The Magic of Paradise
O
Our third annual summer school (2014) at Paradise Farmhouse, Presteigne, was a truly uplifting experience.
Our fabulous tutor, Andrew Collis, music by Bach, Zielenski, East, Gabrielli and Vaughn-Williams, our charming venue and good weather had us all walking on air, but photographer Trevor Waller made sure we really did take off!

Photo cartoon showing members of SRP Wales and tutor Andrew Collis

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The inaugural meeting of Wales branch was in March 2007, when Ann Lyall's conducting launched
us on our way with a highly successful playday.
We were quickly ratified by the Society, putting
Wales back on the SRP map after a very long
absence. We haven't looked back since!

During our early years, we encouraged members to write
a personal report or response, on meetings they attended.
Selected pieces plus music lists, are archived on this page, in roughly chronological order, with the most recent at the top
of the page. We welcome ongoing contributions and will credit your offering. Please let Moira know if you have a piece for inclusion.

 

'Tuning up for Summer'
O
extracted from the Hereford Times July 2012
"The Society of Recorder Players Wales Branch enjoyed its first summer school at Paradise Farmhouse, Presteigne.
Twenty students improved their skills and enjoyed playing together under the guidance of conductors Steve Marshall, Delyth Holland and Chris Thomas. SRP Wales hosts fully conductored playing days at Trecastle Community Hall near Brecon most months of the year."

News photo of SRP Wales members at Paradise Farmhouse

A few SRP Wales course members outside
Paradise Farmhouse with owners John and Gloria Howard.

Meeting in Sennybridge
17 October 2009
Conductor - Helen Hooker

A good turnout - 15 in all, including a few visitors.
Helen gave us a highly enjoyable day, getting some good results from a very mixed group. All sizes of instruments were played, from descant to contra bass.

Music List
Telemann: 7 Wedding Dances
Britten: Variation 5 from 5 Waltzes (arr. H Hooker)
Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus (arr. H Hooker)
Steve Marshall: Not Too Hard Really - May Hill Edition
Purcell: When I Am Laid in Earth (Dido and Aeneas) - arr. H Hooker
Purcell: Chaconne - Dance for the Chinese Man and Woman (The Fairy Queen) - arr. H Hooker

Meeting in Sennybridge
18 September 2010
Conductor - Caroline Jones

We launched straight into the new playing year in great style last September with a very Special Playing Day indeed. Not only did we have the pleasure and privilege of having Caroline Jones with us for a Pastoral Visit, but also a huge treat with a lunchtime recital by Caroline, accompanied by Charles Matthews on the Bentside Spinet. We were mesmerised by Caroline's beautifully chosen pieces (demonstrating Ganassi recorder and voice-flute), and spellbound with a solo performance by Charles on a clever, expressive modern set evoking insects! The wonderful acoustic of Maescar hall added to a very fulfilling, enjoyable day, with excellent attendance - all the more rewarding when your Visiting Conductor actually compliments the playing! (Entirely down to her encouragement, we feel, though we did work hard.) We were also delighted to act as 'guinea-pigs' for an entirely new piece, 'The Rainsbrook Suite' by Rosemary Robinson, hot-off-the-press - to which, apparently, we did justice! MH

Music List
Anon: In Nomine
Philip Thorby: Irish Suite
Rosemary Robinson: Rainsbrook Suite (preview!)

 

Meeting in Cellan
12 September 2009
Conductor - Pam Smith

Many thanks to Wales branch for organising such a super Play Day on Saturday. I think it was greatly enjoyed by everyone. I liked the variety of the music - even the challenging sections! Pam was great and worked us hard but with great empathy and encouragement. It was really good. I love coming to the area around Lampeter. It is such magically beautiful countryside, and so unspoiled. I enjoy my drive there though I greatly underestimated the time needed for it. I drove back feeling a sense of satisfaction, and peacefulness, having worked hard and enjoyed a day of shared purpose with a group of very nice people. So many thanks for making it possible. Perhaps the *balloons were the spirits of the composers come to see what we were making of their music! I hope they all sailed away satisfied.
Jennifer Bird
(*we 'inherited' some small helium balloons, perhaps from a previous party; fatally attracted to our playing, they floated and hovered amongst players, adding to the day's lightness of spirit. MH)

