she plays Debussy
now slow, quiet, and deep
The Submerged Cathedral
contrast profound calm
master of the miniature
enhances music background
full instrument range
art and nature
nuanced body language
smiles of joy
Peter Horsfield 7/7/2018
French horns in quadruplicate –
they change positions, move around;
with intonation delicate
they blend, expand full-blooded sound.
Rich, harmonious mix of styles,
and octaves of astounding range,
from deepest bass to piercing heights,
enhance their roundness, hold the stage.
Individual parts unique,
with instruments identical,
explore the repertoire. They breathe
as one, with piquancy vital.
Syncopated hornpipe notes
begin the concert melody –
familiar nautical emotes
from Lowell “Spike” Shaw’s Fripperies.
Movements, five, from Koetsier,
A Nightingale in Berkeley Square,
three quartets penned by Tcherepnin;
fill range of colours textured there.
Peter Maxwell Davies theme,
adapted Farewell to Stromness,
gives contemplative Celtic feel
of seascapes, sheltered harbour blessed.
A Song for Japan, poignant, slow,
with resonance reverberates,
embellished triplets guide the flow
the simple melody relates.
Fourfold French horns move around
between each item; ensemble
of youthful players’ special sound
entrance in manner Capital.
Peter Horsfield 24/5/2018
She starts alarm clock with panache:
little electronic timer –
insistently and incessantly,
such that one wants to stamp on it,
to shut it up immediately,
this disturbing rude imposter
which intrudes on peaceful slumber.
Now comes the clever bit:
taking piccolo to her lips,
a mischievous glint in her eye,
she blends these shrill percussive sounds,
at first in low and mournful space,
then climbing by octaves, one and two.
The syncopations, split with rests,
allow the timer to pierce through,
still incessant, but tempered
by the music’s overlay,
which relentlessly gathers pace.
At last she silences the timer,
with deft flourish. This fleeting piece
to have lasted for ever.
Briefly, she proceeds alone,
ascending rapidly – assails
the ears with one last
screeching staccato spit.
Peter Horsfield 28/4/2018
Inspired by the lunchtime performance of Wake Up! For piccolo and alarm clock, by Tilmann Dehnhard, played by Anna Hofmann, at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 26th April 2018
The Long and the Short (Haibun)
Soorjo Alexander William Langobard Oliphant Chuckerbutty – surely the longest named composer in musical history. This organist of Anglo-Indian descent, little-known except for his Song of Triumph (Fanfare), successfully pursued simultaneous careers in cinema and church music.
This piece of music lasts for just three minutes. The key of B flat expresses jubilation, to be replaced by a short, slower section in pensive G minor, before re-asserting the dominant, soaring mood.
Peter Horsfield 28/3/2018
Inspired by the lunchtime organ recital given by Graham Thorpe at Christ Church United Reformed Church, Leatherhead, on 14th March 2018.
Carlmann Kolb, a German priest,
eighteenth century organist,
name unknown amongst the greats,
given voice, today is placed –
early classical style of Bach
(not J.S., but C.P.E.)
Christ Church, Leatherhead, lunchtime, plays
harmonies that blend and lead
flowing gentle melodies,
calm, predictable, and sweet.
Suddenly, a cataclysm
renders building’s fabric harsh,
violently vibrates in stark
discords; manic diminished sevenths
crash chromatic resonance,
charge the ears unbearably –
chaos cascades from finger tips.
Could a bottle of wine be spilt?
Knocked right over in clumsy tilt –
music score affected by
Carlmann’s inebriated high.
Mental suffering, perhaps,
reveals an unexpected lapse.
Out of character music goes;
just why, we may never know,
background shrouded in mystery;
organ speaks of humble priest.
Peter Horsfield 21/9/2017
Inspired by the lunchtime organ recital given by Graham Thorpe at Christ Church (United Reformed), Leatherhead, on 21st September 2017
Bold Mozart, from divertimento voiced,
Unlocks their gleaming instrumental choice,
Contains an integrated theme of ebb and flow;
Kaleidoscopic range of breath that grows
Beyond constraints. In chapel resonance
Reaches the vaulted heights; and stone recess
Acoustics amplify ethereal effect.
Staccato cross-explosive themes are tossed,
Serrated intervals of Anthony Plog,
To fast cadenza, ending quite abrupt.
Recap to Beethoven: these players trust,
Intuitively aspirate in synchrony
Of presto pace, reined in with harmony.
Peter Horsfield 25/8/2017
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed in the Old Chapel of St. John’s School, Leatherhead, on 24th August 2017, by Richard Buck, trombone; Timothy Ellis, horn; and Daniel Walton, trumpet and flugelhorn.
Gently flowing semiquavers,
Pedals dance by nimble feet,
On long and lanky limbs.
At the double manual,
Red jumper and black pleated skirt
Clothe the long and lanky limbs,
While she plays off-beat and percussive rhythms.
In red jumper and black pleated skirt
She moves, at times flamboyantly.
Her off-beat and percussive rhythms
Relax into a smooth legato.
She moves, at times flamboyantly;
Speed and crescendo build,
Replace relaxed and smooth legato
In hanging suspense. Crunchy final chord
Concludes the build of speed and crescendo,
On pedals danced by nimble feet;
The hanging suspense of crunchy final chord
Now ends the flow of semiquavers.
