For the latest amateur classical music listings in and around Portsmouth, including Fareham, Petersfield, Chichester, Havant and Hayling Island

Come and enjoy the Portsmouth Festivities!

The Portsmouth Festivities celebrate arts, culture and heritage in the City of Portsmouth.

Established by the Partnership Portsmouth initiative in 1998, the Portsmouth Festivities has developed a reputation for providing high-quality events with professional artists in the city’s unique venues.

Visit https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/performers/portsmouth-festivities where you can see the classical music listings for the last few days of the Festivities:

Thu, 20 Jun 1:10pm Lunchtime Live! The PGS Music Scholars, Portsmouth Cathedral
Thu, 20 Jun 7:30pm D-Day 75th anniversary concert, Portsmouth Cathedral
Fri, 21 Jun 1:10pm Lunchtime Live! Fumi Otsuki + Sarah Kershaw, Portsmouth Cathedral
Fri, 21 Jun 8:15pm Tenebrae Consort: Medieval Chant & Tallis Lamentations, Portsmouth Cathedral
Sat, 22 Jun 1:00pm PMF Winner’s Recital: Amelia Luter, Portsmouth Grammar School
Sat, 22 Jun 2:00pm David Briggs: Organ Recital, Portsmouth Cathedral
Sat, 22 Jun 7:30pm Guy Johnston: Cello Recital with Tom Poster, Portsmouth Grammar School
Sun, 23 Jun 2:00pm Marco Marconi Masterclass, Portsmouth Grammar School

Book tickets here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/portsmouth-festivities.


Music to celebrate 60 years of twinning of Chartres with Chichester

Fifteen singers from Le Grand Choeur du Conservatoire de Chartres will swell the ranks of the Chichester Singers as they perform works from French classics to contemporary English masters on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the twinning of Chartres with Chichester at their concert on Saturday 22 June under the baton of Jonathan Willcocks.

This concert will include the world première performance of Crucifixus by Jonathan Little, an anthem for Triple Choir (in 12 parts) with organ accompaniment.

Jonathan writes, “Written to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the National Boys’ Choir of Australia and dedicated to the memory of Harold Bird, the score is marked, “Slow and Spacious”, and “Maestoso (In Wonder)” – with the refrain becoming ever-more decorated on each return. Despite the subject matter, the mood of the refrain is more one of glory and awe, rather than mere dolefulness. The intimate verse, by contrast, is marked, “Teneramente e sostenuto” (“Tenderly and sustained”).

“Crucifixus is, in fact, the most concise version of a much longer work, entitled Woefully Arrayed, the latter of which contains three verses and four refrains, runs a full 26 minutes, and has something of a hypnotic, time-defeating quality to it. Abridged versions of Woefully Arrayed can be performed by commencing the work from either the Second or – as here – Third Refrain. The nature of its text makes it most appropriate for the Lenten season, in the lead up to Eastertide, and supremely fitting for performance on Good Friday.”

Read a review.

About Jonathan David Little

The atmospheric and evocative music of British-Australian composer Jonathan David Little, BMus(Hons)(Melb), ThA(AustCollTheol), PhD, FLCM, FISM, FRSA, is notable for its mystical beauty, intensity, richness of material, and intricate craftsmanship.

In 2011, he was awarded the Collard Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Musicians (est.1500), and was also the first composer to receive a Professional Development Award from the UK music business’s own charity, the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. In 2016 he won a Royal Philharmonic Society “ENCORE Choral” Award (UK), in 2017 Special Distinction for his orchestral music in the ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize (USA) – and in January 2018 his polychoral Kyrie was nominated for “Best Classical Music Recording” at the inaugural RoundGlass Global Music Awards (USA-INDIA). His entire body of polychoral music was also nominated for the 2018 CHASS Australia Prize – the nation’s premier and most distinguished award in the Arts and Humanities. He has also received BBC, PRS, Fanfare, Authors’ Foundation, Australia Council, Chagrin, Bliss, Leighton Trust, and other distinguished awards in the USA, UK and Australia. Choir & Organ (UK) reported of some of his recent choral music that “Little writes very much in the manner of the renaissance masters, creating what a modern sensibility would identify as ‘immersive’ music of strongly mystical aspect”.

Positions held include Principal of the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford (the first music education institution to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise), then Professor of Music Composition and Music History at the University of Chichester – and subsequently Professor Emeritus from 2019. See www.JonathanLittle.org.


The Austen Family Music Books at the Portsmouth Festivities

Delve into the fascinating musical world of Jane Austen with a delightful programme of music from the Austen Trio on Saturday 15 June. Created from a detailed exploration of the Austen Family music books, this programme includes works by Haydn, Dussek and Cramer.

The Austen Trio are all professional musicians who are very much in demand in their chosen fields. Between them they have many years of experience performing as soloists and in ensembles both in the UK and around the world. They have appeared in some of this country’s top classical concert venues and with highly acclaimed groups such as the BBS Symphony Orchestra, The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, I Fagiolini and the BBC Singers.

Read a review.


The Cardinall’s Musick comes to Portsmouth

The Cardinall’s Musick is a highly successful and innovative ensemble, known for its extensive study and performance of English Renaissance music. Share in some of the finest music written for the ensemble in recent years, as well as masterpieces of the 16th Century.

Among the many exciting pieces that the ensemble will be performing on Friday 14 June, one is a world premiere: a piece by Anglo-American composer Paul Crabtree. Crabtree, who has been called “one of our most inventive and wickedly witty composers” (Chicago Classical Review), will be attending the concert. His offering to the Cardinall’s programme is a work in memory of the British novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch.

The programme includes Palestrina’s stunning Magnificat, Nico Muhly’s powerful setting of medieval words, and William Byrd’s thrilling motet Laudibus in Sanctis. The Cardinall’s Musick will be joined by the Chamber Choir of The Portsmouth Grammar School.


Amici concerts series will be at the heart of the Festival of Chichester

Once again, the Amici concerts series will be a key part of the Festival of Chichester.

Organisers and musicians Amanda Cook and Meg Hamilton have put together a rich and varied series to run within the overall festival.

Harriet Mackenzie, who will open this year’s series, typifies precisely that variety. She has become a Festival of Chichester regular, but always rings the changes. This year, in Chichester Cathedral on Thursday, June 27 at 7.30pm, she will offer Eight Seasons And A Blackbird when she returns to Chichester to direct her Celoniatus Ensemble juxtaposing Vivaldi’s Baroque masterpiece The Four Seasons with the heat of Argentinian tango in Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires and an evocative orchestral work by Canadian composer Emily Doolittle, depicting a blackbird singing in the rain.

Read more at the link below.

This year’s Amici series includes:

Saturday, July 6, 12 noon-1pm. Bogdan Vacarescu (violin) & Julian Jacobson (piano): The Ruins Of Athens, Amici Concerts, Pallant House Gallery, North Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1TJ. Bogdan Vacarescu and Julian Jacobson return to Chichester with a selection of beloved pieces and lost masterworks for violin and piano featuring music by Beethoven, Chopin and Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Monday, July 8, 7.30pm. Una Danza Para Violeta, Amici Concerts, St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square, Chichester, PO19 7LJ. Contemporary flamenco dancer and choreographer Natalia García-Huidobro presents her homage to traditional flamenco, completing Violeta Parra’s unfinished work El Gavilán (Sparrowhawk).

Wednesday, July 10, 7.30pm. Nature Versus Nurture: Bibi Heal, Soprano & Amanda Cook, Guitar, Amici Concerts, St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square, Chichester, PO19 7LJ. From the heart-warming to the heart-breaking, this exquisite pairing of voice and guitar delves through the universal truths of our nature and along the paths of our own nurture.

Thursday, July 11, 7.30pm. Unicorn Frequency, Amici Concerts, St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square, Chichester, PO19 7LJ. Dazzling classical music juxtaposed with Russian gypsy gems, Hungarian folk, Romanian laments, Bulgarian dances, free improvisation and jazz.

Friday, July 12, 7.30pm. Oculi Ensemble, Amici Concerts, St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square, Chichester, PO19 7LJ. Violinist Emma Parker and friends from the internationally award-winning Badke Quartet have formed Oculi Ensemble to continue their rich history of collaborations, inviting the finest of chamber musicians.

Saturday, July 13, 3pm. Going for a Song: A Chronicle Of The Uk Record Shop, Amici Concerts, St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square, Chichester, PO19 7LJ. In an entertaining talk illustrated with music from old records, author Garth Cartwright discusses how the humble record shop grew from selling wax cylinders into the huge HMV chain.

Sunday, July 14, 3pm (entry and picnics from 1.30pm). Mary Ann Kennedy: Glaschu, Amici Concerts, Halnaker Park Cottage, far end of Park Lane, Halnaker, Near Chichester, PO18 0QH. Glasgow Gael Mary Ann Kennedy was brought up surrounded by music. A multi-award-winning musician, singer, writer and producer, she’s joined by long-time musical partner, Finlay Wells on guitar, bringing to life the real people, places and stories of her Gaelic songs.

Visit our Festival of Chichester page for further info.


Vacancy: Music Director – St Richard Singers

The choir is seeking to appoint a new Music Director to start in September 2019 to build on our established record and provide stability for the years ahead.

If you think you are the right candidate to take SRS forward, please contact our Secretary or call 07961 833587 for an initial conversation and to request an application pack.

Read more at the link below.

This position is now filled – please see https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/noticeboard/sachin-gunga-appointed-as-the-new-music-director-of-st-richard-singers.


Preview of “A European Tour” by Petersfield Orchestra

Petersfield Orchestra performed Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony and Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto to a full house at their Festival concert last March. Conductor Mark Biggins expressed his satisfaction, even while explaining that, regretfully, he was unavailable for the summer rehearsals and concert! Mark has had the offer of involvement in not one but two operas over just this period.

So deputising for him on the rostrum at this concert will be a very familiar face indeed. Robin Browning, Petersfield Orchestra’s Conductor for a dozen years and who is now doing great things with his professional band in Southampton, will be venturing back down the M27 to encounter some old faces as well as plenty of new ones amongst the players.

Robin’s programme, though, remains unchanged. It begins with Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin – the composer’s own orchestration of four of the six pieces originally written for solo piano during World War 1 and dedicated to lost friends. If that suggests something solemn or funereal, the music is anything but; it is delightfully light-hearted in character. It’s also a challenge for any oboist – but for the Orchestra’s superstar first oboe Lucinda Willits, it should hold no terrors. It is equally demanding for 2nd oboe, Mel Espin, who has the very challenging cor anglais part to play.

