News

Spring 2008

The SMS had a particularly successful concert on 24 th November last when the Cory Band with their conductor Robert Childs visited us at Fulston Manor School. Though unfortunately the local press weren’t able to include a post-concert review, Garrie Harvey, Head of Music and AST at Sittingbourne Community College, wrote a glowing notice which was printed in British Bandsman, 8 th December, and I quote it below, since it says everything that’s been said by members of the audience, who responded with great enthusiasm to a very enjoyable programme:

 

“For a music society that normally presents soloists and small ensembles, it was quite a coup to engage an  internationally-acclaimed brass band.

“Judging by the packed house representing the whole of  Kent and beyond, I believe we owe the society’s artistic director, John McCabe, a debt of thanks for inviting Dr Robert Childs and the remarkable Cory Band to perform a showcase of major brass band repertoire that included Elgar’s Severn Suite, Ireland’s A Downland Suite, Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, and Cloudcatcher Fells by John McCabe himself.
“As I listened to the first crescendo, the hairs on the back of my neck started to stand up and I knew I was in for an evening of outstanding musicianship. As the evening progressed, I  was certainly not disappointed.

“Many moons ago, Robert Childs was my euphonium teacher at Leeds College of Music. Apart from a few more grey hairs, his sense of humour and almost encyclopaedic knowledge haven’t changed one bit.  He relished informing us about the works of Holst, Ireland and Elgar that were originally written for brass band, and subsequently transcribed for orchestra.  Quite a twist on the prevailing impressions of brass band music!

“Listening to the band was a revelation; I was impressed immediately by the professionalism of the players as they adjusted, almost imperceptibly, to the acoustic in the hall. The staggered breathing, particularly in the bass end, gave superbly sustained, organ like qualities and there was a blending and warmth of sound throughout the sections as well as across the band. I particularly enjoyed the solo horn player, Owen Farr’s tone and interpretation, whilst soprano, Michelle Ibbotson, gave a lovely solo in The Queen of the Night’s Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute – a nice reference to early repertoire.  The principal trombonist, Christopher Thomas, also gave an atmospheric and humorous performance of Mosquito by Torstein Aagard-Nielsen.

“The theme of the night was landscapes, and John McCabe gave a moving account of the inspiration for his work, Cloudcatcher Fells.  I could talk about the outstanding quality of the performances and the jaw-dropping encore performance of Mr Lear’s Carnival, but, in the end, the greatest credit is that I stopped taking notes, sat back and just enjoyed the music.  I trust that we will accept Robert Childs’ request to be invited back again sometime soon.”

 

Text Box:    SPITFIRES AWAY! At the end of our concerts we usually present our artists with a small gift,      usually a bottle of some kind (more practicable than flowers). With the 30-plus members of      Cory Band, however, we were a bit stumped as to what we do. We’re very grateful to the famous      Faversham brewery Shepherd Neame,  who in a kind act of sponsorship presented us with a      couple of bottles for each band member of their well-loved Spitfire beer, which I’m sure helped      the band’s lengthy return journey to South Wales go with a swing. It was particularly appropriate,      since the concert began with Walton’s splendid Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, and our Artistic      Director is not immune to the charms of Spitfire beer anyway!

 

 

 

OUR 22 nd FEBRUARY CONCERT: TREVOR PINNOCK (harpsichord)

 

Trevor Pinnock is known worldwide as a harpsichordist, conductor and chamber musician. A pioneer in the performance of baroque and classical music on period instruments, he founded the English Concert in 1972 directing it until 2003. During this season, Pinnock will tour as a soloist in England and Italy and will perform with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra in their Twentieth Birthday concerts. He will also continue to tour Bach´s Brandenburg Concertos with the European Brandenburg Ensemble which he formed last year to celebrate his own sixtieth birthday. Their recording of the concertos was released on the Avie label in November 2007. In January 2008 he joins flautist Emmanuel Pahud and cellist Jonathan Manson to record Bach sonatas for EMI. The ensemble will subsequently tour Europe, the Far East and the USA.

Trevor Pinnock J. S. Bach Antonio VivaldiHenry Purcell

(“The Red Priest”)

 

Mr Pinnock’s many recordings as a conductor include much Haydn, including the Sturm und Drang symphonies, and many classic recordings of Handel operas and choral works. He continues his relationship with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Abbado´s remarkable young Orchestra Mozart Bologna. He will work again with pianist Maria João Pires in concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and RAI Orchestra Torino. In educational initiatives, Pinnock will continue to give concerts and masterclasses with students at the Royal Academy of Music, London and the Hong Kong Academy For Performing Arts. Trevor Pinnock was awarded the title of CBE in the Queen´s birthday honours in 1992.

 

His recital programme for us on 22 nd February at Sittingbourne Community College contains music by various Baroque composers from different countries, from the English master Purcell and the German Froberger to the Italian Domenico Scarlatti (some of his Sonatas written during his long domicile in Spain) and the German Johann Sebastian Bach, his glorious C minor Partita. Italian and German combine in Bach’s reworking of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D, and the programme is completed by music by Giovanni Batista Draghi, who though Italian was organist to King Charles II’s Queen Catherine at St Michael’s, Cornhill. This is a rare opportunity to hear a master harpsichordist in the repertoire for which he is especially famous, much sought-after all over the world, and the programme is both varied and exciting.

Text Box:  PARTITAS AND SUITES The title Partita has become interchangeable with the title Suite, thanks largely to J. S. Bach’s use of either title for his great series of Suites (or Partitas) for keyboard, solo violin and solo cello. They were usually collections of dance-movements such as Sarabande, Gigue, Minuet etc., often with a more substantial first movement, sometimes in the form of a toccata prefaced by a slow introduction, giving the work something of the weightiness of the later form of Sonata. After the Baroque era, the tradition was revived by late romantics like Max Reger, in several fine Suites for solo viola, and 20th century composers such as Ernest Bloch, in Suites for solo violin, and Britten, whose three solo cello Suites live up to the example set by Bach. Many other composers have also revived the title Partita.

The Carducci StringQuartet Haydn, deep in thought An affectionate cartoon of RVW

 

 

THE CARDUCCI STRING QUARTET This outstanding young string quartet has just won the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition in the USA. Chosen from over 350 original applicants, they receive prizes including a debut concert at the Carnegie Hall and a comprehensive management and marketing programme with CAG, including recording and commissioning opportunities. They come to us fresh from their first tour of Japan, and will tour the USA for the first time next autumn. Their busy schedule takes them all over Britain and they have rapidly established themselves as one of the brightest young ensembles in music, not only in this country. Their January diary alone, with no less than 13 engagements, shows how popular they have become, and among recent highlights have been a three day festival to celebrate the opening of the amazing new Cork School of Music building in Ireland. Their first CDs are in the process of being released. Their programme for us reflects perhaps the two greatest masters of quartet composing (certainly two of the three greatest!), Haydn and Beethoven, both by works regarded as among their finest: Haydn’s Quartet in D minor, No 2 of the set Opus 76, nicknamed the Fifths, and the popular E minor Quartet, the second of Beethoven’s three quartets, Op 59, dedicated to Count Razumovsky. Between these, they pay tribute to the 50 th anniversary of the death of Vaughan Williams with his beautiful, atmospheric 2 nd String Quartet, written in 1942-4 and partly derived from his music for the film The 49 th Parallel. Two of the Quartet, violinist Matthew Denton and his wife, cellist Emma Denton, will be remembered as members of the Eimer Piano Trio, who so successfully visited the SMS in 2005.

 

Text Box:   WASTE NOT, WANT NOT From the beginning of the days of specially-written film scores (even      in the silent era), film companies have from time to time used some of the most noted contemporary      composers to help them put their movies across – Saint-Säens and (reputedly) Holst were among the      early pioneers. In later times, the composers often drew on their film scores for concert works,      either making Suites (like Bliss, with Things to Come), major symphonic and choral works      (such as Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky), or simply short concert pieces, like Copland’s Our Town.      Vaughan Williams was already in his 70s when he ventured into film composition, but he      immediately became a master at it, as witness his classic score for Scott of the Antarctic, from      which he derived his brilliantly imaginative Sinfonia Antartica (the mis-spelling was his own, and      he stuck to it!). In his 2nd String Quartet, played in our Carducci Quartet concert, he used material       from The 49th Parallel, for which he wrote a memorably melodic and atmospheric score, and also      some noted down for a projected film about Joan of Arc that never materialised. Composers like      Handel and Bach made sure they never wasted their ideas – Vaughan Williams was acting in keeping      with the great tradition!

 

 

 

John Lill The young Prokofiev The Prokofiev family, 1936 Beethoven!

