2008

Winter 2008

SMS At Home : Young Kent Musicians

Friday 13 th February 2009, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

Svyatoslav Antipov Harriet Burns Jasper Brownrigg

 

The Sittingbourne Music Society changes tack completely for the next concert to showcase Kent-nurtured young musical talent, in a special ‘AT HOME’ event, starring the young singers Harriet Burns (soprano) and Jasper Brownrigg (tenor), accompanied by Kris Thomsett, together with young solo pianist Svyatoslav Antipov (‘Slava’). Also starring in the event will be the well-known local personality and raconteur Pauline Panton, with some of her humorous and dramatic monologues.

 

Harriet hails from Sittingbourne, and was heard last year in a splendid short solo role in Handel’s Saul, with the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society. She has undertaken masterclasses with such well-known singers as the great Sir Willard White, and has been offered scholarships at both the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

 

Jasper is currently in his fourth year at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he has taken leading roles in College productions, and also with such organisations as the National Youth Music Theatre. Jasper comes from Faversham, and he and Harriet will be singing songs by Haydn, as well as popular operatic duets, including Mozart and Messager. Their accompanist will be 17-year-old Kris Thomsett, from Teynham, who is Organ Scholar at King’s, Rochester.

 

Finally, Svyatoslav Antipov, who was born in Russia but now lives in Thanet, will be playing works by Chopin, Beethoven and Ravel. Slava is studying at the Purcell School, Britain’s oldest specialist school for talented young musicians, and he has taken part in concerts in London (Wigmore Hall), Liverpool and Manchester, as well as appearing many times in the Deal Festival’s Young Performers platform.

 

We’re particularly grateful to Pauline Panton for her contribution. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she has taught speech and drama and played leading roles in major productions throughout Kent, winning the first County Drama award for best actress in Kent.

 

This fascinating range of talent will be on display at Sittingbourne Community College, on Friday 13 th February 2009 at 7.45 pm. Admission for members is, of course, free as part of membership – tickets for non-members are only £5 (£1 for under 18s), including a glass of wine or soft drink.

 

The Atrium String Quartet of St Petersburg

Friday 13 th March 2009, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

Craig Ogden (guitar)

Friday 5 th June 2009, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

The Atrium Quartet of St Petersburg Craig Ogden

The last two concerts of this season present a wonderful array of repertoire, performed by internationally celebrated artists. The Atrium String Quartet of St Petersburg, our first Russian visitors, won First Prize and the Audience Prize in the 2003 London International String Quartet Competition, and in 2007 were unanimously elected winners of the 5 th International String Quartet Competition in Bordeaux. Founded in 2000 in the St Petersburg Conservatoire, they have been immensely successful with audiences all round the world, and made their CD debut recording for EMI Classics. They are giving us Mozart’s beautiful last Quartet in F, Walton’s scintillating A minor Quartet, alternately romantic and jazzy, and Tchaikovsky’s powerful last Quartet, in E flat minor, ranging from sadness to joyous celebration.

It is a great pleasure to welcome the outstanding guitarist Craig Ogden for a return visit. His international career takes him all over the world, and he continues to be very busy in the recording studio. Apart from educational work, to which he is deeply committed, Craig also pursues his interest in cross-over and jazz musics, working with jazz and pop musicians across a wide spectrum. Craig will be giving us a programme reflecting the whole repertoire of the guitar from Dowland, Bach and Britten to popular light numbers from Spanish composers.

 

NEWSLESSER We apologise that this is a mini-sized Newsletter. it has of course been quite a hard start to the year, what with frost, snow and ice. Bugs have also played a part, in my case a particularly vicious introduction to the well-known Norovirus, which I find lives up fully to its English name.

 

Pressure of time rests very heavily on us this year also. John celebrates his 70 th birthday in April (just as a hint, they always play the National Anthem on that day). He has a very full year of both playing and composing, and since he seldom blows his own trumpet, perhaps he’ll allow me to say that he’s already written a piano-duet work for Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa (do you remember their lovely concert a season or so ago?), and another short piece for the King’s Singers, so far this year. In addition, there are many special performances and residencies through the year.

 

Another 70 th birthday which must be trumpeted is that of Jeane Holmes, our stalwart Membership Secretary, when just after Christmas her family surprised her totally with a special celebration Birthday Party.

 

Some of you may also know Dr Sheila Doak, who has for many years been a leading organiser of the Faversham Music Club. She has just celebrated her 80 th birthday, and apart from a bit of back trouble she is still going strong, and is proud of the fact that she is still an employed, NI-paying citizen. An amazing achievement!

