Invited By The Bach Family?

Mr. & Mrs. Warwick are pleased to accept

You know how, back in the day, we used to receive gold –edged invitations in the post to a salubrious event. We would read it, make a mental note of the date, and then leave it behind the clock on the mantelpiece until nearer the event. Of course, by the time we came to look for it again, someone else in the family would have ´tidied up´ and thrown away the papers stuffed behind the clock and chaos would ensue.

The modern day equivalent of that scenario is that the invitation is published on face-book so that anyone can attend the event, (in this case a performance of music created by JS Back and his widespread family). I noticed it about three weeks before the concert, as I was scrolling down my fb page, but by the time I reached the foot of the list and returned to nearer the top where I had seen it, the invitation had gone. I had noted some salient points (date, venue and the music) but couldn’t remember the time. As the date was only a few days away I began to panic that I might not be able to treat my wife to this (free) performance.

Much arguing ensued of the you should have saved it immediately / I thought you would / I didn’t see it / oh it’s always my fault,…. and it was only on the day itself, after frantic searches on Google and all other search engines available, and the theatre website of where the function was to be held, (all to no avail) that a mutual friend of ours and the performers posted out a reminder again on the facebook platform.

Of course we were in a state of mild panic then and Casa Warwick was in turmoil, and we weren’t even sure if we were still on speaking terms or whether we going to sit sulking in front of the tv.

However, here on Lanzarote, arguments soon drift away over the mountains and out into the wild blue yonder, and at 3.15 we left home, hand in hand and skipped along the path to our car and set off on the 10K drive to Puerto Calero, where the yachts and the tall boats are moored, and where the Water-Taxi calls to collect passengers who take a half hour boat ride round the headland to Puerto Del Carmen. We have made this trip before and we know that there is a fantastic restaurant at the end of the ride, only twenty yards from where our water-taxi would pull up, or rather drop anchor. And only a further fifty yards further on is the Fondeadero, a building which houses a small theatre and several galleries and meeting rooms.

Our half hour on the ocean felt like we had rounded Cape Horn, as sung about in English Folk Songs, and although in fact our water-taxi had hugged the coastline there was enough of a swell to have the stomachs of those with a nervous disposition turning somersaults. Such feelings, however, were soothed by a fabulous view across the water to see Fuerteventura disappearing round the bend and over the horizon and, to port or starboard, the mansion style houses standing proud and magnificent along the platue of the headland. We slowed into the harbour at Peurto Callero, surrounded by homes and restaurants and boules (pitches? lanes?).

We stepped off the boat at 4.15, and so knew we could enjoy a lazy meal at La Valeta and by 4.15 and forty seconds we were seated at our favourite table looking out across the harbour. The staff here are prompt and polite and it is certainly a place that offers fine dining, but we ordered the less glamorous ¨Broken Egg¨ , which is actually two fried eggs and ham laid over a base, usually of chips, but here of delicate wafer thin potato slices. Even that is enhanced by the right amount of Tabasco sauce and a pint of beer or glass of wine by its side.. The apple tart and ice cream for dessert and an Americano and Capacino coffee completed what was just about as fine a dining as we could wish for.

We ambled across to the theatre, not quite sure in which part of the building the event would be held, but followed the crowd and took two seats near the front. The musicians and choristers were already in position and fine-tuning their act.

By the time the theatre was full, there was only just enough room left for the twenty five choristers, the ladies resplendent in all white, and musicians: a violinist, a flautist and musical director and keybard player Marianne Whelpdale, a ubiquitous figure at these kind of events and the subject of an interview and several reviews on these pages already.

She it was who welcomed the audience and introduced to us the choir of In Dulci Jubilo explaining that tonight’s music would be a selection of that built by JS Bach and other members of the Bach family,

The concert then opened with sounds, from a slightly raised platform behind the choir, of a recital of Sonata Number 1 para violin solo (Siciliana) composed by Johann Sebastion Bach.(1685 – 1750). This was an enticing piece with which to lead us into a further exploration of Bach Family music, and was beautifully and gently delivered by Diego Bermudez.

The next number brought us our first offering from In Dulci Jubilo. was got tut, das ist wohlgetana and had the choir supported by Marianna on piano and Diego again on violin and it was immediately obvious that that this was a robust and confident choir, and that was certainly confirmed throughout the rest of programme.

So Oft Ich Meine. Tobackspfeifes bwv 515 was another composition by JS Bach. This was a recital by Marianne on piano and a male soloist from the choir. He sanf, pipe in hand, and lent great character to the piece.

Our next piece of music came courtesy Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1712 -1788). This dramatic delivery from the full choir, was conducted by Marianne, who was also serving as compere, as she introduced each new piece of muisc.

She introduced Violinsonata re Mayor,la movimiento moderato, telling us this was music by Johann Ernst Bach (1722-1775), and she then played a beautiful piano accompaniment to the solo violinist, and between them delivered an enchanting piece.

We returned to Johann Sebastian for the sixth piece of music, this being Wachel auf, ruft uns die Stummer. This piece was deleiver by pano and violiN and a male soloist singer. All three semed of one accord and the timing of the piece was immaculate.

Another of Joihann Sebastian´s was next with Eins 1st Not. This was another full choral delivery and served to highlight some excellent female vocals over some deep base notes formt he males section. This created a manicient sense of rise and fuall to the piece.

We listened next to a piece from Johann Micheal Bach (1648 – 1694). His .ich Weiss, dass mein Eriosa lebt, was conducted by Hans Victor Reuter, in his Bachalanian wig and lending some character to the performance that enable us to hear some fine vocal sections by a lady in the choir with a floral head dress, in a section of the choir that delivered several stiurring sgemnts.

The penultimate performance brought us the Cantata Burlesque, another work by Johann Sebastian. It was beautifully delivered by a male femal vocalist duop from the choir, Melanie Wlunscheck and Axel Mischewski. The two choristers were accompanied by piano and violin lending a secular tone to he work.

The concert was brought to a premature end with Sonata Number One para violin solo, delivered presto, This lively offering brought great waves of applause from the audience and Marianne stepped forward and added him her congratulations too., and then thanked us all for coming.

There were loud requests for more from the audience and we give a selection of a handful of musical pieces linked in some way to Palestine. The opening piece was delivered by Andreus Sandermann on flute (beautifully ethereal) and a sprightly, dreamy piano). On the final piece of this encore the flute floated across a strong violin sound, in a perfect ending to what had been an absolutely excellent and that, as Joni Mitchell would have had it, had been ´played real good,..for free´!

We took a taxi back to our car at Peurto Calerro and were back home by 9.30 pm, having enjoyed one of about 350 days a year that bring something like this here on Lanzarote. No fuss, no bother just a crowd of people sharing the enjoyment of the arts with mutual respect. We heard not wrong one word, at least not once our early morning argument was over. Everything was on time, every where was swept and clean
and the sun was dropping diamonds down the coast.

I hope this review serves as a fitting footnote to last week’s article on these pages about Supporting The Arts On Lanzarote, in which I prasied the local and Island goiverment for their support of the arts and ensuring a number of free to the public events throughout the year. What they do is invaluable.

So, too, is the work of people like Marrian Whelpsdale, and the director of the Yaiza Choir and the conductors of ensemble like Yaiza Municipal Band. Such people edcuacate, encourage and facilitate thos who love to sing and play.

If you would like us to preview or review your public performances on these pages, drop me a line at