A brace of lunchtime concerts to enliven your working day next week; on Wednesday (10th Feb), the award-winning quintet, Total Brass, comes to Colyer-Fergusson Hall at 1.10pm; and then on Friday (12th Feb), Minerva Voices – the new upper-voices chamber choir – explores the dialogue between choral music and art in the new exhibition at Studio 3 Gallery over in the Jarman building as the #EarBox series returns.
The latest exhibition in Studio 3 Gallery– After the Break; Grete Marks and Laure Provost looks anew at the work of two artists who were forced to become refugees, who had to flee Nazi Germany and begin their creative pursuits in a new land.
Fleeing the country and re-locating to England, the Bauhaus-trained Grete Marks had to sacrifice her successful pottery factory – all her pottery and paintings that were left behind were either lost or destroyed. Kurt Schwitters, a leading figure of the German avant-garde, fled to Norway prior to being interviewed by the Gestapo, eventually also travelling to England where, selling small paintings for small fees, he eventually died in obscurity in London in 1948.
The works on display in the gallery, predominantly pictures and some surviving pottery by Marks, include stark portraiture of friends made in England, as well as landscape views created in the Lake District and Spain. The images speak of loss, the post-emigration portraits looking out at the viewer with a sense of isolation. The floating colours of Two Boys from 1930 have a life and movement absent from stark portraits made after her arrival in England, whilst the landscapes seem to show a desire to engage with and to find a new home – they speak of new efforts to build a connection, a need to continue to create.
Amidst the mute testimony the exhibition provides, there is a particular poignancy about some of the music in the programme which Minerva Voices will perform at the #EarBox event next week. Gounod’s intimate motet, Da Pacem Domine, ‘Give peace, Lord,’ acquires a greater profundity in the context of the upheaval and terror implicit in the paintings. The medieval Kyrie setting, written by Hildegard von Bingen, sees two creative women looking at one another across the intervening centuries. There is also something especially moving about Brahms’ famous lullaby, Wiegenlied, which bids a moving, poignant farewell;’ Lullaby, good night…Tomorrow morning, if God wills, you will wake once again.’
The new exhibition reawakens the importance of Marks and Schwitters; come and experience the dialogue between art and music for yourself on Friday 12 February; admission free, more details here.
Our new What’s Onseries of events from February to June has gone live this morning, with full details of all the events coming at you over the next six months.
Our annual visits to Canterbury Cathedral sees Minerva Voices in the Crypt next month in Vivaldi’s Gloria, whilst the Chorus and Orchestra come together in Beethoven’s Mass in C and the Symphonie fantastique by Berlioz in March. The first of two concerts from the Cecilian Choir and Sinfonia will recreate the era of Louis XIV in a lunchtime concert celebrating the music of Lully in February, and at the end of March they bring two dramatic choral works by Vivaldi to St Peter’s Methodist Church in Canterbury. You’re also invited to leap aboard the Musical Express! with the Concert and Big Bands later in March, with a steam-driven programme including music by Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Philip Sparke.
The Lunchtime Concert series continues, with music from Total Brass and the Native Oyster Band, and our resident ensemble, CantiaQuorum, brings Wynton Marsalis’ Fiddler’s Tale to the concert-hall on 19 February – the American theme continues in April with a concert by the Chorus and Orchestra including Gershwin’s popular Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Helen Crayford. And the #EarBoxseries exploring links between music and visual art returns to Studio 3 Gallery in two events – choral music from Minerva Voices and a concert by the Flute Choir. The Music Theatre Society takes the stage with some furry friends in a combination of puppetry and show-tunes, and there’s even some musical wizardry as part of ‘A Wonderful Week of Words’ in an informal lunchtime concert featuring music from Harry Potter and other magical pieces. There’s also a brief look ahead to come of the events taking place as part of Summer Music Week in June.
We’re also pleased to welcome many external concerts and events to Colyer-Fergusson over the coming months, including pianists Malcom Binns and Imogen Cooper, the Aurora Orchestra, and many local ensembles; see all that’s to come in our online calendar here, or download a copy of the new brochure here (pdf). Or view the department events at a glance on our digital fridge-door of post-It Notes here.
It’s been a busy few days here in the Music department, a sure sign that the Christmas period is well and truly here.
Last weekend, the Chorus and Symphony Orchestra came together in a seasonal performance of Vaughan Williams’ The First Nowell, brimful of carols familiar and unfamiliar; Shostakovich’s wry Symphony no.9 stepped out in sprightly form in the first half, and the Chorus also turned their hand to international linguistics with the choral interlude in Finlandia. There was a suitably seasonal conviviality to the hubbub backstage, including the taking of many selfies and a competition to see who could fit the largest number of performers into their selfie, a feat won hands-down by clarinettist Rianna Carr, whose prize-winning photo can be seen online somewhere on Twitter…
And last night, Minerva Voices, the new upper-voices choir, filled the Nave of Canterbury Cathedral as part of the annual University Carol Service, including a soaring rendition of the opening verse of Once in Royal David’s City from second-year BioSciences student and Music Scholar, Charlotte Webb.
It doesn’t stop there; tomorrow sees a festive ‘Watch This Space’ on the foyer-stage, and later the Big Band gets its Christmas swing on with its now traditional Christmas Swingalong. ‘Tis the season to be really rather jolly indeed!
With the festive season lurking just around the corner, rehearsals are really beginning to pick up pace here in Colyer-Fergusson.
Last night, the Big Band were in festive form as they cracked open seasonal swing arrangements for their already-sold-out Christmas Swing-along next month. Earlier in the week, Minerva Voices were getting into performance mode as they wielded Carols for Choirs, preparing to sing at the University Carol Service in Canterbury Cathedral in mid-December.
And yesterday afternoon, the hall rang to the sound of buoyant choruses from Handel’s Messiah as the String Sinfonia and Cecilian Choir came together ahead of their ‘A Baroque Christmas’ concert on 4 December.
Even the Flute Choir was getting into the seasonal spirit earlier in the day, with some sparkling carols for the Watch This Space event on the foyer-stage at the end of term. With Chorus and Orchestra also learning Vaughan Williams’ The First Nowell, t is very nearly the season to be jolly…
Because it does. Doesn't it ? Blogging about extra-curricular musical life at the University of Kent.