 

CREDIT CRUNCH Whoever patented that phrase (I hope they did) is probably the only person still making a fortune…The credit crunch, and problems over venues and dates, have led to delays in setting-up next season’s concerts. However, we hope to have news about them soon, and although it may possibly be a smaller season than of late, we believe it will still be exciting and enjoyable. MMcC

 

 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

28th February: Whitstable Music Club: Whitstable Methodist Church, 7.30 pm: Tradescant Wind Trio

12 th March: Faversham Music Club: Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, 8 pm: piano recital by John McCabe

14 th March: Rochester Choral Society: Rochester Cathedral 7.30: Mendelssohn (Hymn of Praise), Haydn, Brahms

Autumn 2008

Mark Bebbington (piano)

Friday 10 th October 2008, 7.45 pm
Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

Mark Bebbington César Franck

 

The critical plaudits which have greeted Mark Bebbington’s performances and recordings have singled him out as a young British pianist of the rarest refinement and maturity. Increasingly recognised as a champion of British music, Mark has recorded extensively for SOMM “New Horizons” label to unanimous critical acclaim. He was awarded the front cover photo feature for the June edition of International Record Review magazine. His disc of the piano version of Elgar’s First Symphony attracted a 5***** rating in November 2007 BBC Music Magazine and an earlier disc – piano music by Constant Lambert and Malcolm Arnold – was Editor’s Choice in February 2007 Gramophone magazine.

 

While at the Royal College of Music, Mark won numerous international awards and prizes, and later studied in Italy with the legendary Aldo Ciccolini, who said of his Paris debut recital it was “one of the most brilliant debuts I have witnessed in the capital”. He has toured extensively throughout Central and Northern Europe as well as the Far East and North Africa. He has appeared with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, London Mozart Players and the Orchestra of the Swan, at all the major London concert halls and at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, and he has featured both as concerto soloist and recitalist on television and radio in Britain and Europe.

 

No less a passionate advocate of the Viennese classics, Mark is also establishing a reputation as a refined and elegant exponent of French music, and his programme reflects all aspects of his repertoire, from Beethoven’s powerful AppassionataSonata and some DebussyPreludes to a group of virtuoso operatic paraphrases by Liszt (from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde) and Joubert, the composer of the popular carol Torches (his Lyric Fantasy on themes from his own opera Jane Eyre). A highlight of the programme will also be César Franck’s masterpiece, Prelude, Chorale and Fugue.

 

The Mark Bebbington piano recital is on Friday 10 th October, at the Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue, Sittingbourne, ME10 4NL, at 7.45 pm.


Text Box: Operatic Paraphrases became a piano phenomenon during the 19th century, when many virtuoso pianists followed the example of Liszt and wrote piano fantasies based on the themes from popular operas of the day. Liszt’s, however, stand out from the rest by virtue of his understanding of the psychology of the operas, as well as the style of their composers, and his brilliant expansion of the possibilities of the keyboard. Taking inspiration from other music was nothing new – many Renaissance masses, and even earlier works, took their themes not from liturgical sources but from currently popular songs, and folksong too was a constant source of inspiration. In his Paraphrases of the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and themes from Verdi’s Rigoletto he explored both piano virtuosity and the dramatic context of the operas and their characters. And, of course, works like this gave people the opportunity of hearing music otherwise restricted to the opera houses. In more recent times, his tradition has been followed by many composers, including Busoni and most recently John Joubert, in the romantic Lyric Fantasy on themes from his own opera Jane Eyre.

Franz Liszt Richard Wagner Giuseppe Verdi

 

The Brass Quintet of the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Friday 14 th November 2008, 7.45 pm

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue

 

The 2007/08 season saw the 75 th Anniversary of the London Philharmonic, one of the world’s leading orchestras, known particularly for both their sensitive musicianship and their brilliant technical aplomb. For several years, they have presented an immensely successful series of chamber concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall, and among these groups their Brass Quintet, comprised of their leading brass players, gave a particularly memorable programme in February 2008 – our Artistic Director, who has for many years had a close professional relationship with the orchestra, was lucky enough to be present, and immediately expressed a wish to bring this brilliant quintet to Sittingbourne. They are repeating much the same programme, including new arrangements of music by Jeremiah Clarke (of Trumpet Voluntary fame) and that excellent composer (not joking) King Henry VIII. The elements of tunefulness and catchy rhythms found in these early works are echoed in two outstandingly popular more recent pieces, the Brass Quintet No 1 by Malcolm Arnold, now a staple in the brass repertoire, and, equally well established, the enchanting Music-Hall Suite by Joseph Horovitz, a brilliant and highly entertaining pastiche of Victorian songs. Horovitz is best-known perhaps for his themes for TV series such as Rumpole of the Bailey, but his output is enormous, ranging from ballets and chamber opera to string quartets and concertos – his Music-Hall Suite brings an entertaining programme to a riotous conclusion.

