With a wink ‘The Party’ refers not only to the ‘then and there’ but also to the ‘here and now’. The ‘UK Tour 1860’ programme both literally and figuratively makes this link.
In the 1860s a group of musicians around the couple Mr. and Mrs. Lemmens-Sherrington – also known as ‘The Party’- travels through the English counties. The group does not only visit cities like Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds, but also villages that can barely be traced on a map.
‘The ensemble, which calls itself ‘The Party’, performs almost every night during six weeks in the spring and the autumn. Sometimes they even give two concerts on one day with different programmes. Most concerts are miscellaneous: mixed concerts with an interval, consisting of a neatly divided alternation of diverse solos for the singers and the instrumentalists. After 1869 the programming shifts per tour to a Part I, with a selection of an opera or an oratorio and a Part II which is miscellaneous.’
The superb musical company becomes renowned for its own musical arrangements and hosts resounding names such as Helen Lemmens-Sherrington, the famous English concert- and operasoprano, her Belgian spouse, the harmonium player-composer Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, violinist Henry Vieuxtemps and double bassist Giovanni Bottesini.
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