Venetian start to the New Year for the Funtington Music Group

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Venice comes to Chichester to launch 2014 for the Funtington Music Group.

Peter Medhurst (piano, voice and harpsichord) offers an illustrated lecture recital on Venice in 18th century London at the FMG’s musical home, the University of Chichester, on January 8.

“Everybody in the music world - though it does spread into the art world -recognises that Italy was one of the guiding spirits in form and ideas,”

Peter says.

And this had a direct bearing on this country, as Peter explains: “As Venice declined, it produced ever fewer opportunities for high-grade lucrative employment and as a result, many of its native artists and musicians looked for work elsewhere.

“Some went south to Rome and Florence, some gravitated to Paris, Vienna, and even Madrid, but many – inspired by the constant procession of Englishmen on the Grand Tour – set their sights on the ever expanding English capital.”

Peter will use his time in Chichester to explore the knock-on effect of the Venetians’ stay in 18th-century London and to show how English culture took on a discernible Venetian quality that was to be detected in its art and music for many years to come.

As Peter says, there are a number of ways in which the influence spread: “We have English musicians that were sent abroad to Italy to learn Italian technique and to brush up on their playing or composition. We were doing this a great deal during the course of the 18th century.”

Other ways the Italian influence seeped in are perhaps less obvious.

“You have got people like Handel who did his apprenticeship it Italy. He lived in Italy for four or five years and learnt his craft. What is interesting is that even as a German he recognised that he needed to go to Italy to hone his craft. Those years taught him how to write sonatas and cantatas and, most important of all, opera.

“People think that Handel was a German who lived in England, but he was a German who had trained in the Italian manner.”

Programme for the 2014 Funtington Music Group season:

All meetings are held at 7.30pm on Wednesdays in the Chapel of the Ascension, Bishop Otter Campus, University of Chichester.

January 8: Peter Medhurst (piano, voice and harpsichord) – illustrated lecture recital on Venice in 18th century London

February 12: Louisa Steinburg (violin) with Nichola Burns (piano) present an illustrated recital on the Russian Violin

March 12: Steve Collison (cello) with Sophie Warwick (piano) presents an illustrated story of the Life of a Professional Musician

April 16: University of Chichester Student Showcase Concert – £1,000 Prize Fund (first prize £500)

May 14: Irena Rieband-Capper (horn) with Matthew Shipton (piano) – lecture recital on the French Horn and its repertoire

June 11: Summer Evening Concert – the Primrose Piano Quartet

September 10: Thomas Gould (violin) with Robert Thomson (piano) – a return to Chichester by two outstanding musicians

October 8: Simon Callaghan (piano) explores and illustrates the life and work of the British composer Sir Hubert Parry

November 12: Celebrity concert featuring internationally-renowned pianist Jonathan Plowright performing on the University’s Steinway Grand

The annual FMG subscription for 2014 is £70. Members are welcome to bring guests if space is available at a charge of £10 per meeting.

You can apply by post to the membership secretary Elizabeth Brooks, The Granary, Lordington Court, Lordington, Chichester, PO18 9DP, asking for further details, or alternatively enclosing your cheque for £70 made payable to the Funtington Music Group. Or call Elizabeth on 01243 378900.