Today would have been our grand performance of Bach’s monumental B minor mass. Although it is deeply regrettable that we are not able to perform it for understandable reasons, please know that both myself and Tom were totally impressed and amazed at how the choir rose to the challenge to learn this piece. By the time of our last rehearsal three weeks ago we had learnt all the notes and well over half of the work was performance ready. As a piece widely regarded as one of the hardest in the choral repertoire, it is a tremendous achievement by Fulham and Hammersmith Choral!
One of the things I’m doing in this period is learning one of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Preludes and Fugues each day. I was thinking that I could learn the B minor Prelude and Fugue in time for Saturday, and film it. I thought it might be nice to send out to the choir on Saturday — so at least they get some Bach in B minor, though it will last around 5 minutes and not a few hours….
All the very best
WELCOME to the first of our virtual FHCS choir get-togethers.
This evening we should be meeting at Lady Margaret School for the first rehearsal of the summer term. We were looking forward to "An American Journey". A selection of American ballads and lighter hearted arrangements of 20th century classics taken from the Oxford scores 'In the Mood', 'Songstream' and 'Songstream 2'. Another departure for FHCS and something I am sure you would have all enjoyed. Hopefully we can put on this concert some time in the future.
I am sure many of you will know of Temple Music. I am a great fan of theirs and have had the great good fortune to sing in Temple Church twice, being led by John Rutter. I have also enjoyed several concerts there. So my contribution to the first week of our get-together is this wonderful performance by members of the Temple Choir. Please forgive me if you have seen this already, as I am sure many of you will have. I loved it, so I hope you do too and "see" you next week.
Take care and keep safe,
We are in discussions about the programme for the Autumn Term, as we have had to change our original plans. Lots of ideas mooted, but whatever is decided upon, it will be uplifting and celebratory. As you know we will not be in a position to make any decisions for quite a while, so please bear with us.
The Committee, Robert and Tom thought it would be a good idea to just touch base with you every week of our summer term; with some musical news and ideas. We would very much like to hear from you if you have ideas or suggestions of different musical events or activities that we can pass on to the rest of the choir. Also any news you would like to share. Once again if you know of any choir members who struggle with technology and may not be able to access these messages, please pass on what is happening if you are able to do so.
There are many plans for when we are able to all join together again and make music.
All the best for Easter and see you all soon.
Hope you’re all keeping well and healthy!
Today I was meant to be conducting a concert with cellist Laura van der Heijden.
Of course, that couldn’t go ahead but instead Laura and I have recorded - from London and Spain - a beautiful piece by Frank Bridge, whose cello concerto we were due to perform today. It’s called Spring Song, and you will see that Laura was more visually inspired by the season than I was…. Hope you enjoy!
More things coming your way in time for the ‘start of term’ next week.
All the very best
It is with regret and sadness that I write to tell you that James Turner has died. He and his wife Heather contracted Covid-19, and his wife luckily pulled through.
James was 88 and had been a stalwart of the basses for over 13 years. He really enjoyed the social events and was a regular member of the choir pub group, and thoroughly enjoyed a pint after rehearsals with us at the White Horse. He was full of interesting stories and we will miss him.
I have written to his wife on behalf of us all.
I hope you are all keeping well.
Please see below our weekly message, this one from Robert.
And a bit of fun with Gustavo Dudamel conducting Beethoven 5th arranged with some clever animations.
Press the f key for full screen
Listen to this recording of the Charpentier Messe de Minuit
Hope you are all well and keeping in good spirits! I’m really missing not being able to see everyone each week, but I hope you are finding ways to keep busy. On Monday I finished my Bach 48 project (playing one of the Well Tempered Clavier pieces each day) — I need to find another project, and it’s strange to think that 48 days have already passed since quarantine started. Here are some things which might be of interest…
What I’ve been listening to
Byrd & Tallis: Masses
(Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly).
This repertoire is really stunning, and I thought I’d share it as it’s not the kind of music we often get to sing in big choruses. This is my all-time favourite recording. You can check it out on Spotify
Something to stream
Tomorrow (7th May), the London Symphony Orchestra are broadcasting a wonderful programme of Colin Matthews, Gershwin and Shostakovich. The Gershwin is the Piano Concerto, played by the incredible Yuja Wang.
More info here: https://lso.co.uk/whats-on/alwaysplaying.html
(By the way, the LSO stream past concerts each Thursday and Sunday, so do check this out)
Enjoy the sun! All best wishes,
What I’ve been cooking
With the kind help of Belinda, I have been attempting cheese biscuits. She has very kindly allowed me to share her recipe with you all. I promise you the finished product will be delicious!! Here is Belinda's recipe, with a photo attached of my attempt.
