The Master’s Newsletter, October 2016

News from The Master

Since I wrote to you in May, a great deal has happened both within the Company and without, including the election of one of our number as Lord Mayor and the election of the current Senior Warden as our next Master. It is a great honour for the Musicians’ Company that Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, a Pastmaster of our Company, has been elected the 689th Lord Mayor of London. He will take office on Friday 11th November and we, as the Lord Mayor’s Mother Company, will feature and have precedence in the Lord Mayor’s Show the following day. Members of the Company will realise that this is the second time that the Musicians’ Company has been the Mother Company to a Lord Mayor within a five year period, the previous Musician to be Lord Mayor being Sir Roger Gifford in 2012. Some companies have never had a Lord Mayor from their ranks and so this is a good example of the Musicians’ Company playing its full part in the City as a leading Livery Company. I would add that several other Lord Mayors have been Master of the Musicians’ Company (Sir Denis Truscott, Sir Gilbert Inglefield and Sir Alan Traill immediately spring to mind) although the Musicians was not their Mother Company.

Mention of Sir Roger Gifford leads me to inform you that, to my delight, Sir Roger, who is currently the Senior Warden, has been elected my successor as Master. He will be installed at the Installation Court on Wednesday 9th November at Stationers’ Hall and this will be followed by the Installation Dinner. Preserve Harmony will, of course, feature the new Master in the next issue but the coincidence of having a Pastmaster as Lord Mayor and a former Lord Mayor as Master in the same year is both an exciting prospect and a very rare occurrence in the City. As in 2012, the Company hosted the Presentation Dinner for the Lord Mayor Elect, the Lord Chancellor, the Sheriffs and other livery companies Dr Parmley is associated with, this time at Vintners’ Hall, which meant a huge amount of work for the Clerk and Deputy Clerk, to whom I am most grateful.

I must say that the year has gone very quickly. Possibly, all Masters feel that this is the case. However, it has been a privilege to serve the Company in this way and the year has been most enjoyable as well as very busy. My main thanks, as always, are due to the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk for their care of me during the year, for ensuring that I am in the right place at the right time and for organising the programme of events for the Company throughout the year. They know that we are all full of admiration for what they do and I am confident that the whole Company will wish to join me in thanking them for another fulfilling year. I also pay tribute to the members of the Court who chair committees and I should like to single out Jeff Kelly, who masterminds Preserve Harmony – our public face – twice a year with great skill, and John Nichols, who heads up our most successful Yeoman programme and who, with his team, has created our most important area of work.

The Midsummer Banquet in June was a grand occasion and I was delighted that Brian Kay, who was accompanied by his wife Gillian, was able to attend and speak to us. Brian is well-known for his musical knowledge and wit and he did not disappoint us, with stories about King’s College, Cambridge, The King’s Singers and the BBC among them. We were delighted to be back in Fishmongers’ Hall and the catering was, as usual, excellent. We were charmed by the Ducasse Trio, who played brilliantly for us, and we began the evening with a fanfare by members of the Royal Marines Band. The fierce thunderstorm as we were about to head home made the famous view across the River Thames even more spectacular.

The Honorary Fellow event was a huge success this year. The photographer Clive Barda OBE, and a few of his friends and colleagues, intrigued us for an evening in the Guildhall School when we learned not only about Clive’s work as the most celebrated photographer of musical stars but also about the circumstances around some of his shoots and the stories around the characters he shot. Our thanks go to Chris Lawrence and his team for setting up such an interesting subject, a charming Honorary Fellow and a fascinating evening. I am delighted to announce that the wonderful composer Carl Davis will be our Honorary Fellow in 2017 which, serendipitously, is the year of his 80th birthday.

The final formal dinner of my Mastership was the Court Dinner for visiting Masters and Clerks on 19th October, when we entertained those Masters and Clerks who have entertained me throughout the year. We were delighted to enjoy Painters’ Hall for this occasion and I am extremely grateful for The Rt Hon. Lord Gill for his speech. Lord Gill was, until May 2015, Lord President and Lord Justice General in Scotland. He has been an organist for most of his life and served as Organist and Choirmaster of St Columba’s RC Church in Edinburgh for almost 25 years. He is currently Chairman of the Council of the Royal School of Church Music, an Honorary Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn and a Supernumerary Member of the Supreme Court in London. I was very pleased to be able to make him a Freeman of the Company at the Court Meeting held earlier in the day and he therefore spoke as a member of the home team. Masters and Clerks from over 30 companies attended this occasion as did the wonderful Annie Lennox, OBE, to whom I presented the Company’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in Popular Music during the Court Meeting earlier.

