Society News: August 2011


On Sunday 21st August, the Society held its 90th Anniversary Concert in the sumptuous Yarra Room at the Melbourne Town Hall. We had a capacity audience, and everyone had a great time listening to the beautiful music.
Jamie Hay (Baroque cello) is one of the most expressive musicians I have come across in Melbourne. I know well the works by Bach he performed, and was delighted to be surprised and inspired by his phrasing and insight. Elizabeth Anderson spoke about the life of Couperin while the composer was writing the suite that she chose to perform. Her talk gave the audience a feel for the undercurrents in the work, which she also revealed in her performance.
After the recital, we all enjoyed a supper of delicious scones with jam and cream, savoury muffins, and a hot beverage. There was a great deal of excited conversation about the recital. The occasion was a resounding success. It was a world-class performance in a beautiful venue for very low cost – what more could you asks for. My thanks to the City of Melbourne, to Jamie and Elizabeth, to our committee, and especially to Sally Hutchison for making it all happen.
Our next special event is on Saturday 24th September at St Johns Southgate at 2pm. Ensemble Liaison is a trio of outstanding talent. They will perform an interesting programme of pieces for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, including a new commissioned work by Jane Hammond about Louise Hanson-Dyer. A supper of wine, hot drinks and finger food will be provided after the recital. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear this great group. Member’s tickets cost only $10, but booking is essential.
(General public $30 Adult, $20 Pensioner/Student)

Sarah Cuming

Fundraising Thermometer
Thank you to everyone who is supporting our venture to raise the fees we pay our artists.  We have almost reached the first major milestone of having raised $500 for this purpose. Please remember to put your gold coin in the box for the program and watch our fundraising thermometer grow


Our September concert will include a talk on the History of the Society by John North who has been a member for more than 50 years. As a former President and Committee member, he is well qualified for the task.
We will also be launching our much-awaited History Booklet written by Committee member John Perry. It is back from the printers and will be available for members to collect at this concert.
The launch will be followed by a Musical Interlude with John North on viola accompanied by Janis Cook, piano. They will play:

Corelli: Sarabanda and Giga arr. Arnold
Ravel: Pièce en Forme de Habarera
Vaughan Williams: From Suite for Viola & Piano (Prelude and Galop)

The Musical Interlude will be followed by afternoon tea and the day will conclude with the holding of our 2011 Annual General Meeting.


Arcangelo Corelli born in Italy in 1653, a full generation before Bach or Handel. He studied in Bologna, a distinguished musical centre before establishing himself in Rome where he died in 1713 at the age of 59.
Corelli’s contributions were threefold, as a violinist, composer, and teacher. It was his skill on the then new instrument known as the violin and his very popular concert tours through Europe, which did most to give that instrument its prominent place in music. Corelli was also the first person to organise the basic elements of violin technique.
Corelli was an acclaimed composer, despite his small output. All of his creations are included in six opus numbers, most of them devoted to serious and popular sonatas and trio sonatas.
Although Corelli was not the inventor of the Concerto Grosso principle, he popularised and wrote the first great music for it. Through his efforts, it achieved the same pre-eminent place in the baroque period of musical history that the symphony did in the classical period. Corelli’s successful models provided the template for Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach in composing their Concerto Grosso masterpieces.
Among Corelli’s many students were Geminiani and the famed Antonio Vivaldi. It was Vivaldi who became Corelli’s successor as a composer of the great Concerti Grossi and who greatly influenced the music of Bach.
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), a French composer who created music notable for its luminous and evocative use of tone colour and for the clarity and elegance of its form. His best-known works include the ballet Daphnis et Chloé, the orchestral piece La Valse, the piano pieces Jeux d’eaux and Gaspard de la nuit, and the String Quartet. His Boléro is one of the most familiar and frequently performed orchestral compositions of the 20th century.
Ravel originally composed his Pièce en forme de Habanera as a Vocalise etude en forme de Habanera for bass voice and piano in 1907. A song without words, Ravel took as his model the slow, sultry Spanish dance called the habanera — like most French composers of the period, Ravel was fascinated by the music of Spain. He later transcribed the work for cello and piano and from this; several other arrangements have been made for other instruments including the viola and piano.
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958) was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. In the fifty years since his death, Vaughan Williams has come to be regarded as one of the finest British composers of the 20th century. His searching and visionary imagination, combined with a flexibility in writing for all levels of music making, has meant that his music is as popular today as it ever has been. His earlier works sometimes show the influence of Maurice Ravel, his teacher for three months in Paris in 1908. The entire Suite for Viola & Piano is divided into three self-contained groups of two to three pieces each, and reflects the composer’s pleasure in writing an English style of music by evoking, in this case, the forms of song and dance popular in the England of his youth. We will hear the first work from the first group and the last work from the third group.

The paperwork for our Annual General Meeting to be held on Sunday, 4 September after the concert was sent out on 8 August and to any newly approved members with their letter of welcome.  We hope that as many as possible will stay on for these proceedings as there are some important changes to our Rules to be voted on.
The key changes proposed are designed to improve our avenues for fundraising. If you are unable to attend, you can send your proxy form to the Secretary. The form must be received by the Secretary at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.
We look forward to seeing you there if possible.