Friday, 4 April 2014

5 & 6 April Musicke In The Ayre 2

CB Musicke In The Ayre 2

CB Musicke In The Ayre 2

This is Classical Break on Somer Valley FM, and I’m Rupert Kirkham.  This week, our programme is built around a concert given at St Stephen’s Church, Bristol on the 17th of March by the Early Music Group, Musicke In The Ayre, entitled, Songs From The Shows. 

First, a word about the performers and the organization to which they belong.  Paula Downes is a Trinity College-trained soprano, who has sung with The Sixteen and Philharmonia Voices, and is also a soloist with several choral societies.  Din Ghani is a lutenist and violist who became prominent on the Tyneside Early Music-scene during the 1980s.  On moving to Wiltshire, he began to make his own instruments, and in 2011, founded Musicke In The Ayre.  This ‘evolving’ group of singers and instrumentalists has given many concerts in England, France and Spain, and is active also in the educational sphere.  It specializes in music of the 16th and 17th Centuries, and its flexible ensemble means that it can perform a wide range of genres of music of the period, from lute-solos through consort dance and choral works secular and profane, to court masque and opera. 

Packed into an hour – how easy it is for an hour around about lunchtime to seem immortal! – one hears insightful commentary amid structured programmes epitomizing, so far as is possible, the music of an epoch very different from our own in its culture, if not in the fundamentals of human nature and worldly fortunes.  Din and his group are capable of recapturing an essence of the alchemy in musical expression of those times.  They are trained in such contemporary techniques of singing and of instrumental playing as have come down to us. 

In these extracts of the concert, we have four introductions spoken by Din and songs from the shows of the day, performed by Paula Downes and him.  It Was a Lover and His Lass, by Thomas Morley (1557—1602), The Willow Song, Anon, Have You Seen But a White Lily, by Robert Johnson (1560-1610),  Nel Pur Ardor, by Jacopo Peri (1561-1633), and The Plaint, O Let Me Weep, by Henry Purcell.  The music employed by dramatists of the 16th and 17th Centuries was, like that found in our own ‘shows’ – musicals, plays and films of all kinds – a mixture of popular songs – in this case, from the street or chamber  - and specially-written numbers whose composers were very mindful of international developments in Art-music.  Something of the range of styles to be found during  the period is captured in this sequence of pieces.

Over to Musicke in The Ayre. 

Track 1:  It Was A Lover And His Lass, Morley
Track 2:  Intro, Din Ghani
Track 3:  The Willow Song, Anon
Track 4:  Intro, Din Ghani (0.36min)
Track 5:  Have you seen but a white lily Robert Johnson
Track 6: Intro, Din Ghani
Track 7: Nel Pur Ardor, Peri
Track 8:  Intro, Din Ghani
Track 9:  The Plaint, O Let me Weep, Purcell 

That was a series of extracts from Musicke In The Ayre’s concert, Songs From The Shows, given at St Stephen’s Church, Bristol, on the 17th of March.  The singer was the soprano, Paula Downes and the  lutenist, Din Ghani.  Our thanks for the recording and our best wishes go to them both!

And now for something completely different, as they say.  We present a set of improvisations for piano by our contributor, Mike Burrows.  Some allowances have to be made for recording-quality, as these tracks were laid down on a Dictaphone eleven years ago. 

Mike has taught himself to play by ear.  He makes his music up as he goes along, and the results may go to prove that there is ‘music in the air’ for all to find.  The present pieces were addressed to his – at the time unborn – daughter, Miss Suvi Burrows, who is now 10, and as bonny and serious-minded a lass as you are likely to meet. The overall title is Letters To Suvi.

Track 10:  letters To Suvi, Four Improvizations, Burrows

This was Classical Break, and I’m Rupert Kirkham.  The first half of today’s programme was formed from Early Music performances by Paula Downes and Din Ghani of Musicke In The Ayre, and the second, of improvisations for piano by Mike Burrows.  Join us again, next week.  Goodbye!