On a fine day in May we had a most successful visit from Caroline Jones who conducted us through a varied and interesting programme through the ages.
Starting with A Chantar by Comtessa de Dia arr. Marshall we continued through the 16th and 17th centuries with Fantasia a 6 by Martin Peerson and Michael Altenburg’s Puer natus in Bethlehem. A trip to Wales followed with Three Welsh Folksongs arr. Lewin, always fun to play.
The final session included that old favourite Sonata a 7 Schmelzer and we finished off with us kicking up our heels playing a cheeky Can-Can by Offenbach arr. Middleton.
Caroline was kind enough to compliment us on our sight-reading ability.
The branch is continuing to enjoy three conductors, Pamela Flanagan our M.D. who nobly flies over from Dublin once a month (if Ryan Air and the wind are in the right direction!), Neil and Jill. Jill has just joined us this year as a conductor and we have enjoyed her choice of music and her skill.
We also continue to meet in smaller groups, the Kinmount Players are designed to encourage the players to try new types of music pushing us to more complicated pieces without a conductor and to have a chance to experience changing instruments.
One of our members has started a Glasgow West End U3A recorder group. They have been meeting as a quartet once a week since last year. Their aim is to raise the profile of recorder playing and they are working towards a performance at one of the monthly U3A meetings later in the year.
There is also a small Sunday group that encourages people to have fun experiencing playing with others and one to a part. These smaller groups will continue throughout the summer.
Jean MacDonald – June 2019
In November the Glasgow branch was invited to perform a short concert at the Erskine Home at Bishopton. The Home, that celebrated their 100-year anniversary last year, care for service veterans and their spouses. As usual we were given a warm welcome by staff and residents.
We played a selection of short pieces from the stately Holborne’s Pavan and Galliard to Brian Bonsor’s Burn’s Miscellany that includes popular tunes such as Comin’ through the Rye and A Man’s a Man for a’ that. The Kinmount Players, a smaller group that play without a conductor, produced a couple of Spanish dances for contrast and a rousing Spiritual Great Day with drum accompaniment. This is a nerve-racking experience but good discipline to learn listening to the other parts. Our conductor Neil picked up his baton for well-known Wartime Favourites Bless them all and Pack up your troubles that every generation seem to know. We spent some time chatting over cups of tea with the members of the audience, a lively young at heart bunch, who entertained us with some of their stories.
The branch finished the year with a quartet giving a short recital in a Christmas concert at St. Aloysius church in Glasgow. Despite one of the players developing the seasonal dreaded cold another was able to come to the rescue and the show went on. Works included Victoria’s Magnum Mysterium and Arcadelt’s Ave Maria. Also featured were three pieces for treble recorder and harp comprising two carols and an original composition for duet by harpist Catherine Walker. Finally the group accompanied the choir in Riding into Bethlehem by W H. Parry.
During the summer months the Glasgow branch do not meet officially but a small group of players get together to have some fun all year round and to experience playing one to a part. The Kinmount players have performed in Holmwood house a wonderful ‘Greek’ Thomson building near the city.
In August a quintet from the Kinmount players was invited to perform in St. Aloysius church in Garnethill. We had two slots, the first was a performance of ‘Stones of Time’ specially composed music by Catherine Walker the harpist who accompanied Emma on the treble recorder and ‘Behold Little Babe’ by David Corner. Later the quintet played ‘Bist du bei Mir’ by J.S. Bach and the lovely ‘Lascia Ch’io Pianga’ from Handel’s Rinaldo.
As the only instrumentalists amongst the singers we chose to play treble, two tenors, great bass and contra in order to show the range of instruments. The contra always arouses great interest and David was as usual surrounded by a group of admiring fans. The acoustic was marvellous and the treble line soared beautifully above the interesting harmonies of the other instruments. A good arrangement for the acoustic that I’m sure enhanced the playing making us sound better that we thought.
This year it was Glasgow’s turn to host the Festival and we enjoyed a great day with a selection of sessions to suit everyone. Our guest principal conductor was Mary Tyers who proved to be a charming and enthusiastic tutor bringing music to life. She had chosen Delalande’s Chaconne to open the proceedings and later led a session with Three Touches by Russell-Smith, two completely contrasting styles that showed the range of recorders to perfection.