 

Horovitz was born in Vienna in 1936 and emigrated to England in 1938. He studied music at New College, Oxford, while acting as an official lecturer in music appreciation to the Forces and giving piano recitals in army camps. After taking his degrees, he studied composition with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music and then with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He became Music Director of the Bristol Old Vic, where he composed, arranged and conducted the incidental music for two seasons. He later held positions as conductor to the Ballet Russes, associate director of the Intimate Opera Company, on the music staff at Glyndebourne, and as guest composer at the Tanglewood Festival, USA. He won numerous major awards including the Commonwealth Medal for Composition, a Leverhulme Research Award and, later, the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art First Class, and the Cobbett Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for services to chamber music.

 

Brass Consort music has been a familiar part of the musical scene for centuries. In part this stems from their use as ceremonial music for fanfares and the like, so it is not surprising that composers over many years have found it rewarding to write music specially for brass groups. Gabrieli’s Sonata pian’ e forte is a familiar standard piece from the 16th Century, and there are many similar pieces, both written for specific occasions and for private entertainment, from many countries – there is an especially strong tradition in Germany of writing Turmmusik (Tower Music, for performance out of doors from church and town-hall towers). With the advent in the second half of the 20 th century of specialist concert groups such as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, brass chamber music has had a new, immensely popular lease of life.

 

Click for full sized photo

Malcolm Arnold Rumpole of the Bailey King Henry VIII

 

 

 

MONEY!

We run as tight a financial ship as we can, and our artists, too, are very understanding. We try to keep ticket prices down, and are managing to do so. Membership is still an amazing bargain – please encourage your musical friends to support us, even if you/they can’t get to every concert. And if any of you have ideas as to possible local sponsorship, do let us know. General opinion seems to be that we’re doing a great job for music in our community, by bringing top artists here, and we can only do this because they are sometimes amazingly generous in reducing their fees (in a few cases to 1/8 th of their normal fee!). And we attract audiences from far afield as well as Sittingbourne, so we’re doing our bit to keep the town going.

 

FAREWELL TO TWO GREAT MUSICIANS Sadly, we have had to say farewell recently to two great friends, both superb musicians. Earlier this year, the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott died at the age of 79 – I am glad that in one of our earlier seasons we were able to programme a delightful recorder piece Lizard by him. Hoddinott was a friend and valued colleague from the early 1960s, and a most distinguished and powerful composer. Fortunately there are many CDs currently available of his work. And as we were about to go to press, we had news of the death of Vernon Handley (known as Tod to all his friends). Tod Handley was also a friend for many years, and his classic CD sets of the Vaughan Williams and Bax symphonies will remain monuments in recording history. But he was a much more wide-ranging conductor, whose Beethoven and Brahms symphony performances were comparable with any other great artist, and he was also a remarkable accompanist, not least in Mozart concertos (as I have good reason to know). Both these men will be sadly missed – they were irreplaceable. JMcC

 

PRAISE TO OUR MUSICAL OLYMPIANS The Proms this year rightly gave plenty of time to the music of Vaughan Williams, marking the 50 th anniversary of his death, and numerous orchestras have celebrated him by major events. Still to come in London are his 8 th Symphony (London Philharmonic, 24 th September) and several concerts by the Philharmonia Orchestra, one including the 5 th, 6 th and 9 th symphonies (November 2 nd at 3 pm) and one including the great cantata Dona nobis pacem and the 3 rd and 4 th symphonies. It is rare for even the greatest British composers to receive this kind of tribute, and the concerts would be well worth a special effort to attend. The SMS’s policy of trying to include a British work in our concerts whenever possible seems to have been well received by audiences, and we’ve been successful on all except one occasion. But it would still be good if our musical Olympians were given as much credit (and financial support) as our sports Olympians – to whom all praise and credit. I’ve never forgotten, at Walton’s Memorial Service at Westminster Abbey, an English person outside asking me who he was – and this for someone who was also famous for outstandingly successful film scores, march tunes and carols! MMcC

