One of our most popular lunchtime concerts, we welcome back Penny Birstingl and Brian Tilley who play many instruments, some are unusual and not often heard. The music they play can be from France, Scandinavia and the British Isles.
The difficulties of the past year have forced us to adapt to rehearsing in more challenging ways. But the positive side is that we have discovered many new tunes which we look forward to sharing with everyone!
Bagpipes – These are from the centre of France, known as Grande Cornemuse du Centre. They have a chanter which plays the tune, a small drone parallel to it and a large drone, an octave lower which balances the instrument on the left shoulder.
Hurdy Gurdy – This ancient instrument dates from the times of the early monasteries where a simpler form was used to accompany the plainchant.
Accordion – Familiar to most people, this is an Italian instrument with a piano keyboard and 2 buttons for the left hand and produces a range of notes and chords. The bellows force air through a set of reeds which vibrate when keys and buttons are pressed.
Concertina – Originally designed to ‘improve’ on the tuning problems of the violin, it has the range of a violin but the sound is produced by steel reeds rather than strings and bow.
All the above instruments are commonly used to play the traditional music from Central France. There are dance tunes for the Mazurka, Waltz, Bourree, Polka and Schottish, processional tues and airs. The traditional music of Scandinavia sounds very different and is often used for dances such as the Polska (nothing like the Polka!) but there are also waltzes and processional tunes, often used for weddings and other occasions. The Swedish music is probably more well known than that from Norway or Finland.