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Tamesis Issue 179

February 2006

Thank you very much to our contributors this time. The number plate challenge particularly has produced a good response. Please start thinking about writing something for next month. It really doesn’t matter what you write about, as long as it seems vaguely relevant to early music. Nan Scott recently wrote to me: “I do enjoy the newsletter so much, partly because of the lovely sense of humour most of the contributors show!”
Victoria Helby

Chairman’s Chat
Having studied some of the big Praetorius pieces at the Beauchamp Summer School I found it interesting to do them again under Peter Syrus at our January workshop. Peter produced some very helpful notes which summarised the life and times of the composer and clearly knew his subject very well. He decided, on musical grounds, that for two of the easier pieces only half of the participants would sing while the others listened. This decision attracted some adverse comment and, as someone who likes to be busy, I admit to feeling a bit short-changed. However I enjoyed the day very much as most of the time was spent on the other pieces, which were excellent. There was a suggestion that Peter was not very audible, though I was at the back and had no trouble in hearing. Perhaps the acoustics of the downstairs room at the Dutch Church are directional? It is a really popular venue so it would be nice to be reassured about this crucial point. Many thanks to Jeff Gill who organised the event so well and who first spotted the possibilities of the church for TVEMF events.

For the Andrew Carwood workshop we are using St Mary's Church, Perivale for the first time, which could be a useful venue to the west of London if it proves successful. At the end of the month there are two events on successive weekends, thanks to bad planning on my part. As we have already got back to 350 members with renewals still arriving, I still expect a good turnout - the forms are enclosed.
David Fletcher

Cryptic Composers
The joint winners of the Christmas competition are Jenny Gowing and Elaine Mordaunt, both of whom got 42 correct answers and a large number of convincing “wrong” ones. They win a year’s TVEMF subscription. You obviously found this quite a hard competition, and looking at the answers I can see why. Jenny wrote to me: “Not since my schooldays have I suffered such an onslaught of mind-numbing, wince-making and excruciating punnery.” Congratulations anyway to our winners, and to those who came quite near. To put the rest of you out of your misery, here are the answers provided by the compiler.

1. A genuine communication Fayrfax 2. Fires Busnois 4. Siamese Composer? Tye 5. He made his stamp in the Strand Gibbons 6. Made to be broken? Lawes 7. Rough-edged Byrd 8. Citizen of a Surrey Town Cima 9. He stirs things up Hassler 10. Spoil the lower string Marcello 11. Purposeful skill Willaert 12. Catch the insect from a distance Farnaby 13. Wooden rod as well Dowland 14. To the point Franck 15. Army discipline from the Pope Bull 16. Bind Joseph’s side Taeggio 17. Know the German River Reincken 18. By way of the Irish Singer Viadana 19. Throw a greeting Castello 20. Finished the horses’ shed Dunstable 21. The weather was good! Adson 22. Mascagni’s opera on the footpath Cavalli 23. Central wager Corbett 24. Departed naked Brade 26. Agrees _ Tallis 27. Property of a polished composer Schein 28. We are the inquisitive Conservatives Praetorius 29. He puts the maggot on the hook Fischer or Bateson 30. Genuine prattle Gabrieli 31. Ignite the garden implement Holborne 32. American composer’s extremity Susato 33. Yale Locke 34. Coke in the field Agricola 35. Strike Blow 36. Rustic talk in the hive Biber 37. Effeminate age Campion 38. A composer who was not amused Victoria 39. He gives you the blues Mundy 40. Clergymen Parsons 41. A colourless composer Whyte 42. Expensive jewellery Deering 43. Agriculturalist Farmer 44. Underwater joint Marini 45. Make a shawl Croce 46. Incense tin Josquin 47. Compass point East 48. Bird’s small-holding Ravenscroft 49. Choosy composer Picchi 50. Pulp exhibition Machaut 51. Environmentally aware composer Greene 52. Taxi driver’s child Cabezon 53. Line of fruit catch the sun Perotin 54. Nobleman’s heir Peerson 55. Spoil the fish Marais 56. Extra pasture ……… Morley 57 …..used as a toilet Lully 58. Travel for the chocolate bar Romero 59. Grass cut by a Sun God Rameau 60. Righteous relaxation Morales 61. Arrow specialist Flecha 62. Hebridean cares for animals. Geddit? Malvezzi 63. Timid Neuter Scheidt 64. Energetic shove Pepusch 65. Nasty cough Cesti 66. This connection gyrates Sweelinck 67. Mrs Weill Lotti 68. Cool stag Schickhardt 69. The cask maker that got away Couperin 70. Oh! The turf of Ireland Soderino 71. Pear cyder Peri 72. The rotter distributed the cards to us Arcadelt 73. Sauce herb Parsley 74. Our pin-up Arbeau 75. Flower in the cemetery Roseingrave 76. Dead as a…. Dornel

