Category: music

Summer Musical Soirees – you in?

At last, like some large furry dog coming out of a lake we shake ourselves off after months of uncertainty and get to some planning. In this case particularly for evenings. 

As a lot of our musical friends are desperately missing somewhere to play, we thought it would be nice for them, and us, if we shared our space with them and you as where better to hear some lovely music than in the safety of a gorgeous outdoor space?

Now in normal times we’d organise well ahead as so many people have busy lives and full diaries but let’s face it right now not many of us have social engagements or much else come to that in our diaries. This might give us a rare chance to programme at quite short notice in order to give us all the best shot with England’s unpredictable weather right now.

So what are we thinking? 

Well, be prepared at just a week’s notice to be invited to some Summer Evening Musical Soirees across a range of musical styles, we’re thinking some Classical, Folk and Americana, Mellow Jazz, Acoustic Reggae, Light Opera and more. All to be enjoyed with safe distancing, good company and you’re most welcome to bring your own picnic or refreshments so no hanging around at a bar or such.

So signup for our newsletter or check back here under events to be sure to see what we’re up to.

Stay safe everyone and look forward to seeing you soon

<John Mostyn,  Business Development Manager (jobshare)>

 

Share

Staycations at the Gardens

August in the Gardens is so packed with lovely activities, performances and treats there is surely no reason to risk those queues and crowds by going any further afield.

In the ‘New Normal’ we have revamped some of the way we do things and almost all activities now will be ‘pre-booked’.

So, in addition to normal Day Entry and our popular picnic takeaway ‘Cream Tea in A Box’ we have for visitors delight;

First Songs musical sessions for babies and their grown ups and Relaxed Concerts by the renowned  B’Opera who create  beautiful music for tiny ears.

Yoga sessions with Yogi Clair  – two sessions in the outdoors follow by a cream tea.

We have so many charming spaces in the Gardens and we are really pleased to be able to use them to enhance these sessions – what a memory to be made! Baby’s first ‘move and groove’ under the heritage apple trees.

The size of the Archery Lawn of course allows us to spread out and keep safe while still enjoying live performances from great local theatre companies.

Tread the Boards based in Stratford and Heartbreak Productions based in Leamington are bouncing back from lockdown with specially adapted performances for the family audience

Tickets for Wind in the Willows and Alice in Lockdown will go on sale on this site by the end of this week.

Share

‘Never was the shade from any plant more dear’…music of the Garden

You can travel the world through the plants in our Gardens. By the early 1700s plants from five* different continents could be found growing in England.

Plants had been gathered and collected over time for their economic potential as crops or medicine, or for their rarefied beauty and shown off by the rich and powerful,or subject to scientific scrutiny.

While the time of the great 19th century plant hunters was still to come, the variety of plants, their very ‘exoticism’ was valued over and above more modest plants which might have been grown and used for centuries.

Today in the Gardens they all mix together, from little ‘weeds’ to flamboyant dragons. We are so used to some, we forget that their origins may be far, far away or from a long time ago.

Re-finding the wonder –  and recognising our luck – that we are so entwined with, and dependent on, other places in the world is perhaps one of the humbling outcomes of the current crisis.

…. And the music?

In 1738 George Frederick Handel premiered his opera, Xerxes, in London.

As with many theatrical productions of the time the ‘idea’ of the countryside was shifting from that ‘uncivilised place’ which is dirty, smelly and dangerous, to being a pastoral idyll, a place of purity and innocence.

Handel – a German composer  who spent most of his life in London – reworked an older Italian song by Cavalli and Bononcini. The opera is about the ancient King of Persia, Xerxes. Here the American countertenor, Christopher Lowrey  sings, in Italian, with a group of musicians playing instruments made variously in Paris, the Netherlands, Florence and Germany.

Like our Garden…a composition made beautiful because the world comes together in it.

Maybe you will like the music too.

 (feel free to donate to the musicians)

By the way, the character is singing the praises of a Plane tree (Platanus orientalis ) – No, I don’t think we  have one ..

*Five continents not 7 in the Gardens. Westerners had not reached Australia by the 1760s, and Antarctica,was a bit harsh

Share

“As steals the morn….”

a morning meditation piece

As steals the morn upon the night
And melts the shades away:
So Truth does Fancy’s charm dissolve
And rising Reason puts to flight
The fumes that did the mind involve
Restoring intellectual day.

Written and first performed in February 1740. So cold that February, apparently, that the theatre owners had to reassure their audience that there would be fires and blankets – just like here in the Gardens!

Another beautiful song that I’m sure must have been performed in the tranquil rural retreat of the Gardens.

G.F Handel’s oratorio:  L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (“The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man”) .  Based on poems by Milton and Shakespeare’s verses from the Tempest

The pictures here are not our Gardens, but just imagine!

Mark Padmore – tenor Lucy Crowe – soprano The English Concert,  Conductor – Andrew Manze Label: Harmonia Mundi, from the Album: “As Steals the Morn (Handel Arias & Scenes for tenor)”.

Share

…Thus the ever grateful Spring.

We know that, over the centuries, the Gardens were a place where much music was played and enjoyed.

