Review: Pellingmans’ Saraband, Tickhill Music Society

Pellingmans' Saraband
Pellingmans' Saraband

Actors are fond of saying that you should never go on stage with animals or children – they are too unpredictable. This clearly held no fear for the musicians appearing at Tickhill Music Society, who were joined by the choir of St Mary’s School in a concert of early music. The principal artists called themselves Pellingmans’ Saraband, the name being a neat amalgam of the artists’ names -  Susanna Pell (viol) and Jacob Heringman (lutes). A saraband is a dance form coming to the rest of Europe from Spain.

A third performer was the soprano Faye Newton who specialises in early music for which her clear, well enunciated voice was both pleasing and well projected.

The school choir (all girls) sang a number of rounds, Jacob Heringman played two lutes of different sizes, and the viol used was a bass viol (sometimes called a viola da gamba for being held between the legs).

The music was mainly from the 1600s or thereabouts, this being the golden age of lute and viol playing. The programme was entitled “Twenty waies upon the bels”, which was a reference to an individual piece and also illustrated the way in which composers of the period used the sound of bells as a theme. The music may not have been familiar, but had instant appeal and was easy to follow, thanks to the repeated musical patterns. The programme included a sprightly round called ‘Three Blind Mice’, and ‘Greensleeves’, listed in the programme as being by the prolific ‘Anon’ although it has been attributed to King Henry VIII.

Altogether a most pleasing concert, and the audience was fortunate to hear two of the leading exponents of their particular instruments.