Concerts at Wigmore Hall on Saturday 24th April 2021 were dedicated to composer Brian Elias. I sang his unaccompanied ‘Green Glen Songs’ and ‘Three Songs (Christina Rossetti)’ for alto and harp with wonderful Olivia Jageurs in Part 2 of the Focus Day. It was great to work with Brian, he gave us generous support and insight into his work.
Meet Me in the Green Glen (2009) for solo voice
Meet Me In The Green Glen Song Now Is Past Love’s Pain Hesperus
“The first of these songs for solo voice to poems by John Clare was written for the NMC Songbook, a CD collection of songs by a variety of British composers, which was released in April 2009. I wrote the remaining songs in March and April 2009, as I had always intended to make a group of songs to these poems.
The songs may be performed individually or as a set and by any voice. They may also be transposed as desired by the singer. When more than one song is performed the transposition should be by the same degree throughout. ” Brian Elias
Three Songs (Christina Rossetti) (2003) for alto and harp.
?”These three poems were written by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) several years apart, yet seem to express similar emotions and concerns. The first was written in 1853 when she was twenty-three, the second when she was in her late thirties and the third, written towards the end of her life, may be the last poem she ever wrote.
I have wanted to write a work for voice and harp for some time and found the dark and secret world of these poems ideally suited to this sonority.” Brian Elias
“The programmes were curated by Elias himself and represented a retrospective of his smaller chamber oeuvre from early works written in the 70s’ and 80s’ to those written in the last two decades. Paired with Elias’ music were works by the three composers who have been a significant influence: his teacher and mentor Elisabeth Lutyens; Maurice Ravel, who Elias credits with teaching him ‘everything he knows’ about instrumentation; and Claude Debussy, a constant beacon of inspiration.”
Lots of incredible artists involved.. Olivia Jageurs harp Rob Burton alto saxophone Daniel Lebhardt piano Gabriele Strata piano Thomas Hancox flute Jon Carnac clarinet Adrian Spillett percussion Castalian String Quartet Sini Simonen violin Daniel Roberts violin Charlotte Bonneton viola Christopher Graves cello Thomas Kemp conductor
If you watch the concert, please consider donating to Wigmore Hall so that they can continue to support musicians and bring you music live from the Hall.
Spotlight Chamber Concerts on 7th December 2020 – Schubert song recital with baritone Roderick Williams, pianist Susie Allen and bass Edward Hawkins. Presented by Bandstand Chamber Festival and St John’s Waterloo.
It was a wonderful feeling to meet an audience again after many months of postponed and cancelled events due to Covid-19. With huge thanks to Roderick Williams, Susie Allan for the opportunity to perform with them in their Schubert concert. Thanks also to Momentum; our future, now who are supporting artists particularly during this difficult time – and to Spotlight Chamber Concerts who looked after us all so well with various safety measures to keep us all safe.
It was the first time I have stepped onto a stage wearing a protective face mask, and looked out into the audience to see everyone wearing their masks too – it was a very surreal – but also invigorating to know that so many people had been able to return to a concert venue to enjoy live music again.
Bandstand Chamber Festival brings some of the world’s finest classical musicians to the safely socially-distanced interior of one of London’s landmark churches, St John’s Waterloo. With dramatic lighting centred only on the performers, the audience is invited to focus solely on the immersive experience of live music in this series of concerts and recitals set to lighten up the winter months ahead. Tickets are strictly limited, and available from Spotlight Chamber Concerts website
MOMENTUM: Our Future, Now is an initiative driven by leading international artists supporting younger professional colleagues in the first substantial phase of their career. Created by Barbara Hannigan, the Momentum model is an urgent artistic and human response to the situation caused by the 2020 pandemic, yet devised with long-term staying power.
Momentum: Our Future Now, sees leading soloists and conductors supporting younger colleagues by bringing them onto main stage professional engagements, with immediate effect.