Neil Eckford selected Eileen Silcock’s Playford suite. It was a fun group and we laughed a lot especially when Neil told us all to slow down a bit that the bass players be allowed to breath at least occasionally!
Michael Graham conducted with patience and enthusiasm and chose the Marshall piece –Made in Wales. There were three movements and the third, though most challenging with the offbeat quavers, meant you couldn’t stop counting for a moment whilst trying to keep an eye on the conductor.
Isobel Luke’s programme made us focus on music by Bruckner and Hassler. We worked hard and at the end of the session, enjoyed playing our ‘concert’ performance of both pieces. With Mary Bonsor as our conductor we happily played Purcell’s Pipes are Sweet upon a Summer’s Day and A Modern Benedicite by Briggs. We finished up fitting in extra music Mary provided, which made us feel, that we accomplished a lot in the allocated time.
Pamela Flanagan’s session played Mozart’s Notturni. The first took us through the only one which is definitely known to be by Mozart, the others being in various states of “attributed to”. It was classic, elegant and satisfying music – if you could accommodate the standard of play! The next notturne was bizarrely written and did not sound like Mozart at all, the elegant and the odd.
Marg Hall produced a Suite especially arranged for the Festival, The Second Klezmer Collection, in the musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews. The music ranging from raw to plaintive, not easy, but well worth the effort.
Lynne Hope conducted the final section for the advanced players. We played a new suite, Three Tudor Cats. These were originally composed for organ but had been arranged for recorder group. All were in the style of a Tudor dance and celebrated the character of her three cats. Lynne ably led us through the stylistic quirks of each dance style culminating in a lively performance. Her cats must be real characters.
There was so much to choose from that it was difficult to make a decision as to what session to attend.
We were ably supported by the shops with all the temptations of music from all genres and a stunning selection of instruments that made the mouth water. Oh for a blank cheque!
Anthony Barrett made the journey to Scotland to great effect with his pop-up repair shop that was a welcome addition to the day with his advice and mini on the spot repairs.
For the final mass playing Mary chose Eileen Silcock’s composition Flow, a beautiful and reflective piece that we recorded to send to Eileen in the hospice in appreciation of her contribution to music. I hope we did it justice as our thoughts went out to our friend and mentor who has given so much to all of us who play recorders. Sadly our friend died shortly afterwards and is much mourned and missed.
The branch pastoral conductor in April this year was Sandra Foxall who is always an invigorating and welcome visitor to Glasgow. We played a selection of 16th century music including Gabrieli, always a favourite, and a Battaglia by Banchieri which on sight reading was more of a skirmish but ended up as a vigorous battle after Sandra had taken it apart. We finished with some exciting jazz.
A great deal of chat over food and catching up with long time friends occupied the breaks. It was very pleasing to welcome visitors from far and wide who helped make it a happy session. Our thanks to Sandra who injected her enthusiasm and humour to make it a memorable day.
Pam Flanagan, who conducts at both branches, instigated a first venture at a joint event between Glasgow and Dublin. This resulted in five members from Glasgow going over to Dublin for the weekend and a concert at the Lutheran House with more than 30 players in all. The pieces ranged from Holborne’s Pavan & Galliard – intended to display the riches of the lower instruments – through Telemann, Bach and Stanford (being a local lad) to Farewell to Stromness, which is fast becoming a favourite. There were also pieces from a quintet of Irish members again with an exciting range of styles and from the Junior Academy who played a Telemann quartet. Victoria Brooks also played a solo Telemann piece Fantasia no.1 in C major which was lovely to listen to. All in all a successful concert and an enjoyable weekend for all.
The Glasgow branch hosted a playday on a beautiful day in April with Sheila Richards as guest conductor. We had a number of guests from other branches who remarked that it was one of the best sessions they had ever had. This was mainly due to Sheila’s excellent leadership and choice of music. Even the weather was fine, raising our spirits after a long dreary winter.
Amongst the music we played were several pieces that we had not played before starting with the 16thcentury Elizabethan Songs, a Voluntary by Starling Goodwin and William Wigthorpe’s Phantasia No1.