Peter Horsfield 24/5/2017
Inspired by the lunchtime organ recital given by Gillian Lloyd at Christ Church United Reformed Church, Leatherhead, on 17th May 2017
every detail on view
nowhere to hide
Baroque and modern
dexterity, hand and foot
Swept up in passionate emotions’ flow,
I drop my pens – no longer can I draw
The sublime trio who mit Feuer grow.
Mit energie und Leidenschaft they go
Through movement 1, forward momentum more,
Swept up in passionate emotions’ flow.
Lebhaft, but not too fast; they know
That inner feeling, breathed together for
The sublime trio who mit Feuer grow.
The violin, solo, langsam, soars, and oh!
Picked up by ‘cellist, sheds a tear with awe,
Swept up in passionate emotions’ flow.
Such tiny hands; the fiery pianist throws
Cascading octaves with outstanding force;
The sublime trio who mit Feuer grow.
Imaginative gemstone’s music sows
The seed. I sit enraptured. Without flaw,
Swept up in passionate emotions’ flow,
This sublime trio plays; mit Feuer grows.
Peter Horsfield 13/4/2017
At 3 pm, the day of Storm Doris,
huge crowd of people flocked to see and hear
two pianists in perfect synchrony
upon the keys of our Grand Schiedmayer.
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba made
a rousing start, from opera Solomon –
such vacuous plot, set in Handelian vein.
(Light hearted quip – was less than three hours long!)
Breathtaking rhythm and variety
then followed, classical and popular;
they swapped positions, but still side by side
both breathed as one harmonious bright colour
through Dinah, Jeepers Creepers, Honky-tonk,
Debussy, Benjamin, Warlock and Brahms;
explored wide-ranged emotional nuance –
Rachmaninov, Dvorak – at their command.
Outside, the unabated gale still raged,
belied this music from a gentler source,
by inspired duo on a magic stage;
here the only storm – of rapturous applause!
Peter Horsfield 25/2/2017
I sit so close, a vantage point to sketch
these feisty jazz performers; apprehensive
lest their volume overwhelm my ears –
but gentle fingers stroke piano keys
in smoothly rippling syncopated rhythm,
laid-back style that’s effortless in swing.
Alternate saxophones in haunting timbre
join mellifluously, blending colour –
vintage brass from nineteen-fifty-eight
is echoed by the strings of double bass
she plucks with energy mercurial,
in resonance and synchronicity.
Though, amplified, their sounds fill up the space,
they never overstep acoustic range,
remaining safely in my comfort zone.
Emotional nuances, finely honed;
relaxed and lazy, or of darker twist;
all freely emanate, finely expressed.
An unexpected instrument now joins the mix
in place of saxophone: surprising tricks
performed on his recorder, limpid tones
(more commonly Baroque) by him composed,
reiterate relaxed setting of joy –
concludes this gig, as I sit closely by,
transported to serene realm of such height –
by pencil snapshots on my page immortalised.
Peter Horsfield 30/9/2016
Largo or Allegro
Ancient instrument strings free
Peter Horsfield 2/7/2016
Viol-a and viol-in
blend uniquely from the string,
resonating richly through the air,
fill the church with joyful paeans. This pair
dance with Bartok, arranging –
violin with violin
cannot match their subtle overtones;
harmonies, full-bodied; highly flown
melodies abruptly end
with bows' flourish; thus they send
messages repeated from the raw,
rhythmic folk music, without a flaw.
Yellow gown, flamboyant, contrasts dark
dress and hair, interprets music stark,
visually transmits a sound so rare –
other combinations wouldn't dare
play their selected repertoire
of viol-in and viol-a.
Peter Horsfield 5/6/2016
Inspired by the lunchtime solo 'cello recital performed by Jacqueline Phillips at
Leatherhead Methodist Church on 5th May 2016.
Such monumental Mendelssohn,
sonata played by David on
the Christ Church organ, URC,
concludes this day's variety
of music, recent to Baroque.
The re-voiced pipes, in subtle song
to skilful touch and stops respond
with spectrum range, wistful to glee –
Movement Con moto maestoso
would seem to be the last to flow
from swift-fingered agility;
but follows unexpectedly
a short Andante tranquillo,
to balance Monumental.
Peter Horsfield 22/4/2016 50
Inspired by the lunchtime organ recital given by David Oldfield at
Christ Church (United Reformed), Leatherhead, on 22nd April 2016
recital charts the year
light from heavy
emerges from texture
organ pipes re-voiced
pedals, keys, and stops
nimble fingers run
mournful minor sings
Peter Horsfield 16/3/2016 49
A gentle folk-band plays for our delight;
Bewitching melodies and rhythms flow
Along the strings of instruments sublime,
Give body to the voices' blend that grows
From George, supported by Steve, Pete, and Jess,
Until the room reverberates the sound,
Light-heartedly with ditties that address
Liquidity to cloak us all around –
Or poignant subjects feed our deep concern,
Find love, compassion, for us all to share.
How joyfully we dance the drum-beats' turn,
Allow the music's message to ensnare
The rapt attention of our company,
Sustain the Oneness of this harmony.
