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Purcell’s Own Pipes

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The Purcell connection was discovered once again towards the end of 2011. This time the seeker was a member of staff for The Choral Foundation – a charity raising funding for choral scholarships for choristers of the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court. Purcell was trained as a chorister there in the mid 1600s. Having found me as a descendant, I was invited to the service led by Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, to celebrate 400 years of the King James Bible. The choir is unfunded and the choristers are drawn from local schools and directed by Carl Jackson whose post is also voluntary. Hence the need for Foundation backing to secure essentials and a little more if possible. The Chapel Royal has many features from Purcell’s time although sadly little of the original organ. (Purcell was Keeper of the Pipes.) Speaking of organs and organ music – here’s an interesting CD. Also, try this unusual sheet music item for organ. I’ve sent a Mag and Nunc to the choirmaster, so we’ll see what comes of that!

Sarah Rodgers

More about Purcell

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I know this news was only the blog before last and was there a very long time(!) but IE wouldn’t let me into the blogger. Now I am back courtesy of FireFox! A quick update on Purcell connections. It’s amazing who finds you – like the German television station that does an equivalent of ‘who do you think you are?’ but starting from the standpoint of a famous antecedant (HP) and an ordinary descendant (SR). Anyway, I was invited to appear on the TV show which in Germany is a rather formal affair. There was a bit of a quiz on who my ancestor might be and originally they thought I was Dutch, so my German accent must have been a bit gravelly (yes, I gave most of the interview in German, much to their surprise!). Then they gave a potted biography of Uncle Henry and his achievements and then I was interviewed and they played some of my music. It was in Baden Baden and we had a great weekend making the show and then taking the waters! Didn’t visit the casino which apparently is quite famous but stayed in a wonderful hotel. I can recommend a visit. More Purcell family news soon.

Sarah Rodgers

Kapustin Piano Music for PlayStation

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Quite a few years ago we fell in love with the music of Nikolai Kapustin. His compositions for piano are astonishing. The pieces tap into a whole range of musical languages – jazz, blues, ragtime, boogie-woogie and they are vibrant and so full of energy and excitement, even in the most disarmingly tuneful passages.

This is now being picked up by musicians all over world and there are some really terrific performances. The Toccatina from one of the Etudes has even just been released as the sound track for the latest PlayStation Gran Turismo 5. Now I know absolutely nothing about PlayStation but listen to the track http://www.tutti.co.uk/featured-sheet-music/music-from-gran-turismo-5 and you can hear how fantastic the music is. To play the music you need at least 12 fingers(!) and there are some great performances out there. Look out for Kapustin, it is really terrific music.

Geraldine Allen

Wow!!!!

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Well here is something to be passionate about!

My name is Rodgers, my Mother’s maiden name is Broadwood and her Mother’s maiden name is Purcell. It was always a generally accepted belief in our family that we were descendants of English composer, Henry Purcell. It was not until my good friend, composer Judith Bingham, who between commissions likes to indulge her interest in genealogy, took on the scraps of paper that thus far had formed our family history, that the truth has actually emerged! And, yes, she has been able to trace my ancestry directly back to Henry Purcell who it would seem is a many times great Uncle. The book Judith has produced is a fascinating read back to Sir Richard Purcell (b.1455) and on to Henry Purcell (the elder, d. 1664) and to his sons Daniel, Henry (himself) and Edward, and to Henry Purcell the elder’s brother, Thomas. Coming down the centuries we also encounter William Purcell who was a carpenter on the Bounty in 1788-89 at the time of the great Mutiny. He is listed in the ship’s log as being ‘loyal’, so that is one black sheep averted!

I’m having a wonderful time reading up on all these fascinating characters so am probably likely to bore you to death abut it all!

More about me here!

