Finchden: August 16-18, 2016
What is more special than a piece of music, composed 50 years ago, never before played in public by the composer: not only played by the composer but recorded during an Archive Weekend? Talk about privilege. Mind you, it helps to have a keyboard in the Archive (Don't all archives?).
This was a Weekend that required considerable advance preparation. 59 boxes of a 2001 accession had to be brought out, re-sorted and re-listed to begin the process of opening them up for scanning and transcribing: 165 scans came out of the Weekend!
And there was the box of reel to reel audio tapes which Alan Wendelken had recorded, brought by Claire in 2015: If box labels were to be believed, they contained recordings of at least two people who were planning on coming to the Weekend, and music from Finchden, some of it played by Syd Hopkins ("Mr. God, This is Anna"), as well as another with George Lyward himself. Labels are notoriously unreliable guides to content; so in the run-up to the Weekend we digitised a total of fifteen: Mostly discovering accuracies, and also off-air and off-disc recordings of music and speech.
Two individual oral history recordings and one group discussion were recorded. Boxes and boxes of photographs were brought out, and a considerable number have been identified.
We listened to George Lyward together; and one of us listened to our discussions with Alan Wendelken, recorded by Alan 50 years ago.
Thanks to the generosity of Claire and of George Lyward's son John, you can listen to George Lyward, too: and well worth it. Mr. Lyward's Introduction to Finchden Manor.
Accompanying one of the reel-to-reels which proved to be an off-air recording:
And one of the 165 scans (1951):