HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Posts Tagged ‘wind’

Marlowe Music Week 2009: Monday chamber music

Posted by HelenEdith on August 11, 2009

I got a lie-in this morning, as the string players had a string orchestra session in the morning, but the wind players didn’t have an activity planned. I finished reading the Nora Roberts book I’ve been devouring over the past few days (and will post a book review, possibly next week) did the cryptic crossword out of The Glasgow Herald and did the Greater than killer from my favourite killer sudoku site. I got the greater than killer sudoku solved, but had a couple of left-over clues for the cryptic crossword.

This evening I was in a mixed wind and string group at Terry’s place, where we played nonets. I actually counted more than nine people present, and wonder whether the two violins were doubling on the same part. There was also an extra clarinettist, but he was conducting, which was something of a necessity for a group of that size playing music with which they were not very familiar. 🙂

The music we played was:

  • Mme Louise Farrenc – Nonetto Op.38
  • C.V.Stanford – Serenade in F Op.95 (1905)
  • Josef Rheinberger – Nonet Op.139

Jeanne-Louise Farrenc-Dumont | Classical Composers Database is an informative article about Mme Louise Farrenc. She lived from 1804-1875 and became a professor of music, no mean achievement for a 19th Century woman! We enjoyed her music, and will probably try and persuade Terry to make it available again next year.

The evening at Terry’s finished very agreeably with a nice sociable supper where we enjoyed a glass of wine or fruit juice and a few nibbles.

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Entry for August 06, 2008 – Wind Quintets

Posted by HelenEdith on August 7, 2008

There was chamber music organised for Wednesday evening. Last year, I think I went to Terry’s place to play with a combined strings and wind group, but this year Margaret did that and I went to Gerry’s and Mary’s place, where we had a wind quintet.

We started out with Agay’s “Five Easy Dances” to warm up, and then moved on with varying degrees of success to an Iolanthe arrangement by Graham Sheen, a set of variations by Gordon Jacob, and an arrangement by Emerson of one of Mozart’s String Quartets for wind quintet. Our horn player, Janet, has violin as her first instrument, and she commented that it was obvious that the piece wasn’t originally written for wind. It made enjoyable playing though, and as the classical repertoire for wind quintet is a bit on the thin side, it’s always nice to get an arrangement which will “work”.

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Entry for August 04, 2008 – Wind Chamber Music

Posted by HelenEdith on August 4, 2008

This evening, ten wind players assembled at Gerry’s and Mary’s place. The assembled company’s instruments were two flutes, two french horns, two bassoons, one oboe and three clarinets. However, one of the clarinets was a C clarinet so that its owner could play oboe parts, making us a standard dectet.

We started the evening off with an arrangement of “La Calinda” by Delius, which was a very pleasant start to the evening. In the course of the evening, we progressed on to Dvorak, and we finished off with Gounod’s “Petite Symphonie”, which generally gets an airing at some point during Marlowe Music Week.

Margaret and I shared out first and second bassoon parts between us, although I got first if it had a significant amount of tenor clef on it because Margaret says that I sight-read tenor clef better than she does. Actually, I sight-read it so well this evening that I played something in tenor clef which was actually written in bass clef. It sounded horrible and we had to stop and go back so I could play it from its proper clef!

We played continuously for two hours and then enjoyed the refreshments which Gerry and Mary provided, before going our separate ways. Most of us will be seeing one another again in the morning for a light orchestra session which is a rehearsal for the Coffee Morning to follow on Wednesday morning.

I must go to bed at a sensible time tonight, as I’ve got to get up in the morning for that! I’ve been late to bed the last two nights and my body clock is somewhere out in the Atlantic. Nytol to the rescue…

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Entry for March 14, 2008 – Music, Tractors and Wind!

Posted by HelenEdith on March 14, 2008

It’s a month since I last wrote anything here. Where has the time gone!

Last week I had musical activities two nights running: on Tuesday I took my bassoon to work and went straight from work to the home of a cellist who had arranged for me to meet up with her string quartet to run through some 18th Century bassoon concertos by the Nottingham composer Henry Hargrave.

These are charming but fairly lightweight pieces, and the same thematic material crops up more than once in the course of the three bassoon concertos. We ran through all three concertos for bassoon and strings and came to an agreement to offer Concerto No.I for performance at Bromley Music Makers in May, when the programme is going to consist entirely of British music. The music secretary has lots of offers of 20th Century music, so she’s intrigued by this piece, which should be different from most of the rest of the concert.

