IN THIS UPDATE:
GRANTS - HIGHLIGHTS AND IMPACT
In August, our grants supported five live concerts in 5 different UK locations, two of which were filmed for later streaming. Online audiences were also treated to four new episodes from Ensemble Augelletti’s brilliant ‘Pick a Card’ series.
The Illyria Consort and Bojan Čičić released their recording of Johann Jakob Walther’s Scherzi da Violino on Delphian, available here. Please scroll down to the August Project Highlights section to hear an extract from this acclaimed CD.
Istante Collective toured their ‘Little Things in Odd Shapes’ programme, pairing riso-printing workshops with music performances, to venues in Plumstead, Cardiff, Woking, Hampstead and Birmingham. The following is an excerpt from their post-project report:
"This project has given us the opportunity to step out as performers and engage audiences in a completely new way. It has taken us into new performance spaces, introduced us to new audiences, and helped us form relationships with organisations who are already working with artists and local communities. We have also road-tested a new multi-disciplinary experience of historical performance practice. In short, the grant has unlocked a number of doors for our ensemble which we wouldn’t haven’t been able to access otherwise."
The impact of Continuo Foundation's activity to date, summarised in figures:
£317,900 disbursed to 47 different ensembles 1,242 musician engagements since April 2021
595 individual freelance musicians benefited
14,800 live audience participants have benefited
45,700 online audience participants have benefited
GRANT ROUND 4 - EVALUATION UNDERWAY
Round 4 produced an outstanding array of proposed projects, with grant requests from over 50 ensembles totalling £314,000, three times the amount of funds available. Applicants ranged from established to recently-formed ensembles, including many who hadn't applied to us before.
Across the four rounds, we have received applications from 130 different UK period-instrument ensembles, more than double the number we estimated when Continuo Foundation first started out. This includes twenty-six applications in the new eligibility category for recently-formed ensembles created earlier this year.
The Round 4 evaluation process is underway -- applications have been reviewed by our expert Advisory Panel and are now with the Trustees. The final grant decisions are expected to be announced by 22nd September, filling our autumn and winter concert calendar with exciting events.
FUNDRAISING - 2023 GRANT ROUNDS
The generosity of our donors has enabled us to conduct four rounds of grants so far, totalling £460,000 (2021 and 2022). We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback received from ensembles, musicians and audiences on the impact - artistically, financially and psychologically - of this funding and the great ongoing need for support of artistically excellent projects.
We have worked hard to secure advance commitments of £110,000 for our 2023 grant rounds, and the key focus over the coming months will be the immediate funding gap of £45,000 needed to launch Grant Round 5 in January 2023.
If you are able to help us close this gap, please contact Tina Vadaneaux to discuss how you can make a difference for musicians and audiences in communities across the UK. 100% goes to helping musicians bring more music to more people.
CONTINUO CONNECT - A DIGITAL HUB FOR UK EARLY MUSIC
We are making great strides on our project to create a much-needed digital hub for the UK early music sector. Continuo Connect will be a not-for-profit online home for the UK's early music community, and solid platform from which it can grow and flourish.
By providing an interactive directory of ensembles and musicians, digital marketing and communication tools for early music professionals, and comprehensive concert listings which make it easy to find and book performances in local venues, we believe the Continuo Connect platform will be transformational. If you missed our item about the objectives of the platform and how it aims to reinforce Continuo Foundation’s mission, there is an overview in our July Update.
Continuo Connect is being funded separately from our grant-making, and we are grateful to have secured sufficient multi-year support from several key donors to make a start on developing the technology. To reach our goal of securing commitments to take the project through to self-sufficiency, which we expect to achieve within three years, we are seeking to expand our group of key donors able to commit £10,000 to £30,000 per annum.
If you would like to learn more about Continuo Connect, please contact Tina Vadaneaux
AUGUST PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS
The Prince Regent’s Band – ‘Sound and Echo’
The Prince Regent’s Band presented the second in their series of concerts, this one in the unique space of Crossness Engines, described by Pevsner as "a Victorian cathedral of ironwork". The venue provided an ideal acoustic for the programme drawn from a remarkable series, published in Boston during the 1860s, for wind and brass ensembles, including transcriptions and arrangements of new works. The concert was filmed and will be streamed in the autumn. Please click on the video below for a preview. The final concert in the series will take place on 14th September at Hellen’s Manor (full details available on our Events Calendar).
The Spinacino Consort – ‘Away Vain Warld'
The Spinacino Consort was joined by soprano Héloïse Bernard for two performances - one in Perth and the other in Canongate Kirk, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - of a programme of 17th century music from the Scottish Reformation. This time of conflict and transformation, when the Catholic-French court clashed with the newly independent Kirk, was explored through the prism of the poetry of Elizabeth Melville, the first Scottish woman to see her poetry in print during her lifetime. Please click on the video below to watch an excerpt from one of the concerts.
Ensemble Hesperi – ‘Then I Play’d upon the Harpsichord'
Ensemble Hesperi, joined by soprano Rowan Pierce and harpsichordist Nathaniel Mander, went above and beyond to create an immersive experience for the standing-room only audience in a Georgian townhouse in Fitzroy Square. Tea and cakes based on recipes from the 1760s were served to accompany the programme of music celebrating the musical talents and tastes of Queen Charlotte, consort to George III. Actor Miranda Keeling presented diary readings, and the whole evening's entertainment was filmed so those who missed the live event will be able to enjoy the experience virtually. Please click on the video below to watch an excerpt from the concert.
Illyria Consort – ’Walther - Violin Sonatas’
Continuing their intrepid rediscovery of neglected and unrecorded music, the Illyria Consort and violinist Bojan Čičić recorded a set of 12 violin sonatas by Johann Jakob Walther first published in 1676. Some of the sonatas in his Scherzi da Violino Solo have been recorded in part, while others (Sonatas No. 1-3, 11 and 12) are première recordings. We were delighted to see the CD featured at the top of Apple Music's Classical homepage when it was released. Please click on the video below to hear an excerpt from the CD which is now available here.
WHAT IS ‘EARLY MUSIC'?
We never cease to be amazed by the sheer variety of repertoire explored and performed under the banner of 'Early Music' with instruments (or replicas) dating from medieval times to the 19th century. The introduction below, by John Bryan (Rose Consort of Viols) for the Making Music website, provides an excellent overview of the breadth of repertoire encompassed by this term: "For many people, ‘early music’ means music from the 12th to 17th centuries. Before that, musical notation was not precise enough for it to be interpreted accurately today (it was really an aide memoire to remind musicians of tunes they had already learned by ear). Music from after 1650 (including Purcell, Bach and Handel) had not completely dropped out of fashion in the way that earlier repertory had done, so didn’t seem to need the sort of restoration ‘early musicians’ had achieved in less familiar music. But since the late 1970s, performers realised that baroque, classical and romantic music could also benefit from an ‘early music’ approach, using instruments and performance styles from the time the music was written rather than later ‘modern’ traditions. There have been many revelatory performances, for instance of Beethoven symphonies using gut-strung violins and cellos, timpani with calf-skin heads and wooden sticks and trumpets without valves, all of which recreate a lost vibrant and colourful sound world." To read the full entry, please click on the Making Music link above.