Peter Horsfield 4/1/2016 47
Inspired by the lunchtime piano recital given at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 5th November 2015 by Viv McLean. Viv first performed here accompanying wind players in October 2014.
Iconic anniversary because this was indeed Fireworks, Bonfire, or Guy Fawkes Night, when the English remember the failed Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Iconic anniversary too as it was around this time in 2014 that two of the audience went to see the Schiedmayer in the donor's home and realised what a wonderful gift it was going to be for the Church and for the concerts.
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 29th October 2015 by
Timothy Ridout, viola,and Amiran Zenaishvili, piano. Their programme featured music by Henri Vieuxtemps, 1820-1881.
Timothy played on a 1677 viola by Giovanni Grancino, Amiran on our 1970s Schiedmayer baby grand piano.
Can this quintet outplay “the pain of reeds”
And beat an unpredictable response?
Vivacious fingering, and breath that feeds
Ensemble five-fold, leaps and skips in dance.
New discords, sharp and rhythmic, acquired taste,
Discover syncopated tonguing tips.
Industrious high whistling notes in place
Slide piccolo; low grumbling bassoon kicks.
Horn resonates the underpinning chords
With texture rich of clarinet and flute
In poignant humour; oboe darkly draws
Nuances, mushroom-like, expanding tune.
Delightful tone of many lips is heard,
Sustained by breath; communicates the Word.
Peter Horsfield 8/10/2015 (Celebrating National Poetry Day) 44
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 8th October 2015 by Cavendish Winds: Katy Ovens, flute; Mary Tyler, clarinet; Henry Clay, oboe; Alice Quayle, bassoon; and Charlie Ransley, horn.
Cello and accordion,
accordion and cello,
breathe a special blend of sound
in Duo Bayanello –
with intensity they shake
and vibrate – body language
swimming in amorphous drift
of nuance deep and subtle.
They writhe, sinuous and strong,
all curves and angles; volume
matches contrast resonant
in slides and scoops,and fine-tuned
tilt of head mercurial,
expressive eyebrows lifted;
hands in several places seem
execute 'midst skeins of hair
in ponytail and fringes,
ever dancing with the bow,
great waves of synchronicity
to syncopated beat,
staccato and vibrato;
aura of variety,
in bayanello duo.
Peter Horsfield 24/9/2015 43
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church
on 24th September 2015 by Duo Bayanello: Iosif Purits, bayan/ accordion; and
Cecilia Bignall, cello.
Rivers of sound cascade hemiolas –
three into two, two into three –
swept along in passionate sequences;
rising and tumbling, they burst all constraints.
Contrast of instrument, strings and piano;
mouthpieces faithful channel composer.
Mirrored by features northern and orient;
Poland and Taiwan, fair hair and dark.
Female energy blends all these differences,
integrates duo, blue eyes and black.
Soaring on dreamy wings meditational,
high note harmonic hangs in the air.
Singing tear-drops fly from her bow;
pizzicato, then smoothly phrased.
Sonorous chords from the piano below
resonate poignantly, capture the heart.
Borne aloft by tide unstoppable,
we are at one, totally One
into the moment of exquisite ecstasy,
flowing Beyond in this River of Sound.
Peter Horsfield 10/9/2015 42
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 20th August 2015 by NUANCE saxophone quartet: Chloe Percy-Smith, Emma Jones, Rachael Kendall, and Chalcedony Williams.
Sonatas of Beethoven and Brahms are played by stunning partnership of many notes. Violin
soars effortlessly into fluid song. (It already belonged to its third owner by the time Ludwig
van Beethoven was born.)
long notes held over
poignant expression brings tears
The pianist's page-turner has a responsible and nerve-wracking challenge. Not for an instant
can his concentration be allowed to wander. Musical score moves on fast!
tossed with joyful abandon
to and fro
no destruction this time
waves, dynamic range
duo as one
transfixed we witness
Breathtaking, gloriously beautiful; intonation beyond all superlatives; famous composers of the
past speak refreshed through present-day genius. We go on our way with thanks, raised to a
new level of existence.
From the land of ice and fire,
integrated piano keys
join with notes of English flute
in pastoral expression free.
These two ladies work together,
honed experience they share;
music graduates distinguished
play unique and varied fare.
Sparsely populated country
joins with one a hundred times
denser – such a range of feeling
gives a spaciousness to find.
Known composer's new arrangement
leads to those we've never heard;
slow and stormy, bare fifths crunching,
dark and jagged thoughts are stirred
like the waves on rock-forms crashing
in a wilderness so vast,
resonant to bleak horizons –
life ephemeral outlasts.
Now the scene is flowing, florid,
lyrical and light of touch;
decorated trilling sequence
brings a climax full of such
effervescent joy of Higher
Being – ice subsumed in fire.
Peter Horsfield 8/8/2015 39
Inspired by the lunchtime concert or English and Icelandic music
performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 6th August 2015
by Emily Andrews, flute; and Eva þyri Hilmarsdottir, piano.
peter steadman, 4th august 2015 38
With grateful thanks to Peter Horsfield for allowing this inclusion.
