Music for lunch

Date: Saturday 16th June 2018

Time: 12.30

Venue: Waltham Abbey Church

Location: Abbey Farmhouse, Abbey Gardens, WALTHAM ABBEY, Essex, EN9 1XQ.

Artists: Alexandra Weaver - Soprano Elizabeth Mucha - Piano


A mermaid tempts an innocent sea traveller to the depths of the sea and a country lass pines for her beloved. And so, the two opening songs by Haydn set the tone for this lunchtime concert.

The texts for “Erotic Fragments” by British composer Martin Eastwood are taken from the Song of Songs from the Old Testament. This short song cycle captures beautifully the ache, expectation and disappointment that desire and love can bring and culminates in a sumptuous eulogy of the beloved.

Although the Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt composed at least 127 songs, these are sadly often overlooked in favour of his piano and orchestral works. His magnificent setting of Sonnet no 123 by the 14th century Italian poet, Petrarch, exudes holy reverence in homage to the poet’s enduring love for his unattainable beloved, the iconic Laura.

The temptation of the great outdoors in Michael Head’s quintessentially English song, “Sweet chance that led my steps abroad” gently brings us back to earth after the lofty realms of the previous songs. This is followed by “ A Piper” – a celebration of the power of music to bring people together.

We end our recital with La Bonne Cuisine, four recipes set wittily to music by American composer Leonard Bernstein. Our taste buds are initially tantalised by Plum Pudding, followed by an exhortation to overcome one’s pride and serve an oxtail stew. The third song is Tavouk Gueunksis, a Turkish chicken stew and finally, a rabbit stew made at top speed for any sudden guest who might drop by unexpectedly!

Joseph Haydn
The Mermaid’s song
A Pastoral Song

Martin Eastwood
Erotic Fragments (from Song of Songs)

Franz Liszt
Petrarch Sonnet no 123

Michael Head
Sweet chance that led my steps abroad
A Piper

Leonard Bernstein
La Bonne Cuisine

1. Plum pudding
2. Ox-tails
3. Tavouk Gueunsis
4. Rabbit at top