Another of the woodwind players will also be in the limelight. First bassoon, Richard Moore, is not only a virtuoso of the first rank, he is also an authority on all matters to do with his instrument. He’ll be playing one of the very few concertos for his instrument that are a regular part of the repertoire: the Concerto in F by Carl Maria von Weber. His concerto was written in six weeks for the bassoonist of the Munich Court Orchestra, and was designed to put him through his paces, which it does with much wit and humour. NB that Richard will be talking “All Things Bassoon” in a pre-concert talk in the Hall at 6.30 p.m.

And finally: what is there new to say about Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, other than that it is a long time – nearly 20 years – since it was last performed by Petersfield Orchestra? It’s a masterpiece! Don’t miss it!

Petersfield Orchestra’s summer concert is on Thursday 13 June 2019 at 7.30 in Petersfield Festival Hall.


D-Day 75 celebrations in Portsmouth

In June 2019 Portsmouth European Cities Twinning Committee is hosting Veni, Vidi Canto, an a cappella choir from Caen, which is providing all the finance for visiting Portsmouth. It has done some concerts in its German Twin City of Würzburg and now wish to come and visit us in their British Twin Town of Portsmouth.

We had begun to plan for its visit before the city was chosen as a featured city for the D-Day anniversary celebrations, so the fact that it is here can only enhance the many wonderful events happening in Portsmouth to celebrate this milestone anniversary.

We have arranged some wonderful musical and theatrical events for you to enjoy during the visit of Veni, Vidi Canto. We are also looking into other places the choir will be during the afternoon periods of that weekend.

On Saturday June 8th we hope to have the choir performing some songs to mark the arrival of Boudicca into Portsmouth Harbour on her return from marking the D-Day celebrations in and around Caen.

Boudicca will have veterans on board and she is currently due in the harbour around 13:30 on that day, so should be visible from just after midday on the horizon.

D-Day 75: Thanks for Peace Concert

There will be a concert at St Mary’s Church featuring The St Mary’s Church Choir, The Fine Voice Academy, Miss Becki Short – 40s performer (and her entourage including the Oasis Community Choir), and The Haven Community Choir.

On Sunday June 9th Veni, Vidi, Canto will sing at the Spinnaker Tower from around 10am, hoping for good weather for them to be able to sing near the entrance of the tower… If wet, look inside the Waterfront Café.

D-Day 75: A Celebratory Concert

The New Theatre Royal will host a celebratory concert that evening, celebrating the sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and diverse communities of people, whose breath-taking bravery and ingenuity contributed to the D-Day campaign, paving the way for the liberation of Europe 75 years ago.

It will feature performers and personalities from both sides of the Channel, including Portsmouth and its twin city of Caen. It will also be a celebration of the communities touched by those events, past and present. Packed with incredible stories of bravery, moving performances, and shared moments of entertainment, we look forward to welcoming you to this special event.


Great box office response as 2019 Festival of Chichester gets ever closer

Excellent advance ticket sales are suggesting the 2019 Festival of Chichester will be a festival to remember.

Organisers are reporting an enthusiastic response to the festival 2019 line-up since its unveiling in April at The Novium which is also the Festival of Chichester’s box office.

Running from June 15 to July 14. the seventh Festival of Chichester will offer more than 200 events for summer 2019, combining a brilliant programme of classical music with the best in jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop and world music.

Add thrilling theatre, book events, talks and poetry, exhibitions, walks, tours, cinema, open days and galas and there really is something for everyone, the festival organisers promise.

Read more at the link below.


Speranza String Quartet and Graham Bint at Holy Trinity, Gosport

We are very excited to be hosting another beautiful afternoon of classical music at Holy Trinity, Gosport, on Sunday 2nd June. The programme looks superb with Speranza String Quartet, Graham Bint on our historic ‘Handel’ organ and Eunice Pike playing our recently acquired grand piano. Join us to welcome our musicians who will be playing music from Bach, Mendelssohn and Schumann. FREE ENTRANCE with retiring collection; tea and cakes to follow. A very warm welcome awaits you!

Please follow the link below to access Sunday’s programme:

https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Ae79a9d06-7359-4bd1-abb4-cf1fab370853


Botley Music Festival Celebrates 10 years

The first Botley Music Festival took place 10 years ago, and we’re pleased to say, we’re still going strong ….

The Botley Music Festival is a biennial event, which this year will run from the 7th – 13th July. There will be 11 events, starting with a special Choral Evensong in All Saints Church Botley, followed by cheese and wine reception on Sunday 7th July. Free lunchtime concerts run throughout the week.

A series of evening concerts and events with various ticket prices, including a Music Quiz with Fish & Chip Supper on the evening of Friday 12th July, held at Botley Primary School, and the very popular Last Night of the Proms on the evening of Saturday 13th. Early booking for these 2 last popular events is strongly recommended.

The aim of the Botley Music Festival is to promote live music in Botley, utilising the talents of all ages, through a programme of concerts and events in and around the village of Botley.

Any surplus monies raised by Botley Music Festival are used to stage and subsidise future musical events. 10 years ago, this was a new venture for the village, building on both the strong sense of community that exists within Botley and its long-established music tradition.

The Festival was the brainchild of David Burgess, music teacher, performer, and Musical Director of the choir at All Saints Church, Botley and the 100 strong Botley Choral Society. David is a passionate promoter of the benefits and value of community music making, a great encourager of talent, and a hugely enthusiastic impresario- putting together and pulling off a seemingly endless number of concerts and musical events throughout the year.

The Festival has become a popular community musical event, made possible by the commitment of a team of loyal volunteers, and supported by local community groups including the WI, who provide refreshments at the lunchtime concerts, and the All Saints Flower Guild.

Here is a summary of events taking place over the week:

Sunday 7th July
6.30pm Festival Choral Evensong with cheese & wine

Monday 8th July
12.30pm Kaleidoscope String Quartet
7.00pm Upham Recorder Orchestra

Tuesday 9th July
10.00am – Music for Toddlers with Moo Music
12.30pm The Monington Duo

Wednesday 10th July
12.30pm Song Recital
7.30pm Southampton Concert Wind Band

Thursday 11th July
12.30pm ‘A middle-age spread’

Friday 12th July
12.30pm Harp recital
7.30pm Festival Music Quiz

Saturday 13th July
7.30pm Last Night of the Proms

More details of the programme can be found on the Botley Parish community website, https://www.botley.com/musicfestival. Tickets are on sale in person weekdays between 9.30 -11.30, from June 10th, from the Festival Box Office from All Saints Church Botley, or telephone Botley Festival Box Office – 07926 631 866. Tickets can be bought online at TicketSource.co.uk – search for Botley Music Festival ( a small booking fee will be charged for online booking) For enquiries please email musicatbotley@aol.com.

Last Night of the Proms

This year, the Last Night of the Proms, on Saturday 13th July, will bring together the choir of All Saints, plus additional local singers from other choirs. We’ll be singing some popular songs from musicals, including medleys from Phantom of the Opera and the Sound of Music, plus The Gift of Music by John Rutter. The orchestra, which again, comprises of local musicians and invited guests will play some well-known pieces, including the William Tell Overture, The Dambusters March, a medley of Strauss Waltzes, as well as other well-known Proms favourites.

Other events this year will include the return of the Kaleidescope String Quartet for a lunchtime recital, a morning musical event for toddlers, lunchtime recital by young soprano, Katie Alder and a light-hearted lunchtime show on Thursday including songs and readings aimed at the more mature audience, performed by Botley Church Choir members Pat Jenkins, Kate Poole and Catherine Tribble.

Fiona has given a lunchtime harp recital at many Botley Music Festivals and will appear again this year. Fiona is a great favourite with the local schoolchildren who come to the lunchtime concerts. This is a magical opportunity for the children to see a harp so closely and, supervised by Fiona,to be able to touch the strings.


The Shopwyke Singers celebrates its 25th anniversary

The Shopwyke Singers celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. In May 1994 the choir was formed consisting of staff and parents of Westbourne House School in Shopwyke, Chichester and since then has grown to include singers from all over the Chichester, Emsworth and Arundel areas. Throughout this time the singers have been directed by Alex Dichmont, the Director of Music at Westbourne House.

The Shopwyke Singers’ next concert is this coming Wednesday, May 22nd, in Boxgrove Priory, at 7.30. Soloists Lucy Cronin (soprano), Anna Palethorpe (alto), Tom Perkins (tenor) and Richard Paterson (bass) with regular accompanist Matthew Cooke will join the choir in a programme of Pergolesi’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Vespers, Gorecki’s Totus Tuus and John Rutter’s Gloria. Tickets are £12, to include refreshment, and are available from the choir’s website.

On June 23rd the Shopwyke Singers are hosting a “Come and Sing” celebratory event at the Millennium Hall, Westbourne House School. Interested singers can come at 4.00pm to rehearse Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass and Rutter’s “The Sprig of Thyme” before a hog roast at 6.00pm. This will be followed by an informal concert, complete with celebratory fizz, at 7.30. All are welcome to sing, or to come just for the hog roast and concert. Tickets are just £10.00 for singers, diners and audience members alike, and includes music hire. If you are interested in attending, or would like further information, please contact Alex Dichmont on adichmont@westbournehouse.org or buy tickets directly from the choir’s website. Hope to see you there!


Review, with video: Piers Adams with Crispin Ward and ​​the Chichester University Chamber Orchestra

The Funtington Music Group members and friends had a real treat at their concert on 8th May in the University of Chichester chapel.

Crispin Ward, Senior Lecturer in Orchestral Studies at the University conducted the University Chamber Orchestra in Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, John Ireland’s Downland Suite and Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. The twenty string musicians had been extremely well rehearsed and this showed in the tightness of their ensemble playing and their enthusiasm, aided by Crispin’s vigorous approach to conducting, which ensured that he obtained the very best from the orchestra in these lovely renaissance dances and bucolic pieces invoking the English countryside.

They were joined by virtuoso recorder player Piers Adams for Giuseppi Sammartini’s concerto, a delightful piece which Piers brought to life with his effervescent playing on the descant recorder. This instrument, beloved of youngsters enjoying their first musical experience, has been described as the worst instrument ever invented. But not in Piers’ hands. Then we were introduced to Crispin’s own composition, Concerto for Recorder and Strings, an excellent piece provoking memories of earlier styles, where Piers played no fewer than four recorders, not all at the same time (although he has been known to). Piers is an amazing and charismatic performer, making me think of the Pied Piper of Hamelin as he dances around the stage and simulating the percussion section with his feet.

