"Ouvrez la tête", Eric Satie.

Welcome to our "Lustrum" year, throughout which we’ll be celebrating De Swaen’s 10th season, because we can! This year’s programme is a party-mix of the pieces for which you, the audience, voted in April’s poll; some newly-written pieces from living composers, the odd "surprise" and those chosen by each month’s featured De Swaen member. You will know that a lot of preparation is needed for most concerts; not only by the performers you see on stage but by many others involved in the overall process of Musicking. This is our chance to honour some of our less-obvious contributors, such as Eduard van Hengel, who writes our much-complimented programme notes and principal calcant (organ pumper), Paul Kobald, who also built, maintains and transports the keyboard instruments we use.

For your indulgence and mine, this month features a newly-transcribed cantata by Telemann (TWV 12:11), which may not have been performed during his lifetime and has certainly not been heard since. Bach’s Third Suite (BWV1068) was voted second place in the "instrumental" category of the audience poll and was the first piece that I ever performed with De Swaen, in June 2007. The category winner, Des McNutty, has until April to write a "Birthday Suite" for our 100th programme.





Photo: Although I have no recollection of exactly when the featured photo was taken by whom, it was in my parents’ back garden in Chatham, Kent, a year or so before the onset of an all-consuming musical adventure that started with my first trumpet lesson, aged 111/2. Captured in time: a young boy, oblivious to what awaits him, carelessly blowing bubbles. Michael Jackson, Ramses Shaffy & Charlie Parker, those paragons of the balanced mind, all had the same birthday as mine.


On the subject of pictures, this one hangs in the Lakenhal museum, Leiden. "Trompetter in De Swaan", c. 1708, by Willem van Mieris (1662-1747). Look at the detail, top right. This painting is an example of why musicologists do not always completely trust iconography: If it was painted in Holland, where are the mountains that appear in the background?

zwaeeen detail















The Telemann cantata you will hear today has a colourful story. It seemed like such a good idea at the time; to transcribe a previously-unedited cantata by one of my favourite composers, dedicated to the king of my home country, if only for its novelty value. That was before the facsimiles arrived from the Biblioteek in Brussels.

Telemann was not renowned for his neat handwriting. We only have the composition score, hastily written with many "shorthand" signs. The text was another challenge altogether and a massive thanks must go to Arwen, Piet, Anselm Hartinger of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Eduard and Ria van Hengel for taking the time to unravel this graphological conundrum. The first text is scrawled very untidily. Below that is a second text, often scribbled over the continuo part that is even less legible and apparently dedicated to another German nobleman in Meklenburg, which is why we think it was possibly not performed in England. If the estimated date is correct at 1760, this was the year that George II died before his birthday and George III succeeded to the throne after his. News would have travelled quickly to Hamburg in those days and this might explain the apparently hasty re-dedication. Further work is needed to make a "conclusive" version.

Mike Diprose
September 2010



Mike Diprose’s choice

J.S. Bach, Suite nr. 3 in D, BWV 1068 audience’s favourite

G. Ph. Telemann, Großmächtiger Monarch der Britten TWV12:11

J. S. Bach, Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg in den Hütten der Gerechten, BWV 149

Sunday 26th September 2010