 

NEWSLETTERS I always hope you find these Newsletters informative and interesting. However, they do take an awful lot of time preparing (not to mention printing!), and it is not going to be possible for me to continue doing this for much longer, in view of the large number of musical commitments I’m going to have over the next 18 months or so. It probably takes about a week’s work (spread over a long period of time, of course) to research biographies/photos/other information and write the Newsletter, and then (inevitably) cut the text so it fits the pages. (I always write too much and then have to cut it.) So after a Members’ Newsletter at the beginning of 2009 and a Public one for the summer, I will have to draw a line under this activity, and the Newsletter will simply have to be a single A4 side of basic information for the whole season. Unless someone reads this and would like to tackle this job (and probably do it more quickly)… JMcC

 

Meanwhile, a brief reminder of the second half of the season, all in 2009:

1. Our first Musical/Social event, an At Home featuring local young artists in a mixture of songs and instrumental music – we are not able yet to confirm the details because their educational timetables have not yet been provided. We do know, however, that Pauline Panton has very kindly agreed to come and give us some of her famous readings. This concert is less expensive for non-members than usual (£5), and includes a glass of wine or a soft drink. We hope you’ll all rally round and support this new venture, which is in response to various requests from members. Friday 13 th February at Sittingbourne Community College.

2. Our first Russian artists, the Atrium Quartet of St Petersburg give us a wonderful programme of Mozart, Walton and Tchaikovsky – by coincidence, we’ve recently had a message from the Chairman of another Music Club to the North of London describing them as “marvellous”. Friday 13 th March at SCC.

3. A return visit, solo this time, by the very popular guitarist Craig Ogden, whose diverse career includes great classical guitar repertoire, lighter fare, cross-over and jazz performances, and many internationally acclaimed recordings. Friday 5 th June at SCC.

 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Saturday 27 th September at 7.30 pm in the Alexander Centre, Faversham: Oare String Orchestra conducted by Peter Aviss, with Chris Spencer (clarinet): Boyce, Finzi (Clarinet Concerto), Mozart Divertimento in F, Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings.

 

Whitstable Music Society dates: Whitstable Methodist Church , Argyle Road, Whitstable, 7.30 pm:

Saturday 27 th September 2008: Brodsky String Quartet: Purcell, Turina, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven

Saturday 25 th October: The Thirteen Wind Ensemble: Mozart Serenades K. 388 and 361), Beethoven

Saturday 29 th November: Marina Nadiradze (piano): Scarlatti, Beethoven (Moonlight), Debussy, Chopin

 

Faversham Music Club dates : in Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Abbey Place, Faversham, 8 pm:

Thursday 16 th October 2008: Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord) and Adam Walker (flute)

Thursday 13 th November 2008: Xuefei Yang (guitar)

 

Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, conductor Brian Wright: Maidstone Leisure Centre, Mote Park,

7.30 pm:

Saturday 18 th October: Dukas, Schumann Piano Concerto (Llyr Williams, soloist), Vaughan Williams (Job)

Saturday 6 th December: Sibelius, R. Strauss Horn Concerto No 2 (Michael Thompson), Tchaikovsky 5th

Summer 2008

FOUR OF OUR STAR ENSEMBLES

Zephyr Eimer Piano Trio Galliard Wind Ensemble Prinse String Quartet

 

LOOKING BACK

Pictured above are four of the ensembles who have graced our programmes during our first four years. The first three above have all started our seasons, and the Prinse Quartet were our first overseas guests. A full listing of our visiting artists looks like this:

 


SEASON 2004/5

Zephyr Winds with Ian Buckle

Julian Lloyd Webber with Rebecca Woolcock

Emily & Catherine Beynon with Malin Broman

John McCabe

Prinse String Quartet

 

 

 

SEASON 2005/6

Eimer Piano Trio

Claire-Louise Lucas, Tony Eldridge, Jonathan

Darnborough

Malcolm Binns

John Turner & Craig Ogden

Quatuor Parisi

Charles Brown

 

SEASON 2006/7

Galliard Wind Ensemble

Joseph Tong & Waka Hasagewa

Alice Neary & Gretel Dowdeswell

The King’s Singers

David Campbell & Sacconi String Quartet

Maraca2

 

SEASON 2007/8

Zephyr with Ian Buckle

The City Waites

Cory Brass Band

Trevor Pinnock

Carducci String Quartet

John Lill

 

We think this is a pretty stunning roster of artists. The repertoire covered has also been exciting, ranging from early music (the City Waites, Trevor Pinnock’s recital including Draghi, Purcell and Froberger) to new works (two Matthew Rogers premières, one McCabe) and including representation of almost all the great composers with major works – we are very conscious of some of the missing, or under-represented, names! A complete repertoire list is in preparation.

