Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Veneto - Follina: - Music-Style – An Impromptu Recital in a Brewery

Veneto - Follina: - Music-Style – An Impromptu Recital in a Brewery. During a drinks party in a seventeenth century farmhouse surrounded by Prosecco vineyards, in the Veneto hillside, an impromptu recital was decided on, seeing the amazing musical talent  “on hand”.  The venue was the Gregoletto’s brewery space, S.U.V., (Spazio del Uva e del Vino or space for grapes and wine), used for the first time, for a musical event. The stars of the show the esteemed flautist Wendy Hancock and the soprano and One of Britain’s most versatile performers Sara Stowe.  An electric harpsichord keyboard and a foldable music stand were set up in a the corner of the brewery, in front of a wall covered with original posters, designed by various artists, all relating to the world of wine, commissioned by Giovanni Gregoletto.

Above. The multi-talented soprano and harpsichordist Sara Stowe engaged us with her beautiful voice and charismatic interpretations, sometimes accompanying herself on the “harpsichord” though mostly accompanied by the magic flute of Wendy Hancock. The repertoire was early Baroque and Medieval music, most of which was taken from Anne Cromwell’s Virginal Music, a manuscript of keyboard compilations dated 1638. Though both artists had never played alone together, they both make up the female parts of the Early Music group Galliarda.

Music-Style.  Though not in theme with the rest of the music, by special request, Amazing Grace was movingly played by Wendy Hancock and beautifully sang by Sara Stowe. The hand written musical score was especially adapted for voice and flute by Sara.

Music-Style – Wendy Hancock.  Wendy is a Baroque flute, recorder and viol-player. She is also a performer, lecturer, teacher and writer on music and related subjects. She is playing on a copy of a Grenser 1770s flute, especially made by Anthony Arnold.


Music-Style – Sara Stowe. Sara is a soprano, percussionist and 
One of Britain most versatile performers.  As a British Council awardee she studied the voice in Milan and worked with noted Italian composer Luciano Berio. Her ability to characterize her voice in so many different styles has led her to perform and record with a wide range of new and Early Music groups. She engaged the audience in the chorus of the love ballad, The Lass of Richmond Hill, written by Leonard McNally, music composed by James Hook in 1789.  The song was a favorite of George III.

         The Lass of Richmond Hill

           On Richmond Hill there lives a lass,
            More bright than May-day morn,
            Whose charms all other maids' surpass,
            A rose without a thorn.

            Sweet lass of Richmond Hill,
            Sweet lass of Richmond Hill,
            I'd crowns resign to call thee mine,
            Sweet lass of Richmond Hill.


Music-style – Anthony Arnold.   Maestro Baroque flute and recorder maker Anthony works in Nottingham and has been coming to the Veneto for decades.  “I make late Baroque flutes after Rottenburgh and Grenser.  They have adjustable registers and corks so that they will work well with a variety of pitches and embouchures. The Grenser flute above is made in Blackwood and Vigoplas and has a register and an adjustable screw cork. The sound is bigger, and the top notes seem easier to play in tune.” He explains.


S.U.V. - Birra Follina. In the brewery, host and gracious hostess, Giovanni and Virginia Gregoletto stand in front of the beer making section. The other half of the space is devoted to a “wunderkammer” which he calls Spazio del Uva e del Vino, everything dedicated and related to the world of wine making. The space is also used for book launches, events, exhibitions, and now music. The Gregoletto winery is nearby and the family is known especially for its still Prosecco DOCG. In fact one of the wineries famous customers, the late great Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni used to order 1000 bottles a year of Prosecco tranquillo for his various homes.  In his own right the eccentric Giovanni, amongst his many schemes and activities, has also branched off by himself and produces not only a sparkling Prosecco called Ombra, along with his latest venture beer, Birra Follina and, a book, soon to be launched, about his greatest passion, wine.


S.U.V. – Birra Follina. Guests were invited to taste the new Birra Follina after the recital. It is a special artisan-inspired Belgian-style blonde Abbey ale, pure malt, fermented in the bottle, therefore, unfiltered and unpasteurized.

S.U.V. – Birra Follina. As artisanal beer is “never precise” – Mai Precisa, you can choose between one made with high pressure or low pressure.

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