Friday, 7 December 2012

On dark winter evenings

The Regency Pump Rooms, Cheltenham via wikipedia
On dark winter evenings I am most definitely an indoor, stay at home person. However, a good friend invited me to join her at a concert. The internationally acclaimed Takác String Quartet from Budapest were playing at Cheltenham.
A Christmas market was in full swing as I passed through Cheltenham - it is surprising what is going on whilst I am safely tucked up in my 'Hobbit hole'.
The dome inside the Pump Rooms - the concerts venue via wikipedia
The source of the famed mineral water via wikipedia
If you fancy a sulphuric glass of water it is still possible to freely take the waters for your health!!!
The first piece of music played was unknown to me - Schubert's Quartet no. 13 'Rosamunde'. Now this was rather a coincidence - my friend for the evening traces her ancestry back to "Fair Rosamund".
Fair Rosamund painted by John William Waterhouse in 1905 via wikipedia
Rosamund Clifford 1137 - 1176 called Fair Rosamund or the Rose of the World because she was famed for her beauty and was the mistress of King Henry ll. She was the daughter of Lord Walter de Clifford. The legends concerning her life are many but few hard facts are available.
Today it is possible to stay B/B at Frampton Court which is still owned by the Clifford family. 
It is a grade 1 listed 18th century house built in 1730. Built to possible designs by the Bristol architect John Strahan who was a pupil of Sir John Vanbrugh. The house displays a mixture of Baroque and Palladian architectural styles and is built of Bath stone.
This exquisite 18th century Orangery sits in the grounds of Frampton Court.
The Orangery has been converted into a charming holiday retreat for 8 people.
It was described in Pevsner's Buildings of England as one of the most unusual examples of Strawberry Hill Gothic architecture in the country.
During the musical interval we strolled around the colonnade of Ionic pillars under the glow of a full moon, and I was happy to have ventured out into the dark winter night.

42 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, Rosemary, Stephanie sighs....

    I love Schubert! I am, strangely, an early music and baroque music lover, but, (and here I really must whisper) I'm not keen on the classical period at all. Schubert, in my humble opinion, heralds the romantic period and I am fairly obssessed with the brevity and sadness of his life. Do you know his Trio for violin, cello, and piano (op. 100)? It brings me out in goosebumps each and every time.

    My sister lives with her family in Cheltenham and I find it, aesthetically speaking, a delightful town.

    Warmest wishes from frosty France.

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    1. So many composers share sad lives, I wonder if that brings forth a flow of beautiful musical energy from them.
      I do know his Trio for violin, cello and piano, and I share your goosebumps.
      Lovely to think that you know Cheltenham.
      It is chilly here but we have wonderful sunny weather and blue skies.

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  2. Watching these splending photographs and reading your interesting story - makes my heart beat faster! Wonderful buildings and story! Sometimes it is worth leaving one's nest and go out and discover something new! Christa

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    1. Dear Christa - for me it is very easy to hibernate during the dark, but as you say it is worth making the effort from time to time.

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  3. An ideal evening, listening to Schubert in such a beautiful building, and free refreshments to boot. The Rosamunde, incidentally, is one of my favorites.

    It looks like the weather is still quite nice there--when you do usually get your first snow?
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Dear Jim - the venue could not be better, and the music was memorable.
      The weather is wonderful, cold but very sunny with bright skies. We have lived here for 16 years and have had snow 3 times during that period, so it is most likely that we will not get any. Having said that, snow is probably now imminent.

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  4. Hello Rosemary

    I am so glad you ventured out on what sounds like an extraordinary evening of beauty.
    Oh how I would love to stay at Frampton Court over Christmas. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post

    Helenxx

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    1. I am sure that Frampton Court will look wonderful over Christmas, big Christmas tree in the hallway, candle lit suppers all creating a magical atmosphere. Thank you for your visit Helen.

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  5. Like you, I could definitely be lured out of my comfy home for a string quartet, which must have sounded all the more magical in such a gorgeous environment. As a Rosemary I rather like the name Rosamund, how about you?

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    1. The main hall is a beautiful venue for small groups of musicians. It has perfect acoustics accompanied by its classic dome and chandeliers.
      Yes, I like the name too, it is not one that you come across very often. For that matter I do not know many other people with our name - do you?

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  6. Dear Rosemary - Thanks for sharing your evening with us — I enjoyed how you wove so many threads together! I have a particular love of domed ceilings like the one in the pump house. When I worked at the paper, my screen saver was a slide show of the interiors of famous domes around the world, fading in and out of each other, and people would always comment on the beauty of that ...

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    1. Dear Mark - I had no intention of writing about this particular evening, it was only when I read the programme that things took a different turn.
      I wonder what your favourite dome is? - I have three, all equal - The Pantheon, the Duomo Florence, and St. Paul's Cathedral.

