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
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.
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.
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
is situated 81km north of the Croatian capital
programme started with sacred music by four composers born or resident in
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.
a long way to come but let’s hope they come back soon.
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
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.
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
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.