Felixstowe Recorded Music Society: Tony Coles

A LIGHTER TOUCH

This was Tony’s second presentation to us. Previously (on 20th May 2015 – A Life of Song) he had given us some fascinating insights into singing, whether in a choir or as an individual. This was to be more general programme – a lighter gallimaufry.

He began as he had done last time with something that always took him back to his childhood – The Teddy Bears’ Picnic. (Correctly identified by us as by Henry Hall and his Orchestra.)

Next Mozart’s Grand Partita, the Serenade No. 10, for 12 wind instruments and double bass. We heard the finale – Allegro Molto. Tony described this as a cheerful rondo, with all the brilliance of an operatic finale in which the soloists have their own characteristic comments to make.

Then the superb clarinettist, Sabine Meyer, played the Mozart Clarinet Concerto on the Basset Clarinet, a variant that has not been heard since Mozart’s time. We heard the middle movement – Adagio. The Dresden Staatskapelle was conducted by Hans Vonk. The basset instrument does justice to the lower register. “Isn’t that a lovely tone?”

Tony’s next choice he considered as possibly the highlight of the first half: Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte – Thus do they all. A brief synopsis: Two officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo are certain that their fiancees, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, will be faithful. Don   Alfonso is cynical and lays a bet that within a day he can prove them unfaithful. He arranges a sham military posting and the men “sail away to war”. Dorabella and Fiordiligi bemoan the torment of having been left alone and the maid, Despina, mocks them, and urges them to take new lovers while they are away. “Do you hope for faithfulness in men and soldiers? In uomini, in soldati, sperare fedelta? The leaves, furniture and fickle breezes are more reliable than men! False tears, deceptive looks and charming lies are their primary qualities. Let us females pay them back in kind. Let’s love for convenience, for vanity!”

We were privileged to hear a recording where Tony’s eldest daughter Susan (now known as Priti) sang the part of Despina. A recording made with the Slovak Philharmonia Chorus and the Capella Istropolitana conducted by Johannes Wildner. Susan teaches these days in Vienna.
Next was a sublime discovery by Tony about 60 years ago, Schubert’s Impromptu No. 2 in E flat, Opus 90, D899. It was played by Alfred Brendel. Tony remembered when there were records in the library (now the shop kept by Dick Moffat – Poor Richard’s Books), and when Stan Butcher used to make recommendations. (There was a picture of Stan Butcher in the previous newsletter, where Bob Meadows had an interesting story about him.)

Schubert’s song Heidenroslein defies translation. It is usually rendered as Heath Rose (anybody ever seen one?) The crux of the story (it is a poem by Goethe) is simple enough. A boy says to a rose: “I’m going to pick you” and the rose replies: “If you do I will prick you”. But to no avail. The boy picks the rose and the rose has to suffer.

Another beautiful work for clarinet followed: Brahms’ famous Clarinet Quintet. The penultimate movement marked Andantino.

Then for a musical change a lovely Victorian song: Tom Bowling. It’s not strictly Victorian, as it was written by Charles Dibdin (1740 to 1814) and first appeared in 1789. Thomas Dibdin, Charles’ brother, was 29 years older than him, a captain of a ship in the East India trade who died at sea. But as Tony said it was much loved by the Victorians and again now. It was performed by Robert Tear and Mr Preview (Andre Previn for those who did not see the Morecambe and Wise sketch). Tony had brought along an album of Victorian Songs and Ballads by Tear with the words and music in it.

Next Klever Kaff. Who was that? It was her sister’s nickname for Kathleen Ferrier. Tony just mentioned that he had once sat immediately behind her as a chorus member at Glyndebourne in one of Reginald Jaques’ annual performances of the St Matthew Passion, when she swept in with her fur stole. Tony played: Blow the Wind Southerly and Schubert’s An die Musik. The second extract was from a radio tribute celebrating her art following her death: “The Incomparable Kathleen Ferrier”.

Anthony Rolfe-Johnson CBE, the tenor, who died in 2010, is still much missed. Tony was a member of the Britten Pears Chamber Choir, with a miserable choir master, but it was a joy to perform Bach’s B minor Mass under Tony Rolfe Johnson at Lavenham. We heard him in a Shakespearean song, O Mistress Mine.

