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.
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.
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