The Club is again most grateful to the Elmley Foundation, who, in addition to their 20th Anniversary Award, have given us £4,000 a year for the next three years to support us in our progamming. The Foundation’s generosity means that we can be financially secure and give us the confidence to engage the best musicians.
We also thank Droitwich Concert Club, who ceased operating last summer. In winding up their affairs, they have shared out their residual funds between other organisations with similar charitable aims and have generously presented Malvern Concert Club with £1,000.
Our President – the composer
Congratulations to our Club President, Roderick Williams, on his recent success as a composer!
The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) presented the 2016 British Composer Awards on Tuesday 6 December at BFI South Bank and Roderick won the award in the Choral category with his work Ave Verum Reimagined, commissioned by ORA and Suzi Digby OBE. This work is a reflection on the Kyrie Eleison from William Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices and received its UK premiere at the ORA Launch Concert at the Tower of London on 9 February 2016.
Created by BASCA in 2003, the awards promote the art of composition, recognise the creative talent of composers and sound artists and bring their music to a wider audience. To qualify, works must have been completed within five years of the award period and received a UK premiere performance – either live or broadcast – in the year leading up to 31 March. Composers must have been born in the UK or resident for at least 5 years.
Roderick says: “William Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus is a piece that I have known since my days as a treble chorister and I grew up in awe of its carefully measured harmony and effortless counterpoint. Like any choral singer, I have my favourite moments within the piece – the scrunching false relations, the question and answer exclamations, the mournful coda – and so I sought to write a poece that would focus specficially on the highlights and expand on them. Its composition is an act of homage to a masterful composer.”
This appears on ORA’s debut album, “Upheld by Stillness“.
Information about Roderick’s other compositions may be found by visiting their website.
We look forward to seeing and hearing Roderick in performance as the baritone we know and love on Sunday 26th February, when he will be joined by Iain Burnside on the piano.
A Very Special ‘Encore’!
On 24 September 2014, on the occasion of Roderick Williams’ inauguration as the Club’s President, a quiet event took place in the green room behind the Forum stage. Our Vice President (then Chairman) Joseph Brand presented Roddy with a published copy of Joe’s own composition, the song Night, setting a poem by Robert Southey. On 26 February 2017, Roddy repaid the compliment with a performance, with Iain Burnside, of that song in front of a lucky group of audience members who had stayed behind after his Schubert recital.
Joe was quite overwhelmed at hearing his song. He thought it was a wonderful performance, never having heard it performed before (let alone by such distinguished artists) and Joe received many congratulations.
Night was published in 1967. Joe had sent a few manuscripts to a number of publishers, but only the firm Ricordi showed any interest – which really pleased him as they were by far the most distinguished of the publishers, being that of Verdi and Puccini among others. The music was published in the firm’s distinctive blue and white covers, but is now out of print; Ricordi in the UK is now part of the Novello organisation, but the song is still available to special order. Joe adds, ‘In those days music was still written by hand (no computers to solve your problems!) and, because it was hard to get further interest from publishers, I eventually gave up composing, realising I wasn’t a ‘natural’. But I’ve been writing professionally on music since 1961 – which comes more naturally to me!’
As far as Joe knows, the song’s first performance was at the Wigmore Hall, London, on 12 September 1975 by John Perrin (a tenor in the Sadler’s Wells chorus) with Joe himself as accompanist – his only public appearance at the Wigmore (in while tie and tails!). It was a well-attended evening and the ticket prices ranged from 50p to £1.50. Night was well-received, but Joe has no knowledge of any public performances since. So history was made in Malvern last week!
OBE for Club President
We were delighted to learn that Roderick Williams was listed in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists this summer and send our warmest congratulations to him on his OBE for services to music.
Club AGM – 6 July 2017
At the Club AGM in July we were surprised and delighted by a visit from our Club President who addressed us after the short but necessary business proceedings. He said he had joined us to find out why the Club was so successful when so many are floundering in present times. Roddy spoke of how he was impressed by the organisation and was pleased to be associated with us. We, of course, are thrilled to have his support and were amazed that he found time in his busy schedule to join us on this occasion – the first time a Club President has ever attended an AGM! Roddy regrets he is unable to attend the first concert of the season due to an engagement as Papageno at Covent Garden, but sends his best wishes for the season. Pianist Adelaide Yue treated us to a wonderful recital afterwards and the evening concluded with drinks and canapés which were enjoyed by everyone. If you missed this AGM, you missed something very special. Do make a note of the date of the next one – Thursday 5 July 2018. Although we cannot guarantee a repeat visit from Roddy, we can promise you a memorable free recital and delicious refreshments afterwards.