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Seclusion Discs – Mark Eden

Seclusion Discs – Mark Eden

We have asked our tutors, while they are marooned in isolation, which 8 tracks mean the most to them, so we can share some new listening ideas with you and find out a bit more about them. This week, guitarist Mark Eden, introduces his picks.

Mark is a tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, one half of the Eden Stell Guitar Duo, and one quarter of the Vida Quartet. Mark studied at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the Julian Bream Prize and graduated with the highest performing achievements and the Principal’s Prize. He was awarded grants from the Worshipful Company of Musicians to continue studies in Brussels with Sergio and Odair Assad. Both of his ensembles have achieved international acclaim and continue to perform at some of the most prestigious venues, International guitar and music festivals all over the world. Mark has recorded eight CDs receiving many press reviews, including ‘Editors’ Choice’ in Gramophone and recording of the week in The Observer, and has appeared on ITV, BBC and many European networks.

“It really is too tricky to select just 8 tracks; I love too many pieces of music. To add to the complexity, my choices are just as much about the artists as they are about the composer. Rather like Saffron, I have gone for pieces which have made an impact on me when I was young. I could make a top 50 easily, but here’s my 8 – but before we get underway, I must make a special mention to Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Tallis’ and ‘The Lark Ascending’; Nigel North (lute) playing Bach and Dowland; Schubert’s ‘Unfinished Symphony’; Steven Isserlis playing Bach cello suites; The Jam; Beethoven; Martha Argerich playing anything; Sir András Schiff playing anything; The Police; Debussy; Scarlatti; Chopin; Britten; Prince; Stephen Dodgson; and guitarists Sergio & Odair Assad, Segovia & John Williams to name just a few. Sorry… had to get those out also.”

Track 1: Simon & Garfunkel – For Emily (LIVE)
I should really just say that any of the songs from the Simon & Garfunkel Greatest Hits album (or tape in our case) is my first choice. My first truly memorable musical experience driving down to Cornwall in the mid 70’s with my parents and sisters in an old car and a tape player sitting in the foot well. We just kept playing it over and over… well Cornwall felt further away back then! We all loved the songs and I can still remember all the words and tunes. ‘For Emily’ sums up this hazy hot summer in Mawgan Porth, where our hotel was like something out of “Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday”. Art Garfunkel’s voice is like an angel’s, and Simon’s guitar playing must have made something click inside me. I love the triplets strummed in the guitar part at the highest point of the song.

Track 2: The Smiths – This Charming Man
I was defiantly a closet Smiths fan. I never saw them live but I did have most of their albums and this song sums up my teenage 80’s angst. I love the way the words tell a story which your own imagination can elaborate on.

Track 3: Federico Mompou – Suburbs
This is one of Mompou’s early piano pieces which put him on the map. It also sums up his personality as someone who was a loner, who walked the streets of his beloved Barcelona taking in the atmospheres and life going on around him. “The Street, the guitar and the old horse” is particularly poignant. I guess I’m a sucker for music with a degree of melancholy and nostalgia.

Track 4: Enrique Granados – ‘Dedicatoria’ from Album for the Young (Played by Julian Bream)
This choice has more to do with Bream rather than perhaps the beautifully simple piece by Granados. Before I heard this, I was playing the guitar in a rock band and even though I was doing classical guitar grades, I had no idea what a classical guitarist was. A geography teacher at my high school gave me a tape of Bream playing Granados and Albéniz… my head went BOOM! when I first heard Bream’s tone. Almost every other guitarist I meet today admits that Bream was the reason they wanted to learn to play the guitar, and I guess it is the same for me. To sound this simple and musical is very hard but Bream makes it look easy.

Track 5: Manuel de Falla – Harpsichord Concerto (Played by Kipnis and Boulez)
This piece might be one of the most amazing and quirky piece composed in my opinion. I can’t quite put my finger on why it fascinates me. Neo-classical in style with moments of high Spanish baroque and Stravinsky-like originality. One might not associate Falla with this piece if you didn’t know it was by him; you would usually think of his ‘Nights in the Gardens of Spain’, or ‘El Amor Brujo’, but Falla never felt he needed to repeat himself like other composers. He was notorious for his meticulous approach to composing, which is probably why he didn’t write a huge number of pieces. Falla’s one and only original guitar piece, ‘Homenaje, pour le Tombeau de Claude Debussy’, is only 3 minutes long but Benjamin Britten described it as having 15 mins worth of music. This recording is stunning as the tempos are just right (not too fast) and Boulez brings clarity to the musical detail.

