No Richmondshire Concerts now for two whole months - boo! But there’s plenty of wonderful music on the radio over the Christmas season, and umpteen amateur performances of Messiah to enjoy.
As a society which stages live professional concerts, we thought you’d like to know of some live professional concerts within 20 miles of Richmond, during December and January. Take a bow, Darlington Piano Society and Darlington Music Society. Their concerts below are in the Central Hall at the Darlington Dolphin Centre, with tickets at £15.
Image: Patrick Hemmerlé at the Musikverein, Vienna.
Annette spent her childhood in Richmond. Since then, she has lived in various UK locations, Kuwait and Turkey, before returning. She was kept busy bringing up 4 children, volunteering in various local organisations and working in careers advice.
She loves walking, travel, theatre, attempting photography and gardening, watching rugby and football. Musically, she displays little talent – being told to mime rather than sing, but enjoys live music. She loves opera – enjoying live events at the Station or Opera North. Her musical tastes range from Mozart, Beethoven to jazz – Bessie Smith and Courtney Pine. She loves listening to Nina Simone and Leonard Cohen – seeing him perform twice live.
Naomi worked in publishing and taught the cello in York before moving to Swaledale. She enjoys playing in orchestras and small ensembles, especially continuo. Other favourite things include Bach, ski-touring, hillwalking and wildlife gardening. She hopes her two new ponds will help the local toad population.
The repertoire for piano four hands (aka piano duets) is neither very well known nor often performed in public, so I was intrigued. Apart from playing piano duets with piano teachers, I did not know the repertoire, and so was delighted to discover such variety and quality last night. Not only this, but piano four hands is fun to watch! Schubert kept the four hands in their places on the upper and lower halves of the keyboard, but Mendelssohn had hands crossing and as Alison Gill pointed out, “the choregraphy gets interesting”. The Hungarian dances by Liszt were fabulously evocative and fun, and then the highlight of the evening came in the second half – Stravinsky’s own arrangement of Petrushka for piano four hands. I am a newcomer to Richmondshire and Richmondshire Concerts and have to say I was impressed. I will be back!
Photo: Jane Morris Abson
It seems only yesterday that it was impossible to mention the Sacconi Quartet without the word "young". They still look young, of course, and they still are young compared to many quartets of a similarly high standard. But let's remember that they came together over 20 years ago. In that time they have bonded and matured impressively, and suddenly it doesn't seem wrong to match them with "magisterial".
A magisterial performance is what they gave us last night. One of Mozart's six 'Haydn' quartets led into the gloomy and mysterious splendour of Schubert's 'Rosamunde' quartet. Ravel's (only) string quartet filled the whole second half of the concert, its pizzicato second movement a reminder of how radical a work can be while still being utterly familiar. The Sacconis paced it beautifully.
Three big, emotionally demanding pieces, yet the players still had energy to play a lovely Danish wedding song as an encore. Not so very old, then!
There was a good-sized and very appreciative audience last night in the Influence Church, when the a cappella group Apollo5 launched our unusual 2021 season. Unusual, because we don't often feature vocal groups, because we didn't have a 2020 season, and because it's a seven-concert season.
It was a lovely performance: the singers were clearly delighted to be back in front of a live audience, and the audience shared their delight. Were the singers rusty? Not at all: as their programme notes explained, the long quiet months in which they recorded their latest album, Where All Roses Go, gave them a wonderfully creative focus. The quality of last night's singing stayed high, all the way from William Byrd in the 1570s to the gorgeous encore (1983), and then they were off - night train back to London, and performing today at Mont St. Michel in Normandy.
No CDs were on sale - there was no time. But you can order a CD or download of Where All Roses Go by clicking the image above of the disc's cover.
BBC Radio 3's Petroc Trelawny has been travelling slowly down Wensleydale over the last few days, enjoying the wonderful weather and countryside and sharing them on his Breakfast programme. If you've not heard him, you can catch up on BBC Sounds for about a month. Well worth listening to (and not just for the music - the birdsong and the sheep come across very well too).
If you have been listening, you may have caught Jake Heringman and Susanna Pell being interviewed on 13 July, and performing on lute and viol in a field of sheep near Jervaulx Abbey. Jake and Zan (resident in Richmond, and previously trustees of this society) spoke glowingly of the rich musical life of the area, and particularly of the Richmondshire Concerts and the Swaledale Festival. Thanks, both, and we hope you got a breakfast out of it!
Here's a link; you'll hear Zan and Jake at the 1 hour 47 minute mark.
The AGM of Richmondshire Concerts took place last night - it was a brief affair, with no concerts to report on, no membership numbers and almost income or outgoings after the 2020-21 season! However, there were some personnel changes.
Two Trustees stood down: Andrew Bedford, who has been a constant source of good advice; and Patrick Pridmore, who has been our hard-working Concert Secretary for many years. We thank them both for all their work. We are delighted and relieved that Judy Moorhouse will take up the reins as Concert Secretary, welcoming artists to the venue, settling them in for rehearsals, feeding them, and making sure everything works smoothly on the night.
Tom Osorio was co-opted in January 2020, but Covid made an AGM impossible last year, so we were never able to regularise his position. We have now put that right, and are glad to welcome him as a Trustee.
Nick Reckert stood down as Chair after nearly 7 years in the role. He said it had been a privilege and hugely enjoyable for him to work with such a vibrant society and such good colleagues. He will remain on the Board to handle marketing and IT.
Chris Shaw was unanimously elected as the new Chair. Chris joined the Board in 2016. When not playing the double bass, or building one, he has been Membership Secretary, in which role he will continue, and has written many of our excellent concert programmes. Many congratulations to him on the appointment.
Anna Jackson (Concert Secretary), Philip Wicks (Treasurer) and Janet Hall (publications) were re-elected as Trustees. All in all, the Board feels robust, cheerful, and well resourced to resume the Richmondshire Concerts’ successful history, as we leave Covid behind and head towards our 74th season.
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.
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