Articles tagged with: Handel

Seclusion Discs – Karolyn Curle

Seclusion Discs – Karolyn Curle

We have asked our friends and 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, Office Manager Karolyn Curle, introduces her picks.

Our Office Manager, Karolyn, joined the Jackdaws team in May 2012 having previously worked at the Merlin Theatre in Frome as the Front of House Manager. If you have booked on to a Jackdaws course or event in the last eight years, chances are that you have emailed or spoken to Karolyn personally.

“I’ve really enjoyed delving through my record collection and musical memory for this piece. Music has always played an important part in my life, and although I’m not a great musician I appreciate the ways in which it has influenced and empowered me. My love of singing in choirs has brought me a lot of pleasure, particularly in recent years, and created some wonderful friendships along the way”

Track One: Abba – Dancing Queen
There was always music playing at home and in the car during my childhood, but this was the first song that made me aware that music could make me ‘feel’ something. The first notes take me right back to my first year at school and a disco in the main hall; the music embraces me and I’m filled with the joy of the moment, it still makes me smile!

Track Two: Vivaldi – ‘Gloria in excelsis’, Gloria
I enjoyed and embraced all musical opportunities at school and was fortunate to have some wonderful teachers. My time at the small village Primary School was filled with recorder lessons and ensemble groups and lots of singing; choirs, assemblies and church services. However, my favourite activity was the weekly BBC ‘Singing Together’ radio broadcast – according to my teacher, Miss Kynaston, I was an enthusiastic member of the class!

At Secondary School I learned piano and clarinet, and continued to enjoy singing in choirs and school productions. The highlight was a performance of Vivaldi ‘Gloria’ under the direction of Head of Music, Ruth Phillips, in a local church. This was my first experience of singing choral music with a large group, as an alto in the chorus, the opening bars still fill me with that sense of nervous excitement.

Track Three: Fairground Attraction – Allelujah
Through my teens I loved having a record player in my room, buying new vinyl with money from my Saturday job at the Roman Baths. I was drawn to music with a folk/roots base and female singers in particular. It was hard to narrow down the choice here, in the end, Eddi Reader won. My choice is not the wonderfully popular ‘Perfect’, still heard on tv and radio today, but the more wistful ‘Allelujah’ which brings the album to a close. I love the dreamy, wistful quality of this waltz, the sweeping range of the vocals and the positive and uplifting lyrics.

Track Four: Oysterband – Love Vigilantes
I had great fun during my ‘year out’ working at Our Price in Bath, where I met so many amazing people who introduced me to an even wider range of music. There were two branches of Our Price in Bath at that time – the cool shop was on Union Street, where new releases and cutting edge sounds filled two floors and then there was the more sedate branch in old Southgate shopping centre, that’s where I worked! We sold an awful lot of Phil Collins and Eric Clapton I seem to remember…

This track is a favourite find from that year and blends my love of folk with a new discovery of Indie; an Oysterband arrangement of a New Order track.

Track Five: The Cranberries – Dreams
I studied English and Drama at Worcester College of Higher Education; Delores O’Riordan and her band provided the soundtrack for my final year and Dissertation writing! Having heard ‘Dreams’ on the radio (John Peel show, I think) I eagerly anticipated the album, which I bought on cassette tape (so that I could also play it in my car, of course!) the day it was released. I played it over and over, singing along with these anthems which seemed to sum up the angst I was feeling at the time.

‘Oh, my life is changing every day, in every possible way’.

Track Six: Hayseed Dixie – Holiday
Fast forward a few years, several house moves, a wedding and two children later and we’re on the road on family camping trips with Hayseed Dixie on the car i-pod. This song reminds me of those days, driving down through France with the car/trailer/van/bikes all packed up, to our favourite spot in the Loire, Le Chant D’Oiseau. Although ‘Holiday’ isn’t actually about a holiday it’s sweeping fiddle and chirpy banjo & mandolin never fail to remind me of family time and these journeys. Hayseed Dixie are an incredibly talented bunch of musicians, I’ve seen them live a few times and they never fail to entertain.

Track Seven: Handel – ‘His Yoke Is Easy’, from ‘Messiah’
This is one of my favourite choruses to sing, especially the way in which the music starts to sweep along towards the end, with longer notes and beautiful harmonies.
My Mum and I joined the choir of the first Frome Voices project in 2012, to rehearse and perform Handel’s ‘Messiah’. It was wonderfully uplifting and challenging at a time when I needed the support of music in my life, having recently been made redundant from my job at the Merlin Theatre due to cuts in Arts funding. Little did I know that the job at Jackdaws was just around the corner…

In January this year, Frome Voices again chose Messiah, and I once again found myself in the community of altos, making new friends and enjoying the sheer pleasure of singing the score. However, coronavirus restrictions arrived; rehearsals were stopped and the performance remains postponed, but this definitely isn’t the end of my journey with Frome Voices.

Track Eight: Johnny Flynn – Treasure
This song is the title music for the tv series ‘Detectorists’, one of my favourite programmes; currently available on i-player if you’ve not yet experienced it’s quiet charm. For me, this song evokes a feeling of appreciation for seeing the beauty in our surroundings and the small pleasures to be found in nature. I’m missing being at Jackdaws in my riverside office, but have been taking walks along the riverpath locally in Frome instead, listening and watching the spring unfurl day by day.

I’ve been a member of Jackdaws Songbirds community choir since 2007. Caroline Radcliffe our choir leader arranged ‘Treasure’ for us a few years ago, it was a delight to sing!

‘I heard the calls of all the songbirds, they sang all the wrong words’

Seclusion discs – Stephen Marquiss

Seclusion discs – Stephen Marquiss

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, pianist Stephen Marquiss, introduces his picks.

Stephen was born in Bath, England and was educated at Wells Cathedral School, a specialist music school, and then at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he gained an MA in Music. During his time at Cambridge, Stephen travelled to New York to study with Sophia Rosoff, a pioneering teacher and former student of Abby Whiteside. This sowed seeds that led eventually to the creation of Piano Portals, over a decade later.

“I love lists and questionnaires that offer a glimpse into someone’s personality, history and influences. I could easily have included only piano and 19th-century orchestral music. But I feel compelled to shoehorn in a couple of other influential genres. I honestly don’t listen to a lot of music these days – I’d much rather spend all my time playing it – but tracks like these have been sometime obsessions.”

Track 1: Mendelssohn – Hebrides Overture (Berlin Philharmonic, Herbert Von Karajan)
As child, I loved to conduct an orchestra formed of my cuddly toys. Their repertoire was limited – and supplied by my trusty Toshiba – chiefly to The Christmas Tape, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and this overture. It features the world’s greatest antecedent and consequent phrases (between strings and brass), delivered with appropriate gusto on this recording.

Track 2: Schumann – Piano Concerto, First Movement (Played by Murray Perahia, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis)
My favourite recording (paired with the Grieg concerto), growing up. Perahia was my pianistic hero. It was a toss-up between this and his recording of Brahms’s Third Piano Sonata. He’s the only pianist I’ve heard to play the repeated phrases in the animato section as delicious echoes, which still takes my breath away every time.

Track 3: Handel – ‘But who may abide’ from The Messiah (Played by Charles Brett, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, Sir John Eliot Gardiner)
This album was the soundtrack to most of my third year at uni. I had to include one conducted by Gardiner. For me, he’s unrivalled as an interpreter. I’m no longer religious, but I find the pathos and then fury of the singing and playing on this track utterly ravishing.

Track 4: Bruckner – Symphony No. 7, First Movement (Played by Berlin Philharmonic, Daniel Barenboim)
Barenboim had long been another of my piano heroes. Then I discovered Barenboim the conductor, through this Bruckner Symphony, and the sheer majesty of the epic first phrase in the cellos and violas (surely one of the longest in the repertoire) stopped me in my tracks. I bought as many of his Bruckner CDs as I could afford (at £5 each) in the old-skool record shop behind my college halls of residence.

Track 5: Schumann – Symphony No. 2, First Movement (Played by Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein)
The way this movement emerges from slow introduction to vigorous allegro is rivalled only by Schubert’s 9th Symphony and Beethoven’s 4th, in my book. This track showcases Bernstein – force of nature, conductor, presenter and composer. It also brings to mind Schumann’s struggles with expressing himself in the symphonic genre in the shadow of Beethoven.

