Summer 2004

Just to remind you, Members (i.e. Season Ticket holders) will receive at least 3 printed Newsletters a year free, and those who are not Members but take out a £5 subscription for this purpose will also receive them. The £5 subscription is, of course, to offset the extra costs of additional copies and postage. Meanwhile, this item is simply to bring you up to date with any news, as well as to give a bit more information about the forthcoming season.

As the latest Newsletter is mailed to subscribers, the previous one will be posted to this page.

In October, we set off on our musical journey with a concert by Zephyr Winds at the Millennium Hall, Sittingbourne – the starting-time was 7.45 pm, which we’ve agreed (for this season, anyway) because it gives people a bit of time to turn things around after work, but doesn’t mean such a late finish as an 8 pm start would do. I was very pleased with this first event, which was well attended and enthusiastically received. It gave a good taste of some of the things we want to do, performing the great masterpieces of the repertoire as well as some more neglected works. There was a chance to hear Sittingbourne’s own Matthew Rogers’ very fine new piece for clarinet, and a light-hearted, immensely skilful wind quintet suite based on English folksongs, Western Winds , by Paul Patterson, who was for some years composer-in-residence at King’s School, Canterbury, and remains a popular figure in Kent musical life. Matthew’s piece was our first world première, and quite a coup.

Julian Lloyd Webber and Rebecca Woolcock played for us on 19 th November, at the Main Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, Swanstree Avenue. The programme included Brahms’ Cello Sonata in E Minor, Debussy’s Sonata in D Minor, and works by Bach, Bridge, Faure and Lloyd Webber. An article in “The Gramophone” relates one person’s impressions. “One freezing November evening, around 400 people crammed into the hall of the local community college to listen to a programme of music for cello and piano. Ticket prices were affordable, under 16s got in for just one pound, and the performances were exemplary. . . It gives one hope to see events like this being well supported, just what classical music needs”.

Why don’t you connect to Julian’s web site on the “Links” page, and listen to some of his musical extracts.

Emily Beynon , our flautist on January 21 st next, finally managed to track down various bits and pieces of incidental music for a Parisian production of Aristophanes’ The Birds in 1889, and she and her harpist sister Catherine will, we hope, be giving the world première of a short flute and harp piece, Les Oiseaux , which they’ve asked me to prepare using this music. I’m always a bit suspicious of “completions” of this kind, because you never know how much of it is original and how much of it has been written by editor, or realiser. I’ve determined that here there is enough probably to make a rather beautiful, short slow movement, simply by rearranging the order of the sections, without actually writing anything myself, and I’m currently trying to work it into a satisfactory whole. If it comes off, and I don’t see why it shouldn’t, this will be another coup for us, and a lovely addition to an already mouth-watering programme, including Debussy’s wonderful Trio for flute, viola and harp in which the Beynons will be joined by Swedish violist Malin Broman.

Ernest Chausson (1855-99) was one of the finest French composers of his generation. His works include some of the most beautiful French songs, as well as the well-known Poème for violin & orchestra beloved of violin virtuosi, a magnificent Symphony in B flat, the hauntingly beautiful Poème de l’amour et la mer for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, an impressive opera Le Roi Arthus (very topical with the release of the Hollywood King Arthur film – I’m surprised the opera companies haven’t woken up to this), and much else. His tragically early death was caused, of all things, by a cycling accident. His output was not large, so our “new” work will hopefully be a very useful addition to his repertoire.

This venue will also be in use for our final concert, by the brilliant young Dutch Prinse Quartet on 6 th May, 2005 – their programme has now been finalised, by the way, and includes Purcell, the wonderful 2nd String Quartet in C by Britten (a work strongly connected to the world of Purcell), and one of the loveliest of Mozart’s late Quartets, in D, K575. One other concert should be mentioned: on Friday, 11 th March 2005 , we return to Fulston Manor School for a piano recital by your Artistic Director. This wasn’t on our original plan, but I stepped in when the pianist who’d engaged had to withdraw for family reasons just before we went to press with the brochure. I am, of course, thrilled to be giving this recital, and will play Beethoven’s Sonata, Op 110, in the correct key of A flat, and not E flat as stated in our brochure (which is entirely my mistake)!

We will be investigating what we can do to initiate a car-sharing scheme, suggested by one of our earliest members, to help those who might have difficulty attending our concerts. We are, however, still in real need of helpers, especially for handling the concerts, and particularly front of house – we have one or two volunteers, but any more who would like to participate in what is an essential, and not really very onerous, task, please make yourselves known to us!

John McCabe
17 th August 2004 Artistic Director

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