We looked forward to our concert of 22 January rather nervously. After many years of Saturday-evening concerts, would the change to Wednesdays actually work?
We needn't have worried. A large audience packed the Influence Church to enjoy a sprightly concert of music from the court of Louis XIV by the Bach Players. The group's leader, Nicolette Moonen, said afterwards: "To have 273 collected to hear French baroque music was something of a triumph. You'd never get those numbers in London.” What a lovely comment.
Tom comes from Richmond, London, settling in real Richmondshire with a young family after trying out Holland, Brunei and Manchester. He learnt the piano when young, badly, but enjoyed a weekly treat on a loud 'home organ' that made even Fanny Waterman's worst exercises rewarding. Branded a 'growler' at junior school and instructed to mime, Tom ignored the advice, enjoying choirs at college and university, particularly music like Carmina Burana where enthusiasm was more important than lack of talent.
Tom is an engineer, who finds it extremely hard to concentrate on classical music except in live performances.
No, this isn't one of our concerts, but we're always happy to push a professional classical concert if it's local and in a good cause. In this case the good cause is the improvement works at the church of St Mary the Virgin, in Richmond - a church which we used to use quite often for Richmondshire Concerts.
The programme consists of two Horn Trios, by Mozart and Brahms, and Beethoven's Sonata for Piano and Violin op. 96. The concert is at St Mary's, at 7:30pm on Friday 14 February. Tickets are £7.50 (or £5 for concessions - we're not sure what that covers) from Castle Hill Bookshop, or from Alexe Finlay, or - presumably - on the door.
(Were you at last night's recital by Craig Ogden on guitar and Miloš Milivojević on accordion? If so you'll know that the audience was enthusiastically won over by the combination of instruments. Fabulous...)
Also, if you were there, you may have heard Craig Ogden's unprompted comments: "...a beautiful venue...a lovely acoustic". He then unplugged his amplifier, as it wasn't needed.
We in the audience may sometimes take the venue for granted, but time after time we hear praise from visiting artists (Royal Northern Sinfonia, most recently) for the wonderful acoustic. So, forget those occasions when torrential rain is thundering on the roof, or Guy Fawkes fireworks are going off, or the Cricket Club is hosting a very loud wedding disco; most of the time we're privileged to enjoy a venue with comfortable seats, uninterrupted sight-lines and, best of all, excellent sound qualities for chamber concerts.
If you enjoyed our Royal Northern Sinfonia concert in October, you'll be glad to welcome the orchestra back again for Christmas by Candlelight, a seasonal celebration in St Mary's Church at 7:30pm on 6 December (St. Nicholas' Day - how appropriate). The programme includes 'Winter' from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, as well as contrasting classical favourites.
Tickets are £15 for adults, £5 for under-18s. Click here to go to Sage Gateshead's booking site. This is not a Richmondshire Concerts event.
The question posed by the Leader of Royal Northern Sinfonia at Saturday’s concert remains unanswered: was this the first time Mahler’s First Symphony had been performed live in Richmond? Had it not been for Iain Farrington’s brilliant arrangement for fifteen musicians, it certainly wouldn’t have happened at RSC’s second concert of the season. This huge orchestral work normally calls for a hundred musicians, but there isn’t a venue in Richmond that could accommodate such a vast number (and the RSC, sadly, probably couldn’t afford to stage it).
What we heard was different in tone, texture and volume from the full orchestral version but wow, did it sound good! Every instrumentalist was a soloist and they each gave it their all, which allowed the clarity of the musical line to shine out. Should anyone ever question the excitement and exhilaration of being at a live performance, this would have put paid to their doubts. The audience gave it their rapt attention and was spell-bound throughout the concert.
In the first half, we enjoyed Richard Strauss’s String Sextet from Capriccio and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, written for his wife as a birthday present and performed for her as she awoke on Christmas morning. A bit different from the way most parents are woken on Christmas morning but Cosima’s life certainly wasn’t typical.
This was a stunning second concert in the RSC series, rivalling the triumph of the Doric Quartet in the first performance of the season. Can the third one match up to the high standard that has been set? Make sure you’re there to find out, on 23 November.
(Many thanks to our member, Elizabeth Bedford, for the above review.)
After the concert, a leaving collection was held for the Swaledale and Wensleydale Flood Recovery Fund. This raised an excellent total of £602. Many thanks to all donors for your generosity, which will support a very good cause indeed.
Royal Northern Sinfonia in Richmond, 19 October 2019. Photo by Jane Morris-Abson
If you're not one of our Season Ticket holders, and you're planning to come to Royal Northern Sinfonia, then please book early. We get big audiences for the Sinfonia, and may have to restrict single ticket sales. Again, please book early, because there are unlikely to be any tickets for sale at the door.
Did you come to the Doric concert? Did you have a single ticket, whether full-price, discounted or free?
Lucky you! You can still upgrade to a Season Ticket for just £32. That will get you into our next five concerts, including Royal Northern Sinfonia, priced at £20, for just £32. This offer expires on 19 October.
Visit our Concerts page to upgrade.
It was a pleasure to welcome the Dorics back to Richmond. A six year gap emphasised just how the group has developed into the major quartet it is now, and the musicians had the large audience mesmerised. As several listeners commented afterwards, Haydn is often used to provide an 'unchallenging' introduction to a chamber concert - but with their strong, dynamic rendering of his Op. 33 No. 1, the Dorics made it clear from the outset that this was no mere warm-up act.
Britten's String Quartet No. 1 stood in strong contrast, with violist Hélène Clément performing on the composer's own instrument. The group's playing was admirable, and although the work as a whole doesn't really cohere, the movements were individually brilliant and explored a broad palette of moods.
A remarkable evening ended with Schubert's great Death and the Maiden quartet. The audience was rapt, the applause rapturous - and the number of people queuing afterwards to upgrade their single tickets to Season Tickets bodes well for this new season.
Ordering buttons for Season Tickets are now live on our Home Page, www.rsconcerts.org. If you order online, your tickets will be waiting for you at the auditorium door on 28 September. If you can't wait to clutch an actual physical ticket, head on down to Castle Hill Bookshop in Richmond where they will be glad to oblige you. Take cash or a cheque, please.
We encourage early ordering, but there's one potential disadvantage: if you order early, we won't send you a printed Newsletter-cum-order-form when we do our mailing in mid-August. We'd rather spend money on artists than on stamps and envelopes. But if you want the Newsletter - and who wouldn't - you can download a copy here. Problem solved!
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