Sarah Rodgers

Time for Music

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I have just realised that it is just about a year since I wrote my last blog. Last year was taken over not just by the normal hurly burly of too much time working and not enough time relaxing but also by deciding to do something about our quality of life and actually move out of London! It was not the fact that we did not like London we loved it but work seemed to fill up all the gaps. We also of course chose to move at exactly the wrong time in the housing market! In the end we saw a house in Nofolk which we not only loved as a building but realised its potential for making music. We at last have the space to house a grand piano and there is also plenty of room to rehearse and so I am looking forward to a lot more music making. We have not moved house for 20 years and I do not want to do it again for another 20 but it does at least make you go through all of your music and recordings some of which have been sitting on the shelf for years without being moved. One of the first things that I played in concert at the Royal Academy of Music was the Mozart Clarinet Quintet. All of the concerts were recorded on reel to reel in those days and I thought I had kept them all but sadly they have not appeared yet! We have borrowed a tape recorder so that we can transfer them to cds but the recordings I have left are all post Academy. Probably a good job but I would have been interested to hear them. Sadly my performing career ended before I made any commercial recordings but we have a super version of the Mozart on tutti.co.uk played by Janet Hilton. OK we are gradually sorting ourselves out and so hopefully it will not be another year before I post another blog! Oh dear it looks like it is snowing again.

Geraldine Allen

Is playing music fun?

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I was having dinner with friends yesterday and was asked what I did for fun. That is inbetween running an events business and two websites for musicians. Well I do belong to a health club at a vast expense which it was my new years resolution to visit at least once a week and which I have managed to do about 3 times in the last 6 weeks! Do you still play your clarinet someone asked. Well yes but not as often as I would like to and not as seriously as I would like to and actually I would not class playing the clarinet as fun anyway. Now that I am no longer professional (following a road accident some time ago) I can no longer spend the time practising on a regular basis which is what I would need to do in order to bring my playing to the standard which would enable me to fluently and effectively express the music that I want to play. My friend also plays the clarinet and said that after she gained a distinction in her grade 8 at school she decided not to study to become a professional clarinettist for the very reason that it would no longer be fun! She was therefore glad that she is doing what she is now doing which, as it happens, is a very important and well paid job. I would whole heartedly support her in that. You should only become a professional musician if you have no other choice, as a means of earning a living it can be a disaster and any musician reading this will know that!

Playing is exhilerating and liberating and creative and challenging and I love it to bits because it is, or was fundamentally the way that I expressed myself. I went on to be a professional performer in the same way as I continued to breathe, it was not a choice, it was just what I had to do. When I had an accident which gave me a whip lash injury which meant that I could no longer hold the instrument for more than 20 minutes without being in a huge amount of pain what I missed was not fun, what I had lost was my voice. Sometimes, just sometimes I get a glimmer of that back when I play but mainly now I get the chance to hear it in the playing of others particularly in the groups that I coach. I also get a little of it back in the work that I am still writing for tutti.co.uk about wind playing. It is aimed particularly at adult players and I should have completed it in August had not our whole lives been disrupted by builders and I really do intend to finish it soon after the next event and after – oh well, hopefully in the summer at the very latest – I will keep you posted! Until then – have fun!

Geraldine Allen

Composer’s Legacy

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I cannot even guess how long it is since I wrote a blog – too busy writing for everything else but something happened this week which nudged me into scribbling a note today! I heard at the beginning of the week that a friend and colleague of mine the composer, Graham Whettam had died last Friday. I first got to know Graham in the 1980s when I was performing a series of concerts featuring British Music and one of those pieces was the Whettam Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano. There were some tempo markings in the music which I did not think made sense. As a performer, I have never been able or even tried to compose music but I have always been deeply immersed in the performing of music as a creative art. Perhaps this needs a bit more explaining – I mean that the composer envisages what they think the music should sound like but the realisation of the composition only comes to fruition when it is performed. Many composers with modern technology can indeed get a very clear picture of how it should sound but adding the individual performer is what is the final part of the composition (I suspect some composers may disagree with this!) The final bit of the jigsaw (for the peformer) is communicating the work with the audience – the ambience of the hall, the acoustic, the instruments being used and the audience will all influence that. And so it was, back in the 1980’s that I came across the work of Graham Whettam and rather than play the music at a tempo marking which for me seemed far too fast for the interpretation, I gave him a call! That call led on to me performing the Sonatina frequently from Music Clubs to the Wigmore Hall and recording it for radio 3 and this in turn led to two new commissions – Impromptu for solo clarinet and Graham whettam’s second clarinet concerto which was dedicated to me and written in memory of my sister Jennifer who had tragically died of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 33. I also performed and broadcast Graham’s first clarinet concerto as well as giving numerous performances of other arrangements of his music. As I have mentioned previously my performing career then came to an abrupt halt in 1993 when I had a road accident which stopped me performing professionally.