 

JOHN LILL Following his famous win in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1970, John Lill has established himself internationally as one of the most celebrated of all British pianists. He has particularly become noted as an interpreter of Beethoven and Prokofiev – apart from recording all the sonatas and concertos of Beethoven he has given complete cycles of these in many countries, including several concerto cycles in the USA, and has appeared with all the leading orchestras of the world. His complete Prokofiev Sonata recordings have also received wide acclaim, as has his recording of Rachmaninov’s major works and numerous other discs ranging from a recent, highly successful Haydn CD to Brahms concertos and, recently again, Schumann piano works. The seriousness and authority with which he plays is matched by what his friends and even audiences know, a mischievous and delightful sense of humour. His programme for us has still to be confirmed, but will include major works by Beethoven and Prokofiev, which will certainly demonstrate all his great technical command and musical insight.

A PERSONAL NOTE This will be the last Members’ Newsletter from the present source, though there will be a more general, “public” one towards the end of the season. The reason for this is simply pressure of time. Though I love writing it, finding pictures, messing about with formats and so on, I simply do not have the time to continue doing this, especially with what looks like a potentially busy birthday year coming up in 2009. It does take quite a bit of work to produce a Newsletter, and it was a great pity that his health prevented David Williams from continuing to do this, as he had made such a splendid start.

 

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

Saturday 26 th January at 7.30 pm in the Alexander Centre, Faversham: Oare String Orchestra, conductor Peter Aviss, with Penelope Howard (violin and viola) and Robin Morrish (violin): Vaughan Williams (5 Variants on Dives and Lazarus), Vivaldi (Double Violin Concerto), Howells (Elegy for viola and strings), Holst (St Paul’s Suite), Neil Gardner (Mosaic)

Thursday 31 st January in the Assembly Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham (8 pm): Faversham Music Club presents the Fujita Piano Trio in works by Beethoven, Takemitsu and Dvořák

Saturday 23 rd February at Whitstable Methodist Church, Argyle Road, Whitstable (7.30pm): Whitstable Music Society presents the Fujita Piano Trio in works by Shostakovitch (Trio No 1), Smetana (his glorious G minor Trio) and Schubert

Saturday 8 th March in the Millennium Hall, Fulston Manor School, Sittingbourne (8 pm): the popular and distinguished pianist Malcolm Binns gives a recital in aid of the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society, including Beethoven’s MoonlightSonata, Brahms Intermezzi and music by Schumann and Chopin

Saturday 15 th March at the Mote Hall, Maidstone (7.30pm): Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, conductor Brian Wright, in Ravel (La valse), Debussy (La mer), and two works with cello soloist Sylvia Chiesa: Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Nino Rota’s Cello Concerto No 1

Thursday 3 rd April in the Assembly Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham (8 pm): Faversham Music Club: Music from Handel’s London performed by Concert Royal

Saturday 26 th April in Faversham Parish Church: Oare String Orchestra, conductor Peter Aviss, with David Flood (organ): music by Mozart, Sibelius, Handel (Organ Concerto in D minor), Albinoni (Adagio), and Mendelssohn (the orchestral version of the famous Octet).

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

Winter 2006

Let’s make it a Full House for

The King’s Singers

Friday 26 th January, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College

Probably the most famous and versatile vocal ensemble in the world, the King’s Singers have delighted audiences everywhere since 1965, when six choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge, first formed the group. They have since sung with many famous orchestras world wide, and recently with the Cincinnati Pops. They have appeared with artists as diverse as Dame Kiri te Kanawa, the jazz pianist, George Shearing, Dudley Moore, and Evelyn Glennie, the Scottish percussionist. The group has maintained stability over the years; today’s six bring the total in the last forty-one years to just nineteen singers. Their programme will include music by Byrd and Tallis, leading Elizabethan composers, and a new work written for them by John McCabe. ‘Cartography’ is a setting of six short poems by Jo Shapcott, evoking landscape and memory on a journey from Hadrian’s Wall to Offa’s Dyke.

It is a rare treat that The King’s Singers are coming to Sittingbourne. Renowned for the blend and balance of their performances, their popularity is rooted in their infectious enthusiasm. To quote the Times: They are ‘still unmatched for their musicality and sheer ability to entertain.’ Spread the word among your family and friends and within your local community. Invite someone to fill the spare seat in your car. Let’s make sure we have a full house. And please note: Copies of their recent beautiful CD, “King’s Singers’ Christmas”, will be on sale at the November concert.

GREAT START TO THE SEASON

It was pleasing to see a good turnout for the first concert of our 2006/07 Season, given by the highly entertaining Galliard Wind Ensemble. We sold fifty-plus tickets on the door, in addition to our membership, which was great, but as always a bit scary, since we have no way of knowing how many to expect before the night. So we want to encourage as many as possible to pay up front for the season ticket, as this is assured income for the Society. However good the artists are to us, our concerts are costly to arrange, and since our artists are professional, they rely upon their concert fees for their income. There are many hidden expenses also, notably the hire of pianos. It is hardly surprising that our finances are always on a knife-edge. We must expand our committed membership to build a secure future. Local sponsorship has not proved easy to find, though we are grateful to Swale Borough Council and M-Real for their assistance, and also for the support from Swale Charitable Trust.

Mixing Babies with Music

The Galliard Wind Ensemble played superbly, and I particularly admired the ladies’ glamorous green dresses. Kathryn Thomas, the flautist, has an eight-month old baby and has only been getting four hours sleep at night for months. After travelling down from North London, and a long rehearsal, though a giggly one – the musicians are obviously good friends – Kathryn was at one point stretched out on the floor backstage, grabbing forty winks. Then, after the concert, an hour or so on the journey home, and may be another broken night. Babies just have to mix with everything!

Incidentally, Alice Neary, our cellist in November, also has an infant, now about two years old. When the child was a baby she used to take it to concerts with her; the empty cello case doubled as a backstage cradle – with supervision, of course!

Monica McCabe

 

Alice Neary (cello) and Gretel Dowdeswell (piano)

Friday 24 th November, 7.45 pm

Millenium Hall, Fulston Manor School, Brenchley Road, Sittingbourne

These two young artists have both won several major awards and have received critical acclaim, as solo artists and together as a duo – a musical relationship now long established. As winner of the 1998 Pierre Fournier Award, ‘The Times’ described Alice Neary as a young cellist ‘of the highest calibre’. Gretel Dowdeswell is also a founder member of the Gould Piano Trio; she broadcasts frequently on BBC Radio 3. Their programme will include solo as well as duo pieces.

Solo Cello Suite No 2 in D Minor – J.S. Bach

With his six solo cello suites Bach gave an authority to the cello as a solo instrument it had not known before. The suites explore the rhythmic character of dance; each movement is built around a different dance, arranged to emphasise the contrasts between them. In this Suite the movements are: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuet I/II, and Gigue.

Sonata No 21 in C Op 53 (Waldstein) – Beethoven

Considered one of Beethoven’s greatest piano sonatas, it was dedicated to Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, an early patron of Beethoven, who arranged for Beethoven to study with Joseph Haydn.

Cello Sonata No 2 – Brahms

Brahms explained that his two great cello sonatas were ‘for piano and violincello’, meaning that the piano was given equal importance to the cello, rather than simply providing an accompaniment, which was often then the case.

Passacaglia for Cello – William Walton

Written in 1980 for the Russian cellist Rostropovitch, Walton used a dance form first used by Baroque composers, notably Bach. Other famous examples are the finale of Brahms’s 4 th Symphony, and the Passacaglia in Benjamin Britten’s opera ‘Peter Grimes’.

Definition: ‘PASSACAGLIA’

A ‘passacaglia’ is a musical form derived from a court dance. The Spanish is ‘passacaille’, which combines two words meaning ‘to walk the street’, suggesting

it is music to be played by wandering musicians. Sometimes confused with the

similar ‘chaconne’, a passacaglia is built around a constantly repeating

melody in the bass line and is in 3/4 time.

( From Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia)

 

SIR MALCOLM ARNOLD (1921-2006) – The Great Entertainer

A tribute by John McCabe

 

The recent death of Sir Malcolm Arnold has robbed the musical world of one of its most flamboyant characters. He was a composer of great range and variety, as well as a conductor of exceptional gifts – gifts mostly seen in his own music. I can also recall, however, his superb interpretations of Tchaikovsky and Berlioz. His vast output inevitably includes some duds, but there is a remarkable number of excellent works. He was one of the few contemporary composers to have achieved genuine and widespread success, including, but not only, his immensely successful film scores. His witty music for the film ‘Hobson’s Choice’, and one of his English Dances chosen to introduce the TV programme, ‘What the Papers Say’, are good examples. Equally humorous are the ‘Sea Shanties for Wind Quintet’, which were played by the Galliard Wind Ensemble at our September concert. He was loved by orchestral players and by audiences alike. Malcolm Arnold was recently described as the English Shostakovitch. There is much truth in this, and his refusal to kow-tow to Britain’s musical commissars (resulting in his neglect by some of the establishment) somehow reinforces this image. The heart of his music lies in his nine symphonies, which cover an enormous range, from the sunlit, extrovert, No 2, to the shadows underlying the profoundly moving No 5, to the extreme spareness, even gloom, of No 9, whose D major ending is curiously uplifting. Malcolm himself suffered from chronic mental illness, also alcoholism, and his life story makes uncomfortable reading. Yet he had the strongest constitution imaginable. After every reverse he pulled himself back together again, in later years with the aid of his carer, Anthony Day. He continued to write those blazing – sometimes sentimental, sometimes humorous, sometimes savage – works, which will surely keep his name alight. But he will be remembered most as one of music’s greatest entertainers.

