Photographs by Richard Stevens

Oh What a “Grand” Weekend!

The response from those who attended the 2017 Weekend has been an astounding thumbs up! Twelve presentations during the course of the weekend is a challenge for anybody but even the late night sessions were well supported.

Nearly 100 members of the Friends of Torbay booked in to the Grand Hotel for the first time; our previous venue closed at short notice in the middle of the year.

Saturday started with

Barry Sterndale-Bennett

telling us about his

great, great grand-father,

William Sterndale Bennett

who was, in his day, a contemporary of Mendelssohn and Schumann,

and a highly regarded composer, conductor and pianist

Another Welsh Wizard,

Geraint Lewis,

enlightened us on the life,

church music and

theatre works of


For connoisseurs of classical music

of the chamber variety our live recital

on Saturday evening was given

by members from the

internationally acclaimed

Primavera String Ensemble

led by Paul Manley,

with Martin Smith and Jonathan Barritt

playing works by

Beethoven, Kodály, Ysaÿe and Dvořák

- a very difficult and challenging programme that was quite exquisite

and performed with panache

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And to follow,

Mike Price

(our Welsh Wizard behind the technical side of presentations) entertained us with a most exciting series of videos that are on continental screens but are not part of the fare on offer from UK channels

Andrew Collins,

a very far-sighted

entrepreneur and raconteur

then recounted

the challenges facing

the future of the

music retailing business

After a warm reception and a good dinner our first presentation from

Ian Bailey

on the almost unknown composer Joachim Raff

gave us a gentle start

The night closed with

Marilyn Boyle

giving glimpses of the

Hallé Orchestra, Johann Strauss II

and the

City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds; something for all tastes

On Sunday morning, Hedd Thomas

was a force to reckon with!

He spoke about Welsh National

Opera and their 2018 upcoming spring tour in the UK performing

La forza del destino.

Hedd, the WNO’s ‘dramaturg’ certainly had people wowing and determined to see this under-performed opera by Verdi

Yet another polished presenter, Jonathan Willcocks

talked about Sir David Willcocks, and his late father’s contribution to choral music, not least from

King’s College Cambridge where the descant became a must for so many carols.  Jonathan also spoke about his own composing and conducting career

Our very full weekend programme’s

penultimate presentation was the duo of

Cathy Mackerras with Nigel Simeone

talking about Cathy’s father, the Australian,

Sir Charles Mackerras

- an incredible conductor who was charming,

dynamic and universally liked.

We heard some unpublished recordings

and watched rare filmed performances

The last presentation is always a

difficult one to programme.

Kay Jordan

did a masterly teach-in of

the tricks of the trade

of the professional singer.

Using Gilbert and Sullivan

as her base she illustrated by

singing many extracts from their works. Not too taxing and a delightful way

to end our weekend

As a closing word John Isaac reminded everybody to put next year’s

Torbay Musical Weekend

in their diary, the dates being

16th to 19th November 2018

at The Grand Hotel, Torquay