FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Roger's musical delights for festival

Bognor's Roger Clayden has orchestrated a triple contribution to this year's Festival of Chichester with his 60 Minutes of Classical Music series.

Monday, 27th June 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:44 am

First, on Friday, July 1 at 7.30pm, Roger offers the 60 Minute Orchestra Opera Night at The Regis Centre, Bognor Regis. The 60 Minute String Orchestra will be accompanied by four solo singers: a soprano, mezzo soprano, tenor and baritone. Tickets £12; students £6; children £6.

Next, on Sunday, July 3 at 7.30pm, the 60 Minutes of Classical Music Trust take over the Oxmarket Centre of Arts when Roger (cello and bass trombone) and Christopher Taylor (piano) play two 60-minute concerts. The first (cello and piano) starts with the Edward Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor; Adagio-Moderato, Lento-Allegro Molto, Adagio, Allegro- Moderato-Allegro, ma non troppo-Poco piu lento-Adagio.

The second (bass trombone and piano) starts with Gordon Jacobs’ Cameos for Bass Trombone. Tickets £10; students £5; children £5.

And then finally, on Sunday, July 10 at 7.30pm, Roger offers the 60 Minutes of Classical Music Piano Festival in The Studio Room, The Regis Centre, Bognor Regis, with pianists each being given a programme from different periods of classical music: Christopher Taylor is playing early music; Erik Azzopardisi playing Bach; John Paul Ekins is playing classical and romantic; and Mark Fielding is playing 20th century. The concerts will last 60 minutes each, starting at 3pm, 4.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm. £10 for a day pass for all four concerts; students £5; children £5.

It all adds up to a major contribution to the classical music section at this year’s festival.

For Roger, the concert on Sunday, July 3 will be particularly special, his chance to offer the Elgar, a piece rich in West Sussex associations.

“It is very much music of its time,” Roger says. “It is music that marks possibly the beginning of the end of the empire. Music is history. Music is all to do with what is going on at the time. Elgar lived his life as part of the British Empire. He started off very poor, and he only became wealthy when his operas were taken up by the Germans, maybe around the turn of the century. It was the Germans that took him on board. Nobody had taken his music on at all by then. He couldn’t get any help. But now we are going into this massive war, the First World War against the Germans, and it was like the storm clouds were coming… and the Germans had been his friends. And the war is the beginning of the end of the British Empire.”

Also on the programme on Sunday, July 3 is Gordon Jacobs’ Cameos for Bass Trombone for which Roger switches to bass trombone: “Gordon Jacobs was born in the same year as my grandfather and they both studied at Dulwich College together, and they both volunteered for the First World War aged 19 and they both narrowly survived.

“Gordon Jacobs became a prisoner of war with 800 other men, and he ran the camp band and was given instruments by the Germans. By the time the war was over, there were only 35 men left, including Gordon.

“He was great friends with my grandfather. He used to telephone, and I used to chat with him. My nan used to tell him I was playing trombone, and I used to tell him about what we were up to. He was a very nice man. I only spoke to him on the phone, but he was a very nice man and knew all about music, of course!”

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