 

Sir Thomas Beecham on Film Music

“Movie music is noise.

It’s even more painful

than my sciatica.”

New Works and Recordings

by John McCabe

Our Artistic Director has recently been phenomenally busy, as composer and pianist. He has three new compositions being premiered this winter:

  • Wednesday 10 th January 2007 : His 6 th Symphony, ‘Symphony on a Pavane’, commissioned by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, will be performed by them in the Queen Elizabeth Hall (South Bank), with the American conductor, Steven Sloane.
  • Friday 26 th January : ‘Cartography’, John’s latest work for the King’s Singers (see p. 1).
  • Friday 16 th February : His Horn Concerto , commissioned by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, will be played by David Pyatt (horn) with the Orchestra, under Tadaaki Otaka, in Swansea, and on Saturday 17 thin St. David’s Hall, Cardiff.

 

New piano recordings by John:

  • Three Piano Sonatas by John Joubert (Somm), also Joubert’s Song Cycles , with Lesley- Jane Rogers (Toccata Classics). These discs will be released in 2007 to celebrate Joubert’s 80 th birthday.
  • Complete Piano Music of Alan Rawsthorne (Dutton Epoch CDLX7167).

A Programme of Dance-inspired music for Two Pianos , (with Tamami Honma) by Copland, Stravinsky, McCabe, Britten, McPhee and Athanasiadis (Dutton CDSA6881).

 

Also, for release in 2007:

  • 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.

There are also some items on mixed recital programmes, from other sources:

  • ‘Scenes in America deserta’ , King’s Singers (Signum Classics) – autumn release.
  • ‘Concerto funebre’ , with violinist Sarah-Jane Bradley and Orchestra Nova, under George Vass (Dutton Epoch) – autumn release.
  • ‘Canyons’ , Royal Northern Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Chandos).

Editor

 

Outwitting the Gremlins

My first issue of the Newsletter looked great on my computer; each page

fine-tuned – exactly as I wanted it. But my version of Microsoft Word

proved incompatible with John McCabe’s computer, and when he down-

loaded it for printing, a gremlin had been at it, changing the fonts, messing

up the layout and, most embarrassing, transforming my discreet little

signature into a loud shout, in much brasher type. Not what I intended.

Thankfully, for this edition, we’ve found a way

of outwitting the Gremlins.

Editor

Summer 2006

INTROIT

It is with some trepidation that I have assembled my first issue of the SMS Newsletter. As a thorough layman musically I could not presume to step into John McCabe’s shoes as editor, nor do I. I can simply offer a life-long love of music, which has been one of the profoundest influences in my life. I think we are remarkably fortunate, in Swale and Medway, to have regularly brought to us such high quality music-making from professional musicians, with established or growing reputations.

In this issue we highlight the two concerts this autumn, which promise the usual mix of wonderfully varied programmes. Of particular interest will be a new work, composed especially for our concert in October by a young Sittingbourne composer, Matthew Rogers.

Thank you for subscribing to the Newsletter. Your continued commitment to the Society is both appreciated and vital as we seek to build our membership. Please make the concerts known among your family and friends, and within any other groups or organizations to which you may belong. The success of the SMS concerts depends upon the audiences we attract and are able to retain. So please join us at the AGM on Wednesday 20 th September, if you possibly can.

Fostering “the Prommers’ Spirit”

A few years ago my wife and I became “prommers” again, at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. We wondered if we could cope with the queuing and standing after so many years but were pleased to find we could. It was good to be back in that vibrant arena.

When we acquired the Proms Programme for 2006 we were glad to see a feast of Mozart in his 250 th anniversary year, as we thumbed through, looking for favourite works and composers. But the Proms are also about exploring new music, or music new to us, and the infectious enthusiasm for this is one of the attractions of promming.

We have this same mix of the familiar and unfamiliar in our Sittingbourne Music Society concerts, which is why we need the prommers’ spirit here too. Our autumn concerts will include two great works by Mozart, plus other popular composers such as Schubert, Debussy and Dvorak. But how can we approach the less familiar and the modern?

First, we need to resist the temptation to compare everything with Mozart. Every composer speaks from their own times and with their own musical language. So we have to listen to them on their own terms. Inevitably, we shall find some works and composers more challenging to understand or even to enjoy. But in my experience, if you keep an open heart and lively imagination, you can make some exciting discoveries where you didn’t expect to find them. Being open to that is what I mean by “the prommers’ spirit”. Let’s foster it in the SMS.

I hope the following programme notes will help.

David Williams

 

INTRODUCING

OUR AUTUMN CONCERTS

Friday 29 th September, 7.45 pm

Galliard Wind Ensemble

Bourne Hall Sittingbourne Community College , Swanstree Avenue, Sittingbourne

This ensemble was formed in 1993, when its members were fellow students at the Royal Accademy of Music. They have since won recognition by receiving several major awards and by being selected as Radio 3 Debut Artists.

‘The Marriage of Figaro or the Crazy Day’ was the full title of Mozart’s comic opera; it was at first banned in Vienna because it mocked the upper-classes. Unusually, the Overture, which we shall hear, does not include any themes from the opera itself but beautifully evokes the mood of this cautionary morality tale which at times borders on farce. Several folk-based works include, ‘Three Sea Shanties’ by Malcolm Arnold, Ligeti’s delightful Hungarian folk-song arrangements, Percy Grainger’s ‘Walking Tune’, and ‘Opus Number Zoo’, by Berio

 

 

Galliard Wind Ensemble

Carl Nielsen

Two other main works in the programme, may not be familiar.

 

Quintet for Wind Instruments, Carl Nielsen

The leading Danish composer of the 20 th Century, Nielsen was inspired to write this work for friends who had formed the Copenhagen Wind Quintet and who gave its first performance in 1922. Robert Simpson has written:

“Nielsen’s fondness of wind instruments is closely related to his love of nature, his fascination

for living, breathing things. He was also intensely interested in human character, and in the

Wind Quintet, composed deliberately for five friends, each part is cunningly made to suit the individuality of each player.” *

This has led to a comparison with Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’, in which each variation also depicts one of Elgar’s friends. *(Sierra Chamber Society Copyright 1997)

 

Summer Music, Samuel Barber

Unlike most of his fellow composers in the USA, Samuel Barber’s style of composition looks back to the romanticism of the late 19 th Century, as in his most famous work, the ‘Adagio for Strings.’ ‘Summer Music’, however, is impressionistic in style. Paul Wittke has written:

“Barber explains, (it) depicts a sunlit world, evoking well kept lawns, clanging trolleys with straw seats, beloved relatives, Brandywine picnics, drowsy afternoons, cool porches and even (apocryphal!) a sexual experience.” (Quote: Copyright, G.Schirmer Inc. 1994)

 

Friday 27 th October, 7.45

Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa (piano duet)

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College

These outstanding young piano duettists were prize winners in musical competitions in Tokyo and the Czech Republic. They refer to themselves as ‘Piano 4 Hands’. The Times, in 2002, described them as ‘precision-tooled piano duettists’ and ‘brilliant new performers’.

Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa

Claude Debussy

Their programme begins with Mozart’s Sonata in F K497, regarded as one of his greatest. Dvorak’s ‘Slavonic Dances’ express the rhythms and tunes of his homeland. Debussy’s masterly evocation of the moods of the sea, is best known in its orchestral version, but was composed originally for the piano. The composer was inspired by the sea off Beachy Head while on holiday in Eastbourne.

Of great interest will be the world premier performance of a new work commissioned by the SMS from Matthew Rogers, a talented young Sittingbourne composer, born here in 1976.

 

Sittingbourne Composer – Matthew Rogers

Matthew recently returned to Sittingbourne following three years at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He became ‘composer in residence’ there with the new Ensemble Symposia. He has also studied with Olivier Knussen in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and has had music performed at the Aldeburgh Festival this year. Currently Matthew has work selected for the finals of the Philharmonia Orchestra/Martin Musical Scholarship Competition and also for the Birmingham Conservatoire New Millennium Competition. Matthew has joined the newly formed Camberwell Composers Collective, who are currently planning the second event in their new concert series. We await with anticipation Matthew’s new work for piano duet on 27 th October .

 

ONE WAY TRAFFIC

is not the aim of this Newsletter.