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    2. I would probably say that the Pantheon is my favorite. While I have never seen it in person, I must have looked at it a thousand times while it played on my computer screen. I did see the Dumo first-hand, though it was not a pleasant experience since I unwittingly got caught up in a tour to view it from high up — and I have acrophobia!!

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    3. I have also visited the top of the Duomo. I found the interior really interesting to see how Brunelleschi had designed it.

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  7. What a wonderful venue for a concert. I am like you and want to withdraw into the warmth of home in the evenings at this time of year. I glad you didn't miss that special evening.
    Sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - it is so much easier to withdraw beside the fire and a good book or the TV in the evenings during the winter, but making the effort is worth while from time to time.

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  8. Hi Rosemary, I find I seldom go out in the evenings either. I am glad you enjoyed this concert at that splendid place. Olive

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    1. Hello Olive - I prefer to leave going out during the winter evenings to the youngsters.

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  9. We have been to Cheltenham this summer and enjoyed it very much! It's such a stylish town. The regency Pump Room looks like a beautiful venue for a concert. I hope you had a wonderful time!

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - glad you fitted in a visit to Cheltenham whilst you were over. You certainly managed to get around to plenty of places. It is a lovely venue for a concert and has very good acoustics.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,
    What a lovely part of the world that is. We drove through Cheltenham last year on our way back to Germany from Wales. I do love the Regency style to the place. Nice to see that there is a Christmas Market there. Next Weekend we will be visiting our local one as Christmas Markets are big with a capital 'B' here in Germany!
    My favourite Schubert, apart from his symphonies is the oft played 'The Trout'. Gosh what super music that is!
    Kirk

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    1. Yes in deed - The Trout, a beautiful piece of music.
      Christmas Markets have become big business here too over the past 20 years. In Cirencester, I noticed that there is one every day though December along the main street until the last week before Christmas. I do not know what the local shops think of it, because it must drain trade from them.

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  11. I love the Strawberry Hill Gothic orangery. I hear that Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill House is now open to visitors, so it's on my must-go list.

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    1. It would be lovely to take it with a group of friends for a few days.
      Yes, I visited Strawberry Hill last year, I ought to dig out my photos and show them sometime.

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  12. A very beautiful surrounding to have a concert in. Hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed your beautiful pictures.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Thank you Marian - the concert was most enjoyable.

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  13. What a lovely change for you rosemary to attend this concert, another interesting and well researched post.

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    1. Glad you found the post interesting Lindy - and thank you.

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  14. Such an enchanting evening Rosemary. Complete with classical music, grand estates, a Christmas market for shopping, a full moon and enormous ionic pillars. It must have been fun!

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    1. Thanks Pamela - sometimes you just have to make an effort to leave your warm cosy home.

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  15. Dear Rosemary,
    I am pleased that you ventured out. It sounds as though you had a delightful evening with your friend.
    You took some super shots of the old pump house building.
    Christmas market and surrounded by such beauty.
    The story of Rosamund is amazing ..as is the painting
    I can imagine the 'orangery' to be a superb place to stay.
    thank you for sharing your evening ..
    happy weekend
    val

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    1. Dear Val - it can be an effort to leave the warm house on winter evenings, but it sometimes pays dividends. The orangery is a very pretty building and would make a lovely stay for a group of eight people. Hope your rain has now passed over.

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  16. Rosemary, this was definitely an occasion worth leaving your hobbit hole to attend. :-) Wonderful music in such a historic and beautiful setting. When I hear Rosamund's name mentioned, I always think of Godstow Priory on the edge of Oxford where she died and was buried.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - I have never been to Godstow Priory - I think that there is a small part of the nunnery building left. Apparently she was supposed to have died on the same date as the King. According to wikipedia, her faded tombstone read "Let them adore and we pray that rest be given to you Rosamund" followed by a rhyming epitaph:
      "Here in the tomb lies the rose of the world, not a pure rose; she who used to smell sweet, still smells - but not sweet".

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    2. That's fascinating, Rosemary. I once walked through Port Meadow to Godstow Priory with our son who was a student there, but we didn't linger at the ruins as it was December and absolutely freezing!

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    3. When I next go to Oxford I must do a little investigation.

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  17. Ah, Schubert in such beautiful, classical surroundings! It sounds like bliss Rosemary, and I'm sure you enjoyed the concert very much. Another dome lover here - and that one is very attractive. I used to play many Schubert pieces when I was 'in practice', and always have a soft spot for a Waterhouse painting. Guess I'm just an Old Romantic!

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    1. Dear Patricia - I do love a dome, and in fact wrote a post on them last year. My favourite Waterhouse painting is his very romantic Lady of Shalott, - thank you for your visit. When you were 'in practice' does that relate to dentistry?

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    2. Alas, no, I refer to the days when I dutifully practised my piano 2-3 hours a day. Those days are well and truly over!

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    3. I misconstrued what you said. You must be a very fine pianist.

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― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh