring the young singers Harriet Burns (soprano) and Jasper Brownrigg (tenor), accompanied by Kris Thomsett, together with young solo pianist Svyatoslav Antipov (‘Slava’). Also starring in the event will be the well-known local personality and raconteur Pauline Panton, with some of her humorous and dramatic monologues.


Harriet hails from Sittingbourne, and was heard last year in a splendid short solo role in Handel’s Saul, with the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society. She has undertaken masterclasses with such well-known singers as the great Sir Willard White, and has been offered scholarships at both the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


Jasper is currently in his fourth year at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he has taken leading roles in College productions, and also with such organisations as the National Youth Music Theatre. Jasper comes from Faversham, and he and Harriet will be singing songs by Haydn, as well as popular operatic duets, including Mozart and Messager. Their accompanist will be 17-year-old Kris Thomsett, from Teynham, who is Organ Scholar at King’s, Rochester.


Finally, Svyatoslav Antipov, who was born in Russia but now lives in Thanet, will be playing works by Chopin, Beethoven and Ravel. Slava is studying at the Purcell School, Britain’s oldest specialist school for talented young musicians, and he has taken part in concerts in London (Wigmore Hall), Liverpool and Manchester, as well as appearing many times in the Deal Festival’s Young Performers platform.


We’re particularly grateful to Pauline Panton for her contribution. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she has taught speech and drama and played leading roles in major productions throughout Kent, winning the first County Drama award for best actress in Kent.


This fascinating range of talent will be on display at Sittingbourne Community College, on Friday 13 th February 2009 at 7.45 pm. Admission for members is, of course, free as part of membership – tickets for non-members are only £5 (£1 for under 18s), including a glass of wine or soft drink.


The Atrium String Quartet of St Petersburg

Friday 13 th March 2009, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

Craig Ogden (guitar)

Friday 5 th June 2009, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

The Atrium Quartet of St Petersburg Craig Ogden

The last two concerts of this season present a wonderful array of repertoire, performed by internationally celebrated artists. The Atrium String Quartet of St Petersburg, our first Russian visitors, won First Prize and the Audience Prize in the 2003 London International String Quartet Competition, and in 2007 were unanimously elected winners of the 5 th International String Quartet Competition in Bordeaux. Founded in 2000 in the St Petersburg Conservatoire, they have been immensely successful with audiences all round the world, and made their CD debut recording for EMI Classics. They are giving us Mozart’s beautiful last Quartet in F, Walton’s scintillating A minor Quartet, alternately romantic and jazzy, and Tchaikovsky’s powerful last Quartet, in E flat minor, ranging from sadness to joyous celebration.

It is a great pleasure to welcome the outstanding guitarist Craig Ogden for a return visit. His international career takes him all over the world, and he continues to be very busy in the recording studio. Apart from educational work, to which he is deeply committed, Craig also pursues his interest in cross-over and jazz musics, working with jazz and pop musicians across a wide spectrum. Craig will be giving us a programme reflecting the whole repertoire of the guitar from Dowland, Bach and Britten to popular light numbers from Spanish composers.


NEWSLESSER We apologise that this is a mini-sized Newsletter. it has of course been quite a hard start to the year, what with frost, snow and ice. Bugs have also played a part, in my case a particularly vicious introduction to the well-known Norovirus, which I find lives up fully to its English name.


Pressure of time rests very heavily on us this year also. John celebrates his 70 th birthday in April (just as a hint, they always play the National Anthem on that day). He has a very full year of both playing and composing, and since he seldom blows his own trumpet, perhaps he’ll allow me to say that he’s already written a piano-duet work for Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa (do you remember their lovely concert a season or so ago?), and another short piece for the King’s Singers, so far this year. In addition, there are many special performances and residencies through the year.


Another 70 th birthday which must be trumpeted is that of Jeane Holmes, our stalwart Membership Secretary, when just after Christmas her family surprised her totally with a special celebration Birthday Party.