“1 in 2 of us will develop cancer in our lifetime, and when Kathryn Rudge’s Dad was diagnosed in 2005, her and her family’s world was turned upside down. Now a Clatterbridge Patron, Kathryn tells us what it was like to experience the care and support Clatterbridge provided, whilst touring as a professional Opera Singer. Kathryn’s Dad passed away in 2014, and just four years later Kathryn’s Mum was diagnosed with terminal Lung Cancer. Clatterbridge was able to once again step in and be there for Kathryn and her Mum.” Read Kathryn’s Clatterbridge Cancer Charity Supporter Story here
This year marks the 47th Season of Leigh Music Society and it was a pleasure to perform a recital with Duncan Glenday on 2nd Feb 2020. The Society present seven concerts a year between September and March on Sunday afternoons in the Derby Room, above the library at the Turnpike Centre, in the centre of Leigh, Greater Manchester.
The Turnpike is a unique arts venue and since January 2017 Turpike, an independent arts organisation, has occupied the first floor of the iconic 1970s brutalist building. There are lots of activities happening at the centre with the aim to raise aspiration, resilience and encourage people from the across the community to take part in the activities. There are art exhibitions and weekly workshops – Simeon Barclay’s Bus2Move exhibition was just being installed and will be open to the public from 14th Feb. https://www.theturnpike.org.uk/bus2mov
Returning to sing for Leigh Music Society brought back lots of happy memories. Duncan and I performed a programme of English Song this year. The first time I sang there was in 2002 while I was studying at the Junior RNCM – I loved my time there! I was really thrilled that Karen Humphreys MBE, Head of Junior RNCM was at the concert – I’m always thankful for the opportunities, support and encouragement we had as young performers to step out for the first time in front of public audiences – and nearly 20 years later Karen is there in the audience, and all of her support and advice still means the world!
It was great to see a ‘full-house’ for the concert with many much loved friends in the audience. There is always a warm and friendly atmosphere and if you would like to attend a forthcoming concert please visit their website – https://leighmusicsociety.info/about-us/ The Society regularly invites established professional musicians from around the region to perform, and also provides a platform for young musicians to perform. If you are interested in performing a concert for them you can contact them by email.
On Friday 24th January 2020 I performed a concert for Lyndale Cancer Support Centre. The concert was the first event of its kind for the Centre; held at Volair in Huyton. I was so thrilled to sing with our local community choir Mersey Wave Music and their musical director Jason Ellis and the Northern Ukes Band . Together with Lyndale Cancer Support Center; we created a special programme of music with patients, families and carers and the volunteers associated with the center at the heart of the whole evening. The compère for the event was BBC Radio Merseyside’sHelen Jones and we are all so grateful for her support. Special thanks and congratulations to Lyndale Volunteers Vicky and Margaret for organising a brilliant night and the whole team at Volair who looked after us so well. The evening raised over £3,000 for much needed funds for Lyndale Cancer Support Centre.
“Lyndale” has been providing one-to-one and group support to cancer patients, carers and their families in a warm, relaxed and friendly environment for over 30 years. The support center is run by volunteers and was established in 1983, providing help and support for Cancer patients throughout the Knowsley region. The charity is led by a team of trustees, key volunteers with many years of experience, and the service they provide is all confidential and free.
History of Lyndale
Lyndale was originally founded by Mrs. Mary Davies who was a local resident with personal experience of cancer – she recognised the need for additional support for patients receiving cancer treatment and originally began a support group within her own home, with approval from local GPs. Lyndale became a registered charity and the committee obtained statistics that showed the North-West with the highest incidence of cancer in the country. There has since been an ever-increasing demand for cancer support and the service they provide.
Cancer incidence and cancer-related mortality are major problems in England’s North West. Most recently Liverpool has been identified by Public Health England as one of the three most cancer stricken cities in England and cancer mortality in Merseyside and Cheshire is 76% higher than the European average. Every year in Liverpool, around 40% of all cancer cases are diagnosed by doctors in the A&E Department. In these cases the cancer is usually advanced and can be more difficult to treat.
In order to continue to serve a great number of people ‘Lyndale’ moved to the house on 40 Huyton Lane in 1986. It became the unique cancer support group within a homely and friendly environment that we know and love today. This was all financed by a grant of £36,000 from Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and £12,000 from St Helens & Knowsley Health Authority. The shortfall in funding of £11,000 was covered by taking out a 25 year mortgage. Lyndale Cancer Support Center and their volunteers now serve around 100 cancer patients and their families a week.