Her dancing flute describes an arc
of movement floating with the notes
of virtuosity she breathes,
while flexing muscles, never still,
in trajectory sinuous,
express in body language smooth
an ever-changing livery
in poignant nuances and shades
of music skilfully portrayed.
at times flamboyant, wistful, bold,
communicates a calm support;
an integrated feedback loop
of listening; and sensitive
to each progression that unfolds,
his intuition steers a course
through repertoire so broad and rich,
from Mozart, Copland, Hindemith - - -
The artist snapshots, drawn at speed,
embody essence of this pair,
encapsulate from every angle
moving sequence of dynamic
demand for colour; ear and eye
are thus united on holistic
path, as Tango Fantasia
ends this concert on a High.
Peter Horsfield 23/7/2015 37
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on
23rd July 2015 by Katy Ovens, flute, and Chris Lloyd, piano.
Sombre black attire belies
their musical performance;
gleaming metal, held aloft,
glints gold and silver; warming
tone so rich, not over-loud,
in brass that isn't brazen,
blends a harmony unique,
enfolds our ears – such haven
holds us spellbound this lunch-time,
as horn, trombone and trumpet
play in permutations bold,
with floating sound so limpid.
Piano, too, enters the mix;
these versatile musicians
bend their will to new arrangements,
music in transition.
Mozart, Haydn, light and shade,
familiar and less known
works from repertoire they take
in stride – pioneered and well-blown.
Dancing colours from the bell
of brass create a picture
perfect in its integration –
freedom flows with structure.
Peter Horsfield 10/07/2015 36
inspired by the Buck Brass Trio concert of
9th July 2015 in Leatherhead Methodist Church
From compositions freely improvised
Like shining rivers, breathed in silver notes,
Unique in style, she dances with a light
Triumphant flourish, rhythmically floats
Ethereal music. With her instrument
A thread of quicksilver enfolds our ears,
Now lively, now a haunting testament
Describes in poignant tones a well-known theme.
Guitar he integrates with textures rich;
Uncanny synchrony of chordal base
Instills interpretation sensitive –
Their partnership of “Stolen Serenades”.
Arrangements many, overlaid with skill,
Return to delight; thus our hearts they fill.
Peter Horsfield 29/5/2015 35
Fluorescent orange shirt shouts loud,
belies the melancholic melody
which gently whispers, soft and wistfully,
coaxed by nimble fingers' plectrum sound.
Sitting on the new-found comfy stool,
adjustable in height, with padded seat
of black and sombre leather domes, he feeds
music to our ears, in heartache mood.
Interspersed with sequences fast-tripped,
and unexpected abrupt “wake-up” chord
to end a movement, he plays heavenward;
great variety, composers picked.
Encore follows programme deep immersed
in present moment's focus. With him here
his wife in Spanish sings a plaintive air –
duet with the strings in joy is heard.
Peter Horsfield 10/5/2015 33
Artist's challenge: writhing snake-like moves
Constantly change its shape with every breath,
Contain within pulsating, curving box
Of many buttons' input, a music
Repertoire so different from the squeeze-box
Dance-band stereotyped image; rises
Incandescent with depth of emotion.
Oh what volume, together with delivery;
Nuances of facial angles never still.
His chin at times rests on the instrument,
as if to coax last drop of resonance,
may tilt aloft, or hide behind the box
with furrowed brow; fleeting duration gone
in rapid turns, and synchronicity
of nimble fingers mirrors a spooky
sonority that lingers quite spell-bound
amidst the aura. Ever-fluid sound,
now shared in lively duet, reaches page
encapsulated by dynamic pen.
Peter Horsfield 28/11/2014 31
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church
on 27th November 2014 by Bartosz Glowacki and Iosif Purits, accordions.
Click on the button to read about this concert and the musicians ► ► ►
Frantic and frenetically glides her bow upon the strings:
high-pitched squeals and sharp glissandi, jagged intervals she sings.
Jarring discords wrench the gut, in virtuoso sliding scales,
broken bowstring like a disembodied whiplash cracks a trail.
Piano keys crash louder, faster, dissipating far and wide
energy's percussive spread; unstoppable the music's tide.
Briefly in Adagio, the sounds are softer, slow, sustained,
wailing in appassionato, like her hair, on edge, and splayed.
In amongst atonal crunching, C sharp minor plays a hand:
tragic mood and dark foreboding grip me with an iron band.
Out of comfort zone I'm catapulted with a force so strong –
as the pace accelerates, exhilarates, I'm drawn along
irresistibly: our artist, too, is influenced by this,
sketches at a speed unparalleled; ten pictures capture bliss.
Peter Horsfield 13/11/2014 30
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 13th November 2014 by Sara Cubarsi, violin, and Seungwon Lee, piano.
This concert provided a strange, jangled resonance with my turbulent state of mind, elicited by the present state of chaos at home, in the midst of building work – from which I was grateful to make a temporary escape.
giant oven mitt
sits astride the trolley wheels
hiding heather's harp
padded glove of deepest blue
dawn of sound coordinates
viola and flute
varied concert programme
move to next venue
And here is
with the very Oven Glove
that inspired Peter's haiku
piano takes a bashing
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church
on 23rd October 2014 by Anna Hashimoto, clarinet; and Daniel King Smith, piano.
Click on the button to read more about the performers and their programme ►►►
In her remarks during the Songs of the English Baroque concert on 28th August 2014, Anna Tam spoke of the origin of the word "baroque" - a French term for a misshapen or imperfect pearl. The word also appears in Spanish and Portuguese as "barroco".
