Many thanks to all the local businesses and individuals who showed their support for the Richmondshire Concerts by sponsoring a concert in our last season. And many more thanks to all our 2017-18 sponsors. The corporate sponsors are AltBerg Boots, Gale & Phillipson, and Millgate House & Garden, and we do hope that all our regulars will give those local firms their business whenever possible. The individuals are returning benefactors David and Angelica Carr, and Peter Denison-Edson and Hazel Smith, as well as an anonymous Richmond-based newcomer. Many, many thanks to all of them, and we hope they get a great deal of pleasure from supporting 'their' artists.
If you are thinking of sponsoring a future concert, it's never too soon to put down a marker. Just take a look at this page, then drop a line to Nick Reckert, email@example.com.
It's always the final yard that's the hardest... But now our Concert Secretary, Anna Jackson, has signed off her negotiations with artists and agents, and our 70th anniversary programme is up on this website for all to see - and it's a good one. Just click the Concerts and Tickets link above for details.
The Carducci Quartet, on its sixth visit to the Richmondshire Concerts, delivered an exceptional evening. All the usual skills were there: extraordinary, almost telepathic cohesion; smooth, warm melodic lines; moments of raw anguish, particularly in Shostakovich's 11th Quartet; lightning-fast baton-passing along the line from first violin to cello... Just when you think these musicians are at their peak, they get even better.
It was telling that many in the large audience were suffering from spring colds, yet the auditorium was rapturously silent during the concert - quite spellbound.
This was a fine end to a fine season, and we can't wait for a seventh visit.
Update, 3 April: the musicians clearly had fun too. "Greatly enjoyed performing for Richmondshire Concerts yesterday - wonderful audience and atmosphere!"
The Universities of Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow are mapping live musical activity across Britain. This is a timely piece of research, and one which is likely to be valuable, in an age when music education is in a dire state and listening is increasingly a digital experience.
To take part in the survey, as an audience member or musician, visit http://uklivemusiccensus.org.
The Piatti Quartet interrupted an extended tour of Ireland and Scotland to re-visit Richmond last Saturday. Today, Monday, after that lengthy diversion, the group is north of the border again, performing on the Isle of Skye.
19 concerts, 23 days away from home... Professional musicians do work hard.
The Piattis opened with a Haydn work (Op. 20, No. 2) which while not the full Sturm und Drang was perhaps more astringent than the famously cheerful composer's more familiar output. A pleasure to listen to. Next came the new work of the evening, Joseph Phibbs's String Quartet No. 1. Audience reaction during the interval was pretty consistent: "Some moments of English pastoral beauty, and some thrilling sections"; "A bit of a Curate's Egg, but essentially good". A success, then.
After the interval came Beethoven's 'late quartet' Op. 130, with the enormous Grosse Fuge finale, longer than all the other five movements together. (Is it a success, or does it unbalance the work? Discuss.) The demands made on the musicians are astonishing, but the Piattis' unflagging energy and skill were admirable, and they still looked fired up after the marathon performance. No encore, understandably, but loud applause from an enthusiastic audience.
Many thanks to the Piatti Quartet. They diverted, and we were enjoyably diverted.
Our member, the novelist Peter Robinson, has now appeared on Radio 3's Private Passions programme. (If you think you've read that before, you're right, but the BBC delayed the originally-planned broadcast.) Peter's novels are set in a fictional town which is loosely modelled on Richmond, with its Swaledale hinterland. Here's what the BBC has to say:
'Crime-writer Peter Robinson tops the best-seller lists year after year, across the world; in fact his detective, DI Banks, is probably even better known than he is. DI Banks is a straight-talking Yorkshireman with dodgy dress sense and a frustrated love life, and he's been solving murders in Yorkshire for some twenty years now. There are now twenty-three Banks novels, and several series on television with Stephen Tompkinson in the title role. So DI Banks is hugely popular, and central to his character is that he constantly listens to music - in the car, at home, in pubs. There's a memorable line where Robinson says of his detective - "He did his best thinking when he was listening to music and drinking wine." This, Robinson reveals, is autobiographical.'