We would like feed back from you to:

dandwwilliams@hotmail.co.uk

2nd Annual General Meeting of the Sittingbourne Music Society

Wednesday 20 th September, 7.30 pm

at the Avenue Theatre, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne

 

AGMs may not have the same appeal as an evening of beautiful music. But you really can’t have one without the other. (As it happens, there will be a short musical interlude to entertain us at the AGM this year, provided by a group assembled by Derek Boyne from Opus 32.)

The truth is, the remarkable series of chamber concerts that have delighted so many of us music lovers in Swale and Medway in the last three years would not have been possible without the commitment of a dedicated Management Committee working under the leadership and inspiration of John McCabe. (I can say this, not being one of them! Editor.) But not even they can sustain SMS without the active support of members.

Our greatest need is to find a Public Relations Officer; someone with the aptitude and time to give to promote the Society and our concert programmes throughout North Kent. This will include developing our links with local media and enlisting other kinds of local support. The role will be spelt out during the AGM. The PRO will have the backing of the Management Committee. There are also other small but important ways in which many hands can make light work. For example, SMS is looking for as many people as possible who would be willing to post handbills through doors, or place them on seats. Could any of these roles be you?

 

MALCOLM BINNS – REISSUED RECORDINGS John McCabe

Following Malcolm Binns’ memorable recital recently, members may like to know that some of his celebrated recordings have been reissued on CD by Lyrita:

- Sterndale Bennett’s delightful Piano Concertos: 1 and 3 (SRCD204), 2 and 5

(SRCD205)

- Stanford’s passionately romantic 2 nd Piano Concerto in C minor (SRCD219)

Also, by Explore Records:

- A two CD set of Beethoven’s last five Piano Sonatas (Op 101 to 111), from Malcolm

Binns’ famous recordings of the complete set, is coupled with the Hammerklavier

Sonata in B flat Op 106.

-Two early romantic Sonatas by Hummel (Op 81and Op 88) are worth exploring on (EXP0009)

 

TICKETS FOR THE 1906-07 SEASON

£10 (£1 under 18s)

We think you will agree this is great value for the opportunity to hear high quality music- making by professional artists of national and international reputation.

Tickets can be obtained from:

Swade Music , Roman Square, Sittingbourne.

By post , from Jeane Holmes, 106 College Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 1LQ.

(cheques please to ‘Sittingbourne Music Society’, plus s.a.e.)

At the door before each concert.

We regretthat:

Tickets will no longer be available through outlets in Rainham, Faversham and Sheerness, due to the low level of sales produced. Our thanks to those retailers for their past help. We cannot take sales by telephone.

Spring 2006

The ordinary music lover has always found it difficult to understand the new music of his own time – to participate in the emotions and appreciate the melodic ideas of any composer who has something original to say and an original way of saying it. It is only of recent years that the depths of feeling inherent in Mozart’s music have been generally realised and understood, yet the emotion was always there for those with ears to hear and hearts to understand!” [Igor Stravinsky, 1934]

‘Kent, sir—everybody knows Kent—apples, cherries, hops and women’ – so wrote Dickens in Pickwick Papers. And for our next concert, the Quatuor Parisii—from Paris, as you might expect—help us to celebrate two, at any rate, of this quartet, with Bridge’s charming arrangements of Cherry Ripe and Sally in our Alley. History doesn’t record whether the eponymous Sally was from Kent. I tend to think of her as Lancastrian, but that’s probably because of a dim confusion with ‘Sally, Sally, Pride of our Alley’ and Gracie Fields—thus, sadly, revealing my age. Anyway, Sally in our Alley is a much prettier tune.
Our first two concerts of 2006 ran practically back-to-back (because of artists’ availability), so thanks to all our workers for the effort involved, and of course thanks to our supporters (without whom we could not exist) for supporting. Especial thanks to new recruit Garrie Harvey, Head of Music at SCC, for providing the platform at Tunstall, and for strong-arming it back out again, virtually by himself. We had two splendid concerts, demonstrating the enormous breadth of the classical repertoire, from early music on recorder and guitar, to Late Romantic piano music on a singularly beautiful Steinway grand. What depth of artistry amongst the three musicians, too! I was particularly struck by Malcolm Binns’ magisterial performance of Bax’s 3rd Piano Sonata, and Garrie Harvey was bowled over, I know, by John Turner’s brilliant technique on the recorder. We were able to appreciate his superb artistry, as also with Craig Ogden’s idiomatic and colourful playing of Villa-Lobos, Bach, Walton and Rawsthorne.

Thanks to John Turner, we were also gifted with two new works, both of them delightful additions to the repertoire. John Joubert, nearly 80, went to considerable trouble and expense to join us for his Duettino. We were also delighted to see a number of Philip Cowlin’s family, including, despite illness, his widow Margot, who again went to trouble and expense to attend. We are indebted to both composers for their generosity, and to Peter Hope, for completing the Caprice after Philip Cowlin’s sad death in August.
I’m sorry to say we still haven’t quite sorted out the acoustic at SCC’s hall, which suffers from a not unfamiliar gremlin, namely that the larger the audience, the more the sound is absorbed. I only wish you could all have heard the quality of the Steinway during Malcolm Binns’ afternoon rehearsal. Following the Julian Lloyd Webber concert last season, SCC generously undertook to improve the acoustic, which it has done, but I understand one of the problems is that clothing absorbs the sound and spoils the acoustic. There is one obvious but impractical remedy, which would certainly catch the attention of the world’s Press but might not go down well in January, in Sittingbourne! MMcC

LOOKING FORWARD Our next two concerts cover, as usual, a wide range of music. The world-famous Quatuor Parisii will be playing Mozart’s beautiful G major String Quartet K387 (which happens to be my favourite, by coincidence) and Ravel’s gorgeous F major Quartet, one of the glories of French chamber music. They are also giving us a performance of Tippett’s Second Quartet, in F sharp, a belated tribute to his centenary (which was last year) – it is full of jazzy rhythms, strong influences of the early English madrigal composers and Purcell, and covers a wide emotional range, including one of the wittiest Scherzos in the repertoire, and a powerful, thoughtful finale. The Quatuor also include two of Frank Bridge’s entertaining folksong arrangements, genuine, if short, concert pieces. [Friday, 24th March at 7.45 pm.]

Young Ravel Cartoon Charlie Brown, who entertained us so royally at our Launch in September 2004, made a great impression on that occasion, and quite a few people wanted us to invite him back, so he returns on Friday 5th May at 7.45 (both these concerts are at Sittingbourne Community College). Charlie took keenly to the idea of a kind of “Portrait of the Artist”, so he’ll play the complete Solo Sonata No 4 by the great Belgian virtuoso and composer Ysaÿe (of which he played one movement to much acclaim at the Launch), plus sonatas by Beethoven and Ravel, finishing with John Ireland’s Phantasie Trio No 1 in A minor, a work that really established his reputation in the early years of the 20th century and a trio with passion and romantic warmth as well as a typical folksong influence. Charlie will be joined by his regular colleagues, cellist Simon Williamson and pianist Dawn Hardwick, all young artists making great starts to their musical careers in London. It’s marvellous to be able to give this opportunity for a major engagement to a talented young Kent-born musician such as Charlie, who deserves our utmost support. J McC

 

Tippett: a characteristic picture

Beethoven!

Mozart

 

PROFILE: MONICA McCABE – Artistic Administrator

As many of you will know, I’m a local girl, and despite the occasional bout of irritation, largely proud of it. I was born in Borden, where I still have strong family connections (my eldest brother is the church organist). I went to Borden C of E, and then on to what was known as Sittingbourne County Grammar School for Girls, when it was in the High Street, later moving to the new building in Highsted Road. As a family we all learned to play the piano, under Miss Cora Greenslade, who again some of you may well remember.
My first idea was a career in science, specialising in botany, but I gave up on that when I realised I’d be more likely to be stuck in a laboratory, rather than out picking buttercups under a blue sky. (Ecology had yet to be invented as an occupation.) So instead I went to London with all my belongings in a little blue suitcase, to make my fortune. I landed a job in a very eccentric classical record shop, and thereafter worked my way through various areas of the classical music world, including recording, and publishing—meeting many strange and interesting folk en route, not least my husband. For several years I was assistant editor and columnist on Records and Recording magazine, now sadly defunct. My very first assignment was to interview André Previn, one in a queue of c. 250 journalists, when he became Chief Conductor of the LSO. I was so nervous my hands wouldn’t stop shaking enough to jot notes (these were largely pre-tape days) and had to rely on my memory, which fortunately served me well enough. I have never forgotten his kindness to this obviously greenhorn reporter.
Since John and I got married, I’ve devoted my time to his career, where my knowledge of aspects of, for example, recording have proved useful. I can claim responsibility for setting up the recording of his multi-disc set of the complete Haydn Piano Sonatas, among other recordings. I’m still not sure that I’ve made my fortune, but my philosophy has been not to be too fearful to try almost everything—except perhaps page-turning and bungee-jumping, two eminently sensible exceptions. MMcC

Our Chairman, Peter Morgan, has written the following remarks: “Monica McCabe is our mentor, our motivator and our mistress. She is the one behind all the details which make each concert such a success. Her forethought and meticulous preparations make it easy for the rest of us to do our assigned tasks in the knowledge that everyone is contributing to the success of the whole. At each pre-concert meeting she presents us with a screed of instructions, which we happily accept, itemising every second of the preparation for the concert and the inevitable clearing up. We are aware of her thoroughness which is based on years of experience as John’s manager, chauffeur and constant companion as he travels the country on his musical appointments. We are the beneficiaries of all this organisational skill; and we are deeply grateful to her for her unfailing efforts to see that all goes well for our guest-musicians, our concert-goers and our publicity.” Julie and David Burns add the following: “Monica always bears the brunt of looking after the artists before, during and after concerts, and makes a very good job of looking after the committee members too! She cares deeply about the welfare of everyone concerned, and the standard of our concerts is of the greatest importance to her.”

