2014 Festival Newsletter
Issue 7, February 2014
LUFTHANSA FESTIVAL OF BAROQUE MUSIC
The Year 1714
16 - 24 May 2014
'The Pleasant Companion'
In the first of two Festival concerts at St Peter's Eaton Square, German virtuoso recorder player Dorothee Oberlinger and harpsichordist Peter Kofler explore music that gentlemen-amateurs played, for their own and their friends' amusement, in late Stuart and early Georgian London. Here, Dorothee Oberlinger introduces their choice of repertoire:
'The Pleasant Companion' was the title of a tutorial on the recorder published in London in 1673. At that time, the recorder and the flageolet were in fashion and played by many amateurs in England. For example, Samuel Pepys remarked in his famous diary that after he had heard the recorder in a theatre in London, he was so enchanted he started to learn it!
In our recital, the opening sonata by Andrew Parcham follows the idea of a 'masque', where the 'affetti' (human passions or 'affects') change suddenly within very different theatrical scenes. Later in the programme, the art of 'Division' - playing or improvising upon a ground bass, which was an English tradition - is represented by an arrangement for recorder and harpsichord of Henry Purcell's famous Ground in E for harpsichord. Similarly, the 'Division Flute' (a collection published in the early 18th century) contains some beautiful examples of this tradition, such as the 'Ground by Mr. Finger', a German composer who, like Handel, made London his home. Another German, Johann Christian Schickhard, published his Sonatas for recorder, Op.30, in London, subtitling them 'Alphabeth de la musique', because they covered all the keys!
Arcangelo Corelli became one of the most famous musicians in the musical 'melting-pot' of the capital city, where different national styles came together, and where composers from foreign countries exercised considerable influence, especially those from France and Italy. It became à la mode to improvise on Corelli's Sonatas Op.5, much as in our days jazz players improvise on jazz standards.
John Walsh edited violin music for the recorder, including Corelli's Sonata Op.5 No.3, with delightful ornaments by an anonymous 'eminent master' (perhaps Johann Christoph Pez, one of Corelli's pupils). Indeed, arrangements of famous pieces for instruments not necessarily envisaged by their composers were ubiquitous, because amateurs wanted to play the most famous music of their time on the instruments they had learned at home. William Babell, who played the harpsichord in Handel's orchestra in the early 1700s, shrewdly made an arrangement for solo harpsichord of music from Handel's Rinaldo, which was the first Italian-language opera written for the London stage.
Another good friend and colleague of Handel's was the great Georg Phillip Telemann. They corresponded frequently between Hamburg and London and shared a passion for tulips! Like Handel, Telemann was a European star of his time, and was also very popular in London. So we will end our recital with Telemann's Methodical Sonata in E.
You can hear Dorothee Oberlinger and Peter Kofler perform 'The Pleasant Companion' at 4pm on Saturday 17th May at St Peter's Eaton Square. More information
THIRTY GLORIOUS YEARS
To celebrate the Festival's 30th Anniversary, members of the Festival team reflect on what the Festival means to them. Here our webmaster Alison Fox records her impressions and feelings about working for the Festival:
Without wishing to make anyone feel old, it's amazing to think that the Festival has been going since I was just a child! I'm not sure if, when it all started in 1984, I would even have been aware of the likes of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, and of course we were a long way from terms like internet, website, social media and online booking being part of anyone's vocabulary.
How times change! Fast-forward 30 years and here I am, well aware of the Bachs and their contemporaries and in my 5th year of looking after the Festival website, which even in that short time has changed and grown as we've embraced multimedia and social media.
One of the things I enjoy about working for the Festival is that despite our physical distance (we all work separately in different locations) it still feels and operates like a very close-knit team. As each new Festival year kicks off and we progress towards booking opening and the Festival itself, rarely a day goes by without multiple communications with the rest of the team, be it tweaks to the website, newsletters to be published, posts for social media, updates on artists and programmes, or simply just bouncing new ideas around.
Of course the culmination of all this work is the Festival itself and what a privilege to be part of it. Unfortunately with young children at home I don't get to as many of the performances as I would like, but being able to enjoy the Westminster Abbey concerts with the wonderful Abbey Choir, St James's Baroque and a line-up of top soloists is always a treat. And more than anything, seeing so many people coming from places far and wide with a shared love and appreciation of Baroque music and a plan to enjoy a performance of it that evening, it's nice to be a part of the team that makes it all happen.
For your further interest...
The Classical Opera Company
Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito
Thursday 13 March 2014, 7.30pm
Mozart's magnificent late opera will be brought to life by a stunning cast featuring Sarah-Jane Brandon, Andrew Kennedy and Helen Sherman. A thrilling tale of desire and revenge, Mozart himself called the work an 'opera vera' - a 'true' opera - and his skill in creating dynamic and psychologically insightful drama radiates throughout.
The London Bach Society
St. John's Smith Square, London SW1
(300th Anniversary Year 1714-2014)
Friday 21 March 2014, 7.30pm
The London Bach Society celebrates C.P.E. Bach's 300th and Father Bach's birthday with the brilliant harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani (pictured) and Steinitz Bach Players directed by rising star violinist Jane Gordon.
020 7222 1061
Handel House Museum
Handel House Museum, at 25 Brook Street, London, was home to Baroque composer George Frideric Handel. He lived and worked here from 1723 until his death in 1759, composing some of his greatest music, including Zadok the Priest and Music for the Royal Fireworks, both written for Royal occasions.
Copyright 2014 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music.