AS SO often happens around Christmas, I wasn't able to get to all the concerts I was invited to – but many thanks for asking me.
One which fell by the wayside was Wadebridge Choral Society's Christmas concert in St Minver Church. However, I have a number of spies who report to me and this concert was one of them.
St Minver Church is popular with both choir and audience, as was clear by the way the church was packed to listen to the choir, which was said to be in "full voice".
Under Nicholas Danks, director of music, with his ever-reliable accompanist Jo Naylor, the audience was treated to Mozart's Missa Brevis in D, and Eric Thiman's Christmas rhapsody, The Three Ships.
For the rest of the show Nicholas and the choir were treated to the voices – in true Cornish fashion – of the audience, who hadn't forgotten their carols since last year.
As a break from singing, Tracey and Graham Renwick treated everyone to some thoughtful and numerous Christmas readings. I clearly missed a lovely evening.
The 2014 season for the choir has already begun with rehearsals for the spring concert, which takes place at Wadebridge School on Saturday, April 26. The main work will be Puccini's Missa di Gloria.
If you would like to join the choir, callGeorge Dale on 01208 815981 or e-mail email@example.com.
HERE is another postscript from Christmas. I would like to tell you about one of my favourite choirs, Canoryon Lowen.
It is one of Cornwall's most versatile choirs, in the safe hands of Nick Hart, a man of many parts, one of which is his outstanding musical ability.
Canoryon Lowen produced a memorable Christmas Concert in the noble acoustics of St German's Church early in December. How well the church and choir suit each other.
Within the imaginative programme was John Rutter's Nativity Carol, the medieval Boar's Head Carol, accompanied by a brass ensemble, and a new work, The Midwinter Cantata, which is by Nick himself.
This secular cantata was accompanied by The Liskeard Chamber Ensemble.
It is a setting of a number of poems which describe the sights, sounds and feelings of the year – of family and friends, winter nights, resolutions, party time and the journey from darkness to light.
It was a most attractive work, clearly enjoyed by audience and performers alike.
We were able to join in from time to time and hear the thrilling descants from the choir.
This concert was repeated in St Neot Church and in Tavistock Catholic Church, where it was equally successful.
If you would like to become a member of this choir and learn more about how it operates, give Nick Hart a ring on 01579 320683.
There is also the website, www.canoryon lowen.com, to keep you in touch.
The legacy of Sandor Vegh
JANUARY is usually a quiet month when it comes to concerts. However, there is always one bright light, that of the now-established yearly memorial concert for Sandor Vegh, who did so much to lift chamber music to new heights.
Each year, some of his former, very grateful, pupils return to pay their respects and to show us just how chamber music should be played, a standard accepted throughout the musical world.
They play to packed audiences in the lovely acoustics of St Pol de Leon Church in Paul, high above Mousehole.
For this year's treat, the eight players (of world importance) came from the former Yugoslavia, Norway, Germany and USA, as well as from this country.
No winter weather can keep the eager audience away.
The first item, for all eight players, prepared us with three of Bach's chorales; then the group split into two halves.
The first work, designed to challenge players and listeners alike, was composed by Bela Bartók in 1909, in a world of change and conflict.
It has great depth and passion; it is a work that can grab you with uncompromising force.
The second work goes back to 1842, to Robert Schumann and his third string quartet.
This is a perfectly honed work, easier on the ear but by no means of lighter weight or less challenging.
In fact, the two, played so perfectly, fitted together very well.
For 2014, this truly memorable treat opened the door to the International Musicians' Seminar, which will be taking place (the first of two parts) in April.
Here, the January former pupils of Sandor Vegh will be passing on their expertise to young men and women at the start of their international careers, coming from all over the world.
As usual, pubic concerts will take place locally.
Here are the details of those concerts: St Pol de Leon Church, Paul, on Monday, April 7; St Buryan Church, Tuesday 8; St Mary's Church, Penzance, Wednesday 16; Truro School chapel, Thursday 17.
Maestri concerts will be given in St John's Church, Lemon Street, Truro, on Saturday, April 5, and in Marazion Community Centre on Saturday, April 19.
I will give you more details next month but warn you that, understandably, tickets sell like hot cakes.
The following information will be very useful.
First, for the International Musicians' Seminar, visit endellionfestivals.org.uk or phone 01736 732264.
For tickets visit the web at www.hallforcornwall.org or call 01872 262466.
St Endellion Easter Festival
LIKE IMS, this also takes place in April, and tickets also sell quickly, so here are a few details.
The festival takes place between Saturday, April 12, and Easter Sunday, April 20.
Here is an outline of the events; there will be more details for you next month.
Before that, here is information you will find useful. For ticket details and the rest you should visit endellionfestivals.org.uk or ring 07771 796643.
So, to the concerts:
Saturday, April 12: "Come and Sing". Join in and enjoy Mozart's Coronation Mass and his Ave Verum Corpus. Call 01840 214613 for details.
Sunday, April 13: Choral evensong at 4.30pm, followed at 7.30pm by a chamber concert, featuring works by Bach, Chopin, and Schubert.
Tuesday, April 15: a chamber concert at 7.30pm, featuring the works of Mahler, Pärt, Mozart and Bartók.
Wednesday, April 16: a concert at 7.30pm, featuring works by Bach, Vaughan Williams, and Britten.
Thursday, April 17: a lunchtime prom at St Kew Church at 1.15pm, featuring works by Bach and Vivaldi; also, at 10pm, Goodbye Dolly, a candlelit concert featuring music from the First World War.