 

NEXT SEASON

 

Craig Ogden Atrium Quartet of St Petersburg Mark Bebbington

 

LOOKING FORWARD

Our next season, 2008/09, has one fewer event than the last few, four concerts plus an “At Home”. This is entirely because of the pressures of time on the Committee involved in organising the concerts – we simply cannot do any more! The subscription has been adjusted accordingly – this is probably a good moment to point out that we have managed to keep ticket prices level, despite the recession. And we have some outstanding concerts in prospect.

 

Readers of International Record Review will have seen their June issue, with a front cover picture of the brilliant young pianist Mark Bebbington. He gives our first concert, on 10 th October, and his programme is a true survey of some great virtuoso repertoire. Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata is one of the highlights of the repertoire, and César Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue is another – they make a wonderful first half to a programme which also includes Debussy Preludes and three operatic paraphrases. This kind of work was a standby in the 19 th century, Liszt being pre-eminent in turning themes from well-known (and sometimes not so familiar) operas into scintillating and often moving piano showpieces – his reinterpretation for the keyboard of the Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, and his Paraphrase on themes from Verdi’s Rigoletto have become wonderful calling-cards for pianists. More recently, John Joubert, whose delightful Duettino was written specially for our John Turner/Craig Ogden concert in February 2006, used themes from his own opera Jane Eyre to create a similar kind of piece, in his case a warm and romantic Fantasy. Mark Bebbington has recorded it on a Somm CD of music by Joubert – one of many highly successful recordings he has released in recent times.

 

Last year we had a wonderful concert from the Cory Brass Band, from South Wales. This time we have a different brass kettle, the superb Brass Quintet of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (we never thought we’d be able to bring the LPO to Sittingbourne!), in a programme which highlights the brilliance and musicianship of some of this great orchestra’s superb brass section. Among the composers are King Henry VIII, in an arrangement by Elgar Howarth of some his splendid tunes (he was a genuine composer), Malcolm Arnold, represented by his typically entertaining Brass Quintet No 1, and Joseph Horovitz, a composer of vast experience probably known to most people by his signature tunes for TV series such as Rumpole. His Music-Hall Suite is a skilful, delightful pastiche of Victorian tunes, but still unmistably Horovitzian. We are hoping some educational work will also take place in the afternoon. The concert is on 14 th November.

 

No Music Society season is complete without chamber music for string ensemble, and we’ve been fortunate to engage the Atrium String Quartet of St. Petersburg, who bring with them our first major work by Tchaikovsky (his deeply expressive and moving 3 rd Quartet in E flat minor) as well as one of Mozart’s finest, his last Quartet in F, K590, and Walton’s A minor Quartet from 1947, ranging from true romanticism to jazzy, punchy rhythmic writing. This is a stunning programme, from an ensemble who have established themselves quickly as one of the world’s leading groups, from their start in St Petersburg in 2000, through winning the first prize in the London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 (when they also won the Audience Prize), to their current international, and very busy, schedule of concerts and recordings. This event, on 13 th March 2009, will be keenly anticipated.

 

Finally, Craig Ogden, the celebrated guitarist who shared the programme with John Turner mentioned earlier, returns to us to perform a varied and attractive programme including some popular shorter pieces (including some of those Spanish solos so beautifully written for guitar) as well as works like Britten’s Nocturnal on a theme by John Dowland (a kind of journey back in time from Britten’s own style towards the Dowland original, reversing the usual variation form) and music by Dowland himself. Craig is an outstandingly popular and established soloist both in the classical world and the genres of jazz and crossover music, and this concert on 5 th June 2009 will be a lovely summer evening recital – let’s hope the weather suits the music!

 

In the middle of the season, we have our “At Home”. It has long been a wish of our Chairman, as well as the rest of the Committee, that we should encourage younger musicians from the area, and we have been able to do so in a small way from time to time. Some members have also expressed the wish to have a Social evening of some kind, so we have combined these elements into the event on 13 th February 2009, when we will have music provided by some local young artists, including what will be an all-too short but delightful celebration of the Haydn anniversary, as well as some of Pauline Panton’s famous readings and some refreshments. It will be an opportunity for us to meet one another in a less formal setting than a straightforward concert, and we hope to have more time to chat with one another. Do support us – if successful, we would hope to repeat this venture in future seasons.