To take us up to the interval, Tony played part of Sir Thomas Beecham in Rehearsal. He had promised to play something that we had never heard before and he was right.  “Tommy” Beecham’s rather unusual singing voice was certainly different! Tony told us how he had happened to be in the right place at the right time when Sir Thomas placed an ad in the Daily Telegraph inviting singers to join a new choir, as he wished to make some definitive recordings before he died. Tony remembered vividly rehearsing and then performing at the Royal Festival Hall, and especially recording at the famous Abbey Road Studios. The piece Beecham was rehearsing was the Chorus of the Janissaries, from Mozart’s Il Seraglio, The Abduction from the Harem.

Interval

Tony had intended to start the second half with a recording of Peter Crompton playing Widor and Satie on the magnificent organ at the Royal Hospital School, but time was against him, so we moved to his next selection which was Benjamin Luxon singing The Foggy Foggy Dew. This was a rather folksy interpretation whereas Tony would have preferred the Britten and Pears version, but this was the one that came to hand. As he said, it was rather hard to believe that it was actually Luxon.

One of Tony’s favourite genres is French song. By way of contrast he played the same song by two different French singers: the song was Apres un Reve (After a Dream). First we heard Gerard Souzay and then Pierre Bernac. On a show of hands, Bernac’s interpretation was preferred to Souzay’s. Bernac, Tony informed us, published a book “The Interpretation of French Song” which became quite a bible for students.

Tony followed this with another comparison and contrast between Jake Thackray and Georges Brassens. Jake spent some years teaching in France and was much influenced by Brassens, although he did not merely copy him. His distinctive voice and literate, witty lyrics displaying a wide range of moods and emotions were often to be heard on television programmes such as The Braden Beat, the Frost Report and That’s Life. Tony remembered him at the Spa Pavilion and later saw him at Snape – not in the concert hall but in the café, with his guitar and just bass and drums. Which was typical Jake and his preferred style of performing.

Jake’s decline was sad. He retired to his home in Monmouth in the 1990s, where he restricted his appearances to performing the Angelus at his local church; he became an alcoholic and was declared bankrupt, dying in 2002. Such a sad end to such a stunning career.

Tony played The Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker and The Gorilla, and then again for contrast, Le Gorille, sung by Brassens. (Jake sang in English, Brassens in French.) The Blacksmith and the Toffee Maker song was new to all of us. Tony noted particularly Thackray’s wonderful articulation.

The sisters Katia and Marielle Labeque are the internationally renowned French Piano Duo. Tony saw them play at Snape on two pianos. We heard a recording of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag. “All the right notes in the right order” said Tony (another reference to the Morecambe and Wise Andre Previn sketch. For those who did not see it, Eric attempted Grieg’s Piano Concerto at which Andre expostulated: “You’re playing all the wrong notes!” Eric replied that he was playing all the right notes – not necessarily in the right order!)

Less turbo charged playing of Joplin by Joshua Rifkin, the concert waltz Bethena, followed. Rifkin found fame through the film “The Sting” with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, where Joplin’s music provides a brilliant sound track, but he was already a leading academic, particularly in the field of Renaissance and Baroque music. Tony saw him play at Nottingham University, sitting very close to one end of his grand piano and will always remember the beatific expression on his face!

On a music holiday in Austria in the 1980s, Tony heard Sarah Watts play. She is an exponent of the jazz bassoon. We heard an extract from ‘Watts with the Jazz Bassoon’, a piece called Hoy by Mike Hatchard. Hatchard played the piano with the Cleo Laine Quintet, and on the recording Alec Dankworth, Cleo and John’s son, was playing double bass. Tony said it was recorded at the Dankworths’ studio in Wavendon.

Tony ended his programme with The King’s Singers and Blackbird, from their 20th  anniversary recording. Blackbird was written by Lennon and McCartney. As Tony had explained to us in his previous presentation, ‘Mr Carrington’ had been a master at his school, who had arrived with a young son, Simon, who went on to be one of the founders of The King’s Singers.

It had been a highly enjoyable evening. Mike who was standing in for Norman, thanked Tony but time was getting on and there wasn’t really enough time to do justice to such a varied programme, spiced with Tony’s personal reminiscences. It was certainly something special to have a recording of an opera made by one’s daughter.