There were 152 visiting Masters, Prime Wardens, Wardens and Clerks from 73 livery Companies at the Company’s Annual Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on 5th October. As usual, the Service was followed by a reception in the Crypt. The Cathedral Music Department did us proud and all the music, which I was allowed to choose, was written by members of the Company. The responses were sung to Kenneth Leighton (Cobbett Medal 1967), the canticles were the St Paul’s Service by Herbert Howells (Master 1959, Collard Life Fellow 1959), the main anthem was For lo! I raise up by Charles Villiers Stanford (Honorary Freeman, 1912) and the shorter anthem was They that put their trust in the Lord by Robin Orr (Liveryman 1967 and Recipient of the Company’s Gold Medal in 2002). The String Orchestra from the Royal College of Music, conducted by Mark Messenger, played Elegy by Edward Elgar (Honorary Freeman 1911, Collard Life Fellow 1931) in memory of recently deceased liverymen. I am grateful to The Reverend Canon Brian Watchorn, who stood in for The Master’s Chaplain, The Reverend Canon Mark Williams, who was in Rome for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Anglican Centre and was dining with His Holiness The Pope that evening. He really was!

On Saturday 25th June, the Livery Club held a very successful day at King’s College, Cambridge, the alma mater of the Livery Club President, Keith Maries, who gave us a wonderful day. Tours of the College, including the Chapel roof (when Dr Emma Cleobury was our guide), lunch in the Saltmarsh Rooms, a Choir rehearsal and Evensong, conducted by Liveryman Dr Stephen Cleobury, CBE, were enjoyed by all. The Livery Club also held the annual Bach Cantata concert on 16th September in conjunction with the City Music Society. The concert was held in St Bartholomew-the-Great, Smithfield, and the lunch afterwards at in the Crypt of Ely Place. Every aspect of this event was an example of the Company at its best and I am grateful to the President and Committee for this as well as Pastmaster Leslie East who chairs the City Music Society. At the AGM in the morning, Paul Gobey was confirmed as President and the hand-over was made at the lunch.
The day before, Midsummer Day, was the traditional day of the election of the Sheriffs of the City of London and I represented the Company in the procession as well as at the vote. In the afternoon there was a display and march past by members of the Armed Forces who presented arms to the Lord Mayor, who took the Salute. I was also present and in the procession at the Election of the Lord Mayor on 29th September, the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, to which I referred above.

The Clerk and I represented the Company at St Michael’s, Cornhill, for a special Evensong, attended by the Lord Mayor (with whom I sat), on the 300th anniversary of the Baptism in that church of the poet Thomas Gray, who was a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge: both the Lord Mayor and I are members of this College. There were Masters of several other companies there and a reception followed. An anthem had been especially written for the occasion by Philip Moore, President of the Royal College of Organists and a former Organist of York Minster, who attended the Installation Dinner last November. In addition, I was present at the 70th anniversary concert of the London Bach Society at St George’s, Hanover Square on 7th November. The London Bach Society, as you will all know, was founded by Dr Paul Steinitz OBE, who was a predecessor of mine at St Bartholomew-the-Great, Smithfield, and who conducted the first UK performance of the complete St Matthew Passion in German in St Bartholomew’s in 1952.