Now I’ve got to practise the bits in the final movement that give the bassoonist a bit of a workout!

During the Tuesday night session, my bassoon wasn’t playing bottom F properly. I found a workaround, but on Wednesday I had a good look at the bassoon and discovered a spring-loaded wire which had unhitched from behind the little post it should have been tensioned on and put it back, and hey presto, my usual fingering worked again!

It was just as well, because Wednesday evening I was meeting up with the augmented Marlowe Ensemble for an evening of music making. I figured I’d never manage to sandwich a day’s work between two evenings out, so I took Wednesday off. It paid off, as I felt full of energy for my evening’s exertions, which turned out to be:

  • Haydn – Symphony 104 “London” in D Major
  • Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy – Overture “Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt” Op.27 which my clarinettist neighbour Terry who knows German translated for me as “Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage”, which is a little easier to say without sounding rude!
  • Mozart – Magic Flute Overture
  • Johannes Brahms – Symphony No.4 in E Minor Op.98 – which we didn’t play all the way through. We had clarinets in C that evening, so we made sure we did the third movement, which requires them (or requires the clarinettists to take the parts home to transpose)

Now, on to the tractors. I’ve been admiring the tractors that roll off the production line at the New Holland tractor factory at Basildon. I can see part of the factory from the office windows, but when I drove up Cranes Farm Road the other day and went past the other side of the factory, I passed the parking lot where the completed tractors are parked.

Last Friday, I took my camera with me, and at lunch time I drove my car to the Cranes Farm Road end of the Festival Leisure Park, where I parked it and went for a walk up the road to the tractor plant. I took a few pictures of the Festival Leisure Park and found evidence of spring along the way, but eventually reached my goal: that parking lot full of tractors. I would have liked one red one to add a touch of something different, but the red ones aren’t parked in that lot, so I got a picture of a sea of shiny new blue tractors. That’s the picture at the top of this entry. More of my pictures from last Friday can be found here.

The weather forecast for this week wasn’t good, with high winds forecast. Having seen the forecast on Sunday evening, I’d pretty much made my mind up that I would need to work from home on Monday, and in the morning the traffic reports confirmed that. The huge cable-stayed QEII Bridge over the Thames Estuary was closed and M25 traffic from both directions was having to use the tunnels at Dartford. Trying to fit eight lanes of traffic into four lanes doesn’t work very well and there were delays of an hour to cross the River. Working from home was the only sensible solution.

The wind dropped on Tuesday and I made it into the office. Going home, the Bridge was open, but only just: there was a 30mph speed limit in place, and I wouldn’t have wanted to exceed it.

Wednesday’s my usual home-working day, and with the winds picking up, I didn’t volunteer to attend the office as I’d home-worked earlier in the week. It was actually just as well I was home that day as Stephen’s Mum called us a bit after 6:30pm to say that she was on the floor and couldn’t get up and Stephen can’t get her up unaided. She wasn’t hurt, just stranded, so we piled in the car and went and rescued her.

Come Thursday, wind wasn’t the problem, but a multiple vehicle collison was. Two northbound lanes were closed at the Dartford Crossing, so we were back to 1-hour delays. I emailed work and said I was signing on from home and would come in later if the traffic improved. It hadn’t done so by 1pm, so I ended up working at home for the day. That was fortunate, too, as the doorbell rang and it was the delivery man with my order of Permajet papers, which had to be signed for. I’d been on the lookout for them, and as Stephen had an unexpected extra shift at the Hospice Shop, had I not been home, my paper would have had to go back to the depot and been tracked down later.

Today I logged onto the traffic reports and they were unbelievably good. There were no little speedometer signs on http://www.trafficmap.co.uk/ anywhere along the stretch of the M25 that I use. They even had a matrix sign switched on somewhere down near Sevenoaks announcing 12 miles to Dartford in 12 minutes! http://www.trafficmap.co.uk/ is great for finding out information like that. I got a good run all the way to Basildon and managed to show my face in the office for the second time this week.

