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Ashmansworth AGM & Discussion with composer Raymond Yiu
Saturday 9 July 2022
It was good to welcome members to Ashmansworth. A fuller account with photographs and also AGM details will appear in the next Newsletter.
Following the AGM in the morning, members enjoyed a stimulating talk by Raymond Yiu in the Village Hall about his music, and particularly his love of English Song. Ray’s openness and enthusiasm enabled an understanding of what inspires him and something of his working methods. This was great preparation for enjoying his cycle Dead Letters in the afternoon recital. Ray explained the significance of the relationship between Gerard Manley Hopkins and Digby Mackworth Dolben as the starting point of the cycle.
After a fine catered lunch, members moved up to Ashmansworth Church for an afternoon recital including Lost Letters. Songs in the cycle reflected Ray’s sustained interest in English Song as well as being compelling on their own account. The high-quality recital, by tenor Jonathan Hanley and Gavin Roberts, piano interspersed Ray’s songs with songs by other composers from many other periods, creating an intriguing and highly enjoyable experience. Particularly memorable was the performance by Jonathan and Gavin of Britten’s Canticle My beloved is mine, demonstrating great control yet intensity of expression.
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AGM and Churchdown Visit
September 4 2021
Following the postponement of the 2020 AGM we combined the 2021 AGM with a return visit to Churchdown on September 4. It was good to see so many members attending and we had a fruitful review of the activities of the Friends as part of the AGM. We thanked Clare McCaldin as she departed the Committee, especially for her role in setting up the new website, and paid tribute to all of Adrian Williams’ tireless efforts as Treasurer and also instigator and chair of the reserve grants working party. It was good to have his successor, Ian Wadhams with us. We also were delighted that our new website manager, Derri Lewis was able to join us.
After a sociable lunch, giving some members time to get up to the top of Chosen Hill, we enjoyed one of Iain Burnside’s brilliantly devised creations, centred around Finzi’s Letters. This enabled proper celebration of Diana McVeagh’s edition of the letters and it was a joy to have Diana with us. Iain accompanied tenor Florian Panzieri in captivating performances of many favourite Finzi songs, interspersed with readings from the letters by current chairman Martin Bussey and his predecessor, and Finzi Trustee, Paul Spicer. A highlight of the concert was hearing Iain as solo pianist in Howells’ tribute piece to Finzi, written on hearing of his death, Finzi’s Rest. Click to make the photos bigger!