If you loved our last concert as much as we did (the Gould Piano Trio, with Robert Plane on clarinet) then you will rush to book tickets for the artists' miniature festival in Corbridge, from Friday 30 July to Sunday 1 August.
You don't know Corbridge..? It's a wonderful little market town, just over an hour's drive from Richmond, or easily reached by train from Newcastle; it punches way above its weight in terms of attractions, from its Roman town to its fine Georgian and Victorian buildings and, of course, its music.
The Gould Piano Trio and clarinettist Robert Plane gave us a wonderful concert last night: a beautifully paced programme, beautifully performed.
Debussy's Rhapsody for Clarinet and Piano was charming, capricious, wickedly difficult, elegantly and effortlessly played by Plane in just eight minutes of impressionistic gorgeousness.
Next, Huw Watkins's Four Fables... How many in the audience thought: "This is going to be the price we have to pay for the Beethoven which comes next"? And how many were won over by the lovely, lyrical work which we heard, each of the four 'fables' - miniature tone poems - with its own distinct tale to tell? (This listener went straight off to Idagio after the concert, to find more works by Watkins.)
Finally we were treated to Beethoven's mid-period Piano Trio Op. 70 No. 2, a work which grows and grows by degrees. The Goulds paced it well, and the programme notes (excellent, by the way) got it just right: "Beethoven pulls out his big finish by means of a wonderful crescendo; a whoop of delight, surely, and a splendid conclusion to this fine work." The audience was delighted.
Still thinking about coming to tonight's concert by the violinist Chloë Hanslip, and her pianist Danny Driver? Stop thinking! You can book online on this site until about 3pm. If you miss that deadline there are still about 15 tickets left for the 5:30pm performance and 20 for the 8:00pm performance, so you've got a good chance of getting tickets at the door.
We've just had a look back at the last 12 months' postings in this news feed. How depressing! A litany of on-again, off-again announcements: forthcoming concerts, re-scheduled concerts, amended concerts, cancelled concerts, blah, blah, blah...
Enough's enough. We're wiping the slate clean! All the past news posts have been wiped from this home page, consigned to the dustbin of history. We're starting the news afresh. Our 2021 Covid mini-season will consist of two excellent concerts by top-quality musicians, the violinist Chloë Hanslip with pianist Danny Driver, and the Gould Piano Trio with clarinettist Robert Plane. We're delighted to welcome the artists back, we're sure they're delighted to be performing again, and we're sure that you, our audience members, will be delighted to get back to something like normality. Tickets are on sale now, on the Concerts page.
Now that's news!
It won't come as a surprise that our planned February concert, by the fine Piatti Quartet, has had to be cancelled as a result of the latest Covid lockdown. We're terribly sorry about that. Many of our members have said how much they were looking forward to hearing the Piattis again. We will make every effort to book them afresh, just as soon as the situation allows.
We still have three concerts scheduled, for March, April and May, and hope they will go ahead - but please don't be surprised if the February cancellation turns out to be the first in a series of rolling cancellations.
Many of you will have had an email summarising our plans. In brief:
Just a little footnote to what has been a strange few months: in view of Covid, social distancing and all that stuff we're thoroughly sick of, the Charity Commission has allowed us to cancel our AGM. We urge Members to contain their bitter disappointment and console themselves with the thought that next year's AGM will no doubt be even more riotous than usual.
Exceptionally, our season will start in February, rather than September, and will comprise four concerts. (Four superb concerts.) Exceptionally, too, we'll report here as the concerts are confirmed.
First confirmation: the Gould Piano Trio, accompanied by Robert Plane on clarinet, on 24 March. The programme isn't yet agreed, but with a fine clarinettist, and in a certain composer's 250th anniversary year, could it include Beethoven's Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano?
The Goulds are a marvellous group, as you'll know if you heard their Wigmore Hall recital on Radio 3. Closer to home, they are also intimately involved with the very lovely Corbridge Chamber Music Festival. They have recorded over 25 CDs, toured widely, and received wonderful reviews, like this from the Washington Post: "The only comparison that comes to mind is the old Beaux Arts Trio". High praise indeed. They haven't played as a trio yet in Richmond, though their virtuoso pianist, Benjamin Frith, has been here three times.
The clarinettist Robert Plane is a regular partner with the Gould Trio. He is a winner of the Royal Overseas League Music Competition, and a frequent performer with orchestras including the City of London Sinfonia, Royal Northern Sinfonia, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic, and BBC Symphony Orchestra.
We'll post the programme when it's finalised. Meanwhile, that's a pretty good start, wouldn't you agree?
As you probably know, our final concert of 2019-20 was cancelled because of the Covid outbreak. Still, we put on five good concerts in a season which saw very high membership numbers.
The Society's Annual Report, produced for the Charity Commission, is attached below, and adds a little more detail. One item which may catch your attention is the para headed 'Policy on reserves', which describes our 'rainy day fund'. Although social distancing may last for a while, meaning a possible cap on audience numbers, the trustees of Richmondshire Concerts are determined not to reduce the quality of your society's programming, so 2020-21 may be that rainy day. If so, we're well prepared.
Here's that report.
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