Thursday, July 12, 2018

FLUTES OF THE FUTURE



The British Flute Society - Summer Flute Festival

Friday August 17th - Sunday August 19th


This year the theme of the festival is all things new in the flute world


The instrument

Its technique

Its music


There will be celebrity recitals, workshops, a flute choir, trade stands
and opportunities to meet players, teachers and composers.

To book a place contact www.sjss.org.uk
To join the British Flute Society contact: www.bfs.org.uk

The Future Flute Fest 2018 is for everyone who loves the flute.





Thursday, July 5, 2018

WANT TO PLAY SOME OF THE BIG ONES?




CLARINET CHOIR

Four playing days open to clarinet players of all ages from Grade 5 to Diploma level.

Stephanie Reeve will direct rehearsals focusing on ensemble skills, technique and sight-reading, using a wide variety of repertoire and the full range of clarinets from Eb to contrabass. An informal performance will be given at the end of the four sessions.

Further information from: www.staplefordgranary.org.uk

Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge CB22 5BP


 

 

YOUR CHILDREN WILL LOVE THIS...

 
 

Gill and David Johnston have masterminded Musicale Holidays since 1977. Their passion is to involve children in meaningful and, above all, enjoyable music-making through a series of fun but structured programmes.
Many of their staff grew up attending a Summer Musicale, and now they are passing on their enthusiasm to the next generation of young musicians.
The courses are run by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of professional players and teachers, whose aim is always to get the best out of the players. At the same time they ensure that everyone has a great time.

COURSES for 2018

Cambridge

Caterham

Guildford

Harpenden


For all details contact www.musicale.co.uk or telephone 01582 713333


Friday, June 29, 2018


Something to remember about a bassoon's bottom?


Roger Birnstingl remembers...


Cecil James was the solo bassoonist of the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was the nephew of Edwin James who had been 1st bassoon of the LSO and gave the first performance of Elgar’s Romance in 1911. Cecil was a superb musician and played on the Buffet with the lovely nutty tone so difficult to achieve on ‘the mumblephone’, which is what Cecil called the German bassoon.
In 1955 the Philharmonia played at the Lucerne Festival with Fritz Reiner conducting. In the overture to Die Meistersinger there are two bassoon parts. Reiner wanted them doubled, so I was the 3rd bassoon with the 1st bassoon part. We had got through the first part of the overture and I was doubling all the forte passages. We were approaching the Apprentice Music, which uses oboes and clarinets with an important part for the bassoon. I did not know Cecil very well at that time, so when I noticed that he seemed to be having trouble with his bassoon, I thought ‘Goodness, I think I better play’ which is what I did. As I was playing, Cecil put his bassoon on the floor and sat back with his arms crossed.

Reiner looked up, stopped the orchestra and said
‘Vas is with bassoon?’, to which Cecil replied
‘If the young man wishes to play my part, perhaps I should go home.’
Reiner to Manoug Parikian, the leader
‘Vat he say?’
Manoug
‘Don’t worry, Maestro, just start again from letter B and it will all be alright’.

Alright it was, but I later learned that the Buffet has a cork at the bottom of the butt joint which can be used to adjust the intonation and this is what Cecil had been doing.


Thursday, June 28, 2018


Something to remember about a bassoon's bottom?


Roger Birnstingl remembers...

Cecil James was the solo bassoonist of the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was the nephew of Edwin James who had been 1st bassoon of the LSO and gave the first performance of Elgar’s Romance in 1911. Cecil was a superb musician and played on the Buffet with the lovely nutty tone so difficult to achieve on ‘the mumblephone’, which is what Cecil called the German bassoon.
In 1955 the Philharmonia played at the Lucerne Festival with Fritz Reiner conducting. In the rehearsal of the Meistersingers overture there are two bassoon parts. Reiner wanted them doubled so that I was the 3rd bassoon with the 1st bassoon part. We had got through the first part of the overture when I was doubling all the forte passages and we approached the apprentice music on oboes and clarinets with an important part for the bassoon. I did not know Cecil very well at that time, so when I noticed that he seemed to be having trouble with his bassoon, I thought ‘goodness, I think I better play’ which is what I did. As I was playing, Cecil put his bassoon on the floor and sat back with his arms crossed.

Reiner looked up, stopped the orchestra and said:
‘Vas is with bassoon?’, to which Cecil replied:
‘If the young man wishes to play my part, perhaps I should go home.’
Reiner to Manoug Parikian, the leader:
‘Vat he say?’
Manoug:
‘Don’t worry, Maestro, just start again from letter B and it will all be alright’.

Alright it was, but I later learned that the Buffet has a cork at the bottom of the butt joint which can be used to adjust the intonation and this is what Cecil had been doing.





Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bruckner- oops!



Jascha Horenstein (1898 - 1973)
 
 
Jascha Horenstein was marvellous conductor, particularly of Mahler and Bruckner.   He was one of the rare conductors who was really admired by orchestral musicians.  The recordings we did of Mahler’s 1st and 2nd symphonies in Barking Town Hall were really outstanding.
However, one memory stands out of a performance in the Royal Festival Hall of Bruckner’s 7th symphony  (the one with the beautiful slow movement of Wagner tubas).  This symphony has a long scherzo followed by a long trio and then returns to the long scherzo.   During the evening performance,  as we arrived at the end of the first scherzo it was clear that Horenstein thought the movement was ended. Somehow the entire orchestra sensed that he had forgotten the trio, so that with his next down-beat we started the finale.  After a few seconds Horenstein’s face showed absolute shock as he realised that he was set to do the shortest performance ever of that symphony.  Poor man.
Roger Birnstingl 
 

Thursday, May 31, 2018


SLEEPING GIANTS AWAKE...



Expressive violin concertos by three unfamiliar names have recently made a well-deserved break into the recording world. The most dramatic of these three scintillating works is that from the seasoned Great War composer Gordon Jacob. His concerto, composed 30 years after that conflict's conclusion, is still an abject reflection of that period and its haunting memories.
The three movements move from a contemplative opening through a prayer-like andante and finally to a reflective but optimistic allegro finale.


Gordon Jacob (1897 - 1996) was taken prisoner during the First World War. While in the camp, with several other musicians, he formed an orchestra and composed and arranged for the oddly balanced forces available. This gave him a valuable insight into how to write for each instrument so that the notes 'lie well' for the fingers, and to understand unusual instrumental combinations. Later in life this expertise made him much sought-after by several more famous names, for help with their orchestration. His book 'Orchestral Technique' is still a much valued reference book.