Summer 2007

MEMBERSHIP SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP FOR THE 2007/08 SEASON:
The following membership fees have been agreed for the 2007/08 season:
Individual Season Ticket £50 (this is a massive saving compared to individual tickets through the season) Corporate Season Ticket £200, Family Season Ticket £100 The Newsletter-only for £5 scheme is discontinued because of lack of editing time.

A Brochure and Membership Form are enclosed. Do renew your membership as soon as possible – and it would be wonderful if most members could entice somebody else to join us.

Our Membership Secretary is Jeane Holmes, 106 College Road, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 1LQ. Tel: 01795 423 589.

 

John Lill The Carducci String Quartet The City Waites

LOOKING FORWARD We have what we think are six particularly exciting concerts for 2007/08:

Please note: the new Membership and Ticket prices mean that those who take out a membership Season Ticket save no less than £22, i.e. one free concert and most of the price of a second. This is a really special bargain, and we hope people will take advantage of it.

      • The artists range from Zephyr with pianist Ian Buckle, who gave us such a great start at our first concert in 2004; The City Waites, with a delightful programme of early music from court, theatre, tavern and countryside, the famous Cory Brass Band, a household name for their virtuosity and musicianship; the internationally celebrated harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock; another of the brilliant young British string quartets the Carducci String Quartet (playing outstanding works by Haydn, Vaughan Williams, and Beethoven); and finally a recital by the great pianist John Lill.
      • The repertoire ranges from 17 th and early 18 th century music (The City Waites), through established masterpieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Bach and Vaughan Williams, to a programme of brass band classics by composers such as Elgar, Walton and John Ireland. The concerts once again give a wonderful overview of the great classic repertoire.
      • Two concerts fall outside our normal type of arrangements. The visit of the Cory Band is on a Saturday (24 th November), because they are only able to give us that date – coming from South Wales, they cannot easily get away for a concert this far away during the week. But it will be a treat for all brass band followers, and those who don’t normally go for this kind of concert will appreciate a programme with some of the best-loved major works for band from the repertoire. John Lill’s recital is later in the season than usual, because it is also forms the opening concert of the Swale Festival, a collaboration with a local event to which we are eagerly looking forward, and which marks our concern to find ways of linking in with the community of which we are part. This recital will be at the Wyvern Hall, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne, a new venue for us and one that we hope will be successful.

MEMBERSHIP SUBSIDY The comment is sometimes made that people don’t take out a subscription because they can’t come to every concert. Of course, with our 6-for-5 membership, we have been giving members one free concert anyway, quite apart from the Newsletter and any Members-only events we may put on during the year. Next year, however, we are offering a bigger discount for membership – this will still cost only £50 (we have kept this level for four years), but individual concert tickets will be priced at £12, so joining us produces a saving of £22 over the whole season. This works out at about 44 % saving for members. For performances of the quality we present this is an outstanding bargain. (Indeed, it’s already a bargain at £12 a seat anyway!) You also have the knowledge that you are guaranteed a seat – members have priority. And membership means ensuring the future of the Society by supporting its activities even if you can only get along to, say, 4 out of 6 concerts. So please do think about it. It will help us more than you realise.

Trevor Pinnock Zephyr Robert Childs (Cory Band)

LOOKING BACK Among many memorable events in our last season, the concert by The King’s Singers was certainly a highlight, but we have been able to maintain the highest standards of performance, as well as continuing to present a wide range of repertoire. Our average audience, even discounting the very large numbers who attended The King’s Singers, was well up on last season. Much of this is due to those who buy tickets on the night (and we should express our gratitude to Swade Music for acting as our ticket agency in town), and we still desperately need more full memberships.

The Galliard Wind Ensemble gave us a splendid start, with a programme of attractive wind quintet works ending with Berio’s Opus Number Zoo, presented with all their usual panache. Nielsen’s Wind Quintet in A was the established classic of the programme, and the programme ranged from a delightful arrangement of Mozart’s Overture The Marriage of Figaro to tuneful, often folk-based works by Ligeti, Barber and Grainger, as well as Malcolm Arnold’s popular Sea Shanties.

