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kirby hall Archives - Fedora Strings Sheet Music for Sale

Fedora Strings' new videos at Kirby Hall

By | fedora strings, fedora strings performance, string teaching, tour dates | 6 Comments

We’ve just complete the filming of two new string ensemble duos that we frequently perform: Boccherini’s Minuet and Trio and Gershwin’s Summertime. Staff at English Heritage were generous enough to allow us to use the magnificent Kirby Hall in Northamptonshire as a setting for the session.

We filmed the Boccherini outside, in the ‘great garden’ which contains statues, topiary and urns – very appropriate to the classical period.But finding a backdrop for the Gershwin was more of a challenge, as it comes from the opera Porgy and Bess which is set in South Carolina. Eventually we decided on a sandy-coloured walkway which was partly covered and had a gravel  floor, as this  evoked some of the hot feeling that is appropriate for the music.










Our film crew were the excellent Lux Technical, who made our videos last year, one of which won an award on You Tube. Despite the professionalism of our film crew the whole occasion was quite  tough for us, as, like most people, neither Roger nor I are very comfortable about being filmed close up. However, everything went well and the videos will be going on You Tube and our website next week.

Kirby Hall website: www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/kirbyhall

Lux technical website: www.luxtechnical.co.uk

You Tube Success!

By | fedora strings, fedora strings performance, tour dates | 5 Comments

We were  pleased to find out that last week our performance of Arrival of the Queen of Sheba was chosen to be first on the  Best You Tube Videos of Handel compilation by www.musicsense.org  – especially as there are over 4000 videos of Handel on the internet.

Many thanks to our super film crew, Lux Technical, our recording engineer, Hugh Davies, and to English Heritage for so generously allowing us to make the film at the beautiful Kirby Hall. This wonderful stately home is an inspirational place to visit and the perfect setting for classical music.

Arrival of the Queen of Sheba is one of the pieces most frequently chosen for wedding ceremonies.But who was the Queen of Sheba? In fact the music is part of Handel’s oratorio Solomon which is based on the romantic, not to say sexy,  old testament story in the Book of Kings which  tells how the queen arrives in Jerusalem as a guest of King Solomon and  ends up spending the night with him.








Of course Handel originally wrote the piece for full orchestra, not string duo, but I’m sure he would have been delighted that nearly three hundred years after it was written his music was  still being arranged for  many different combinations of instruments because it was so popular. He’d probably have been impressed that he had such a high profile on the internet too!


Fedora Strings filming at Kirby Hall

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In the same way that raw cake ingredients mixed together sometimes taste better than a cooked cake, it’s hard to imagine that Kirby Hall could ever have been more evocative than it is today.  Much of this grand Elizabethan home was neglected or destroyed by varying owners before it was rescued by English Heritage, but although the main structure of the building is all that remains, its beauty is powerful and affecting. Kirby Hall is close to our home base in Oundle and staff were generous enough to allow us to film our three videos there. Our film crew were Lux Technical: a team of three imaginative young men who have just formed their own company.

kirby hall

As we hadn’t visited Kirby Hall before we weren’t sure which rooms would be best to use, but Jamie – one of the Lux team – went exploring and found settings which suited each of the pieces. The Spanish-looking backdrop for La Cumparsita was really discovered by default: it had started raining by then and this was the only outside part of the building that had any cover, and even that was pretty minimal.

kirby peacockIt’s wonderful playing string music in such a responsive setting and it reminded me of other buildings or works of art that have somehow increased in vitality and presence even though they are damaged and incomplete: the Parthenon, the Coliseum, the Venus de Milo statue… Wouldn’t it be good if this rather weird rule could apply to humans too?!

JB, August 2011.

Kirby Hall website: www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/kirbyhall

Lux technical website: www.luxtechnical.co.uk