I am delighted to be able to alert you to two concerts, not only by two of my favourite musicians, but by the two musicians who gave birth, even if unwittingly, to my salon music project: Joanna MacGregor and Madeleine Mitchell. (Those who are interested in how, see below**.) Joanna is playing on the 7th March, Madeleine on the 8th.
And they are both celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th. (How many British women will find it an apposite celebration of their release from home schooling?) See the Women’s Day site for all the many ways that you could also support and celebrate the day.
So…. On the evening of the 7th, Joanna will be ushering in the event with an exciting recital of work by American musicians – ‘a rich journey from the Deep South to New York, from Russian poetry to an African paradise’.
Her programme will include:
- Florence Price’s romantic music, spiritual arrangements
- Margaret Bond’s Troubled Water
- Joanna’s own explorations of Deep River and Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
- Mary Lou Williams’ spikey, witty jazz solos from the Zodiac Suite
- Eleanor Alberga’s epic piano work based on Pushkin’s It’s time, my friend, it’s time, weaving a yearning for peace with the play of African dance rhythms
- Nina Simone’s Blackbird, Little Girl Blue, and her take on Good Bait, an astonishing melding of Bach, Liszt and her fierce jazz artistry.
To book a ticket – cost £12.50 – go here.
On the evening of 8th March Madeleine will be at St John’s Smith Square with her London Chamber Ensemble and will be focusing on British women composers from the last 100 years.
The concert includes one of Grace Williams’ rarely performed large chamber works of 1934, works by Master of the Queen’s Music Judith Weir and the world premiere of a new violin piece for Mitchell by Errollyn Wallen. Plus Rebecca Clarke’s romantic piano trio of 1921, Helen Grime’s Miniatures of 2005, nonagenarian Thea Musgroves’s powerful Colloquy of 1960 and Cheryl-Frances Hoad’s searingly lyrical Invocation.
- Rebecca Clarke – Piano Trio
- Judith Weir – Atlantic Drift duo for 2 violins
- Helen Grime – Miniatures for oboe & piano 2005
- Judith Weir – The Bagpiper’s String Trio
- Cheryl Frances-Hoad – Invocation for cello & piano
- Thea Musgrave – Colloquy (violin & piano
- Ruth Gipps – Prelude for bass clarinet
- Errollyn Wallen – Sojourner Truth for Madeleine Mitchell violin & piano World Premiere, supported by the RVW Trust
- Grace Williams – Suite for Nine Instruments
Madeleine will be joined by Joseph Spooner (cello), Sophia Rahman and Ian Pace (piano), David Aspin (viola), Gordon Mackay (violin), Lynda Houghton (double bass), Peter Cigleris (clarinet & bass clarinet), Nancy Ruffer (flute), Alec Harmon (oboe), Bruce Nockles (trumpet)
The concert is free to view here for a month (the link will not go live until 8pm on the 8th March) but donations will be welcomed.
And Madeleine will be talking about the concert and the music they will be playing on Woman’s House on Radio 4 on March 5th and on R3 In Tune at 18.30 on March 8th.
More of Madeleine’s music
And don’t forget that there is more of Madeleine’s music to be heard here on the Salon Music site:
- And amazing concert of music by Mozart, Kodaly and Judith Weir that we recorded (with an audience of two) just after the Rule of 6 came in last autumn.
- Our first garden concert here at Hampstead Lane last summer when Madeleine played us Bach from our scaffolding stage.
- And a report of our very first Salon concert in June 2019 in Lawn Road.
** I first met Madeleine when she and Joanna played for my late partner James Mallinson’s celebration evening. James was a much lauded classical record producer and he and Joanna had worked frequently together and were old friends. One of the projects which they had most valued was a recording they had made, many years ago, of Messaien’s Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps with Madeleine’s newly formed London Chamber Ensemble. So, for James’ celebration evening, Joanna and Madeleine came together again to play the very last heart rendingly beautiful section, Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus.
Some weeks later Madeleine invited me to a private salon concert that she was giving in her loft. About 20 of us, a delightfully eclectic selection of music, a glass of wine, a snack and some lively conversation. At the time I was still living at Lawn Road with a large and gracious Victorian drawing room with an excellent acoustic. Why, I thought, could I not use my drawing room to stage similar evenings?
I contacted Madeleine and, very sweetly she instructed me in the art of hosting salon concerts – and agreed to play at our first one. It was such a success that I went on to host another five before I left Lawn Road in February last year. The plan was to continue the series once I had sorted myself out in my new abode in Highgate – another large Victorian house with some great acoustics. However, COVID obviously put a stop to that – although we did manage to hold three concerts in the garden before we were locked down again.
The builders are now pretty much in possession of the the house and garden but I am hoping that I will be able to stage something over the summer and that we will be fully ‘back in business’ by 2022.