A steam train runs past Crofton Beam EnginesThe mighty beam engines at Crofton Pumping Station will give one final scheduled push this month, with its annual steam gala.
A range of attractions will entice visitors on Saturday and Sunday, September 24 and 25, including steam vehicles, classic cars, canal boat trips and morris dancers.
Live music ranges from jazz to performances by the Pewsey Male Voice Choir. To add an educational element to the weekend there will be talks about Victorian dressmaking and about the beam engines and their engine house.
Although the facility closes to the public over the winter months, it can still be brought into service doing the job it was designed to do – pumping water 1.6km to the summit of the Kennet and Avon Canal – as happened in Easter this year.
The pumping station is due to reopen to the public in April 2017.
Debbie Wiseman (Photo: Michael Leckie)The music from Wolf Hall - the multi-award winning television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's two novels of Tudor intrigue - opens the 75th season of the Marlborough College Concert Series. For this unique Wolf Hall Live! concert (September 18) the composer of the original score, Debbie Wiseman, will be conducting the Locrian Ensemble of London.
Joining them to read excerpts from the first two novels in Mantel's Tudor trilogy will be the actor Anton Lesser who played Sir Thomas More in the television series. In an interview to mark this concert Debbie Wiseman told Marlborough.News: "I loved the books and can't wait to read the final volume."
Debbie Wiseman is a renowned British composer specialising in music for film and television. Her credits - over 200 of them - include the big screen films Wilde (about Oscar W) and Tom & Viv (about TS Eliot and his first wife) and small screen classics like The Death of Yugoslavia and the theme for Andrew Marr 's Sunday morning programme.
The six-part Wolf Hall television series was adapted from the books by Peter Straughan and was directed by Peter Kosminsky - who lives in Wiltshire and who talked about filming the series at last year's Marlborough LitFest.
This popular series was Debbie Wiseman's sixth collaboration with Kosminsky. Previous dramas they have worked on together include her scores for The Promise and Warriors - and she is now working on a four part series Kosminsky is directing for Channel 4, which is scheduled to be broadcast next year.
Wiseman says that such a long-standing working relationship with a director is very helpful: "We now have a musical shorthand and completely understand each other's way of working. I find Peter's projects hugely inspiring."
"The score is there to help the audience navigate their way through the drama, and as the music was thematic - there was a very definite Cromwell theme and Anne Boleyn theme - it meant I was able to use these themes in many different guises and orchestrations as the story unfolded."
Where do you start when you are writing a score? "Most projects start with a script, and then I see the production as it's being edited and start work at that stage on sketching out the score...writing to picture and working closely with the director."
Anton Lesser as Thomas More (Photo: copyright Company Pictures/Playground Entertainment for BBC2 2015)Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell (Photo: copyright Company Pictures/Playground Entertainment for BBC2 2015)"With Wolf Hall I started writing themes based on the scripts, and I'd composed Cromwell's Theme and Anne Boleyn's theme before Peter had started shooting. He actually took my demos for the themes on set with him as he was filming."
We asked Debbie Wiseman whether the books' author had influenced her music for the television series: "I met with Hilary at the first screening and she was very complimentary about the score which was a huge thrill for me."
"Although she wasn't directly involved with the score, her style of writing greatly influenced the music. She makes the characters feel very much in the present, not in the past, it allowed the score to not be slavishly Tudor in its style. Much of the score, even when I'm using period instruments such as lute or harpsichord, still sounds modern, and that was a direct result of the feel and style of the writing, and of course the direction."
Debbie Wiseman did not see the Royal Shakespeare Company's staged version of the novels - "I didn't want to be influenced in any way". The plays certainly had a very different approach to the story and its characters compared to the television series.
The BBC Television series was renowned for Kosminsky's use of candlelight to achieve a personal and intense feel to the drama - did that influence Debbie's music? "Everything affects the score - the lighting, the locations, and of course the drama and characters."
Was there one scene that lived on strongly in her memories of working with Kosminsky, the production team and the actors? "The final scene where Henry goes to hug Cromwell after Anne Boleyn has been executed is a very powerful and memorable moment. I remember writing three or four different pieces of music for that final scene before settling on the right musical tone."
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy) with Henry VIII (Damian Lewis) (Photo: copyright Company Pictures/Playground Entertainment for BBC2 2015)
The wait for the final volume of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy goes on - exactly a year ago Hilary Mantel was still researching documents concerning the Seymour family and letters written by Cromwell which are held at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham.
Will Debbie be writing the music when the third volume is filmed for television? "It's quite a long way off until volume three will be ready for TV - Hilary has to finish the novel and then it needs to be adapted by Peter Straughan, and then the cast and Peter Kosminsky need to be available."
Unusually for music composed for a television series, the audio recording of Debbie's Wolf Hall score was at the top of Classic FM's chart within weeks of the broadcast of the final episode in February last year. (The music is still available on CD.)
Debbie Wiseman is not only an eminent composer, she is also known as a conductor and presenter - how does she face up to the complexities of Wolf Hall Live? "I'm hugely looking forward to Wolf Hall Live! Conducting the score alongside readings from the novels is very exciting and we hope that the audience can re-live the magic of Wolf Hall in the concert hall!"
This concert does, of course, have a strong local connection. Wolf Hall, between Great Bedwyn and Burbage, was the Seymours' home where Henry VIII met the young Jane Seymour, his future Queen. Wolf Hall has long since vanished and is now little more than a name on a few signposts, the name of a farm and of a later Manor House that has seen better days.
The other concerts in the Series - usually in the Memorial Hall - are:
• Paul Turner (Piano) - Sunday, 9 October 2016 - 7.30pm
• Band of the Grenadier Guards - Sunday, 6 November 2016 - 7.30pm
• Academy of St Martin in the Fields Sextet - Sunday, 22 January 2017 - 3.00pm
• Choir of St John's College Cambridge - Sunday, 5 February 2017 - 3.00pm - in the Chapel
Information about this concert and the others in the forthcoming Marlborough College Concert Series can be found here - with details of tickets, their prices and how to buy them.
Our thanks to Company Pictures for the Wolf Hall photos.
Izzy BizuYou may not know the name Izzy Bizu, but if you’re a football fan you’ll recognise the voice – her cover of Edith Piaf's La Foule used as the theme for the BBC's Euro 2016 coverage.
BBC Sound of 2016-longlisted singer Izzy will be performing at Thirty8 in Marlborough on Tuesday, September 6 from 6.30pm in support of her debut album A Moment of Madness.
Tickets to see the rising star – who has played Glastonbury twice and supported Jamie Cullum, Rudimental, and Foxes on tour – are free to people who buy a copy of her album from Sound Knowledge in Hughenden Yard.
Izzy will be at the shop after her performance to sign copies and meet fans.
For full details, log on to the Sound Knowledge Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/147221745711173/