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.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 17 March
With great regret, we must report that this concert is cancelled.
We were working towards this conclusion, but meanwhile the Influence Church has decided, understandably, that it is closing its doors for the foreseeable future.
We will email everyone on our mailing list, and will try to text or phone people who don't have email.
Please stay safe during this period. We'll keep you posted on our plans for next season, and we'll hope to see you back, healthy and ready for some more top-class classical music, in the autumn. Best wishes from all of us at the Richmondshire Concerts.
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.
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