Nottingham Chamber Music Festival

Nottingham Stories

Nottingham Stories: Separation and Serenade is a new film project made in response to the cancellation of the NCMF concerts in the summer of 2020.

Festival Director Carmen Flores joined forces with award-winning Nottingham filmmaker Tim Bassford and several Nottingham venues to film a multi-episode performance of J.S. Bach’s Suite in C Major, BWV 1009 (arranged for viola), paying tribute to some of Nottingham’s most iconic spaces.

Each movement of the suite has been selected to complement the venue it is performed in, alongside interviews describing how these spaces coped with lockdown and the uncertainty in their sectors.

The films provide a time capsule of the impact Covid-19 has had upon our city in 2020. Unifying our community through music is at the heart of NCMF, and we invite you to join us in this story of Nottingham life.

This project would have not been possible without the generous support and encouragement of these venues. The films will be premiered on the NCMF website at 7:00pm on these dates, and will be free to watch and access on demand following each premiere:

  • 14th Sept – Council House – The Council House is an Art Deco building designed by the Nottingham-born architect Thomas Cecil Howitt. Completed in 1929, the Council House has an impressive 61m high dome with a bell which rings hourly, nicknamed Little John. A statue called “Welcome” by sculptor Sir William Reid Dick greets visitors over the grand ceremonial stairwell, while a large mural by Nottingham artist Noel Denholm Davies celebrates the arrival of trade and commerce to Nottingham. In March 2020, the Council House had to stop all civic activity within the building following UK lockdown restrictions. Suspended events included marriage ceremonies, birth and death registries, and planned local council meetings.
  • 16th Sept – St. Mary’s in the Lace Market – St. Mary’s Church is the oldest religious institution in Nottingham, located in the heart of the historic Lace Market district. It is the largest mediaeval structure in Nottingham, with original building works dating from 1377 to 1475. The church contains many artefacts, including Nottingham’s oldest door from the 14th century. Sculptures of a lion and a unicorn dated c.1705 greet visitors at the West entrance of the church. Legend has it that Robin Hood came to the original site of St. Mary’s to pray.
  • 18th Sept – Delilah Fine Foods – Delilah Fine Foods is an independent food and wine merchants located in a former banking hall in Nottingham’s city centre. The delicatessen also operates as a cafe, wine bar, eatery and food hall. Delilah hosts music concerts as a participating venue in the Nottingham Chamber Music Festival. During lockdown, the team faced great uncertainty in the hospitality industry, and had to make swift decisions on how to continue in a future with Covid-19.
  • 21st Sept – Nottingham High School – Nottingham High School is an independent co-educational school located near the Arboretum in Nottingham centre. Originally founded as a boys school in 1513, the school received its foundation charter from King Henry VIII. The school became co-educational in 2015. The High School has hosted many concerts with the Nottingham Chamber Music Festival, and music plays an important part in the school’s community. As with all live events in the nationwide lockdown, the school’s concerts and performances were cancelled and many students continued their learning remotely from home.
  • 23rd Sept – Royal Concert Hall – The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham was built in 1982 and is part of a larger complex that also includes the Theatre Royal. With striking modern architecture, the hall hosts classical events for many of Nottingham’s musical organisations, as well as annual visits by the Halle, CBSO and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras. The auditorium has a seated capacity of 2,200. The Royal Concert Hall remains closed until further notice, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • 25th Sept – Nottingham Contemporary – Nottingham Contemporary is an art gallery in the Lace Market and features exhibitions on contemporary art and culture. Built in 2009, the building features a 19th-century lace pattern by Richard Birkin embedded in the concrete facade, which was found in a time capsule on the building’s site. At the time of filming Nottingham Stories, the gallery featured an exhibition on British artist Denzil Forrester, whose vivid paintings – “a way of seeing sound” – depict dance halls and the vibrant dub-reggae music scene in 1980s Britain.

Performed by Carmen Flores
Directed and Produced by Tim Bassford
Director of Photography David Stewart
Sound Recordist Craig Barlow
Editor Tim Bassford
Post-Production Sound Ben Davies
Camera Assistant Nathan Bull

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on musicians with the restrictions on live performance. As you watch the series, please consider making a donation in the name of NCMF to ‘Help Musicians UK’ for the Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, to support musicians in these difficult times: Donate Now to Help Musicians UK