IN THIS UPDATE:
GRANTS IMPACT - FEEDBACK AND FIGURES
In April, our grants supported two live concerts, in Grafton Regis and Bakewell, and two very special recordings (see April Project Highlights below). April was also an exciting month for period-instrument recordings in this year's BBC Music Magazine Awards. We were delighted with this feedback from the Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen:
'I want to thank you for supporting this ambitious project that has taken years of research and musical preparation to reach this stage.... I believe the endorsement of Continuo Foundation itself helped to attract further funding. You have created a remarkable organisation—one of the most important in the UK early music scene in a long time.'
Continuo Foundation's impact since the first round of grants in 2021: £560,000 awarded to 77 different ensembles 819 individual freelance musician beneficiaries 23,163 live audience members 61,414 online audience member
GRANT ROUND 6 - JULY 2023
Our current focus is on reaching the £100,000 target for July 2023. We have raised £82,650 so far, with an immediate funding gap of £17,350 to close out the round. Once this has been secured, we will be planning our fundraising strategy for the next phase of grant making in 2024 and 2025.
We feel very fortunate to have such an engaged group of supporters, and wished to share this feedback from a key donor who attended a concert by the Linarol Consort and James Gilchrist in March: 'It was a perfect example of Continuo’s vital work in enabling exceptional research with a beautiful outcome - it’s rather awful to think what might be lost without such provision.'
Over £550,000 in project grants has been fuelling activity and creativity, enabling musicians to take risks in exploring new repertoire and in bringing music to new locations. If you are able to help us keep this going, please contact Tina Vadaneaux to discuss how you can make a difference.
CONTINUO CONNECT GAINS MOMENTUM
Continuo Connect is off to a strong start. We are thrilled to report that during the month of April, there were more than 15,000 clicks on various pages of the website.
Since January, there have been 283 concerts listed on the site, making it the most comprehensive listing of professional early music events and directory of period-instrument ensembles and musicians in the UK.
Please do create an account to save your favourite events, ensembles and musicians. We are also grateful for any help in spreading the word about this new, free resource for musicians and audiences alike!
CLASSICAL AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Our grantees and Patrons have always been a source of pride, but April took this to a new level! Soprano Mary Bevan accepted the Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production on behalf of the Royal Opera House production of Handel's 'Alcina', in which she played the role of Morgana. This production was directed by Richard Jones, with Christian Curnyn (director of the Early Opera Company) conducting the orchestra. Mary also appears on the cover of the latest issue of Opera Now.
In the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2023, Best Opera Recording went to a first round grantee project from The Brook Street Band who recorded J.F. Lampe's 'The Dragon of Wantley' (available here). Huge congratulations to conductor John Andrews, the ensemble and the cast: Mary Bevan, Catherine Carby, Mark Wilde and John Savournin and label Resonus Classics.
Patron Rachel Podger scooped two BBC Music Magazine awards with her solo violin recording 'Tutta sola' (available here) which won both Best Instrumental Recording and Best Recording of the Year. She has also been named as Principal Guest Conductor of Tafelmusik and Artist-in-Residence at Kings Place next season. And to top it off, Channel Classics has just released her new album of C.P.E. Bach Violin and Keyboard Sonatas with Kristian Bezuidenhout, available here.
Pictured from left: Cellist Tatty Theo with the BBC Music Opera Award.; Rachel Podger picks up Best Recording of the Year; Mary Bevan with the Olivier Award for ROH 'Alcina'.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT - with Magdalena Loth-Hill
Meet violinist Magdalena Loth-Hill, member of the Consone Quartet and Ensemble Hesperi, among others. She also features on the latest recording of Flauguissimo, who have been awarded support in Grant Round 5 for a launch tour of 'To the Northern Star' beginning at the Swedish Church in London on 21st May at 7pm.
How has Continuo impacted you personally?
Continuo Foundation has had a hugely positive impact for me, as I’m sure it has for a great many musicians. It came into existence at a really important time - when it was hard to feel optimistic about the future as Covid put a halt to our creative plans - and the grant-making process encouraged us to think outside of the box and be really ambitious with projects, repertoire and collaborations.
Which doors have opened since receiving our Grant?
For the Consone Quartet, Continuo Foundation backing made it possible to approach some wonderful musician colleagues whom we had been dreaming of working with, to realise our collaborative concert series, Barnstorming! And with Ensemble Hesperi, we were able to create an immersive Queen Charlotte musical soirée at the Georgian townhouse, 6 Fitzroy Square, complete with readings and Georgian tea and cakes! We are also looking forward to launching the Hesperi Voices with a project at the Temple Church celebrating the music of Blow and Purcell. Perhaps most importantly, the Foundation has introduced us to new friends and supporters and strengthened the community within the early music world.
What do you love about your job / being a musician?
I love the variety – each day is different and I find that incredibly inspiring.
Where did you encounter the most receptive audience?
It really depends! I recently played at the Wren Tercentenary Festival with the OAE, with the amazing Kati Debretzeni playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I think the way she explained and then illustrated musically the story of each season through Vivaldi’s sonnets really brought the audience in and people were hanging on every word (and note)!
No.1 listening recommendation?
L’Archibudelli’s recording of the Brahms Sextets is so warm and free - it was one of the things that made me want to start playing romantic repertoire on gut strings.
More about Magdalena Loth-Hill is available on her musician profile on Continuo Connect
APRIL PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
Florilegium - The Spohr Collection Vol. 3
Florilegium recorded the third volume in their series of recordings featuring flutes from The Spohr Collection. In this volume, flautist Ashley Solomon plays on nine original flutes, four of which were made from ivory, from the private and unique collection of 18th century flutes owned by the German collector Peter Spohr. The repertoire on the album includes works by Mozart, WF Bach, Vivaldi, Locatelli and lesser-known composers such as Barsanti, Claggert, Chilcot, Lampe and Pepusch. Each flute was chosen to reflect not just the nationality of the composer but also the approximate date of the composition. Flutes from England, Germany, Holland and Italy were used on this recording. Previous volumes, each featuring different flutes from the collection, are available here.
The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen – The 'other' Chandos Anthem
The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen made a world-premiere recording of forgotten Italianate sacred music by Pepusch composed for the Duke of Chandos. Three works were recorded: the luxuriously-scored Christmas Anthem Rejoice in the Lord, the Vivaldi-inspired Magnificat in English, and intimate smaller-scale anthem O Praise the Lord.
The demanding vocal parts were taken on by Ciara Hendrick, Alex Potter, Hugh Cutting, Nicholas Mulroy, Nicholas Todd, Vitali Rozynko and Edward Grint.
The Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen collaborated with the Girls Choir of Canterbury Cathedral, under the direction of David Newsholme, and praised them for their amazing musicality and stamina.