Churchill Music

Promoting musical excellence in Somerset since 2007

Music for Lockdown 21

It is great to be in touch again!  Thank you so much for your patience and to all who so kindly responded to our recent Survey.  It has given us a clearer picture of your wishes and feelings which are so positive and helpful.  The most popular request was to get back to our live concerts which is of course a sentiment we share.  Since our questionnaire, it seems that we are facing growing uncertainty about COVID 19.   Furthermore, musicians’ livelihoods are even more at stake and we need to support them as well keeping everyone safe – what a dilemma!  We have been thoroughly investigating all the possibilities and have some exciting plans in the pipeline but obviously cannot finalise any of them at the moment.  All we can do is monitor the situation every week and keep you informed and take on board this quotation from the Dalai Lama “If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use” !

We are really happy to report that most, but by no means all of our Young Churchill Music projects in schools are able to continue – some more start after half term.  The Power of Music project for year 5 pupils in primary schools is proving to be particularly popular which is exciting.  

IN THE MEANTIME……. drum roll………..CM has a plan!  Don’t let COVID 19 deprive you of your cultural enjoyment which is more important than we had ever thought in these strange times.  There are lots of really exciting concerts/performances which we can all access and by doing so, not only enjoy ourselves within our bubble/6-rule, but also know that we are supporting the incredible musicians in their hour of need.  However, this does involve live-streaming.  There were a number of responses which indicated that this might be an issue, if this is the case with you, please don’t groan just yet. It really is worth reading on, I promise!   If you already live-stream then skip the next red-font paragraphs.  

The Churchill Music plan:William Maitland Round (son of our trustee, Zoe Maitland-Round) is an IT ‘tech wizard’ at TVs and streaming.  William has kindly offered his services to enable more people to access the amazing events/concerts that can only be viewed by live-streaming.  This means that you only have to pay a very small ticket price for a single voucher to invite the country’s top musicians into your sitting room, watch them perform whilst you relax with your family or mates in your ‘bubble’, or even the cat! On top of all that, you have the delight of also supporting our amazing musicians who are, without doubt struggling. We have acted as William’s ‘guinea-pig’ as our TV is not a ‘Smart’ TV and is old.   With a simple cable, William connected us up so that we can view everything including other arts events such as virtual art exhibitions etc – All things that are not on Youtube and of course, no advertisements.  Freedom and comfort!  I promise, it is incredibly simple. 
How the CM plan works: You email William direct. William will establish what TV you have and what kind of tablet, mobile or laptop that you use to receive these CM emails.  He will discuss with you what will work best for you and will visit you (strictly observing the Hands-Face-Space rules) to either initially assess or to actually install what, if anything, you would need in order to be able to live-stream events. William can order anything that you need if this makes it easier and visit you to set it up for you. William will talk you through how to access a live-streamed event and leave you with instructions on what to do. So why not get cracking – we will keep sending you news and links to glorious concerts so why not give it a go! 
How much will it cost? William charges £25 per set-up BUT Churchill Music is offering to pay that fee to get you started.  You will of course need to pay for any equipment, which is minimal. ———–

To get the day off to a good start, try this Rondo from Piano Concerto No.1 in D Minor, Op 15-3 Johannes Brahms(1833-1897), performed by Krystian Zimerman (won the 9th International Chopin Piano Competition and described as one of the finest living pianists – along with our own Peter Donohoe!) and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.  Completed in 1858 this concerto is a mature work that Alfred Brendel considers to be among the “purest Brahms”.  The work grew in popularity until it was recognised as a masterpiece. Well worth a listen to the whole work, but of course that won’t get the chores done!

Peter Hewitt’s Coffee Concertisimo is an absolute must.  Put the kettle on and get ready to sit back and enter another world whilst Peter enlightens us and performs Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No 1 in G Op.31 2nd Movement, Adagio Grazioso.  It is fascinating.

We are all very sad to hear of the loss of that brilliant actress, Dame Diana Rigg.  The Strad magazine paid tribute to her with a video of her from 2012, presenting a performance of Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending as it was originally heard in the composer’s time, in the beautiful  version for violin and piano, staged at Shirehampton Public Hall near Bristol where the piece was performed for the very first time in December 1920.   The violinist is the 15-year-old (at the time) prodigy, Julia Hwang who was a pupil at Clifton College, accompanied by the brilliant pianist, Charles Matthews for whom I stood in at the last minute to turn pages during a recording in St. George’s Bristol – terrifying!!  Julia’s performance was part of a documentary in which Dame Diana explored the story behind The Lark Ascending and investigated the reasons why the piece continues to strike a chord with so many people today.  As a student starting life at Clifton, Julia came out to inspire the pupils at Churchill Primary school.

Remaining in the genre of violin and piano, César Franck wrote what is agueably one of the finest sonatas ever written for violin and piano.  It is described ‘as an amalgam of Franck’s rich native harmonic language [Belgian/French] with the Classical traditions he so highly valued, held together in a recurring theme and song-like melodies’.  In this recording, Maxim Vengerov performs César Franck’s, Violin Sonata in A major accompanied by the delicious Khatia Buniatishvili  – men, watch out!!  The whole performance is utterly beautiful and thought-provoking.

Finally, we are delighted to announce that at last we can put an end to the constant carping in the media about Covid 19 and the ‘Test and Trace’ fandango – if you think you might be getting ’symptoms’ you of course need to do the ‘right thing’ BUT also, Comedian, John Bishop thinks that he has developed an infallible test that is easy to do in the comfort of your own home.