Track 6: John Dowland – Captain Digorie Piper’s Galliard (Played by Julian Bream)
Another Bream choice but this time on the lute, and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for single handedly bringing this ancient instrument back from the annals of history. Bream is a natural contrapuntal player – you can hear the clear polyphony – but he also makes everything sing. He’s a true master and one which Dowland would have greatly admired. Dowland is also a great love of mine. He had a complicated life in troubled times, being a Catholic in England in the 1590s, and probably a spy. He was really the first musical superstar of Europe with his most famous work ‘Lachrimae’ being bootlegged as far afield as Italy. I played this piece for my final recital at the RAM.

Track 7: Maurice Ravel – String Quartet in F major (Played by Quartetto Italiano)
When I first heard this piece I couldn’t believe that someone could compose something so beautiful. I bought this actual recording by Quartetto Italiano as a Birthday present for my father, but I think he never got much of a chance to listen to it as I played it over and over again marvelling at its originality and genius. It sparked a life long passion for Ravel’s music, especially his piano works and his genius orchestration. The pizzicato Scherzo second movement is so funky. Another great moment is the haunting second subject melody from the first movement which Ravel brings back in the recapitulation, but in the major just by changing the cello part… genius!

Track 8: Leoš Janáček – Sinfonietta
This piece was introduced to me by an English teacher at high school and is a great musical description of the current crisis, with musical feelings of struggle and victory over adversity. Janáček’s composition and orchestration is highly original. He didn’t become a serious composer until much later in his life, finding inspiration in a platonic love affair with a younger lady called Kamila Stösslová. Janáček makes me think that nothing is too late to try your hand at. Jackdaws is a great champion of inspiring amateur musicians to try and learn new instruments and music so this choice feels apt. Janáček’s swirling motives, haunting melodies, soaring brass and beating timpani really feels like you have climbed the Mount Everest of music.

Seclusion Discs – Saffron van Zwanenberg

Seclusion Discs – Saffron van Zwanenberg

We have asked our tutors while they are marooned in isolation what 8 tracks mean the most to them, so we can share some new listening ideas with you and find out a bit more about them.

First up is our Artistic Director and tutor on two of our courses for singers, Saffron van Zwanenberg. She says:

“This was really hard! I started by making a list of all of the music I couldn’t live without, but that was far too long, so I tried to narrow it down chronologically based on music that has influenced me in some way throughout my life. Unsurprisingly perhaps, there is quite a lot of opera…

Track 1: “Here’s a How De Do” from The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan (D’Oyly Carte Company)
Not a very cool choice…My grandparents were huge G&S fans and my earliest musical memory is them taking me to see the Mikado, I think I was about 4, I loved it and still do. They also named all of their pets after G&S characters, so Buttercup the dog and Pish Tush the cat were a big part of my childhood.

Track 2: Trio from Norma – Bellini (Caballé, Sutherland and Pavarotti)
I grew up abroad and had limited access to music, so it was mostly through tapes (cassette tapes!) that my parents had brought with us, which included all of the Decca Pavarotti/ Sutherland recordings which I would sing along with great gusto (and very little technique!) and I have loved Joan and Pav all of my life. This was a particular favourite for all of us, so much so that my Dad made it our answerphone message for years.

Track 3: “O Soave Fanciulla” from La bohème – Puccini (Pavarotti & Freni)
When we moved back to my home town of Newcastle I was lucky enough to go to many performances by Scottish Opera who were at the time the main touring company in the North.

I saw all sorts and I remember realising that opera had the ability to move me more than anything else I had experienced. La bohème is just one of those pieces, I know it so well now, I always think it won’t get me, but at the end I am always crying.

Track 4: “Glitter and be Gay” from Candide – Bernstein (Barbara Cook)
This was another of the Scottish Opera productions, and the moment I heard this was pretty much the moment I decided to become an opera singer…not sure what that says!

Track 5: Die Junge Nonne- Schubert (Felicity Lott/ Graham Johnson)
I didn’t get as much exposure to song as I had to opera until I went to music college, and then I discovered Schubert, who had the same effect on me as Puccini, and still does.

Track 6: Final Chorus from Radamisto – Handel
This was such a difficult one to narrow down, assuming I couldn’t just put Handel and everything he wrote! I chose this in the end not because it is one of his greatest moments but because it means something to me. When I was at the RCM we were fortunate at the time to do an opera with the Handel Society every year. In my final year on the opera course we did Radamisto and I can still remember the feeling of happiness singing this chorus at the end having successfully navigated (survived!) the whole piece alongside some great friends.

Track 7: “Tutto nel mondo è burla” from Falstaff – Verdi
For being simply the best ending to an opera ever, and my favourite opera to boot.