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Entry for September 30, 2007

Posted by HelenEdith on September 30, 2007

Today I met up with the wind quintet. We hadn’t met since the spring, as the five of us were unable to find a single Sunday morning all summer when we were all available! I think that one or two of us were a little rusty, so we didn’t attempt anything too challenging – although having said that, the first piece we played contains a bassoon solo that goes up to high D, which I nailed. I’m dreading the day when my plastic reed disintegrates: I’ve got another two, but they just don’t play well; and I need to toughen up my lips to switch back to cane.

I sat around and did very little when I got home from the quintet, but there was tennis on EuroSport later in the afternoon and I watched that. It went to three sets, with Ana Ivanovic defeating Daniela Hantuchova. It was quite a close match, and the commentators thought that now Daniela has improved her ranking that she’s getting to play the top players more often in the closing stages of tournaments and that next year she might win some of those close matches.

My laundry remains undone, and I haven’t ordered any more memory cards for my camera. They’re both jobs I’m going to have to do tomorrow: the laundry because I’m running short of shirts; and the memory cards because my switch to shooting RAW+JPEG means that I require higher capacity cards.

My new tax disc needs to go on my car in the morning. It will be 1st October, and my old disc expires tonight.

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Website update: Interior Pictures of St Peter & St Paul Parish Church, Charing, Kent

Posted by HelenEdith on September 16, 2007

I’ve just transferred my pictures of St Peter & St Paul Parish Church, Charing, Kent, taken on December 11th, 2005, from Yahoo Photos to my website.

They were taken during the interval of an Invicta Wind Orchestra concert, so there was not time or space to set up a tripod, and I used my manual focus prime lenses with wide apertures and a high ISO setting on the camera to take these pictures.

Click here to view them.

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Entry for August 06, 2007 – Wind Chamber Music

Posted by HelenEdith on August 6, 2007

This evening we had a group of nine wind players: two flautists, one oboist, two clarinettists, two bassoonists and two french horn players.

We actually played octets most of the evening and the two flautists doubled on the same part.

Donizetti was first up. He was a bit weird, and was followed by a modern French composer whose music was more than a bit weird. We struggled to the end of the piece, missing out the odd repeat here and there, and actually enjoying parts of it!

Then out came the Mozart Serenade in C minor for two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons and two horns. It comes out about this time most years, and although I don’t generally play it in between, I have got to know it. Margaret elected to play first bassoon, and I went along with that. She said afterwards if she’d remembered what was in the Finale she might have given the first part to me to play. 🙂 I think Margaret’s actually in better practice than I am, though, so I didn’t remind her about the Finale when she chose to play first. It’s nice to share the work out.

After that it was the turn of Beethoven, and then we finished up with the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro arranged for wind octet and went and enjoyed the refreshments laid on by the Brocklebanks, whose front room we had been occupying.

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Entry for August 05, 2007 – Marlowe Music Week has begun!

Posted by HelenEdith on August 5, 2007

This evening, we got Marlowe Music Week off to a flying start with chamber music at the Youngs’ place.

We started out with a string group upstairs and a mixed string, wind and piano group downstairs, which is where I was playing. Our double bass player (who is also a jolly good clarinettist) had heard an arrangement of Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings in E major, Op.22 arranged for piano, two violins, viola, double bass, clarinet, horn and bassoon and he’d tracked down the sheet music, which took a lot of effort. Apparently Dvorak started writing this serenade for this instrumentation, but the piece in this form was lost, so the arranger was trying to recreate it.

I found the bassoon part a bit tricky as it had a lot of very low notes. They are probably easier to play on the bottom string of a cello than on a bassoon, where they require a lot of dexterity with the left thumb!

Anyway, we played all the way through the piece and it sounded like Dvorak’s Serenade, although our rendition was not entirely according to the printed music on our stands!

Then we stopped for some cool drinks and sat out in the garden in a lovely summer’s evening and chatted while we took on liquid.

We went back inside and reformed into a different groups with all the string players gathering downstairs and a wind quintet retiring to the upstairs back room, where we played Gordon Jacob, an arrangement for wind quintet of a Mozart string quartet, and a short fun piece where Beethoven’s 5th had been given the Bosa Nova treatment!

It was an enjoyable start to our week of music making.

The picture isn’t related to music: it’s Stephen holding Ace the owl earlier in the day at Sedlescombe.

Posted in General, Marlowe Ensemble | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »