Articles tagged with: VIDA Guitar Quartet

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.

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – A Year in Review

2016 – what a year it was. We say it every year, but this one really was the busiest we’ve ever known in Great Elm. We welcomed 400 participants on our weekend courses, a third of whom were new to Jackdaws; we delivered award-winning projects across Somerset and appointed our first ever Artists in Residence – the VIDA Guitar Quartet.

Our Projects

Credit Music Teacher Awards 2016

L to R: Margherita Taylor (Classic FM Presenter), René Bloice-Sanders (Company Member), Audrey Hyland (Music Director), Saffron van Zwanenberg (Director) and Sam Taylor (Classic FM Managing Editor). Credit: Music Teacher Awards 2016

The first success of the year was in February, when we attended the Gala Dinner of the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, as our large-scale project OperaPLUS had been nominated for the Best Classical Music Education Initiative of 2015. We were absolutely delighted to hear OperaPLUS announced as the winners by Margherita Taylor, presenter on ClassicFM, who sponsored the prize. The 2016 OperaPLUS project was then a huge success in April; Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg directed five fun-filled performances of Donizetti’s The Love Potion with 18 schools across Somerset packed with acting, singing and segways!

On Tuesday 22 March, the Gelachter Wind Trio performed alongside over 100 children from 12 schools across Somerset in the Grand Finale concert of the Year of the Reed project at the Cheese & Grain Frome. They performed arrangements of music by composers from Duke Ellington to Tchaikovsky interspersed with performances from the Gelachter Trio in the hour long concert.

Song Story 2016 was an exciting and fresh look at Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons concertos. Composer William Carslake, together with Violinist Flora Curzon and Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg investigated this work with four SEN Somerset schools – Elmwood, Avalon, Critchill and Selworthy. Each school focused on one season, working with the team and using the sonnets which inspired Vivaldi’s original composition, to create their own music and play and sing along with Vivaldi’s original score. There was a spectacular final performance of “Saving Earth” on Wednesday 29 June at Elmwood & Robert Blake Science College, Bridgwater. The students updated the story to tell of the fight against global warming and how we are saving earth from mankind’s thoughtlessness; a modern retelling which was really effective. It was a truly joyful experience for all involved.

Since September, Jack’s Music Club has been enjoying a new term of varied experiences and sound worlds. We have a whole new intake of keen young musicians attending each week, who gave two fantastic performances at the Jackdaws Christmas Concert, celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven (the concert happened to take place on 16 December, the maestro’s birthday). Jackdaws is now also an Arts Award centre and Jack’s members have the opportunity to earn a qualification during their usual weekly session.

We have continued to develop our work with the Music Hub for Somerset, taking a very active part in the Singing Strategy for Somerset schools, offering a mixed-programme of teacher training and in-school sessions, and the first Somerset Schools Singing Festival, which took place in the Summer term.

Caecilia AndriessenSaying ‘Vaarwel’

In May, we said a very sad farewell to Caecilia Andriessen, who retired. Caecilia was one of the very first tutors at Jackdaws and has been leading her unique “Pianos for All” ensemble course for the last 21 years, making the trip over from The Hague with several faithful students every year since 1995. The Pianos for All weekend involved groups of pianists playing music arranged for two, three and four pianos! We will miss this very special and joyful part of our annual calendar.

Saying ‘Hello’ to our Artists in Residence

In the Summer, the VIDA Guitar Quartet became the first Jackdaws Artists in Residence. It is the first time that such an appointment has been made by Jackdaws, and we are looking forward to unveiling future plans and discovering how the new relationship will bear fruit.

VIDA Concert at Jackdaws in December 2016VIDA celebrated this announcement with a fundraising concert on Saturday 3 December; their last before heading off on tour to the United States at the beginning of 2017. The concert raised important funds for Jackdaws and was a great treat for the local community.

The VIDA Quartet have a strong association with Jackdaws through the longstanding relationship between two members, Mark Eden and Christopher Stell (who also perform as the Eden Stell Guitar Duo). The Duo have been teaching at Jackdaws for more than 20 years and, as Artists in Residence, the Quartet will be ambassadors for Jackdaws in the UK and around the world.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards

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 2016 Vocal Awards continued with the same high standards set in previous years. This year it was Nardus Williams, a young soprano currently studying at the Guildhall with Yvonne Kenny, who took First Place as well as the Audience Prize. The Judges – Rosemary Joshua, Joan Rodgers, Julian Jacobson, chaired by Saffron van Zwanenberg – were very impressed with her performance.

We are all looking forward to the Vocal Awards 2017, which will be the 25th year of the competition. Keep your eyes peeled for details of how we are going to celebrate this significant milestone, which kickstarts the celebrations for Jackdaws 25th anniversary in 2018.

Two Great Losses

Sadly, we lost two great friends in 2016. The first was very early in the year when we heard of loss of tutor Kenneth van Barthold on 16 February. He was 88 years old and had been giving courses at Jackdaws for many years. An exceptional man, his obituary in the Telegraph shows just how respected he was.

sarah-wheeler-at-maureen-memorial-concertThen, in April, we received news that a long-time supporter of Jackdaws, Sarah Wheeler, had also passed away. She was a supporter of Jackdaws from the beginning, and a long time friend of Maureen. Sarah led the fundraising campaign that allowed us to buy our building, and when Maureen passed away in 2010, it was she who helped to organise the concert in her memory. She was a great lover of art and music and was a passionate believer in the healing power of both. As a result, she founded the Mental Fight Club and later the Dragon Cafe to share the benefit of both with others. She will be very sadly missed in Great Elm.

New Technology

We ended the year by releasing a video about our weekend courses. Produced by Tambrisk pictures, the four-minute video showcases our facilities and surroundings whilst answering questions a new-comer might have about their first visit to a Jackdaws music course. Watch the video here…

The Staff and Trustsees at Jackdaws want to thank all friends, supporters, colleagues and organisations who have helped us this year including;
Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation, Rosemary Bugden Trust, the Mercers’ Trust, the Mackintosh Foundation, Frome Voices, Cooper Hall Foundation.

Grants were also received from a number of local councils and funding bodies;
Arts Council England, Sound Foundation Somerset, Frome Town Council, South Somerset District Council.

We are also extremely grateful to the number of individuals who have made donations both large and small, and to Friends of Jackdaws, whose regular contributions ensure that Jackdaws can continue to facilitate the joy of music participation for everyone.

If you would like to make a donation to Jackdaws, you can do so by becoming a Friend, or making a one-off donation. For more information read Supporting Jackdaws.

VIDA Quartet announce Fundraising Concert

VIDA Quartet announce Fundraising Concert

The VIDA Guitar Quartet has announced a Fundraising Concert on Saturday 3 December for Jackdaws Music Eduation Trust to celebrate their new appointment as Artists in Residence at the Somerset based Education centre.

The concert, starting at 6:30pm, will feature the Quartet performing a selection of music composed or arranged for four acoustic guitars ahead of their Concert Tour in the USA at the start of 2017. Featuring English composers Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Peter Warlock and Timothy Bowers alongside J.S. Bach, Brahms, Rossini and Phillip Houghton, the concert is sure to have something for everyone.

exquisite tonal and dynamic control, super-tight ensemble and unerring musical instinct. Thereʼs only one word for it: magicGramophone

The VIDA Guitar Quartet were named as Jackdaws Artists in Residence earlier this year. The Quartet have a strong association with Jackdaws through the longstanding relationship between two members, Mark Eden and Christopher Stell (who also form the Eden Stell Guitar Duo), and the Trust. The Eden Stell Duo have been teaching at Jackdaws for more than 20 years. As Artists in Residence, the Quartet will be ambassadors for Jackdaws in the UK and around the world.

Through our shared values and strong belief in music education for all, Jackdaws and the Vida Quartet will work together to promote their common goals and the Quartet will contribute to Jackdaws award winning programme of music education events through masterclass and workshop opportunities and mentoring of young people involved in our projects.

We will also look for any opportunities to bring the Quartets performances to our local community and to that end, we are thrilled they have offered to celebrate their residency with this fundraising concert. Tickets are strictly limited for this intimate concert so it is important to book early.


 

VIDA Quartet 3 December 2016VIDA Guitar Quartet
Saturday 3 December, 6:30pm
at Jackdaws

The VIDA Guitar Quartet celebrate their appointment as Jackdaws Artists in Residence with this fundraising concert in the Jackdaws studio. Beginning at 6:30pm, repertoire will include Vaughan-Williams, Warlock, Bach, Brahms and Rossini arranged for four guitars.

Tickets
£12 in advance
£15 on the door
From 01373 812383
or music@jackdaws.org

www.vidagq.com
VIDA are D’Addario string classical artists.

Search for a Course

Archives