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Cambridgeshire Archives - Fedora Strings Sheet Music for Sale

Duo wedding violin and cello music at Orton Hall Hotel, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

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Orton Hall Hotel is one of the best wedding venues in Peterborough, so we were delighted  when our string trio was invited to play wedding music here again a couple of weeks ago.



We performed for  three hours during drinks and the wedding breakfast, moving from the conservatory – which is light and airy – to the main dining room.


The bride and groom had chosen extremely elegant decorations for the table settings and, as this was an Italian wedding, they had asked us to include some Italian music; so we played  Ave Maria, a selection from Vivaldi’s The Seasons, Italian arias – including Nessun Dorma and pieces from  La Boheme, La Traviata and Rigoletto – and  our own sheet music arrangement of Speak Softly – the love song  from The Godfather movie.


Orton Hall is an 18th century manor house surrounded by 20 acres of beautifully cared for grounds, which give  it a very open, relaxed feel. Organisation was excellent  throughout the day and the weather was wonderfully warm for October.

Wedding receptions and ceremonies in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire: Kimbolton Castle, Cambridgeshire

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A few days ago our string violin duo played for a wedding reception at Kimbolton Castle in Cambridgeshire: a magnificent  venue with superb architecture and a fascinating history. It was formerly the home of Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, and in 1615  was bought by Sir Henry Montagu, a royalist who was one of Charles I’s most trusted friends in the Civil War.

kimbolton 1

The bridal couple had requested a selection of happy, relaxed music, so Roger and Amanda played a mixture of folk fiddle, jazz, baroque – in particular Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor for two violins – and Broadway songs – which Roger especially enjoys arranging. They set up in the courtyard of the castle which had some shelter, but also good projection, and had a very enjoyable afternoon with many appreciative comments from the bride, the groom and the guests. There was even a specially hired ice cream tricycle giving out ice creams to help people keep cool – an original and very appropriate idea as it was exceptionally hot weather.

ice cream


Overall this was a relaxed wedding in a marvellous countryside setting: a truly memorable occasion.

Wedding ceremonies and receptions in Cambridgeshire: Castle Farm Guesthouse, Fotheringhay

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Last week our string duo played for a wedding ceremony and reception in the beautiful village of Fotheringhay in Cambridgeshire. The weather was extremely hot and the venue was lovely with a huge garden leading down to the River Nene.


We played outside the whole time, starting in a gazebo close to the marquee at the top of the lawn and then moving  to play in the shade of a large willow tree by the river for the ceremony. The bride had fifteen bridesmaids and several flower girls, so we performed the whole of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus for her entrance. Other music during the ceremony included All You Need Is Love, Air on a G String and Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. 



There were well over 100 guests and celebrations  continued into the evening. The bridal couple  had thoughtfully provided plenty of entertainment for children as well as the adults and,  in such high temperatures, it was especially enjoyable to be able to be close to the coolness of the river  throughout the occasion.

Wedding ceremonies and receptions in Cambridgeshire: Bassmead Manor, St Neots

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Last week our string duo  played for a wedding reception at Bassmead Manor. It was the second time we’d played here in a week and it’s no surprise it’s popular: it’s an exceptionally pretty venue in the middle of the peaceful Cambridgeshire countryside with a lovely garden. The restored barns are on the site of a medieval moat and the  area has been designated  a listed monument  by English Heritage.

bassmead best

The weather was extremely hot and for much of the time we were playing outside , next to the river, in the shade of a tree and to the intermittent accompaniment of peacocks.


We began with our own sheet music arrangements of classical and baroque music, moving on to newer arrangements of lighter pieces such as Viva la Vida, Palladio, Paradise, One Day Like This and some Beatles songs. The groom had also requested an arrangement of She’s Always a Woman by Billy Joel.


It was good to play in a venue so full of history. We may not live long, but classical music will!


Wedding receptions and ceremonies in Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire: Bythorn Church and Bassmead Manor

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Yesterday our string trio played for a wedding ceremony and reception in Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. The wedding took place  in the charming medieval church of Bythorn, Northamptonshire  – where the groom had grown up – and the flowers were  arranged  to give an informal countryside feel and complemented the venue beautifully.



The couple had asked for baroque music  and chose Handel’s Hornpipe for the bride’s entrance. We then accompanied two hymns  – Immortal Invisible and Tell Out My Soul – and for the signing performed Arrival of the Queen of Sheba followed by two works by Bach: Prelude in G for unaccompanied cello and Air on a G String. The exit music was The Prince of Denmark’s March by Jeremiah Clarke, and it was lovely to hear the exuberant peal of the church’s bells immediately afterwards.

After a short rest we packed up and travelled to Bassmead Manor in Staploe, Cambridgeshire, to play for the reception and  first part of the wedding breakfast.


The weather was ideal for playing outside – warm, no breeze and no harsh sunshine – and we chose mainly well known romantic classics, moving on to some of our own sheet music arrangements of lighter music, such as What a Wonderful World and I Dreamed a Dream. There were around 70 guests and the occasion had a relaxed warmth and was extremely enjoyable.










Wedding quartets in Cambridgeshire

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Last Saturday our string quartet played for a wonderful family wedding in Cambridgeshire. The ceremony had taken place in the local church and the wedding couple then arrived at the  garden of the bride’s family home by boat. As the bride  stepped on land we played her chosen piece: Meditation by Massenet.