Mike Fowle

Felixstowe Forward

Helen Greengrass Change Director

This is the first of many pieces we shall include about Felixstowe Forward.

Immediately the impact of the launch of this great new intiative: Felixstowe Foward was confused by a local Councillor saying that the cliff is too unstable to support any funincular. That’s very unlikely.

A very good first meeting, over 100 people attended, all full of ideas. It shows there is real energy in our town, and we need to get started.

 

 
Felixstowe Forward

Spa Pavilion

Spa Pavilion FelixstoweGenerations of local people have been entertained at this theatre. Hardly maintained for years now the Council appear to have washed their hands of the place.

Recently it has been announced that NRG THEATRES LTD, a company formed on the 25th February 2015 , who are based in 20-22 Wenlock Road, London N1 have taken over the Spa. No other details have been announced

When 20 Felixstowe residents applied to manage the Spa Pavilion in 2006 we were told we didn’t have any financial history as a group.

Our group was packed full with the professionals needed, theatre folk, people from TV and radio, bankers, lawyers, accountants, local amateur dramatists. We wanted to take over the theatre this time but were not even considered

How does NRG Theatres, based in Tottenham, London with no track record qualify?

We need to see the contract SCDC has signed. Already there’s a strong rumour that NRG has other intentions. The centre picture below shows three of our Councillors and two people from NRG Theatres Ltd. To the left is a picture of how the gardens once looked. Pictures 1 & 3 are courtesy of Ipswich Star

What do you think should happen? Do you want a theatre? Would you rather see it converted to apartments?

NRG Theatres Ltd

A company registered in February 2015 have been given a contract by Suffolk Coastal District Council for the Spa Pavilion.

We have no more information than that.

Ray Anderson is the Managing Director of NRG Theatres Ltd, see below for more details. In addition the C4 TV programme about BigL radio at Frinton shows others involved:

Chris Vezey, the Big L Station Manager. He runs VIP Broadcasting: “VIP Broadcasting is now in its 16th year supplying programming and services to key radio stations worldwide, from award-winning productions to management consulting and coaching.” With particular reference to radio consultancy: “From start up to training and coaching, audience and revenue building, change management – talk to us about your requirements.”

Ian Roy Macgregor, one of the backers. He is currently Director / Company Secretary of Big L Ltd, and describes himself as a Recruitment Consultant. He was previously a director of Career Marketing Partnership Limited, Pedley Macgregor Limited, A S A P (Birmingham) Limited and Midland Voluntary Housing Limited, all of which are now no longer trading.

Adam Peter Barwell, the other backer. He is currently Director of Big L Ltd, and describes himself as a Care Home Owner. He is also a current Director of Citypledge Limited, Rigg Holdings Limited, Yorklease Limited, Wythall Residential Home Limited, Bournville Grange Limited and Tudor House Limited.

The last published accounts of Big L Ltd are to 31 March 2014, and show Total Assets of £58,578. There are Long Term Liabilities of -£1,816,091. Since incorporation on 5 October 2005 Big L Ltd has accrued losses of -£2,504,067.

Checking on the history of the main applicant we believe him to be Ray Anderson.

His company history is shown as:

Raymond George Frederick Anderson – “Born 63 years ago: 1951”

Tendring Community Radio Limited – Dissolved
Millennium Television Limited – Dissolved
East Anglian Productions Limited – Retired July 1998
Radio London Limited – Retired April 1998
Eleventh Hour Productions Limited – Retired April 1998

Raymond George Frederick Anderson – “Born 63 years ago: 1951”

Nrg Theatres Ltd – Incorporation date 25 Feb 2015

Registered Address / Trading Address
20-22 Wenlock Road
London
N1 7GU
United Kingdom

Ray George Frederick Anderson – “Born 63 years ago: 1951”

August Broadcasting Limited – Incorporation date 17 Dec 2013
Nova Windows & Doors Limited – Incorporation date 22 Jan 2014
International Recruitment (London) Limited – Incorporation date 06 Mar 2014

Registered Address / Trading Address for all 3 of the above
7 Horsey Road
Kirby-Le-Soken
Frinton-On-Sea
CO13 0DZ
United Kingdom

Radlon Media Limited – Dormant since 2004
Radio London International Limited – Dormant since 2004
Jumbo Press Ltd – Dormant since 2012

The Artistic Director is believed to be Vince Rayner http://www.vincerayner.co.uk/ who has never been involved in theatre management.