Hearing that Graham had died brought an era to a close but as his widow Janet said to me – he has left his music legacy for us to enjoy. Try listening to Caroline Clemmow and Anthony Goldstone in their recordings of Graham Whettam’s music for solo piano and piano duet for sale on tutti.co.uk.

Geraldine Allen

passionate about singing

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What is it about the human voice that captivates in both composition and performance? Yes, I know, I am trying to deflect your inevitable comment that I was supposed to have written about the Summer Sing two Wednesdays ago, that’s two whole Wdnesdays or 8 days – a lifetime to the dedicated blogger. My defence as always is that life got in the way, and really there can be no better impediment to writing about life than life itself. Hmm, this is clearly going to be one of those philosophical ones! OK, you ask (or maybe you don’t!) which bits of life? Diary says (that’s an oblique reference to Little Britain for the uninitiated) Norfolk – and it would be right! Norfolk is a hideaway which belongs to my brother Nick who is an equestrian (not a note of music in his entire being, bless ‘im) and deeply involved with the 2008 para-olympics in Hong Kong. Norfolk is so utterly different from what our lives constitute most of the time that it is always a glorious and most welcome entr’acte. We live simply, eat simply, drink simply too much, walk miles, visit some of the most extraordinary churches these Isles have to offer and even bird watch. Well here’s a thing. While walking from Hardley to Chedgrave and back, a distance of a little more than 8 miles (that’s nearly 13 kilometres to our continental neighbours) and visiting St Margaret’s Hardley which is little changed from its Norman beginnings and All Saints Chedgrave which provided a welcome cuppa, we dropped off at the bird hide by Hardley Flood. What do you think we found there? You would never guess so don’t even try . . . A memorial plaque to Olivier Messiaen. The inside of the hide has a row of little brass plaques which commemorate all sorts and conditions of men and women who liked the locale, were ardent bird-watchers, had made an impression on the dedicator’s life or were simply nice people and in amongst them all was one Olivier M. to whom bird song had meant so much as a composer. I took a photograph and felt warmed! I know this started out as a eulogy to the human voice . . . it has got lost somewhere along the way and turned out to be not so philosophical after all. Bird song, human voice, creative inspiration, memories – there are bound to be 101 connections. Much to my surpise, we have not a drop of Messiaen on tutti, neither sheet music nor recordings, BUT we do have a rather good work for meultiple double basses, called, Bird, Lake, Stone, River by composer Michael Hynes . . . “atmospheric stillness and calm. An ethereal soundworld . . .” saith the blurb.

Sarah Rodgers

passionately preparing

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Well, I’m still sharpening pencils and today I have managed to tie up a lot of loose ends which would otherwise niggle away while I am trying to get down to the heart of the matter. I actually managed to create the Finale file where the Impulse Edition of the new work will be published – that is a statement of intent! Tomorrow evening I’m going to lead a ‘Summer Sing’ with the choir who are commissioning the work – the Islington Choral Society. This is a great idea, (which could only be put into action by those completely passionate about their singing), whereby, those unfortunate souls left behind while others prance about en vacances, gather together under the batons of guest conductors to explore some new repertoire. This is particularly good from my point of view as it gives me a chance to get acquainted with the musicians for whom I am writing and their ways of working. I also get to hear something of their strengths and weaknesses, abhorrences and passions, too! I’m going to work with them on breathing, articulating, listening and feeling (well that will all get done in 30 minutes, won’t it!!) and then lay on them a little gem of a choral piece by Grieg which I heard performed a couple of months back by the choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor – entirely captivating. It is Grieg’s setting of Ave Maris Stella, edited by my good mate, John Rutter.

