Churchill Music

Promoting musical excellence in Somerset since 2007

Music for Lockdown 23

With Lockdown tightening its grip and the evenings drawing in, this quotation from Victor Hugo leapt out at me,  “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  

There is nothing like a good Waltz to whip around those morning chores leaving your halo to drive away a rather dull day!   Johann Strauss ll’s  ‘Wine Women and Song Waltz Op 333 is the answer.  Originally it was a choral waltz as our link demonstrates, so you can sing as you go (Lyrics attached)!  It was commissioned for the Vienna Men’s Choral Association’s so-called Fools’ Evening in 1869.  The title comes from the old adage, “Who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long”.

If you spotted a little poetry in the above paragraph, here’s some more to enjoy over your tea-break!  No coffee concertissimo this week, but poet and broadcaster, Matt Harvey is the only person I know who can make a teabag funny so click the kettle and the following link to enjoy your morning tea break in the company of Matt as delivers his teabag poem and more. 
Matt is the most delightful, humble, kind and hilariously funny poet and broadcaster (used to be one of the Poets on Radio 4’s Saturday Live) whom, through Churchill Music, we have had the privilege of meeting.  
CM commissioned him to write the lyrics for our Song Cycle celebrating the Olympic and Paralympic values composed by Thomas Hewitt-Jones.  Title ‘The Same Flame’ Music is published by Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd.

Time for something completely different.  Baba Yetu is Swahili meaning ‘Our Father’.  Who can fail to be uplifted by the infectious enthusiasm and total immersion of the Stellenbosch University Choir singing Baba Yetu?   I hadn’t heard this before – it is a wonderful version of the Lord’s prayer with an amazing ending – well worth a click! 

We are immensely proud to bring you our next recommendation.  Many Champions may remember a very special flautist, Ruth Harrison.  Ruth was a pupil at Churchill Academy and won the Audience Prize at our Churchill Young Musician of the Year competition in 2011.  She gained a scholarship to study at the Guildhall school of Music and Drama and is now working for her Masters at the RCM.  Ruth has performed in many prestigious places and is clearly a rising star as you will discover. In this next highly recommended concert, Ruth performs in Haydn’s absolutely delightful Trio for flute, cello and piano in G major, Hob.XV:15 – another work performed in the magnificent Draper’s Hall, it will certainly drive any winter blues from your face!  Haydn’s Trio in G major adheres to the classical sonata form. After an energetic first movement there follows a lyrical middle movement in which the flute and piano vie for the listener’s favour in equal measure, while the cello accompanies discreetly.  The last movement is a typical example of Haydn’s inexhaustible abundance of surprising invention and of his penchant for playing jokes on his listeners. This is most clearly apparent in the countless different kinds of more or less sudden passages that lead back to the main subject, the wittily prolonged piano cadenzas.  Interestingly, after the death of Nicholas I Joseph Prince Esterházy of Galantha in 1790 Haydn’s court orchestra was disbanded so he moved to Vienna.  In 1791/2 Haydn visited England and again in 1794/5.  This is relevant because it is not out of the question that the choice of the flute instead of the otherwise more usual violin in the piano trio line-up was already a concession to English taste. The flute was a favourite instrument of the aristocracy and of the genteel bourgeoisie.

This Draper’s Hall concert follows on with the added bonus of a short but wonderful new opera, ‘Le Petit Prince’ by Sir Nicholas Jackson.  It tells the story of a pilot, who crash landed in the Sahara desert where he encounters an extraordinary little person (the little prince) who claims to have arrived from another planet having passed by a number of other planets on the way where he met a host of fascinating characters……..! This is a fabulous performance introduced by former BBC producer of Face the Music amongst many other programmes, Dennis Moriarty. 

Are you ready to sit back and relax in the comfort of your sitting room with a lovely fire in the hearth and some pretty fantastic piano playing by James Lisney on Tuesady 24th November at 7.30pm   If you are, St. George’s Bristol is hosting this concert (£12) where James will be performing (on their stunning Steinway piano) a formidable and daring programme of three ‘final’ sonatas: Haydn’s Sonata in E flat Hob. XVI/52 (widely considered to be Haydn’s greatest).  Haydn wrote it for ‘an outstanding pianist’ who lived in London at  the time, Therese Jansen for whom he was a witness at her wedding to Gaetano Bartolozzi in 1795; Beethoven’s Sonata in C Op111:  Written between 1821/22, this is the last of Beethoven’s piano sonatas consisting of two contrasting movements  which contain ‘fugal’ elements (Remember Will Vann’s Youtube demonstration of the Fugue – so clever) Schubert’s Sonata in B flat D690: Written in 1828, in the last year of his life, this sonata contains distinct allusions and similarities to works by  Beethoven, a composer Schubert venerated, yet they maintain a distinct, mature, individual style.  

The Royal Opera House have what sounds like a great offer to watch ‘Frederick Ashton’s Enigma Variations’   “Quintessentially British in every way – from its score by Edward Elgar and period designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman, to Ashton’s signature style, the essence of British ballet style”.  This is available on demand for just £3.00 Yes, not £30 or £300, just £3 from 7pm on Friday 4th December until 3rd January.   Oh joy Oh joy over the Christmas period too.  They even give you very good instructions about how to access it.
Talking of Sir Frederick Ashton, take just 4 minutes to discover  ‘What makes choreographer Frederick Ashton a genius (Royal Ballet)  It is sure to drive winter from your face!

The London Mozart Players have got some really interesting things on their LMP Classical Club website with some great discounts and exciting Christmas events including a great version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  

AND FINALLY the auditions are open for a new performance The Lion King – Everyone is invited to ‘have a go’.  However there is one VERY famous person who is a complete natural……..  I hope that you enjoy this our final offering to prove that ‘laughter is the sun to drive winter from the human face’.  
Please keep safe, happy and healthy,

Jan