This weekend was another busy one for MFE! Saturday saw the Nottingham Youth Band performing at Proms in the Park in West Bridgford. The weather decided to do battle with the band – sunshine, rain and wind in the space of an hour! – however the band carried on undeterred and played a spectacular set to rapturous applause. Well done to Claire and all the players!!
At the same time, the Nottingham Festival Chorus were rehearsing for their Jubilee Concert, safely indoors away from the blustery weather. All their hard work really paid off, as the concert on Sunday afternoon in the Albert Hall was truly magnificent. Choir and orchestra gave rousing renditions of Handel’s The King Shall Rejoice and Parry’s I was Glad. The Nottingham Concert Orchestra played William Walton’s iconic march Crown Imperial, first performed at George VI’s coronation in 1937 and George Butterworth’s idyll The Banks of Green Willow.
The Nottingham Chamber Singers performed the Choral Dances from Britten’s opera Gloriana and Rachel Parkes solo in Mozarts’ Laudate Dominum was breathtakingly beautiful.
The concert finished with Vaughan Williams splendid arrangement of The Old Hundredth (All People that on Earth do Dwell) with audience participation. All in all, a truly wonderful royal celebration!
Bookwise Southwell are looking for a new manager
Bookwise Southwell was our first shop in the trio of shops that give Music for Everyone substantial financial support every year. Now in its fifteenth year it urgently requires a part time manager in a voluntary or paid situation, able to offer up to 7 hours a week of practical management of the shop premises, with banking and the reporting of sales, assisted by a management team of two, part of the shop’s volunteer staffing. You would need to have a hands-on practical attitude and ability to handle sales reporting using Excel software. If this post interests you please get in touch with Andrew James, chairman of the Bookwise shops at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone him on 01636 704588.
Did you know the first Glastonbury Festival took place in 1914?
In summer 2004, the Glastonbury Festival raised eyebrows when, alongside headline acts such as Paul McCartney, Muse and Oasis, it also staged English National Opera’s production of Wagner’s The Valkyrie. The unlikely performance went down a treat, though how many of those present realised it was actually echoing another, earlier Glastonbury – one that was just as charismatic?
Forget the tents, mud and rock acts. Over a century ago, the Somerset town of Glastonbury was host to a music festival of a very different kind. The original Glastonbury festival was largely the creation of one remarkable man, now almost forgotten. The composer Rutland Boughton. The son of an Aylesbury grocer with no musical background, he was sent to the Royal College of Music by aristocratic patrons, alongside Holst, Vaughan Williams and others.
With Reginald Buckley, an aspiring poet, he proposed building a festival theatre along Bayreuth lines, which would stage Boughton’s own music-drama cycle about King Arthur, to Buckley’s libretti. The attractive little Somerset town of Glastonbury with its high green Tor and the mystical ambience seemed ideal for Boughton’s dream of a festival based on a communal farm, worked by the artists.
In August 1914 they launched the first festival programme, offering plays, ballets, children’s operas and concerts, but only excerpts from the uncompleted Arthurian operas. Instead, Boughton premiered what would prove his most significant music-drama, The Immortal Hour. Lacking the theatre, they held performances in Glastonbury’s small Assembly Rooms, with a grand piano instead of an orchestra and a chorus and staff drawn mostly from locals. Over the next few years, despite war constraints and eternal fundraising, an even more ambitious programme developed, with Easter festivals, summer schools, celebrity lectures, offshoots in Bristol and London and provincial touring performances. Neither theatre nor commune ever materialised, but the Festival acquired a small orchestra and a resident quartet, and produced a startling range of works, from operas by Gluck and Wagner, dance, by Isadora Duncan disciples Margaret Morris and Penelope Spencer, songs, choral works, and the mystery-play Bethlehem.
However, in 1926 the Glastonbury company staged vital fund-raising London performances of Bethlehem. Without consulting his fellow directors Boughton produced it with Joseph and Mary as striking miners and Herod as a caricature top-hatted capitalist. The concept, endorsed by GK Chesterton and others, was harmless enough – except that Boughton also depicted British bobbies and British troops marching off to massacre the Innocents. So soon after the First World War this caused enormous offence even with liberal London audiences. And so,Bethlehem made a disastrous loss. The other directors duly resigned; the Glastonbury townsfolk withdrew their support. The Festival was abandoned.
Ultimately, it was Glastonbury’s whole fey-folksiness which came to seem impossibly quaint, parochial and old-fashioned in the post-war era. Nevertheless, recent Boughton recordings, including songs, symphonies and Bethlehem, make a striking impression. Above all, The Immortal Hour, static and stylised as it seems, still conjures up something of that original, long-forgotten excitement: the authentic Glastonbury magic.
- Free to a good home! A Buffet B12 Bb Clarinet with box. It does need some refurbishing, pictures below. For more details, contact Anna on 07980 308035.
Have a good week!
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#MfEMondays are Music for Everyone’s weekly emails designed to keep you up to date with MfE events & to circulate interesting finds, special features, and motivational moments for your Mondays! We are aiming to send out something new each week.