Nov 26, 2018

What is the Listening Club?

The Listening Club: Bach wearing headphones

By Dr. Hannah French

‘What did you think so far?’ A fair question for a concert interval. In response, have you ever found yourself tongue-tied? Or that any answer just doesn’t do justice to what you experienced moments ago? Well, if you’re nodding, then the Tafelmusik Listening Club is for you!

It’s a bit like a book club. You receive a list of the music in advance so that you can listen in your own time, and maybe jot down any thoughts or questions about it. This means we have a shared starting point but just like reactions to a book, we may all respond entirely differently to what we’ve heard.

Listening to music is a personal business. You may have it on while you work, cook, or drive. You may prefer the radio, online streaming, or your own collection of vinyl records. The idea of the Listening Club is that we introduce you to new pieces, and also help you to choose between the (often daunting) array of available recordings of the works you love. It’s about broadening horizons and defining individual preferences, but above all it’s about giving you confidence to discuss (mostly) Baroque music.

On the night of the club itself, the room is a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a safe space where there are no silly questions or wrong answers. It’s an opportunity for you to have a go at talking about music and getting to the nub of expressing what you love (or loathe) about the repertoire. It’s also a chance to ask a Tafel-musician for their candid views!

We compare recordings, we explore the context of a work, we discuss the instruments and how their construction affects the sound, and we talk about what makes a performance tick. You don’t have to know anything in advance, just listen to the music and come along with an open mind. The ultimate aim of the club is that you leave with your curiosity piqued and that you have something new to say in the interval of your next concert…

This December we’re exclaiming ‘Move over Messiah’! It’s a gentle nudge to Handel’s masterwork as we explore other beloved and little-known festive Baroque pieces – an ideal new playlist for the holiday season. Click here for tickets and to get listening!

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