Some of you may also know Dr Sheila Doak, who has for many years been a leading organiser of the Faversham Music Club. She has just celebrated her 80 th birthday, and apart from a bit of back trouble she is still going strong, and is proud of the fact that she is still an employed, NI-paying citizen. An amazing achievement!


CREDIT CRUNCH Whoever patented that phrase (I hope they did) is probably the only person still making a fortune…The credit crunch, and problems over venues and dates, have led to delays in setting-up next season’s concerts. However, we hope to have news about them soon, and although it may possibly be a smaller season than of late, we believe it will still be exciting and enjoyable. MMcC




28th February: Whitstable Music Club: Whitstable Methodist Church, 7.30 pm: Tradescant Wind Trio

12 th March: Faversham Music Club: Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, 8 pm: piano recital by John McCabe

14 th March: Rochester Choral Society: Rochester Cathedral 7.30: Mendelssohn (Hymn of Praise), Haydn, Brahms

Autumn 2008

Mark Bebbington (piano)

Friday 10 th October 2008, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

Mark Bebbington César Franck


The critical plaudits which have greeted Mark Bebbington’s performances and recordings have singled him out as a young British pianist of the rarest refinement and maturity. Increasingly recognised as a champion of British music, Mark has recorded extensively for SOMM “New Horizons” label to unanimous critical acclaim. He was awarded the front cover photo feature for the June edition of International Record Review magazine. His disc of the piano version of Elgar’s First Symphony attracted a 5***** rating in November 2007 BBC Music Magazine and an earlier disc – piano music by Constant Lambert and Malcolm Arnold – was Editor’s Choice in February 2007 Gramophone magazine.


While at the Royal College of Music, Mark won numerous international awards and prizes, and later studied in Italy with the legendary Aldo Ciccolini, who said of his Paris debut recital it was “one of the most brilliant debuts I have witnessed in the capital”. He has toured extensively throughout Central and Northern Europe as well as the Far East and North Africa. He has appeared with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, London Mozart Players and the Orchestra of the Swan, at all the major London concert halls and at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, and he has featured both as concerto soloist and recitalist on television and radio in Britain and Europe.


No less a passionate advocate of the Viennese classics, Mark is also establishing a reputation as a refined and elegant exponent of French music, and his programme reflects all aspects of his repertoire, from Beethoven’s powerful AppassionataSonata and some DebussyPreludes to a group of virtuoso operatic paraphrases by Liszt (from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde) and Joubert, the composer of the popular carol Torches (his Lyric Fantasy on themes from his own opera Jane Eyre). A highlight of the programme will also be César Franck’s masterpiece, Prelude, Chorale and Fugue.


The Mark Bebbington piano recital is on Friday 10 th October, at the Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue, Sittingbourne, ME10 4NL, at 7.45 pm.

Text Box: Operatic Paraphrases became a piano phenomenon during the 19th century, when many virtuoso pianists followed the example of Liszt and wrote piano fantasies based on the themes from popular operas of the day. Liszt’s, however, stand out from the rest by virtue of his understanding of the psychology of the operas, as well as the style of their composers, and his brilliant expansion of the possibilities of the keyboard. Taking inspiration from other music was nothing new – many Renaissance masses, and even earlier works, took their themes not from liturgical sources but from currently popular songs, and folksong too was a constant source of inspiration. In his Paraphrases of the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and themes from Verdi’s Rigoletto he explored both piano virtuosity and the dramatic context of the operas and their characters. And, of course, works like this gave people the opportunity of hearing music otherwise restricted to the opera houses. In more recent times, his tradition has been followed by many composers, including Busoni and most recently John Joubert, in the romantic Lyric Fantasy on themes from his own opera Jane Eyre.