View excerpts on YouTube.


Havant Chamber Orchestra season finale and looking forward

As the last concert by Havant Chamber Orchestra for 2018-19 approaches, Havant Orchestras Administrator, Stella Scott, asked maestro Robin Browning for his thoughts on the current and upcoming seasons. The first part of this appeared in the Havant Orchestras Newsletter but here’s the whole conversation about venues, Brahms and Haydn.

What would you like to ask Robin? Enter a comment below or email your questions to havantorchestras@gmail.com!

SS: This will be our last concert in Ferneham Hall and that’s an ‘end of an era’ moment for our orchestras. You’ve been with us for the last 6 years of our time there. What are your impressions of Ferneham as a venue? Any high/low points?

RB: Gosh is it really 6 years? I’ve loved my time so far with the orchestra, and actually I really like being in Ferneham Hall (unlike some who are quite, ahem, unkind about the acoustics). Yes, the sound could be better and so on. But as a performer, I weigh up all kinds of things alongside this. Simple things mean so much to a professional musician on concert day: ease of parking, good dressing room, privacy. The hall has all those. And, as most HCO supporters will know, we’ve moved the band down onto the floor which connects us far more with our audience, and vice-versa. Making it far more intimate in such a wide hall. For that reason I think our more recent concerts together have been higher points, it definitely feels like the orchestra, audience and myself are growing together more.

SS: How do you feel about the move (although theoretically temporary) to other venues?

RB: I’m quite excited about it, despite what I’ve said above. It’s a time of transition. It’ll take some time for HCO to find its feet in new venues, to establish a presence and understanding of the sound world each one place has. It’s easily overlooked by those who come to concerts quite how much musicians are aware of the acoustics and “feel” of a performance space. Top musicians adjust alarmingly quickly, and it’s a key component of their skillset, one which isn’t remarked upon very often. One has to change almost every single thing about one’s playing — attack of the note, volume, decay, colour, the lot — within minutes to recalibrate in a new venue. As a conductor, I must adjust quickly too, addressing balance issues promptly and learning fast (very fast, as rehearsals are never long enough). It’s one of the reasons touring is very stressful for a conductor (not that HCO tour — yet!) because every venue is new and different, especially when abroad. The learning curve is steep. People always underestimate acoustics. It’s one of the chief tools in a musician’s kit. I’ve seen world-class recording engineers utterly transform an acoustic (of, say, Walthamstow Town Hall — a famous recording venue of recent decades) in moments simply with curtains, cloth, and moving them around.
So, anyway, the move will be interesting for all – I genuinely hope our loyal audience will follow us openly and feedback their thoughts about the places we explore next season.

SS: We are particularly looking forward to your Beethoven ‘exploration’ next May. Can you tell us a bit more about it without spoilers?

RB: Beethoven is the bedrock of any chamber orchestra. HCO is a “Beethoven-sized” orchestra, i.e. double winds, double horns & trumpets, timpani, strings. It’s a fixed scale, because of Beethoven, and his symphonies should be our bread and butter. His 250th birthday is a huge global celebration, and we will be playing our part. Over the last few years, in all kinds of settings including the work I do with “SÓN” in Southampton’s Turner Sims, I’ve realised how much thirst there is amongst audiences for an exploration beneath the surface of the music. Yes, people can read programme notes, but they rarely do. And we’ve a perfect chance, exploring new venues as we will be doing, to bring the dots off the page as a Beethovenian birthday present. Even if people gain one little glimmer of info from the first half, where I’ll be pulling the music apart with the orchestra around me, it’ll subtly alter the way they might listen to the complete performance in the second half.

There’s loads to say about the Pastoral symphony, and Beethoven’s language in general. I can’t wait to bring it to you all, helping the music leap off the page a little more. There’s scope for questions, too, perhaps even some tweets to be answered. And, if people like things like this, we can work on something similar every year. Not every concert, no, but a series. We did one in Emsworth, where we explored Shostakovich with the strings of HCO, and the feedback I got from the audience was off the scale. As a performer, one really can tell how the audience are listening, and how much they’re engaged with the performance, even with my back to them all. Orchestral concerts should be a two-way process: not simply “we perform for you” (that’s an increasingly outdated format that builds barriers and pushes people away), but rather “let’s engage in this and explore together”.

SS: Apparently, the very first performances of Brahms’ 1st Piano Concerto were hissed rather than applauded by the audience. What do you think about audience ‘etiquette’ nowadays? Should we encourage hissing?

RB: Absolutely not! Booing and throwing things (very La Scala) merely shows up the audience, nothing else. I’m not suggesting for one moment people need to sit agonisingly still, but I do believe we need to encourage people to be aware, and actively listen (not merely switching off and letting it roll over them, it’s not Max Richter’s “Sleep”!) I think that if the performance on-stage is sufficiently absorbing, then the audience will be absorbed, too. Besides, the spirit and morale of the musicians on stage is, to my mind, paramount, and that kind of thing is unforgivable. I couldn’t care less what audiences wear, what they drink, who they bring, but I deeply care how they choose to listen. I think all those “old” etiquettes are breaking down now, which is a good thing, but we must be careful that we don’t stop truly listening during concerts. Tweeting and filming is all very well, but it’s not Glastonbury, it’s an orchestral performance with some of the most incredible art ever created, and a massively wide dynamic palette (unlike a rock band, for example), so we owe it to our neighbours, friends on stage, and the continuing high quality of performance to maintain a certain decorum, and awareness.

SS: Our concert this time highlights the esteem in which Brahms held the father of the symphony and the string quartet, Josef Haydn. Brahms supposedly kept a bust of Haydn in his bedroom! Who would you keep a bust of in your bedroom?

RB: Hmmm. Tough one! Probably not Haydn, I’m sorry. Actually it wouldn’t be in my bedroom at any rate, I couldn’t cope with a musical legend watching me getting dressed. Perhaps Mahler. Probably Mahler. I guess it’s like the “which five musicians of any era would you invite to your dinner party?” (which is, I’m aware, re-writing your question). My choices would be Mahler, Glenn Gould, Fritz Kreisler, Carlos Kleiber (him again) and Jeff Buckley (go google if you need to). And no, probably none of them as a bust in my bedroom!

Visit the Havant Chamber Orchestras and Havant Symphony Orchestras pages on Music in Portsmouth.


Ensemble 360 feature rare piano quartets

The Portsmouth Chamber Music Series for 2018-2019 concludes on Monday 20 May with a second visit by Ensemble 360, albeit of a completely different configuration. They have formed a piano quartet to bring us two great composers not normally associated with chamber music, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss.

The Mahler quartet is a hauntingly beautiful single movement in A minor, composed when he was just 16, and yet already displaying a sure mastery of the style. The Strauss is a wonderful work in four movements, showing influences of older composers together with a clear sense of his own developing voice. The very sunny and lyrical Brahms A major quartet which ends the programme needs no introduction as it is a firm favourite for those familiar with the classical music programme.

Whatever your motivation might be, the Portsmouth Chamber Music Series is supported by the University of Portsmouth in partnership with the Portsmouth Cultural Trust, Music in the Round and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, to bring internationally renowned musicians to local audiences and enhance the cultural offering of the city.

Tickets for this concert are £18 with £16 concessions, available in person from the Guildhall or by calling 023 9387 0200.

The series, which is sponsored by the University of Portsmouth, will start again in the autumn. Those interested in future concerts can register for the mailing list by emailing music@port.c.uk.


Piers Adams invited to play a world première with Crispin Ward and the Chichester University Chamber Orchestra

Concert preview: Crispin Ward and ​​Piers Adams with the Chichester University Chamber Orchestra on Wednesday 8 May.

Piers Adams is known as the ‘reigning recorder virtuoso in the world today’. He is one of the greatest recorder players of our age, recognised for his “astonishing, all-out virtuosity” (New York Times), breadth of repertoire and uniquely compelling style.

Adams has commissioned a wealth of new music, including David Bedford’s heroic Recorder Concerto.

Crispin Ward is Senior Lecturer in Orchestral Studies at University of Chichester and Conductor of the University Chamber Orchestra. He’s made his name internationally as a horn soloist and principal, working with many inspirational musicians such as Piers. He takes up the story of their partnership:

“Having performed with Piers Adams several times, especially repeated performances of the Concerto for Recorder and Strings by David Bedford, Piers asked me to write a concerto for him. I had an understanding of his style, showmanship and romanticism so I had a head start as to the type of thing that he might enjoy playing. I was heavily influenced by the Bedford concerto and my piece is for the same forces but with a different setup, i.e. a standard string section.

“I was keen to give a nod to the recorder’s baroque and renaissance heritage, the golden era of recorder performance. In several sections I use older forms: for example, the opening is in an “Italian Overture” style with hints of the opening to Handel’s Messiah, the second movement is in a “Pavane” style and the third, although heavily influenced by Irish jigs and reels is also something of a concerto grosso.

“The movements and sections are named after stars in the sky because of my new-found interest in amateur astronomy and what each of them means to me or the emotions they seem to imply. It is also because of the star nature of Piers, one of the world’s foremost virtuoso performers.

“The most important aspect to this work is that I am trying to produce something that is fun to perform and to listen to. It is certainly tonal and melodic and written to make people smile.”

The Stellar Concerto for Recorder and Strings will be premièred at a performance by Piers with Crispin and the University Chamber Orchestra at the next meeting of the Funtington Music Group on Wednesday 8 May, along with works by Warlock, Ireland and Elgar.

Image: Crispin Ward

Link to concert video excerpts.


Preview: “Tonight, Tonight…” by the Portsmouth Choral Union

In an imaginatively programmed concert, Portsmouth Choral Union will be pairing a Choral Suite from Leonard Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’, with a Choral Suite from the same composer’s ‘MASS’ at its concert on Saturday 6 July at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.

Bernstein composed ‘MASS’ for the 1971 opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. The work is notable for its mixture of musical styles, combining as it does, Rock and Pop with more traditional Concert and Sacred Music. The music is varied, rhythmic and exciting, and for anyone who likes West Side Story, they will find much to enjoy in this work too.

Alongside these two works, the choir will also perform ‘Misa Criolla’ by Ariel Ramirez. Based on South American folk music, and especially the rhythms and melodies of Argentina, this work – as with Bernstein’s MASS – is a synthesis of popular and liturgical music.

