Marlborough Concert OrchestraMarlborough Concert Orchestra celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday with a packed concert at St Mary’s Church.
The audience were treated to a wide range of music from the orchestra’s repertoire, including Rossini’s Overture from Il signor Bruschino, Beethoven’s Symphony No 2 in D Major, Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave, Delibes’ Le roi s’amuse 6 airs de danse, Tahiti Trot (Tea for Two) by Shostakovich, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Overture on Three Russian Themes Op 28.
During the interval, concertgoers were treated to Russian cocktails and William Tell cake on the lawn, while the performers gathered for their annual photocall.
The orchestra’s next major concert is on Saturday, December 3 at St Mary’s Church with a programme including Brahms’ Double Concerto in A minor, Op. 102 with Irene Enzlin and Mathieu van Bellen, along with Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Rachmaninov’s Vocalise for Orchestra, and Weber’s Invitation to the Dance.
For more information, log on to http://mco.org.uk
Mayor Noel Barrett Morton and other guests enjoy a garden party
Milo at the 'Shedstallation', which was decorated with the names of pupilsMilo (9) reports from Art Week at St Katharine’s School
All this week I have just been doing my favourite subject, art, at St Katharine's primary school.
First I made a prayer flag. The Nepalese use elements of the earth on the cloth, and people hang them up high in the Himalayas. My element was fire.
We started on a draft sheet then went on to the real thing. I made a bright multi-coloured sun. We next spray painted our names on the school shed. I asked if mine could be right at the top, and I spray painted the 'M' in my name.
Shortly after, I went back in the class and everyone was drawing a dragonfly. We drew the dragonfly step-by-step in our sketch books. When I was almost finished Mrs Arnold, our teacher, told us to stop.
I was really proud with my dragonfly. We started a frog but shortly after the first stage I had to go to singing lessons; when I returned everyone had nearly finished.
On Tuesday, Penny's mum (Penny is a classmate) came in and showed us a colourwheel and how to draw fruit with a good background colour. Afterwards we made our clay tiles inspired by pictures of a pond, taken by Mrs Arnold.
On Wednesday we drew two other step-by-step sketches. The first was a bird - I think - a black bird. The second, a king fisher - I was very proud with both of them.
On Thursday I could paint watercolours on our kingfisher, dragonfly or frog; I nearly finished my dragonfly. We also weaved sticks with wool. I made a frame but most of the time I had to help everyone on my table. Luckily I finished but I was exhausted!
On Friday we drafted a Greek pot. We were meant to charcoal it on orange sugar paper, but I never got to that bit. Then we looked around our school pop-up art gallery with all the children's work created in St. Katharine's that week.
So all in all, a very busy week.
I've probably forgotten a lot of art I enjoyed. Just goes to show how busy I've been.
Origami fishPlaster cast leavesPond life sculptures
A Village Education - The History of the School at Lockeridge by Ruth Lamdin (2015)
The building looks much the same as it did in the 1870s - though it has been expanded and, of course, modernised. But what goes on inside Lockeridge School and the lives of its pupils has changed dramatically.
This is Ruth Lamdin's second history of a local school. Her first told the story of the now defunct East Kennett school. This book travels two miles from East Kennett to follow Lockeridge's village school as it developed over 120 years - up to the point the two schools were joined in a federation.
One of the advantages of the coming of universal education is that it allows us to take a close look at social history at a truly local level. The history of earlier schools in the Parish of Overton cum Fyfield is now largely lost.
Ruth Lamdin, who lives locally, records: "In 1858, thirty infants were taught by an old woman in a cottage kitchen in Overton." Twenty years later and the state was involving itself in their education.
She has mined the school log books kept so carefully by the head teachers at the school in Lockeridge and now held by the Wiltshire and Swindon Archives in Chippenham. They record the arrival of a supply of "Pens, Ink, Paper, Pencils, Chalk and Penholders" in 1883 to this entry in 1983: "Today I collected the school's BBC computer from County Hall."
The Forster Education Act of 1870 made it possible for children aged from five to thirteen to be taught in 'elementary' schools - compulsory schooling to the age of ten became law in 1880.
From the decision to build a school in the village to its opening took just over four years. That certainly beats the long and tortuous gestation period for Marlborough's new primary school!
In 1870, the impetus to start the school came from the government's decision to make a grant of £208 towards the £1,008 tender price for the building. Another impetus was the Agricultural Children Act (1873) which ruled that children between eight and ten could only work on the land if they had received a set number of hours schooling.
Despite this law, there was in the school's early years friction between the need to educate and local farmers' need to employ young, cheap and agile labour.
The curriculum, Mrs Lamdin makes clear, originally concentrated on the Three-Rs with a strong element of religious instruction. The introduction of a wider range of subjects - from carpentry to embroidery - was both gradual and erratic.
However from one entry in in the archived reports it looks as though one of the roles for PE - or 'drill' - was to keep the pupils warm in winter: "January 1891 - Weather is so bitter that children are grouped in the middle of the room and do drill between every lesson to keep warm."
The first heating at the school - a Tortoise Slow Combustion Stove - was installed in 1899. It is good too to be reminded that rural Lockeridge only got electricity in 1947 and mains water in the 1960s. School meals began in 1943 - when family life was badly affected by husbands' absence in the services and wives were working in the fields.
