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string duos Archives - Fedora Strings Sheet Music for Sale

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.

String duo arrangements of Beatles' music

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Today Roger and I have been rehearsing for a string duo engagement next week where we’ll be playing some arrangements  which are new to us. These include two songs by the Beatles: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Eleanor Rigby. Although we both love classical music we’ve been enjoying the Beatles’ songs we now have in our repertoire. Many of them work well for string ensemble  and have long, lyrical lines which are ideal for the expressiveness of the violin and cello sound. My favourite is Yesterday but I also like the lightheartedness of  P.S. I Love You and Can’t Buy Me Love and  the dreaminess of Imagine. While rehearsing Eleanor Rigby I remembered noticing a statue of the same name when I was working in Liverpool a few years ago. It’s positioned on the side of a street in such a way that you almost think it’s a real person until you look more carefully. Who can’t identify with the searing loneliness that  affects so many people at some time in their life?   I think the music is successful in  creating the feeling of relentlessness and alienation that the words are  about and this arrangement of Roger’s has some tricky string crossing passages too.

Wedding ceremonies and receptions in Peterborough and Northamptonshire: Marholm Church, Peterborough

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Last Friday our duo played for a wedding ceremony at St Mary the Virgin Church in Marholm, on the outskirts of Peterborough. The church is close to Helpston, home of the famous poet John Clare. Whenever I’m in this area I’m always reminded of Clare’s poetry and his gentle love of the countryside.

We had been asked to play as the guests arrived and during the ceremony. The music requested was classical – including the well known Pachelbel Canon and Morricone’s beautiful aria Gabriel’s Oboe – with some appropriate pop songs like Imagine, Close To You and P.S. I Love You. The bride chose the traditional Bridal Chorus by Wagner for her entrance and as there were several pageboys and bridesmaids we played the complete piece, which lasted around two minutes. For the signing the music selected was I’ve Had the Time of My Life, Can You Feel the Love Tonight and Songbird, and the exit music was All You Need Is Love, which we followed with Money Can’t Buy Me Love. We’ve found that usually three pieces are needed for the signing, which takes between five and seven minutes , and we’ve started playing two pieces for the exit so that the music continues until all the guests have left.
Some of the music was new to us on this occasion, but we are expanding our repertoire all the time and put a lot of imagination into creating our own string ensemble versions that enhance the expressive qualities of string instruments and add to the romance of the occasion. Overall this was a peaceful, countryside wedding in a traditional setting and the acoustics in the church were excellent.

Fedora Strings' new videos at Kirby Hall

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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

Wedding ceremonies and receptions in Northamptonshire and Kent: Weddington House, Ash, near Canterbury

By | fedora strings, fedora strings performance, planning your wedding, tour dates | 7 Comments

Yesterday our string quartet and duo played for a wedding ceremony and reception in Kent. This engagement was the furthest from home that we’ve had so far, but the countryside was beautiful, well worth travelling to see.  The wedding ceremony took place at the church of St Mary the Virgin in the majestic grounds of Northbourne Park School at Betteshanger.









Our violin and cello duo played as the guests arrived and for drinks immediately after the ceremony. The bride asked us to play a selection of classical tunes and to include the Flower Duet by Delibes.  We chose wedding music which was fairly well known including Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Fairest Isle,  Trumpet Tune by Clarke, Air on a G String by Bach, Vivaldi Gloria, Rimsky Korsakov’s  Hindu Song and some unaccompanied Bach from the cello suites.









We then packed our instruments away and drove to the wedding reception at Weddington House  in Ash, where we joined our two colleagues, who had been playing classical violin and viola duos to greet the guests. The idea was that the music was seamless from one venue to the other and this worked well: as soon as we arrived at Weddington, before we had even parked the car,  we could hear lovely playing which enhanced the occasion wonderfully.










We set up as a wedding quartet in the large marquee and then performed string quartet arrangements of familiar tunes from the 1940s and music from some of the shows while guests had tea, sandwiches and cakes.  Our repertoire included The Man I Love, Someone To Look After Me, Love Walked In, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Night and Day, Summertime, Tonight, I Could Have Danced All Night, They Can’t Take That Away From Me , If I Were A Rich Man and As Time Goes By. The bride had organised delicious food for us during the break between quartet playing, which was very welcome, and this was a long, but enjoyable and immensely rewarding day.

Wedding ceremonies and receptions in Northamptonshire and Peterborough: Hunsbury Hill Centre, Northampton

By | fedora strings, fedora strings performance, planning your wedding, tour dates | 4 Comments

A few days ago Fedora Strings’ duo played for a wedding at Hunsbury Hill Centre just outside Northampton. Because of a cancellation the booking was made at the last minute,  but the event was excellently organised. Hunsbury Hill Centre is an 18th century  converted barn complex and we were seated in the minstrels’ gallery for the wedding ceremony and then played downstairs while the guests had drinks. It rained quite alot, but this didn’t affect people’s moods. I wonder how much difference weather makes to your feelings anyway. You certainly don’t need the sun to shine to feel happy, and I’ve always rather liked the saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. Of course, this doesn’t apply to places like the Antarctic or the desert, but then humans aren’t really meant to live there anyway.






We performed Pachelbel’s Canon for the bride’s entrance , Londonderry Air and This Is The Day for the signing, and All You Need Is Love for the exit. Afterwards our programme was a mixture of classical and light pieces and we played some new folk music that Roger had recently arranged.