The tenor soloist Anthony Flaum is not only an experienced singer of stage musicals but also has a considerable reputation in the world of opera, singing – amongst others – leading roles in Puccini’s La Boheme and Madame Butterfly. Musicians from Southern Pro Musica will accompany on keyboards and an exotic array of percussion instruments.

Entitled ‘Tonight Tonight’, this concert will take place at the New Theatre Royal on Saturday 6th July at 7.30pm.

Tickets available at www.newtheatreroyal.com Tel: 023 92 649000 or in person at the New Theatre Royal Box Office.


Preview: The twentieth remarkable year of Lunchtime Organ Recitals by Mark Dancer

This year sees the twentieth series of summer organ recitals given by Mark Dancer at St Peter’s. It promises to be as interesting and eclectic as usual, although unusually, there are no composers of organ music with a significant anniversary this year who can be featured – except for that love him or loathe him figure from nineteenth-century French music Louis- James-Alfred Lefébure-Wély! His 150th anniversary of death is this year.

Most people who have ever been to a carol service are likely to have heard John Joubert’s carols ‘Torches’ and/or ‘There is no rose’. Joubert died in January this year at the ripe old age of ninety-one. He didn’t write much music for the organ but two works will be heard in this series: ‘Six Short Preludes on English Hymn Tunes’ and ‘Reflections on a Martyrdom’. Also coming in this summer’s series will be rarely heard early works by JS Bach, plus a Handel Organ Concerto, supplemented by more twentieth-century pieces, including the Swiss composer Frank Martin’s astonishing Passacaille and two of Guy Bovet’s Tangos Ecclesiasticos, which necessitate playing from facsimiles of both composers’ manuscripts!

The recitals are on Tuesdays May 28, June 11 and 25 and July 9, admission free and begin at 1.00, lasting around 45 minutes. Tea and coffee will be on sale – bring your lunch to eat as you listen.


Review of 2019 Petersfield Musical Festival and September workshop

Read Review of the Petersfield Musical Festival 2019 – the latest newsletter from the Petersfield Musical Festival with reviews and articles about all the concerts.

September choral workshop with Ben Parry: ‘Folk Songs for Choirs’ on Saturday 28 September 2019

Come and sing the rich tradition of British folk songs in choral arrangements by John Rutter, Ben Parry and Alan Drake at our start of season workshop in September. Ben Parry is one of Britain’s leading choral directors. A former member and musical director of The Swingle Singers, he is Assistant Director of Music at King’s College Cambridge and Artistic Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Read more.


Tuesday lunchtime concerts begin at Holy Trinity Church, Fareham

Tuesday lunchtime concerts at Holy Trinity Church, Fareham start on Tuesday 30 April with Nick Tudgey on finger guitar.

These concerts are held on the last Tuesday of each month from April to November and run from 12.30pm to 1.15pm. Entrance is free, with a retiring collection towards the Church Refurbishment Fund. Visitors are welcome to bring their own lunch, and refreshments are served.


Spirit of Music Festival: Choir & Camerata Concert

The Spirit of Music Festival hosts another combined concert with The Petersfield Choir, The SouthDowns Camerata, and four professional soloists. The main work is Charpentier’s Te Deum, the theme of which is often heard on trumpet at weddings. In addition, listeners will be treated to well-known works by Monteverdi, Vaughan Williams, and new works by the choir’s favourite local composer Clive Osgood, and by Alessandro Timossi, a senior lecturer at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Now an annual favourite in Petersfield’s musical scene, this free concert continues to draw capacity audiences.

The concert will be held in St Peter’s Church at 7:30pm on Saturday 27th April and admission is free. There will be a wine bar and a retiring collection towards the costs of the Festival.


Launch of Petworth Festival

Petworth Festival has a long history of working with the finest artists and performers across the genres, but from the outset, classical music has formed the core of the annual Summer event. The 2019 programme, running from Tuesday 16 July to Saturday 3 August, once again boasts a top-drawer line up of performers, all regulars on the biggest platforms of the world.

The diverse array of soloists includes ‘the hottest guitarist in the world’ Miloš Karadaglić; violinists Viktoria Mullova and Tamsin Waley-Cohen; and pianists Imogen Cooper and Barry Douglas; ensembles appearing include the Brodsky Quartet with guest cellist Laura van der Heijden; stellar vocal ensemble I Fagiolini with a programme in celebration of the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci; Chineke!, the young ensemble that features black and ethnic minority classical musicians, and the ensemble Counterpoise who, in a major coup for the festival, appear with one of the greatest opera singers of recent generations, bass-baritone Sir John Tomlinson.

Artistic director Stewart Collins said: “I’d like to think that, following a record-breaking 40th-anniversary year, the Petworth Festival hits the spot again this summer with what is becoming a trademark, eclectic series of events. These range from classical superstar Miloš, to rock legend Rick Wakeman and a hilarious recreation of the evergreen sitcom Dad’s Army. But we couldn’t be happier with the prospect of bringing the likes of Sir John (Tomlinson) to Petworth over the summer. I truly believe we have a whole raft of magnificent performances in prospect.”

As ever the festival also celebrates the finest in jazz and world-roots music, comedy and family entertainment in a programme that runs for nearly three weeks.

Image: Viktoria Mullova, credit Henry Fair


Portsmouth Chamber Music series: Piatti Quartet brings Phibbs to Portsmouth

The Portsmouth Chamber Music series continues on Monday 29 April at Portsmouth Guildhall with a welcome return visit by the Piatti Quartet.

The Piatti Quartet last played in Portsmouth in March 2017 with one of their mentors from the Belcea Quartet, violist Krzysztof Chorzelski, in a concert including Dvorak’s ‘American’ Quintet. Both the Belcea and now the Piatti have commissioned works from a young composer, Joseph Phibbs and this concert includes Phibbs’ first quartet.

Since it premiered in 2014, Phibbs’ quartet has received excellent reviews both here and in the US. Calling the piece ‘beautiful’ and ‘intriguing’, many praised its originality and quality in conveying a wide range of emotion.

The programme also includes an early Haydn quartet from the set which established him as the ‘father of the string quartet’, and Schubert’s masterpiece, his final G major quartet, composed in June 1826.

The Portsmouth Chamber Music series is sponsored by the University of Portsmouth in collaboration with Portsmouth Guildhall.

Tickets are £18 with £16 concessions, available in person from the Guildhall, by calling 023 9387 0200, or from the website portsmouthguildhall.org.uk.


Amanda and her friends lend a hand – charity concert for “Children on the Edge”

Amanda Berry is very public spirited. She’s also a fine ‘cello player, so she and her good-hearted friends are putting on a charity event in aid of the Chichester based charity, Children on the Edge. The venue is St Pancras Church, Chichester, PO19 7LJ and the time is 7.00 pm on Saturday 4 May. Admission is free but donations would be most welcome.

This mini-concert promises to be a first-class show. Amanda will play the beautiful Jewish Yom Kippur Prayer Kol Nidrei, composed by Max Bruch. A version of it was once sung by Perry Como. She will also play that well known ‘cello piece, The Swan from the Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens. Amanda is well known as the principal ‘cellist with the Petersfield Orchestra and a member of the outstanding Kalore Trio.

Joining Amanda for the performance will be singer Chelsie Robinson from Newport, South Wales, classical guitarist John Mason from Chichester and pianist Samantha Hudson who teaches music and piano in the Solent area. Chelsie is a third-year student at Chichester University. The ensemble will perform lighter items from stage musicals and even a popular football anthem. In short, there’ll be something for everyone.

“Children on the Edge” is such a worthy cause. It exists to help marginalised and forgotten children who are living on the edge of their societies. These are children without parental care, neglected or persecuted by their governments; who are largely ignored by international media and missed by major overseas agencies.

Working in partnership with local communities, Children on the Edge helps to create safe and friendly environments. The charity supports children to realise their rights and restore the ingredients of a full childhood by generating hope, life, colour and fun. Among the charity’s current activities are: providing education work for 7,500 Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh and supporting education for 300 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

These are noble sentiments indeed and Amanda and her musical friends are making use of their musical talents to help.


Charity Symphony Orchestra returns to its roots

Under the baton of its Chairman, Craig Lawton, the Charity Symphony Orchestra is to return to its origins when it performs at the Turner Sims Hall, University of Southampton, at 7.30 pm on Saturday 18 May 2019. Craig and several other leading musicians studied at Southampton University, meeting and playing at the Turner Sims concert hall.

The CSO is the leading successful fundraising ensemble of the South Coast of England. Over the years the orchestra has raised many thousands of pounds for worthy causes. This concert will raise money for KIDS, which provides a wide range of support to disabled children, young people and their families. Their forthcoming concert is designed to be filled with fun, romance and excitement.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien is the opening number. Inspired by the Russian composer’s holiday in Italy, this popular piece is full of Mediterranean joy and sparkle.

Seventeen-year-old Shoshanah Sievers is the soloist for Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin concerto No 2 in D minor. An up-and-coming musician and composer, she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in 2017. She also won the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers Competition and is renowned for her “glorious sustained sound” on the violin.

The Polish violin virtuoso Wieniawski began composing his second concerto in 1856 but it was not performed until 1862. It is dedicated to his dear friend Pablo de Sarasate. It remains one of the greatest violin concertos of the Romantic era, memorable for its lush and moving melodies. It’s got a touch of gypsy fiddling about it too. Shoshana is sure to delight the audience with this absolute gem of a work.

Leonard Bernstein’s wonderful West Side Story Symphonic Suite is also on the programme. The composer’s music, written to enhance a twentieth-century film on the story of Romeo and Juliet, is a firm favourite with concert and cinema-goers alike.

Although the running order might change on the night, the final number is expected to be George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture. Here again are the sounds of high spirits in a sunny clime reminiscent of the composer’s holiday on that Caribbean island. The work is a tone poem which was originally entitled Rumba. It has a wide spectrum of instrumental colour and rhythmic percussion.
Tickets are available from the Turner Sims Box Office on 02380 595151.

Starting from scratch, the CSO’s members rehearse on the day of the concert and perform the same evening. Many of the musicians travel considerable distances to play. Currently the CSO would welcome bassoonists plus more string players, especially double bassists. Interested musicians should contact the Orchestra’s Secretary, Harriet Carey via harriet.carey@hotmail.co.uk.

Read a profile of CSO violinist Shoshanah Sievers.


