Philomel’s last performance was an evening of 17th century passion and intimacy. ‘Folle Cor’ presented duets and trios from the courts of Northern Italy, by composers including Mazzocchi, Strozzi, Monteverdi, Luzzaschi and Casulana, on the themes of love and obsession. This was Philomel’s first programme of purely historical repertoire.
Here is a short video of sopranos Janet Oates, Suzy Robinson and Charlotte Bröker accompanied by Michael Keen and Arngeir Hauksson in the enchanting candle-lit venue of the Barn Church, Kew (http://barnchurchkew.uk/).
The six sopranos of Philomel will be performing their Cecilia Sings concert on Saturday 4 May, 7.30pm, at St George the Martyr, Southwark. It will be a repeat of the eclectic programme performed at the Swiss Church, Covent Garden, last autumn.
With music by early 17th century composers such as Barbara Strozzi, Maddalena Casulana and Domenico Mazzocchi, alongside specially commissioned works by Dominic McGonigal, Sheena Phillips, Joel Järventausta and Janet Oates, this promises to be an unforgettable evening of sublime music.
Richmond Unitarian Church hosted Philomel In Short on 31 October 2020, for a socially distanced concert featuring music by Strozzi, Mazzocchi, Monteverdi, Sheena Phillips, Paul Ayres, Emily Doolittle, Janet Oates and Tansy Davies. Philomel were again thrilled to be performing a combination of their early repertoire, and some specially-commissioned musical miniatures in a concert which slid in just under the wire before Lockdown 2.
‘Tis true, ‘tis day, what though it be? O wilt thou therefore rise from me? Why should we rise because ‘tis light? Did we lie down because ‘twas night? Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither, Should in despite of light keep us together.
Light hath no tongue, but is all eye; If it could speak as well as spy, This were the worst that it could say, That being well I fain would stay, And that I loved my heart and honour so, That I would not from him, that had them, go.
Must business thee from hence remove? Oh, that’s the worst disease of love, The poor, the foul, the false, love can Admit, but not the busied man. He which hath business, and makes love, doth do Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.
Source: Selected Poetry (Oxford University Press, 1998)
Che si puo fare by Barbara Strozzi Suzy Robinson, soprano Janet Oates, recorder Toby Carr, theorbo
I am so pleased to be involved in this fabulous initiative. The loss of live music and, consequently, livelihoods has hit freelancers as hard as any who work in the arts. It has been an overwhelming emotional loss, quite apart from the devastating financial implications, because as performers it is as if we have lost access to an intrinsic part of ourselves. All of us, whether solo musicians or not, have spent our studies and our careers with people, with other musicians, technicians, back stage people, and of course with audiences. It is a source of huge sadness to be isolated from all these people who are so integral to our ability to produce music. Music feeds us and nourishes us, and enriches us whether we are listeners or practitioners. We are all the poorer without it.
Without all the carol services and cheering Christmas music to look forward to, a group of freelance musician mothers decided to create an online musical advent calendar showcasing their talents. It is a joyous thing.
Freelance Musician Mums launch Musical Advent Calendar
“After losing most of the year’s performing work to Covid, a collective of UK-based freelance musicians have decided to take their talents online. The Musician Mums have created an online celebratory gift of Christmas music. Devastated at the thought of not being able to connect with audiences at the most joyful time of year for music-making, they hope the Musical Advent Calendar will spread some much needed seasonal joy, and an opportunity to share the beauty and happiness of Christmas music with friends and family.
This socially-distanced, lockdown alternative to Advent carol services and Christmas concerts features a mix of styles and instruments including an award-winning concert pianist, a West End star, a Royal Opera House soprano, instrumentalists, new and established ensembles and a few fun surprises. The Musician Mums collective began as an online community helping one another with the challenges of being a musician and mother, such as practising loud instruments with babies in the house, and organising childcare for tours. Through the challenges 2020 has brought, this strong community has come together to support each others’ artistic work through this toughest of times. Sales of the Musical Advent Calendar will provide financial support to all the freelance musicians involved, many of whom have lost all their work for the foreseeable future.
For more information, contact Joanna Sleight at firstname.lastname@example.org or preview the December 1st Advent window for free at www.musicaladvent.com.”
Please do take a look at the website and meet some of the musicians who are taking part. Check us out on Twitter and on Facebook too.
Philomel is back with some socially-distant workshop-recordings of newly written musical miniatures. Stay, O Sweet from Virelais is a setting of words by John Donne by Canadian-born Glasgow-based composer Emily Doolittle.
Recorded in Richmond Unitarian Church, August 2020. Suzy Robinson, Janet Oates and Michael Keen perform.
It was a beautiful christening at the Temple Church. Jimmy the corgi was pretty restrained on the whole. He only barked at the vicar once, growled but momentarily at the sleeping Knights, and while he did bite at his backside vigorously as I sang a bit of Mozart, he didn’t invade the performance space like little M. Nor did he try and join in, or do a little comedy routine, or dance a jig. Valiant efforts from others to encourage the mini-performer to vacate the stage were met with tenacity and evasion. She saw the spotlight and liked it. Like mother, like daughter. Oh well.
Join us for an evening of stunning singing, accompanied by theorbo, harpsichord and recorder. The forthcoming concert for Saint Cecilia’s day, Cecilia Sings, will continue the theme of bird mythology that was initiated in the first three concerts, melded with ideas about Saint Cecilia. Text and artwork by students from Marylebone Girls’ School will illustrate newly commissioned works on the theme of female power, passion and spirit by Janet Oates (with new text by Euan Tait), Sheena Phillips, Dominic McGonigal and Joel Jårventausta. Further repertoire includes expressive songs by Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi, virtuosic duets by Mazzocchi, and beautiful madrigals by Maddalena Casulana.