The garden was very beautiful: immaculately tended and full of characterful features and hide away areas – the ideal garden of one’s dreams really. The family are classical music lovers and the bride asked us to select well known classics for the programme, and to include lots of Mozart and some Strauss waltzes. We played Mozart’s Divertimento in F, Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, Exultate Jubilate, Brahms Hungarian Dance, Italian arias, well known romantic pieces by Borodin, Verdi and Dvorak, and Strauss’s Blue Danube and Emperor waltz collections.

This was a large and extremely happy wedding celebration and it was extremely enjoyable to be part of the occasion and play string ensemble music which fitted  well into the surroundings and was so appropriate for the people involved.  We went home feeling  euphoric.


Wedding ceremonies and receptions in Cambridgeshire

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Last week our wedding string quartet played for a  reception at the home of the bridegroom’s parents – a beautiful house in Cambridgeshire. There were around 100 guests and we were booked to play for three hours to accompany drinks and the wedding breakfast. A spacious marquee had been set up in the garden and was attractively decorated with lighting that enhanced the happy, celebratory atmosphere.


The bride and groom had suggested we play mainly classical string ensemble pieces, focusing on baroque and romantic, and asked if we could finish with music from West End shows.   We started with selections from Handel’s Water Music, Vivaldi’ s Seasons and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 3  – all very popular – and moved on to include well known arias from Italian operas  and music by Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Debussy. Our show selection featured songs  from Les Miserables, Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof  and West Side Story.

It was a lovely occasion. perhaps especially as the venue was so relaxed and personal, and it was a pleasure for us to perform the wonderful string quartet repertoire in such a delightful setting and with such an appreciative audience.

Fedora Strings' New Wedding String Quartet Member

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We’re happy to welcome a new member to  our wedding string quartet: Amanda Lipman Amanda studied in London and Paris before returning to the UK to work with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and BBC Radio Orchestra and she has her own string ensemble chamber music group. She’ll be joining us for wedding quartet concerts in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire this season.She plays on a 19th century violin made by Voller which is a copy of a Guiseppe Guarneri del Gesu.

Amanda Lipman

String Ensemble Playing in Cambridgeshire

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Last Sunday Fedora Strings’ violinist – Roger Stimson – and myself  led the violin and cello sections of the City of Peterborough Youth Ensemble ( CPYE) in a concert of string orchestral music in Cambridgeshire. It reminded me of what a marvellous experience string orchestral playing can be. The repertoire is superb and every member of the ensemble is crucial: you play as part of a team – with no conductor – so trust and interdependence are vital.

I musiciI Musici in concert

I  used to love exploring  the great works for string orchestra when I was a member of the Scottish Baroque Ensemble and later, as artistic director of Peterborough String Orchestra.  I could name one superlative piece after another: Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings, Dvorak Serenade for Strings, Suk Serenade for Strings, Shostakovich Chamber Symphony, Britten Simple Symphony and Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Arensky Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky,   Bach Brandenburg 3, Grieg Holberg Suite, Stravinsky Concerto for String Orchestra, Rossini String Sonatas, Elgar Serenade for Strings and Introduction and Allegro, Handel Concerto Grossi, Purcell Chaconne in G minor, Mozart Divertimenti , Warlock Capriol Suite, Vivaldi The Seasons and Sinfonia in G…….the list just goes on and on.

Yet  now, having played Roger’s  adaptations of more or less anything for string duo, and beginning to create  sheet music arrangements myself,  I realise that the string orchestral repertoire  could be widened far further. In fact, for its next Peterborough concert in Cambridgeshire, CPYE will be playing an arrangement of Monteverdi’s famous Beatus Vir – which was originally written for voices with string accompaniment. The title of this early baroque work means ‘Blessed is Man’  and you can hear the joy in every phrase; there’s an  excellent performance on You Tube by the Swedish group  Vox Scaniensis  which has some delightful string playing.

monteverdiPainting of Monteverdi

Isn’t it amazing to think this work was composed around four hundred years ago, yet  is still easy  and straightforward to understand ?  As  musicologist Robert Donington says:” We are of this modern age and much has changed which could not be changed back again, even if we so desired. But not our deeper human nature and not the essential musicianship so intimately bound up with our human nature: these do not change.”

Business events and parties in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire: The Old Bridge Hotel, Huntingdon

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Last night we played classical string ensemble music for an exclusive evening business event at The Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon. We set up in the bar and as soon as we started played realised that the acoustics were excellent.  Initially the chairs they had offered us were a problem as the seats dipped in the middle, which is not good for the back and affects performance, but we soon found two small wooden ‘blocks’ which were being used as side tables and these were ideal to sit on.

Our programme varied from baroque and classical  – Bach, Pachelbel, Mozart, Elgar, Delibes, Rossini, Bizet, John Rutter – to excerpts from stage shows, some 1940s arrangements and folk tunes.  One of our main aims is to project the character of each piece and we’re always thinking of new ideas to keep the music vibrant and spontaneous.

The great thing about the classics though is that the more you perform them and understand them the better they get. We played for two hours, with a break in the middle, and the event went well with the atmosphere friendly, relaxed and enjoyable.