Track 6: Prokofiev – Piano Sonata No. 3 (Played by Gary Graffman)
As well as being a barnstormer of a piece – by turns bubbly, dark and achingly tender – it reminds me of one of the few childhood masterclasses I remember fondly, given by Tamás Ungár, in which he drew attention to how everything is a melody in Prokofiev. It also brings to mind Gary Graffman’s well-documented struggles with injury, which resonates with my own journey – though quite different in its details – of studying with Sophia Rosoff and developing Piano Portals.

Track 7: Jim Moray – Horkstow Grange
I simply had to include some folk – it’s close to my new religion. It helped me to discover my ‘voice’ as (so far, an amateur) singer and songwriter. Playing my own folk song arrangements helped to kickstart my journey towards fluent, expressive piano technique and Piano Portals. This a cappella version of a poignant story invokes a tear every time.

Track 8: House Avengers – Something Special
It’s impossible to choose just one EDM track (Electronic Dance Music), as I love so many aspects of the genre. This reminds me of driving around central London one evening, many years ago, cocooned in my old yellow car, the outside world blurring like a time-lapse. My love of EDM has massively influenced my own piano compositions.

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!

The Winners of the 2018 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

The Winners of the 2018 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Following a close final at the Wigmore Hall this afternoon, Jackdaws are delighted to announce the winners of the 26th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards:

MLVA2018First Prize
James Atkinson, Baritone

Second Prize
Charlotte Bowden, Soprano

Third Prize
Verity Wingate, Soprano

Accompanist Prize
Michael Pandya, playing for Charlotte Bowden

Audience Prize
Charlotte Bowden, Soprano

The judges – Amanda Roocroft, Patricia Bardon, Alisdair Hogarth and Saffron van Zwanenberg – said this has been the finest year for interpretations of Peter Wishart’s music.

All finalists were required to present a programme consisting of four items, two own choice items in addition to one song by each of the two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were founded.

The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of supported from The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, AIMS, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, and Geoffrey & Margaret Batten. The Audience Prize was supported by the Jackdaws Trustees.

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016

Winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 216

L to R: Saffron van Zwanenberg, Leo Nicholson (Accomp Prize), Holly Marie Bingham (2nd Prize), Nardus Williams (1st & Audience Prizes), Rosemary Joshua, Sam Carl (3rd Prize), Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson

The winners of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016:
First Prize
Nardus Williams, Soprano

Second Prize
Holly Marie Bingham, Mezzo-Soprano

Third Prize
Sam Carl, Bass

Accompanist Prize
Leo Nicholson

Audience Prize
Nardus Williams, Soprano

The judges, Rosemary Joshua, Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson and Saffron van Zwanenberg were delighted with the standard and commended all who took part.

All finalists were required to present a programme consisting of four items, two own choice items in addition to one song by each of the two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were started.

The 2016 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of the generous support from The Mercers’ Company, The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Frome Voices and the Jackdaws Trustees.

 


 

Winner of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award 2016 - Nardus Williams, SopranoNardus Williams is a young soprano currently studying on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Yvonne Kenny, having previously studied with Lillian Watson and David Thomas. She is also mentored by Matthew Rose.

Recent performances include Messiah with the OSJ under John Lubbock at King’s Place and St John’s Smith Sqaure, Nitocris in Handel’s Belshazzar under Nicholas Kraemer, Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with the Kingfisher Sinfonia, and a number of recitals at St John’s Smith Square during their 2015/16 season. She was also a member of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2016.

A Park Lane Group Artist since 2015, Nardus will be giving a recital at the Wigmore Hall next year. She is also a Samling Artist, and performed in their showcase at The Sage, Gateshead earlier in 2016.

In 2017 Nardus will be performing the role of Donna Elvira at Opera Holland Park as a Christine Collins Young Artist.

