One of the pleasures of engaging digitally with people this past year has been catching up with various alumni and finding out how they have been creatively active at a time when creativity and the arts has been facing real challenges.
My guest earlier is no exception – former Music Scholar Lena Younes, who graduated in 2011 having read Drama and Theatre Studies and History at Kent, singing with the Chamber Choir and at the Jazz @ 5 sessions on the old Gulbenkian cafe stage.
Lena releases her first single, Hold Your Heart, at midnight tonight (or will have done, depending on when you read this…), and I took the opportunity to chat to her about her writing process, the challenges of remaining creative during the past year, and the influences on her music. Watch it online here – my thanks to Lena for taking part.
It was marvellous to get back to music-making at the end of term, to bring musicians and audiences together for the annual musical farewell to the University’s academic year. Many thanks to the University photographer, Matt Wilson, for capturing the events throughout the course of the week.
The first two events in this year’s Summer Music Week have got the series off to a flying start; at the weekend, the Sunday Swing with the University Big Band, conducted by Ian Swatman, and vocalist third-year Elle Soo, went down a storm!
The event was also the inaugural livestream direct from Colyer-Fergusson and had a lively online audience watching at the time – since then, it has gone on to garner (at the time of writing) well over 800 views – if you missed it, you can see it below or watch it here:
Yesterday saw the first of two Scholars’ Recitals (the second takes place on Friday in Canterbury Cathedral); a selection of this year’s Music Performance Scholars presented a programme including a classic number made famous by Etta James, some sparkling French flute repertoire, and closed with a vivacious duet for two violas by Telemann.
Many thanks to all the performers involved in both events; it’s great to be back making live music in Colyer-Fergusson once more and welcome audiences through the doors; and it’s not over yet…
Our sonic cabinet of curiosities exploring forgotten piano repertoire written by women, Minervan Miniatures, presents five preludes by American composer Nannie Louise Wright (1878/9 – 1958), from her collection 12 Preludes Op.25.
This selection ranges from Wagnerian grandeur to dazzling Saint-Saens-esque virtuosity that disappears in a flash, and a fascinating prelude ‘For The Left Hand Alone.’ The entire set is a marvellous addition to the canon of prelude-writing, in the tradition including Chopin, Rachmaninov and Debussy, and surely deserves to be better known. We’ll be rectifying this as part of a planned recital series next year…
Our new Music department magazine, Music Matters, is now online, bringing you all the latest news from Colyer-Fergusson as live music-making returns to the concert-hall and we prepare for Summer Music Week.
Part of the fun of exploring new repertoire is coming up with creative ideas for programming it; and for the Minervan Miniaturesrecital series next year, exploring forgotten or neglected piano repertoire by women composers, here’s a foretaste of how that might work – The Four Seasons by Women Composers, a suite of pieces reflecting the changing seasons, all written by women.
Not your usual Vivaldi!
The suite I’ve put together is of music by Marguerite Balutet, Mary Earl, Carrie Williams Krogmann, Tatiana Stankovych and Nannie Louise Wright, ranging from the opening Valzer di Primavera through to Autumn: A Tone Poem and closing with Winter and A Skating Carnival.
See more of the repertoire in the series on our YouTube playlist here.
Our project for the next academic year focusing on piano repertoire by women composers has been developing nicely recently; I’ve been at work researching further pieces, and have recorded several as part of highlighting some of the works which will feature.
A series of movements from the charming suite, A Wreath of Melodies Op. 35 by Carrie Williams Krogmann:
The first movement of a Baroque keyboard sonata by Maria Teresa d’Agnesi:
A wonderfully light-footed waltz by Marie de Croze-Magnan with a deliberately emphatic ‘wrong note’ that appears in the second section:
And the evocative Autumn – a Tone Poem by Mary Earl.