I was very pleased to chair the audition panel for the Musicians’ Company Awards on 6th June and was delighted to be joined by Jean Rigby, Richard Ireland and John Harle. The standard of performance by the applicants was very high and therefore the winners, John Findon (tenor), Abel Selaocoe (cello) and Grant Jameson (euphonium) with Benjamin Lewis (baritone) the winner of the Goldman Award, deserve many congratulations on their achievement. I also chaired the panel for the Carnwath Piano Awards and, again, I was delighted to be joined by two distinguished pianists, Alexander Karpeyev and Lucy Parham. Sophia Dee was the very worthy winner (and she played for us at very short notice at the Informal Lunch at Skinners’ Hall a week later). These contests followed The Prince’s Prize in April, won by cellist Yoon-Kyung Cho. Liveryman Stewart Barr chaired the Music Direction in Music Theatre Award on 25th June, the first of its kind organised by the Company, and he was joined by Liverymen Matthew Freeman and Mike Reed. The winner is Connor Fogel and his award is £5,000. The Young Jazz Musician Competition on 25th September, held at the Soho Jazz Club to a full house, was won by Daniel Casimir (bass) by popular vote and I presented to him his Company medal. Earlier in the year I presented Bobby Wellins with the Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Company has promoted or been involved in a number of concerts in London over the period, including a very successful Company concert at St John’s, Smith Square in July, featuring the duo of Marta Kowalczyk (violin) and Somi Kim (piano) and Joanna Marie Skillett (soprano) accompanied by David Eaton (piano), curated by Liveryman Ian Ritchie and supported by the Concordia Foundation. There was also a Company Concert at the Wigmore Hall earlier this month by featuring Emily Sun (violin) accompanied by Jennifer Hughes (piano) and Jonathan Radford (saxophone) with Kaoli Ono (piano). Yeomen are also representing the Company in concerts at St Lawrence Jewry, Hampton Court Chapel, St John’s Smith Square and the Foundling Hospital and Katie Jones, our Yeomen Coordinator, has kindly agreed to inform Company members periodically when these concerts are to take place. Yeomen are also representing the Company at concerts in festivals around the country, illustrating still further the opportunities the YCC under Court Assistant Nichols is giving our prize-winning young musicians. I must add here that the three major Company Concerts, usually at the Wigmore Hall, are now, thanks to the Clerk’s office, attracting many more young supporters. However, apart from a few loyal Liverymen and Freemen who habitually attend, there is still a poor turn-out from members of the Company. With your help, I should very much like to see this trend reversed as the long-term continuation of this concert series will depend on it.

At the elections by the Court held in July, Michael Hockney MBE was elected to serve on the Court from October 2017 and both Margaret Steinitz and John McCuin were elected to serve as Stewards for two years from October 2016. Congratulations to them.

Opportunities to represent the Company have continued to flood in and I have accepted as many engagements I as could, not least to ensure the Company’s profile continues to be high. One of these was a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, which Marie and I enjoyed immensely. On our behalf, Marie represented us at a Tour and Luncheon at the House or Lords as a guest of the Master of the Framework Knitters’ Company. The Clerk and I attended a Recital and Reception given by St Paul’s Cathedral Choir under Andrew Carwood in the Cathedral on 20th September, when we were able to meet our new Musicians’ Company chorister, Friedrich Freienstein. I attended (with several other Masters) the visitation of the Lord Mayor to Pembroke House in Walworth, Pembroke College Mission, of which I am a Trustee and I was glad to be able to attend the Horners’ Company Mansion House Banquet as the Master, Hugh Moss, is also a Pembroke man. Other Companies to have entertained me since the start of June are the Weavers, the Painter-Stainers, the Drapers, the Glass Sellers, the Turners, the Grocers, the Bakers, the Innholders, the Merchant Taylors and Skinners at their annual Billesden Award Dinner (where one Company becomes 6th in the order of precedence and the other 7th), the Spectacle Makers (who were having a weekend in Cambridge and invited us to their dinner in Downing College Hall), the Scientific Instrument Makers’ Dinner at Glaziers’ Hall and the Dyers at their Swan Dinner at Drapers’ Hall.

I was pleased to be present on behalf of the Company at the Royal Albert Hall for the Final of the National Brass Band Championships when I presented the Iles Medal to Russell Gray and the Mortimer Medal to Samantha Harrison. The competition was won by the Cory Band from Wales. I was asked to address the crowd of 3,500 people in the Hall about the Company, which was something of a thrilling experience.

All good things must come to an end, as they say, and I now hand over the reins to Alderman Sir Roger Gifford, and I do so most enthusiastically. Roger and Clare will do us proud and will enchant us as only they can; they have, after all, had considerable practice through their time as Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. I hope that they enjoy their year as much as Marie and I have and we wish them all possible good fortune.

May the Worshipful Company of Musicians prosper for ever.

October 2016