This May we had planned a 35th Anniversary celebratory romp through our history, this was to include some wonderful young musicians from Birmingham Conservatoire playing music from the times when the Gardens were at their peak in the late 1600s and early 1700s.

The small building at the end of the Holly Walk is known variously as the Music Room and the Summer House. Scholars from the Gardens, our sister site Weston Park and from the Conservatoire even have records of music manuscripts and what music parties were held.

We like to continue the tradition of having all kinds of music played outdoors on our site….

Today, let’s just celebrate the Spring and imagine this somewhere under our apple trees in the Orchards..

This piece is from the Fairie Queen by Purcell, which premiered in 1692 in London at the Dorset Gardens Theatre.

The music was written as part of a ‘Restoration spectacular’, a ‘masque’ or semi opera.  Effectively it was a blockbuster show full of fancy costumes, amazing stage effects, music, songs and ballet all wrapped round Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream…

This short song is near the end of the Masque – the Queen and King of the Fairies – Titania and Oberon are in celebratory mood and are singing praises of the seasons..

Thus the ever Grateful Spring,
Does her yearly Tribute bring;
All your Sweets before him lay,
Then round his Altar, Sing and Play

Who knows,  Bridgeman family members, keen musicians, may at the time have purchased the manuscript of some of these airs and played them here, in Castle Bromwich.

It may not be everyone’s favourite choice of music.. but let’s hope we can all be grateful to Spring… I’m sure Titania and Oberon are already in the Gardens ..

 

 

 

 

Share

Blossom picnics – Birmingham’s own Hanami

Spend the day under the blossom trees in the heritage orchards of the Historic Gardens.
With apple and pear blossoms instead of the traditional Japanese plum, this version of Hanami still echoes the tradition of enjoying the beauty of the flowers this Spring.
A picnic in the Gardens is always enjoyable, however, the orchards in full bloom also provide the perfect setting for your relaxing day out.

Traditional Japanese food by Pika Pika will be available on the day, with a selection of delicious sushi and curry available.

Bring your own food and drink too. Cafe open for light refreshments
Music and other activities likely! Take part in learning how to create beautiful origami creations.
Normal entrance fees

Share

Sorry – cancelled- back next year-Family Music Workshop

The amazing young performers of the K’antu early music ensemble provice a fun and lively  ‘have a go’  music making workshop this summer afternoon (1pm -2.30pm)…

Watch out: vegetable flutes may be involved :-)))

Later at  3.30pm K’antu will enchant us with a concert of early music  in our 17th century Gardens

Normal entry prices apply

Discounted entry for members

Share

Dogs Don’t do Ballet

To kick off the summer holidays with a fun and warming outdoor show , get the kids up and moving with Bif…

Biff is not like other dogs. He doesn’t do dog stuff like weeing on lampposts, or scratching his fleas, or drinking out of the toilet. No, Biff likes moonlight and music and walking on his tiptoes. You see, Biff doesn’t think he’s a dog. He thinks he’s a ballerina!

We are delighted to have Little Blue Monster Theatre join us to perform Dogs Don’t Do Ballet. Get ready for an afternoon of songs, puppetry and lively story-telling.

The show goes on whatever the weather

Tickets on sale HERE

Would you like the chance to win 4 tickets to see the show at the Gardens, as well as a VIP backstage tour of the set with Bif?

To win simply get your little one to draw their best picture of Bif and send it to us on social media. Be sure to post it with the hashtag #Bifatthegardensand tag us in the post. Winners will be announced on Wednesday 19th July. We look forward to seeing your entries and hope you enjoy the show.

Facebook: Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens
Twitter: @cbhallgardens
Instagram: @castlebromwichhallgardens

Share

All the world’s a stage

Those baroque Garden designers always emphasised bold theatricality in their layouts.

Although we are certainly not on the grand scale of Versailles or the Royal Palaces, our ‘wilderness’ areas, boxed beds and topiary are all part of that formality and dramatic approach.

We’re all the more pleased therefore, to be able to host both theatrical and musical productions in the Gardens. This year we have the Crescent Theatre celebrating Jane Austen’s anniversary with a charming rendering of Sense and Sensibility. During the school holidays Dogs don’t do Ballet (Little Blue Monster theatre) will be visiting causing exciting mayhem for the little’uns.. definitely not to be missed.

In September, on the same day as our  Heritage Open Day tours, we are lucky to have local Gilbert and Sullivan aficianadoes the Birmingham Savoyards mixing drama with music.

Music too is becoming more of a regular feature here (hoorah!). The 40s weekend had us rocking. last weekend we were smooth and mellow with the West Midlands Light Orchestra and Devon Harrison. The Central England Concert Band come in August.

In between times we have the soloists accompanying our pop-up tea and music events, various entertainments during Apple Day and Advent and we’re still holding out for an amazingly talented group who can play 17th century music with vegetables! No they can’t .. yes the can, they’re K’antu.

We are an open air site, so wind and rain are always hazards here… but, as they say, our skin is waterproof and the show… must go on.

Check out our Events calendar on this site and make sure you secure your tickets for our theatrical and  musical offerings. Not only will you have a great time, you will be helping us keep the Gardens open for more years to come.

 

 

 

Share