Peter Horsfield jotted down this haiku at the time:
grounded by boundary
soars in pure sound
My ears are resonating to the sounds
In gentle purity ascending free,
Setting the boundaries, with bass to ground
Such beauty; music from a bygone era
Has expressed by voice and lute in turn
An ornamented passage, clear and grand,
Performed despite seeming deformed, and merged,
Elaborate in detail; understands
Nuances of emotion; light and shade
Project an inner feeling, fast or slow.
Exuberant or melancholy ways
Arise spontaneously; sounds that grow
Rejoice in life's rich texture, share with me
Listening a sense of timeless pedigree.
Peter Horsfield 30/8/2014 25 & 26
Inspired by the lunchtime concert of English Baroque Songs, performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 28th August 2014 by Anna Tam, soprano; and Wezi Elliott, lute and archlute.
The blue button links to the webpage for this concert.
It has longest neck, and two sets of pegs,
and so many strings you lose count –
the seven bass ones cantilevered out
to the side, beyond the frets,
open and resonant, deepest of tone,
generously accommodate fingers.
Its body profile, striated and shaped
like a beetle's elytra, or humbug sweet,
hides from view in performance:
only the elegant golden face,
the sounding-board embellished by triad
of ornately fenestrated circles,
contrasts the chocolate stretching stem,
as his dexterous digits move softly,
generate melancholy melodies;
bygone Baroque, yet here in this moment,
timeless and poignant in absorption.
Body language in total focus,
etched on his brow, dark but serene,
emanates far-ranging French music,
reluctant to break concentration,
even when sound fades into silence,
and the instrument's vibrations hang still.
Peter Horsfield 15/8/2014 24
Concert of contrast and coherence
captures poignant mood-swings,
from dark and anguished
to gentle, dreamy, joyful.
Violin and piano
communicate with interplay and sensitivity:
tumbling, percussive chords alternate
with lyrical legato,
blend with rippling arpeggios.
Jewish, Japanese, Norwegian
(Bloch, Hikaru Hayashi, Grieg),
integrate a special character,
interpretation unique in music –
reflected in their flowing dresses,
turquoise and green;
and female Oriental features,
emphasised by different statures,
enhance our sound experience;
harmonious and holistic balance.
Peter Horsfield 11/7/2014 23
Inspired by the lunchtime concert performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on
10th July 2014, by Yuhka Nagai, violin; and Tokino Kaga, piano.
Atéa, Polynesian god of light,
embodied as an icon by this group,
blows rippling breezes, and transmitted through
the mouthpiece of a flowing vocal line
ignites Divertimento by Mozart;
dancing dynamic by the Trio voiced,
synchronised breathing spreads infectious joy,
warmly embraces audience from the heart.
Their instruments describe such graceful curves;
spontaneous in geometric form
the visual figures out of air are born
that with these floating melodies emerge.
“Docking” maneouvres with the music stands
precariously balance sheets of score,
as duet permutations render more
variety, while freeing pair of hands.
Poulenc: eccentric, syncopated notes
reveal a humour angular, abrupt,
mirrored by posture of bassoonist gaunt;
all arms and legs, as if by Hoffnung stroked.
The Chase, duet for flute and clarinet,
exchanges themes at speed;cross-rhythms fly
between, Peter-Pan-like across the sky,
and aerially helter-skelter set.
Gossec Gavotte (who's he?) the concert ends
in trio form; each lively instrument
now tosses music to the firmament.
Alas! no artists; but Atéa sends.
Peter Horsfield 10/6/2014 22
Inspired by the lunch-time concert on 5th June 2014 in Leatherhead Methodist Church, by Alena Lugovkina, flute; Anna Hashimoto, clarinet; and Jonathan Davies, bassoon.
Joyful Trio Transforms
Arriving late, after bank meeting
which seriously overran,
mind spinning, and addled with figures,
I collapse into a comfy chair.
Instantly, a warm cloak envelops me;
a ripple of resonating sound,
synthesis of 'cello, flute and piano,
transports me to a timeless place,
every care discarded with abandon.
Like the musicians, in total absorption,
I share the ever-moving moment,
Martinu – inspired, strange yet familiar,
embodied by this trio;
individual, yet blended
magically, they project
an aura intensely palpable,
that runs the moods from fast and passionate
to slow and lyrical, and back again.
Dextrous fingers, body language,
toss the melody around
from instrument to instrument,
and integrate a rich chordal texture
which floats suspended in the ether,
embedded in the very fabric
and colour of this church.
Numinous quality – I could listen all day,
do not want it to end.
Back they come for lively Haydn encore.
The music dies away, but scene remains –
bathed and cleansed by youthful enthusiasm,
joyful in heart, I go on my way.
Peter Horsfield 25/4/2014 21
(Inspired by the lunch-time concert, played yesterday in Leatherhead Methodist Church, by Emma Halnan, flute; Auriol Evans, 'cello; and Daniel King Smith, piano.)
After one organ concert a member of the audience thanked Graham Davies and said how nice it was to be able to watch him play, because of the television screen in Christ Church. She hadn't realised before how many things an organist does at once, and commented that it was like watching Graham "tap dance on the pipes". The phrase tickled something in Peter Horsfield's mind and he wrote this poem:
Wednesday at Christ Church (Haibun)
Outside the church, rain drums heavily, wind howls, trees bend and sway. Our melodic oasis in here reflects peace from every corner.