This has proved to be a popular topic. Here are the suggestions I have received (I haven’t tried to eliminate duplications):

Dear Victoria,
In reply to Madeline Seviour's request for ideas, music furnishes quite a lot of opportunities for personalized number plates. G1GUE is one, with very little cheating (such as 4 for A). Early music composers are B1BER, F1NCK, PER1, GAL10T, M1LAN, V1SEE, V1TRY. There are plenty of more modern composers, such as 1VES, F1ELD, ALA1N, AUR1C, W1REN, TUB1N, C1LEA, BER10, B1ZET, DAV1S, L1SZT, F1ALA (Bohemian contemporary of Mozart, who wrote a cor anglais concerto), I don't think that the department of transport allows O and I as letters as well as numbers, otherwise we could have B1UMI, V10TTI, W1DOR, P1NTO.

A bit of cheating would allow R4VEL, 15AAC, ROS51, G188ONS. Finally, a strategically placed rivet between numbers would give BAC11, L11LY, BER110Z etc. A pity that Madeline has a U in her name otherwise she could have SEV10R.
Tim Samuelson
p.s. A near neighbour, presumably a cat-lover, has the registration number M1AOU

Dear Victoria
Regarding Madeline Seviour’s number plate challenge a quick flip through my mind and my Christmas present (Bradford’s Crossword Solvers Dictionary) reveals the following:


And if 1 was allowed to represent L as well as I the list would be longer.
Don Gill

How about these: V10 LIN V1 OLA V1 OLS F4 GOT H4 RPS BA 55 OON (or B455 OON) P1 ANO G4 MBA and F4 URE H4YDN L1 SZT IND 1A (if Sigismondo counts, but he has been bagged by the Indian embassy already) MO 24 RTS (both of them, but you'll have to wait till after Feb 2024) H4 NDL HA 55 LER I'm sure there must be more! Simon (Hill)

M4CH 4UT (Ingrid Glass) How about G188 ONS ?? I think this fits in with DVLA regulations. Ingrid (Glass)

I’m not sure how many of the above suggestions do actually comply with the regulations, but here is one that I know does: TVEMF member Sue Bogle has S 80GLE!

News of Members’ Activities

Alison Bowler’s group, Pellegrina, will be giving a lunchtime recital of baroque chamber music at 12.30 pm at St John’s Church, Boxmoor near Hemel Hempstead. There is a suggested minimum donation of £2.50 which will support the New School of Organ Studies and the new organ fund at St. John's. Lunches & refreshments will be available after the concert.

Roger Deats has asked me to mention a concert given by his choir, the Wooburn Singers, with the Classical Soloists at St Mary’s Church Old Amersham on Saturday 4th March. To celebrate Mozart’s 250th anniversary they are performing the Mozart Requiem and Haydn’s Theresa Mass. More details are in the Concerts list.

Member Clare Norburn is Co-Artistic Director of the Brighton Early Music Festival, so although it’s outside our area I thought you would like to hear about it. Brighton is quite easily reached by train from London so you might like to combine one of the concerts with a day at the seaside. On Saturday 11th March the Tallis Scholars are performing Victoria’s Requiem, works by Palestrina & Allegri’s Miserere at St Peter’s Church, Brighton. On Saturday, 25th March at St George’s Church, Kemp Town, there is a Celebrity Fundraising Concert to raise money for the 2006 early music festival, which will take place later this year from 30th September to 29th October. This will include an appearance by members of Red Priest, Eclipse, RETRoSPECT and a performance of Mozart’s Requiem. Tickets for both events can be bought through the Dome Box Office on 01273 709709 or online at

Opportunities to make music

I have received the following message from Emma Dinoulis who is the chairman of the Breakaway Theatre Company, a local amateur theatre group in St. Albans. I make absolutely no comment on their idea of appropriate instruments!