J.S. Bach

Claude Debussy

LOOKING FORWARD, AGAIN A brief look forward to next season, 2006/07, again with six concerts. It is possible that the year after that we will have to revert to five concerts a season, simply because of the pressure of time on the overworked volunteers who make up the Committee. However, we’ve been able to organise what we think is a mouth-watering season for you, starting with a well-known and splendid wind quintet, the Galliard Ensemble, and finishing with a dynamic young percussion Duo, maraca2, whose energy and virtuosity is brilliant. Both these concerts include items which should be attractive to families. We have also been able to persuade The King’s Singers to perform for us – a bit of bartering went on, as they offered the concert at a greatly reduced fee on condition that John McCabe wrote a piece specially for them, so there will be a short première at that concert. We also have the masterly clarinettist David Campbell, with the Sacconi String Quartet, a brilliant young ensemble currently zooming up the quartet rankings, a superb young piano duet team Joseph Tong and Waka Hasagewa, and, fulfilling an ambition of the Artistic Directors right from the start, the cello and piano duo of Alice Neary (playing Bach, for which she has become justly famous) and Gretel Dowdeswell (playing Beethoven, a complete cycle of whose sonatas she has recently completed at Brunel University). They combine to give us Brahms’s supreme F major Sonata, No 2, and other highlights of the season include Clarinet Quintets by Mozart and Weber, Debussy’s La Mer in the composer’s own duet transcription (how often do we get a chance to hear this great work in Sittingbourne?) as well as duets by Mozart, Schubert and Dvořák, and the lovely Wind Quintet of the Danish master Carl Nielsen, his equivalent to Elgar’s Enigma with its portraits of his friends “pictured within”. JMcC

NUTS AND BOLTS As a matter of information, we felt you might like to know something about the nuts and bolts of running a Society like this. It would take far too long to outline the whole process, from choosing the artists, through discussing dates and programmes with them or their agents, booking halls, getting the programme notes prepared and printing them, and so on. But there are some things you might find interesting. One of our major costs is the hire of pianos. It is not generally appreciated just how expensive this is, nor how important it is that visiting pianists should have the best that we can afford. We can’t ask artists of the calibre of Malcolm Binns, for example, to play on anything less than the best, if we can afford it. The cost of hiring the full-size Steinway, for instance, was £900, including tuning – but what most people don’t know is that a very large proportion of this expense is the cost of removals. For example, of our hiring costs of c. £530 for the smaller Yamaha for our first concert of this season, only one-third was the cost of the piano, the balance being removal charges. In that instance, tuning costs were additional, making a round cost of some £575—or roughly 57 paying customers. This, inevitably, restricts us to the number of concerts we can give involving piano—in our first season we had three, in our second we have two, and we’re planning next season to have two. As a pianist, I’d like to have more, but we can’t afford it.

UNIVERSITY HONOURS We were delighted to be told that Jeane Holmes, our indefatigable Membership Secretary, was recently awarded a B.Sc. from the Open University, in the Social Science Faculty—one of her dissertations was on Information and Communication technologies and networks and how they are remaking ‘international order’. We were also delighted to learn, only a few weeks later, that our Artistic Director has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music by Liverpool University.

OUR PATRON, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, is celebrating his 70th birthday with events around the country, among them appearances under the auspices of the Sounds New Festival in March. On Friday 24th March at 7.30 pm in the Pavilion on the Sands, Broadstairs, saxophonist John Harle performs Bennett’s Soprano Saxophone Sonata, Three Piece Suite and 3 Sondheim Waltzes, plus works by Duke Ellington and Ravel, with RRB at the piano. On Saturday 25th March at 7.30 pm in the Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury, the Orchestra of the Swan, conducted by Nicholas Cleobury, plays Bennett’s Saxophone Concerto (John Harle the soloist), Seven Country Dances, and Reflections on a Theme of William Walton, plus Stravinsky’s Apollo and a new work by Errolyn Wallen. The following day, Sunday 26th March, in collaboration with Dance Warehouse , also in the Gulbenkian Theatre but at 3 pm, Bennett’s Saxophone Sonata, Jazz Calendar and Theme from Murder on the Orient Express, together with a new work by Basil Athanasiadis, will form the basis of what should be a delightful event. Finally, on Sunday 26th March at 7.30 pm in the Gulbenkian Theatre, RRB joins forces with vocalist Claire Martin for an evening of cabaret songs and piano music.

NEWSLETTER EDITING It may be that after this, there might only be one more such Newsletter, a general introduction to next season which we might circulate more widely than restricting it to the Membership. The reason is quite simple: lack of time. Your Editor is going to be extremely preoccupied with his own compositional work over the next few years, and nobody else on the Committee as it is at present can possibly add this to their other duties. I’m rather amazed at how much they all manage to do, anyway! If some willing person were to step forward and take this on, it would let us continue, but unless someone does, it will be impossible for us to continue. This isn’t a financial problem, simply a time/logistics difficulty. If you’re willing to help us, or know anyone who might, please do let us know! JMcC

CONCERTS IN THE AREA We would like to draw your attention to some other local concerts:
Faversham Music Club Thursday 16th March at 8 pm in Queen Elizabeth’s School, Abbey Place, Faversham: the Royal Academy of Music Brass Soloists, directed by James Watson.
The Eimer Trio: Saturday 18th March 2006, 7.30 pm, at St Peter’s Methodist Church, St Peter’s Street, Canterbury, as part of the Music at St Peter’s series, again in association with Sounds New. The programme consists of trios by Haydn (E flat major), McCabe (Desert III: Landscape) and Shostakovitch (his great Trio No 2 in E minor).
Rochester Choral Society Saturday 8th April 2006 at 7.30 in Rochester Cathedral: Masses by Langlais, Pizzetti, Widor, plus Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs and Serenade to Music. A gorgeous programme!
Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society conducted by Michael Downes: Saturday 13th May in Fulston Manor School at 7.30 pm: the programme includes Fauré’s popular Requiem and Poulenc’s stirring Gloria.
Maidstone Symphony Orchestra / Brian Wright Saturday 20th May in the Mote Hall, Maidstone: Walton’s scintillating Partita, Schumann’s Cello Concerto (with Adrian Brendel), and Elgar’s 1st Symphony. .

Autumn 2005

John Wesley visits Sheerness, Wednesday 16th December 1768: “In the dock adjoining to the fort there are six old men-o’-war. These are divided into small tenements, forty, fifty or sixty in a ship, with little chimneys and windows; and each of these contains a family. In one of them where we called, a man and his wife and six little children lived. And yet all the ship was sweet and tolerably clean; sweeter than most sailing ships I have been in.”

THE EIMER PIANO TRIO This outstanding young ensemble will open our second season on Friday, 14th October 2005 at 7.45 pm with a typically enticing programme. Two classical masterpieces of the repertoire, Haydn’s magnificent E flat major Trio (No 30) and Dvorák’s delightful and deservedly popular Dumky Trio, share the concert with the short Notturno in E flat by Schubert, a single concert piece of great beauty, and to mark the centenary of his birth, the 1962 Piano Trio by Alan Rawsthorne, whose anniversary has been celebrated by many Festivals and concert series through the year. The Rawsthorne is marked by vigorous counterpoint, exciting rhythms, and a Theme and Variations movement based on a hauntingly lovely, almost medieval-like tune. The work ends in a peaceful, valedictory A major.

The Eimer Trio have played together since their student days, and won prizes at international competitions, as well as being frequent visitors to Festivals and Music Clubs both as an ensemble and as soloists. Nicola Eimer will be featured as piano soloist at next year’s prestigious Presteigne Festival, and in September this year performs Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at St John’s, Smith Square, London, with the London Soloists Chamber Orchestra and conductor David Josefowitz. Cellist Emma Denton and violinist Matthew Denton have also featured as soloists at concerts in Britain and abroad, including the Three Choirs Festival. Their first appearance at the Brighton Festival, in a programme of Haydn Trios, led to immediate invitations to return, and after winning the Bäreneiter Prize at the 2002 ARD Piano Trio Competition in Munich, they were immediately invited to perform at the Mecklenburg Festival in NW
Germany in 2004.

 

 

Alan Rawsthorne (1905-71) The young Schubert (1797-1828) Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904)

 

THE YEAR OF THE SEA 2005 has been officially designated “The Year of the Sea” (the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar providing the “hook” for it), and the second concert in our 2005/06 season is a collaboration with Sittingbourne Community College, with the College providing the speakers, in an evening of song, verse and prose. SCC have thrown themselves with their usual whole-hearted enthusiasm into this project, which we hope may reach out to some who might otherwise be doubtful about attending a classical concert.

Our brochure gives an idea of the vocal content, so here’s a little about the spoken side. The first half ranges from Whitman’s heroic sea-poetry and Hardy’s Lines on the loss of the Titanic, taking in Matthew Arnold’s magnificent Dover Beach before moving into the realms of fantasy with Tennyson’s The Kraken, Full Fathom Five from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and verses from that beautifully-written (if now slightly unfashionable) poem The Forsaken Merman, again by Arnold. The second half stays closer to home, with Nightfall by Ronald Washington (I assume, a local writer), and a humorous saga by one ‘Marlin Spike’, about taking a barge-load of bricks from Milton Creek to Barkingside. We touch on some personal history, with a short letter from my grandfather, who, as a lad, had to leave school and help his father on board ship, after his mother died. At the age of 15 he brings the barge in by himself to Erith, as his father is taken ill on board and dies the next day. The short letter, to his big sister Ada, asks for help and advice.

After a reference to local boat-building we pass rapidly—and out of time sequence—via Dunkirk, to Samuel Pepys’ dismay at the Dutch sinking of our warships in the Medway, after burning the garrison town of Sheerness. Then on to Trafalgar, a tribute to our Royal and Merchant Navies, and via Betjeman’s Seascape to Tennyson’s eloquent and spiritual poem Crossing the Bar.

The music also ranges widely, from art-songs by Fauré, Duparc, Borodin and Elgar (two favourites from his Sea Pictures) to popular parlour songs—Sea Fever (Ireland), Trade Winds (Keel), and Drake’s Drum (Stanford). We touch on Sullivan (When I was a lad, or Ruler of the Queen’s Navee, from HMS Pinafore), Haydn (his swashbuckling tribute to the British sailor, in Sailor’s Song) and the moving Tom Bowling, by Dibdin. This song, with its apt nautical metaphors, has been popular since it was written, in 1789. Sir Henry Wood incorporated it into his Fantasia on British Sea-songs, as a centenary Trafalgar tribute, and it has been played at the Last Night of the Proms ever since; so it’s particularly apt that we should include it in this concert. Other music includes a beautiful setting by Britten of the traditional song Sail on, sail on—one of Thomas Moore’s Irish Melodies. And perhaps the most moving of all, a haunting folksong from Norfolk, The Captain’s Apprentice, arranged by Vaughan Williams, where a conscience-stricken captain recounts the tragic tale of his young workhouse apprentice.

A considerable mixture, then, and we hope you will find something to please. We’re delighted to welcome for this event the husband-and-wife duo of mezzo-soprano Claire-Louise Lucas and composer-pianist Jonathan Darnborough, who have recently recorded Elgar’s Sea Pictures (original version) for an Elgar Society commercial CD, and Tony Eldridge (baritone), who is well-known in Kent particularly for his solos with the Canterbury Chamber Choir (of which he is Chairman), most recently in Handel’s Dixit Dominus at the Presteigne Festival.. MMcC
Tony Eldridge at Aldeburgh Claire-Louise Lucas and Jonathan Darnborough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHILIP COWLIN We are deeply sorry to announce that the composer Philip Cowlin died in August, after a long illness. He was writing a short new piece for our February concert, for performance by John Turner (recorder) and Craig Ogden (guitar), and we are hoping that there is enough of the sketch for it to be possible for the work to be completed. If so, we will be able to offer the performance as a tribute to his memory. Mr Cowlin lived in Margate, and was working on the music even while he was in hospital. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family.

FEEDBACK Remember, we are very pleased (hopefully!) to receive feedback from members, regarding repertoire, artists, locations and other matters. Apparently it seems that SCC was your preferred location last season. Tunstall Church was “magical” according to some, though others had problems over sightlines and parking. We feel that we haven’t quite got refreshment provision sorted as yet, but we are working on it. The trouble is that each location has a different set of problems to get organised, and now, of course, the licensing laws have changed as well. Hot drinks are not possible to provide—we don’t have the facilities or staff. Not everyone wants alcoholic beverages. Again, feedback is useful. And do tell us if there is something you have particularly enjoyed—positive comments are also useful!

PROFILE: MILES ATWELL (Communications)

Miles has been a loyal and essential member of the Committee from the very start, and is a very busy teacher and performer – he performs in various ensembles as far afield as Faversham and Dover, including a string quartet and a piano trio (with our good friend Don Goodsell, who is a moving spirit behind the Oare String Orchestra. His work, as our Communications member, has involved him in setting up our website (see below), and also acting as our Making Music Representative, which is a particularly useful contact for us. He says of himself (with characteristic modesty):

“As your Communications representative, I was amused at our inaugural meeting, when our chairman Peter Morgan introduced me as Miles Attwell, a “Military Musician”. That ten years seemed like ancient history, half a lifetime ago, though it did have a formative influence on lots that has followed. I left the Royal Marines Band to study Music and Theology at Exeter University in 1969.

Pat and I then moved to Guernsey with our three young children, where I was appointed Director of Music at Elizabeth College for 25 years. The experience in the services proved invaluable in seeking to establish an orchestral tradition where none had existed before. As in this area, it is hard for an isolated school to develop a good orchestra, so I also worked with musicians, parents and music lovers outside the College to develop an island-wide musical environment.

A heart bypass operation caused me to leave teaching, and work on the computers in one of Guernsey’s many banks for six years. Then I retired (again) and we returned to the UK in 2001, and I work part time for Kent Music School as a peripatetic violin/viola teacher. This interest in computing has enabled me (with some initial difficulty I must say) to set up the Society’s web site www.sittingbournemusicsociety.org.uk which we hope will inform you and widen the appeal of our concerts within the area.”

MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS / NEWSLETTERS Can we remind those of you who receive this Newsletter but have not yet renewed your membership that you’d be very welcome to do so? We’re very keen to increase our membership, naturally, which will enable us to provide the best service we can. Similarly, those who wish to receive the Newsletter only but haven’t renewed this subscription can do so for a cost of only £5. Members’ Newsletters after this one will, of course, only to go to Members and Newsletter Subscribers. If you have any friends who might be interested to join us, do try and persuade them to come along and participate in what is proving to be a successful and exciting venture.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Our first Annual General Meeting was held on 11th July at the Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne, and went very smoothly. There were reports from the Chairman and Secretary, and the essential business of electing officers of the Society. In the event, there being no further nominations, the present Committee was (should that be were?) elected to continue, namely:
Chairman: Peter Morgan / Secretary: Julie Burns / Treasurer: David Burns / Membership Secretary: Jeane Holmes / Communications: Miles Attwell / Artistic Director: John McCabe / Artistic Administrator: Monica McCabe. To conclude the occasion, we were given a delightful performance of Haydn’s Lark Quartet in D, Op 64 No 5, by a young ensemble from the Kent Music School, the D’Avanzo String Quartet.

SPONSORSHIP Running a concert series is an expensive business. Apart from artists’ fees, we have hall charges, piano hire and tuning, insurance, printing, special purchases (we now have our own heavy-duty music stands, and pleasant, though inexpensive, chamber-music lighting, as well as glasses—fortunately two committee members have cellars). There are also smaller, though considerable, costs of stationery and postage. We’re grateful for the continued input from Swale Borough Council, and this year we are also glad to have the help of several Composer Trusts. Chasing money is going to be a major preoccupation for the Sponsorship Sub-Committee, but nevertheless we do have some major ideas that we hope to find money for in future seasons.

TICKET OUTLETS We are very grateful to The Rainham Bookshop, The Barley Mow (Faversham), B A Fitch Newsagents (Sheerness) and Sittingbourne’s own Swade Music (Roman Square) for kindly acting as ticket sales outlets for us. Tickets are available approximately one month before each concert. Postal sales can be made through Mrs Jenifer Blenard, 149 Athelstan Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8QW. Please send a cheque made out to “The Sittingbourne Music Society”, and a stamped, addressed envelope. Please note: we are unable currently to deal with telephone bookings, and cheques should not be made out to inviduals.