Sheila’s Riddle Song set the mood for the rest of the playing and we continued with a pleasant stroll through Handel’s’ Where e’er you walk. Then came an Invitation to the Fair from Easthope Martin. We lingered there and Moved through the fair with Paul Richards’ arrangement of the traditional melody. We certainly got around and ended up at the coast with Bobby Shaftoe’s All at Sea. As Sheila remarked ‘that’s a lot of notes’. Sheila was kind enough to comment on the quality of the playing under her direction.
Sheila and Paul had brought a selection of their own editions and compositions, a temptation as always, and much appreciated. It was a great day and the Glasgow branch would like to thank both Sheila and our guests.
The Glasgow branch has been busy throughout 2015. In November we had a full branch concert at Sherbrooke St. Gilbert’s Church. This was a very large affair, a charity concert with a big audience of paying customers and Nicola Cassells as the soloist. Nicola, described, as ‘The Girl with the GoldenVoice’ is a multi-talented local Classical Soprano from Ayrshire nominated for Best New Artist at the Scottish Variety Awards. We were the only instrumentalists and performed in between choral groups from Glasgow schools including Douglas Academy Chamber Choir, the current holder of the Anne Wiseman Trophy. Our choice of music went down well from stately Pavan and Galliard by Holborne, Afton Water an arrangement by Brian Bonsor to the jazzy Joshua by Paul Richards. Members of the audience were both surprised and complimentary not only with the range of instruments but the variety of music that can be produced by the recorder. Many of our players had never performed before such a large captive audience and it was a little intimidating to be faced with a packed auditorium. Never have we kept our eyes so firmly glued on the conductor.
Our less formal group, the Kinmount Players, have been out on the road performing some light music gigs in a couple of venues. We played a Christmas gig at an assisted housing association that went down well with a mixture of simple pieces such as Spanish Airs and Dances by Sanz, Handel’s Lacia Che Pianga and Afton Water interspaced with Christmas carols for audience participation. As usual our audience were interested in the larger instruments and recalled their own schooldays of learning the descant recorder. David, our contra player literally hit the roof, as the ceiling was rather low. Next time we do a gig we must check the ceiling height.
In July a small group of players who meet informally at a member’s house put together a short programme of pieces to perform in various venues around Glasgow. It is important to go out and about playing Gigs to spread the word that recorder playing can not only be fun but entertaining for the public and to show off the range of instruments.
We had our first performance in Holmwood House, a ‘Greek’ Thompson villa owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It was also our first experience of playing without a conductor, quite a different kettle of fish, no relying on a pair of arms directing the traffic! We discovered that it really makes one listen and understand all the other parts.
We played a mixture of short pieces that included a couple of traditional songs, Blow The Wind Southerly and The Mingulay Boat Song, an old Gaelic air. By contrast there was Lyndon Hilling‘s light hearted music A Swing in the Park, and the beautiful Lascia Ch’io Pianga by G F Handel. Night Time in The Scented Garden by Ann Marshall features the lower instruments and to get the feet tapping we included Las Hanchas and Rujero Villanos, Gaspar Sanz’s Spanish dances from the 17th century.
The performance finished with Moderato by J G Sachs, a 19th century German composer and a rousing African-American spiritual Great Day arranged by Steve Marshall.
The advantage of taking this music out on the road is that the same repertoire with one or two new pieces can be used again in different venues where there is a continuous passing audience. It also means that the players, who are often busy people with many responsibilities, do not have to polish a large selection of pieces. It’s also a lot of fun and to be recommended. We have decided to call ourselves The Kinmount Players so look out Glasgow we’ll be around.
The Glasgow branch has settled in to a new venue on the South side of the city, a big improvement from the previous one where we had an accompaniment of dripping rain through a leak in the roof. It wasn’t even keeping time with the conductor!
Early in the summer we were invited to participate in an all day performance with the Early Music Forum at the Burrell Museum. We had two slots but as it was a continuously passing audience we could repeat our repertoire for the second slot. Neil, our conductor had chosen music that showed the range of instruments. This included Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus, Symphony No.1, a lively piece by Boyce and a very good arrangement of the Alla Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music. This seemed to go down well with our listeners and one member of the public even thought that we were a professional group. That certainly boosted our morale.
In June we hosted a very successful Pastoral visit play day with Pam Smith who literally took us by storm as we chose the worst day of the month with gales and rain. Despite the weather Pam brought a lively and cheerful presence to the company.