MUSIC IS A MORAL LAW,
IT GIVES SOUL TO THE UNIVERSE
WINGS TO THE MIND.
FLIGHT TO THE IMAGINATION
A CHARM TO SADNESS
GAIETY AND LIFE TO EVERYTHING.
IT IS THE ESSENCE
OF ORDER AND LENDS TO ALL
THAT IS GOOD,JUST, AND BEAUTIFUL.
PLATO

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You see that? on the piano ( horrible electronic imitation Ugh!! ) ...that beautiful vase of violets and mimosa??? Let me tell you how they arrived there!!

I went to the Cafe du Midi yesterday ( saturday ) with my two dogs...the disagreeable Dachshund and the angelic Hunting Dog ( both rescued ).  Oh yes, there are several canine regulars who join us for lunch and and a glass. There is also a cat, who comes from across the road!

 Now, I will say that certain dogs ( and we can guess who ) do object quite loudly to cats but I am pleased to say that the objection is only verbal!! All the others are totally accepting!! Wouldn't it be wonderful if us humans were always like that????  I refer to Puccini and sing ' One Fine Day...'.

I settled down to my lunch and was sipping my glass of excellent red wine ....served just right, not too cold! when who should appear but madame from the kitchen.

 Madame is the owner's wife and has been in the kitchen for ever and sees that the standards are superb and the timing absolutely perfect, If it's 3 crotchets per bar, then that's it. No messing about...I have sometimes taken a cd of my music for this kind lady as she loves ' classical' music.

She approached my table and presented me with the beautiful bouquet you see above!! I was so touched by this gift, given with so much love and sincerity that I was tearful. She said ' de tous de nous' ( from all of us ).

I knew people there noticed of course... but you know something? I am  happy to know that I can now be vulnerable in public and not mind!! I was brought up very differently..(.born centuries ago in 1933) Boarding school, stiff upper lip. Don't tell anyone, don't show anyone. That was the regime .....BUT I had music to tell it all to.

 If you are young or indeed ' old' and reading this, please whatever you decide for your life's work.....let it be a passion! Something you love doing! You may never be rich in terms of money but if you do that you will be happy and have untold wealth and abundance inside you which will always support you!!!

 A last piece of good news! My  real piano is coming back this year!! I sent it away to an angel of a friend when I moved to this appartment. Now ,I cannot live without it anymore and I absolutely trust that the right situation will unfold with my decision. Have a lovely evening all! xxx

 

 

 

Presumably you saw the critique of Requiem at Arundel? look just below!! Did you notice that gorgeous comment about ' saccharine Requiem'?? I loved it, then I knew I had written something different!!

You cannot imagine how amazing it was to sit in the audience for the second time and hear this work!! The Cathedral was full and I found the whole experience quite overwhelming.

John...the conductor of Arun Choral Society told me he was nervous at my being there!! I reassured him that I would make no comments at the rehearsal. Why should I? I truly believe that composers are not necessarily the best people to conduct their works. It was wonderful to hear John and the choir expose different facets of the work to me !! He revealed a certain beauty which I was too close to to appreciate myself.

Each time I can hear someone else conduct the work, it''s like a new ' incarnation' of it's message.....and what is the message? Well, the two soloists represent Angels. The Alto symbolises the Angel of Pisces and the Soprano, the Angel of Aquarius.

Those of you acquainted with Astrology will be aware that we have been passing from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius...the so called ' New Age'. As to exact timings or dates...there are none. I daresay it's a process which rumbles on for a few hundred years either side but we are certainly in the middle of the change. Wikileaks, oils spills, floods, suicide bombings, terrorist activities, investigations in hitherto inaccessible places, banks investigated..Hurrah!!! About time too!!

I see this process as our ' journey' from one way of being or consciousness through increasing awareness to a higher/ wider consciousness. The function of the Angel of Pisces is that of stabilising and ' holding back' a huge change which must evolve in a certain rhythm. The Angel of Aquarius however urges us  'onwards' and 'upwards' thus causing the friction we need.

If you have heard the whole work, you will perhaps have noticed that the Dies Irae repeats later in the work.....this is about the old paradigm resonating in the human psyche. That of a God out there, a God of judgement and vengeance and a concept of separation from each other and the universe. Quantum physics is sorting out this false belief for us in a delightful fashion!!

