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!
Our AGM took place last night, 24 June 2019, at the Black Lion in Richmond.
The Chair (Nick Reckert), Concert Secretary (Anna Jackson) and Treasurer (Philip Wicks) reported a season which had been exceptionally successful in terms of concert quality, member numbers, audience numbers and finances. The Society's Annual Report, which is produced for the Charity Commission, was approved.
Trustees and Officers were re-elected with no changes.
The Divertimenti Quintet brought our season to a wonderful conclusion with a familiar favourite by Boccherini, a lively new work by the ensemble’s former viola player, one Sally Beamish, and Dvořák's brilliant Terzetto. The evening finished with a deeply moving performance of Schubert’s great C Major String Quintet. There was no encore. After a work like that, how could there be?
It’s been a great season for our Society, with appearances by the Chiaroscuro Quartet, Joanna MacGregor and Royal Northern Sinfonia among others, and larger audiences than we’ve had at any time in the Society’s 71 years. We hope you enjoyed it, and look forward to seeing you again next season.
Enjoy your summer!
We would really like to find one or more people to help with our publicity and marketing. This probably takes a couple of hours a week, averaged out over the year. It’s an enjoyable and rewarding role, and can be wide-ranging or quite focused, depending on applicants’ skills and availability. Would you like to know more? Please don’t be shy, and don’t under-estimate how much we’d like to hear from you. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can tell you more.
We got news at the last moment that violinist Kati Debretzeni was unwell and would have to drop out of the concert on 2 March. Disaster! Then came news that the very distinguished Elizabeth Wallfisch was available to stand in. Saved, and in style! Trio Goya clearly have a very strong subs' bench.
As a result of the change, the planned work by CPE Bach was omitted, and Maggie Cole performed instead a wonderfully paced Haydn sonata on the fortepiano. It was a good evening, enjoyed by a large audience.
Here's a photo of the artists in rehearsal, courtesy of our excellent photographer, Jane Morris-Abson.
In January 2020 our concerts will move from Saturday to Wednesday. This will benefit audience members who regularly go to other artistic events. Yes, it does happen. For example...
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