Music List
Nutting Girl (Arr. Alyson Lewin) - Hawthorn's Music
Richard Mico: Fancy No. 13 - Schott
Ockeghem: Alma Redemptoris Mater
Steve Marshall: Lampeter Rhapsody - May Hill Edition
Steve Marshall: Major Pipework - Tango May Hill Edition
Paul Clark: Bonny Tyneside (exerpts) - Oriel

 

 

 

 

Meeting in Sennybridge
27 June 2009
Conductors - Chris Thomas and Delyth Holland

Music
Chris conducted the morning session, taking items from the on-going music list. Helen Hooker's arrangement of dances and choruses from 'Dido & Aeneas' (Purcell) proved highly popular.
Delyth took charge in the afternoon, and guided us through dances by Hassler, Movements from the Royal Fireworks Suite (Handel) and West Country Suite (Eileen Silcocks)

Meeting in Manordeilo
16 May 2009
Conductors - Chris Thomas and Delyth Holland

Music List
Chris:
Four Dances for Five Recorders, 1547 (Schott's Archive - RMS 240)
Steve Marshall: Great Day - from Spirituals You Might Not Know
(May Hill Edition 10903)
Handel: Concerto - Four movements from Concerto Grosso Op.6 No.3 (Oriel OL 136)
Delyth:
Eileen Silcocks: West Country Suite (Oriel OL 234)
Purcell: Hear my prayer O Lord (arr. Alex Ayre)
Pepusch: Overture - The Beggar's Opera (Schott)
Latin American Suite (Polyphonic Publications)

Meeting in Sennybridge
21 March 2009
Guest conductor - Eileen Silcocks

We had a wonderful day with Eileen. She put us through our paces, and took in her stride the very mixed abilities of the group. The turn-out was good, with 19 participants in attendance. We sported a full range of instruments, including two Contra-Basses and even a sopranino! Our thanks to Eileen for her memorable visit. We hope to see her again sometime despite the great distance between us.

Music List
Gervaise: Pavan and Galliarde Ferrareze
Buxtehude: Canzonetta Bux WV 169 (Willobie Press)
Andrea Gabrieli : Sento, Sent' un rumor/Della Battaglia (CPDL)
Gospel Train - arr. David Silk, ed. Eileen Silcocks
Eileen Silcocks : Fantasia
Steve Marshall : Variations on 'A Chantar' (May Hill MHE 20108)

Meeting in Manordeilo
24 January 2009
Conductor - Chris Thomas

Music List
Telemann: Four 'Friday' Pieces from the Pyrmonter Kurwoche
(Clark Collection No 133)
Steve Marshall: Made In Wales - 'Suo Gan'; 'Owain Glyndwr's War Song' (May Hill Edition 20408)
Handel: Concerto - Four movements from Concerto Grosso Op.6 No.3 (Oriel OL 136)
Weelkes: Lachrimae; Pavan I - from Lachrimae and Three Pavans (Schott's Recorder Bibliothek - RMS 517)
Four Dances for Five Recorders, 1547 (Schott's Archive - RMS 240)
Steve Marshall: Great Day - from Spirituals You Might Not Know
(May Hill Edition 10903)

Meeting in Manordeilo
22 November 2008
Conductors - Chris Thomas and Theresa Haine

It was good to meet up with members at Manordeilo, braving the November bluster for an enjoyable day of playing. We are very grateful to Chris and Theresa for conducting us through a stimulating and soothing variety of music; under their guidance and encouragement we quickly overcame any individual challenges and finally blossomed into a group - playing with, and listening to each other.