Track 8: Overture to Le Nozze di Figaro – Mozart (Sir Colin Davis)
Had to have some Mozart, but again found almost impossible to narrow down. I chose this because it makes me feel such anticipation of exciting things yet to happen and it also marked a massive highlight in my career when I conducted it for one of Jackdaws’ projects, Song Story, involving 5 SEND schools, around 80 young people playing it on a range of things you could blow, shake and whack alongside a group of professional instrumentalists, and it was one of the best feelings I have ever had!

Remote Learning with Jackdaws

Remote Learning with Jackdaws

This is a time of great change for everyone, and the loss of routine and opportunity to engage with others creatively can be difficult to handle. We have adapted two of our projects to help people to access them remotely so you can still engage in creative activities.

Arts Award
Arts Award LogoCalling young people who have lost the routine of taking exams or may be missing their normal creative outlets – let Jackdaws support you to earn a qualification from quarantine! Arts Award is run by Trinity College, London which provides framework for young people to learn and develop their creativity and leadership skills; it is expressive, valuable, accessible for all and does not require any specialist skills.

Register for free and use the schemes of work to complete tasks in your own time. We will offer support and advice where we can. There is a fee of around £35 for the moderation process, run by Trinity College, to gain the final certification (this process is currently not available because of Covid-19 but there is no time limit on completing the award, so can be submitted when they are up and running again).

For more details, visit our Arts Award page

e-Piano Club
Our monthly Piano Club was a place where pianists of all abilities could come together, have coffee and play for each other in a relaxed environment. In place of this, we are starting an e-Piano Club online using Zoom.

Video conferencing will allow people from across the world to come together to play anything from a work in progress to a full piece. All you need is a tablet, smartphone or computer, and a piano. Details of the meeting will be sent out each week.

Visit our e-Piano Club webpage for more details.

Covid-19 statement

Covid-19 statement

We are of course monitoring and are well aware of the rapidly evolving situation regarding Covid 19, and the new guidance issued by the Government.

Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff, participants and colleagues. We had already taken steps to reschedule/amend some of our work and are continuing to do so. If you are a participant, tutor or school directly affected by this you will have received or very shortly be receiving some information about what this means for you.

This is a very challenging time and will have a serious impact on the arts in general and on Jackdaws. If you are able to support us by not asking for refunds/ making a donation as we navigate these unprecedented waters we would be hugely grateful.

Look after yourselves and we will be doing everything we can to continue to bring music to life through these extraordinary times.

Saffron van Zwanenberg
Artistic Director

Year of Bassoon with the Genovia Quartet

Year of Bassoon with the Genovia Quartet

Genovia at Old Cleeve School

For the past week, Jackdaws have been on the road with the Genovia Bassoon Quartet visiting schools and music groups across the whole of Somerset. The four Bassoonists, who are based in Glasgow and have travelled to Somerset for the project, are giving a whole-school concert at every school, and workshops for smaller groups of instrumental players. Players from the workshops will all come together in March and perform en masse at the Grand Finale Concert alongside Genovia at Frome’s Cheese & Grain.

6 days, 19 concerts in schools, over 200 children in workshops, and 4 bassoons!

Genovia Quartet said, “We are so grateful to Jackdaws for inviting us to be a part of The Year of Bassoon 2020. We have been fortunate to work with hundreds of talented young musicians from groups of 30 ukeleles to string sections, brass bands and percussion ensembles. It has been a real privilege to introduce the bassoon to so many through interactive music making and fun activities, and we hope we have inspired them as much as they have us.

“We are so looking forward to returning on 24 March for our Grand Finale Performance at the Cheese & Grain! Thank you to Jackdaws and all of Somerset for making Genovia Quartet feel so welcome!”

The Genovia Bassoon QuartetJackdaws award-winning project, The Year of… is now in its eighth year, and introduces children to a different instrument or chamber ensemble each time. Starting in 2012 with the Carducci String Quartet, we have also worked with percussionist Joby Burgess, the Onyx Brass Quintet, the Eden Stell Guitar Duo and international recorder virtuosos Anna Stegmann and Tabea Debus.

In 2017, the project was named the Best Classical Music Education Initiative by the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence.

The Genovia Quartet is a dynamic young bassoon ensemble formed of four graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. From their first performance together in 2015, this quartet has had a strong musical bond and close friendship which translates into exciting and spirited performances. Their desire to share their fun together with their audiences is obvious and is helping the group establish its reputation both in the UK and abroad.

Sound Foundation Somerset LogoThe Year of Bassoon is sponsored by Sound Foundation Somerset.

Music for 0-5s at Jackdaws

Music for 0-5s at Jackdaws

Music SessionsJackdaws are running a series of fun and educational music classes for babies and toddlers, using singing games, movement and rhymes to inspire a lifelong love of music.

