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John Kember's Pastorale was the perfect excuse for Richard Deering to go all soppy and sentimental. He has my express permission to do this, as I also lament people who ignore the beauties of the English countryside -- excepting the itinerant rambler and the American tourist. But quite what cricket on the village green has to do with the glorious green shadings of our woods and hedgerows is anybody's guess. Could I detect Warlock, or even Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves? Kember looked at me afterwards as if I had gone potty!

At the other extreme comes Edmund Joliffe's Carnival. Perhaps this refers to the yearly rampage at Notting Hill and to its blendings of jazz, negro spirituals, pop and West Indian calypso? This was its world première, and vastly enjoyed by the four contestants. It must be hideously difficult to control, with each of them cueing their partners, and getting timing, rhythm and expression spot on!

If you read Thayer's Life of Beethoven or collect the older Vox-Turnabout records by Michael Ponti and Marie-Louise Boehm, you will know all about Poland's Ignaz Moscheles, and his associations with Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Berlioz and other vibrant personalities of a bygone musical age. What I did not expect was to be introduced to Moscheles' two great grandsons Henry and Stephen Roche, who both live at Wimbledon (London SW20). Also musicians, I learnt much in the course of one evening talking with these passionate enthusiasts for neglected music -- especially post-romantic British composers of the 1910-60 vintage -- and their motivations, through Societies like the Peter Warlock, to redress the balance by getting the music off the ground again for renewed reappraisal and performance.

Moscheles' Grand Duo Op 115, with obvious allegiances to Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms, goes back further to the innovative nineteenth century where many musical jewels still await the challenges of those brave, young revivers.

Copyright © 11 February 2003 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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