Now I absolutely cannot write today without referring to an experience about which I feel intensely passionate – last night’s Prom concert. Anybody out there hear it? A chunky programme full of promise with Brahms, Elgar and Strauss (Richard) on offer. The band was the RPO, but I cannot believe what was done to them in rehearsal to produce such extraordinarily inappropriate interpretations. The playing was fine and heartfelt but to my ears, completely off the interpretative radar: Brahms, whimsical and over-sweetly full of vibrato and this was the St Anthony Variations for goodness sake – variations on a theme by Haydn. I hoped for better in the Enigma Variations, but the performance was so precious and placed and saccharine, I could barely listen; as well as the tempi being up the shoot – Nimrod was so slow I thought he’d fallen asleep – so much for the mighty hunter. Regrettably, so much of this had stuck in the craw to the extent that I couldn’t hang in there to listen to the Strauss Oboe Concerto – my loss I fear. I’ll make myself feel better by giving you a link to all the oboe music we have on tutti.

Sorry to moan, but really, Brahms and Elgar are Saxons, not Siamese (no offence to anyone oriental intended!) I’ll let you know how I get on with the Islington bunch, but not ’til Wednesday.

Sarah Rodgers

no pain, no passion

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So, today is the day after the day on which I should have started a new commission and I promised myself, come August 1st, I would put pencil to paper. It didn’t happen and I could give oh so many reasons why not – visitors (composer Ian McQueen and pianist Clive Swansbourne ) – distractions (Clive was stung by a wasp on his finger – not good for a pianist) – indulgence (too much amber nectar; well – cava, malt whiskey, wine and cognac actually, but don’t tell my doctor!) – over-exercising (had a work out session with personal trainer at the gym – my those sumo squats are something else!) – passionate thoughts about restructuring tutti. Long enough list? Enough of the obfuscation! If truth be told, it’s the same old, never goes away, dare I start? Of course I do, but how? I know, I’ll sharpen my pencils – that would be something like 300 so that should take an hour or so. Hmm, thirsty work – time for a cup of tea. Oh look, the acer is thirsty too, must water it. That reminds me, have I fed the orchid recently. Talking of feeding, what are we giving Ian and Clive for a dessert? and SO it goes on. This is the painful bit, but without it I won’t get to the passionate bit! Should I tell you what I am about to write? No, I think I had better wait until I get started – probably later today if all the pencils are sharp . . .

Sarah Rodgers

passionately successful weekend

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Cambridge Clarinets was terrific! It’s hard to convey the benefits of this annual event but I can safely say that all those who take part value it for the musical content, the human interaction and the opportunity to take time out to simply be and to see ourselves in the context of a much bigger picture. Yes, it all sounds rather navel-gazing, but that would be a completely wrong impression. Everyone is there for the others and without each and every one it would not have the same impact. The surroundings are tranquil (except when we are playing – but even then there are moments of the deepest stillness within all the activity) and the food is sensational – literally! so much so that we are thinking of putting together a recipe book of 14 years’ worth of inspirational eating! The music was inspirational too – 3 out of the 5 works were by contemporary British composers, one by a twentieth century composer and the last one a new arrangement , so ‘live’ was very much the order of the day. Geraldine gave some really good sessions on technique and ‘how to play better’ in all sorts of ways. She recommended a set of tone studies which were enthusiastically received so here they are if you are interested: Time for Tone

We have 10 coming for dinner this evening so this will have to be a short post. Actually we have 4 dinners in the next 6 days, so if it weren’t for music, food would be the abiding passion in this house, not forgetting drink as well.

Cheers!