‘In the summer, we are putting on an outdoor production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". (The production week runs from 31st May to 3rd June incl. 2006.)

Our director, Dev Sagoo is very interested in having old and traditional instruments played live (if possible), and I am on the lookout for any musicians and a musical director who would be interested in doing this. Dev was mentioning that a harp and mandolin would be interesting. However, any Elizabethan sounding instruments would be excellent. I know that playing instruments live can be difficult in an outdoor venue but I know, also, that these things can be got round.

We could not pay musicians and are really asking for anyone for whom this would be a fun and interesting experience. However, it is not often that "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is presented in a traditional way and in such an ideal setting (a leafy amphitheatre close to St. Albans Abbey Cathedral), and I really think we can make this a magical production!’

Emma can be contacted by email at emma @

VACANCY - for an accompanist of professional standing commencing summer term 2006

The Canonbury Chamber Choir has a vacancy for a piano/organ/harpsichord player to replace their long-standing accompanist who has had to step down due to work commitments.

They are around 30 able singers with a repertoire of mainly baroque music (recent concerts include the Bach B Minor Mass, Christmas Oratorio, Vaughan Williams and Handel) performing in North London churches under the baton of Anthony Milledge. Spring term 2006 concerts include Bach Cantatas, Britten and Arvo Pärt.

They rehearse on Thursday evenings during termtime in the Islington/Highbury area, from 7 to 9.30pm, and the successful candidate will also perform with them in 5-6 concerts a year. They often sing at baroque pitch with authentic period instruments, so transposition and score- reading skills are absolutely essential. Fee is negotiable.

To apply, please contact their musical director Anthony Milledge on amilledge @, attaching CV and referee details. Applications from music students will be accepted. Selection will be by audition during the spring term.

I have been sent information about a baroque string playing day with Stuart Deeks in North Dulwich London SE24 on Saturday 11th March. Music will include J S Bach: Ricercare, Handel: Concerto Grosso op. 6, Orlando Gibbons: Fantasia, Corelli: Concerto Grosso, Purcell: Suite from King Arthur and pieces by Rameau. It sounds like a lot to get through in one day. You can get more details and a booking form at or by emailing alan.taylor @

Handel House Museum
I started to put all the events at the Handel House Museum into the listings at the end, but it took so long that I have decided to put them separately here. Look in the lists for anything before 14th March.

British Harpsichord Society Concert Tuesday 14 March 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Lina Zilinskyte (harpsichord). Programme to include works by Weckmann, Froberger, Muffat and Bach. £6

French Songs of Love Thursday 16 March 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Cantatas and instrumental music from 17th and 18th century France include works by Rameau and Lambert with Emma Murphy (soprano/recorder), Bridget Cunningham (harpsichord), Graham O'Sullivan (baroque flute) and Ibi Aziz (baroque cello). £8.50/£7 concs. World Instruments Saturday 18 March 3.00pm to 4.00pm and 4.00pm to 5.00pm. Music educator, Danny Staples, has an enormous collection of instruments from all over the world, some of which you may never have seen before. In this hands-on-session you are given the chance to learn more about how different instruments produce different sounds, and how music plays a variety of roles in other cultures. Suitable for all ages. £4 child/ adult admission applies (£5)

Musica Poetica Thursday 23 March 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Iason Iaanou (baroque cello) will perform solo cello works by Bach and Vivaldi Sonatas for Cello, Theorbo and Continuo with Jamie Akers (theorbo) and Ilektra Miliadou (cello). £8.50/£7 concs.

Battle of the Divas Sunday 26 March 3.00pm to 4.00pm. This event will tell the story of the great baroque divas, Faustina Bordini and Francesca Cuzzoni, whose epic rivalry eventually culminated explosively in an on-stage row. This tiff became the source of great scandal and was famously parodied in The Beggar’s Opera. Sopranos Adey Grummet and Sarah Moule will present the parallel lives of these 18th century opera stars and perform their own interpretation of the battle of the divas. With Bridget Cunningham (harpsichord). £13/£11 concs.