- Equal quantities of cheese, butter & flour.
100g of each gives a good amount, 150g of each does masses!
- Strong cheddar cheese or mix of parmesan & strong cheddar
- Flour, plain
- Small teaspoon of Coleman’s mustard power.
- Cayenne pepper too if you like
1. Use the grater attachment on food processor to grate the cheese and enjoy the wonderful speed and ease!
2. Change to the knife attachment then add the flour, some mustard powder, plus butter (cut into chunks)
3. (I sometimes add a bit of cayenne at this point as I usually forget later on, but don’t add too much!)
4. Mix with food processor. First it’ll go a bit like breadcrumbs (as if you’ve rubbed all the ingredients together), but keep going and it’ll start to blob together into a big lump.
5. Roll the lump into long sausages, wrap them in greaseproof paper or cling film and chill in fridge for half an hour.
(You can keep the sausages for days in the fridge before cooking them)
6. Slice the sausages and put on greased baking sheet or baking paper.
7. Cook in oven (about 170-180ish probably) for about 12-15 mins.
*WATCH THEM – DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!*
8. Put on a rack to cool. Sprinkle on a small bit of Cayenne before serving (but not too much as it can be quite hot…)
9. Eat and enjoy!
A message from Rob:
And some singing warm-up exercises:
And some musical treats:
Hope you’re all well and enjoying the weather. Here are some things that might be of interest!
Something to listen to
This week I’ve been listening to lots of Brahms chamber music, and in particular the String Quartet in C Minor. It is a hugely exciting piece, with loads of energy and emotion. The second movement is particularly beautiful. Here is a recording I just discovered, by the Vertavo Quartet, which I think is great:
Opera to watch
Here is a wonderful performance of Verdi's La Traviata from the Royal Opera House — the cast is stellar! It’s part of their lockdown programme, and is temporarily available until June.
Some art to see
Sue has asked me to share this, so it is a ‘plug' that has been requested…. My dad runs a start-up which is a listings website for global contemporary art. It’s called GalleriesNow and can be found here: www.galleriesnow.net . You can see what’s on in the best contemporary galleries around the world, and, in normal times, it provides a great tool for seeing art, particularly when you’re travelling. In these times, they are offering 360 degree photographs of installations/shows, as well as Virtual Reality experiences of art via their app, ArtPassport. You can see what’s on in Hong Kong from your sofa! If contemporary art is your thing, it’s a nice way to explore the scene….
Something to bake
I’m trying to develop my baking skills (any improvement at the moment is a huge leap…), but this week I baked a lemon syrup (not drizzle) cake from Nigella Lawson How to be a domestic goddess. It’s super simple but super delicious. Here is the recipe:
125g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
zest of a lemon
175g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk
for the syrup
juice from 1.5 lemons
(I did 2)
100g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180 degrees c or gas mark 4. Line and butter a loaf tine. Cream together the sugar and butter then add the eggs and lemon zest. Beat well. Add flour and salt folding in gently. Then add in the milk. Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes until it's brown on top and a knife comes out clean.
To make the syrup mix the lemon juice and icing sugar and warm to melt the sugar. When the cake is cooked and has cooled a little remove from the cake tin and pierce all over with a fork. Spoon over the syrup. Delicious!
Keep well and healthy!
Another week has gone by and it is time again for our email.
Please see below a link to Vivaldi's Gloria, accompanied as usual by a video from Robert.
I hope you are all making the most of this beautiful weather!
Well this week, in our other life, should be half term. We had planned to be meeting this evening at St Etheldreda's to rehearse. I am sure some of you should be on holiday somewhere. However, I hope that you are all enjoying this glorious weather closer to home, and you are keeping fit and well and relishing a little more freedom.
I have been listening to lots of different music during these last weeks and I very much wanted to introduce you to Eriks Esenvalds. He is a Latvian award winning composer. At only 43 he is one of the most sought after young composers working today all around the world. He has a very interesting website if you would like to find out more about him erikesenvalds.com. In 2011 he was awarded a 2 year position as Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge. I came across this video 'Only in Sleep' sung by the choir of Trinity College Cambridge, by accident one day whilst looking for something else. I was transfixed, as I am sure you will be.
The words are from a poem by Sara Teasdale; (US poet 1884-1933); and tell the story of her nostalgic vision of childhood re-experienced through dreams.
I hope you have been enjoying our weekly emails. Robert and Tom will be in touch with you again next week.
Take care and keep safe,