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

International concert pianist plays fundraiser for Portsmouth City of Sanctuary

The international concert pianist and recording artist Margaret Fingerhut is set to play a charity fundraiser at Portsmouth Cathedral on Monday 4th February at 7.30pm.

She has devised a very special concert that she is performing across the UK to raise awareness of refugee needs as well as to collect funds for City of Sanctuary refugee groups.

Through music and words, Margaret tells the story of some of the many composers who were refugees because of war or persecution, or who migrated for their work. Her programme includes Chopin, Grieg, Handel, Haydn, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov, and she has specially commissioned a new piece by Arian, the Kurdish Syrian composer who wrote the Refugee National Anthem for the 2016 Olympics.

Margaret Fingerhut has a distinguished career which has taken her all over the world, and is particularly known for her innovative recital programmes. As a concerto soloist she has appeared with the all the UK’s major orchestras, and she is frequently heard on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and many radio stations worldwide.

Margaret is a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2015. She has given masterclasses in the USA, Canada, Japan and China, and she is a regular guest at international summer schools such as Chetham’s, Jackdaws and Dartington.

Visit the concert page.


New directions and new challenges for Chichester Symphony Orchestra

Chichester Symphony Orchestra’s new conductor Simon Wilkins celebrates a year with the orchestra this month – by taking them in a new direction.

He and the orchestra are offering a family concert on Saturday, January 26 at the Millennium Hall, Westbourne House School, Coach Lane, Chichester, PO20 2BH, an afternoon event starting at 3pm and lasting around an hour with no interval.

They will be performing the complete Star Wars suite, ABBA, Night on the Bare Mountain, Jazz Pizzicato and Gershwin in Hollywood.

“It is exactly a year,” Simon says. “My first rehearsal was January last year, and this is my fourth programme with them, and I think the orchestra has really improved. We have got to know each other now. I know what I want to do with them, and they are used to my conducting style and I have done a few projects now that have been new to the orchestra. We have had a very, very positive reaction from the audiences and from the orchestra, and we have got other exciting things lined up.”

Phil Hewitt

Read more at https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/new-directions-and-new-challenges-for-chichester-symphony-orchestra-1-8778638


“Meon Valley Magic”: Preview of the Meon Valley Orchestra’s March concert

Stuart Reed writes:

Every Thursday morning the sound of brass, woodwind, strings and percussion drifts over the Hampshire countryside as the Meon Valley Orchestra rehearses for its major annual concert.

Over the past five years, the Orchestra has raised thousands of pounds for very worthy medical charities committed to help those suffering from pancreatic cancer, diabetes, brain tumours, gout and colonic cancer.

Local musicians like Penny Rowlandson (‘cello) and her husband John (bassoon) take these practices very seriously indeed. Penny Gordon (baritone saxophone), Francis Keppel (violin), Victoria Smith (percussion) and Michael Moody (flute) are playing with real purpose. In short, Annabel Armstrong (saxophone) and Barrie Harbut (‘cello) together with all the other musicians of the MVO are working hard to bring to the public their best concert yet. Musical director Lorraine Masson is keeping the whole Orchestra’s collective noses to the grindstone.

This year’s concert is scheduled for Saturday 2 March in the United Reformed Church, 18 Osborne Road South, Fareham, PO16 7DG. It will start at 7.30pm but doors will be open at 7.00pm. Local civic dignitaries from Fareham and Gosport have graciously agreed to attend.

Although not absolutely finalised the programme is crammed full of popular, light classical music which the audience will love. Arthur Sullivan’s Gondoliers Suite and Ronald Binge’s Sailing By are just a couple of the musical gems on the cards.

For those who like more informal music, there will be a selection of tunes from the Nineteen Twenties. And for lovers of even more modern pieces, there will music from films like the Pink Panther and Pirates of the Caribbean. Some of the musical repertoire is still under wraps but sources close to the MVO reveal that works by Tchaikovsky and Haydn may also be on the bill.

Visit the concert page.