He has worked in as an bit-part actor in TV Hi-De-Hi, The Bill, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Miss Marple, Eastenders, Only Fools & Horses, Yes, Prime Minister, The Chief,Silent Witness, Vanity Fair, Lovejoy, David Copperfield, Small World, Rockcliffe’s Babies, East of Ipswich, Marjorie and Men, Killing on the Exchange, Executive Stress

FOI response

Just received an answer to FOI 32106:

Request:
Spa Pavilion cliff-face: why as part of Seafront Gardens project wasn’t the cliff behind
the Spa Pavilion made safe, and a stand-alone feature, rather than relying upon the
support of the Spa Pavilion?

Response:
The Felixstowe Seafront Gardens Restoration Project is by definition a gardens
restoration project and not a cliff stabilisation scheme and therefore the
stabilisation of the cliff behind the Spa Pavilion is outside the scope of the
project.

Hours of officer time to produce response: 1 hour

SCDC has been asked under FOI 32106: Spa Pavilion cliff face not part of garden works so why has the Ranelagh Road cliff been reinforced,
and the old cafe in the gardens beside the Town Hall. Are you saying they were not cliff stabilisation projects that
they are ‘just’ gardening projects?
If so how much did they each cost as part of the Gardens Project?

 

We have served Suffolk Coastal Coastal District Council with a Freedom of Information request about the reported contract for this theatre.

It asks:

As a result of the publicity about the Spa Pavilion and a new contract we need answers to the following questions:

1. What is the nature of the contractual relationship entered into with NRG Theatres Ltd?

2. Is it a sale or lease agreement?

3. If a sale: What was the price paid for the Spa Pavilion?

4. Was it paid in full or will it be paid in installments?

5. Who will now own the curtilage, ie the land immediately surrounding it, including any closely associated buildings and structures?

6. Have the new owners been given any rates relief?

If a lease agreement;

7. How long will the agreement last, and is it renewable?

8. Will SCDC pay any future expenditure: maintenance, security, heat & light, repairs, staff costs?

General Questions

9. Have the owners given any financial guarantees regarding how much they will invest?

10. Have the new owners given any guarantees regarding how long they will trade?

11. Who are the backers?

Importantly

12. Have SCDC done due diligence on the financial worthiness of the new owners / backers?

13. Is there a reversionary clause in the sale contract, whereby the ownership reverts to SCDC if NRG Theatres fail to comply with sale conditions or?

14. Has a detailed plan for refurbishing the building, and start of performances been submitted and agreed?

Anderson at BigL

‘Get Your Act Together with Harvey Goldsmith’ was a Channel 4 (UK) television programme in which promoter Harvey Goldsmith was given six months to help revive the fortunes of six entertainment businesses or performers. Each one was given a separate episode in the series.

Much of the show revolves around the battle between Goldsmith and the people who he is trying to help. The acts are often reluctant to take on board his advice, or even to change at all. Goldsmith is often frustrated at the slow pace at which those he is advising are progressing.

In this episode Harvey attempts to turn round the fortunes of ailing radio station Big L.

This was a follow-up show to ‘Get Your Act Together’ – on ‘sister’ channel E4 after the main programme had been aired on Channel 4. It featured Harvey Goldsmith with some of the main people behind Big L and a studio audience which included members of the public and some invited radio industry people.

The main programme can be found at http://youtu.be/Y0yY6dGnGB0

need to be loved

firebombThis is the story that appeared in the EADT, 21st October 2005. No more information ever came to light, but it seems someone was out to get Ray Anderson, who was believed to be living there at the time. He was rumoured to have borrowed money from some somewhat dodgy individuals. His father had a lucky escape.

One of his other creditors was asked by the police if he knew of anyone who might hold a grudge. He burst out laughing!

Spa update

15 May 2015: it is reported in the EADT today that the Council will sign a contract with NRG Theatres Ltd. The newspaper report differs in its news to the Freedom of Information response we received recently from the Council. Then it was a straight sale, no holds barred. Which version is true? We must now appeal to the Information Commissioners.