Peter's broad back periodically obscures everything else on the monitor. A responsible job, page-turning! (Not to mention re-setting the organ stops.)
Progression of variety embodies common theme: English music (Bach notwithstanding), consonance of keys, eras of history, loud and soft, mournful and joyful, classical harmony,
As Peter's poem mentions, there were moments when the page-turner/stop-puller's form filled the television screen and the organist's actions were less visible.
A spikeless 'cello sits between his knees,
Of polished wood from era long ago;
Suspended in the Now by second Suite
Of J.S.Bach, so intricate the notes
His supple fingers play. Melodic line
Emerges from the complex chordal web,
A self-sufficient solo he recites,
In joy and triumph by the Spirit led.
Four strings now change in piccolo to five:
With subtle tones this instrument he bows
Suite 6, in resonance our ears delight –
Vibrating gut the heart's emotion grows.
The artists chart his movements; with the brush
They integrate this challenge, wholly trust.
Peter Horsfield 24/10/2013 19
Alex Rolton played the English Baroque cello for Suite No 2, and a recent copy of a Baroque Violoncello Piccolo for Suite No 6. These two cellos, and the original on which the piccolo is based, are part of the Royal Academy of Music's collection. Unlike the modern cello, Baroque cellos have no spike. They are gripped between the player's lower legs.
In 1970, or thereabouts, Peter's late father, Michael Horsfield, had the opportunity to sketch the celebrated cellist, Paul Tortellier. For those who heard the great man in concert the sketch below will quite possibly bring some very happy memories.
Basset Clarinet (Acrostic Sonnet)
Basset clarinet has fourteen letters –
A tiny fraction of the sounds she plays
So fast and fluid; frees us from the fetters
Set by expectation. To amaze,
Extension of the lower notes so rich
Transforms experience we have today;
Cantabile she strokes the range of pitch,
Light-hearted, silky tone, and joy her way.
Arpeggios flow effortlessly upward,
Rhythms, Bach and jazz, variety,
Instil in us a spellbound fascination –
Natural her feats of memory.
Ensemble with her pianist precise
Treats us with this chromatic paradise.
Peter Horsfield 29/8/2013 18
Inspired by lunchtime concert performed at
Leatherhead Methodist Church on 29th August 2013
by Anna Hashimoto and Andrew Saunders.
Baroque Thursday (acrostic)
Breathing purity of limpid tone,
Awash with pearls of melancholic voice:
Recorder and flute project such vibrant rhythm,
Ornamented with figures of their choice.
Quickly or slowly, haunting melodies compel,
Underpinned by sublime harmony;
Eva and Merlin weave their magic spell.
Treacherous the keys beneath his fingers:
Home-built harpsichord dimensions test
Unseats Graham's composure only briefly –
Rises to the challenge, plays with zest.
Simplicity conceals exacting skills;
Dancing rivulets of sound we hear.
Attenuation rapid, vivid, crisp,
Yields us rich reward from Higher Sphere.
Peter Horsfield 15/8/2013 17
Inspired by lunchtime concert of flute, recorder, and harpsichord works performed at Leatherhead Methodist Church on 15th August 2013 by Eva Caballero, Merlin Harrison, and Graham Davies.
from their tangled roots
unique every time
rich textures from the heart
integrate air and strings
On the seat beside her lie three flutes of different sizes; silver, gold, black. With spontaneous joy she glides from one to another, even in the midst of the music.
Guitar blends poignantly, focused in the moment, disciplined, yet liberated by absence of musical score. His supple fingers move with coordinated precision. Clip-on extension, increasing now to ten strings, adds deep sonority.
willing to experiment
We in the audience are transported to a Higher Realm, at one with the creative process, manifest in the music channelled by this pair.
Peter Horsfield 2/8/2013 16
Inspired by a recital given by Emily Andrews and David Massey in Leatherhead Methodist Church,
Surrey, on 1st August 2013 – a Music on Thursdays lunchtime concert.
Full details of the Andrews-Massey Duo's concert and of their recent CD release will be found on the link below:
Schubert's anguished sigh
between sublime melodies
glides Maiastran bows.
Strings of Mozart and Brahms
five instruments as one,
this organism lives and breathes
Mozart's poignant music
with rich emotional expression;
sobbing sighs, throbbing quavers,
are mirrored in the players' body language –
urgent progression, dark, grieving descents,
chromatic lines of many moods.
Tension, almost unbearable,
has to find emotional release:
waterfall of joyful triplets –
my spirit soars with their dancing bows
on Maiastran wings.
Their faces light up,
though haunting theme lingers,
and draws all together.
So different now, yet complementary,
Brahms on symphonic scale
slips from their bows in ecstasy,
powerful and passionate,
bursting with the sounds of nature,
as it stretches chamber music's limits.
I am once again transported
to a magic place
enabled by this multifaceted group;
inspired cohesive instrument.
Peter Horsfield 14/1/2013 14
Inspired by the previous day's concert by Maiastra of
Mozart's String Quintet in G minor, K516, and
Brahms' String Quintet in G by Brahms, Op.111.
