Cobweb News

We had an excellent return to the Haydn Symphonies’ Project led by Peter Wood on Saturday with almost 30 players tackling No’s 76-81 in fine fashion, despite a few transposing issues (and not from the wind/brass!) Look out later in the term for the next instalment of the project.

In this week’s Cobweb News:
Guinea Pig Orchestra/Composers and Arrangers’ Day recap
Brahms Symphony No.4 with Patrick Burnett
A Different Approach to Mozart 40

Guinea Pig Orchestra/Composers and Arrangers Day – by Stephanie Robinson

The Cobweb Guinea Pig Orchestra (GPO) met on Sunday 23rd August at Eldon Community Centre for an afternoon play-through consisting of work that had been created during the lockdown period by the re-convened composers and arrangers (C&A) group, meeting via Zoom, and also a set of songs contributed by Jim Robinson.  The afternoon was introduced and conducted by Bill Connor, the convenor of the C&A group.

The first piece was an orchestrated arrangement of Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata No 4, Movement II. There were two linked arrangements in contrasting mood, the first, legato, by Catherine Preston and the second in fanfare mode, by Nikki Lipinski. This was followed by ‘Tinnitus’, a piece by Nikki Lipinski which is still in development, but which she was delighted to hear in real sound.  It included many unusual effects and some accompanying sonorities produced from the rims of wine glasses!

After this, the orchestra were challenged by the rendering of a playful ‘Mission Improbable’ which had been created jointly by members of the C&A group in response to the well-known ‘Mission Impossible’ theme.  The challenge came in keeping to the designated 10/8 time signature for the major part of this composition, which Bill did his best to make us maintain, not always successfully.  It was decided that both the piece and the playing of it had made a good start and merited more work.

After another of the short breaks, during which souvenir T-shirts of ‘Mission Improbable’ were given to the C&A group, we enjoyed an exploration of a piece by Michael Cave, written in response to the Cobweb Silver Anniversary challenge to write a piece containing the notes present in “Cobweb Orchestra”.  This was titled ‘Cobweb Silver Miniature’, and contained many delightful moments of delicate runs interwoven between the various parts.

The final session of the afternoon was a set of 3 songs by Jim Morrison in a jazz style.  They provided a distinct contrast to the other works of the afternoon and were given an enthusiastic rendition. We finished the afternoon played-out but satisfied, and heartfelt thanks were given to Bill for his very skilful leading of this Guinea Pig day.

Brahms Symphony No.4 with Patrick Burnett
Saturday 18th September, 11-4pm
Haxby Memorial Hall, 16, The Village, Haxby, York, YO32 3HT

Please enrol here.

Join York leader Patrick Burnett in an event looking at the amazing Symphony No.4 by Johannes Brahms. This is open to all players, not just those from York.

Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 was the last of his symphonies, written in 1884. Donald Francis Tovey praises the work as “one of the greatest orchestral works since Beethoven”, so don’t miss out on this day!

Although music will be provided at the event, if you would like to have a look at the music in advance, you can click the link below:

Symphony No.4, Op.98 (Brahms, Johannes) – IMSLP: Free Sheet Music PDF Download

A Different Approach to Mozart 40
Sunday 26th September, 2-5pm
Dipton Jubilee Centre, Front Street (A692), Dipton, Co Durham DH9 9DR

Please enrol here.

An explanation from Andy Jackson:

During lockdown, when the only way we were able to meet was via Zoom, a few Cobweb players signed up for “Music by Heart”. This was an attempt to learn a piece of music without the dots, and the piece we chose was Mozart’s wonderful Symphony no. 40 in G minor. I think it’s fair to say that some people found it easier than others, and a few decided that the project was not for them, but a handful of players are still engaged in trying to learn their own part in the hope that they will be able to play it as a member of a live ensemble.

However, these dedicated memorizers do not constitute a full orchestra so we are looking for other players to join them in Dipton for an afternoon devoted to exploring Mozart’s 40th on Sunday 26 September.

If you’d like to learn any of it*, even just a few bars before the day, that would be great, but if you just want to turn up and sight read through it, that would also be much appreciated, and it would mean that the “By Heart” players will have the support of an orchestra around them.

We will be using the Kalmus 1933-70 reprinted edition. Parts available at

Although the original work is lightly scored, we have a Cobwebbed version which has parts for all players.

Lorna Wright
Event Coordinator, Cobweb Orchestra

Posted by Tracy Reed