The opening concert of the 2016 season, on Sunday 3 July, included the first public performance of a new work, the Fanfare for a New Roof by Russian-born British composer Elena Langer.
Many will know that in December 2015 thieves stole about four tonnes of lead from the roof of St Mary’s, mostly from above the North Aisle. None has been recovered, but good detective work may lead to a prosecution against at least some of the gang. The bill for repair, however, was far beyond the level of insurance and the limited resources of the church itself. Many generous supporters stepped in, including Concerts at Cratfield, which following individual donations and a superb fundraising concert at The Cut in Halesworth in April 2016.
At that concert, we heard Don Peacock announce on behalf of St Mary’s PCC that the restoration work would all be completed – and in lead, the best material – by the start of our 2016 season, and that there was now money in the bank to pay for it. Both the parish and Concerts at Cratfield have also benefitted greatly from the selling exhibition Jack Stephenson organised in Saxmundham recently, of wood engravings by our much missed Founder Patron Linda Holmes, who would have been delighted to help out the church. This concert therefore marked a happy conclusion to all these efforts and a return to a church in good shape once again – and as thanks, the parish team generously offered everyone free tea and cake in the interval.
To mark the occasion – and profiting from having Nicholas Daniel with us for the first time – we had the idea of starting our season with a newly composed fanfare for solo oboe, which can do celebratory just as well as it can do plangent or seductive. Given our happy and long-standing relationship with composer Elena Langer , she was the obvious choice. In less than two days, we had the score. About the work, the composer adds:
‘The piece is lively and virtuosic. It starts in the oboe’s lowest register and gradually climbs up to the very top (the roof!). I worked a very short quotation from Beethoven’s overture The Consecration of the House (1822) into one of the fast passages!’
The concert also included The Flying of Marsyas by David Matthews, who like Elena Langer was present to hear his work performed. Click here for a review of the whole concert by John Sims, a regular Cratfield concertgoer.