Sarah Rodgers

passionate preparations

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From 4.OOpm this afternoon is the annual Cambridge Clarinets weekend – a professional engagement which over some 14 years has grown into a tradition where 12 entusiastic clarinettists gather together to be coached by Geraldine and conducted by me. It is an occasion which has given us all so much over the years. Yes, the purpose of the weekend is to play as much as possible and we manage to get in around 20 hours and in the course of that to explore a fair bit of new music – we usually have a newly commissioned work or arrangement to tackle; but it is also a meeting of hearts and souls – we share a lot, debate endlessly, laugh copiously and sometimes shed a tear or two – all the stuff of humanity which is very heartening and, again, it happens because of the music. We see each other in this grouping, only on this one occasion each year, but when we meet, we just pick up where we left off – there is a flow, a continuum and no awkwardness. The theme this year is breathe, listen, feel and Geraldine and I have been preparing thoughts and ideas which embrace golden section, fibonacci, zen and other spiritual origins. Geraldine in particular has been writing her own approach to playing the clarinet and this is going to appear in instalments on tutti over the coming weeks. Cambridge Clarinets will be the test-bed for this and no doubt they will have a lot to say about it. There is plenty of clarinet music on tutti, so there will be lots of references to useful resources for musicians. Keep an eye out. Hope you have as passionate a weekend as we do – I’ll blog about it next week.

Sarah Rodgers

passionate about composers

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Today is the Board meeting (yes I know I seem to be writing a lot about these, but they really are board meetings and not bored meetings!) of the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters where I am a director and chair of the Concert Executive which looks after the interests of classical composers. I suppose I have been doing something of the sort for about 15 years now. Anyway, the Academy has around 2,500 members including famous names such as Paul McCartney and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, all of whom are composers, songwriters and lyricists, British or living and working in the UK. It is a fascinating melting-pot of creative talent with a great deal of accumulative passion! I have a lot of fantastic friends there and we have many interests and issues in common. Quite a few of them have pages on Impulse or recordings and sheet music on tutti . Here are a couple of examples – composer David Bedford who has just written a piece for the passionate Cambridge clarinettists I wrote about recently – more to come on them after the weekend; and Timothy Salter, who is a Prof. at the Royal College of Music and has a great output of CDs under the label Usk Recordings . OK, well I’m off to defend composers and their rights – this is the internet so I had better not get started on that one!

Sarah Rodgers

passions for wednesday written on tuesday

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I’m writing tomorrow’s blog today as I have just remembered that I am leaving too early to write it tomorrow! Ok this is a prophetic blog – tomorrow I will be attending an mcps-prs-alliance Board meeting – don’t ask me what that is, I wrote about it in yesterday’s blog – well the one I have just written today, but when you read this as tomorrow’s blog it will seem like yesterday! Terrific stuff going on at the Alliance – lots of schemes and web functionality to make it really easy to licence music whenever, however, wherever you use it – and yes, sorry, but you do have to pay when you use music otherwise the guys and girls who created the music (composers of course) don’t earn from their works. After that, have to spend some time preparing for Cambridge Clarinets. Now if you think I’m passionate about music, you should meet this bunch. Yes it is the annual weekend with nigh on 20 hours of playing music by Bach, Bedford, Coleridge Taylor, Hart and Wilson – and, yes, right again, lots of contemporary composers there. In fact you can check out David Bedford’s website and buy his CDs on tutti we do after all, as our strapline says, bring you closer to classical. Enough prophetic blogging, but don’t forget, even though the date says tuesday, this is really Wednesday 25th July. More on Thursday.

KBO,

Sarah Rodgers

passionate confession

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I can’t believe the last post was in January!

My problem is too much, too big, too often – rather like over-eating, but in this case the bites are chunks of work that are demanding to chew. Take a typical day: start at 7.00am with a quick round of emails for overnight sales from around the world on tutti and then crosscheck these with transaction reports and backing; deal with customer queries and problems (not many of those thankfully!); pick up threads of unfinished items from yesterday or even the day before or even the week before, or in this case, 6 months before! – brief pause for sigh on passing thought that I will probably never catch up – yes that happens EVERY day – and then brighten up at thought that I can cross a few items off the ‘to do’ list. Most days there is a meeting to attend or to prepare for and this can range from a Board meeting at the mcps-prs-alliance (I’m a writer director on that one) to the management group at local church for community centre project (I’m chair of that one!) Spend some time updating pages on Impulse – hundreds of marketing and promotion-hungry composers and performers! Dash out to get to meeting – probably late (but only five minutes. Would love to stay for lunch, but, ‘no’, dash back to pick up some more threads. Prepare contract for latest commission – lovely opportunity to compose a new work for thriving choral society – chorus, string quartet and harp – can’t wait to get started on that one (been saying that for a few months now, but have promised myself to get going in August – not too far around the corner!) Have a big think about developing tutti to include itunes – really important step for classical CD suppliers – talking of which, there is a brilliant Szymanowski (that’s shoe-man-of-ski)on the tutti homepage at the moment – here it is: Complete Piano Music

Oops! have I remembered to eat today? and so it goes on. Anyway, I’m not asking for your sympathy, just a bit of slack in the fall off from blogging. Am now going to work this into the early morning routine. I know, you’ll believe it when you see it. Well I always did like a challenge – passionate about it you might say!

Sarah Rodgers

passionate about tchaikovsky

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Well, to be honest, I would never have thought I would put that as a title for my blog! but the good old BBC has followed up its Beethoven abd Bach extravaganzas with the Tchaikovsky experience. I got invited to an evening at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in London to hear the wonderful BBC Singers perform a programme of unaccompanied sacred choral music by Tchaik. Well, actually it was a Tchaik sandwich with Stravinsky for the filling – a rather extraordinary but not unappealing juxtaposition. The cathedral is an unremarkable building but has a more than remarkable impact – it makes you want to be quiet. (I remember experiencing that in the Kremlin on entering the church with the Rubalov icons floor to ceiling – that actually just silenced you without and within!) The BBC Singers did a magnificent job although their very beautiful balance didn’t always give that flavour of the basses underpinning not only the music, but the whole wide world! Nonetheless, it was profound – not a word one can use easily these days. I rushed back to tutti to see what Tchaikovsky offerings we have. In sheet music there is some interesting stuff, especially for trumpet, and as for CDs, one rather special recording of Tchaikovsky works for piano duet, including Romeo and Juliet transcribed by Nadezhda Purgold (wife of Rimsky-Korsakov). How’s that for original, but then you wouldn’t expect anything else from tutti. Incidentally there is a new year’s sale at tutti at the moment with 20% off everything. Yes, I said a SALE.

Cheers Tchaikovsky!

Sarah Rodgers

Apologies, promises and passions in 2007

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Duh! Where did all that time go? I know the essence of blogging is that it is regular and continuous in order to keep a thread of ideas and information but in the oh so busy world of a freelance composer and musical entrepreneur gee is that a challenge! Anyway, I’m back after an interval of – I dare hardly admit to it – 2 months. BUT, a fantastic amount of passionate stuff has taken place in that time. First there was the British Composer Awards. I have been spearheading these Awards on behalf of the British Academy of Composer & Songwriters for four years now and they have had a tremendous impact on the classical composing community here in the UK. The Awards give recognition to composers in just about every area of contemporary composition and because we are partnered by BBC Radio 3, there are all sorts of added benefits such as a broadcast festival of the nominated works and performances by the excellent BBC ensembles – Symphony Orchetra, Concert Orchestra, Singers. It’s a really great celebration! After that it was the much lower profile but just as passionately important matter of the church carol service – a chorus of 40 and an orchestra of 20. Well, when I say orchestra, that includes penny whistle and three trumpets, but it’s another great jamboree. I think the orchestra was saved this year by the tutti programmer, Olly, who led with his violin! And now we have turned 2007, there is a whole new year of passionate music matters starting to happen. I have the first of three commissions to start work on and from the end of the week, we will be running a new year sale on tutti with 20% off EVERYTHING! So check that out. In a couple of weeks there will also be clarinet tips on tutti, written by our resident expert and tutti team member Geraldine. Definitely not to be missed – so, I’ll keep you posted! That’s a promise!

