LBS 70th celebrated at Bachfest

 LBS 70th celebrated at Bachfest  4-11 November 2016     Updated 20 September

Introducing Amici Voices who join us on 7 November

Introducing Amici Voices who join us on 7 November

Click here to access a copy of our Brochure:  2016 LBS BACHFEST BROCHURE (1)

Click on the link to download your copy of Bach Notes  2016 BACH NOTES Autumn Edition

To book tickets for concerts on 4 and 8 November, go to www.sjss.org.uk  

BOOK YOUR EARLY BIRD TICKETS for 4 & 8 NOVEMBER NOW. Early Bird tickets are only available from LBS direct Call 01883 717372 Go to Bachfest 2016 page for details.

To Book tickets online for LBS 70th Anniversary Concert on 7 November, Call 01883 717372. Go to Bachfest 2016 page

To book tickets (even free ones) for Bach Club concert on 11 November, go to https://chinaexchange.uk 

Check out our Books & Music page for recent additions.

Dear Friends and Supporters

It is no mean feat for any organisation to reach its 70th anniversary.  It is a testament to the love and dedication to the promotion of Bach’s music in this country by so many and it is with a sense of pride and much joy that we approach the presentation of our autumn events in celebration. The events celebrate the musical ethos and spirit of the LBS and will be performed by prominent and creative musicians today alongside some exciting new talent.

There is an Exhibit at the Royal Academy of Music that through the items on display sets our founder’s work with the London Bach Society in context with two key players in the 19th century British Bach revival – Samuel Wesley (250th) and William Sterndale Bennett (200th) who also have anniversaries this year.

We are also delighted to be presenting two stellar concerts in St John’s Smith Square (4 & 8 November) where we feel completely at home in the congenial and period surroundings of this re-energised international concert hall. We look forward to celebrating our 70th on the actual foundation day (7 November) with an evening of Bach’s music in a concert format not a million miles away from 18th century Leipzig, this laced with some spoken mémoires and given in Handel’s Parish Church, St George’s Church Hanover Square. Finally …for the 18-30 Bach Club concert we take our audience to London’s exciting new venue, China Exchange,  the cultural centre founded by our President Sir David Tang in the heart of London’s China Town, informal, relaxed, friendly, stimulating. In the footsteps of Bach and his students’ musical society, on the Bill so far are some stellal rising stars including Chinese-born pianist Ke MaTabea Debus and her collection of recorders with Oliver Pooley on marimba. This too promises to be a very exciting evening.

So why not join in the celebrations as we open a new chapter in the life of the London Bach Society, active today and building upon its considerable musical legacy.    What finer tribute can we possibly pay to our founder Paul Steinitz and to all who have been part of our story over seven decades!  Margaret Steinitz

 

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LBS 70th: Get in touch

LBS 70th:  Get in touch

As part of our 70th Anniversary we should like to make this an occasion that can be also shared by singers, including former choir members (1947-1989), players and supporters that have been part of our story at some time or another.

LBS was founded on 7 November 1946 when Paul Steinitz, joined by a group of friends and students, met in the Vestry at St. Peter’s Church Dulwich Common to form the (South) London Bach Society. Its purpose was to get back to Bach in its original form.  The rest is history as they say and over the decades many generations have joined us on our musical journey with Bach either as members of our original choir, players in our orchestra, audience members and supporters.

As part of our annual Bachfest, we shall commemorate our 70th anniversary in music and words on Monday 7 November 2016 in St George’s Church Hanover Square – Handel’s Parish church a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus tube. Naturally Bach’s music will be at the centre.

In addition to our regular email and postal mailing lists, we are assembling a special past supporters email list so that we can send further details to all who would like to come and celebrate LBS with us, especially those with whom we have lost touch over the years.  So if you would like to be included on the list send us your email address to us and we shall add your details and let you have further information. Our email address (to send us y ours) is lbs@lonbachsoc.demon.co.uk.

Using the navigation (page right) more information about events can be found by visiting the LBS 70th Advance Information page under the Bachfest 2016 heading. This page will be regularly updated from now onwards until the whole autumn programme is formally announced later in the summer.

Note: Your email details will not be passed on to third parties and, unless you advise us further, the list will not be used after 7 November 2016.

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Bach Singers Prize update 10 May 2016

Bach Singers Prize Update

The LBS Bach Singers Prize is presented every two years, so the next one is due in the autumn 2017. The competition is open to postgraduate singers, either still studying or at the beginning of their careers, in the age range 21-32 years at the date of the Final (tba).   If you wish to receive advance information please email us by clicking on the icon below or emails us lbs@lonbachsoc.demon.co.uk and we shall add your details to our email list

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ALAN LOVEDAY violinist

From the leader's chair

From the leader’s chair

Alan Loveday (1928-2016)

The death has been announced of the violinist Alan Loveday, aged 88.  Alan was one of the most gifted violinists of his generation and an early exponent of period style playing. No one could fail to be anything other than deeply moved by his performances of key Bach obbligatos played on his ‘little fiddle’ and his recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the Academy of St. Martins directed by (Sir) Neville Marriner (pictured above) made in the early 1970s serves as a benchmark for many to this day.

