The winter months have seen a number of new developments in Rosemary’s work.
- two new talks have been added to her substantial portfolio of topics. The English Musical Renaissance showed how composers of the early 20th century found inspiration in their 16th and 17th century predecessors. There are very close correspondences to be found, not only in church music, but in opera, song, keyboard music and orchestral works, when comparing Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons and Purcell with Vaughan Williams, Holst, Tippett, Britten and Macmillan. These become particularly vivid when the works are played side by side. The talk was given to a local arts group in Stockport in January 2018. Listening, hearing and beyond was a more experimental session given to a study group in South Manchester in October 2017. It was an experiment in penetrating an unfamiliar piece by listening several times, each time with new information about the music provided. The aim was to discover the effect of technical, historical and contextual information on our ability to enjoy and understand what we hear.
- In composition, the setting of verses from the Bhagavad Gita is now complete – a five-movement sequence entitled I am with you. This was commissioned for use on reflective retreats and is set for unison voices and piano, in a style designed to be easily memorised and taken to heart. The text is seven verses from Chapter 2 in a recent translation by Swami Shyam, and a copy was presented to his ashram at Christmas 2017.
- New A level syllabuses are now in use, but the need for support in harmony and composition remains urgent. In February 2018 Rosemary was invited to give a three-hour workshop for Year 12 Music students in a South Manchester school. The workshop was entitled A Musical Journey – a title borrowed from the new AQA syllabus – and explored how ideas and structure can be derived from everyday experience and daily events. The aim was to give the students confidence in creating new ideas and in describing their own experiences in their music. Further sessions examined how harmony can be made more interesting and varied, and how themes can be developed. This session drew on pieces by Bach, Brucknerand Bartok as valuable examples.