Friday, April 18: a concert at 7.30pm, featuring works by Puccini, Beethoven, and MacMillan.
Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20: at 6.30pm both days, Bach's St Matthew Passion.
In addition to all this, we have the Endelienta Centre. As I predicted, this is proving a successful venture.
On Sunday, December 8, a very successful musical occasion (concert does not seem a good enough word) took place in St Kew Parish Church, under the title Candlelit Counterpoint.
Three ladies from The Zoltan Ensemble (no strangers to St Endellion) produced a very competent programme, in which they interpreted the music of Bach, Kodály and Lowri Porters.
We have more ahead. On Friday, February 23, The Cube Essential Theatre will present Carmen And Mimi – Lessons Of Love, a comedy told through action, speech and extraordinary music.
To book, telephone 01208 880008 or you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sunday, March 23, the Music Cornwall Guitar Ensemble will be giving a short concert in the church at the end of their course. Just come along.
February at the Hall
PIANIST Melvyn Tan is a leading exponent of 18th-century keyboard music. He joins Sinfonia Classica, directed by Hans Peter Hobson, in a concert tomorrow (Thursday 6), when the programme will also include Holst's Moorside Suite, Mozart's Concerto Rondo K382, Haydn's Symphony No 43 and, with Melvyn Tan as soloist, Mozart's Piano Concerto No 9.
Elvis Presley was as important to music in his time as Bach was in his. Elvis opened the door to a new type of popular music; his name lives on well beyond his death.
On Saturday, Ben Portsmouth will capture, with remarkable accuracy, each stage of Elvis's career, while maintaining a style and presence all of his own.
Thanks to people like Ben, the Elvis Presley sound lives on.
The sound of Broadway has recently become very popular, thanks to people like John Wilson. On Sunday 23, in a programme called Back To Broadway, you are invited to take a breathtaking journey through the magical world of musicals.
On Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27, Richard Aston Dance Company will bring a wide variety of dance, with music from Benjamin Britten to Martin Lawrence.
Into March, and yet more nostalgia, this time to the memory of Buddy Holly, on Saturday 1.
There is also English Touring Opera with The Magic Flute on March 10; and so it goes on.
For all the details about shows at the Hall For Cornwall call 01872 262466 or visit the internet at www.hallforcornwall.co.uk
Cornwall Music Festival
ALL musical entries for this year's (March) Cornwall Music Festival should already be in the hands of entries' secretary, Michael Edwards.
All entrants will have a month to put the finishing touches to their presentations.
The musical competitors will then have to face one of two adjudicators who, I assure you, will have many years' experience and expertise behind them and were possibly in your own position once.
Michael Hancock, one of the adjudicators, has been doing just that for more than 30 years as well as being a teacher, performer (with many recordings to his credit), singer, pianist and conductor.
He travels the world as an adjudicator and examiner; his experience with young performers is considerable.
Helen Deakin, the other music adjudicator, was born in Truro but her studies and her work as teacher, performer and conductor have, like Michael Hancock, taken her all over the world.
One of her specialities is in the world of chamber music, in which she has a great deal of experience.
Both Michael and Helen appreciate how young competitors suffer from nerves. They are at the festival to bring out the good points and encourage youngsters to do even better things in the future.
Running as it does from Monday to Saturday, March 10 to 15, the doors are open to anyone to come along to listen, for as long as you want.
You will be agreeably surprised at the high standards achieved.
Find out more from www.cornwallfestival.co.uk
The men of Rame are in good health
... and, I should add, in good voice. I talk of Rame Peninsula Male Choir, which is in the capable hands of Jonathan Delbridge, and which has had a very enjoyable 2013 and fully intends on the same in 2014 – and beyond.
The choir, with others, enjoyed an exciting visit to the Royal Albert Hall, had plenty of concerts to keep members on their toes and finished the year with three very popular concerts on home territory.
The first was in Looe Riverside Church, with Keltique Ladies; the next in Kingsand Community Hall, the last in Torpoint St James's Church, with Torpoint Ladies' Choir.
If you would like to join this happy, hardworking group, give Bill Russell a ring on 01579 344690.
Three Spires Singers and Orchestra
THIS very "professional" group of amateur singers and players have three concerts, all in the cathedral, planned for this year.
The first, with Truro Choral Society, will take place on Saturday, March 29, at 7.30pm, when the work to be performed will be Elgar's The Kingdom.
On Saturday, July 5, the work will be Handel's Israel In Egypt; and on Saturday and Sunday, November 9 and 10, following a week-long series of events in the cathedral to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Britten's War Requiem will be performed.
There's no need to go rushing for tickets for the last two concerts, but to get a good seat for The Kingdom you would be advised not to leave it too long.
The Hall For Cornwall Box Office is what you will need, on 01872 262466 or www.hallforcornwall.co.uk
You may also like to keep in touch with the group at threespiressingers.org.uk
Truro Three Arts
THIS month's Truro Three Arts concert in Truro College will take place on Friday, February 14.
Soprano Ailish Tynan will be joined by pianist Iain Burnside.
Those who heard the pair at last year's Tresanton Concerts, in St Mawes, were thrilled and hoped they would come again.
The programme will take us through the music of Mendelssohn, Schumann, Parry, Bridge, Britten and Moeran.
Tickets, priced at £15, are available from 01872 262466 or via the internet at www.hallforcornwall.co.uk