New CD and a medieval music course

THE return of live music to the Concerts in the West venues is still three months off, but the organisation, which supports and promotes young chamber musicians, has news of an exciting new CD and a course on medieval music.

Catherine Maddocks, the founder and artistic director of Concerts in the West, has announced that the May tour of Trio Klein will not go ahead. She says: “We will be re-organising their dates and we continue to juggle dates for our other tours for 2021 and 2022 onwards. We hope that the Ferio Saxophone Quartet will come in June but will we have to see how we progressing with vaccinations and all the other data that has to be taken into account.”

Meanwhile there is news of the newly released debut album of the soprano duo Fair Oriana, Angela Hicks and Penelope Appleyard. The repertoire of Two Voices celebrates the two singers’ pure vocal blend, and represents the variety of their output and the genres they most love. It is divided into four volumes, each exploring a different sentiment: happiness, intrigue, passion and loss.

Rooted in their passion for, and specialism in, early music, the collection features a variety of music from Elizabethan song to contemporary commissions, with highlights of folk and even baroque along the way.

At the core of this recording are Thomas Morley’s seldom performed or recorded Twelve Canzonets to Two Voices, published in 1595, a series of intimate, conversational and characterful acapella duets. For this collection four of these feature viol in place of tenor voice, instruments taking vocal lines being a common practice at the time. These duets have been divided between the volumes, interspersed with other music evocative of similar sentiments.

Fair Oriana made their debut at Vienna’s Konzerthaus (Mozart-saal) in January 2020 and have been booked for the next Three Choirs Festival in the UK with guest accompanist David Wright of Red Priest. They gave an historically informed performance of Handel’s Aminta e Fillide with Leo Duarte and Opera Settecento at St George’s Hanover Square, using baroque gesture, and are in talks about a repeat performance in Vienna.

The plan is for Fair Oriana to sing for Concerts in the West in 2023. Meanwhile for more information on the CD, visit www.fairoriana.com

Early music and folk specialist Emily Askew runs courses to introduce musicians to the playing style and use of ornamentation in medieval music and to explore its connections with folk music. Contact Emily at em_askew@nullyahoo.co.uk

Emily, who studied early music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, is a versatile musician playing fiddle, recorders, vielle (medieval fiddle), bagpipes and shawm. Her interests range from the deep roots of folk music to medieval, baroque and contemporary repertoire. As a member of the Askew Sisters, she has twice been a BBC Young Folk Award semi-finalist. She also plays with early music ensembles including The Artisans, Joglaresa and The Dufay Collective. She has performed as principal recorder at Glyndebourne and as a multi-instrumentalist in productions for Apollo West End, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and the Hampstead Players. She has made a couple of tours with Concerts in the West.