The influence of popular music on ‘classical’ composition
February 24th - March 1st 2013
At last, I have an opportunity to talk about Jazz! - and to investigate many other examples of the absorption of 'Music of the People' into the language of serious composers.
Renaissance composers liked to build their Masses on popular songs (like ‘L’Homme Armé’), and popular dance music began to be written down for ensemble performance; meanwhile love songs found their way into Martin Luther’s collection of sacred Chorales. Haydn and Mozart wrote ‘Turkish’ music, and colourful finales ‘all’Ongarese’ or ‘alla Zingarese’.
Later the cymbalom and balalaika were heard in the symphony orchestra, as folk song and dance provided the raw material for nationalist string quartets and symphonies. In the early twentieth century the music of Villa-Lobos, Milhaud and many others swung to the rhythms of Latin-American dance. And the list of jazz-inspired compositions is huge: Ravel, Stravinsky, Copland, Bernstein, Henze, Honegger, Milhaud, Stockhausen and Weill all fell under its spell. As usual, I shall have to select a very few stout trees from a dense forest!
The ensemble we have come to regard as our very own, The Benyounes String Quartet, gave a concert of the highest quality (a recital of Russian music including the Shostakovich Piano Quintet) in Ambleside Church in March 2012. To our delight, and despite their increasingly high profile, the quartet regards the annual Rothay Manor concert as one of their favourite events and they will be back for this holiday. Their illustrative concert will contain music which forms an important part of our studies.
The Hotel was once again full for the Spring Music Week of 2012. The majority of the Music guests are ‘regulars’ who have formed enduring friendships over the years - a highly sociable group which welcomes and quickly absorbs newcomers, who may confidently look forward to a lively and laughter-filled week. My talks are aimed at the ‘cultivated amateur’, and guests require no special musical skills - though musical extracts will be projected and played in most of the sessions.
All prices are per person for the 5 night holiday and include full English breakfast, 3-course Dinner and VAT @ 20%.
A deposit of £150 per person is required for the holidays, which is non-refundable unless the room is subsequently relet; cancellation insurance is available.
Geoffrey Keating (M.A. Oxon, A.R.C.M.) who read for his degree in music at Oxford, took early retirement from Millfield School in Somerset after 17 years as its Director of Music, and now lives in Gatehouse of Fleet, where he is church organist, jazz pianist, conductor of the Solway Sinfonia, lecturer with the Glasgow University of Adult Education, and freelance photographer.
The piano is his first instrument, but he has played French horn and bassoon in orchestras and ensembles, and has wide experience as a choral conductor and singer.