We’d also like a response to our Expression of Interest under Localism Act 2015 – or does the Council just ignore such legal requests?

More attacks on this web site this morning – we are tracing their source, and are grateful that BT Martlesham’s complex has so many experts willing to assist.

Attacks 14 May: Suddenly people are trying to break into the administration area of this site. It’s never happened before.

Not heard from Mr Stephenson yet – we await his demands. Apparently he was concerned that we hadn’t bothered to contact NRG Theatres Ltd: why would we want to do that? There’s nothing that company can do to really help the Spa Pavilion – is there? If there is we’d like to know, as we’ve heard nothing so far.

Rumour 13 May 2015: The grapevine (Liberal Democrat HQ) has heard that Gareth Stephenson of NRG Theatres Ltd is threatening to sue Trevor Lockwood, Mike Ninnmey and the Lib Dems for slander, libel, defamation of character. Not sure why. Everything that has been said has been added to the web site – although we heard this morning that the videos that we gave to Felixstowe TV have been removed from their site.

We make no secret of our opposition to our iconic theatre being handed over to one man (there is still just one director) of NRG Theatres Ltd. He is Ray Anderson. You’ll find material on the site about him – all of it has been in the public domain before – we have deliberately not added the material about him that has been supplied to us that could, in any way, be illegal.

The right of free speech still exists in the country.

We cannot understand how this man can arrive in our town, with no previous connection with this town, and is given a building which has been at the very centre of our town’s culture for generations. There has been no discussion.

The Council has pointedly said they cannot comment until AFTER the alleged contract has been signed. Do they not conform to the Nolan Principles?

We object to being left in the dark – and have submitted a request under the Localism Act 2011 asking to be considered as a group from the Town that can run this complex.

The only response we have had is to be threatened.

Be careful before throwing stones – you might get more than you bargained for!

Where has local democracy gone, so soon after an election?

Beware: we sent the Expression of Interest yesterday to Suffolk Coastal only to find a report by Edmund Crosthwaite in today’s Felixstowe Star that reported that SCDC had not received my request.

The penny dropped eventually. Although the SCDC web site says sends email to suffolkcoastal.gov.uk it seems that some (the difficult ones perhaps) need to be sent to eastsuffolk.gov.uk (whoever they are?).

Now I have to ask the Local Government Ombudsman if that is OK!

Email has now been sent to eastsuffolk.go.uk – we shall wait and see. Thank you Edmund.

6 May 2015 We have just sent the following letter to Suffolk Coastal District Council:

Dear Sir/Madam

A local group has been formed within the Colneis Peninsular, presently called the Felixstowe Group, but application has been made to create a Community Interest Company. Full details of that title and its founding directors will be sent to you as soon as they are confirmed by Companies House. Our initial brief is to look at the community assets within our area that the local community should be aware of in order to consider Community Asset Transfer, Community Right to Bid and Community Right to Reclaim Land.

We wish to headline an Expression of Interest in the first instance for the Spa Pavilion, Felixstowe so that we can prepare a business case to transfer that building, its curtilage and contents to community ownership.

There is now a need to gather evidence to show how the community and local people will benefit from the transfer, and to gather evidence of community support for the transfer. Our continuing interest over the last decade insists that this is a highly-treasured local asset.

SCDC’s Community Asset Transfer Strategy needs to be clearly outlined, and perhaps there have been other transfers nearby which can demonstrate feasibility? That information will be gratefully received.

An initial concern is confirmation that the land and buildings in question really are assets and not liabilities – can they generate enough income to fund repairs, maintenance and ongoing costs? Your help would be invaluable.

We look forward to your confirmation of our Expression of Interest in this building and to beginning constructive discussions.

We fully concur with the Council’s declared policy on Localism and we know that there will be an upsurge of support and local enthusiasm if this iconic building is retained in local ownership.

For now please use this email and address for communications.

To give some background to this submission look at

http://www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/assets/Documents/District/Right-to-Bid/Understanding-the-Community-Right-to-Bid.pdf

http://www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/yourcouncil/enablingcommunities/righttobid/

Under the Community Right to Bid, community groups are able to nominate non-residential buildings or land within their communities as ‘assets of community value’ which cannot be sold without the community group being given the opportunity to put together a bid to purchase the asset.

