Regular readers will recall that in our June Diary, I gave some details of the Bristol Early Music Festival being planned for next May at All Saints Church, Pembroke Road, Clifton. Arrangements have been proceeding over the intervening months, and the festival now has a web page at https://bristolearlymusicfestival.uk/, together with a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BristolEarlyMusicFestival/, where you will find more details of the programme. I would like in particular to draw your attention to the exhibition of early instruments, which is to beheld on the morning of Saturday May 4th. Please consider coming along to display your instruments if you live within a reasonable distance of Bristol—the exhibition will run from 10.30–12.30, and will be followed by a free open-air (weather permitting!) performance by the Gloucester Waites. You will need to be able to stay with your instrument(s) and be willing to talk to visitors about them, and possibly demonstrate their sound. If you are able to help with this, please let me know by emailing chairman@swemf.org.uk—the more the better!

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Here in Bristol we enjoyed a lovely concert a few weeks ago given by the Croatian early music group Ansambl Minstrel (not very difficult to translate). They performed a good deal of music by Croatian renaissance and baroque composers, such as Vinko Jelic and Ivan Lukacic, as well as works by Italians who had drifted along the Adriatic. It seems there is a lot of repertoire from the period, but it is only just becoming known—some of the vocal pieces have only survived in 19th-century versions with piano accompaniment! While some purists might have criticized aspects of the performance, such as the use of percussion in church music, I was struck by the group’s energy and the sheer sense of enjoyment in the music which they conveyed. They don’t very often visit the UK, but if you’re curious you can find worthwhile clips of them on YouTube.

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I’d like to end by wishing all members a very happy festive season and a 2019 filled with good music-making—including, of course, the activities of SWEMF!

– Clare Griffel

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