An equally delightful programme was given by the superb young piano duet team of Joseph Tong and Waka Hasagewa, with established masterworks by Mozart and Schubert, the original version of Debussy’s La mer (how often will we be able to hear that great work in Sittingbourne?), and the première of the specially commissioned work swings and roundabouts by Matthew Rogers, which was very well received. More duos were heard in the outstanding cello and piano recital by Alice Neary and Gretel Dowdeswell, in a powerful performance of Brahms’s great F major Cello Sonata, plus solo items, from Beethoven’s Waldstein Piano Sonata and Bach’s 2 nd Suite in D minor for solo cello to Walton’s Passacaglia for solo cello.

The King’s Singers gave us pieces by Thomas Tallis, followed by items from their most recent CD Landscape and Time and the première of John McCabe’s Cartography, written for the concert. In the second half, they followed some delightful early music by Spanish composers with a typical group of close harmony arrangements – a programme selected with all their usual care and attention to detail. We were delighted to welcome guests from far and wide for this concert, including our own Mayor of Sittingbourne and our local Member of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Derek Wyatt.

The two remaining concerts were a massive contrast. The Sacconi String Quartet, led by Ben Hancox, began with a wonderful String Quartet by Haydn, and they were then joined by the outstanding clarinettist David Campbell for memorable performances of the well-loved Clarinet Quintets by Mozart and Weber. David also gave us a bonne bouche in three effective pieces for solo clarinet by David Matthews. Finally, we hosted a concert, prefaced by highly successful school projects, given by Maraca2, a brilliant young percussion duo from Birmingham – an exciting evening of rhythmical and surprisingly wide-ranging music, played with such athleticism it was almost exhausting to watch!

VOLUNTEERS We are still in real need of Volunteers. At present, the Society is very much a cottage industry and probably always will be, but the burden borne by the Committee is a very heavy one. There are all sorts of things you can help us with – so please come forward and help.

 

Poulenc Elgar Young Beethoven and Older Haydn RVW

 

 

However, I must one more time take the opportunity of thanking all those who already help us so much in various ways during the year. We owe much to Geoff Rutt, Garrie Harvey and the staff at 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.

LUCAS/DARNBOROUGH CD Many people will remember the performance by Claire-Louise Lucas (mezzo-soprano) and Jonathan Darnborough (piano) at our The Year of the Sea event in 2005. Their first CD, now released, includes Elgar’s Sea Pictures as well as other songs by Elgar and some lovely ones by Vaughan Williams – the Claudio Bohemia disc (CB5258-2) can be purchased at £10 (including postage and packing) from Midsummer Management, tel. 01684 565 651, Email: artists@midman503a.freeserve.co.uk.

OTHER RECENT CDs Malcolm Binns’ famous recording of the two piano concertos by Rawsthorne has been reissued on Lyrita (SRCD 255), with Nicholas Braithwaite and the London Symphony Orchestra. John McCabe’s recent CD releases include two John Joubert issues (Songs and Chamber Music on Toccata Classics TOCC 0045, and a 2-CD set of the 3 Piano Sonatas plus Chamber Music on Somm SOMMCD 060-2) and a reissue of the Moeran Rhapsody in F sharp for piano and orchestra, with Nicholas Braithwaite and the New Philharmonia Orchestra (Lyrita SRCD 248). John’s ‘Pilgrim’ for Double String Orchestra , Ballet Suite No1 ‘Arthur Pendragon’ and Piano Concerto No 1 (with John as soloist), with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, under Christopher Austin, has been issued on Dutton Epoch CDLX 7179.

OTHER EVENTS Malcolm Binns , who gave us such a splendid recital in January 2006 and who is President of the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society, is giving a recital at the Wigmore Hall, London, on Sunday 8 th July at 7.30 pm. His programme includes two great Beethoven Sonatas (Op 54 in F, and Op 111 in C minor), three Lyapunov Transcendental Studies (members may remember his superb performances of some of these at his SMS recital), and the world première of McCabe’s Epithalamium (Study No 11 – Homage to Mussorgsky).

The Oare String Orchestra is performing on Saturday, 29 th September, 2007 at 7.30 pm in the Alexander Centre, Faversham, with their conductor Peter Aviss. Tony Halstead is the soloist in Neil Bramson’s Concertino for horn and strings and Telemann’s Horn Concerto in D, and the programme also includes William Alwyn’s superb Concerto Grosso No 2, and music by Harry Wild and Elgar.

Don’t forget the piano recital on Saturday 14 th July 2007 at 7.30 pm in the Shirley Hall, King’s School, Canterbury: the talented young pianist Benjamin Grosvenor plays in aid of the Save the Children Fund.

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