There was building work and refurbishment carried out in 2003/4 which was funded by the National Lottery and from the Mayor of Knowsley’s Charity Fund, and further funding was obtained from Merseyside Safer Cities & Knowsley Inclusion Unit. Lyndale is still run today entirely by dedicated and committed volunteers who provide caring support and information in a friendly relaxed and homely environment – as was Mary Davies‘ original wish. Little did their founder member and first Committee dream that the seeds sown in Mary’s small home, would lead to the beautifully extended and refurbished Lyndale of today!
Lyndale still does rely on donations and funding for running costs, the financing of teachers and therapists for the provision of complimentary therapies, relaxation sessions, yoga and beauty therapies, art and computer classes etc. which are all free of charge to all those who attend Lyndale. Lyndale also organises social events, outings and rambles. Every aspect of their administration, financial accounting and caring support has been carried out voluntarily since 1983.
More people are surviving cancer than ever before. In fact, cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years as a result of improvements in cancer treatments and diagnosis – with thanks to amazing places like Lyndale for their excellent support. There is still, however, a lot of work to do to help reduce the number of people developing and losing their lives to the numerous cancer types. Through our music and events like this one we hope we can help to raise much needed awareness and support for wonderful places like Lyndale and provide uplifting events for all of the volunteers, patients and their families and friends.
The first rehearsal was the night before the concert and it was a privilege just to spend time with everyone – listening to Mahler’s incredible music in the stunning chapel and hearing the young players and singers, who worked so hard, under Andrew’s inspiring guidance!
Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, also known as the Resurrection Symphony, was written between 1888-94 (first performed in 1895). The Symphony was one of Mahler’s most popular and successful works during his lifetime and established his enduring reflection on life, death and the beauty of resurrection.
Mahler wrote of the first movement (Allegro maestoso), “We stand by the coffin of a well loved person. His life, struggles, passions and aspirations once more, for the last time, pass before our mind’s eye. And now in this moment of gravity and emotion which convulses our deepest being… our heart is gripped by a dreadfully serious voice… what now? What is this life – and this death? Do we have an existence beyond it? Is all this only a confused dream, or do life and death have a meaning?” One of the most powerful aspects of this work is that the fundamental human questions asked in the first movement of the symphony will receive their answers by the last. (With tidal-waves of emotions in between – just like life!) The second movement (Andante moderato) is a nostalgic reflection of happier times, along with bittersweet episodes and the third movement contemplates the possibility of the meaningless nature of life.
At the time he was composing the symphony Mahler was also setting music to some poems from the anthology of 300 years of folk literature, and the fourth movement of the symphony includes one of my most favourite songs; “Urlicht” (primeval light). This song was not originally intended to be a part of the Symphony and is taken from Mahler’s ‘Des Knaben Wunderhorn’ songs with piano accompaniment which were composed in 1892 and are based on a collection of poems by L. A. von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. ‘Urlicht’ is written in the key of D flat major which creates an otherworldly moment, taking us to a realm away from the Symphony’s overall tonality of C minor. ‘Urlicht’ is an expression of the ‘need’ and ‘pain’ of Man and it ultimately ensures the empty, meaningless dimension that Mahler portrays in the third movement is not the end. Through courage and belief in choosing to follow God’s guiding light – we are led to the divine final movement and the conclusion of the Symphony.
I’ve loved listening to and singing Mahler since I first heard his music while I was at studying at Music College. As the years go on and life moves along, it becomes more meaningful and this piece is a guiding light in itself.
Mahler is quoted as saying, “A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” Mahler gave us the world and more in this one!
The concert in Cambridge was performed in memory of Jamie Gardiner who died in January 2017 at the age of 22. It was incredibly special that Jamie’s father, Robert Gardiner, spoke to us all during a break in the rehearsal on the day of the concert. His support for the concert and tribute to Jamie was so moving – he expressed to us all beautifully how this piece in particular can help us to remember those we’ve loved and lost, and bring so much comfort and hope throughout our lives.
In 2016 Mahler’s original score for Symphony No.2 was sold at Sotheby’s of London for £4.5 million, the highest ever price for a musical manuscript sold at auction! For so many of us Mahler’s score and the moments we are gifted to spend with it are priceless.