Sarah Rodgers

musical species

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When I wrote about visiting Cornwall I didn’t get onto our trip to the Eden project. For those to whom this name is new, the eden project is an enterprising initiative to turn an old Cornish china clay pit into an ecological education programme. Thousands of plant speias have been cultivated on an arena of hillsides and under protection of massive bubble-shaped greenhouses called Biomes. Within the Biomes which span desert habitats through to rain forest, plant life is exhibited and all of its connection to the planet and humankind’s sustainability is demonstrated. Fruits, cottons and hemps, fossil fuels, herbs – everything is there from ferns and horsetails to modernday cross fertilized (but no GM) species. Thinking back on the visit, it put me very much in mind of the whole gamut (pun intended) of musical species (and for the purists I am not talking here merely about counterpoint!) Composers are a product of the past – and what a fantastically fertile past the history of music has seen! We cannot help but be connected, to have grown out of what has preceded us. No two people take the same elements from their nurture, so the resulting diversity is wondrous, providing music lovers with a cornucopia of new musical offerings year on year. There is so much about which to be passionate when it comes to music and at tutti we try to reflect the widest of interests. Here is something of our (bio)-diversity: tubalate (two tubas plus two euphoniums), music for 12 doublebasses wizard stuff from Finnish composer Teppo Hauta-Aho, music from accordionist-composer, Sue Coppard .

Have a passionate day.

Sarah Rodgers

passionate about composers

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Four years ago, I was instrumental in setting up the British Composer Awards – an annual event which celebrates and rewards the music of composers living and working in the UK. Last night I was a guest on BBC Radio 3 to talk about this year’s nominations which are wonderfully eclectic. Major establishment composers such as John Tavener are on the list alongside people who up to this point have never raised a blip on the composing radar. This year too there is a fascinating left-field nomination for Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame. There is a mindset (which the Awards are beginning to unstick) that classical composition is a very narrow, insular and elitist field. As they say in popular language – this is SO not true! Open your ears and eyes! Classical music no longer has stereo-types, it is no longer possible to pigeon-hole it, some would say it is no longer possible even to define it and, yes, that has definite value: classical music is as diverse as the composers who write it – it is defined by their voices. Take these three entirely different composers (unashamedly one is me!!) Sarah Rodgers – lyrical contrapuntalist (ooh, aah yeah but no but!) Graham Fitkin – dramatic minimalist (his music has passion) Timothy Salter – visceral expressionist (hang on to your gut!).

You can hear a short extract of all our music by clinking on the links. Do you like what you hear? Let us know – someone out there, make a comment, please.

Have a great day.

Sarah Rodgers

all saints day

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It is truly a sign of the times that the world is aware of hallowe’en but is entirely oblivious to its significance as the evening before the day of all hallows or all saints. G and I have just taken a four day break in Cornwall (southwestern-most point of England for non-nationals! – and hence the blog-drought.) If I’m talking about saints then Cornwall has them wall to wall or should that be drystone wall to drystone wall. It is a breath-takingly beautiful county with a tangible mystery and audible quiet – visit and you’ll understand! Staying near Padstow we took in one of the Rick Stein restaurants – well the fish and chip shop actually, but it was magnificent food and really if this weren’t a passionate about music blog it would be a passionate about food blog! Padstow is on the coast and the air is so fresh. We took several long coastal walks and one which involved the Saints Way – an ancient footpath which meanders across the county. Clocks went back while we were away so evenings were longer and darker and the perfect opportunity to listen to some of the new recordings recently added to the tutti catalogue. Here are three we particularly enjoyed: piano cubano a wonderful collection of tracks of original music by pianist-composer, Marietta Veulens; tangos by piazzolla more south american music, this time for cello and piano; scandinavian choral music slightly less exotic but traversing a scale from haunting to exuberant. More musical passions soon.

Sarah Rodgers

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