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Monday, July 20, 2009

England Study Tour 1975 - 4

Saturday, June 14
Some of us spent the morning at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

In the afternoon we attended Louis Halsey's rehearsal, which began with a Mozart concert aria (Wendy Eathorne, soprano). The concert was in the evening. I wasn't especially impressed with Halsey's conducting technique, but thought the orchestra good. "The horn player (Ifor James) was the savior of the evening--beautiful tone, very exciting playing--he was very relaxed, seemed like he was just up there to enjoy himself--not a hint of the nervousness that afflicts most hornists--even missing a few notes in the final movement didn't seem to bother him, he just played right on (actually, I'm talking about the concert now, rather than the rehearsal). Anyway, he played marvelously." I wasn't as impressed with the chorus, but noted that perhaps they were suffering from comparison to the just-heard Schütz Choir and Christ Church Choir.

Sunday, June 15
Today a trip to Wye for the Stour Festival to hear David Munrow's Early Music Consort at 3 PM. Munrow was an early music pioneer who we just managed to hear live--as he committed suicide in 1976.

This was a fascinating program:
a piece with recorder and drone by Munrow absolutely incredibly played--the runs were so fast they were hard to follow in the church acoustic--that's probably the effect intended, however, Rick recorded it--I'd really like a copy [I don't have one]--then renaissance dances for broken consort, all very well played (and danceable--if I do any of this kind of music, I'll have to enroll in a renaissance dance class)--a baroque guitar suite--beautifully played--James Tyler's virtuosity is stunning (on lute, guitar, and banjo)--he looks all the time like your typical banjo player: a smile on his face the whole time--he was fun to watch as well as listen to--the violinist played a Biber passacaglia--the piece itself went on a bit long--Biber seemed to want to show every possible thing that one could do over those 4 notes--he played very well, but I couldn't help but compare every baroque fiddle player I hear to Eduard Melkus--his performance of the Biber Mystery Sonatas in Eugene [in 1972 at the Oregon Bach Festival] was eye-opening . . . the second half of the concert followed with a selection of rags arranged by Tyler for guitar, two banjos, violin, bass viol, and bassoon (David Munrow played a French bassoon!)--they were well done and a lot of fun--especially enjoyable was a rendition of one of Brahms Hungarian Dances on the banjo by Tyler--all-in-all an incredibly enjoyable concert.
Monday, June 16
"Touring all day--to Pevensy Castle (fascinating!) and Brighton (not-so-fascinating)--the King's summer home at Brighton, however, very interesting--I just can't understand that kind of opulence in a concrete way"

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