Exploring Classical Music
The Exploring Classical Music Group (previously known as Musical Appreciation) has been running for many years and meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday morning of each month from 10.00 to 11.30 am. We meet to appreciate music and it is therefore not necessary to play a musical instrument or to be well informed about music to join the group.
We gather in one another’s homes and listen to a selection of music that has been chosen by different members of the group, normally the host. The chosen music, usually CDs, will be something that the host enjoys and they will generally say a little about the music and perhaps what they find particularly enjoyable. After listening we often have a chat about what we have heard. Over the weeks and months music from a wide range of styles and eras is likely to be heard. We may prefer some more than others – that is the nature of music, but we may also come to appreciate something we hadn’t previously encountered.
Following our August break, we resumed with Reflections on WW1 with music from works composed by George Butterworth, Gerald Finzi, Ralph Vaughan Williams (his An Oxford Elegy – an interesting marriage of the spoken word with his music) finishing with Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony.
Next followed the final instalment of our musical alphabet, V – Z, including, to some of us at least, certain lesser known composers. We enjoyed works from Vanhal, Weber, Xian Xinghai, Yradier and Zarzycki.
Further meetings brought A Morning of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos, a fascinating DVD of performances by the charismatic Norwegian pianist and chamber musician Leif Ove Andsnes with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. This gave an extraordinary insight into the works with invaluable commentary on Andsnes’ interpretation.
Lastly, our subject was Great Composers and their Musical Relations which explored the theory that genius often runs in families, certainly for musicians, but that those who are not so famous can be sadly and somewhat unfairly overshadowed by their better known relatives. Works from Franz Joseph Haydn, and his younger brother Michael’s Trombone Concerto, J S Bach, and his fifth child Carl Philipp Emanuel’s Concerto for ‘Cello and finally Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and his youngest child Franz Xavier’s Piano Concerto No1. illustrated this theory well. This proved to be an enlightening experience – yet another fascinating morning!