Preview: The Funtington Music Group’s University of Chichester Student Showcase Concert

Gifted University of Chichester music students are to compete once again for the coveted Robert Headley Annual Music Awards. The competition, organised by the Funtington Music Group, will be in the University of Chichester Chapel on Wednesday, April 17 at 7.30pm – the FMG’s 16th annual showcase concert.

Chris Hough, FMG chairman, said, “We are fortunate once again to have an enthusiastic field of competitors including classical and musical theatre vocalists, piano and French horn, for what promises to be an entertaining and exciting evening,

“Professor Laura Ritchie will introduce the students and interview them before the adjudication.

“We are honoured that the prizes – first £600, second £350, third £250 and £100 for runners-up – are being presented by the University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane Lomgmore. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy inspired music-making from the next generation of performers.”

To quote University Professor, Laura Ritchie, the enthusiastic field of competitors “values the opportunity to perform in front of such a receptive audience”.


Two young sopranos at Bognor Regis Music Club

The next concert at the Bognor Regis Music Club on Saturday 6th April at 7pm will be given by sopranos Tina Gelnere and Olivia Moss, accompanied by Club Chairman Chris Coote.

Chris said: “We are delighted to welcome Tina and Olivia back to the Club. They have both been blessed with outstanding voices, and it has been exciting to see them progress in their professional careers”.

Latvian mezzo-soprano Tina Gelnere graduated from Chichester University in 2014 and is currently studying at the David Seligman Opera School at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Anne Mason. Comfortable on both the operatic stage and the concert platform, Tina has performed internationally throughout the United Kingdom and Europe including the Latvian National Opera, Riga Cathedral, Latvian Society House, Chichester Cathedral, and Agios Petros Dominikanon, Greece. Recent operatic roles include Nancy (Albert Herring) at RWCMD, and Conversa and Seconda Cercatrice (Suor Angelica) with Minotaur Opera. At the University of Chichester, Tina enjoyed performing a number of roles, most especially Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and Casilda (The Gondoliers).

Soprano Olivia Moss graduated from the University of York in 2016 and was honoured to be selected for the Glyndebourne Academy in 2017, where she benefitted from an intensive training programme led by Mary King and won the Gus Christie award for most promising singer on the course. Recent performances included solos in Bernstein’s Mass at the Royal Festival Hall under the baton of Marion Alsop. She also sang as soloist in the Richmond Choral Society’s production of Handel’s Messiah. In 2018 she performed a selection of soprano and piano works, including two world premieres written for her, in the Borough New Concert series in London.

Their programme includes solos and duets by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Brahms, Debussy, Richard Strauss, Barber, Quilter, Britten, Armstrong Gibbs and Ivor Novello.


The Kalore Trio at the Havant Music Festival

This may not be terribly politically correct, but let’s hear it for the girls – especially for those star performers who make up the Kalore Trio.

Karen Kingsley (piano), Elizabeth Cox (violin) and Amanda Berry (‘cello) are playing this coming weekend with a special concert featuring music by well-known and not so well-known female composers.

You can hear them at the Havant Music Festival on Saturday 6 April at 3 pm at St James’ Church, Emsworth.

In the recital Karen Kingsley will lead the Kalore Trio through Clara Schumann’s Trio Opus 17. Clara Schumann, a distinguished musician, was a major figure among the German Romantics. For over sixty years she performed thousands of piano recitals all over Europe, championing the works of her husband Robert and their friend Johannes Brahms. She often appeared with the celebrated violinist, Joseph Joachim. Not only was she a virtuoso of the piano, but she was also a prolific composer. Her Opus 17 trio is full of tenderness, creative energy and originality. It’s widely considered to be her masterpiece. It was composed in an age when female composers were rarely given public credit for their works.

At the concert Robert Blanken will augment the Kalore Trio with Louise Ferranc’s Opus 44. A well-known player, his clarinet skills are bound to delight the audience. Louise Ferranc was quite a woman. She was a brilliant pianist from an early age but soon got bored with the tiresome life of touring and playing around Europe. She came back to Paris and opened a music publishing house which she ran for forty years. She also became the permanent Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire. Sadly, she was paid less than her male counterparts. Only after the triumphant premiere of her nonet at which the famous violinist Joseph Joachim took part did she demand and receive equal pay.

Also on the bill is Romance Opus 5 by Luise Adolpha Le Beau. Luise was from Baden Baden in Germany and took up the piano at the age of five. Their personalities clashed when she studied for a season with Clara Schuman. Luise then began her career as a concert pianist, touring widely throughout Europe, which was no good for her health. So she went back to studying, this time in Munich. After more arduous touring she went to Berlin where she founded a “private music course for the daughters of the educated classes”. These lessons were aimed at preparing young women for jobs as piano teachers.

In 1882 Luise met Franz Liszt. She didn’t get on with him either. In 1884 she also met Brahms who was a handsome fellow in his younger days. But romance definitely wasn’t in the air as Brahms was besotted with Clara Schumann. Luise never got married but worked tirelessly at being a music critic, composer and teacher. Her works began to be performed outside of Europe in such far-flung places as Sydney and Constantinople.

There is also a notturno by Emilie Mayer and, of course, Fanny Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio Opus 11. Fanny composed over 460 pieces of music. Several were published under her brother Felix Mendelssohn’s name.

The whole Kalore Trio afternoon concert is dedicated to those talented and strong-willed women who helped redress the gender balance of their time.


Music in Chichester to mark “the most important week in the Christian calendar”

Chichester’s St Richard Singers are promising a selection of music celebrating “the most important week in the Christian calendar.” As conductor Jake Barlow says, over the centuries Holy Week has given rise to some of the most intense, beautiful and contemplative music in the world. Jake will bring some of it together under the title O My People on Saturday 6 April.


Fantastic line-up unveiled for 2019 Festival of Chichester

The 2019 Festival of Chichester promises a four-week celebration of all that’s great and good about Chichester in a programme unveiled yesterday.

Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “This will be our seventh festival, and we are thrilled at the programme that we have got lined up for you, a clean sweep of all the brilliant talents that are based in and around Chichester – a line-up so fine that once again it has attracted some very big national and international names to come and join us this summer. Theatre, the spoken word, music in all its forms, cinema, walks, day trips, dance, books and all kinds of shows are all part of the merry mix in yet another very big year for the festival.

Read more at the link below.

Visit our page to view the complete classical lineup.

 


Debut concert coming up for Chichester Chorale’s new conductor

Chichester Chorale invites you to join it for an evening of some of the most stunning music written for the season of Lent – in its first concert under new musical director Tom Robson.

Tom succeeded his father Arthur in the post at the start of the year, following Arthur’s retirement last year both from the University of Chichester and from the Chorale. Arthur founded the chorale with Mark Wardell in around 2004 and then continued to run it by himself after Mark moved away.

The first half of the concert will feature music by Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell and Giovanni Croce, alongside Antonio Lotti’s setting of Crucifixus a 8 and will conclude with Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus. The second half of the concert will be devoted to John Stainer’s 1887 oratorio The Crucifixion.

Tickets £12 from info@chichesterchorale.com or on the door.

Read more at the link below.


Chichester Singers offer Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Chichester Cathedral

The huge sense of commitment and enjoyment the singers always give is one of the great pleasures, says Chichester Singers’ musical director Jonathan Willcocks. Jonathan will be directing their performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Chichester Cathedral on Saturday, March 30 – and he is relishing the mutual trust.

Read more at the link below.


Harpists Frances Kelly and Alex Rider combine for Bognor Regis concert

The next concert at the Bognor Regis Music Club on Saturday, March 23 at 7pm will be given by harpists Frances Kelly and Alex Rider.

In a programme alive with colour and intricacy, Frances Kelly and Alex Rider weave early Hispanic repertoires together with the French impressionist works that are the glory of the harp.

Local harpist Frances Kelly is now best known for her pioneering work with early harps, working regularly with the Sixteen throughout the UK and abroad. She is much in demand as a continuo player and has performed, broadcast and recorded with many other distinguished early music ensembles, among them the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with whom she performed Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp in 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall, under the baton of Sir Roger Norrington. The past few seasons she was invited to join the Handel and Haydn Society for performances in Boston and in Tanglewood, USA. Her work has taken her throughout Europe and to the USA, Mexico, China and Japan. Teaching is an important part of her life, and Frances holds posts at the Royal Academy of Music and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, as well as more locally at the Bedales schools.

A harpist with a passion for the history and lore of the instrument, Alex Rider is much in demand for a wealth of projects both at home and abroad. Recent highlights of his work include orchestral work with the BBC Concert Orchestra, The London Concert Orchestra, The Ballet Rambert, the Aurora Orchestra, and the Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique (at the BBC Proms and at the Berlioz Festival, France).

Alex has given solo recitals and concerto performances throughout the UK, travelled to the Banff centre to play for the Canadian premiere of Britten’s opera, ‘Owen Wingrave’, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Alex studied the harp under Gabriella DallOlio and Frances Kelly, and subsequently with Imogen Barford at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he was honoured with a Guildhall Artists fellowship.

Club Chairman Chris Coote said: “We are delighted to welcome Frances and Alex to our club for what will be an extremely entertaining evening of beautiful music. Our intimate surroundings and acoustic suit an ensemble such as this and I am particularly looking forward to the arrangements of Debussy piano preludes which they will be performing.”

Images © Kate Benjamin 2017


Experience Renaissance Spain, full of earthly vitality, through music and art

Come to Petersfield’s St Peter’s Church on Saturday 13 April to enjoy glittering choral treasures from the time of El Greco and Velasquez, including music by Victoria and Guerrero.

You will be transported back to the Renaissance, where you will be able to enjoy comparisons between the painters and composers of the time.

Over the years, the choir has continued to champion Spanish Renaissance music. It gave the world première of Cantico de Francisco by Rodrigo, and recently performed music from the mediaeval Codex Calixtinus in the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. We will be performing this music again in this concert.

Central to the programme is the music of Tomas Luis da Victoria, who mastered the art of writing polychoral music whilst living in Italy. One piece in our programme splits us into three choirs. Tallis’s great Spem in Alium, written for 40 voices, is similar to some of the pieces in this programme.

In order to balance the serene, beautiful and restful sacred music from the period, we’re also performing secular pieces, which dance across the programme, bringing a sense of the real Spain, full of earthy vitality.

Composer Ian Schofield says, “The choir has great purity of sound and an excellent blend of voices.”

