I am writing this on what I consider to be a quintessential November afternoon - no real daylight to speak of, cold with a steady, persistent rain. Thankfully, between now and Christmas, IT&T has possibly its busiest and most exciting couple of months so far, so there is plenty to look forward to in our concert diary.
Our next concert is Le Coucher du Soleil in the Holywell Music Room on Friday 18th November at 7.30pm. This little-known world of the French baroque is a lifetime passion of Director Edward Higginbottom's and the colours, flexible rhythms and quirkiness of this repertoire inform Edward’s very approach to music. Come and hear him in his element, alongside Parisian-trained Bojan Čičič and Dan Edgar, talented violinist and musicologist. Supported by the exquisite gamba-playing of Susanna Heinrich the ensemble provides the setting for emerging-talent, soprano Robyn Allegra Parton. It promises to be a musical treat.
The concert is, of course, being repeated as IT&T's London debut in King's Place the following Friday - November 25th. In between the two, the ensemble is being showcased on BBC Radio 3's ‘In Tune’ on Monday 21st November from 4.30 - 5.15pm. This is the first national recognition of Instruments of Time and Truth and is a very exciting development for us with the opportunity to reach an audience of thousands.
In terms of publicity, this month has seen a sharp rise in media coverage for IT&T, starting with an interview with Edward in the Oxford Times this week and requests for articles or listings from Roundandabout, Cotswold Life, Cotswold Allure and Oxford Today. Please keep your eyes open for mentions of us that you might be able to share with friends, family or neighbours: word of mouth still being the most effective publicity amongst the concert-going public in Oxford. With your help, we can increase our local audience little by little and shore-up the orchestra's resilience in these tough times.
Last summer saw our first designated concert for Friends of IT&T at Worton Organic Garden - a solo violin recital, given by Bojan, with supper in this delightful setting. We are extremely grateful for the invaluable support we receive from Friends and are now pleased to be able to offer them the opportunity of attending a private concert at Bruern Abbey School on November 19th. The programme is Mozart Clarinet quintet K518 with Antony Pay, Haydn's ‘Emperor’ quartet and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Please contact Aliye Cornish at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
November 26th is the occasion of our annual appearance in the Wotton Concert Series, Wotton-under-Edge, conducted by Benedict Hoffnung. This year sees an increased presence from IT&T as Ben has chosen to raise the musical profile by using our own professional choir, Voices of Time and Truth. I feel a huge sense of satisfaction at being able to offer fellow-musicians excellent local work - just a few concerts like this can really enhance the lives of otherwise itinerant musicians, as well as the experience for the audience. This year, Ben has moved away from the baroque to an all -Mozart programme.
In December we will be performing the Messiah twice in two different formats: on Sunday, December 11th at 5pm in Tetbury we will perform it as we did last year in the University Church - with a choir of 12 who also sing the arias ( how it was first performed by Handel's choir); and on December 23rd at 5pm in the University Church, this time with the more conventional ‘modern’ format of a choir and four soloists. The first concert will be conducted by Sir Martin Smith in what is his local church, under the auspices of the Tetbury Music Festival and the second will be conducted by our own Director, Edward Higginbottom. There was much discussion about dates for the Oxford concert - there being few available weekends in December and multiple performances of the Messiah, but we felt putting the concert as late as the 23rd really made it part of the celebration of Christmas and the setting of the University Church at that time of year is perfect. The timing of the concert at 5pm means it should be over by 7.45pm allowing the possibility of a Christmas get-together afterwards. Tickets are selling fast, so book early to avoid disappointment.
As ever, we are working hard on fundraising to ensure the future of IT&T. Our next project will be a concert in the Holywell Music Room on Friday, February 10th to tie-in with our new GCSE workshop which is to be hosted by St Edward's School.
Thank you for supporting us and we look forward to seeing you soon.