Franz Liszt Richard Wagner Giuseppe Verdi


The Brass Quintet of the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Friday 14 th November 2008, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue


The 2007/08 season saw the 75 th Anniversary of the London Philharmonic, one of the world’s leading orchestras, known particularly for both their sensitive musicianship and their brilliant technical aplomb. For several years, they have presented an immensely successful series of chamber concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall, and among these groups their Brass Quintet, comprised of their leading brass players, gave a particularly memorable programme in February 2008 – our Artistic Director, who has for many years had a close professional relationship with the orchestra, was lucky enough to be present, and immediately expressed a wish to bring this brilliant quintet to Sittingbourne. They are repeating much the same programme, including new arrangements of music by Jeremiah Clarke (of Trumpet Voluntary fame) and that excellent composer (not joking) King Henry VIII. The elements of tunefulness and catchy rhythms found in these early works are echoed in two outstandingly popular more recent pieces, the Brass Quintet No 1 by Malcolm Arnold, now a staple in the brass repertoire, and, equally well established, the enchanting Music-Hall Suite by Joseph Horovitz, a brilliant and highly entertaining pastiche of Victorian songs. Horovitz is best-known perhaps for his themes for TV series such as Rumpole of the Bailey, but his output is enormous, ranging from ballets and chamber opera to string quartets and concertos – his Music-Hall Suite brings an entertaining programme to a riotous conclusion.


Horovitz was born in Vienna in 1936 and emigrated to England in 1938. He studied music at New College, Oxford, while acting as an official lecturer in music appreciation to the Forces and giving piano recitals in army camps. After taking his degrees, he studied composition with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music and then with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He became Music Director of the Bristol Old Vic, where he composed, arranged and conducted the incidental music for two seasons. He later held positions as conductor to the Ballet Russes, associate director of the Intimate Opera Company, on the music staff at Glyndebourne, and as guest composer at the Tanglewood Festival, USA. He won numerous major awards including the Commonwealth Medal for Composition, a Leverhulme Research Award and, later, the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art First Class, and the Cobbett Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for services to chamber music.


Brass Consort music has been a familiar part of the musical scene for centuries. In part this stems from their use as ceremonial music for fanfares and the like, so it is not surprising that composers over many years have found it rewarding to write music specially for brass groups. Gabrieli’s Sonata pian’ e forte is a familiar standard piece from the 16th Century, and there are many similar pieces, both written for specific occasions and for private entertainment, from many countries – there is an especially strong tradition in Germany of writing Turmmusik (Tower Music, for performance out of doors from church and town-hall towers). With the advent in the second half of the 20 th century of specialist concert groups such as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, brass chamber music has had a new, immensely popular lease of life.


Click for full sized photo

Malcolm Arnold Rumpole of the Bailey King Henry VIII





We run as tight a financial ship as we can, and our artists, too, are very understanding. We try to keep ticket prices down, and are managing to do so. 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. General opinion seems to be that we’re doing a great job for music in our community, by bringing top artists here, and we can only do this because they are sometimes amazingly generous in reducing their fees (in a few cases to 1/8 th of their normal fee!). And we attract audiences from far afield as well as Sittingbourne, so we’re doing our bit to keep the town going.


FAREWELL TO TWO GREAT MUSICIANS Sadly, we have had to say farewell recently to two great friends, both superb musicians. Earlier this year, the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott died at the age of 79 – I am glad that in one of our earlier seasons we were able to programme a delightful recorder piece Lizard by him. Hoddinott was a friend and valued colleague from the early 1960s, and a most distinguished and powerful composer. Fortunately there are many CDs currently available of his work. And as we were about to go to press, we had news of the death of Vernon Handley (known as Tod to all his friends). Tod Handley was also a friend for many years, and his classic CD sets of the Vaughan Williams and Bax symphonies will remain monuments in recording history. But he was a much more wide-ranging conductor, whose Beethoven and Brahms symphony performances were comparable with any other great artist, and he was also a remarkable accompanist, not least in Mozart concertos (as I have good reason to know). Both these men will be sadly missed – they were irreplaceable. JMcC