Read about the homemade cakes which you will be able to enjoy.

Read a review.


Preview of “Elgar and beyond” recital

Baritone Alex Poulton will be accompanied by pianist Peter Rhodes in this concert presented by the Elgar Society Southern Branch on Saturday 26 January at 2pm at The Spring, Havant.

They will be performing a recital of very rarely performed songs by Edward Elgar.

The programme also includes a selection of Arthur Somervell and George Butterworth’s settings of A. E. Housman’s: ‘A Shropshire Lad’, a new setting of a poem by Maurice Carême by Alex Poulton, a piano solo by Percy Grainger and another by John Dowland; Gerald Finzi’s: Let Us Garlands Bring, arranged by Grainger, a collection of Britten folk song settings and some songs by Noël Coward.

Alex Poulton is a baritone who studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire and at the Liszt Academy, Budapest. His career encompasses recital, oratorio and operatic performances both here and abroad. Alex also writes new operas and musicals.

Pianist Peter Rhodes studied at the Royal Academy of Music and is sought after as recitalist, accompanist, harpsichordist and conductor. He has performed abroad and accompanied leading artists including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Benjamin Luxon.

Go to concert page.


Matthew Hunt & Friends launch 2019 Chichester Chamber Concerts series

Matthew Hunt & Friends offer the January entertainment in the Chichester Chamber Concerts series.

Thursday, January 24 will bring together Matthew Hunt (clarinet), Alina Ibragimova (violin), Louise Hopkins (cello) and Alasdair Beatson (piano) in The Assembly Room in the Chichester Council House in North Street.

Their programme will be Debussy – Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano; Ravel – Piano Trio; and Messiaen – Quartet for the End of Time. Matthew, solo clarinettist with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and a member of Sheffield-based Ensemble 360, admits it’s quite a programme.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/matthew-hunt-friends-launch-2019-chichester-chamber-concerts-series-1-8768102

Visit the concert page.


Exciting Chichester programme ahead for Funtington Music Group

A strong and busy 2019 programme will see Funtington Music Group continue to build on its rich tradition of offering lecture recitals in Chichester.

Meetings are held at 7.30pm on Wednesdays (monthly January to June and September to November) in the Chapel of the Ascension, Bishop Otter Campus, University of Chichester – and it is the FMG’s firm bond of friendship with the university which makes the group unique, its organisers believe. Chairman Chris Hough and colleague Chris Coote are delighted with the programme the group will offer for 2019.

Image: Ensemble Reza who will play Dvorak’s String Sextet in A major and Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht on 16 January.


Portsmouth Chamber Music Series features Ensemble 360

Ensemble 360 is performing in Portsmouth Guildhall on Monday 28 January at 7.30pm.

Ensemble 360 is the resident ensemble of Music in the Round, who play in a variety of combinations up to eleven musicians in total, allowing the possibility of programming interesting works which are rarely heard. This concert is a good example, featuring sextets which were composed just two years apart, and yet with sound-worlds which could not be more different. Indeed the Dohnányi is far more similar in style to Brahms, and this is a work that truly merits the label of ‘unjustly neglected masterpiece’. The Brahms, on the other hand, needs no introduction as this is perhaps the most famous of all his chamber works.

“The clarinettist [Matthew Hunt] played so beautifully it was as though he wished to make the very air of the hall melt.” – Tokyo Times

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 are £18 (£16 concessions) and available through the Guildhall’s box office. For questions about the Portsmouth Chamber Music Series, contact Colin Jagger, Director of Music at the University of Portsmouth on 023 9284 3023 (music@port.ac.uk).


What’s better than the sound of the cello?

Stella Scott writes:

What’s better than the sound of the cello?

The sound of two cellos, of course!

Cellists love to get together to play music in groups, the most famous example being the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic who perform a huge variety of music and tour all over the world. Hampshire cellists Amanda Berry and Stella Scott will join forces with Stella’s pianist husband, Jonathan, on January 27th for a concert of music for just two cellos. They will play music ranging from Vivaldi to Morricone and Shostakovich – all wonderfully melodious and delightful to listen to!

