Just before the second lockdown, Philomel was delighted to be able to perform in front of a sold-out, socially distanced audience in Richmond. Felicity, Suzy and Janet, accompanied by Toby Carr on theorbo, performed a meditative mix of contemporary and baroque songs for a masked but very appreciative audience. Excerpts of the beautiful poem cycle ‘Birdcries of Saint Cecilia’ by Euan Tait – written for Janet two years ago – were read between groups of songs.
|O Lilie Faire||Sheena Phillips|
|Break of Day||Emily Doolittle|
|Stay o sweet||Emily Doolittle|
|Moon Sister||Paul Ayres|
|Take, o take||Paul Ayres|
|Secret wishes||Tansy Davies|
|Che si puo fare||Barbara Strozzi|
|Folle cor||Domenico Mazzocchi|
|Zefiro Torna||Claudio Monteverdi|
|Il mio martir||Claudio Monteverdi|
Delighted and relieved to be able to make music again, albeit without an audience, Philomel met (at the required social distance!) to record newly-written songs by four composers of less than two minutes each. Not only has this produced some wonderful videos and showcased the wide variety of styles available to contemporary composers, but the project will lead on to a live performance of these and other contemporary works as soon as possible.
|After heavy rain||Janet Oates|
|Limb-loosening love||Janet Oates|
|Leaves on the line||Sheena Phillips|
|Please hold||Sheena Phillips|
|Sing softly||Paul Ayres|
|Take o take||Paul Ayres|
|Stay o sweet||Emily Doolittle|
Philomel presented an evening of 17th century passion and intimacy! Folle Cor presented songs, duets and trios from the courts of Northern Italy, on the theme of love and obsession. In our first programme of purely historical repertoire, Janet, Suzy and Charlotte were accompanied by Mike and Arngeir in the enchanting candle-lit venue of the Barn Church, Kew, and discussed various aspects of the music (such as how figured bass works) with the appreciative audience.
On November 24th 2018 Philomel presented 'Cecila Sings': a programme of new and historical music on the theme of Saint Cecilia and the power of music. Accompanied by projected images and video, 4 newly commissioned works by Janet Oates, Sheena Phillips, Joel Järventausta and Domenic McGonigal were juxtaposed with repertoire from the Concerto delle Donne, including by Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini, all interwoven with madrigals by Maddalena Casulana. The venue (the Swiss Church, Covent Garden) had a generous acoustic and the six soprano voices soared and filled the place. The full audience was thrilled and showed their appreciation with prolonged applause.
Here you can look at the repertoire; and Here is an overview of what images were displayed during the concert. Here is a short highlights video of the evening.
Philomel's first concert was November 2nd 2017 in the amazing venue of the Brunel Shaft, Rotherhithe. Beginning with nightingale song and the haunting chant of Hildegarde of Bingen, and ending with a spellbinding arrangement by Janet Oates of Le Rossignol (the Nightingale) by Saint-Saëns, the audience was transfixed by the programme and gave us rapturous applause and fantastic comments at the end. The four new commissions were kindly sponsored by the RVW Trust and by Projonix, with extra support from Sound and Music, the Early Music Shop, and Green Man Press.
Our second and third concerts in March 2018 expanded on our first success, adding solos and recorder music, maintaining the bird theme and the focus on women composers. Despite the blizzards of 'the beast from the East', audiences in Richmond (the Unitarian Church) and Rotherhithe (Holy Trinity Church) were very appreciative. The concerts were generously supported by the Arts Council England.
During a rehearsal:
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