Winter 2011


Friday 11 th February, 7.45 pm, Sittingbourne Community College

Something really to cheer our hearts in a cold, cold winter! Not only is Malcolm Binns one of the foremost interpreters of Chopin’s music, world-wide, but he is generously donating the recital to SMS as a fund raiser. To boost this gift, one of our Society members, John Penry, is generously lending his Steinway piano for the occasion. What a great way for us to start the Year.

The programme will include a wide variety of Chopin pieces, which overall will provide a survey of Chopin’s work, from the early Mazurkas to one of his last and greatest works, the Barcarolle. In between will be Waltzes, Nocturnes, plus two Ballades, the C sharp minor Scherzo and the F minor Fantasy. It promises to be a memorable evening of Chopin masterpieces, not to be missed.

We last experienced Malcolm Binns’ glorious pianism locally when, a season ago, he gave a majestic recital for Faversham Music Club.

Malcolm Binns recordings include:

The complete Chopin Etudes, on Pearl, and a 2-CD set on the British Music Society label, of Sonatas by Bax, Bridge and Ireland. (You may recall, Malcolm Binns performed the Bax 3 rd Sonata a few seasons ago.)


A concert devoted to the music of Chopin is particularly appropriate right now as 2010 was the 200 th anniversary of the composer’s birth, in Warsaw. Okay, this is 2011 – but only just!

Chopin’s life was really defined by his dual nationality – Polish and French. His father, Nicolas Chopin, was a French émigré in Warsaw where, as a tutor to Polish aristocratic families, he met his Polish wife, Tekla Krzyanowska, Frederic’s mother. She gave piano lessons to her young son and by the age of six his precocious talent was recognised, and he commenced musical studies with violinist Wojciech Zywny, later entering the Warsaw Conservatory.

As Chopin was growing up in Warsaw, Poland was suppressed under Russian rule. He became a strong supporter of the Polish armed rebellion, which broke out in 1830 but was crushed a year later. Chopin had by then – like many Poles – moved to Paris to escape the conflict, where he continued to be involved with the Polish independence movement, inspiring his ‘Revolutionary Study’. In Paris, Chopin was also associated with the cultural ‘Romantic Revolution’, with other composers like Berlioz and Schuman, and writers like Victor Hugo, and also George Sand, who became Chopin’s companion, famously spending the bitter winter of 1838/9 with the ailing composer in an unheated hut in Valldemossa Monastery, Majorca.

Chopin is remembered supremely as a composer for the piano, unsurpassed in his own day and few since could claim to be his peer. Chopin never returned to Poland and died in Paris from TB in 1849, aged 39.


Friday 25 th March, 7.45 pm, Sittingbourne Community College

This youthful duo bring our season to a sparkling close. Lucille Burns has performed

with orchestras throughout Europe and at the BBC Proms. She coaches the flute section of The National Children’s Orchestra. Victoria Davies studied harp at the

Royal Academy of Music and Christ Church, Oxford. She was Principal Harp in the National Youth Orchestra, has performed on BBC2 and Radios 3 and 2, and toured in the Far East. Both are Recommended Artists from The Making Music Concert Promoters’ Network.

Their varied programme will include works by Bach and Rossini and a Fantasy Sonata, ‘Naiades’, by William Alwyn, which has long been staple repertoire for this ensemble. It is as mellifluous as its name (Water Nymphs) suggests. Alwyn is best known for his massive output of film scores – 70 in all. And his concert music and recordings have been enjoying a revival. John McCabe recommends the 3 rd and 5 th Symphonies, on Naxos, plus some delightful chamber music discs on Naxos and Chandos. Many of Alwyn’s own painted landscapes adorn CD covers of his music. We are grateful for the financial support given by the William Alwyn Trust.


We are planning four varied concerts: Finalised so far:

Concert 1 : KOSMOS – a brilliant young string trio with a difference; they combine traditional music, from the Balkans and beyond, with folk music from around the world: Jazz, Gypsy fiddling, Jewish and Arab melodies, and the hot-blooded Tango.

Concert 2 : CHRIS GRIST (cello) and DAVID WRIGHT (harpsichord) bring us part of their Bach Project, with cello suites by Bach and Telemann, and Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’.


John and Monica were present at the Henry Wood Hall, in London, before Christmas, to hear recordings made of music by John for two pianos, piano duet and solo piano.

The piano duo were Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa, who gave a wonderful SMS concert in 2006. The pieces include music from the ballet, ‘2 Scenes from

Edward II’, and a piano duet, ‘Upon entering a Painting’, inspired by Mark Rothko.

Another CD on its way is a selection of John’s choral music, by the BBC Singers, with their conductor, David Hill, including a major work, ‘Mangan Triptych’ . We hope

these, and other recordings, will be available by the start of our 2011/12 season.

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