Music List
Chris:
Purcell: Instrumental Music & Choruses from 'Dido & Aeneas' -
arr. Helen Hooker (Peacock Press P89)
Steve Marshall: Funk from 'Five Shades of Blue' (May Hill MHE 10703)
Theresa:
Clement Woodcock: "Browning" Fantasy
(Pro Musica Edition 1972 LPM EM1)
Heather Wastie: Browning for Four (Hawthorn RA125)
Bach: Fugue in C major; No.1 from Seven Bach Fugues -
ed. Mario Duschenes (BMI Canada Ltd)
David Thompson: Prelude & Rondo from The Jerome Collection
(Oriel JC212)
Lyndon Hilling: A Swing in the Park (Oriel)

Meeting in Sennybridge
20 September 2008
Conducted by Delyth Holland and Chris Thomas

Music List
Delyth:
Alyson Lewin: West of Severn (Hawthorn Music)
Hassler: Dances from 'Der Lustgarten'
David Wikander: Kung Liljekonvalse
Scheidt: Tabulatura Nova (Archiv Nr 179)
Chris:
Fred Stone: The Bos'n Rag
Gervaise: Pavane 'La Bataille' (DOL 108/LPM 101)
Steve Marshall: Made in Wales; 3 Welsh songs (May Hill Edition 20408)
Taverner/Anon: 4 Dances for 5 recorders (Schott)

Meeting in Manordeilo
28 Jun 2008
Guest conductor - Marian Mullen

When our June playing day finally arrived, and our normally loyal following was looking thin, we suddenly realised we had
competition - Wimbledon, and Glastonbury.
Our special guest conductor for the day was Marian Mullen who had travelled all the way from Ireland with a wide range of wonderful music - but being thoroughly versatile, she had also included pieces for a 'select few'. Her enthusiasm overcame our trepidations as we focused our attention on giving our best - almost one-to-a-part. Marian was particularly adept at bringing our players together - listening to each other to create a harmonious whole.
As the day progressed, more players joined us at various stages - which didn't faize Marian one bit - and more complex pieces were produced for us to tackle. We were certainly put through our paces, and thoroughly enjoyed the results.
Many thanks to Marian for so energetically taking us in her stride!

Music List
Thomas Simpson: Canzon 617
Adler & Ross: Hernando's Hideaway
Robert Parsons: De La Court
William Byrd: This Sweet and Merry Month
Walking Doll (ed. Poldini)
Palestrina: Tu es petous
Clarence "Pine Top" Smith: Pine Top's Boogie Woogie

 

Meeting in Sennybridge
17 May 2008
Conductors - Chris Thomas and Theresa Haine

Those of us making our various journeys through the Welsh countryside to Sennybridge cannot fail to have been uplifted by the glorious Spring scenery - a theme which was to be explored musically by our in-house conductors, Theresa Haine and Chris Thomas. With Committee meeting in progress, Theresa valiantly formed the welcoming party, ensuring refreshments and seating were available as players arrived. Many thanks to her and to all those who assisted!
Theresa's choice of music then launched us into Spring with an apt variety of very engaging 'Cuckoo' pieces, followed by some deceptively simple Sea Songs for which we perfected a blowing technique to simulate foghorns - great fun.
After lunch, attendance became somewhat depleted due to some members' extra commitments. Chris therefore decided on an intimate seating arrangement, and joined in with the playing wherever possible, to good effect. Her choices were from various centuries which gave us plenty of opportunity to change moods, instruments and playing techniques.
Our thanks to everyone contributing to the enjoyment experienced on our playing days - from conductors, members and visitors alike.

Music List
Chris:
Giovanni Battista: Grillo - Canzon à 4
Bach: Air from Suite in D (International Music Publications)
Freed & Brown: Singin' in the rain' (arr. Philip Evry)
Eileen Silcocks: West Country Suite (Oriel)
Lyndon Hilling: A Swing in the Park (Oriel)
Monteverdi: Agnus Dei
Theresa:
Nicholson: The Cuckoo (3 Consort Pieces - Boosey & Hawkes)
2 Cuckoo songs (Recorder Ensembles - Hawthorn)
Bruce Pennick: The Cuckoo is a pretty bird (Hawthorn)
Bruce Pennick: 4 Sea Songs (Schott)

 

Pastoral Visit - Manordeilo
8 March 2008 - Wales Branch 1st Birthday
Conductor - Moira Usher

Any birthday should be cause for celebration, but the very first is a bit special, particularly when a visiting conductor agrees to travel from one side of Britain to the other - and stays cheerful at the prospect. Our visiting conductor, Moira Usher added wit and warmth to her expertise. Our initial concerns at reduced attendance - even with three visitors, was soon dispelled with the first piece -
'My Lady Carey's Dompe' (Anon. 1525)
a deceptively simple but satisfying four-parter with almost meditative, driving rhythms. Having successfully warmed-up, the twelve of us were then ready to tackle Moira's following choices:

Loeillet: Quintet in D minor (Dolmetsch)
Senfl: Das Gläut zu Speyer (arr. John Allen)
Wilbye: What Needeth All This Travail?
Zilcher: 4 Pieces - transcribed by Moira Usher (Peacock Press)

We were treated to a good helping of enthusiastic encouragement, with apt demonstrations of breathing techniques; Moira will in some of our players' minds be forever remembered as 'the handbag lady', taking Oscar Wilde's Lady Bracknell as a model for controlled, resonant depth of tone! We were also exhorted to stop being so politely 'British' in our desire to avoid making mistakes - and it loosened us up a treat. We needed that to tackle the final great set of pieces, and it was extremely gratifying to have acheived a more than tolerable result from scratch, from so few. Under Moira's guidance we grew in confidence. With the benefit of a whole day's expert tuition we felt this had certainly been a rewarding kick-start to our playing year ahead. MH

Meeting in Sennybridge
9 February 2008
Conductors - Chris Thomas and Delyth Holland

A mark of a good teacher is in the results they acheive, and those attending our fifth playing day had a fine selection of varied pieces gently, but expertly persuaded out of them, and were delighted with the noticeable improvement in playing as the day progressed. Chris and Delyth shared the day's conducting in the excellent acoustic of Maescar Community Hall in Sennybridge. Twelve members and two visitors travelled together musically, across the world and many centuries, accommodating changes of register with enthusiasm and great pleasure.

Music List
3 Instrumental pieces from Durham Cathedral Library 6-part EML 136
Bach: Fugue 3
Gabrieli: Sonata Pian' e Forte
Gesualdo: O Vos Omnes
Gilbert & Sullivan: Gavotte from The Gondoliers
(Oriel OL 179: Six Dances from the Gilbert & Sullivan Operas)
Henry Mancini: Moon River (The Clark Collection)
MacDowell: To A Wild Rose (Schott ED 11810)
Monteverdi: Cantate Domino
Susato: Bass Dance
Swedish Rhapsody (based on a theme by Hugo Alfven)
Vaughan Williams: Linden Lea

 

Meeting in Manordeilo
24 November 2007
Guest Conductor - Caroline Jones

We enjoyed an excellent day of playing when Caroline Jones, performer and tutor, came to our Manordeilo venue. Caroline inspired us to tackle both early and modern compositions in a wide range of styles, including Arvo Pärt’s 'Arbos', new to us as recorder players, and very atmospheric.

Music List
Michael Altenburg: 2 Intradas (LPM 1987 - EML117)
Steve Marshall: Calm Is The Morn Without A Sound (May Hill Publishing)
Arvo Part: Arbos (Universal Edition A.G., Wien.)
Martin Peerson: Fantazia a 6 No. 2: (Alex Ayre Music Services)
Johann Hermann Schein: Canzon (LPM GM13)

Some Sort of Magic
A personal reaction to the meeting at Sennybridge
13 October 2007
Conductors Chris Thomas and Delyth Holland

There are many different sorts of magic claimed by people; they are to be witnessed or half observed or even personally experienced.
For those sceptics who are looking for tricks, there will be no moment of revelation but there is always the chance that they might find a magic of their own.
Last weekend, some dozen or so 'strangers' travelled from different parts of east and west Wales to Sennybridge, where they gathered at the local community hall. The common factor was that they were all participants in the third meeting of SRP Wales. Eac h one brought their own instrument, or more, and a music stand. We came from Cardiff U3A where we play and learn in a small group at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
No one knew what music we were going to play, except the organisers and committee which has been only recently and valiantly re- formed by Moira Hay (Lampeter) and her colleagues. An earlier SRP branch in Wales had suffered a decline in membership for some years, but is now emerging again. Some newcomers like us were uncertain of their own ability and others looked confident. Neverthless, everyone was greeted warmly and there was no sense of personal competition. The music was distributed and the day began as each player became involved in reading and interpreting the part they were playing. There were some challenging pieces by Gabrieli, JS Bach, as well as Mozart, and for a light treat we played 'Summertime' by Gershwin.
Gradually from a disparate collection of individuals the players evolved together and what was separate became joined as the music was played, thanks to the skill of the conductors Delyth Holland and Chris Thomas who alternated in leading and encouraging us. By lunchtime the group was conversing freely and exchanging experiences. They had been alone but now they were together; mutually helpful, supportive, appreciative and welcoming. This was indeed magic and at the end of the day we left with a warm glow of optimism and gratitude for a glimpse into that wonderful world where musical activity and creativity are common bonds.
Thanks to all the organisers of our new Welsh SRP.
Stella Lightman