 

MEMBERSHIP Our Membership increased slightly last season, to 56. We are also averaging about 50 sales per concert from non-members, which is a promising situation but not one that enables us to plan for very far ahead. This average does not take account of those “blockbuster” concerts where we have, because of the stature of the artists, been able to attract audiences of up to 400 and more (Julian Lloyd Webber, the King’s Singers, and others). Members, of course, have the knowledge that they are guaranteed a seat – they have priority. In this area we cannot expect to attract a membership of the size of some Societies which have been established for a long time, and which exist in areas of considerable cultural activity, but the contrast with, say, Malvern Concert Club, established over 100 years ago by Sir Edward Elgar and who now have a membership of 800, suggests that we could do better. We will find it difficult to wait 100 years to enjoy the benefits of anything like such a thriving membership!

However, I must take the opportunity of thanking all those who already help us so much in various ways during the year. The Chairman has already paid tribute to Sittingbourne Community College for their ever-helpful support, as well as those who help with the concert box office including Swade Music, Roman Square, Sittingbourne. Tickets are available there one month before each concert, and of course by post beforehand (please note: no personal cheques – see brochure) and at the concerts themselves. From a funding point of view, we have been fortunate in obtaining financial assistance from the Lord Ashdown Charitable Trust, and, in support of Maraca2’s highly successful schools performances, from the Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust.

Spring 2008

The SMS had a particularly successful concert on 24 th November last when the Cory Band with their conductor Robert Childs visited us at Fulston Manor School. Though unfortunately the local press weren’t able to include a post-concert review, Garrie Harvey, Head of Music and AST at Sittingbourne Community College, wrote a glowing notice which was printed in British Bandsman, 8 th December, and I quote it below, since it says everything that’s been said by members of the audience, who responded with great enthusiasm to a very enjoyable programme:

 

“For a music society that normally presents soloists and small ensembles, it was quite a coup to engage an  internationally-acclaimed brass band.

“Judging by the packed house representing the whole of  Kent and beyond, I believe we owe the society’s artistic director, John McCabe, a debt of thanks for inviting Dr Robert Childs and the remarkable Cory Band to perform a showcase of major brass band repertoire that included Elgar’s Severn Suite, Ireland’s A Downland Suite, Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, and Cloudcatcher Fells by John McCabe himself.
“As I listened to the first crescendo, the hairs on the back of my neck started to stand up and I knew I was in for an evening of outstanding musicianship. As the evening progressed, I  was certainly not disappointed.

“Many moons ago, Robert Childs was my euphonium teacher at Leeds College of Music. Apart from a few more grey hairs, his sense of humour and almost encyclopaedic knowledge haven’t changed one bit.  He relished informing us about the works of Holst, Ireland and Elgar that were originally written for brass band, and subsequently transcribed for orchestra.  Quite a twist on the prevailing impressions of brass band music!

“Listening to the band was a revelation; I was impressed immediately by the professionalism of the players as they adjusted, almost imperceptibly, to the acoustic in the hall. The staggered breathing, particularly in the bass end, gave superbly sustained, organ like qualities and there was a blending and warmth of sound throughout the sections as well as across the band. I particularly enjoyed the solo horn player, Owen Farr’s tone and interpretation, whilst soprano, Michelle Ibbotson, gave a lovely solo in The Queen of the Night’s Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute – a nice reference to early repertoire.  The principal trombonist, Christopher Thomas, also gave an atmospheric and humorous performance of Mosquito by Torstein Aagard-Nielsen.

“The theme of the night was landscapes, and John McCabe gave a moving account of the inspiration for his work, Cloudcatcher Fells.  I could talk about the outstanding quality of the performances and the jaw-dropping encore performance of Mr Lear’s Carnival, but, in the end, the greatest credit is that I stopped taking notes, sat back and just enjoyed the music.  I trust that we will accept Robert Childs’ request to be invited back again sometime soon.”

 

Text Box:    SPITFIRES AWAY! At the end of our concerts we usually present our artists with a small gift,      usually a bottle of some kind (more practicable than flowers). With the 30-plus members of      Cory Band, however, we were a bit stumped as to what we do. We’re very grateful to the famous      Faversham brewery Shepherd Neame,  who in a kind act of sponsorship presented us with a      couple of bottles for each band member of their well-loved Spitfire beer, which I’m sure helped      the band’s lengthy return journey to South Wales go with a swing. It was particularly appropriate,      since the concert began with Walton’s splendid Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, and our Artistic      Director is not immune to the charms of Spitfire beer anyway!