As the Act advises we have contacted the local authority’s property department to discuss where to start. In most cases the process involves submitting a headline expression of interest, and subject to an invitation from the local authority, developing a business case to show that the community is capable of maintaining and operating the land or building into the future. That’s what we have done
Transfer options

A range of agreements can be entered into – but the most common form is a long leasehold. Often, local authorities will explore shorter-term agreements with newly formed community organisations.

Any voluntary or community group interested in asset transfer will need to:

Gather evidence to show how the community and local people will benefit from the transfer
Gather evidence of community support for the transfer
Check to see if your local authority has a Community Asset Transfer Strategy and if there have been other transfers nearby from which you can learn – check our stories for inspiration
Check that the land and buildings in question really are assets and not liabilities – they are liabilities if they cannot generate enough income to fund repairs, maintenance and ongoing operational costs.

To Quote from the Suffolk Coastal DC’s web site:

We cannot achieve your priorities on our own. Localism is about collective action and collective responsibility, recognising that we not only all have a part to play in successfully tackling your key priorities but that together we can do it more efficiently and effectively. It requires a dynamic partnership between the citizens that make up our area, the wider public sector, the voluntary and business sectors, and the district Council. Gone is any assumption that the state alone is equipped to run public services or has a monopoly on knowledge and ideas. We recognise that, with support, local people are best placed or qualified to find innovative and more efficient solutions to local problems.

We know that using the wealth of knowledge and energy held by individuals, communities, local councils, public sector staff and the voluntary, charitable and private sectors can be the real driving force in delivering more effective and efficient services for our communities. We have the positive experience of our Local Strategic Partnership and its successes in helping bring together people and organisations that are making a difference in our area. That is why we are determined to create public services that are directly accountable to those who use them, and where providers stand or fall by their ability to deliver a good service, regardless of which sector they are from.

We will therefore work closely with our partners in local government particularly in town and parish councils and at Suffolk County Council, but also in health, education, police and the voluntary, community and business sectors. More importantly, however, we will work more closely with you.

We firmly believe in the importance of public services and the role of local government in helping to build a stronger society and improving everyone’s Quality of Life. We also believe however that there should be space between the state and the individual. This is the space already filled in our area by tradition, community, family, faith, voluntary activity, business and philanthropy. These can all have a more powerful and deep rooted cultural impact on our society than local government can ever achieve – increasing choice and opportunity while also promoting the virtues of fairness, mutual dependence, duty and responsibility.

The Council will therefore trust and help more individuals and communities to take even greater control and responsibility for themselves. We already have an excellent Localism track record in empowering local communities to do things their way. We will go further however, building upon the local energy that already exists. Importantly however we also believe in fair access to public services; so where individuals are currently too vulnerable to help themselves, then we will continue to protect and support them, keeping them free from the risk of harm.

We have asked for the following information:

The Local Government Transparency Code (2014) sets out the minimum data that local authorities should be publishing, the frequency it should be published and how it should be published. A part of the Code deals with the publication of data on land and building assets, the availability of which should make it easier for local people to contribute to local decision making processes.

Under part 2 of the Code it is mandatory for Local authorities to publish details of all land and building assets including:

all service and office properties occupied or controlled by user bodies, both freehold and leasehold
any properties occupied or run under Private Finance Initiative contracts
all other properties they own or use, for example, hostels, laboratories, investment properties and depots
garages unless rented as part of a housing tenancy agreement
surplus, sublet or vacant properties
undeveloped land
serviced or temporary offices where contractual or actual occupation exceeds three months, and
all future commitments, for example under an agreement for lease, from when the contractual commitment is made.

Part 3 of the Code sets out details of data that the Government recommends local authorities publish, which goes further than the minimum requirements in Part 2. Regarding land and building assets, the recommended data for publication includes:

size of the asset
services offered from the asset
reason for holding asset
whether or not the asset is either one which is an asset in the authority’s ownership that is listed under Part 5 Chapter 3 of the Localism Act 2011 (assets of community value) and/or an asset which the authority is actively seeking to transfer to the community
total building operation (revenue) costs
required maintenance
functional suitability rating
energy performance rating.

For more information, see the Local Government Transparency Code.