Music played by award-winning guitarist Zoe Barnett will provide further contrast to the programme. Zoe says, “I am really looking forward to creating a lighter Spanish dimension to the concert with the traditional flamenco guitar”.

Visit concert page.


Haydn’s Nelson Mass features in University choirs concert

The University of Portsmouth Choirs will sing works by legendary Austrian classical composers Haydn and Mozart this Saturday, 23rd March, at 7:30pm in Portsmouth’s St John’s Cathedral.

The programme will feature Haydn’s ‘Nelson’ Mass (Missa in Angustiis) and Mozart’s ‘Vespers’ (Vesperae solennes de confessore) with soprano soloist Rebecca Silverman and accompaniment from the Solent Symphony Orchestra.

Arguably one of the greatest choral works, Haydn’s so-called ‘Nelson’ Mass was written at the end of the 18th Century when Austria was under threat from Napoleon. Haydn’s mass was originally entitled ‘Missa in Angustiis’ (Mass for troubled times) to reflect the wartime atmosphere. As the first performance followed the defeat of Napoleon’s navy in the Battle of the Nile at the hands of British forces led by Horatio Nelson, Haydn’s piece became nicknamed the ‘Nelson Mass’. That gave it a close association with Portsmouth, the home of the British navy.

Haydn’s composition reflects the wartime spirit with an overriding sense of drama and intensity, mixed with a realisation of triumph and joy. Dr George Burrows, director of the university choirs, said: “It is a great privilege to perform this great work with such a connection to our city; not only did Haydn visit Portsmouth, but his music was loved here and, of course, Nelson took his last steps on English soil here before he lost his life in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.”

By contrast, Mozart’s ‘Vespers’ features 6 movements of divine music written for Salzburg cathedral and it includes the beautiful ‘Laudate Dominum’. That luscious, liturgical offering shows Mozart’s great lyrical powers as a composer. However, he was also a great technician and the ‘Laudate Pueri’ movement shows his remarkable skill with long-established techniques for writing church music in which voices are set against one another in strict counterpoint.

Further information is available from music@port.ac.uk. Tickets are £12 regular, £10 concessions and £6 for young people under 16 years old and are available on the night or in advance from the onlinestore.

Ed Tomalin

Concert page


Preview: Portsmouth Baroque Choir sing Bononcini’s Stabat Mater

Our concert on 23 March at All Saints Church, Portsmouth will feature the Stabat Mater by Antonio Bononcini (1677-1726), who was born and died in Modena in North Italy, famous for its Romanesque cathedral.

We’re looking forward to welcoming Karla Powell as a guest soloist at our concert. She’ll be playing Marcello’s oboe concerto and also playing in Morten Lauridsen’s ‘Lux Aeterna’. See http://www.karlapowelloboe.co.uk.

Light is a major theme in our concert; during the Lenten season we look forward to Easter and the days getting longer. The programme includes Lauridsen’s evocative piece Lux Aeterna (eternal light), which contains references to light from various Latin texts. And Mondonville’s De profundis clamavi ends with a magnificent fugue on the words Et lux perpetua luceat eis (Let light perpetual shine on them).


A wide offering at the Havant Music Festival

The third Havant Music Festival will take place at various local venues across Havant, Emsworth and Hayling Island over 11 days from Thursday 28 March to Sunday 7 April 2019.

The exciting line-up features a diverse range of live music events and talented artists, spanning across genres and ages, including classical, Big Bands, folk music, musical theatre and so much more.

Returning artists this year include Jay Jupe and the young talent from Dynamo Youth Theatre, the Meridian Wind Band and the Leigh Park Community Singers.
We also have some exciting new artists performing this year, including Music Fusion, which creates opportunities for young people through interactive music workshops, the Folks in Harmony mixed a cappella choir, the cool ChiJazz Band Trio, and the talented Courtiers, a four-piece acoustic folk band.

You can hear the award-winning Urban Vocal Group, The Sleepy Lagoon Orchestra performing waltzes and the odd tango, and feel the heat of a Brazilian Samba Reggae band. There’s Gospel singing and a clarinet and sax choir, 4-part harmony and a guitar duet.

For lovers of classical music, there’s the Renaissance Choir’s performance of Spanish Renaissance music, the Kalore Trio’s showcase of lesser-known works of female composers and beautiful works played by the Speranza Quartet.


Emmanuel Bach and Jennifer Hughes to perform for Bognor Regis Music Club

The next concert at the Bognor Regis Music Club on Saturday, March 9 at 7pm will be given by violinist Emmanuel Bach and pianist Jennifer Hughes. Emmanuel Bach has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at venues including Wigmore Hall, St Martin-in-the Fields and St James’s Piccadilly. He was a prizewinner at the 2017 Royal Overseas League String Competition, and Mirecourt International Violin Competition 2016. Recently, he played in a live-streamed masterclass conducted by Maxim Vengerov, on the Brahms Violin Concerto.

The concert is at the Club’s concert room, 2 Sudley Road. Entry at the door is £9 for members, £11 for visitors, and £5 for students.

New members and visitors are especially welcome.

More details from Chris Coote (01243 773276), Helen Woods (01243 861620), or from the website www.BognorRegisMusic.org.uk.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/emmanuel-bach-and-jennifer-hughes-to-perform-for-bognor-regis-music-club-1-8824914

Visit the concert page.


The Stroke Association is the latest to benefit from charity orchestra

People affected by strokes in the Portsmouth area are the latest group to benefit from the Portsmouth Philharmonic’s next charity concert which takes place in March.

The city’s classical orchestra is playing a concert in the David Russell Theatre at Portsmouth Grammar School on Saturday March 16 (7.30pm) and the net proceeds will be going to the Stroke Association.

The programme features Beethoven’s ‘Egmont’ overture and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, which regularly tops the Classic FM Hall of Fame Poll. Mark Hartt-Palmer will be the soloist. Coupled with Haydn’s ‘Surprise’ Symphony No 94, the event promises to be a treat for classical music enthusiasts in the city.

Chair of the orchestra and ‘cellist Di Lloyd said: “We are really excited about putting on this programme. The Beethoven and the Haydn are challenging pieces for the orchestra, while Vaughan Williams’ perennial favourite is sure to be popular.”

The Stroke Association is the leading charity working to support people affected by the condition and local volunteers will be supporting the concert and providing information for people at the event.

Tickets priced £8 for adults will be available on the door and can also be purchased in advance here. (£1.05 booking fee applies). Accompanied under 18s are entitled to a free ticket.

Portsmouth Philharmonic was founded in 2009 and is now in its eleventh concert season. It has raised more than £15,000 for local charities in that time.

Visit the concert page.


“Reflections” – A series of concerts for Lent with Nos Miseri Homines

Following an inspiring performance of Bach Magnificat in Chichester Cathedral, NMH are once again joining our friends three parts vied for Reflections – a series of concerts for Lent. Featuring outstanding instrumentalists and singers performing powerful and evocative music in beautiful surroundings, we hope you will join us for a meditative and restorative series of concerts.

See concert pages for individual details.

Wed, 20 Mar 7:15pm Nos Miseri Homines: Victoria – Requiem 1605, St Paul’s Church, Chichester

Wed, 27 Mar 7:15pm “Lamento” by three parts vied, The Guildhall, Priory Park, Chichester

Wed, 3 Apr 7:15pm Britten & Purcell by Gregory, Grant & Hayman, Westbourne House School

Wed, 10 Apr 7:15pm “Membra Jesu Nostri” – NMH and three parts vied, Boxgrove Priory

Tickets £20, but some reductions available, see link below.

http://www.thenovium.org/nmh.


Portsmouth Festivities gets ‘loved up’ for its 20th Anniversary and receives Arts Council Support

2019 marks the 20th Anniversary of Portsmouth Festivities. Portsmouth Festivities 2019 will run from Friday 14 until Sunday 23 June.

This year, Portsmouth Festivities are delighted to celebrate their 20th year of bringing rich heritage and a thriving cultural scene to the city of Portsmouth. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the theme of their festival this year is TWENTY. Portsmouth Festivities are expressing their love for the city by inviting members of the community to their free closing event, which promises to be a night to remember.

The evening will premiere contemporary interpretations of Pablo Neruda’s 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair. In partnership with Portsmouth Poetry the line-up is some of the UK’s most talented and emerging artists, including Greg Mosse, Connor Macleod, and Emily Priest. Egg and Spoon Films and The Urban Vocal Group will also be contributing by producing films and music respectively.

The 20 Love event has been lucky enough to receive a crucial financial boost in the shape of an Arts Council England grant. This generous grant has helped fund this ambitious project, which will bring people together with the power of poetry.

“We are thrilled that the Arts Council has recognised the importance of this project and it is exciting to have this premiere to close the festival this year “, states Erica. “We have a great line up of over 100 events which take place over 10 days this June, 70% of which are free. The 20 Love project will culminate in a vibrant multi-arts community event.”

Members of the public will be invited to get involved by sending in their love poems and selected entries will be portrayed throughout the evening.

This event will take place on 23rd June at 8 pm on Governor’s Green, Portsmouth. Even though this event is free, a ticket is still required for entry.


Fumi Otsuki Violin and Piano Recital at Holy Trinity Gosport

It gives us great pleasure to welcome Fumi Otsuki (violin) to the Holy Trinity concert programme on Sunday 3 March, accompanied by Sarah Kershaw (piano).

This will be Fumi’s first performance at Holy Trinity and we are simply delighted to have attracted him to our concert programme. Born in Japan and now living in London, Fumi brings us a varied and attractive musical programme, with something for everyone to enjoy.

If you would like to read more about Fumi please go to his website: http://fumi-otsuki.com and you will understand why we are so pleased with ourselves!

A warm welcome awaits you so do please join us on Sunday 3rd March at 3.30pm; programme below, FREE ENTRANCE with retiring collection and TEA and CAKES to follow!

Maggie McMurray


Preview: Solent Symphony Orchestra concert – “Sketches of Spain”

The SSO will be embarking on an exciting programme entitled Sketches of Spain featuring music by, or influenced by, Spanish music on Saturday 9 March at Portsmouth Cathedral.

The evening will start with the little known Overture – A Night in Madrid – by Glinka followed by the ever-popular Danzon No 2 made famous by the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela under Gustavo Dudamel.

