Joe Laredo

Joe Laredo

The 16 March lunchtime concert highlighted women composers and was performed by Joe Laredo, John Welch and Dave King.  From the musicians’ detailed and fascinating research, we discovered much about some of the talented women who have contributed to music, from the times of Louis XIV to the present day.

Joe began the performances with a piano piece by Ethel Smyth, a member of the Suffragette movement and imprisoned for her beliefs.  Joe’s light but sure touch revealed the emotional rise and fall of this composition.  He continued with ‘Romantic Piece’ by Cecile Chaminade, highlighting the flowing movement and lyrical quality.  ‘Lament’ by Teresa Carreno followed, a sweeping, heartfelt piece, again skilfully played with solemn tones threaded through, revealing a sense of longing and loss.  Finally, Joe performed Marie Boulanger’s ‘D’un jardin clair’, a summery, bright piece with a sense of the diverse areas of the landscape apparent in the contrasting tone and pace.

John Welch at the organ

John Welch at the organ

John Welch continued the concert with a variety of organ performances.  Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, a seventeenth century harpsichordist, was his first choice, and we were treated to a charming, light piece.  This was followed by a lively composition by Elizabeth Turner, another harpsichordist about whom little is known, unfortunately. We then heard two contrasting pieces from Fanny Mendelssohn and Louise Adolph Le Beau.  The first began delicately, but soon showed its majesty and strength, whilst the second had a solemnity of pace and vision, building to a powerful conclusion.  Finally, John played a blues style composition, which was very engaging.

Dave King & Joe Laredo

Dave King & Joe Laredo

Dave King then took his place at the piano, delivering four pieces from more modern times, beginning with Caroline Crawford’s ‘Sur la Glace at Sweet Briar’, a beautifully played arpeggio waltz, followed by Eily Beadell and Nell Tollerton’s ‘Cruising Down the River’, where the invitation to singalong was impossible to resist!  Debbie Wiseman’s ‘Fall of the Last Barrier’, the theme music to the film ‘Flood’, revealed Dave’s ability to create atmosphere in this lovely, spine tingling piece.  He ended the concert with the ever popular ‘We’ll Keep a Welcome’, by Mai Jones – another opportunity for the audience to join in, with this poignant song.

The concert finished with perhaps the most famous tune, written by two sisters – Happy Birthday – and we all joined in!

Thank you to all three musicians who gave us such a varied and delightful lunchtime concert, showing us their technical skills and sensitive interpretations. Grateful thanks also to the tea makers and servers – Gill, Jean and Fiona, and, as always, to Lesley for organising the event.  Thank you also to the lovely audience who donated £56.67 to our Organ Fund.

Words by Andrea Hearne, photos by Richard Hearne