It’s been a terrible year for live music-making, with all but one of our concerts cancelled or postponed since March 2020. There was a brief return to ‘normality’ (whatever that is…) in September 2020, when we performed for Assembly House Classical in Norwich, albeit to a socially-distanced audience, wearing masks. We have our final concert of the year scheduled for 20th December, our annual and much-loved Christmas concert at The Chapel, Norwich. Here’s hoping that circumstances don’t conspire against us again…
The Brook Street Band is delighted to be part of #MusicLive2020, for Cambridgeshire Music. This is the Band’s third year participating in the scheme, delivering concerts and workshops for young people across the county, many of whom have limited access to live music. We’re reaching large numbers of new audience members, often performing to whole school communities, hoping to inspire them with our passion for Handel and his music. We’re taking a family of recorders, a harpsichord, baroque flute, violin and cello on our travels throughout the county, helping students time travel back to Cambridgeshire in the 1720s.
The Brook Street Band is delighted to be part of an exciting new music outreach project, Roots. We’ll be working in collaboration with VOCES8, Cambridge Early Music, Anglia Ruskin University, Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire Music.
We’re delighted to be recording Arne’s “Judgment of Paris” which we performed at the London Handel Festival earlier this year, conducted by John Andrews.
John has been working for some time to secure this world premiere recording (for the label Dutton), featuring the stellar line up of soloists Mary Bevan (Venus), Susanna Fairbairn (Pallas), Anthony Gregory (Mercury), Gillian Ramm (Juno) and Ed Lyon (Paris).
It’s a stunning piece and deserves to be more widely known – which hopefully it will be, thanks to this new recording!
We’ve long wanted to record Handel’s wonderful sonatas for violin and basso continuo, and 2018 is the year we finally got around to it. We’ve been playing them together since 1995, so it seemed about the right time! The year started with 4 wonderful days of recording sessions in the Great Barn at Oxnead Hall in Norfolk. Editing took place in March, and we launched the disc on 4 and 5 June with two concerts.
The initial concert was back at Oxnead, in fact the first ever concert performance in the venue. What a superb concert venue it is, thanks to its acoustic, location and such wonderful hosts David and Beverley Aspinall. Then, the following day we performed in Handel’s own music room at 25 Brook Street, on a warm night, in an intimate, historically-charged space, much as Handel would have done when he played harpsichord in these pieces himself, perhaps joined by his cook on cello, and an esteemed colleague on violin.
It was fantastic to be surrounded by so many loyal friends and supporters at both occasions, so a huge thank you to our BSB family.
We’ve just returned from a fantastic three days in Hull, working with music students at the University, giving a concert with Lisete da Silva, and then rehearsing for our next CD recording. It was a great privilege to be in Hull in its year as City of Culture, and enjoy the splendid new facilities at the University. The Middleton Hall is a wonderful space to work in, complete with state-of-the-art facilities, and a great cafe (with amazing gluten-free chocolate brownies!) right next door. The project was set up by BSB trumpeter Simon Desbruslais, and marks the Band’s second visit to the University.
The old centre of Hull is lovely to wander around, with lots of contemporary art and references to the city’s port heritage dotted around. This was one of many characterful fish inset into the pavement.
We’re really excited about our visit to Hull on 1-2 November 2017. We’ll be working with students on the 1st, and then performing a Bach, Handel and Telemann programme in the stunning new Middleton Hall on the 2nd. We were last in Hull two years ago, and are really looking forward to seeing the city again and sharing 18th century enthusiasms (and some wine!) with the music students. Lisete da Silva Bull will be joining me, Rachel Harris and Carolyn Gibley, to perform our “Zimmerman’s Kaffeehaus” programme, an imagined slice of weekly concert life in 1730s Leipzig. Let the caffeine flow…
The summer has been a productive time, making funding applications, renewing relationships with promoters, music festivals and music societies, and planning the Band’s next Handel CD. Some time was also spent mucking around in boats, with the next generation of Brook Street Band members!
A big focus however was generally getting the Band’s website in order.
The web development has been undertaken by David Price at Intrada Innovations, who has created a website similar in look and feel to the Band’s original one, but with far better functionality, much more detail, loads of images (not so big that they’ll slow down your computer) and a really great shop!
Do take the chance to visit and let us know what you think, and look out for occasional promotions and special offers.
‘A weekend dedicated to Handel in Norwich, was a fine tribute to both composer and musicians…playing was vibrant and expressive throughout…This inaugural Handel Festival was a high-quality event for both young and old, aficionado or beginner’
Martyn Harrison Seen and Heard-International
We’ve just about recovered from our first ever love: Handel festival, which took place last month at The Chapel in Norwich. This was the culmination of many years’ worth of dreaming and planning, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. We presented 5 concerts, 2 workshops and 2 talks, with special guests Louis de Bernières and Handel specialist Julie Anne Sadie.
We had lovely supportive audiences throughout, with plenty of coffee, cake and a chance to really chat to everyone.
A special shout-out to harpsichordist Carolyn Gibley who also managed to produce this special birthday cake.
We look forward to presenting the next festival in 2019.