A photo from the book: the playground in the 1940s - when hoops were made of woodRuth Lamdin takes the history in easy to follow themed sections. So under 'Health' we learn of early efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of pupils through interventions at school - from dentistry, to measuring their weight to, in 1941, the start of a programme of immunisation against diptheria.
One of the most interesting aspects of this story is the role of women on the school's staff. The first head teacher, Miss Elizabeth Axton (from Salisbury Training College and on £50 a year) began with 43 children and was assisted by a 'monitor' - Eva Wallis. But eighteen months after the opening with pupil numbers rising, Miss Axton wrote "...the Managers consider it desirable to have a Master."
There was no other female head of the school until Mrs Goode appeared in 1940 - when men were in short supply. When she retired in 1948 the Managers again wanted a headmaster. But from 1881 to 1983 all but two of the assistant teachers were female.
Ruth Lamdin wonders why men were preferred. At East Kennett most head teachers up to the last quarter of the twentieth century were women: "However, judging by the annual reports at Lockeridge, the men do not seem to have had noticeably more success than the women in raising standards."
The author gives life to the smiling - often grinning - faces that look out at us from the group photos - official and unofficial - that illustrate her book. It is a book that tells us an important part of the history of the local area.
Both books can be bought from the author:
the Lockeridge history is £6 and the East Kennett history is £5 - or £10 for both - plus postage and packing.
Ashley FrippThe penultimate recital of the Fourth Series of ‘Brilliant Young Musicians in Saint Peter’s Church’ saw a welcome return visit by Ashley Fripp. He first played in Saint Peter’s church in September 2012 - in the first series of these recitals.
Ashley studied at the Purcell School and has recently graduated with distinction from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was awarded the Premium Prix and the Lord Mayor’s Prize. He has played in most of the great concert halls in Europe as well as the Carnegie Hall in New York, and, as a ‘rising star’, he has received many awards, as well as winning third prize in the Leeds International Piano Competition.
A very enthusiastic and appreciative audience was proud to welcome him back to Saint Peter’s.
His recital opened with JS Bach’s Second English Suite in A Minor. The suites of dances are known as ‘English’ possibly because they were commissioned by an English patron, but that is not certain. English dances, they certainly are not.
An amazingly precocious prelude introduces the dances which begin with a stately and courtly allemande, courante, and a sarabande before finishing with three much more bucolic peasant dances, two bourees (a dance from the Auvergne) and a gigue, which possibly did originate in Britain.
Ashley’s mastery of the Bach counterpoint was magnificent while in the first of the bourees he highlighted the hints of a bagpipe and then captured the whirling energy of the gigue.
Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit was in complete contrast. These three dark and mysterious works were inspired by poems written in the 1820’s by Aloysius Bertrand. ‘Gaspard’ is a sinister figure, the name being derived from the Persian meaning ‘ treasurer’, or ‘keeper’ of dark things. May be Gaspard is the Devil himself. They are ‘Gothick’ tales very much in the style of Mary Shelley.
Ondine is the beautiful water sprite who leads the captivated to the dark and cold waters of the lake. The seductress is portrayed in shimmering chords and rippling arpeggios. Le Gibet, the most macabre of the three poems, portrays a gallows silhouetted against a flaming sunset, the cadaver helplessly swinging in the evening breeze. The mournful tolling bell from the city nearby, a single monotonously repeated B flat, helps create the ghastly image described in the poem.
The third piece, Scarbo, describes the night-time mischief of a goblin, who appears, then disappears, scratches the wall, leapfrogs round the room before finally disappearing. Perhaps it is the malignant Scarbo who is the Devil himself.
Ravel brilliantly portrays the macabre horror of these three pieces. Not only were they brilliantly played, but Ashley read each of the poems before playing the appropriate piece. What a difference that made to the audience’s understanding of the work.
The second half of the concert was given over to works by Franz Liszt. Ashley began with Les jeux d’eau a la Villa d’Este. On his visit to Italy Liszt had seen the glittering fountains in the garden of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli, and this work dramatically evokes both the sound and sight of these fountains. Technically very challenging, Ashley’s mastery of the glittering arpeggios and shimmering chords captured the light reflecting off the cascading water on a summer’s day.
This was followed by the Sonata in B Minor. Completed in 1853 it remains a tour de force for any pianist. Although it is written in sonata form, the movements do relate one to the other, so it seems to be one continuous movement. It is full of darkness and light...good and evil.
The work begins with a foreboding descending scale, and the movement is punctuated by a repeating phrase which sounds like a satirical laugh, perhaps the Devil himself. All the darkness is dispelled in a glorious theme, like an expansive burst of sunshine which Ashley played with sheer joy.
The second movement has a gentle and reflective chorale-like theme of blissful eloquence played with such lyrical delicacy. The final movement, an allegro, begins with a furious fugue based on the laughter theme, to which all the previous themes return in a virtuosic and manic recapitulation which had Ashley bouncing up and down on his stool.
Finally the work dissolves into a gentle benediction, the diabolical laughter theme growling away, subdued by the forces of good. What a conclusion: the descending scale fading to a single staccato note, and then silence.
The playing was superb, showing not only a technical mastery of Liszt’s demanding work, but also a mature understanding of the conflicting themes of darkness and light. It was indeed some of the finest playing we have heard in this church. Ashley amazed us all with his formidable memory and his seemingly effortless technique. Please come again.