PRAISE TO OUR MUSICAL OLYMPIANS The Proms this year rightly gave plenty of time to the music of Vaughan Williams, marking the 50 th anniversary of his death, and numerous orchestras have celebrated him by major events. Still to come in London are his 8 th Symphony (London Philharmonic, 24 th September) and several concerts by the Philharmonia Orchestra, one including the 5 th, 6 th and 9 th symphonies (November 2 nd at 3 pm) and one including the great cantata Dona nobis pacem and the 3 rd and 4 th symphonies. It is rare for even the greatest British composers to receive this kind of tribute, and the concerts would be well worth a special effort to attend. The SMS’s policy of trying to include a British work in our concerts whenever possible seems to have been well received by audiences, and we’ve been successful on all except one occasion. But it would still be good if our musical Olympians were given as much credit (and financial support) as our sports Olympians – to whom all praise and credit. I’ve never forgotten, at Walton’s Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey, an English person outside asking me who he was – and this for someone who was also famous for outstandingly successful film scores, march tunes and carols! MMcC


NEWSLETTERS I always hope you find these Newsletters informative and interesting. However, they do take an awful lot of time preparing (not to mention printing!), and it is not going to be possible for me to continue doing this for much longer, in view of the large number of musical commitments I’m going to have over the next 18 months or so. It probably takes about a week’s work (spread over a long period of time, of course) to research biographies/photos/other information and write the Newsletter, and then (inevitably) cut the text so it fits the pages. (I always write too much and then have to cut it.) So after a Members’ Newsletter at the beginning of 2009 and a Public one for the summer, I will have to draw a line under this activity, and the Newsletter will simply have to be a single A4 side of basic information for the whole season. Unless someone reads this and would like to tackle this job (and probably do it more quickly)… JMcC


Meanwhile, a brief reminder of the second half of the season, all in 2009:

1. Our first Musical/Social event, an At Home featuring local young artists in a mixture of songs and instrumental music – we are not able yet to confirm the details because their educational timetables have not yet been provided. We do know, however, that Pauline Panton has very kindly agreed to come and give us some of her famous readings. This concert is less expensive for non-members than usual (£5), and includes a glass of wine or a soft drink. We hope you’ll all rally round and support this new venture, which is in response to various requests from members. Friday 13 th February at Sittingbourne Community College.

2. Our first Russian artists, the Atrium Quartet of St Petersburg give us a wonderful programme of Mozart, Walton and Tchaikovsky – by coincidence, we’ve recently had a message from the Chairman of another Music Club to the North of London describing them as “marvellous”. Friday 13 th March at SCC.

3. A return visit, solo this time, by the very popular guitarist Craig Ogden, whose diverse career includes great classical guitar repertoire, lighter fare, cross-over and jazz performances, and many internationally acclaimed recordings. Friday 5 th June at SCC.



Saturday 27 th September at 7.30 pm in the Alexander Centre, Faversham: Oare String Orchestra conducted by Peter Aviss, with Chris Spencer (clarinet): Boyce, Finzi (Clarinet Concerto), Mozart Divertimento in F, Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings.


Whitstable Music Society dates: Whitstable Methodist Church , Argyle Road, Whitstable, 7.30 pm:

Saturday 27 th September 2008: Brodsky String Quartet: Purcell, Turina, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven

Saturday 25 th October: The Thirteen Wind Ensemble: Mozart Serenades K. 388 and 361), Beethoven

Saturday 29 th November: Marina Nadiradze (piano): Scarlatti, Beethoven (Moonlight), Debussy, Chopin


Faversham Music Club dates : in Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Abbey Place, Faversham, 8 pm:

Thursday 16 th October 2008: Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord) and Adam Walker (flute)

Thursday 13 th November 2008: Xuefei Yang (guitar)


Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, conductor Brian Wright: Maidstone Leisure Centre, Mote Park,

7.30 pm:

Saturday 18 th October: Dukas, Schumann Piano Concerto (Llyr Williams, soloist), Vaughan Williams (Job)

Saturday 6 th December: Sibelius, R. Strauss Horn Concerto No 2 (Michael Thompson), Tchaikovsky 5th