Our simple songs, singing games and rhymes will introduce musical concepts like tempo, dynamics, rhythm and pitch, giving parents and carers ways to connect, encourage creativity and musically play with their under 5s.

Starting after Easter, sessions run weekly at Jackdaws in Great Elm from Monday 20th April, 10-11am with cafe on site and free parking. In our beautiful setting at Jackdaws’ beautiful Lehane Wishart garden studio overlooking the Rose Garden with a large outside area to play and learn in, we’ll feel close to nature as we sing and dance together, led by Eliza Wylie.

The Jackdaws cafe will also be open for tea, coffee and cake.

Eliza WylieEliza has been teaching music and dance to people of all ages since 2002. Her groups use a mixture of unaccompanied songs and rhymes, some of which will be familiar, and some will be new. As well as using our voices we also do a lot of moving; wiggling, swishing through the air, bouncing and clapping so children and parents quickly understand how to listen for and move to the beat. Our aim is for our children to start singing, continue singing, and never to develop a complex about not being able to sing. 
We use no backing tracks, and songs are easy to learn and sing; simple enough for toddlers to take home and become part of their play and musical learning.
Sessions are £6 drop in, or £45 for the series of 9 (£5 per session – a saving of 17%). For more information and online book visit The Eggs Music Page
Celebrate Christmas at our Concert by Candlelight

Celebrate Christmas at our Concert by Candlelight

Celebrate Christmas with Jackdaws

SOLD OUT! Sorry!
Our annual Christmas concert takes place on Wednesday 18 December at 6:30pm in the beautiful church of St Mary Magdalene, Great Elm, and we invite you to join us.

Mince Pies by Neil Cummings https://www.flickr.com/photos/chanceprojects/Featuring performances from…

• Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg
• Baritone Owain Browne *JUST ANNOUNCED*
• Jackdaws Songbirds
• Jack’s Music Club
• Congregational Carols
• To the piano accompaniment of Colin Hunt

With Mulled wine and mince pies, this charming evening celebration reflects all the faces of Jackdaws musical activities.

All seating is unreserved. The concert should last approximately 2 hours.

Tickets
SOLD OUT!

Wednesday 18 December, 6:30pm (doors open 6pm)
St Mary Magdalene Church, Great Elm

Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

During the Winners’ announcement, Sir John Tomlinson, one of the judges, addressed the finalists and said of their recitals, “Thank you for eight excellent performances. You have given us a lot of pleasure and it was difficult reaching a decision.” Philip Fowke, who had also been judging, also described his “great pleasure” at listening to the afternoon of performances.

The Winners of the 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are:
First Place
Harriet Burns, Soprano

Second Place
Annabel Kennedy, Mezzo-Soprano

Third Place
Caroline Taylor, Soprano

Accompanist Prize
Ana Manastireanu, playing for Annabel Kennedy

Audience Prize
Rebecca Leggett, Mezzo-Soprano

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards: 2019 Finalists

The final will be held at the Wigmore Hall, Thursday 14 November, 1-4pm. Adjudicated by Sir John Tomlinson, Emma Bell, Michael Dussek and Chaired by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg.

One Day Courses this Autumn

One Day Courses this Autumn

Our One Day Courses are open to musicians and non-musicians of all abilities. Running from 10:30am – 4pm, the price includes lunch and tuition, and welcome coffee from 10am. They give the same high-quality tuition you expect at Jackdaws, without taking up a whole weekend.

Lehane-Wishart Studio at JackdawsSinging for the Over Fifties
Penny Jenkins
Sat 30 November

When we ensure that our voices are used correctly, we can continue to enjoy all the benefits that singing brings to our lives as we get older. Penny’s inspirational course is for singers of all abilities, with no upper age limit!
Read more…

Healing with the Voice
Anne Bourne
Sun 1 December

Opera Singer, Teacher and Sound Healer – Anne Bourne gives an introduction to the healing power of your voice. She will encourage you to find your true voice and unlock its healing potential to transform mind, body and spirit. Bring a yoga mat/blanket and notepad.
Read more…

One Day Courses cost £45, including lunch and refreshments.

Understanding Your Voice
Jess Walker

Sat 7 December

With key breathing and vocal exercises to help you develop a healthy and more secure vocal technique, Voice coach Jessica Walker will help you to increase your confidence as a singer and get the most out of your voice.
Read more…

From Panic to Poise
Wendy Skeen
Sun 8 December

Performing can be a deeply enriching experience, yet many musicians experience anxiety when performing in public. Wendy will introduce you to practical strategies drawn from Cognitive Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help manage this anxiety.
Read more…

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