The concert will take place at 3.00 pm at St Faith’s Church in Havant. Entrance is free but there will be a retiring collection in aid of the Church’s ‘Big Build’ fund which supports the ongoing excellent renovations to the Pallant Centre, St Faith’s community hall complex just up the road from the Church. Amanda, Stella and Jonathan are all members of the Havant Orchestras who enjoy rehearsing at the Pallant Centre on a regular basis. Amanda also performs with Petersfield Orchestra and recently appeared at St Faith’s as one-third of the Kalore Piano Trio.

Their message to music fans: “We’re very excited to be playing such gorgeous music together, and do hope people will come along to hear something a little bit different!”


Music Appreciation Course at New Park Centre – January 2019

Angela Zanders’ popular Chichester Music Circle classes in music appreciation are due to begin again with a new course at the New Park Centre in Chichester, starting on Monday 21st January.

‘Images in Music’ is the theme and each week Angela will explore some of the music inspired by such images as fire, weather, the moon and the sea. She will use PowerPoint slides and video examples of the music, as well as demonstrating at the piano.

Angela, who is a concert pianist and lecturer at Chichester University, has been running music appreciation classes for more than 25 years. She has a special interest in helping those who enjoy listening to classical music but who have little knowledge of the subject, to widen their understanding and enjoyment of it. “I do believe that classical music is for everyone and there is always so much wonderful music to discover. It is so fascinating trying to find out what aspects of life inspired composers to write great music and how they expressed their inspiration in notes.”

The classes are suitable for those who have some knowledge of classical music, but they are also aimed at those who enjoy listening to music but have no technical knowledge at all. There are 8 sessions which take place on Mondays 1.30pm – 3.30pm with a break for tea/coffee.

The cost of the course is £72. For more information, and to enrol, please contact Angela before the first session on 21st January on tel: 07582 537123 or via zanders@hotmail.co.uk.


Portsmouth Festival Choir: New Year, New Maestro, New Music

Portsmouth Festival Choir will be starting rehearsals for its next concert, this coming Monday 7th January.

Its new conductor, Ben Lathbury, has devised an unusual and interesting concert for its next performance, which will take place at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Fawcett Road on Saturday 16th March.

The major work will be the Solemn Mass by French composer Vierne. This was written to be accompanied by two pipe organs. However, on the advice of his teacher Widor, Vierne adapted his work for one organ. The organ will be played on this occasion by brilliant local organist Mark Dancer, who is also the Festival Choir’s assistant musical director. The beautiful organ at the Church of the Holy Spirit will be perfect for this exciting work.

In addition the concert will feature several works by Charles Villiers Stanford: his Three Motets, the soaringly beautiful Blue Bird, and a very dramatic piece Lo I Raise Up. In similar vein is Haydn’s A crazed and hopeless passion invades our minds.

The choir is much looking forward to learning and practising this innovative programme of music.

New members are always welcome to come along and give the choir a try. It meets at Portsmouth Academy in St Mary’s Road, Fratton PO1 5PF every Monday from 7 p.m. to 9.15. Music is provided on loan.

For more information see www.portsmouthfestivalchoir.co.uk.

Pictured: Ben Lathbury and Mark Dancer, conductor and organist.


Funtington Music Group offer their Christmas special with singers Erin Alexander and Tina Gelnere

Funtington Music Group offer a Christmas Special with Erin Alexander and Tina Gelnere in the Chichester University Chapel of the Ascension on Wednesday, December 12 at 7.30pm. Group chairman Chris Hough said: “FMG are delighted to welcome back Erin Alexander and Tina Gelnere, graduates of the University of Chichester music faculty and now established professional singers.

Admission is free and a retiring collection will be made in aid of the Robert Headley Fund.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/funtington-music-group-offer-their-christmas-special-with-singers-erin-alexander-and-tina-gelnere-1-8718644

Read more about Tina’s crowdfunding campaign:

https://hubbub.org/p/TinaGelnereRWCMD/

http://tinagelnere.co.uk/index.html

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/erin-alexander-and-tina-gelnere-solos-and-duets


Celebrate the Portsmouth area’s arts scene and vote in The Guide Awards 2018!

