Members' Evenings 





27thJanuary – The Muse Piano Quintet


Tilford Bach Society opened its 2012 programme with a performance by the Muse Piano Quintet.

The first part of the concert was Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E Major, composed in 1842 and almost the first piece of chamber music written by the composer, and one that played an important role in establishing the Piano Quintet as a genre of chamber music. The performance was received with    by the large audience who enjoyed the skill, energy and style of the young performers.

The second part was a performance of César Franck’s F Minor Piano Quintet written nearly forty years later than Schumann’s piece. This was an emotional work with a larger role for the pianist, who displayed excellent virtuoso ability in some demanding passages.

The Muse Piano Quintet was formed almost four years ago and comprises five enthusiastic and very talented young musicians who have recently started a junior fellowship at the Royal College of Music. They have performed in many locations in the UK and abroad and are all highly competent musicians who will, if the TBS audience is to be satisfied, make a return visit at some point soon.

Ian Sargeant



24th February – Barbican Piano Trio


For the second concert of its Diamond Jubilee year the Tilford Bach Society welcomed a trio that is celebrating its Silver Jubilee.  The Barbican Piano Trio comprises Sophie Lockett (violin), Robert Max (cello) and James Kirby (piano) and has built up a high international reputation in its twenty-five years.  The Great Hall of Farnham Castle was packed to hear a thrilling programme, a ‘trio of trios’ one might say, with a modern work by Jean Francaix sandwiched between highly Romantic trios by Schumann and Schubert.


Schumann’s second Trio made a bright and breezy opening to the evening with sublime melodies demonstrating the singing tone of the two string players in the tender second movement, and the skittish Scherzo and jubilant finale bringing smiles to the audience.  A modern work usually causes apprehension among some of the audience but Francaix’s 1986 Trio in E-flat immediately won everyone over with its playful, quirky charm, contrasted with an intense legato slow movement.  It was in the Schubert that the piano really took centre stage, especially the breath-taking chromatic runs of the first and last movements.  Schubert can always be relied on for dramatic contrast and the two central movements were an Andante like a melancholy slow march developing into intense passion, followed by a skipping Scherzo like a children’s holiday.


The perfect rapport of the performers throughout this diverse and demanding programme was greatly appreciated by the capacity audience.


Rosemary Wisbey







23rd  March – Varazdin School of Music

A glance at the pages of “Bach comes to Tilford” the recently published history of the Tilford Bach Society reveals that it was not unusual for performers to come to Farnham by coach, singing all the way.

What was unusual about the TBS concert in the great hall of Farnham Castle on March 23rd was that they had come all the way from Croatia. They were a choir of 50 and 8 instrumentalists from the Varaždin School of Music. 

Varaždin is situated 81km north of the Croatian capital Zagreb and is one of the oldest music schools in that part of Europe. It was established in 1828 to help young talented children without the means to attend the regular schools. The students ranged in age from 16 to 19 and showed a prodigious talent for some so young.

The programme started with sacred music by four composers born or resident in Croatia ranging from the 16th to the 18th centuries with music reminiscent of Monteverdi or Palestrina. The Stabat Mater by Johann Vanhal, performed by girls choir and instrumental ensemble will certainly have the writer looking out for more of his music.

The second half started with four anthems by G.F. Handel sung in beautifully precise English, and the concert finished with a selection of Croatian church and secular folk songs. The last item Zahvalnica (Thanksgiving Song) by Franco Dugan (1910 – 1934) had the audience on their feet in a frenzy of applause. These young people are very fine ambassadors for their country and its music.

It’s a long way to come but let’s hope they come back soon.

Pete Wisbey





27th April – The Allegri Quartet


The Allegri Quartet is, like the Tilford Bach Society, sixty years old, so it was highly appropriate to hear them play in Farnham Castle as part of the Society’s Diamond Jubilee programme.  The instruments they play are considerably older, one violin dating back to 1590.


Over its six decades the Allegri has comprised successive generations of the finest international performers.  For this concert they chose two contrasting Beethoven string quartets and one by Shostakovich.  Beethoven admitted that his fifth Quartet was closely modelled on one of Mozart’s and its classical wit and elegance made an appropriately light-hearted and entertaining opening to the evening’s music.

Shostakovich’s Quartet no. 7, composed in 1960 in memory of his first wife, provided a startling contrast in style and mood.  Here the Allegri demonstrated why many modern composers are eager to write works for them as they evidently relished the wide range of techniques demanded by the work, evoking moods of mockery with undertones of menace, spine-chilling other-worldly desolation and manic terror and rage in its three short movements.

The depth of feeling expressed in Beethoven’s Quartet in A minor, composed in 1826, was later to inspire T. S. Eliot to write his Four Quartets, the poet seeing it as ‘the fruit of reconciliation and relief after immense suffering’.  In fact, the composer headed the third movement ‘A Convalescent’s Holy Song of Thanksgiving’, having recently recovered from an agonising illness.  The Allegri took the audience on a major emotional journey that culminated in a joyful Rondo.

Rosemary Wisbey