'In Private Passions, Peter Robinson talks to Michael Berkeley about how music inspires his best thinking and writing, and why he's on a mission to get all his readers listening to the music he loves. He even creates online playlists of the music his detective listens to - including some of the music he chooses in Private Passions. Choices include Poulenc's Sextet for Piano and Wind, Beethoven's String Quartet in C sharp minor, Takemitsu, Miles Davis, and one of Schubert's last piano sonatas. Perhaps it's no surprise that he's drawn to last works - as a crime writer, his books begin with murder. Robinson confesses though that he regrets the increasing violence of the genre, and thinks the TV adaptations of his work go too far. And he reveals why Yorkshire is always the best place to hide a body.'
Peter's latest novel, When the Music's Over, is available at Castle Hill Bookshop in Richmond (and at thousands of other bookshops).
Click here to listen to Private Passions (until 10 March).
Here's a nice review from one of our members, Chris Shaw.
The first concert of 2017 brought an interestingly mixed bag of delights to Richmond. Think of a piano quintet with double bass, and Schubert’s 'Trout' Quintet will probably spring to mind, but the Frith ensemble showed us that the repertoire goes well beyond that.
We began with Mozart's Piano Quartet No. 1. The calm, relaxed style of the Frith Quartet suited this admirably, with the excellent acoustics of the hall helping to produce a really good balance among the instruments. The musicians were then joined by the bass player, John Tattersdill, for the rarely heard Vaughan Williams Piano Quintet. I’m sure this must have been a first hearing for most of the audience as even Ben Frith, the pianist, admitted to not knowing it before rehearsals began. The fullness and depth of sound were a real contrast to the Mozart and, being a very early Vaughan Williams work, gave a clear idea of where his music was going to progress to in future years.
After the interval the five players returned for the 'Trout'; back to real clarity of writing and a great opportunity to hear some beautifully rich sounds from the viola and the bass in particular. Forgive me for saying this, but sometimes Schubert can 'go on a bit' - not so in this performance. With only one repeat missed in the first movement, it was a real delight from beginning to end, the subtle style of the Frith again suiting it admirably. No prima donnas here, just an excellent blending of sound.
Thinking that an encore was out of the question for this combination of instruments, we were proved wrong with the finale of Hummel's Piano Quintet. A real showpiece this, particularly for the piano, with Ben Frith dazzling us with his amazing technique. A stunning end to an evening of treasures.
The Frith Quartet, with John Tattersdill (photo by Jane Morris Abson)
Would you be willing to print occasional small concert posters at home, for your window, or local shops or pubs?
Here's why we ask: healthy attendances mean we can attract major musicians and afford to hire them - so when we attract more concert-goers, everyone in the audience benefits.
The posters are standard PDF email attachments and can be printed on plain A4 paper. We usually produce seven in a season.
If you'd like to know what's involved, please let us know and we'll send a sample poster. By displaying these posters you can help your Society. Of course you can opt out at any time. All offers are welcome, but we have a particular need in and around Leyburn, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale, Barnard Castle, Bedale and Northallerton. Thanks!
Our members can enjoy a 10% discount on delicious Sicilian food and wine throughout December.
Many thanks to Alessandro's Hideaway; not only did the restaurant sponsor our recent concert by the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, but it is also offering a generous discount to our members. You'll find Alessandro's on Queen's Road in Richmond, opposite Friary Gardens. Call 01748 850777 to book, and be sure to take your RSC membership card with you. Buon appetito!
Best-selling author Peter Robinson is a regular visitor to our concerts. On 20 November [CORRECTION - new date expected soon] he will be Michael Berkeley's guest on Radio 3's Private Passions.
Leeds-born Peter is the author of the well-known Inspector Banks novels, set in the fictional town of Eastvale, a sort-of Richmond, sort-of Ripon, with a definite hinterland of Swaledale. Based in Toronto, he lives in Richmond for much of the year - and at those times, he's an enthusiastic visitor to our concerts.
Peter's Private Passions are embargoed, unfortunately, but we do know that we'll hear performances by Imogen Cooper and the Takács Quartet, as well as Poulenc's Wind Sextet. And here is a world exclusive: "I had picked the Kronos Quartet version of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’ but Michael Berkeley snuck in the original Hendrix version to close the show instead."
And on that bombshell...
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