 

 

 

OUR 22 nd FEBRUARY CONCERT: TREVOR PINNOCK (harpsichord)

 

Trevor Pinnock is known worldwide as a harpsichordist, conductor and chamber musician. A pioneer in the performance of baroque and classical music on period instruments, he founded the English Concert in 1972 directing it until 2003. During this season, Pinnock will tour as a soloist in England and Italy and will perform with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra in their Twentieth Birthday concerts. He will also continue to tour Bach´s Brandenburg Concertos with the European Brandenburg Ensemble which he formed last year to celebrate his own sixtieth birthday. Their recording of the concertos was released on the Avie label in November 2007. In January 2008 he joins flautist Emmanuel Pahud and cellist Jonathan Manson to record Bach sonatas for EMI. The ensemble will subsequently tour Europe, the Far East and the USA.

Trevor Pinnock J. S. Bach Antonio VivaldiHenry Purcell

(“The Red Priest”)

 

Mr Pinnock’s many recordings as a conductor include much Haydn, including the Sturm und Drang symphonies, and many classic recordings of Handel operas and choral works. He continues his relationship with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Abbado´s remarkable young Orchestra Mozart Bologna. He will work again with pianist Maria João Pires in concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and RAI Orchestra Torino. In educational initiatives, Pinnock will continue to give concerts and masterclasses with students at the Royal Academy of Music, London and the Hong Kong Academy For Performing Arts. Trevor Pinnock was awarded the title of CBE in the Queen´s birthday honours in 1992.

 

His recital programme for us on 22 nd February at Sittingbourne Community College contains music by various Baroque composers from different countries, from the English master Purcell and the German Froberger to the Italian Domenico Scarlatti (some of his Sonatas written during his long domicile in Spain) and the German Johann Sebastian Bach, his glorious C minor Partita. Italian and German combine in Bach’s reworking of Vivaldi’s Concerto in D, and the programme is completed by music by Giovanni Batista Draghi, who though Italian was organist to King Charles II’s Queen Catherine at St Michael’s, Cornhill. This is a rare opportunity to hear a master harpsichordist in the repertoire for which he is especially famous, much sought-after all over the world, and the programme is both varied and exciting.

Text Box:  PARTITAS AND SUITES The title Partita has become interchangeable with the title Suite, thanks largely to J. S. Bach’s use of either title for his great series of Suites (or Partitas) for keyboard, solo violin and solo cello. They were usually collections of dance-movements such as Sarabande, Gigue, Minuet etc., often with a more substantial first movement, sometimes in the form of a toccata prefaced by a slow introduction, giving the work something of the weightiness of the later form of Sonata. After the Baroque era, the tradition was revived by late romantics like Max Reger, in several fine Suites for solo viola, and 20th century composers such as Ernest Bloch, in Suites for solo violin, and Britten, whose three solo cello Suites live up to the example set by Bach. Many other composers have also revived the title Partita.

The Carducci StringQuartet Haydn, deep in thought An affectionate cartoon of RVW

 

 

THE CARDUCCI STRING QUARTET This outstanding young string quartet has just won the 2007 Concert Artists Guild International Competition in the USA. Chosen from over 350 original applicants, they receive prizes including a debut concert at the Carnegie Hall and a comprehensive management and marketing programme with CAG, including recording and commissioning opportunities. They come to us fresh from their first tour of Japan, and will tour the USA for the first time next autumn. Their busy schedule takes them all over Britain and they have rapidly established themselves as one of the brightest young ensembles in music, not only in this country. Their January diary alone, with no less than 13 engagements, shows how popular they have become, and among recent highlights have been a three day festival to celebrate the opening of the amazing new Cork School of Music building in Ireland. Their first CDs are in the process of being released. Their programme for us reflects perhaps the two greatest masters of quartet composing (certainly two of the three greatest!), Haydn and Beethoven, both by works regarded as among their finest: Haydn’s Quartet in D minor, No 2 of the set Opus 76, nicknamed the Fifths, and the popular E minor Quartet, the second of Beethoven’s three quartets, Op 59, dedicated to Count Razumovsky. Between these, they pay tribute to the 50 th anniversary of the death of Vaughan Williams with his beautiful, atmospheric 2 nd String Quartet, written in 1942-4 and partly derived from his music for the film The 49 th Parallel. Two of the Quartet, violinist Matthew Denton and his wife, cellist Emma Denton, will be remembered as members of the Eimer Piano Trio, who so successfully visited the SMS in 2005.