NEWSLETTERS BY E-MAIL: Although we have tried, the idea of distributing Newsletter by e-mail hasn’t worked as well as we’d hoped. The problems are that there was only a small number of people taking up this offer, and that there are several different programmes which would be needed to do so, and the time involved in making several different versions of the Newsletter simply isn’t available – it already takes several days to compile, write, check and print it. We’re sorry about this, but other priorities take precedence.

CONCERTS IN THE AREA We would like to draw your attention to some other local concerts:
Oare String Orchestra Saturday 24th September 2005 at the Alexander Centre, Faversham: Britten’s Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, plus works by Berkeley, Mozart, Parry and Canadian composer Robert Rival’s prize-winning work Red Moonrise over Lac Rhéaume—conductor Peter Aviss.

Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society Advance notice of their Christmas concert: Saturday 17th December, at the Swallows Leisure Centre, Sittingbourne, conducted by Michael Downes. The concert includes Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Finzi’s masterly In Terra Pax, and carols.

Canterbury Chamber Choir On Saturday October 15th, George Vass’s innovative choir celebrates its 10th anniversary with a concert at St George and St Martin Church, Wye at 7.30 pm—programme to include works by Bach, Gorecki, Macmillan and Fauré’s Requiem – this concert is part of the Canterbury Festival.

Summer 2005

First Annual General Meeting of The Sittingbourne Music Society Members are invited to the above meeting which will take place on Monday 11th July 2005, at the Avenue Theatre, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne, commencing at 7.30pm.

A G E N D A 1.

Chairman’s Welcome
2. Apologies for absence
3. Chairman’s Report
4. Secretary’s Report
5. Treasurer’s Report and adoption of accounts
6. Election of Directors/Officers: Chairman Company Secretary Treasurer Artistic Director Artistic Administrator Communications Director Membership Secretary
7. Appointment of Auditors
8. Any Other Business NOTES At the first AGM, all Directors must retire and offer themselves for reappointment.

Any member wishing to nominate someone for appointment as Director must do so in writing not more than 35 clear days and not less than 14 clear days before the AGM, providing full details of the person so nominated, and the signature of that person indicating their willingness to stand.

LOOKING BACK Our first season finished with a flourish on 6 th May with a superb concert by the young Dutch quartet, the Prinse Quartet. Gratifyingly, the Director of one of Kent’s major Music Festivals was present and has immediately engaged the Prinse Quartet for his Festival. Some features of 2004/05:

    • We finished the season with an average audience of 174, which is remarkable for a first season and proves that there’s a need for the SMS in this community
    • We presented established masterpieces by Mozart (2), Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Ravel
    • We presented 3 works each, mostly substantial, by Britten and Debussy
    • There was a fascinating, unheralded inner strand of French music (9 works by 7 composers)
    • We programmed a variety of British music from Purcell to the present day, including several composers with Kent associations
    • We gave premières of Matthew Rogers’ a beginning for clarinet in our opening concert, and Chausson’s Les Oiseaux in January – both works are sure to be heard again
    • The programmes included several highly successful “unknowns” – the Sextet for piano and winds by Thuille (November) was particularly well received
  • We have ensnared our first patron, composer and pianist Sir Richard Rodney Bennett

We’ve had a wonderful array of artists, who have generously charged us very low fees. We can’t expect this kind of generosity in future – before long we will have to pay more realistic fees. Meanwhile, to all of them we offer our very sincere thanks for everything they’ve done to help establish the SMS so well.

LOOKING FORWARD
We are planning what we think is an enticing and varied season for 2005/06:

    • Six concerts instead of five – members will get one concert free (6 for the price of 5)
    • The artists range from brilliant young performers such as the Eimer Piano Trio, and Kent violinist Charlie Brown (whose Ysaÿe at our Launch whetted our appetite for a return), to international stars such as the famous Quatuor Parisi and pianist Malcolm Binns, whose recital will be a highlight of the season
    • We have a special Year of the Sea event in collaboration with the Drama and Art Departments of Sittingbourne Community College – poetry and songs reflecting Swale’s maritime associations
    • The repertoire ranges from Greensleeves and Cherry Ripe through the ages, and we celebrate the centenaries of great British composers with very communicative chamber works
    • Premiéres include new pieces for recorder and guitar from John Joubert (who wrote the carol Torches) and Kent composer Philip Cowlin, and the season is framed by piano trios: Haydn and Dvořák (Dumky) in October, and John Ireland’s warmly romatic Phantasie Trio in May
    • Great masterpieces by Haydn, Dvořák, Beethoven (2), Chopin, Handel (2), Mozart, and Ravel

Please do contact us and let us have your views – that is the only way we can make our work successful. And please, tell us if you particularly liked something – that is just as useful! We are staying with Fridays at 7.45 pm– this has always been discussed quite extensively, but most concerts in the area take place on Saturdays, Sundays are very busy church days for many people, Mondays are normally pretty audience-unfriendly, and midweek is often taken up with local choral or orchestral rehearsals.

Weekends are also more manageable for a small society like ours when it comes to school halls etc. There is no ideal day or time, nor is there an ideal concert venue – we’re very grateful to the venues we have used, particularly Sittingbourne Community College for unfailing hospitality. You will see in our brochure that we have an exciting collaboration with them next November.

We are continuing to investigate different halls, but at the moment the field is limited, and we don’t want to outstay our welcome at any one of those we use.

 

MEMBERSHIP SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP FOR THE 2005/6 SEASON :

Trustees will be recommending the following membership fees for 2005/6 to the AGM on 11 July

Corporate Season Ticket £200, Family Season Ticket £100

Individual Season Ticket £50 (that is 6 concerts for the price of 5)

And a continued £5 to receive the Newsletters only.

Completed forms (see below) will be accepted at the AGM (cheque or cash only please)

SMS Membership Secretary: Mrs Jeane Holmes Telephone: 01795 423589

Do renew your membership as soon as possible if you like what we’re doing, 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. We think what we’re doing is exciting and worthwhile – do join us on this voyage of discovery!

VOLUNTEERS We are in real need of Volunteers to help run the Society, in all sorts of ways. At present, it 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 – even non-members might find it interesting to be involved with some aspect of running the Society, so please come forward and help.

John McCabe 23rd May 2005 Artistic Director

Spring 2005

OUR LAST CONCERT Two wonderful things have happened since we started our Society’s run of concerts—wonderful to my mind, at any rate. The first was the congratulatory letter, which we were surprised and pleased to find in the January 2005 issue of Gramophone magazine (reprinted in our last Newsletter). The second happened not long after our Tunstall concert, when a lady stopped me in Sittingbourne High Street, and told me how much she’d enjoyed that evening. It was the first concert of classical music she’d ever been to, she told me, but she and her husband had loved it so much that they were coming to the next one. She had made my day, I said. It made all my lying awake worrying about Tunstall parking, road bumps and chicanes, worthwhile! Thank you once again, wonderful audience, for your enthusiasm and support, and for your patience and understanding, over our various problems. And a bouquet from me to Miles, for dealing with the car park with such aplomb.

Personally, I found the Tunstall concert quite magical, and despite the obvious problems of sightlines, pews and parking, it is a most atmospheric venue. I’ve seen pictures of the church, looking beautiful in the snow—however, I was deeply glad that this January’s light dusting arrived a few days later, even if the sight of the young lady musicians, clad in what my husband always refers to as “gownless evening straps” did make me feel a trifle chilly on that very cold night. MM

Pupil and Teacher: Beethoven and Haydn Maurice Ravel at the Piano

Galliard Wind Ensemble

Carl Nielsen

BENEFIT CONCERT Our next concert is a Benefit for the Society, given by our Artistic Director John McCabe (see later for a Profile). It is a piano recital of Haydn, Beethoven, Ravel and Schumann, and for this concert we have most graciously been loaned a splendid grand piano by John Phelps-Penry, who is one of our members. The recital will also contain two short works by John himself, one of them inspired by the sound of the bells at Tunstall Church (we hope none of the bell-ringers will sue…). The other piece, Snowfall in Winter, is connected with a visit a year or so back to Lithuania, but perhaps we can also picture that as snow falling gently on the old church and churchyard at Tunstall. Tunstall Chimes was commissioned by the British Music Society for their Piano Competition last October. The rest of the programme reflects some of John’s favourite repertoire, from Ravel’s popular Sonatine and Schumann’s well-loved Carnival Jest from Vienna (complete with quote from the Marseillaise!) to classical sonatas by Haydn, whose sonatas he has recorded complete, and Beethoven (the great penultimate Sonata in A flat, Op 110). MM

THE PRINSE QUARTET The last concert in our first season is given by an outstandingly talented young String Quartet from Holland, the Prinse Quartet, coming to us immediately after a concert at Amsterdam’s famed Concertgebouw Hall. They have chosen a programme which coincidentally reflects three aspects of Benjamin Britten: his compositions (the majestic 2nd String Quartet in C major), and his deep love of the music of Purcell and Mozart, of both of whom he was an outstanding interpreter as pianist and conductor. Purcell is represented by three of his eloquent Fantasias, Mozart by one of the most lyrical of his late quartets, in A major, K575. Their concert is on Friday, 6th May, at 7.45 pm in the Main Hall at Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue, Sittingbourne.

