Newsletter April 2019
I am currently sitting in bed nursing a sprained ankle which provides me with the opportunity for a long-overdue newsletter.
IT&T: Then and Now
I just skimmed through the January newsletter to remind myself of the events which have already taken place this year and am amazed at how few have actually involved me. For the first time, I am faced with tangible evidence of the growth of IT&T. I remember on September 23rd 2015 being in the box office at the Holywell Music Room in my concert clothes and realising, in a panic, that the orchestra was going on stage without me. Gone are those days when we were almost literally a one-man band and nowadays, our growing network of volunteers and supporters has taken much of the stress out of the logistical side of putting on concerts. I must thank Joelle Mann for her infectious enthusiasm and ability to charm punters into accepting donation forms (and even filling them in), Elizabeth Adams for her quiet capability and experience with the various Oxford venues, Jitka Fort for being there throughout, our trustees and the amazing Jessica Osborne who has rescued our books from the chaos wrought by one double bass player attempting to act simultaneously as fixer, distributer of flyers, poster putter-upper, accountant and occasionally, musician.
The day to day running of IT&T is still acheived by 3 people: myself, Gay Amherst and Aliye Cornish. Only Aliye is paid a modest hourly rate and she brings the youthful energy and technical savvy that is the powerhouse behind getting things done. Aliye is single-handedly responsible for the ambitious IT&T InSpires, our unique education project which aims to bring historically-informed performance into the mainstream for future musicans, which is already benefitting young performers in Oxfordshire. In the course of creating and running the project, Aliye has become incredibly effective in attracting funding for our work and has recently garnered donations from the Bishopsdown Charitable Trust, the University Community Fund, the Doris Field Charitable Trust and the British Croatian Society.
Staying true to our ethos
But despite having expanded, IT&T remains firmly committed to its ethos - that of providing concerts of the highest possible musical standard at the lowest possible cost. We still travel together, bake each other cakes and try and think collectively about using Arts funding as efficiently as possible. Not a penny is wasted.
You are invited to our 5th Birthday Party
Of course, fund-raising still lies at the heart of any charity's existence and since having had Development funds made available to us from Woodford Investments, we are much more focused on this as a priority. You may be aware of our 5th Anniversary Appeal - our bid to raise £10,000 in a hundred days. The hundred days will be up on June 5th when we host our 5th Birthday Party which happily coincides with the birthday of one of our staunchest supporters, Lady Margaret Bullard. If you would like to donate or become a Friend in time to attend the party, be entertained by Bojan Cicic and Chris Bucknall and meet the musicians, then please sign up via the website. The ebullient William Purefoy will act as auctioneer in our auction of promises which includes stays on the coast in Cornwall and Dorset, a flight in a private plane, as well as things we could all do with, like help in the garden. So please think about joining us, we would love to meet you and we are looking forward to a night where we allow ourselves to celebrate everything we have acheived over the past 5 years. Do hurry - we only have 14 tickets remaining.
2019 so far...
So, finally, to the music. Freelance musicans are traditionally unemployed in January and February, following the flurry of Christmas Oratorios and Messiahs, so IT&T’s continued activities in February were welcomed by the musicians (and hopefully the audiences): our Monteverdi Vespers with the Summertown Choral Society; Musica per la Sera and a side-by-side concert with The Bate Players and Oxybaroxy as part of the Keble Early Music Festival; as well as Digital Spaghetti in the Wotton Concert Series.
More recently, we have performed the St John Passion in Barnes with Tiffin School and, as I write this, IT&T is engaged in a tour of 3 performances of the same work in Spain. Closer to home, we very much enjoyed performing Concertos and Curiosities in the Holywell Music Room on March 23rd on the same evening that members of IT&T took part in Dido and Aeneas in New College Chapel! The audience in the Holywell were treated to two relatively unknown suites by Telemann and W F Bach (definitely the ‘Curiosities’ of the title), alongside J S Bach’s harpsichord concertos in D major and A minor - think C18th Heavy Metal! Our next Oxford appearance will be on April 14th at 5pm in Merton College Chapel in Bach’s St Matthew Passion, conducted by Ben Nicholas. Please see our website for booking information.
Fitting Finale for the 2018/19 Season
The final official concert of our 2018/19 Season takes place in SJE on May 25th. ‘Musick Restor’d’ or ‘The King shall Rejoice’ sees IT&T performing once again with Edward Higginbottom’s much-acclaimed Oxford Consort of Voices. With its programme of quintessential English music by Humfrey and Purcell (including his Ode to St Cecilia) and the added attraction of an appearance by actor, Tom Bateman, this concert promises to be a fitting conclusion to our vibrant Season. It is also the first live performance of music from our CD of Symphony Anthems which will be available on the night.
A couple of late additions to our programmed events will take place on June 1st. The first is a soiree at Worton Organic Garden where Bojan will perform, accompanied on the lute and guests will be treated to a mouth-watering supper prepared with literally the freshest organic ingredients from the eponymous garden (we have an a number of tickets reserved exclusively for Friends). The second is a rather special Evensong at Magdalen, where we will perform Bach’s Magnificat. I would describe both these events as examples of the privilege we enjoy living in Oxford and I hope you will take advantage of these opportunities.
That leaves us with one of the great features of our Temperate climate: the Summer Festival. Whether performed, audaciously, in the outdoors, or undercover, these festivals celebrate the special atmosphere of our light evenings. Where, half the year we are huddled in our dingy Victorian houses, we now surface into the light which lends every occasion a frisson of enjoyment, somehow enhanced by what has gone before and must come after.
Join us on 23rd June at Oxford Festival of the Arts for ‘Purefeo’ with William Purefoy, Helen Parker and Rebecca Bottone or on July 7th in the Assembly Rooms, Bath, as part of Martin Randall Travel’s West Country Choral Festival.
To be continued...
Plans are already well-advanced for our 2019/20 Season. Our opening concert on Friday, October 4th at the Sheldonian features Bojan Cicic in what can only be his original take on the Beethoven violin concerto. A musician of immense sensitivity and integrity, Bojan offers something far more profound than the swagger of a viruosic showman. Conducted by Edward Higginbottom, this concert unites these two exceptional talents. Do come along and, for this Season, perhaps you will bring along 1 new concert-goer each time.
For your diary, our ‘candlelit’ Messiah (health and safety-approved) takes place on December 21st at 5pm. Booking will open in September and this event will sell-out.
Later in the Season we will feature concerts directed by Bojan and by Chris Bucknall, as well as a further larger scale performance with Edward.
Further plans include a Monteverdi Vespers with Owen Rees and choir of The Queen’s College as part of the Divine Office Festival in 2020 and two projects in Malta, IT&T having been recommended to the Valetta Festival by the Director of St John's, Smith Square following our performances of The Triumph of Time and Truth.
Who we are
So our name is disseminated abroad, but Instruments of Time and Truth belongs in and to Oxford. It would be impossible to overstate the importance of each individual concert-goer. You are the lifeblood of the orchestra and IT&T will exist for as long as you demand it. Bring your friends, become Friends and make a personal investment in Oxford’s cultural identity. Thank you.