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).

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