The highlight of the evening will be the concerto by the prize winner from Portsmouth Music Festival 2018, Zoe Barnett (pictured) who will play the Fantasia para un Gentilhombre by Rodrigo. Zoe, from Chichester, is currently studying at the Royal College of Music. She has studied with some of the most successful classical guitarists in the world including Graham Devine, Judicael Perroy and Zoran Dukic.

The concert will conclude with excerpts from Carmen and Suite No 2 from the Three-Cornered Hat by De Falla.

Helen Walton


News: an invitation from The Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia

The next concert of The Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia will be on Saturday June 29th at 7 pm at St Paul’s Church, Northgate as part of the 2019 Festival of Chichester.

Ahead of that, HRS will be holding an Open Practice at St Paul’s from 7.30pm to 9 pm on Saturday March 30th to try out the acoustic and would welcome anyone interested in hearing a recorder orchestra to drop in – no charge and visitors will be given one our CDs with our compliments. Please contact us via the website.

HRS is delighted to be contributing a dozen descant and treble recorder players to the Prebendal School’s production of “Noye’s Fludde” at Chichester Cathedral on Saturday March 16th at 7 pm.

The website for HRS is at http://www.hampshirerecordersinfonia.org.uk where full details of the orchestra can be found. There is also a Facebook page for Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia with a daily post of recorder music from around the world and news from HRS and recorder events.


Preview: The Kalore Trio International Women’s Day Concert

This may not be terribly politically correct, but let’s hear it for the girls – especially for those star performers who make up the Kalore Trio.

Karen Kingsley (piano), Elizabeth Cox (violin) and Amanda Berry (‘cello) are celebrating International Women’s Day with a special concert featuring music by well-known and not so well-known female composers.

The programme is packed full of musical gems. The Trio will be joined by that wizard of the clarinet, Robert Blanken. The venue is St Faith’s Church, Havant. The date is Sunday 10 March and the recital begins at 3 pm. It costs nothing to get in but a donation to St Faith’s Big Build fund would be appreciated.

If you are unlucky enough to miss this performance, don’t fret: the Kalore Trio will be repeating the same programme at the Havant Music Festival on Sunday 6 April at 3 pm at St Thomas’ Church, Emsworth.

In the recital Karen Kingsley will lead the Kalore Trio through Clara Schumann’s Trio Opus 17. Clara Schumann, a distinguished musician, was a major figure among the German Romantics. For over sixty years she performed thousands of piano recitals all over Europe, championing the works of her husband Robert and their friend Johannes Brahms. She often appeared with the celebrated violinist, Joseph Joachim. Not only was she a virtuoso of the piano, but she was also a prolific composer. Her Opus 17 trio is full of tenderness, creative energy and originality. It’s widely considered to be her masterpiece. It was composed in an age when female composers were rarely given public credit for their works.

At the concert Robert Blanken will augment the Kalore Trio with Louise Ferranc’s Opus 44. A well-known player, his clarinet skills are bound to delight the audience. Louise Ferranc was quite a woman. She was a brilliant pianist from an early age but soon got bored with the tiresome life of touring and playing around Europe. She came back to Paris and opened a music publishing house which she ran for forty years. She also became the permanent Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatoire. Sadly, she was paid less than her male counterparts. Only after the triumphant premiere of her nonet at which the famous violinist Joseph Joachim took part did she demand and receive equal pay.

Also on the bill is Romance Opus 5 by Luise Adolpha Le Beau. Luise was from Baden Baden in Germany and took up the piano at the age of five. Their personalities clashed when she studied for a season with Clara Schuman. Luise then began her career as a concert pianist, touring widely throughout Europe, which was no good for her health. So she went back to studying, this time in Munich. After more arduous touring she went to Berlin where she founded a “private music course for the daughters of the educated classes”. These lessons were aimed at preparing young women for jobs as piano teachers.

In 1882 Luise met Franz Liszt. She didn’t get on with him either. In 1884 she also met Brahms who was a handsome fellow in his younger days. But romance definitely wasn’t in the air as Brahms was besotted with Clara Schumann. Luise never got married but worked tirelessly at being a music critic, composer and teacher. Her works began to be performed outside of Europe in such far-flung places as Sydney and Constantinople.

There is also a notturno by Emilie Mayer and, of course, Fanny Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio Opus 11. Fanny composed over 460 pieces of music. Several were published under her brother Felix Mendelssohn’s name.

The whole Kalore Trio afternoon concert is dedicated to those talented and strong-willed women who helped redress the gender balance of their time.

Stuart Reed


Preview: “Cinderella”

Cinderella was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s only musical originally written for television, and it was enormously successful, the first broadcast (1957) being watched by over 100 million people.

The stage version followed soon after and was also very popular. This is the classic fairy tale, complete with magic spells, a handsome prince and villainous stepfamily. It boasts a witty script and a very sumptuous score played by the University Orchestra.

The Rodgers & Hammerstein version is not a pantomime, but a humorous take on the familiar story, full of great music and wonderful songs including In My Own Little Corner and When You’re Driving Through the Moonlight.

Visit event page.

Read UoP News: Students to perform Cinderella at the New Theatre Royal

A third-year Musical Theatre student has taken on the role of director this year for the University of Portsmouth’s Dramatic and Musical Society’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella which will open at the New Theatre Royal on 28 February for 4 shows.

Read more.

Pictured: Bethan Roscoe, director


Preview: Portsmouth Festival Choir concert: Vierne & Stanford

Tickets are now on sale for Portsmouth Festival Choir’s spring concert which will take place on Saturday 16th March in the lovely Church of the Holy Spirit in Fawcett Road, Southsea PO4 0DY at 7.30 p.m.

The main work is the beautiful Messe Solonnelle by Vierne, the French composer. This was written with a two-organ accompaniment but the Church’s wonderful organ will be well able to cope with its demands, according to star organist Mark Dancer, who will also be performing part of Vierne’s Organ Symphony.

Apart from the Messe Solonnelle, the programme will feature some highly dramatic music by Stanford and the stirring Insanae et Vanae Curae by Haydn.

The soprano soloist for this concert is Lucy Braga, who has performed all over the world and appears regularly at The Royal Albert Hall, Barbican and Royal Festival Hall.

Pictured: Lucy Braga


Petersfield Musical Festival – Highlights

Here are some highlights of the forthcoming Petersfield Musical Festival, which runs from 15 to 23 March 2019.

Opening Night, Friday 15 March, at the Festival Hall at 7.30 pm

‘Greek Night’! A band of seven musicians presents an eclectic mix of all kinds of traditional Greek music, with all the influences that have gone into making the exciting sounds we associate with warmer climes, from the Modal art music of Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, and Greek Orthodox chant, to café music. The group have played in London and all over Europe, to great acclaim.

Saturday 16 March, Festival Hall, 7.30 pm

George Dyson’s fabulous choral work, accompanied by Southern Pro Musica – ‘The Canterbury Pilgrims‘. A wonderfully imaginative piece, based on Chaucer’s characters. Entertaining and thoroughly English, and best of all, heart-warming.

Tuesday 19 March 1 pm at St Peter’s Church, The Square, Petersfield

Recital given by Award-holders from the Michael Hurd Fund for young musicians.
A young soprano and two violinists give a free recital. Retiring collection for the Fund.

Wednesday 20 March 7.30 pm, St Peter’s Church

Petersfield Brass‘, led by Hilmar Hauer, trumpet, with Nicholas Gleed on the organ. This ensemble will play music from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Free entry.

Thursday 21 March 7.30 pm, Festival Hall

Petersfield Orchestra, conducted by Mark Biggins, a terrific programme:
Glinka – Overture Ruslan and Ludmilla
Prokofiev Piano Concerto no. 3 in C major (soloist Cristian Sandrin)
Tchaikovsky – Symphony no. 6 in B minor (Pathétique)

There will be a pre-concert talk at 6.30: Piers Burton-Page talks to Mark Biggins and Cristian.

Friday 22 March, Festival Hall 7.30 pm

‘A Swingin’ Affair’: Jazz Night! Well-known Jazz singer and Radio 3 presenter Claire Martin, with virtuoso saxophonist Ray Gelato and the Dave Newton Trio. Claire and Ray have presented this programme of songs from the 30’s, ’40’s and ’50s to huge critical acclaim in venues up and down the country and in London. Be there or be square.

Saturday 23 March, Festival Hall 7.30 pm

A wonderfully popular programme brings this year’s Festival to a close:
Beethoven – Overture ‘Egmont’
Dvorák – Slavonic Dances
Brahms – German Requiem

To book, please go to www.petersfieldmusicalfestival.org.uk
or visit One Tree Books, Lavant Street, Petersfield, tel. 01730 261199


Ready for icing on the cake?

Irene Reed’s scrumptious cakes are recognised as one of several great attractions at the Meon Valley Orchestra’s annual charity concerts.

For the last five years, Irene, jokingly referred to as the Mary Berry of Fareham, has delighted concertgoers at the United Reformed Church, with her mouth-watering culinary delights. These tasty treats are included in the price of admission (a paltry £10 per head). Little wonder that this knockout combination of the MVO’s popular classical music and free refreshments contributes to full houses at these yearly performances.

So, here is the menu for the MVO concert of Saturday 2 March. For starters, to tickle the senses in this year’s programme is Handel’s Suite Number 1 from his Water Music, the film music from The Big Country and Arthur Sullivan’s Gondoliers Suite.

The main course includes Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture and Pirates of the Caribbean and Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto.

There are amuses bouches thrown in with every course like Herold’s Clog Dance, The Pink Panther and Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance.

Finally, for pudding comes a Nineteen Twenties medley. At the end, instead of a cheese board and especially for Jean-Paul Junker, there is that musical bombe surprise, The Dambusters’ March. If music be the food of love, play on!

Stuart Reed


Solent Male Voice Choir learns to click

In nearly 60 years of singing, Solent Male Voice Choir has regularly clicked its musical fingers, but the most significant click in recent years has involved the computer.

Even diehards in the choir relish the help at their fingertips; singers can rehearse at home using internet resources and groups can share information and expertise by clicking onto platforms like Facebook.

Embracing technology at Solent MVC are Musical Director Geoff Porter and website designer David McVittie, recognising its potential to widen horizons and improve performance.

It’s very much behind the choir’s “Sing For Shelter”fund-raising project. Geoff explains “We are thrilled to be asked to take part in the multi-choir recording in September of composer Alex Woolf’s piece A Place To Call Home to raise funds for Shelter. Last year he composed an NHS Symphony for hospital choirs.