Maiastra is a magic bird in Romanian mythology
Strings from the Heart
Would that words could soar,
to embody their music
tugs at our heartstrings,
regulates harmonious group
from cellist outwards.
complex emotional mosaic:
Muss es sein? Es muss sein!
Now Cesar Franck:
Five-fold strings key
stormy waves from bow to bow,
player to player.
and carry us with them
to a higher plane.
find ethereal voice to sing
Burst of ecstasy
expands beyond containment –
mere words can soar.
Peter Horsfield 10/12/2012 13
Inspired by the concert given by Maiastra in
St Andrew's Church, Cobham, on 9th December 2012
Bartok/ Schumann (Acrostic Sonnet)
Begins this concert: Hungary, Chinese,
Achieved by two young ladies; violin
Resounds with piano, passionate and free,
To music challenging. Exquisite tone
O'erlays the crashing discords. Rapid flows
Kaleidoscopic feeling from the heart;
Such heavy going sound, yet moved to tears,
Contrasting styles an integrated art.
Hungarian American now plays
Upon the keys alone, romantic style;
Magnetic moods of dark and humour take
Along Eusebius and Florestan.
Narrating modestly, these vibrant stars
Now shine in skill together: they'll go far.
Peter Horsfield 29/11/2012 12
(Eusebius and Florestan were characters invented by Robert Schumann to represent the dual aspects of his personality.)
Inspired by a perfomance by Royal Academy of Music students Tianyun Jia, violin, and Júlia Hámos, piano - the final concert of our 2012 season
Link to the 2-bas (Matthew Blunt and Henry Lindsay)
September 2012 concert programme.
Link to YouTube video of Øystein Baadsvik demonstrating his own work - Fnugg - to staff at the Miraphone Instrument Factory
He sits, alone,
with his polished instrument,
modest, unaccompanied, exposed, nowhere to hide;
Sole focus of communication,
he slides effortlessly into sound,
resonates the range to fill the space,
vibrates air and wood and stone,
sings our very bodies with his music:
supersonic high notes – incredible harmonics –
blend the low and sonorous pitches
that famously personify “cello”.
And now, Britten's fugue
generates experience hitherto unheard:
left-hand pizzicato accompanies the bowed melody,
two techniques together,
with unbelievable skill.
Intricately he weaves the disparate lines.
On more familiar ground, we hear a suite of Bach,
nuances flow seamlessly,
mood and colour in great variety,
at one with our emotional response.
Such brilliance draws us into the Now:
all extraneous thoughts evaporate
with the healing power of Cello.
Peter Horsfield 14/9/2012 10
Link to webpage for James Douglas' cello concert - 13th September 2012
This quartet now liberates the sound
that sings aloft, and outward from the strings;
as Pasarea Maiastra – magic bird
of Romanian mythology –
symbolises flight and frees us from
constraining boundaries of matter;
so the players, tuned in to the whole,
form faithful channels of expression
for the composer's intent.
(Mozart, Walton, Dvorak, each
pose unique requirements and challenge.)
Spontaneously their bows dance,
begin and end the movement with a flourish;
one vast, corporate, synchronised breath
integrates the body language
with every phrase,
dynamics from the merest whisper
to a mighty power that fills the church.
Fast and slow, rhythmical and melodic,
manifested aurally and visually,
they express emotions warm and light,
or mysterious in their dark solemnity.
Above all, these players, played by the Spirit,
emanate infectious Joy,
light as the magic bird whose name they share.
Peter Horsfield 13/9/2012 9
Inspired by the concert given by Maiastra at
St Andrew's Church, Cobham, 12th September 2012
Maiastra is a magic bird in Romanian mythology
Contrapuntal melodies are soaring
Over us. Baroque fluidity, that
Underpins his vocal skill and texture,
Nurtures purity of tone, and blossoms
Tirelessly throughout a range amazing.
Effortless articulation, sacred
Rainbow colours, secular and loving,
Tempers the organ's accompaniment,
Even though the two men, by position,
Need to integrate with intuition,
Operating blind throughout this concert:
Reach the heights of artistry – inspire us.
Peter Horsfield 6/9/2012 8
The layout of Leatherhead Parish Church has the restored Thomas Parker organ in the North Transept, with the solo singer in the main body of the church, beneath the pulpit. There were no mirrors; there was no conductor. The performers relied on the closeness of their relationship - although countertenor Timothy Penrose and organist Graham Davies had not performed together for many years.
Link to the concert webpage for Timothy Penrose, counter-tenor and Graham Davies, organ
Music on Thursdays: unusual quartet
Bassooniastic skills – their wit
and humour play throughout a range
of notes astounding, rhythm made
with moving melodies combined.
Four corners of the British Isles,
from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales,
two men, two women, quartet brave
and pioneering in their field:
they breathe and play as one, conceal
their individual traits within
dynamic, living organism.
Unusual harmonies that blend
a resonance unique and send
a joyful message from the heart
access our deep emotions. Are
we hearing sounds that we can share,
which take away our every care?
Variety of music's feast
has held us spell-bound in this church.
Lunch-time recital carries a torch
with love expressed to herald this,
the song of the Bassoonatics.
Peter Horsfield 12/7/2012 7
Life in Death (Harp and Hearse)
I hired a hearse to house my harp
When I transported it to play;
Reactions reverential drew
From passers-by along the way.