 

Text Box:   WASTE NOT, WANT NOT From the beginning of the days of specially-written film scores (even      in the silent era), film companies have from time to time used some of the most noted contemporary      composers to help them put their movies across – Saint-Säens and (reputedly) Holst were among the      early pioneers. In later times, the composers often drew on their film scores for concert works,      either making Suites (like Bliss, with Things to Come), major symphonic and choral works      (such as Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky), or simply short concert pieces, like Copland’s Our Town.      Vaughan Williams was already in his 70s when he ventured into film composition, but he      immediately became a master at it, as witness his classic score for Scott of the Antarctic, from      which he derived his brilliantly imaginative Sinfonia Antartica (the mis-spelling was his own, and      he stuck to it!). In his 2nd String Quartet, played in our Carducci Quartet concert, he used material       from The 49th Parallel, for which he wrote a memorably melodic and atmospheric score, and also      some noted down for a projected film about Joan of Arc that never materialised. Composers like      Handel and Bach made sure they never wasted their ideas – Vaughan Williams was acting in keeping      with the great tradition!

 

 

 

John Lill The young Prokofiev The Prokofiev family, 1936 Beethoven!

 

JOHN LILL Following his famous win in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1970, John Lill has established himself internationally as one of the most celebrated of all British pianists. He has particularly become noted as an interpreter of Beethoven and Prokofiev – apart from recording all the sonatas and concertos of Beethoven he has given complete cycles of these in many countries, including several concerto cycles in the USA, and has appeared with all the leading orchestras of the world. His complete Prokofiev Sonata recordings have also received wide acclaim, as has his recording of Rachmaninov’s major works and numerous other discs ranging from a recent, highly successful Haydn CD to Brahms concertos and, recently again, Schumann piano works. The seriousness and authority with which he plays is matched by what his friends and even audiences know, a mischievous and delightful sense of humour. His programme for us has still to be confirmed, but will include major works by Beethoven and Prokofiev, which will certainly demonstrate all his great technical command and musical insight.

A PERSONAL NOTE This will be the last Members’ Newsletter from the present source, though there will be a more general, “public” one towards the end of the season. The reason for this is simply pressure of time. Though I love writing it, finding pictures, messing about with formats and so on, I simply do not have the time to continue doing this, especially with what looks like a potentially busy birthday year coming up in 2009. It does take quite a bit of work to produce a Newsletter, and it was a great pity that his health prevented David Williams from continuing to do this, as he had made such a splendid start.

 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY We would like to draw your attention to the following:

Saturday 26 th January at 7.30 pm in the Alexander Centre, Faversham: Oare String Orchestra, conductor Peter Aviss, with Penelope Howard (violin and viola) and Robin Morrish (violin): Vaughan Williams (5 Variants on Dives and Lazarus), Vivaldi (Double Violin Concerto), Howells (Elegy for viola and strings), Holst (St Paul’s Suite), Neil Gardner (Mosaic)

Thursday 31 st January in the Assembly Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham (8 pm): Faversham Music Club presents the Fujita Piano Trio in works by Beethoven, Takemitsu and Dvořák

Saturday 23 rd February at Whitstable Methodist Church, Argyle Road, Whitstable (7.30pm): Whitstable Music Society presents the Fujita Piano Trio in works by Shostakovitch (Trio No 1), Smetana (his glorious G minor Trio) and Schubert

Saturday 8 th March in the Millennium Hall, Fulston Manor School, Sittingbourne (8 pm): the popular and distinguished pianist Malcolm Binns gives a recital in aid of the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society, including Beethoven’s MoonlightSonata, Brahms Intermezzi and music by Schumann and Chopin

Saturday 15 th March at the Mote Hall, Maidstone (7.30pm): Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, conductor Brian Wright, in Ravel (La valse), Debussy (La mer), and two works with cello soloist Sylvia Chiesa: Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and Nino Rota’s Cello Concerto No 1

Thursday 3 rd April in the Assembly Hall, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham (8 pm): Faversham Music Club: Music from Handel’s London performed by Concert Royal

Saturday 26 th April in Faversham Parish Church: Oare String Orchestra, conductor Peter Aviss, with David Flood (organ): music by Mozart, Sibelius, Handel (Organ Concerto in D minor), Albinoni (Adagio), and Mendelssohn (the orchestral version of the famous Octet).