“David McVittie made MP3 and CD tracks of the two vocal parts to help with learning and we shall film ourselves singing it and upload this to Facebook with a link to the project’s Justgiving Page.”

Solent MVC will give the song its debut during its concert at St. Peter’s Church, Bishop’s Waltham on March 23. Sharing the bill will be the 12-strong Bishop’s Bells team of bellringers and they will be playing a Bach pastorale and Ashokan Farewell among other pieces.

David Stretton


West Africa, Prague and Schleswig-Holstein, all in one night

Jonathan Butcher, Havant Symphony Orchestra’s innovative Musical Director, has brought yet more variety to this season’s programme. In December 2018 he included Edward Elgar’s arrangement of Handel’s Overture in D Minor, a touch of Baroque.

The next concert at Oaklands School, Waterlooville, on Saturday on 23 March 2019 includes a lovely work by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. He’s not the English poet and philosopher of a similar name but a prolific English composer of mixed race.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s father was a Sierra Leone Creole physician and his mother was English. He was born in 1875 in Holborn but brought up in Croydon. He died of pneumonia in 1912 and is buried in Bandon Hill Cemetery, Wallington, Surrey.

Samuel played the violin and studied at the Royal College of Music. He became professor of music at Crystal Palace School of Music. Elgar helped him to become a conductor and composer. He was interested in the folk music of his roots.

Havant Symphony Orchestra’s opening work is his Symphonic Variations on an African Air. It’s pleasant, tuneful and the HSO string sections say it’s a delight to play.

Next on the bill are Three dances from The Bartered Bride by that bouncing Czech, Bedrich Smetana. They are a polka, a fiery Bohemian furiant and include the legendary Dance of the Comedians.

Next to take the stage is horn player Ben Goldscheider. The Huffington Post described him as a musical Bear Grylls. (What could they mean?). A versatile player, he was already a star by the time he eighteen, having reached the final of the BBC’s young musician competition. He’s played at all the best venues: The Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican. He’s rubbed shoulders with both David and Michael Barenboim.

The HSO are privileged to support him as he performs the solo part in Carl Maria von Weber’s Horn Concertino in E minor. It’s full of tricky stuff including multiphonics – playing two notes simultaneously.

Dvorak’s Symphony No 8 in G major rounds off the HSO’s evening performance. Composed in 1889, it’s a well-known work. In contrast to his other symphonies and similar music of the age, it is cheerful and optimistic. It’s just the thing to uplift the audience even more and round off a terrific evening.

Stuart Reed

Image credit: originator unknown, restored by © Adam Cuerden


The Funtington Music Group: Virginia Black

Virginia Black – performing Bach & Scarlatti on the piano

In this lecture /recital, Virginia Black, a renowned performer of early classical music and RA professor, will show how to bring the music of Bach and Scarlatti to life on a modern concert grand piano on Wednesday 13 February.

Virginia made her debut as a solo recitalist, aged 20, at the Wigmore Hall, London and has given numerous performances on the South Bank in the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. She has played at many international festivals, including the Göttingen and Carmel Bach festivals, and the Herne and York early music festivals. She has pursued a worldwide concert schedule including the Paris Festival D’Été, the Prague Spring Festival and a series of recitals in the United States.

Virginia has continued to nurture many talented musicians at the Royal Academy as professor of harpsichord, chair of postgraduate diploma studies and senior postgraduate tutor. She has also given numerous external master classes and performance classes including Oxford University, Eton College and the Ivy League Universities.

In addition to live performances, she has made many recordings for both radio and television around the world and in England has been featured as ‘Artist of the Week’ on BBC Radio 3. Her library of CD recordings has been recognised through Editor’s Choice in The Gramophone and Critic’s Choice in Classic CD.

Visit the concert page.


Petersfield Music Festival tickets now on sale

Tickets are now on sale for the 2019 Petersfield Musical Festival.
You can find full details of the performers and ticket prices, articles about the Festival and information for performers in the newsletter here.

Friday 15 March Plastikes Karekles – Greek rebetiko
Saturday 16 March Dyson: The Canterbury Pilgrims
Sunday 17 March Family Concert with Meridian Winds
Monday 18 March Youth Concert
Tuesday 19 March Lunchtime recital (St Peter’s Church – admission free)
Wednesday 20 March Youth Concert
Wednesday 20 March Petersfield Brass (St Peter’s Church – admission free)
Thursday 21 March Petersfield Orchestra
Friday 22 March Claire Martin and Ray Gelato – ‘A Swingin’ Affair’
Saturday 23 March Brahms: Requiem

All concerts are at Petersfield Festival Hall except the lunchtime recital and Petersfield Brass.

The Youth Concerts are currently sold out and running a waiting list.

You can book online by visiting the Festival website, or in person at One Tree Books, 7 Lavant Street, Petersfield GU32 3EL tel. 01730 261199.

Visit the MiP page.

 


Preview of “Classics by Candlelight” in Petersfield with Southern Pro Musica

Jonathan Willcocks writes:

Following the great success of our previous Southern Pro Musica candle-lit concerts in Petersfield, I am very pleased to tell you about ‘Classics by Candlelight’ on Saturday February 9th 2019 at 7.30pm in St. Peter’s Church, Petersfield – in the hopes that you may be tempted to come.

We have as our soloist in Mozart – Flute Concerto no. 1 and Gluck’s beautiful Dance of the Blessed Spirits the outstanding young flautist Charlotte Ashton – who is currently principal flute in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

To frame those two works we have a pair of sparkling early symphonies by Mozart and the much-loved ‘Farewell’ Symphony by Haydn – so entitled because of the final movement where the orchestral players progressively leave the stage, leaving just two solitary violinists – Haydn’s irresistible message to his noble employer about the unsatisfactory working conditions and lack of holiday time that his players endured!


Preview: Petersfield Orchestra Spring 2019 Concert

Piers Burton-Page writes the preview notes for this concert.

Overture, Ruslan and Ludmilla – Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804 – 1857)

Glinka has a secure place in musical history, as the founder of Russian opera. Yet this is on the basis just of a pair of quite contrasted operas. What is more, it almost never happened, because the composer was initially so taken with the Italian operatic manner that in 1830, he went to Italy for a three-year period of study, intending to absorb all that he could of Italian music. Paradoxically, though, his stay in the warm South gradually had the opposite effect: it dawned on him that he would be truer to himself, and to his roots, if he were to mine all that his own native country could offer him by way of stories and folklore and musical traditions. The result was, first, A Life for the Tsar, in 1836, which was a triumphant success. Immediately thereafter, Glinka began work on a second opera, Ruslan and Ludmilla, after a Pushkin story with elements of the supernatural but set in the heroic past. Dramatically it was a disaster, largely because the libretto was put together by a succession of amateur hacks which Glinka spent five years composing. The result was an opera of brilliant moments, but one that is seldom performed outside Russia ­– except for its scintillating Overture, a brilliant orchestral showpiece that shows Glinka’s genius for the orchestra in full flood.

Piano Concerto no 3 in C, Op. 26 – Sergei Prokofiev (1891 – 1953)
I – Andante – Allegro
II – Tema con variazioni
III – Allegro, ma non troppo

If Glinka is the father of Russian opera, then for the equivalent accolade for the Russian piano concerto, one does not have to look quite so far back. The palm must go to Tchaikovsky, though following close behind are the like of Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov and even Scriabin with, a generation later, Shostakovich and Prokofiev in hot pursuit. These two were not always friendly rivals: both were however fine exponents of their own keyboard music. Prokofiev was the soloist at the premiere of his own Third Concerto, in December, 1921, with Frederick Stock conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A decade later, Prokofiev also made a gramophone recording of the work, still a unique and invaluable document.

The Third Concerto was completed in the summer of 1921 in Brittany, finale, only briefly interrupted by a courtly minuet before a return to the opening theme heralds a final coda in which the home tonality of C is resoundingly re-affirmed. How Russian is that? Not very, perhaps – but the result is compellingly fresh and teeming with vitality.

Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)

I – Adagio – Allegro non troppo
II – Allegro con grazia
III – Allegro molto vivace
IV – Finale (Adagio lamentoso – Andante)

What makes a Russian symphony – or, at least, a Russian symphonist? It is astonishing to think that, even within living memory, Tchaikovsky has sometimes been denied the status of a genuine symphonic composer. Part of the problem was that he had the gift of writing unforgettable melodies! The fashionable dictum was that, in the words of one hostile critic, these “appear in full blossom, one by one, and there is very little that Tchaikovsky can do except arrange them artistically into a bouquet.” This slur was more than enough to lure too many people into thinking that all that Tchaikovsky’s music was good for, was dancing. Mesmerized by The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, even those who took him seriously were inclined to deny him an authentic sense of musical form – as if the five symphonies written before the present example were not sufficient refutation on their own.

Looked at in this unsympathetic light, it is true that this last of the six offers several hostages to fortune. Melodically the composer is certainly guilty as charged: one need not look very far, no further in fact than the passionate surging tune, marked teneramente, molto cantabile, con espressione, that forms the swooning second subject of the opening movement. And for another objection, the movement which follows might certainly be called balletic – except that, in a daring stroke, Tchaikovsky writes it, not in a waltz-time three-four, but in a teasing five-four. This is surely no ballroom party piece, as the uneasy mood of the movement’s central section confirms.

The boldest stroke is yet to come. Movements three and four stand symphonic orthodoxy on its head, placing the slow movement last, and preceding it with what might have been the finale – here, a pulsating march, that grows ever more insistent: almost violently so at times, in Tchaikovsky’s brilliant orchestration. More than one unwary audience has been tempted into premature applause….

This highly original reversal of slow movement and finale once again landed the composer in hot water; it made it fatally easy to interpret the Sixth Symphony in autobiographical terms. Given his personal circumstances at the time – not just artistic self-doubt, but hypochondria, incessant conducting tours interrupting his creative endeavours, even money worries – it became all too easy to see the finale’s outpouring of pain and despair as some sort of premonition of his own imminent demise.

For within ten days of conducting the première in St Petersburg in October 1898, Tchaikovsky was dead: whether this was by suicide, or from carelessly contracting cholera by drinking a glass of unboiled water, or even by some freakish combination of the two, may never be known for certain. He was in his prime, just 53 years old. The title Pathétique was supplied by his brother Modest; they were always close, and initially at least Tchaikovsky seems to have been happy to accept it, as perhaps the nearest single-word clue to the symphony’s overall concept. But had he lived, it would assuredly not have been his last word.

Visit the concert page and read a review.

 


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