A vehicle unusual then,
So many years ago, to find
When choice was limited for size;
Its cargo fitted in behind
When in the place of coffin sited
After stripping out the rear,
Made space for instrument so awkward
Shaped; now carried without fear.
Ethereal tones would emanate
From this dark symbol of our death;
A paradox of joy and beauty
Banished bravely with its breath
The sorrow felt by those bereaved,
And sombre feelings soon relieved
By harp, harmony integral.
So when you next can hear a harp
That's housed and hidden in a hearse,
The strains emerging, life from death,
Will be a blessing, not a curse.
Peter Horsfield 11/7/2010 6
Ark of Menuhin Hall
It floats on the turbulent waters
Of life's vicissitudes,
Resembling a Noah's ark, upside-down,
With prow-shaped ceiling
Which reflects back the resonating melodies
From the stage of existence,
By the oval wood-lined hall;
Serene haven for fine-tuned musicians
To share, from the heart, their talents with us.
The experience creates within-ness,
Mirrors the structure of a musical instrument:
The violin bridge, the hollow body.
Paradox of inversion, yet reaching out,
Like walking on the sky, but grounded in sound.
Vibrations are created, sending and returning;
They attenuate, but never die, as they melt back
Into the eternal Silence.
This designed location, inspired by genius,
Accesses and preserves the spiritual dimension:
Amidst uncertainty and change,
Venue for healing.
Peter Horsfield 29/11/2009 5
Resonating strings uplift my soul,
From the deepest notes' encircling bowl
Of healing sound, ascending higher.
Higher still they rise; beyond the range
Of expectation finds a feeling strange;
Vibration sets my heart on fire.
Paganini of the double bass,
Virtuoso plays the notes apace
With love and skilful intricacy.
Fingers, crab-like, clamber down the strings
Towards the bridge; the gliding bow now sings
From there ethereal tones unworldly.
Pioneer self-taught, a man unique,
Spontaneous the joy he spreads; to seek
Such wonder: “The note must say I love you”.
Barriers of convention soon dissolve;
With inspiration limitless involve
His audience, the rhythms give you.
Communicate he makes priority
Above the technical; sonority
Of deep emotion spreads to me,
Also humour; different styles express
Astounding range, the music to address
Our sharing with humility.
Peter Horsfield 22/11/2009 4
Inspired by François Rabbath, at the Menuhin Hall.
Challenge of recording, in Menuhin Hall,
Experience rewarding is shared by all,
Resonance astounding, musicians find,
Enthusiasm sounding, common purpose bind.
Stamina and patience; for many mistakes
Necessitate silence around the re-takes.
Getting it perfect; a juggle with time,
Blending the object, quality prime.
Electronic wizardry enhances the effect,
Synthesising freely, no details to neglect.
Background sounds to edit out, technological skill,
Blemishes to do without, the aim to fulfil.
From live performance different demands musicians face;
More chances, exuberant, the notes correctly place;
But both need feeling from the heart; spirit, relaxed, acquired,
Team dedication vital part; conductor so inspired.
Peter Horsfield 30/11/2008 3
Inspired by session to record Karl Jenkins' “The Armed Man”, by Leatherhead Choral Society.
In the resonant acoustics of Menuhin Hall,
Three men in perfect harmony, giving their all;
Pianist; double bass; sax, or clarinet,
Professional experience, talent so well met.
From silky tone, dreamy, melancholy,
To vibrant rhythm, crescendo of dynamics,
Improvisation, unbelievable skill,
So difficult to tell where it mixes with the practised.
Such is Jazz, full of humour, full of joy,
Exploring the full range of emotional expression,
Unusual effects, with more orthodox arrangements,
Unexpected twists keep the audience enthralled.
Body language: feeling each other's cues,
Individual virtuosity, dance-like, blends,
Completely relaxed, living in the moment,
Together with the audience, enjoying great fun,
A sense of timelessness, the end of the piece
Of music not apparent; keeps going, then, suddenly,
Rapturous applause in Menuhin Hall,
The three musicians happy, having given their all;
Back they come for encore, still they play from the heart,
Take their bow in group hug, then from stage depart.
The impression lingers on – back again one day,
Deep encounter with sound, exhilaration to say.
Peter Horsfield 5/10/2008 2
Concert at the Yehudi Menuhin School
Lord Menuhin of Stoke d'Abernon,
Poignant grave-stone in green landscape:
“He who makes music in this life
Makes music in the next.”
Spirit of Yehudi continues
Onward in music making,
New hall, such resonance,
Harmonious instruments vibrating,
Oval-shaped; floor, walls, and ceiling
Entirely clad in pine-wood boarding,
Like being within body of 'cello,
Acoustically designed plan, so mellow.
Dedicated students' rapport,
Highest standard, virtuoso,
Playing together, eye contact,
Soloist feats: technique and memory,
Some so young, yet precocious, mature,
Sheer joy and love come through.
Vivaldi, Grieg, Vaughan Williams,
All in concert faithfully portrayed,
Channelling the essence of musical ascension,
Audience held in rapt attention.
Awed silence at the end, then sharing
Joint venture, uplifting and caring.
Peter Horsfield 7/7/2008 1