In this first video from our 25th season we have an example of one of the amazing orchestras we’ve been supported by, playing G. F. Handel, “Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened.”
Persons of the Day: the Consort Orchestra
Consort’s first performance with an orchestra was Opus 5 in 1998. We were still performing in Stewart Chapel so space was very limited. Yet in 2001 we squeezed a ten member orchestra into the chapel. In recent years we have had larger orchestras, the largest in 2017 with 13 members.
Since moving to the First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo in 2003, we have averaged eight members in the orchestra each season along with piano and two organs, which were both played for Louise Vierne’s “Messe Solennelle” by Fay Manes and Stephen McKersie in 2004. This work was featured on June 8th.
When we consider the people who have accompanied our concerts over the years, one might think that Fay Manes, who played with us for 14 seasons, would be our longest running instrumentalist. However, you will see below, that Wieslaw has her beat by one year.
Many of our most frequent orchestral members came as surprise guests to our Zoom Party last weekend:
As they said at the party, they all very much enjoy and look forward to playing with Consort each year. We have been very fortunate to have such a talented and professional group of instrumentalists to support us. In our 26 seasons we’ve had 87 accompanying musicians, 32 of which have played two years or more.
The Yin to his exact contemporary J.S. Bach’s Yang, Johann Frideric Handel was a German composer, hired to the court of the Hanover elector (a kind of prince), who sent him to Italy to study in 1707-10. Upon his return, Handel visited London and decided to settle there, to the great displeasure of his prince, who then, by an improbable turn of events, became England’s King George I (he was 51st in line for the throne, but the first non-Catholic). Fortunately, the King appreciated Handel and gave him money and eventually the citizenship. Handel is mostly known for his vocal works (operas, oratorios, anthems) though he saw himself primarily as an instrumental music composer.