an acount of how Sir John Tavener's remarkable composition 'Towards Silence' for Four String quartets and Singing Bowl cam e to be composed and its connected with the serious illness of both the composer and violinist Paul Robertson for whom the peice was composed.
‘Hymn’ by Alan Bennett and George Fenton is an affectionate and poignant reminiscence of the author’s early musical influences and experiences.
It was written for the Medici Quartet in 2001 and regularly performed at that time by them with Alan Bennett at various festivals and recorded for BBC records.
On the 22nd May the performance in Shelley’s Barn (The Music , Mind, SpiritTrust) will start at 5 pm although the gardens will be open for visitors to enjoy from 3pm. Tea will be available.
After the performance wine and canapes will be served (from about 6;30pm)
Tickets £20early booking is recommended.
Alex Jennings and the Medici Quartet meeting HRH Prince Charles following their recent performance of 'Hymn' at Buckingham Palace.
To book seats please e-mail susing the button at the top of the website pages or phone 01403 824034
Alex Jennings trained as an actor at BristolOldVicTheatre school and began his career in regional theatre. For his performance as Gloumov in Too Clever By Half at the Old Vic, he won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance in 1988. His Royal Shakespeare Company roles include the title role in Peer Gynt (for which he won an Olivier award 1995/6 for Best Actor), the title role in Richard II, Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Angelo in Measure for Measure, Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing, and the title role in Hamlet.
In 2002 Alex appeared as Henry Higgins in Trevor Nunn’s National Theatre production on My Fair Lady at Theatre Royal, Drury lane and won an Olivier Award as Best Actor in a Musical.
His other National Theatre roles include Albert Speer in Speer, lord Foppington in The Relapse and Leontes in The Winter’s Tale(for which roles he won the Evening standard Drama Award as best Actor), and most recently as Benjamin Britten in Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art in 2009.
His film appearances include The Queen, War Requiem, and the film version of A
Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Four Feathers. His television appearances include The State Within, Smiley’s People, Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, and Poirot.
He has worked extensively on the radio and recording audio books.
In June 2008 he made his operatic debut at the ENO in Robert Cairsen’sproduction of Bernstein’s Candide, in which he played Voltaire and Doctor Pangloss, and he has just played Henry Higgins again, this time in Robert Carsen’s production of My Fair Lady, at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
The Medici Quartet
Drawing on nearly 40 years of world class musical performance The Medici Quartet is a leading international ensemble with an extensive distinguished discography.
During their long career they have regularly worked with a wide variety of leading composers and performers and created a recorded discography of more than 40 records which includes a highly regarded Beethoven Quartets Cycle (on Nimbus Records) the seldom heard Saint-Saëns Quartets and many other creative collaborations with saxophonist Barbara Thompson (Virgin Records), Sarod player Wajahat Khan, 'Hymn' by Alan Bennet and George Fenton (BBC Records), George Martin Presents, The Mozart and Brahms clarinet 5tets with Jack Brymer etc.
At the start of their career they were mentored by members of the Aeolian Quartet and shortly after their remarkably successful Wigmore hall debut (1974) were taken under the wing of the formidable manager Mrs. Emmy Tillet.
Shortly after they were signed up to an international recording contract with EMI and invited to play with the great English pianist, Sir Clifford Curzon with whom they learnt most of the piano quintet repertoire. It was Curzon who generously took it upon himself to help these four young musicians become something truly artistic.
It is in order to continue a tradition of such musical 'apprenticeship'that the Quartet now welcome the opportunity to mentor talented young groups by performing with them in Sir John Tavener's remarkable 'Towards Silence'.
In 1996 Channel 4 Television broadcast a three-part series entitled Music & the Mind, performed by The Medici Quartet and presented by their leader Paul Robertson; these programmes combined music and science to explore the power of music in human life, cognitive and emotional development and health.
Renowned for their dramatic programmes for string quartet and actors which revealed the intimate relationship between the composer's work and his life & times through the imaginative conjunction of music and readings were initiated by Paul Robertson, ‘The Kingdom of the Spirit’: Beethoven through his Letters by John Caird and Michael Kennedy's programme about Sir Edward and Lady Elgar at Brinkwells entitled ‘Wood Magic’ have been performed many hundreds of times.
Although the Medici Quartet retired afterits final performance at the Harrogate International Festival in 2007 the same core members have since reformed, as the Medici Ensemble, in order to explore a wider repertoire and share its unique history with young professionals and Executive Leaders.
‘The playing is full of virtuosic compulsion and energy, harnessed in the service of a grand and dignified conception of the music’ – Gramophone
‘They are one of the most perfectly balanced quartets in Europe today, each strand wonderfully clear and beautifully focused…yet there is always a feeling of spontaneity’ - The Yorkshire Post
'For the Love of Writing' bringing the writer out in you
a one day workshop run by the experienced author and coaching supervisor, Robin Shohet author of 'Passionate Supervision'; 'Passionate Medicine', 'Supervision in the Helping Professions' (co-authored)
Workshop information May 3rd, 10am - 4.30pm
Cost: £130 for the workshop day, including buffet lunch and refreshments
Venue: Shelley's Barn, Rudgwick near Horsham, West Sussex: http://www.musicmindspirit.org
Robin writes: When I was asked to write my first book in 1983 I had done very little writing apart from school and university essays. It took me 19 drafts to get it remotely into shape. What I discovered is that in good, fresh writing we are vulnerable, willing to let go of control and yet paradoxically need to be very disciplined if it is to be read by others. On this day we will look at overcoming blocks to writing and do exercises that encourage free flow writing for the pleasure of it. Although the day will primarily be about creativity, we will finish by asking you to share what your current or future writing projects might be and invite you to commit to taking those forward. We will invite participants, if they so wish, to create a peer writing group to support and encourage each other in their projects after the workshop. In the first instance the writing exercises will be geared towards writing without inhibition, which will prove of value for your future writing projects. For those already with some writing for which they would like feedback, there will be a follow up group (maximum 6) where we can do this. Robin Shohet's first book 'Dream Sharing' was published in 1985. Unlike his therapeutic and supervision career which has proved extremely graceful, writing did not come naturally to him so he really enjoys bringing the writer out in others which he does as an editor and workshop leader. As well as a career in psychotherapy, he has supervised for over thirty years and was co-founder of the Centre for Supervision and Team Development in 1979. He divides his time between London and the spiritual community at Findhorn in the north of Scotland, where he was consultant to the management team for seven years. Workshop information: A lovely, tranquil setting in the countryside to inspire your writing talents, with the possibility of working outside in the gardens(weather permitting!). To book your place on this special workshop, please complete the booking form below. Spaces are limited to 10 so please book now to ensure your place. On booking, payment instructions will be emailed to you, with more detailed joining instructions and a map will be provided.