Requiem has been described as theatrical! This is because during the performance, the two soloists have a lit paschal candle beside each of them.  At the end, when you hear the bell, the soloists take their candle ( tricky process that! ) and process down the centre aisle of the cathedral singing a plainchant. The idea is, that they take the love and light that has been built up in the experience to the doors and send it out into the world. Have a lovely evening all xx

 

 

ARUN CHORAL SOCIETY

Standing Ovation for new work

Saturday 5th November 2006 ARUNDEL CATHEDRAL

 

The Arun Choral Society’s enterprise in programming the UK Premiere of Jil Bartley’s ‘Requiem’ with two Elgar works - ‘Sospiri’ and his cantata ‘The Spirit of England’ was rewarded by a full house.

Elgar’s setting of the war poems of Lawrence Binyon in ‘The Spirit of England’ is one of his less popular works - there is nobilmente, but few popular tunes! . This performance fully captured the elusive note of restraint which characterises this work, Jon English (Tenor) was the effective soloist.  

The choir revelled in the luscious romanticsm of Jil Bartley’s rather saccharine ‘Requiem’. Throughout the evening the balance between choir and orchestra was good, helped perhaps by the new staging. The choir produced a good full- bodied tone throughout the concert, worked hard at their diction and, in the ‘Requiem’, there were magnificent climaxes and attack in the Dies Irae, which contrasted well with the effective soft singing in the haunting Pie Jesu. The excellent soloists, who represented the angels of the new and old orders in the passing of time, were Stephanie Varnerin (Soprano) and Emily Bauer – Jones (Contralto).

The performance ended in theatrical fashion with the two soloists bearing candles chanting as they processed down the darkened nave into the distance. The audience rose to give the performers a standing ovation. Jil Bartley should have been well pleased by this performance which, under John Henvilles’s capable direction, was both effective and affectionate. The Sinfonia of Arun gave good support. One hopes that one day this forward looking choir will be heard at the heart of a revitalised Arundel Festival.

 

 

 

The Clips added today are excerpts from Requiem, written just after my arrival in France 15 years ago. It was completed in 1997 and premiered at Tourrettes Sur Loup on the Cote d'Azur.

 It was first performed...myself conducting....in the Village Church, where the organisers were sure that we would never be able to fit an Orchestra!! But we did, as well as a Choir (SATB )of  about 36 Singers, plus a full house!! The next day, we played it again in Nice....once more to a full Church.

 The support we all had from local people was amazing and heart warming. This particular recording was made in the Cathedral at Monaco in the year 2000.

On this occasion, I found myself conducting an Italian Orchestra and we used a larger Choir.....even so, the recording quality is far from perfect owing to diabolical accoustics plus an extraordinary impulse that took hold of me that evening ,to adopt tempi which were not really suitable for so much space.

 However, Here we have two fine Soloists. Fabienne Chanoyan again and Lilla Farkas  ( Hungarian I believe ). Lilla had a beautiful quality and feeling for the Work. Fabienne needed 'no ladders' to make the high C's that I tend to write!! She soared up there with an extraordinary vocal ease.

The Orchestra were downright uncooperative at the beginning of the rehearsal!! This is a familiar scenario to me......they simply resent women conductors. I don't allow this to upset me too much because inevitably after some time, they settle in and even begin to enjoy themselves.

 In 1997, I had the privilege to go to Krakow and hear my own work for the first time ,played at the ' Summer International Festival' . Then the following night ....starting very late, I made a recording with the Philharmonic and Cracoviensis Choir.We started at about midnight. There was no rehearsal!! We finished about 3am .

Both the orchestra and choir were wonderful and even though exhausted having given so many concerts that week, they pulled out all the stops and more!!

Half way through, the recording engineer asked me to remove my shoes as they could be heard ' creaking' on the recording. I complied of course but it was only afterwards when I stepped down from the rostrum that someone pointed to the trail of blood after each step!! I had been standing on a spiked mat and never felt a thing!! Such is the power of the mind!

 On my way out to the hotel, I noticed the soprano soloist sitting in a corner with one of the organisers swigging out of a bottle of ....er!! not sure what. There are many wonderful sights to be seen in my work.....have a lovely evening all xx