Wednesday, 24 April 2013


No, this isn't going to be a post about ancient forms of electronic art... 

It is going to be about Actual Singing Content, no less, the second post of that name!  Singing in this delightful, almost secret corner of Amsterdam, in fact:

engelse kerk (english church) begijnhof, amsterdam
The music was Ferrandini's 'Il Pianto di Maria' a quite astonishing cantata (which was attributed to Handel for many years) with a lovely group of baroque musicians from Leiden.  I'd been dying to get my chords around this piece since I heard it back in, oh, 1996 or 7.  Back in the days when people still thought it was written by Mr Handel.  I did sing it once about 8 years ago in Germany, but managed to compliment it with a horrendous cold, and just couldn't do it justice, so I was delighted to be able to suggest it as a piece to sing with the Leids Barok Ensemble for a weekend of concerts this Spring.  And extra bonus, I get to take it on tour to Portugal with them this coming Summer!  

Yes.  There will be photos.

But back to Amsterdam.  The English Reformed Church (although now officially of the Church of Scotland) can be found through a door off the street in Spui in the centre of Amsterdam.  I had no idea it was there until this weekend!  Through the door and down a wee passage and you come across a tiny haven of old Amsterdam.  The church is one of the oldest buildings in Amsterdam, and the enclosed courtyard has buildings that you associate with the porcelain and pottery Dutch-style houses you find in any and every souvenir shop here.

The inside was just as charming, and very Presbyterian!

But yes, as you can see, there was a stained glass window!  HUZZAH!  And although the other windows were of plain glass, I think the exterior views made them just as entrancing!

Another of the hidden gems of the church is what I presume was something of a sacristy from the times when the church was of the Catholic faith, before the reformation.  Even now it looks like somewhere just waiting for a lady in Dutch costume and perhaps holding a vase of flowers to come in and be painted by Vermeer, or one of his Amsterdamse contemporaries!

The second concert, in Leiden, was also in a church slightly hidden from normal view:
lokhorstkerk, pieterskerkstraat, leiden - with the white doorway
(the massive church in the background is the pieterskerk)
It looks a little like another posh-fronted building on an ancient street (one the buildings opposite had a build date of 1610:)

but was a little gem inside:

Ah, it was a lovely weekend of music-making!  The Ferrandini is one hell of a piece, and I highly recommend trying to listen to a recording.  There are so many heart-racing moments - the expressive recitatives, the plaint, repeated twice, the amazing second-to-last aria with 4 separate violin parts which give the most scrumptious dissonant harmonies... mmmmmmmmmmm.  That's what music's all about!
And the flowers weren't bad, either!


Mair Bloag Weejits

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Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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