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Sophia Brumfitt News

March 2018

Lent and Easter are a busy time for music in the church year, and a particularly exciting time for singing the Mezzo arias from the Bach Passions.  Cantoring at St. Anne’s, West Hill, Highgate has given me a wonderful opportunity to sing so many of these wonderful arias, but the Good Friday Recital will give three of the regular cantors an opportunity to sing more secular songs and lied from more recent eras. Resident organist Matthew Power playing piano, at St. Anne's just below Parliament Hill. 

Other Lenten and Easter music from Medieval England will feature in All Saint’s Church in Kingston-upon-Thames on 25th March. With Mike Parker on Medieval harp and William Summers on medieval flute. We found that, where much of the Northern French music and texts of Spring are pastoral love and nature songs, the Anglo-Norman songs are much more devout and reflective.

In June, a concert in my home town of Salisbury, will be a lovely opportunity to sing again with Din Ghani in a programme devised around local cleric and poet George Herbert. The programme Awake my Lute is constructured around texts by him and members of his family with accompaniment on Renaissance Lute.  Later in the month, a concert with Loki Consort featuring Scherzi Musicali of Monteverdi and other duets with the wonderful Patricia Hammond will take place in the Stroud Green Festival- ticket details to follow.

In September the Jane Austen Consort will return to Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare in Richmond with Taro Takeuchi on the very rare and beautiful Harp Lute and William Summers on flute. The music featured all sourced from the library of Jane Austen’s family.

February 2018

The year came to a lovely start with a Musicke in the Ayre recital at The National Portrait Gallery with Din Ghani. The music was ‘Songs from the Shows- Stuart Style’ and included texts by William Shakespeare, Ben Johnson and music by Alfonso Ferrabosco, Robert Johnson and Henry Purcell.

 Now February is set to mark a series of concerts with the very wonderful, and super talented Rebecca Austen-Brown, and joined for two concerts by Jon Banks- another extraordinary multi-instrumentalist, who will be mostly playing medieval harp for the purposes of our Celtic inspired programme The Oak of Two Greens. 

The Trio will headline with The Oak of Two Greens on Saturday 10th February, 7.30 at Bridewell Theatre, and at the lunchtime concert on Monday 12th February. Tickets available through https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/oak-of-two-greens-and-sound-of-the-arctic-tickets-39833542197

The duo Maiden in the Moor will appear at the lunchtime concert on 28th February and evenings on 22nd February and 1st March with A Song of Nothing. This programme features music from the 12th century Occitan Troubadours and examines their influence throughout France, Italy and Spain through the time of the Albigensian Crusades. 

For more information go to http://marchlandseason.co.uk/calendar/category/music/list/

Renaissance Unchained and other news

The last year has been a year of great achievements. While not doing as much singing as I would have liked, I have completed my Masters in Musicology from Royal Holloway University of London. Writing my thesis on Troubadour and Trouvère songs in early medieval manuscripts took up the majority of my summer, alongside settling into a new home and being adopted by a family of stray cats!

The most notable performance project was creating a performance for a BBC4 documentary, produced and presented by Waldemar Januszczak. 

Renaissance Unchained

2016 saw the airing of music arranged and performed by Sophia, featured within the BBC4 series ‘Renaissance Unchained’. Waldemar Janusczcak heard her singing in a local church, employing her on the spot as the ideal performer to illustrate the power of text and ‘the heavenly in music’. 
Performers
Anne Allen
Sophia Brumfitt
Jennie Cassidy
David Hatcher
Kate Hawnt

London Audience

Concerts with Mediva this weekend!

Friday 27th June 1pm
voluntary donation
St Mary at Hill, Lovat Lane, London

Friday 27th June 7.30pm 
tickets on the door £12 (£8 concs)
St. Anne’s, Highgate, N6 6AP 

Ann Allen- Director- shawms & recorders
Corina Marti- recorders
David Hatcher- fiddle recorders & shawm
Tim Garside- percussion
Sophia Brumfitt- voice

So many people have asked when I will be doing a concert near to home, and I rarely have any news of anything around London.  I think some of my non-music friends are beginning to suspect that I'm not an active musician at all!  So I'm delighted that Mediva will be doing a lunchtime concert in the City on Friday, and an evening concert at St. Anne’s Church, Highgate.  

Mediva don’t do many concerts in the UK, since the director Ann Allen and many of her musicians live between Basel and Paris.  It is a joy to play music with her and the friends and musicians she draws together,- the music is always bright and imaginatively crafted, but always informed and respectful of the enormous heritage this ancient music carries. I can’t wait to meet up with them tomorrow for rehearsals and catching up.  The weather seems made for bright, brisk music making.

Give your ears a treat! The sweet sound of English 14th and 15th century music- was known as ‘Contenance Angloise’- a style admired throughout Europe for its rich textures and harmonies. Come and enjoy upbeat dances and some of the sweetest hymns to the Virgin Mary ever written.

Getting moving

A very heartening couple of months! sparked off by a visit to London from my good friend Moira Smiley!  She had come to the UK from California to perform at Celtic Connections, but came to London for a couple of days to make a house concert, and to join a group of wonderful singers in her ‘Song Structures’.  Nine of us met together in Stoke Newington and spent an inspiring lunchtime and afternoon sharing food and singing, improvising, listening and making friends- and that same evening dashed to Broadcasting House to record a 25 minute slot for Sara Mohr-Peitsch’ Radio 3 show ‘The Choir’!

 

Moira’s concert the next day, courtesy of the wonderful Vivien Ellis, was again, a musical joy, and a creative springboard for me.  Moira’s knowledge of traditional musics and vocal knowledge, combines easily with her intuitive creativity, and sense of herself.  It left me reflecting on this thing we call authenticity, and how it has become such a battleground- for Early Musicians, and for Folk Musicians- as if making our own artistic decisions, and sounding our own voices is in some way a historical compromise- or as if following literal stylistic evidence is an excuse to avoid making our own personal decisions about the message and colours of a song, or our own resonances and feelings heard within that song.

 

So now, nearing the end of Lent, and the music of the churches has been of reflection and loss.  I’m looking forward to singing in the Good Friday Recital at St Anne’s Church in Highgate (more details to follow).  I have been out of the singing loop for a long time now, I have wondered how I could ever get started again - but with the support of my peers and the ever enthusiastic Jessica Cash, I have used the time to keep working on my voice, researching and listening, and am in as good a vocal form as I have ever been.  

 

Welcome Spring!