Wednesday 11 May 2005

Catching up....

It has been quite a busy few days. Printer problems last week mean that I am now in the market for a new laser printer, ours is proving too unreliable. At the end of last week I even had to pay to have some music copied and bound - shock horror! I think that producing the music for the July concert. was too much for it.

On Saturday I added a buy tickets on-line button to the Cranmer concert, something we've been able to do for ages, thanks to the Spherical Editions site, but its the first time we've actually go around to doing it.

Spherical Editions is finally expanding its stable of composers. On Saturday the web page for Brazilian composer Ricardo Frantz went up. His Urania Suite will be available from the beginning of June, its a rather fun piece for Guitar, Piano and Clarinet which manages to mix classical and Brazilian popular influences. Ricardo is also an artist and he even produced the art work for the cover of the piece.

At the weekend we went up to Newmarket to visit relatives and on the way home we caught the final performance of Handel's Tamerlano given by Cambridge Handel Opera Society. My full review appears on Music & Vision. The opera was performed in West Road Concert Hall which has a smallish auditorum which perfectly suits the scale of Handelian opera seria. Unfortunately the stage is similarly proportioned so it has very little depth and does not offer too much scope to the designer. Unlike Handel's Kings Theatre where the stage was as deep as the auditorium, thus allowing for some spectacular stage effects. Still the Cambridge team managed one or two coups de theatre. The performance was uncut and used the version Handel performed on the first night of the opera, which was extremely welcome as Tamerlano is one of those operas which attract tinkering from directors and conductors. But this meant that it was a serious undertaking. 6.30pm to 10.20pm with a single 20 minute interval. Judging by the shuffling and comings and goings between Acts 2 and 3 (where there was no interval), many people felt as I did, that we needed a second, brief interval (if only to go to the loo).

Monday night London Concord Singers did the first run through of my new motet Respice Domine, the latest instalment from Tempus per Annum. The text is that prescribed for the introit on the day we are singing in Strasbourg, but the motet will be premiered at our London concert on July 14th. The run through went well (I'm always nervous at first run throughs) and the piece seems to have a rather attractive, dark caramel texture.

Then last night the FifteenB consort did a repeat of part of their A TRE programme at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music at St. Pancras Parish Church. We sang Byrd motets, plainchant and my Missa Simplex. We were 1 short as the other alto could not manage the concert, so I was on my own which I found rather tiring especially as my throat has not really recovered from the cough and cold that seems to have come from nowhere. Still, things went well, we managed to get through Byrd's long 7-section Ave Maris Stella and the audience was appreciative. We were joined by a friend for the final item, my 5-part Salve Regina, which seemed to be the most popular item in the programme.

Now for a rest, we're going to see Handel's Samson at the London Handel Festival. There is a fine cast but I am still waiting for someone to do a performance with a musical comedy actress singing the role of Delila. After all, that is what Handel did at the first performance. Surely someone could tempt Imelda Staunton or Julia MacKenzie to have a go!

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