Thanks to photographer Molly Hollman, not only for these atmospheric photos of the performers in last Friday’s Lunchtime Concert, but also for her spectacular landscape photography which featured in the performance.
A string quartet of third-year students Florence Obote, Melody Brooks, Molly Richetta (all of whom are University Music scholars or Award holders) and cellist Ken Macdonald, together with Your Loyal Correspondent at the piano, unfurled the meditative music of Icelandic composer, Olafur Arnalds, into a darkened concert-hall, against a backdrop of Molly’s photographs capturing the natural landscapes from around the country.
A rapt audience was kept spellbound during the entire performance; thanks to all the performers.
We’re delighted to reveal the new season of our What’s On is now launched online!
Our customary Lunchtime Concert series this term brings the Ferio Saxophone Quartet, an exploration of the music to Hitchcock’s classic Vertigo and seasonal music from the CantiaQuorum ensemble; the University Chorus and Orchestra explore the ‘Old and New’ in a programme of seventeenth century music and modern realisations and responses to it; the University Musical Theatre Society performs its termly showcase including songs from Chicago, Hamilton and Dream Girls, and the term concludes in festive style with the traditional Christmas Swing-Along featuring the University Big Band.
Together with the Canterbury Festival, we also bring a dark realisation of the story of Hansel and Gretel in a blend of chamber music, puppetry and animation, with music written by composer Matthew Kaner to words by Simon Armitage; the Festival also brings percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and Trio HLK in November. Elsewhere, Aurora Orchestra brings Mozart, Mendelssohn and Jorg Widmann, and there’s a chance to hear Sir Thomas Allen. With visits too from local societies and orchestras, the new autumn season will see Colyer-Fergusson Hall filled with music old and new as we head towards the festive season.
See all that’s to come online here, or download the brochure (PDF) here; we look forward to welcoming you to Colyer-Fergusson over the coming months.
We’re delighted to have been able to reschedule our postponed Lunchtime Concert from February, to bring music from South India on Wednesday 30 May at 1.10pm.Postgraduate University Music Performance Scholar, Ramnath Venkat Bhagavath is studying for a Masters in Applied Actuarial Science at the University of Kent, and brings a strong performing tradition to the campus. In 2016, Ramnath performed in the renowned ‘Swathi Sangeethotsav’ at the royal palace of Trivandrum, an event which attracts musicians from across the globe.
The Lunchtime Concert, taking place in Colyer-Fergusson Hall, will feature a selection of different ragas and thalas in the Carnatic music tradition, accompanied by violin, mridangam and ghatam.
Congratulations to all the performers in the University String Sinfonia on a lunchtime concert today, delivered with fierce energy and some ravishing colours.
Directed from the violin by Floriane Peycelon, the programme included ebullient dance-rhythms in Warlock’s Capriol Suite, movements from Parry’s An English Suite redolent of the English countryside, and Holst’s St Paul’s Suite, concluding with John Williams’ depiction of Dartmoor before the FIrst World War in an excerpt from War Horse.
The players are back in action next week, when they team up with the University Cecilian Choir in Ola Gjeilo’s popular Sunrise Mass; details here.
It’s amazing what strange but illuminating thought-processes occur when you’re rehearsing…
The Scholars’ Lunchtime Concert in March will be commemorating the centenary of the death of Debussy in a programme of chamber works combined with images from the Impressionist era; one of the works is ‘Serenade of the Doll,’ from Children’s Corner, a suite of piano pieces dedicated to Debussy’s then three-year-old daughter, Claude-Emma (known as Chou-Chou), in an arrangement for violin and piano.
‘Serenade of the Doll’ is a surprisingly moving jewel-like miniature, using the pentatonic scale to evoke the porcelain doll in a sprightly triple-metre. Working in rehearsal with third-year Music Scholar and violinist, Lydia Cheng, we were looking at ways to bring the contrasts to the fore, to explore the lilting waltz-like feel and the delicate staccato passages that give the piece its character. The contrasting textures follow each other quite quickly, and we were examining how much depth of tone was suited to the central section.
At one point, we’d been talking about the way the melodic line seems to nudge itself along, followed by a rising minor third and a sudden octave leap; it’s skittish, ungainly, as though something in the child’s nursery has fallen over.’It’s like a cartoon,’ Lydia observed at one point, ‘you know, where the characters tip-toe down a staircase. It’s a bit like Tom and Jerry!’
So, with this in mind, we played through the entire piece again – and suddenly, it came to life. We realised that the music isn’t always about a rose-tinted recollection of childhood, of a panoply of perfect toys tidily on display in a nursery; sometimes, it can be about the trips and tumbles too, the knocks and tiny accidents, the cheerful blunders that are a part of finding your feet as a toddler. This is reflected both rhythmically as well as in the harmonic language, as it trips lightly from parallel ninths through chromaticism and touches of whole-tonality; it’s finding its own harmonic feet too.
Here’s Debussy himself playing on a piano-roll:
I don’t think anyone has channeled Tom and Jerry in performing Debussy before, but it certainly works. Come along to the performance on Weds 28 March to hear it for yourself…
(Straw) hats off to the member of General Harding’s Tomfoolery and the Minervettes, for their recent, storming lunchtime concert in Colyer-Fergusson Hall. The thirteen-piece dance orchestra, performing from original sheet-music from the 1930s, 40s and 50s delivered an energetic performance that had people dancing along.
We were particularly delighted to welcome to the gig Maureen Morgan, wife of bandleader and founder of the Ken Lewis Dance Orchestra, George Morgan, whose generous bequest of all the sheet music from the original dance orchestra allows us to breath new life into the original band-parts.
Tomfoolery will be back in action on Friday 19 May in an evening performance; bring your dancing-shoes!
The #EarBox concert series bringing music and visual art together continues with a visit to Studio 3 Gallery from the University Chamber Choir on Friday 24 February at 1.10pm.
Set against the backdrop of Soft Formalities, the gallery’s new exhibition, the Chamber Choir will unveil a choral programme in the venue’s sonorous acoustic, ranging from Purcell to Alec Roth, taking in madrigals by Hassler and Lassus, and works by Tavener, Peter Warlock and Alexander Campkin.
The new exhibition explores layered complexity in a series of paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics, and the music provides a similar, sonic exploration in line and colour, from the drama of Purcell to the ravishing hues of Alexander Campkin, including the dramatic simplicity of Tavener’s The Lamb and a veritable textural tour de force for double choir in Lithuanian. There is also a rare opportunity to hear a piece by the Canadian female composer, Jean Coulthard.
The event is free, and starts at 1.10pm; come and experience the gallery’s latest display with an astonishing aural landscape from the Baroque to the contemporary. Find out more about the event here, and read more about Soft Formalities at the gallery here.
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.