NEW EXHIBITION Handel and the Castrati 29 March to 1 October 2006 Exhibition FREE with admission. Handel and the Castrati will reveal the stories behind these eighteenth century super-opera-stars. The exhibition will feature pictures, prints, scores and objects relating to the castrati.

The Couperin Series Saturday 1 April from 2pm. Handel House is again partnering up with the British Harpsichord Society to present a series of informal recitals of the complete Couperin Ordres. The series is the brainchild of distinguished harpsichordist and scholar Jane Clark. Every week, harpsichordists will play a selection of the Ordres, theatrical and mysterious works that are rarely performed. This month, Ordres 8, 10 with Jane Chapman, Anna Tetsuya, Simon Willoughby, and Charlotte Wilson. £6

Launch of the Castrati Series: Il Canto Figurato - The Art of the Castrati Sunday 2 April 3.00pm to 4.00pm. Nicholas Clapton, counter-tenor and curator of Handel and the Castrati, will discuss the training castrati undertook, with reference to books of instruction that were available during Handel’s time. Nicholas will then perform a training piece for singers from one of Handel’s contemporaries who taught such famous castrati as Caffarelli and Farinelli. He will also perform several Handel arias composed to showcase the great skill of Handel’s singers. With Laurence Cummings (harpsichord). £13/£11 concs.

Castrati Series: Carestini’s Roles Re-Visited Thursday 6 April 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Cenk Karaferya (counter-tenor) and Bridget Cunningham (harpsichord) will present a programme of music originally sung by Carestini, one of the Handel’s principal castrati singers. £8.50/£7 concs. Castrati Series: The Sensational Senesino Sunday 9 April 3.00pm-4.00pm. To celebrate the opening of the Handel and the Castrati Exhibition, Andrew Radley (counter-tenor) will perform works sung by Senesino, one of the great castrati of Handel’s age, and for whom he created a plethora of magnificent roles. The programme will include arias from Admeto, Tamerlano, Orlando and Ottone. With Jonathan Cohen (harpsichord). £13/£11 concs.

British Harpsichord Society Concert Tuesday 11 April 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Bridget Cunningham (harpsichord), Katherine Manley (soprano). Aria excerpts from Handel’s operas and harpsichord highlights. £6

Castrati Series: Chamber Cantatas Thursday 13 April 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Andrew Pickett (counter-tenor) and Masumi Yamamoto (harpsichord) will perform a variety of dramatic cantatas written for castrati singers by Handel and his contemporaries. £8.50/£7 concs.

Castrati Series: Guadagni and Oratorio Thursday 20 April 6.30pm – 7.30pm. This recital will present a number of Handel’s oratorio arias sung by his castrato Guadagni. With Glen Kesby (counter-tenor) and Claire Williams (harpsichord) £8.50/£7 concs.

Getting a Closer Look Events: Spotlight on Senesino Sunday 23 April 3.00pm to 4.00pm. £6/ FREE for visually impaired visitors and their carers Bridget Crowley, audio describer, will explore the life of and music sung by the famous castrati Senesino, using a portrait of the castrato from the exhibition. Live music is provided by Ed Breen (counter-tenor) and Bridget Cunningham (harpsichord).

Hardly Handel: Early Music for Castrati Thursday 27 April 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Magid El-Bushra (counter-tenor) and David Wright (harpsichord) will provide us with a glimpse into early castrati repertoire from the 16th and 17th centuries, presenting music by Monteverdi, Lully, Charpentier and Purcell. £8.50/£7 concs.

Useful Information: 1. Handel House booking line: 020 7399 1953. 2. Handel House is open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm (with late night Thursday until 8pm); Sun 12pm-6pm. Closed on Mondays (including Bank Holidays). General admission £5.00 / £4.50 concessions / £2 for young visitors (ages 16 and under). 3. Handel House is located at 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HB. Entrance in Lancashire Court. (Nearest tube: Bond Street / Oxford Circus). Tel: 020 7495 1685. 4. Handel House has free drop-in activities for children every Saturday afternoon. Family trails and quizzes are available every day.

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