Winter Soirée 2014

On 4 December, we welcomed our usual audience of “friendly eavesdroppers” to Da Capo’s Winter Soirée.

The whole orchestra played five pieces. The rest of the programme was a varied mix of solos and chamber music, by orchestra members and a few visitors. One small woodwind group included three players who had joined the orchestra only in September!

Mendelssohn – Frohlocket ihr Völker auf Erde. We welcomed the audience with this cheerful Christmas tune originally for 8-part choir. Its name means “Rejoice, ye people on Earth”.

Bach – O Jesulein süss – “O sweet little Jesus”. One of the challenges for the orchestra this term was to play this piece in a smooth, flowing way with no gaps.

Scriabin – Reverie. This piece representing a daydream had the season’s most difficult rhythm and most difficult notes – but not too fast, and with lots of repetition.

Pichl – Rondo in Tempo di Giga. A giga was a jolly dance. The cellos get a featured spot with a different tune, so the rest of the orchestra gets a chance to practise playing quietly.

Michael Altenburg – Ein wunderschönes Kindelein, leading into In Dulci Jubilo, was published at the beginning of the 17th century for voices in six parts, which might also have been accompanied by instruments. The title refers to baby Jesus and means “a wonderfully beautiful little child”. In Dulci Jubilo goes back even further than that, showing that composers are always picking up tunes and rearranging them!

Da Capo making a temporary move

For the next two terms, Autumn 2014 (starting on September 18th) and Spring 2015, Da Capo will meet at Woolhampton Village Hall.

Network Rail is closing the railway bridge in Padworth Lane for 6 months, right over the winter. That cuts off the best route for almost all of us to our regular venue, Padworth Village Hall. The alternative is quite a long diversion over narrow, bendy, unlit country roads. 🙁 We were very lucky to be able to find an alternative on our regular Thursday evenings, a couple of miles further West along the A4.

Carols for Calcot shoppers

This Thursday evening, a group of about twenty current and ex-members of Da Capo will be playing “seasonal” music for shoppers.

Date: Thursday December 20th, 2012.

Time: From 7pm to 9.30.

Venue: The foyer of the big Sainsbury’s store at Calcot. It’s off the next roundabout on the A4 from M4 Junction 12, going towards Reading.

We shall be supporting a collection in aid of Cancer Research UK, so we’re hoping that LOTS of people will be shopping that evening, with a bit of extra cash to spare for the collection 🙂

As well as some familiar Christmas carols, we shall be including Jingle Bells and one or two other secular items, and a transcription of a short Christmas choral piece by Mendelssohn. Quite a mixture!

Hello, World!

Thanks to my blog-enthusiast daughter, here I am with a blog! I’ve no idea how often I shall write anything for it because quite often running Da Capo feels like a full-time job. However, I do sometimes find myself writing things – about the orchestra in particular, or more general music-related stuff – to one person, when I would really like more people to be able to read it.

At the moment I’m still in the process of choosing the music for next term.  I always hope it will stretch every single player “enough”. 🙂 I like to include at least one piece that was originally written for either a conventional orchestra or a wind band, and I adapt or simplify parts as necessary to fit whatever unconventional line-up of instruments I happen to have at the time.