Benjamin Britten

Henry Purcell

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

TALKING ABOUT MUSIC We held the first of our Discussion Groups on 31st January, and have decided to rename this series Talking about Music (with apologies to Antony Hopkins, whose famous Radio series in the 1950s and 60s were so successful). It describes very much better what we are doing—composers John McCabe and Matthew Rogers discussed, with a small but obviously very discerning group, a topic that seemed a useful starting-point: “What is melody?” Those present enjoyed some extracts from music by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Ligeti, Webern, Debussy and Malcolm Arnold (the original Whistle down the Wind, no less) and all those present took part in the discussion. Do come along and join us for the next two, both on Mondays at the Avenue Theatre, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne at 7.45 pm: March 14th and May 9th. Everybody’s welcome to take part, and the discussions are not too technical.

PAGE-TURNING We are always going to be in need of volunteer page-turners – Julie Burns did a splendid job for Rebecca Woolcock on 19th November. It requires great concentration, and details have just come to hand (via the critic Guy Rickards) of an interesting new dimension to this topic. Reprinted without permission from Edmonton Centre newsletter, Canada, and Canadian RCCO newsletter, the following programme notes are from an unidentified piano recital.

Tonight’s page turner, Ruth Spelke, studied under Ivan Schmertnick at the Boris Nitsky School of Page Turning in Philadelphia. She has been turning pages here and abroad for many years for some of the world’s leading pianists.  In 1988, Ms. Spelke won the Wilson Page Turning Scholarship, which sent her to Israel to study page turning from left to right. She is winner of the 1984 Rimsky-Korsakov Flight of the
Bumblebee Prestissimo Medal, having turned 47 pages in an unprecedented 32 seconds. She was also a 1983 silver medallist at the Klutz Musical Page Pickup Competition: contestants retrieve and rearrange
a musical score dropped from a Yamaha. Ms. Spelke excelled in “grace, swiftness, and especially poise.”  For techniques, Ms. Spelke performs both the finger-licking and the bent-page corner methods. She works from a standard left bench position, and is the originator of the dipped-elbow page snatch, a style used to avoid obscuring the pianist’s view of the music. She is page-turner in residence in Fairfield Iowa, where she occupies the coveted Alfred Hitchcock Chair at the Fairfield Page Turning Institute. Ms. Spelke is married, and has a nice house on a lake.
[We are suspicious that someone’s tongue was firmly in cheek when the above was written.]

THANKS are gratefully offered to a number of people who, though not on the Committee, have given sterling support by some essential work for us. Rosie Lintott and Yvonne Vedamuttu have been very helpful in particular with box-office at the concerts, and the Rev. Margaret Mascall has kindly acted as our liaison on Sheppey, not least in organising and collating ticket sales via B. A. Fitch Newsagents. We’re very much indebted to them all for their assistance – are there are more volunteers out there? We still need extra hands to help out in all sorts of ways (distribution, setting up displays, running the concerts, etc.).

We were pleased to see that June Morgan, wife of our Chairman, Peter, managed to get to our Tunstall concert. June has had such a bad time with her hip operation last autumn, suffering infection and recurrent pain. It’s good to see that she seems to be improving at last. Peter meanwhile has been delving into domestic black arts hitherto unknown to him—and, we have a shrewd idea, hitherto unsuspected. Keep up the good
work with the oven, iron and washing machine, Peter!

It is also good to see progress made by Mrs Jenifer Blenard, who put so much into our set-up as our first Treasurer and had to resign because of a serious leg injury—she’s been able to come to all of our concerts, and though mobility is likely to be restricted for some time to come, improvement is steady and we hope will continue apace. Being a trained therapist must be a help!

PROFILE: JOHN McCABE, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

John McCabe has been described by Michael Kennedy, the former Daily Telegraph editor and well-known writer on music, as “an all-round musician”. Born in Liverpool in 1939, John was badly injured in a fire as a toddler, and was too ill to attend school until he was eleven. Despite this — and encouraged by rifling through his parents’ collection of 78s while at home — he showed early musical promise, and was taken on at the age of eight by the great piano teacher Gordon Green, who lived nearby.

His interest in writing music developed concurrently, and after leaving the Liverpool Institute (where a fellow-student was Paul McCartney) he studied at Manchester University, the Royal Manchester College of Music (now the Royal Northern College) and at the Hochschule für Musik, Munich, garnering then and later a large collection of letters after his name. He was given the award of CBE in 1983 for his services to music.

John has pursued a dual career as composer and pianist, making many piano records, including a famed set of the complete Haydn piano sonatas for Decca, and ranging from Clementi and Scarlatti through to his own and much contemporary British and American music. As a composer he has written works ranging from full orchestra through to chamber, solo instrumental, brass band, film and TV music (“his” TV series Sam has recently been released complete on DVD). Quite a few works are recorded, including his Flute Concerto (with Emily Beynon) and his full-evening ballet Edward II, which was commissioned by Stuttgart Ballet and received a 15-minute standing ovation at its première—it was later taken up with great success by Birmingham Royal Ballet. Since moving to Swale, he has written several works inspired by this area, including Tunstall Chimes (to be heard in his recital), Les Martinets noirs (a concerto for two violins and string orchestra written for the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and inspired by the sight of swifts flying over Albany Park), and The Maunsell Forts, for brass band.

John’s life is largely overtaken by music, but given the opportunity, he loves to read, and watch films (his long-suffering wife will testify to his inability to bypass a book, record or music shop). He has been an avid cricket follower since 1950 (when he saw one of Brian Statham’s earliest county matches, in Liverpool) and can quote statistics at least as well as Bill Frindall. Watching golf (though not playing it) is another favourite relaxation, and he harbours the fond belief that he can play snooker (he lost his only competitive match). He also loves good company, food, red wine and good Scotch. MM

AGM Proper notice of full details will be given in due course, but please make a note in your diaries that our first Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, 11th July 2005—we hope it will be at 7.30 pm at the Avenue Theatre, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne.

WINE AND WISDOM Don’t forget our Wine and Wisdom evening: Minterne Junior School, Minterne Avenue, Sittingbourne, on Saturday 5th March at 7.30pm – £4 each, including supper. Please bring your own wine and glasses – fruit juice will be provided. Please book tables of 8 (or less) by telephoning Julie and David Burns on 01795 410 840.

TICKET OUTLETS We are very grateful to The Rainham Bookshop, The Barley Mow (Faversham), B A Fitch Newsagents (Sheerness) and Sittingbourne’s own Swade Music (Roman Square) for kindly acting as ticket sales outlets for us. Tickets are available roughly one month before each concert. Postal sales can be made through Mrs Jenifer Blenard, 149 Athelstan Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8QW. Please send a cheque made out to “The Sittingbourne Music Society”, and a stamped, addressed envelope. Please note: we are unable currently to deal with telephone bookings, and cheques should not be made out to inviduals.

CAR-SHARING We are still in need of volunteers for Committee work, and in particular we need volunteers for car-sharing duties, so we can help people with transport problems to get to our concerts more easily. Please help!

NEWSLETTERS BY E-MAIL: After numerous teething troubles, we now seem able to send the Newsletter by e-mail to those who have kindly agreed to receive it in this way. It will be sent in two formats: Publisher (for those who have this software) and as a pdf file which people can open and/or print in the normal way, for those who haven’t. We hope this will work well and be useful to everybody.

FORTHCOMING CONCERTS IN THE AREA Saturday 14th May, The Swallows Leisure Centre, Sittingbourne, Kent, at 7.30 pm: Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society, with their new conductor Michael Downes, will perform Mozart’s powerful Requiem and the exhilarating Dixit Dominus by Handel. The programme will also include Bach’s Concerto in D minor for 2 violins and string orchestra.

Maidstone Symphony Orchestra have two fascinating concerts coming up, both on Saturdays at the Mote Hall, Maidstone, at 7.30 pm, conducted by Brian Wright. On 19th March, Chlöe Hanslip plays Elgar’s great Violin Concerto—Carl Nielsen’s delightful Pan and Syrinx and the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures from an Exhibition complete the programme. On 21st May there is a Gala Concert, opening with John Adams’ brilliant curtain-raiser A Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto in C minor, followed by Richard Strauss’s autobiographical masterwork Ein Heldenleben. John Lill is the soloist.

Rochester Choral Society, at Rochester Cathedral, Saturday 16th July at 7.30 pm: Tippett’s enduring masterpiece A Child of our Time, plus Elgar’s beloved Enigma Variations and Britten’s Te Deum.