Churchill Music

Promoting musical excellence in Somerset since 2007

Music for Lockdown 19

We are living in strange, unsettling and somewhat confusing times so I look to my Inspiration Guru, Maya Angelou for advice, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”  This brings to mind a charming couple of children’s books, ‘Oi Dog!’ and ‘Oi Frog!’ by Kes Gray and Jim Field.  No one could fail to chuckle at these delightful books which feature in rhyme, what various animals should sit on, according to the Cat, the dog and the Frog. “What will whales sit on?” asked the dog. “Whales will sit on nails,” said the frog.  “I’m not sure the whales will like that” said the dog.  “They don’t have to like it,” said the frog, “they just have to do it”………..

Tackling the daily chores, bores!  To change the way we think about them get into the mood with that fine example of a Baroque concerto, JS Bach’s Concerto for two Violins in D minor (a.k.a. ‘The Bach Double), performed by the rare combination of Itzak Perlman and Isaac Stern accompanied by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta. The opening Vivace is just that, lively but the ‘Largo, ma non troppo’ movement will give you time to reflect on your good deeds before getting going again with the Allegro to finish.   Apparently Bach may have written the concerto between 1717 and 1723 when he was the Kapellmeister at the court of Anhalt-Köthen, Germany.  It is characterised by a wonderfully expressive relationship between the two violins. “The musical structure of this piece uses fugal imitation and much counterpoint”.  Which leads me on to a suggestion for your coffee break to be taken with Daniel Barenboim – a five minute chat on ‘Music and Conversation’ – counter point – not to be missed.  

Next this intriguing programme on ’The Riddle of Bach’.  “Violinist Scott Yoo travels from the USA to Germany to learn Bach’s sonatas and partitas, widely considered among the greatest works ever written for solo violin. There, he discovers a riddle Bach left behind in his portrait. In trying to solve it, Scott discovers that Bach based his melodic style on Vivaldi and his rhythms on the music of the French court, which leads to a spectacular finale in Paris”.  I was gripped, I hope that you will be too.

Time to dip into a fascinating film about the life of the extraordinary violinist, Niccolo Paganini (1782 – 1840),‘Paganini’s Daemon: A most enduring Legend. – a real eye opener and well worth watching – the opening story of Paganini being given (and taking) a ‘free hand’ at the end of a very serious mass – hilarious!
Now for that sundowner and something completely different:  Many of you will remember Violinist Chris Garrick and jazz guitarist, John Etheridge. One of their most moving and beautiful recordings is ‘At the dimming of the day’a song written by Richard Thompson  I really hope that it will not be long before we can invite John and Chris to perform again for us.  

Before ending, I am sure that you will agree that as we come out of the lockdown and shielding has officially finished for the time being, the need for these blog/emails has lessened.  With this in mind, it is time to reduce their frequency to monthly from now on.  It is a huge pleasure to write them for you all and I thank the very many many people who have joined us and/or sent in wonderfully encouraging comments, videos and jokes.  Please don’t stop!  Keep them coming, they are greatly appreciated, I assure you – the next email will come out at the week ending 30th August unless the news changes! 

And finally – Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet never fails to enchant and surprise – Matthew Bourne’s version was no exception – neither is this one!
I have to include this fabulous quotation from Sir Thomas Beecham, “I prefer Offenbach to Bach often”!