A New Zealander by birth, Alan Loveday’s place in the history of the London Bach Society is as a founder-member-leader of Steinitz Bach Players in 1968, along with oboist Tess Miller, trumpeter Michael Laird, violist Duncan Druce, cellist Jennifer Ward Clarke and violone/viola da gambist Adam Skeaping. His leadership and performances with the orchestra in its crucial early years raising listeners’ awareness of how Bach might have heard his music and had it performed were manifested most significantly in his exquisite playing of the violin obbligato in the aria “Erbarme dich Gott…” (St. Matthew Passion Part 2) sung by Janet Baker at the annual Lenten presentations directed by Paul Steinitz in the Priory Church of St. Bartholomew-the-Great.  In later years Alan’s performance of one of the Bach solo violin Partitas at a Steinitz/ LBS Bach cantata concert reduced a packed QEH on London’s South Bank to tears of joy and high emotion…with Paul sitting on the concert platform alongside the other instrumentalists eager not to miss a single note.

A key player in our orchestra’s early development, we remember Alan Loveday with much gratitude. Margaret Steinitz

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Bach scholar Peter Williams (1937-2016)

Professor Peter Williams (1937-2016)

The death has been announced of the British Bach scholar Professor Peter Williams aged 78.  One of the most respected writers on Bach over the past half-century, Peter Williams was a former Professor and Dean of Music at the University of Edinburgh and Emeritus Arts and Sciences Professor of Music at Duke University, North Carolina. There will be many an organist today brought up on Williams’ three volumes “The Organ Music of J S Bach”  published between 1981-1984 where, among other thought-provoking statements, he dared to suggest that the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV 565 was not by Bach.  He was also a close friend of one of the world’s most respected and gifted interpreters of Bach’s organ works,  Dr. Peter Hurford, regularly attending the St. Albans Organ Festival  & Competition founded by Hurford in 1963. 

Always fascinated by every aspect and joining our frustrations that so little in the way of letters and documents have survived that give us greater knowledge of Bach’s life and work, Williams became author-turned-detective, using segments of the Bach Obituary to delve deeper and in the process to offer further insight that moved away from the deferential and towards the more human. It was this that inspired Williams’ biography of the composer “The Life of Bach” published in 2004 expanded to “J S Bach: A Life in Music” published in 2007, these two volumes a culmination perhaps of his own life’s work from which many across the globe have benefitted. While Bach scholarship is continually being advanced, Williams’ books will remain a significant reference point for all students of the composer and form part of the legacy of expertise and knowledge handed on to new generations.

Peter Williams’ books are published by Cambridge University Press www.cambridge.org.  Margaret Steinitz

 

 

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Sir Peter Maxwell Davies 1934-2016

 Sir Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016)

Another very sad loss. Composer, conductor and educator, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies passed away on 14 March 2016 aged 81. He had been ill for sometime, yet showed his typical courage and determination to continue to work until the end.
Sir Peter was a true pioneer, imaginative, creative, controversial, challenging in the musical demands he made on his singers and players. He was the original enfant terrible. His iconic group Fires of London (formerly the Pierrot Players) rolled back the boundaries of contemporary music and the live concert experience in the 60s/70s, touring the world with their staged performances of, among other instrumental and theatre works, Max’s (as he was fondly known)  Eight Songs for a Mad King and Miss Donnithorne’s Maggot that set the seal on his composing career ahead. Audiences came to know the group simply as ”The Fires” and they  attracted some stellar instrumentalists to make sense of the very complex Maxwell Davies scores – Jennifer Ward Clarke, Duncan Druce, Judith Pearce, Stephen Pruslin and Alan Hacker among them, the group ably managed by the late Louise Honeyman. Any new Davies world première was anticipated with alacrity for its potential to be controversial and since those days they have never provoked indifference.

Our own contribution was to give the first London performance of Maxwell Davies Veni Sancte Spiritus at the  South Bank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in  November 1972, which BBC recorded, and which was given with the composer present.

Latterly Sir Peter has continued to champion the importance of high quality musical education, a lifelong commitment of his, when it is not only financial cuts that threaten, but the very inclusion of music as an integral part of the curriculum… and he did not mince his words on this, cuts to arts funding in general and other Davies priorities either!  At least he is no longer suffering and his music will surely live on.   Rest in peace. Margaret Steinitz (Artistic Director, LBS)

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Steinitz Scholarship in Musicology

Steinitz Scholarship in Musicology

A Steinitz Scholarship in Musicology has been set up at the University of Huddersfield to reflect and recognise the work of  Dr Paul Steinitz in the study and performance of the music of J S Bach and founder of the London Bach Society, and the work of his son, Professor Richard Steinitz, expert on the music of Ligeti in particular and founder of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Further information may be found by clicking on the link www.hud.ac.uk/research/music/

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Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)

 

Nikolaus Harnoncourt at Barbican with Margaret Steinitz and Sir Nicholas Kenyon

Nikolaus Harnoncourt at Barbican with Margaret Steinitz and Sir Nicholas Kenyon

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1929-2016)

The death has been announced of the distinguished Austrian conductor and chamber musician Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He was 86.  Harnoncourt was a pioneer of period style performance, especially of the music of Bach, and the last of the remaining  great 20th century Bach interpreters who rolled back the boundaries and gave us the composer’s treasury of vocal church music in its original form . The complete Bach cantatas recording project (Telefunken 1970-1991) he shared with the Dutch harpsichordist and conductor Gustav Leonhardt remains one of the most important and historic ever on disc, opening our ears to the emerging new sound world at the time, not only of the period instruments themselves, but of period style performance in its fullest sense. Nearly a quarter of a century later these recordings still cut the mustard and inform the listener.

When Paul Steinitz was planning the last phase of the London Bach Society’s own public cycle of Bach’s cantatas in the mid-1980s, Harnoncourt was invited to be one of the Patrons of the special Appeal launched to complete our project and he accepted with alacrity. The warm encouragement that accompanied this was typical of the man, a genuine servant of music.  By his side was his devoted wife and accomplished violinist Alice to whom he was married for over 60 years;  his daughter is the celebrated mezzo soprano Elisabeth von Magnus.

There will be many tributes made from across the world, reflecting the breadth of musical interests Harnoncourt pursued. Ours is one of sincere gratitude for his dedication to the music of Bach, a true kindred spirit. Margaret Steinitz

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The Sterndale Bennett Inheritance

William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875) 

The events to mark the 200th anniversary of William Sterndale Bennett continue this week and next at the Royal Academy of Music where he served as Principal from 1866-1875. Sterndale Bennett was a key player in the 19th century British Bach revival, but also had musical interests over a wide area and his friendships with Mendelssohn, Schumann and others greatly influenced his life and work.

  • Thursday 26 February, 2.30pm-4.30pm & 6.00pm-7.30pm, The Museum Piano Gallery, RAM. The event is entitled “Sterndale Bennett, Mendelssohn and Piatti: Cello and Piano” – a two-part seminar by cellist Jap ter Haar and pianist Dr Olivia Sham.
  • Monday 29 February, 6.00pm-7.30pm, Museum Piano Gallery, RAM. This event is entitled “William Sterndale Bennett: Student, Professor and Principal.”  Janet Snowman (RAM Curator or Art and Iconography) and Dr Olivia Sham will explore Bennett’s role at the Royal Academy of Music in discussion with his great-great-grandson Barry Sterndale Bennett.
  • Tuesday 1 March, 6.00pm-7.30pm, The Museum Piano Gallery, RAM. This event is entitled  “Victorian Virtuosity: Sterndale Bennett and Romantic Pianism”. Dr Olivia Sham will lead this Seminar which will include performances on the 19th century pianos in the Museum. Admission is free and no ticket is required.

As part of the London Bach Society’s 70th Anniversary this year, LBS has designated a page on this website about Bennett’s role in the 19th century British Bach revival. Go to http://www.bachlive.co.uk/london-bach-society-70th-anniversary-in-2016/william-sterndale-bennett-1816-1875/

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LBS @ 70 – Other Anniversaries in 2016

LBS at 70

London Bach Society celebrates its 70th anniversary on 7 November 2016. Founded by the late Bach scholar and conductor (Dr) Paul Steinitz in 1946, LBS has played a seminal role in the post-war British Bach revival with major projects achieved that have changed the way we study and perform the composer’s music in this country since. 

We share our anniversary with two other influential musicians who led the Bach revival in the 19th century: organist and composer Samuel Wesley (250th Anniversary) and composer, performer, director and educator William Sterndale Bennett (200th Anniversary).

William Sterndale Bennett: Click on the link for immediate access to WSB’s page http://www.bachlive.co.uk/london-bach-society-70th-anniversary-in-2016/william-sterndale-bennett-1816-1875/

Samuel Wesley: Click on the link for immediate access to Samuel Wesley’s page http://www.bachlive.co.uk/london-bach-society-70th-anniversary-in-2016/samuel-wesley-1766-1837/

For further information visit www.bachlive.co.uk/london-bach-society-70th-anniversary-in-2016/

We look forward to sharing our anniversary with our Bach Friends and followers.

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