Friday, 21 September 2018

Church concert creates images from Mill Stream music

THIS concert provided a welcome reminder that considerable enjoyment and pleasure can be found in music and the images that

THIS concert provided a welcome reminder that considerable enjoyment and pleasure can be found in music and the images that it creates.

The theme running through a varied and inspired choice of folk songs and poetry set to music was that of the emotions engendered by the pastoral world: happiness, heartache and the gentleness or bustle of life in the countryside.

Robin Howles (tenor), Julia Booker (soprano), Frances Jones (oboe and cor anglais) and Peter Toye (piano) took us on a wonderful musical tour embracing works from poets and composers of the British Isles, Germany and Spain.

Robin, Julia and Frances got the programme off to a lively start with Twelve Oxen by Peter Warlock in an arrangement by Peter Toye receiving its debut performance. Robin treated us to Schumann’s Dichterliebe. For Robin these pieces recaptured memories of his youth when he first heard these very engaging songs. Julia then sang some lovely Spanish pieces entitled Tonadillas by Granados. The final piece La Maja Dolorosa was made all the more haunting by Frances’ accompaniment on the cor anglais.

And so we then found ourselves by the mills. Five Eyes — the tale of three mill cats, one with a missing eye — was characteristically lively in tempo. Robin gave us The Water Mill by Vaughan Williams and Ha’ncaker Mill by Gurney. By contrast Julia gave us Warlock’s arrangment of Ha’nacker Mill and Frances rounded off with the familiar Watermill by Binge. Each piece conjured up differing images but running through the music was the unmistakable sound of the mills at work. The first half of the programme came to a lively end with Julia, Robin and Frances’ lovely rendition of The Sprig Of Thyme by Vaughan Williams.

The second half of the programme introduced another Peter Warlock piece entitled Lullaby receiving its first performance in Peter Toye’s arrangement. Julia’s singing of The Market by Quilter and Yarmouth Fair by Warlock beautifully captured the bustle and business of these locations. Robin gave us two contrasting pieces by Britten O Waly Waly, noteworthy for its gentle pace, and the lively sailor’s tall-tale The Crocodile, which included something of a tongue-twisting refrain.

All the works performed were accompanied throughout with great aplomb by Peter Toye on piano. His mastery of the pieces added considerably to the creation of the images running through each of the items.

Robin, Julia, Frances and Peter gave us a memorable concert full of interesting and lovely pieces. Organisers Ian and Pat Fraser oversaw once a very successful 2013 appeal for Christian Aid in Rotherfield Peppard. The retiring collection and raffle contributed £285 inclusive of recoverable Gift Aid to the 2013 Christian Aid appeal.

By A Mill Stream

Saturday, July 6

All Saints’ Church, Rotherfield Peppard

Allen Harris

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