She is generously supported by The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, and the Winship Foundation. Previous Scholarships include Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Help Musicians Maidment Scholarship and Helen Roll Charitable Trust.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016: Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016: Finalists Announced

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

Following two days of auditions on the 8th and 9th October, we present, with great excitement, the singers competing in the iconic Wigmore Hall at the finals of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2016:

David Ireland, Bass-Baritone accompanied by Ed Whitehead

Claire Barnett Jones, Mezzo-Soprano accompanied by Dylan Perez

Sung Kyu Choi, Baritone accompanied by Seungwon Lee

Nardus Williams, Soprano accompanied by Dylan Perez

Sam Carl, Bass accompanied by Leo Nicholson

Catriona Hewitson, Soprano accompanied by Paul McKenzie

Malachy Frame, Baritone accompanied by Liam Crangle

Holly Marie Bingham, Mezzo-Soprano accompanied by Kaoru Wada

The winner will be decided by the panel of four judges:
Rosemary Joshua
Joan Rodgers
Julian Jacobson
chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg

All finalists are required to present a programme consisting of four items. There are two set composers; Handel, of whose music Maureen Lehane was a renowned interpreter, and Peter Wishart, her late husband in whose memory the awards were started.

The 2016 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards are possible because of the generous support from The Mercers’ Company, The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall Emerging Artists, Frome Voices and the Jackdaws Trustees.

The final takes place on Friday 28 October at 1pm, Wigmore Hall. We hope to see you there.

Handel at Jackdaws

Handel at Jackdaws

Jackdaws has always had a special relationship with the music of Handel. Our founder, Maureen Lehane, was a renowned Handel interpreter whose performances were legendary and the relationship continues this March, when Handelian soprano Rosa Mannion returns to Jackdaws to lead her course on the arias of the great composer. We have been getting in the mood for the weekend with a selection of our favourite videos…

[youtube id=”HvhyIFhIKGE” width=”620″ height=”360″]
Falsa imagine” is sung by Teofane in the first act of Ottone, when she is deceived by Adelberto at their first meeting into thinking he is Ottone, the man she is to marry. Film clip from “A Night with Handel” on Channel 4 DVD.

 

[youtube id=”tBV0o3TW_n4″ width=”620″ height=”360″]
In the second act of Orlando, Dorinda sings “Se Mi Rivolgo al Prato” to the title character of how she sees the face of Medoro everywhere, the warrior with whom she is in love. From the recording with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie.

Maureen Lehane Finalists 2014

Maureen Lehane Finalists 2014

Following two days of preliminary auditions in London on the 25th and 26th October, the finalists of the Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2014 are…

wigmore-hallEuros Campbell, Baritone (26)
Accompanied by Susan Holmes (24)

Kate Howden, Mezzo-soprano (25)
Accompanied by Frederick Brown (25)

Claire Lees, Soprano (27)
Accompanied by Juliane Gallant (28)

Heather Lowe, Mezzo-soprano (25)
Official Accompanist – Richard Shaw

Angharad Lyddon, Contralto (26)
Accompanied by Finnegan Downie-Dear (24)

Henry Neill, Baritone (25)
Accompanied by Frederick Brown (25)

Timothy Nelson, Baritone (27)
Accompanied by Ian Tindale (24)

Patrick Terry, Counter Tenor (23)
Accompanied by Rebecca Taylor (28)

Music will of course include songs by Peter Wishart and arias by Handel, in addition to Schubert, Ireland, Wolf, Elgar, Fauré, Mahler, Schumann, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Schoenberg.

The standard, once again, is exceedingly high. We are in for an exceptional afternoon of music making, with a balanced programme of four male and four female competitors presenting a range of voices.

Tickets are still available from the Wigmore Hall box office.

OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

We are delighted that our OperaPLUS performances of Handel’s opera Semele were a fantastic success. The performances, in Frome’s Cheese & Grain on Thursday 2nd and at Dulverton Middle School on Friday 3rd May saw Jackdaws Young Artists performing the lead roles supported by a chorus of eager children from local schools.

The OperaPLUS project is an intensive course aimed at Young Artists about to embark on their professional careers. It encompasses a full performance of an opera and gives valuable additional training and opportunity to experience wider music education by collaborating with at least three local schools who feature in the performance and take part in workshops. It runs annually at Jackdaws, to the delight of local parents and audiences, who treasure the unique opportunity to see their children performing in an opera.

My son really enjoyed taking part… a great hit.

OperaPLUS: Handel's Semele

Jassy Husk as Handel’s Semele, Jackdaws OperaPLUS 2013

OperaPLUS 2013 concludes this weekend with the final performance at Abingdon’s Unicorn Theatre on Sunday.

In 2012, the OperaPLUS performance concluded with a sold out production of Cinderella, and the project will return in May 2014 with Rossini’s Barber of Saville.

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