In my final year as Music Secretary, I can look back on a year of notable new ventures as well as our traditionally varied chamber concerts. Perhaps the most striking of these, which augurs well for my successor Nick Murray’s regime, was the concerto workshop day which he organised so well in January, and of which I heard such glowing reports (as I was out of the country at the time). Much solo talent was displayed, and the orchestra produced a six-hour marathon under ring-master Chris Fifield. He also provided a comparative novelty in April with a stimulating lecture on Kathleen Ferrier.
Another innovation was a celebration concert in April for the Club member of longest standing, this year Leonard Whitehouse, with his own choice of repeated concertos, for oboe by Vaughan Williams, played by Clare Shanks, and for flute by Tony Summers, played by Libby, and an appropriate parade of massed bassoons and other wind. Tony Noakes in September celebrated his 70th birthday with a concert of his own imaginative songs and instrumental works. Sadder but moving occasions were memorial concerts for John Bateman, with suitably abrasive modern works, for Christopher Bunting, recalling his cello and chamber playing, and for our former chairperson Hilary Orr, fondly remembered in vocal and chamber music.
We usually try to celebrate composers’ anniversaries, as we are doing today. Last year’s most notable example was Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, replacing the usual opera in November to provide a range of solo parts and a challenge for chorus and orchestra, and a rewarding experience.
The usual Gala concert in February included the new feature of a string quartet from ProCorda – which was of outstanding brilliance – alongside contributions from UCL, Cambridge and ourselves (and an almost equally traditional no-show from Oxford). The new association with ProCorda will also be celebrated in July with a joint string orchestra concert.
A new members’ concert in September and a ‘younger generations’ concert in October showed continuing vitality; the latter organised by Ed. Kay who will be celebrating Mozart again with the orchestra in June.
Helen Shaw produced an appropriately seasonal ‘Winter Words’ in December, and chamber concerts found new organisers in John Bradley, Vivien Price and Tamara Migrina, with Barbara Wyllie and the Edwards’ still to come in May and June.
I continue to marvel at the range of talent and enthusiasm displayed, and look forward to many more years’ association with the Club as performer and (occasional!) organiser, confident that the traditions are in good hands.
Alan Reddish (Music Committee Chairman)
5th May 2006
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