The 2019 Annual Lunch was held on Thursday, March 7th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Cheltenham, where we welcomed pianists Mark Bebbington and Rebeca Omordia as invited guests. The diners (almost 30 of us this year) included the Chairman of the Bliss Trust Andrew Burn and Carol Secombe, granddaughter of Sir Arthur and Lady Bliss. We were treated to a really enthralling unscripted talk by Mark Bebbington with particular reference to Bliss’s piano music and to the Blisses’ humanity (all with a bit of Vaughan Williams thrown in). It was, as always, a stimulating and convivial occasion.
The AGM Concert was held at the Ivor Gurney Hall, Gloucester on Saturday, May 11th. Jointly presented by the Arthur Bliss Society and the Ivor Gurney Society, the event was generously supported by the Bliss Trust and the Ivor Gurney Trust and it attracted a capacity audience.
String Quartet in A major: Arthur Bliss
The Song of the Severn: Ian Venables
The Western Playland: Ivor Gurney
“The internationally acclaimed Carducci Quartet played Bliss’s early (1914) String Quartet in A major Op 4, music composed when he was 22, reflecting a world soon to be turned on its head by the Great War of 1914-18. Two song cycles completed the programme, and for both of these the Carduccis were joined by Andrew Randall (baritone) and Eric McElroy (piano). The first, The Song of the Severn by Worcester-based composer Ian Venables, is inspired by the landscape of the River Severn and of the Malvern Hills and is a setting of words by various poets associated with the river and its countryside. Gloucester-born-and-bred Ivor Gurney, who was passionate about the Gloucestershire countryside, composed the work which completed the day’s programme. His song cycle The Western Playland (in a newly-revised edition by Philip Lancaster) is a lyrical and bitter- sweet setting of poems by A.E.Housman.”