I’ve been wondering why, on our recently concluded US tour, the Tallis Scholars were such a pleasant and civilised bunch of people to be with. The answer came to me in flash – five of the ten singers are the children of Anglican clergy. That must be it. So I invited them to pose for me around the entrance to Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where we sang on April 3rd. Convinced? They are (l to r of the lower picture) Patrick Craig, Simon Wall, Amy Haworth, George Pooley and Caroline Trevor.
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Early in February I had the pleasure of working with Intrada – a group of students at the Moscow Conservatory of Music. Despite singing exceptionally well, most of them are actually studying choral conducting. Pictured above is the alto section, which includes Katya Antonenko at far right, the founder of the group. We sang Palestrina’s Missa Brevis and Josquin’s Praeter rerum seriem, amongst other things, in the Conservatory’s Rachmaninov Hall. It may not be generally known, or be evident from this photograph, but Russian women have as many low notes as Russian men. A low E flat from these five is really something.
Our new website went live today – 1st February 2012 – and can be found at www.thetallisscholars.co.uk. It has all manner of exciting features, trendy redesigns, captivating photos, and much more reliable concert details than heretofore. It also cost a lot of money. So please let us know what you think of it…
Embedded somewhere in the Christmas story is the idea of much being contained in a small space – or multum in parvo as the restored roadsigns leading into Rutland have it. The opposite, which I will leave you to chisel into Latin for yourselves, presumably gets less attention in the bible, yet nicely sets up any discussion of the current interest in writing choral music for 40 voices.
Followers of this blog will know that in December 2007 I bought a yacht: a 78-foot wooden-framed yacht, built in 1929 and launched the following year, called the Creole and based in Seattle. Although she is one of the most beautiful vessels I have ever seen – and the few times I’ve been out in her I have had the time of my life – I have not mentioned her for some time because trying to run a vessel from thousands of miles away is a uniquely worrying experience, and I didn’t want to be reminded of it. Boats, especially wooden ones, deteriorate very fast in rainy conditions. However on November 18th 2011 I met Jayson Owen who runs a lodge on Kodiak Island, Alaska (www.bearpawlodgekodiak.com), in search of a new angle on marketing his business. We intend to go into partnership together, using the Creole as the main attraction in what is so deliciously called the ‘high end’ of the market. So, if you want to see bears and whale and many other natural delights at very close quarters check out the Bear Paw Lodge website. The Creole, fully restored and fitted, should be appearing on Kodiak soon, as will I and my family.
In all the heavier-duty excitement of Liszt’s anniversary I had failed to register that W.S.Gilbert expired a hundred years ago; and, perhaps just as significant, the copyright of the D’Oyly Carte opera company expired fifty years ago. I am old enough to remember the fuss which that moment provoked – the high-brows hoping to kill off the whole dreadful phenomenon there and then; the not so high, including Harold Wilson and Spike Milligan, trying to extend it. The company muddled through to 1982, but finally the Arts Council had had enough, and a lot of well-educated people heaved a sigh of relief that the Savoy Operas had finally passed into history.
I’ve taken to singing bass on our new course in Barcelona (Ivan Moody was conducting when this picture was taken). I’ve been having a wonderful time, though I noticed that the really expert singer next to me – Tomàs Maxé – kept looking at me, as if we weren’t on the same part.
Snapped on Bologna station in August. Why was the functionary wearing a top which carried an English-language slogan (Cleaning Service)?
If the atmosphere in Tokyo at the moment is relatively radiation-free – apparently it is less than in the cabin of the aircraft which flew us here – the mood among the local population is one of getting on with life. Apparently they collectively held their breaths (and stopped drinking the water) for about 24 hours at the time of the earthquake, and then turned what was left of their attention to abusing the Tokyo Electric Power Company.