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Northamptonshire Archives - Fedora Strings Sheet Music for Sale

Recordings of string duet sheet music arrangements

By | buy music, duo wedding cello and violin music, fedora strings, fedora strings performance, sheet music, tour dates, violin and cello duet sheet music | 3 Comments

Roger and I recently recorded some of the violin and cello duet sheet music arrangements we are now selling on line. We  made the recordings at the wonderful Wadenhoe Church in Northamptonshire which is idyllically situated at the top on a hill – isolated from roads and noise.  Having recently read Andrew Graham Dixon’s book, A History of British Art which explains the extent of the destruction of British art in churches during the reformation I kept wondering how much more decorative Wadenhoe Church would have been before this took place.  Its atmosphere remains tranquil though and it is a beautiful place to work ; we are extremely grateful to the parish for allowing us to record there.

Our violin and cello duet sheet music sales are going well – it’s quite weird that the internet has made it so easy and quick to sell to clients at the other end of the world – and we look forward to putting the recordings on line later this month.

History of British Art

Duo wedding violin and cello music at Fawsley Hall

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Last Friday our string duet played for a wedding ceremony and reception at the stunningly beautiful Fawsley Hall – a Tudor country mansion in hundreds of acres of grounds which were originally designed by Capability Brown.As we drove up to the hall it was relaxing to see so many sheep peacefully grazing in the fields of this tranquil estate.

The  wedding ceremony took place in an impressively elegant  room with a high ceiling and very resonant acoustics.


We played mainly classical music as the guests arrived and most of it was baroque; this always  seems appropriate for more ceremonial occasions. The bride had asked us to perform  our string duet of Pachelbel’s Canon in D as her bridesmaids walked in and Bridal Chorus for her own  entrance. For the signing she had requested our sheet music arrangement of Your Song by Elton John and Arrival of the Queen of Sheba as exit music.



There was a building on this site as early as the eighth century and the estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It’s  fascinating to brood on how much history the hall has seen and how many weddings and romances it has witnessed. I don’t suppose human nature has changed a great deal in all that time.


Wedding receptions and ceremonies in Northamptonshire and Peterborough: Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth

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Last Friday our string trio played for a wedding ceremony at Walnut Tree Inn, in Blisworth in Northamptonshire.

walnut 2

It was a small intimate wedding with around fifty guests and as they arrived we played a selection of baroque music finishing with Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. The bride’s entrance was preceded by four bridesmaids – two very young – and to accompany this we performed Pachelbel’s Canon, and then switched to Coldplay’s Paradise as the bride herself arrived. The bridesmaids were especially sweet and quite hesitant about their walk down the aisle.

For the signing the couple had chosen One Day Like This followed by Wonderful World and then Summertime. The couple’s exit music was All You Need Is Love.

walnut tree

While the guests then relaxed and had drinks and photographs began we chose to perform a selection of well known Italian arias, Strauss waltzes and some of Roger’s sheet music arrangements of Gershwin songs.It was  lovely, happy occasion with the guests listening attentively for much of the time and the weather fine and sunny.

New cd recording session at Wadenhoe in Northamptonshire

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Last week Roger and I completed the first stage of our new cd recording. The cd will focus on folk music and,  like our first cd, will consist of our own  arrangements. In addition we’ll be selling the sheet music arrangements on our website as soon as we have time to edit them thoroughly. To buy our first cd click here http://www.fedorastrings.com/moonlight-and-music-cd-by-fedora-strings/

i love

We  have very generously been allowed  to use Wadenhoe Church in Northamptonshire again for our recording session and it’s a venue we’ve come to love: the surrounding scenery is beautiful and the acoustic  excellent, but more than this, the church  has a feeling of rightness, balance  and harmony which is hard to explain. In this way it reminds me of Bach’s music, and always helps me feel calm and regain  perspective – no bad thing when you’re about to embark on the stress of a recording session.

wadenhoeWadenhoe Church

In the morning we recorded six tracks of folk music: Londonderry Air, Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, Over the Hills and Far Away, Lilliburlero, My Love is Like a Red Red Rose and Dance to Your Daddy. In the afternoon we continued with four pop tracks for our website: Eleanor Rigby, All You Need Is Love, One Day Like This and Songbird. Of course most of us know the names of the composers of the pop songs, but who wrote the traditional folk tunes ? Folk music is street music , so it’s very democratic, and perhaps its a surprise that so many of the songs are lovely. Or perhaps it shows that the need for expression is inherent for us all.

imagesItalian folk musicians

Wedding receptions and ceremonies in Northamptonshire and Peterborough: St Mary the Virgin Church, Bozeat

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On Saturday our string duo played for a wedding ceremony in Bozeat in Northamptonshire. I hadn’t been to this village before, even though it’s relatively close to our Oundle base, and it dates from Saxon times; its unusual name probably means Bosa’s gate – Bosa being a local earl who owned lots of land a  long, long time ago.  The wedding took place in the  secluded St Mary the Virgin Church, which is as pretty and traditional as you would hope a village church might be.


We played a mix of classical and popular pieces as the guests arrived, interspersing  Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Palladio, Paradise, All You Need Is Love and Songbird with a selection of baroque music. The bride had requested  Bridal Chorus for her entrance, Moon River, Flower Duet and Somewhere ( from West Side Story) for the signing, and Viva la Vida as exit music. We also accompanied two hymns: Amazing Grace and Morning Has Broken – which, by chance,  is my own favourite. All of the pieces we performed were our own string duo sheet music arrangements.

There were around 70 guests and the sun came out to help celebrate  the ceremony.

Wedding receptions and ceremonies in Northamptonshire: Sedgebrook Hall Hotel

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Yesterday our string duo played for a small, intimate wedding at Sedgebrook Hall Hotel in Northamptonshire. There were only twenty five people present and this made the occasion especially personal and affecting. Our appearance was a complete surprise to the groom and the guests; it had all been arranged in secret by the bride, who had spent the last few months playing her husband-to-be recordings of different pieces to discover what he liked best, without him realising  she had an ulterior motive.


As the guests arrived we played baroque –  Bach, Purcell, Vivaldi and Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – then the couple  walked into the room to the accompaniment of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus. For the signing we performed Pachelbel’s Canon followed by the Flower Duet by Delibes and we ended the ceremony with Widor’s Toccata. This was the first time we had performed  Roger’s very technically demanding arrangement of this work and I think it’s surprisingly effective for string duo.

Luckily the weather was beautifully sunny and during the drinks’ reception we chose lighter music and ended with another surprise for the groom: a performance of One Day Like This, his favourite song. The bride and groom drew close  while we played  and then started dancing gently together. Music is what feelings sound like.

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 Quartet Rehearsals in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire

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This Thursday marks the first in a series of wedding quartet rehearsals  we’ve planned to prepare for our forthcoming busy season of work in Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Befordshire , London and Surrey. As always we are expanding our wedding music repertoire, this time including works by Monteverdi, Strauss and other classical composers alongside some pop sheet music arrangements, mostly written by Roger.

string quartet

String quartet playing is quite different from string duo playing. In a duo you are very much equal partners  – and it’s crucial that both players can project and play like a soloist when they have the tune and fall back into an accompanying role when necessary. In string duo work I’ve always pestered Roger for more and more tunes on the cello and this has sometimes made the music extremely demanding. In our arrangement of Widor’s Toccata, for example, the arpeggios involve loads of string crossing and shifting on the cello,  and are far easier on the original instrument – the organ. And our duo version of the  famous Pachelbel Canon transforms the cello part from eight notes repeated 54 times to lots of tricky, fun, fast passages.

All this adventure is not so often possible for the cellist in a string quartet. There’s a strong hierachy, with the leader having the majority of the tunes, and the cellist needing to provide the bass line and not being too individual. However, while this is less technically demanding, the unity of sound created by a string quartet is an absolute pleasure to be involved in, and  character is , of course, important in all performance.

pachebel Johann Pachelbel

By the way, to understand more of what I mean about the cello part of Pachelbel Canon have a look at Rob Paravonian’s speech on You Tube : http://youtu.be/JdxkVQy7QLM – its’ extremely funny.

String ensemble events in Northamptonshire: Shoe Heaven at Northampton Museum

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Last Friday night our Fedora Strings’  duo played for the Shoe Heaven event at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. Northampton has the largest collection of shoes in the world and the examples on display ranged from the exquisite and historically fascinating (Nijinsky’s ballet shoes and Roman sandals looking as modern as anything you’d find in a shop today) to the macabre ( tiny shoes for Chinese women with bound feet which must have meant the wearer’s movement was cruelly limited.)


We’d been given a free choice of music to perform and Roger had arranged Elvis Presley’s Blue Suede Shoes for the occasion. We also chose appropriate lighter music such as Puttin’ on the Ritz, Let’s Face the Music and Dance and I Could Have Danced All Night which we followed with several Beatles’ numbers. We divided the playing into three sections: Light, Folk and Classical. Everything was our own sheet music arrangements for string duo and most of the pieces we can also play as wedding quartet music.

shoes 2

Some of the more bizarre shoe designs  were shaped so weirdly that it made me question the significance of shoes in general, apart from basic foot protection. While I certainly think it’s good if shoes are imaginative and attractive, they clearly mean more to women than they do to men. I once heard someone say that you can tell what a woman thinks about herself by observing the kind of shoes she wears. I doubt that that’s entirely true, but I bet no one would even suggest it about a man.

Unaccompanied Bach in Northamptonshire

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Next Monday I’m recording Bach’s third unaccompanied cello suite at Wadenhoe Church to complete the Bach cd I’m making ( the first cello suite was recorded last May.) The music is so happy in spirit that however fed up you may be feeling it usually has an uplifting effect. It’s in the uncomplicated key of  C major and has a certain virility and confidence  that makes it a joy to play, despite its technical challenges.


I’m not an early music specialist but I’ve been reading musicologist Robert Donington’s book A Performer’s Guide to Baroque Music  which has some interesting things to say:

When  a virtuoso cellist conveys a sense of undue strain in Bach’s unaccompanied  suites by too massive a sonority and too heavy an articulation, this is not from any unsuitablity in his noble  instrument; it is because  he is applying a mental concept which, powerful and impressive though it may be, does not really lie within the baroque boundaries of style and is not really matched to the implications of the music.”

” The baroque performer was meant to set his stamp on the music. Reverence for the written text can be a virtue, but was no part of the baroque attitude. A text left deliberately incomplete was not meant to be exactly established but imaginatively realised. Options left open by the composer cannot be tied down to any exact intention: the intention was that they should remain the performer’s options.

Quoting  sentences out of context is a bit like the dodgy practice of manipulating phrases from the bible to make your point.  But one interesting aspect of the book is that Mr Donington believes that baroque performers were trained in a completely different way from modern performers and that improvisation in concerts and creatively altering music you were going to play was the norm. This must have given players a wonderful sense of freedom which would be hard to regain today. Perhaps the main point though is just to enjoy it.