HANDWASHERS’ NEWSLETTER 7th MARCH 2021

COMMITTEE CO-OPTION

We are delighted to let members know that Julia Hasler was co-opted on to the committee in December and must apologise for not announcing it until March!  Julia has over recent years been the leading light in the growing success of the Tetbury Music Festival and will have lots to offer us as we pick ourselves up following the pandemic.

CARLETON’S COLUMN

Firstly, I would like to add my thanks to all those who have kept this weekly newsletter going over the past year. It is an extraordinary achievement in itself, and the value of reaching out and staying in touch with members through this forum has, I know, been hugely appreciated by so many of you. Thank you to all those who have contributed in any way, but a special vote of thanks to Tim for his unstinting dedication to the cause (and don’t dare edit that bit out!).

Secondly, I would to thank all those who joined me last Tuesday for the first of our virtual singing sessions. It was great to see so many familiar, friendly faces on screen and to be able to make music together and have some social interaction at the end.

I would encourage you to give it a try, particularly if you have not done any singing over the past year or if you feel that your voice is a little rusty!  This is a good way of getting your voice up and running again before we return to live singing.

When contemplating which piece of music to share with you this week, I glanced through the list of repertoire performed by CCS over the years. Admittedly, whilst a few pieces might fall Into the ‘never again’ category (!), there are others which I would genuinely love to revisit one day. One such work is Cherubini’s Requiem in C minor. You may recall that it was none other than Beethoven who hailed Cherubini as the ‘greatest living composer’ and this Requiem, in particular, received widespread praise from fellow musicians, including such luminary figures as Schumann, Brahms and Berlioz.

Luigi Cherubini (1760 – 1840)

One unusual aspect of the work is the absence of soloists, thus placing extra pressure on the chorus to deliver all the drama and emotion. Perhaps the most demanding section of the work is the fugue at ‘quam olim Abrahae’ which begins allegro, gets faster and, following a moment of respite at ‘Hostias preces tibi’, is then repeated in full!

This recorded performance includes a score for you to follow, if you so desire. I hope it brings back good memories for some of you: https://youtu.be/DUVT2dctqnI

MUSIC FESTIVAL AT SEA Frances remembers music afloat on the high Cs:

Since the early 2000s my sister and I have had many cruising holidays.  The last of these was in October/November 2019 when, as we all know, the world went topsy turvy.  However, this holiday, cruising to the Canaries, also included the 35th Year of ‘Music Festival at Sea’.  I had never heard of this before much to my regret and spent the two weeks not only enjoying the Canary Islands but a feast of music.

The Festival was hosted by Nick Bailey whose career began on Radio Caroline, including time with British Forces Broadcasting Service during the era of Family Favourites and the first voice of Classic FM when it started in 1992. 

We heard, for example, from Boris Bizjak, flute, performing CPE Bach’s Flute Concerto:  (https://youtu.be/5jChRZLqSWs)  and Craig Ogden, currently Director of Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, with a splendid solo guitar performance: (https://youtu.be/FYgdZ2XlJ20)

Opera highlights from a group of professional singers including someone with whom many of us will be familiar, Maria Jagusz.  There was also a tribute to Richard Baker who had presented these Festivals since the start in 1984.  [personal note: I worked with Richard Baker’s mother in my first job!]. 

It is customary on some of these cruises for a choral group to be set up involving cruise members.  They joined forces with two of the professional singers and gave us a splendid rendition of ‘Trial by Jury’.  I could go on, but I think just listing items can be boring to the reader.  I think you will have gathered that we were treated to a very enjoyable musical treat during the 2 weeks spent on the high seas. 

Let us hope that we shall all be able to enjoy a holiday in the not-too-distant future and maybe I’ll even get to enjoy another ‘Music Festival at Sea’.

FIRST ZOOM SESSION Julia reports:

Last Tuesday Carleton held his first Zoom session with about 23 brave choir members and I think it would be fair to say we were all a little apprehensive.  But it was such a pleasure to see so many familiar faces from the choir and Carleton quickly guided us through the process with consummate skill.  After a quick zoom catch up and chat, we muted ourselves and performed the usual exercises with Carleton directing and playing the piano.  

The purpose of the sessions is to keep our singing voices going and my goodness me after the first few bars you quickly realised how much your singing voice needed some exercise.  Happily, with two closed doors between me and my husband, only I needed to suffer.  We stuck to pieces we had sung in concert: Bach chorales, Parry’s Crossing the bar and, rather boldly, Pachelbel’s Magnificat.  We did try a new piece: Campion’s Never weather beaten sail but I think that at this stage we were more comfortable with the tried and tested pieces.

This is never going to be a substitute for our weekly rehearsals in St Peter’s Hall and is definitely second best but it was fun, it is good voice practice and I enjoyed the sense of community and, dare I say, the small step towards “normality”.

If you didn’t join us do give it a go.  If you e mail Bob on robertwt.merrill@googlemail.com he will send you the details of how to join the sessions.  Ros is also offering to set up small breakaway sessions after Carleton has finished so some welcome chat can go on.   Ros will tell us all about that next Tuesday.

CHORAL EVENSONG – the history with Lucy Worsley:

Lucy illustrates the reformation story with music provided by the Chapel Royal. You can watch the BBC Channel 4 programme here if you missed it:   https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0992l4j/lucy-worsley-elizabeth-is-battle-for-gods-music

MISSING VOWELS (‘Makes a change from missing consonants’ thinks Carleton!)

Pam Varey suggests that fans of the TV programme Only Connect may be familiar with the Missing Vowels round. These are choral works and their composers. All have been ‘done’ by CCS.

  1. CHRSTMSRTRJSBCH
  2. WSGLDCHHPRRY
  3. PKNMSSJSPHHYDN
  4. HLBRGHTCCLHNRYPRCLL
  5. STNCHLSBNJMNBRTTN
  6. GRMNRQMJHNNSBRHMS
  7. FRMTH BVRNHGHLNDSDWRDLGR
  8. PTTMSSSLNNLLRSSN
  9. BLSTPRFSRNSCHHPRRY
  10. STPLFLXMNDLSSHN

Send your answers to timp470@btinternet.co The winner will be the first correct response received.

AND FINALLY . . .

Sonia demonstrates what she’s been doing during Lockdown: https://youtu.be/HOr17Le44Bc

EDITOR’S NOTE

Thank you all those who have provided so many interesting articles. In general, they’ll appear in the order they arrived and they will all see the light of day in due course. Meanwhile I’m enjoying digging up links and pictures to go with them. Tim

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