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Registered Charity No. 291319

Latest News

From Clare Griffel, Chair

(adapted from the Chair’s report to AGM 23 July 2016)

This has been another very successful year for SWEMF. Events have averaged about one per month, covering the region from Dorset and Devon to Gloucestershire, and ranging from instrumental chamber playing to largescale works for voices and instruments. Organizing these events takes a good deal of work; thank you to those of our members who make them happen.

There have been a number of changes to the Committee during the year, and I would like to mention particularly our webmaster, Dick Little, who has retired from the post after many years of service, carried out with exemplary efficiency even when, as sometimes happened, he was working in rather more exotic locations than the UK! Our website presence has been increasingly important in recruitment and in keeping existing members informed, and we are enormously indebted to Dick for his contribution. I am happy to report that we have a volunteer, Sara Scorey, to take over from Dick. Many thanks to Sara for her willingness to take this on.

We have a number of exciting events planned for next season, in particular the joint event with BMEMF in Gloucester on November 19th. This is in memory of Hannah Davies, a BMEMF activist whom some of you will have known, and, as it’s being led by the ever-popular David Allinson, it promises to be a very successful workshop. I’m happy also to report that my intentions to visit, as Chair, some of the far-flung parts of our region have at last come to fruition: I shall be leading a workshop in Dorset in September, and plans are underway for a repeat of the event in Cornwall later in the season. I hope that these workshops will give me a chance to meet some of our members who do not travel to meetings in the north of the region, and to find out more about their wishes for the society. As ever, we should like to hear your ideas for possible tutors and venues; you are very welcome to contact me, or your regional representative on the committee, at any time to discuss this.

Finally, it is my pleasant duty to thank all the members of your committee for their work during the year. Operating over a large area with few formal meetings could be difficult, but thanks to everyone’s speed in responding to e-mails, and their common sense (not to be taken for granted!) we are able to run the society with minimal bureaucracy. It is invidious to single out individuals, but I do want to thank three people in particular: Lindsey for her exemplary editing of the diary, Madeline our secretary for her quiet efficiency in keeping everything running smoothly and in line with our constitution, and our treasurer Jonathan Tribe for taking over seamlessly from Simon Pickard, and providing such clear and helpful financial summaries. And of course, thanks to all of you for your continuing support of SWEMF – without you, we wouldn’t exist!

- Clare

From Lindsey Shaw-Miller, Diary Editor

What a summer of music it has been! Sackbuts and cornets have been a striking feature, and have inspired this diary’s cover picture (reproduced below), a print by Friedrich Brentel of the funeral of Charles III of Lorraine in 1608. The funeral took place in the church of St François, Nancy (then in Germany, now in France), which he made the centre of his dukedom. Charles III was the son of the brilliant Queen Christina of Denmark (who acted as regent when Charles was an infant) and François I of Lorraine. His kingdoms were large and included lands in Jerusalem and Naples, as well as the area in the north east of the Netherlands, Gelderland, left to him by his great grandmother. Charles III was known as ‘The Great’ for his modernizing, prosperous reign as duke. His funeral was a grand affair that reflected a sense of respect, gratitude and loss. The music, therefore, was grand too. In the loft on the left hand side are, among other musicians, two trombonists, a rare inclusion in formal musical imagery of this time.

For the autumn we have some excellent workshops on offer, including our first collaboration with BMEMF, a memorial workshop for Hannah (Joan) Davies tutored by David Allinson, with whom Hannah worked on several occasions. A Bouquet, the workshop will range from Palestrina’s and Clemens’ settings of The Song of Songs to sacred works by Guerrero and penitential motets by Alonso Lobo and Duarte Lobo. It will take place in the wonderful Parliament Room at Gloucester Cathedral. Details and forms are on the programme page.

May I also remind readers about the Baroque Playing Day on September 24th in Cheddar? Forms for this are also on the programme page. Bass players and keyboard players would be particularly welcome. Enjoy!

- Lindsey


The South West Early Music Forum (SWEMF) is a charitable organisation promoting all aspects of early music in the South West of England. Its constitution can be found here. It is one of ten regional Fora, which cover most areas of the UK, and are affiliated to the National Early Music Association, NEMA, who have recently produced a report on the future of Early Music in Britain.

The South West Early Music Forum region includes Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and brings together amateur and professional musicians, musicologists, teachers and pupils, instrument makers, and early music enthusiasts.

Throughout the year a series of workshops and playing and singing days are organised within the region where members have the opportunity to study works under the guidance of early music specialist tutors. These activities include Baroque Chamber Music Playing Days, Singing Days focusing on particular composers or periods, and Workshops preparing larger scale works for both voices and instruments etc.

SWEMF also organises a number of social events including the Annual General Meeting in May which is sometimes combined with a residential weekend providing ample opportunity for music making and the opportunity for members to voice their views and suggestions on the future operations of the Forum

Members receive a quarterly Diary of Events announcing future activities of SWEMF, and other EM Fora, and also concerts and other events both within the region and elsewhere. Application forms for forthcoming SWEMF events are included in the Diary of Events mailing and are also available on the website.

Membership forms can be printed from the website. The next subscriptions are due on 1st April 2016 for for 2016/2017. For details click here.

A Membership List (last issued with the March 2012 Diary) gives information concerning members' particular interests, instruments played, voices sung etc. so that they may arrange joint activities outside those organised directly by SWEMF.

This site is maintained by Sara Scorey. Please send any comments or suggestions for improvements to webeditor@swemf.org.uk. Suggestions for additional links are particularly welcome.

SWEMF Home Page | SWEMF Events | Other Early Music Events in the South West | National and International EM Events
Reviews and Reports | Items for Sale and Wanted | Players Wanted and Playing Opportunities Sought | Information for Organising SWEMF Workshops
Links to other Early Music Fora | Other Early Music Links | Officers and Representatives | How to join

Last modified: 19 September 2016