Music List
Some of these items may no longer be in print:
J.S. Bach: Christ lag in todes banden (Hawthorns Music 1997)
Suite from the Royal Wind Music.
Arr. J.D.Cousen. Ed. Thurston Dart. (OUP 1963 G)
Gabrieli: Canzon septimi toni (Oriel OL102B1)
George Gershwin: Summertime (B. & Co. 24 795)
Mozart: Divertimento für Blockflötenquartett Doblinger KG (Herzmansky) 1999
Schmelzer: Sonata for seven recorders (Schott & Co. 5360 1948)
Fred Stone:The Bos'n Rag
John Farmer: Fair Phyllis

Meeting in Manordeilo
16 June 2007
Conductor - Pam Smith

Twelve of us attended our meeting with the engaging Pam Smith - plenty for some two-choir pieces, and varied music ranging from William Byrd to Glenn Miller, plus some beautiful Welsh tunes to finish the day. Pam persuaded us by various means - enthusiasm, cajolery and even threats ("no coffee 'til you get this right!" ) - to improve our performance significantly over the course of the day. Ah, the value of a good conductor! Pam remarked that our forté lay in getting into the rhythm of the modern pieces. The variety of music combined with Pam's excellent conducting, ensured that we all had another rewarding day playing our recorders.

Music List
Pierre Passereau: Il est bel et bon - a French folk song
William Byrd: Fantasy sextet
Warren and Miller arr. Heidi Brunner: Chattanooga Choo Choo and
Moonlight Serenade
Matyas Seiber: Dance Suite
Anon: Ave miles de cuius milica
And for two choirs:
Bonelli: Toccata Cleopatra
Viadana: La Fiorentina
Gabrieli: Canzona seconda
Welsh tunes: 'Over the Stone', 'Hunting the Hare' and 'Shepherding the White Wheat'. arr Alyson Lewin

Inaugural meeting at Manordeilo
24 March 2007
Conductor - Ann Lyall

Regrettably we don't have a music list for our very first meeting,
but we do have a group photo!

 

Perfection in Paradise

Group photo of players and tutor at Paradise summer recorder-playing weekend.

Our fourth annual summer playing weekend (2015), tutored by Alyson Lewin at Paradise Farmhouse was attended by 20 players, with the full range of instruments including two great basses and two contras, so we were able to tackle Alyson's splendid piece, 'Twixt Trent and Severn', written for the 2015 SRP Festival held at Wolverhampton. An eleven-part recorder orchestra piece is rather outside our usual experience but it sounded very good with far fewer players.
Other pieces included Byrd's six-part 'Fantasy 1', Schein's six-part 'Canzon', Hassler's 'Canzon duodecimi toni' and Gabrieli's madrigal, 'Chiar' Angioletta'. Half the playing sessions are devoted to quintet playing so a variety of suitable pieces were chosen, including Offenbach's 'CanCan' which provided much merriment.
A feature of our summer weekend is the evening meals, held at various local venues. This year, despite the threat of rain, we started with a barbecue, on a bonus sunny evening. On the Friday we revisited the Hotspur Café at Shobdon Airfield for another lovely meal, and on the Saturday most of us took advantage of the beautiful evening to walk into Presteigne to try the engagingly named, new bistro 'The Duck's Nest'.
It is clear that SRP Wales' summer playing weekend is popular and now well-established - next year's event is already arranged for July 1st,2nd,3rd, with the equally popular Helen Hooker as our tutor.