This is the competition for the “Best Classical Act” in The News (Portsmouth) newspaper. There’s a whole lot of other talents to vote for there, from stand-up comedy, theatre, visual arts, bands…

The selection is a shortlist arising from recommendations made by classical musicians who write reviews for The News.

These awards rely on people voting for them online from a long list of contenders.

Click on https://bit.ly/2DXMDMe

Go to around 1/3 down the very long page and find the link for voting. (Click on “skip survey” if it pops up – it’s a fairly cluttered page!). You can vote only once using one email address. Pass it onto your friends. Voting closes Sunday 30 December. The winners are announced on Monday 28 January.

The nominations are as follows.

1. Meon Valley Orchestra, the area’s newest large ensemble. The Orchestra has gone from a handful of folk musicians to a full-blown orchestra of forty-five players. Their charity concerts have raised nearly £8,000.
2. The Renaissance Choir for their imaginative programming and their blend. “Their excellent sound seems as if it comes from a single person”.
3. Solent Symphony Orchestra for their performance of Saint-Saens’ organ symphony. “An orchestra whose skill and performing eloquence is equal to much larger and better-known ensembles.”
4. Colin Jagger of Portsmouth University for his 15 years of bringing class acts to the Portsmouth Chamber Music series.
5. The Kalore Trio “for their exquisite music, beautifully played; the outcome of which was a truly memorable Sunday afternoon in Holy Trinity Gosport”.
6. The Petersfield Orchestra, described as “a class act whose sound was clear and resonant, with energetic and accomplished playing”.
7. The chamber choir from The Portsmouth Grammar School who performed with the internationally famous Tallis Scholars. They sang with accuracy and panache, unawed by their professional neighbours.
8. The Portsmouth Choral Union for their performance of Vaughan Williams’ titanic Sea Symphony in a memorable concert from “a well-schooled group of talented singers”.
9. Beechwood Opera for their performance of the Marriage of Figaro at the New Theatre Royal. A young, entrepreneurial, ambitious, local, opera company producing exciting performances.
10. Readers’ choice.

Read an account of what happened on the Awards night.


The Chichester Singers launch festive season with Handel’s Messiah

Phil Hewitt writes:

The Chichester Singers take us into the festive season with a performance of Handel’s Messiah in Chichester Cathedral on Saturday, December 8 2018.

It will be the 11th time they have performed it under their long-serving musical director Jonathan Willcocks.

The point is that the piece is genuinely unique. As Jonathan says, he can think of no other piece which has enjoyed such consistent, undimmed popularity for so long. Some pieces popular now have gone out of fashion at times, but not Handel’s Messiah. And that brings its own challenges in a way.

The performance comes at the end of an excellent year for the Chichester Singers and during a season which typifies their commitment to the masterworks and to the newer pieces. Their most recent concert combined Brahms’ Requiem with a piece by Ronald Corp. And on March 30, following on from Brahms’ Requiem and Handel’s Messiah, they will perform J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Then on June 22, for the Festival of Chichester, to mark the 60th anniversary of the twinning of Chartres with Chichester, they will offer a programme of French and English music.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/the-chichester-singers-launch-festive-season-with-handel-s-messiah-1-8719355

Concert page.


Chichester Chorale offer Christmas concert

Phil Hewitt writes:

Chichester Chorale offers its Christmas concert on Saturday, December 8 at 7.30pm at St George’s Whyke, Cleveland Road, promising Bach’s Wachet Auf and a selection of favourite Christmas songs and carols. Once again they will be under their conductor and founder Arthur Robson. Arthur reckons they are now in their 15th or 16th year, years during which the Chorale has become a significant presence on the Chichester-area music scene.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/chichester-chorale-offer-christmas-concert-1-8720229

Concert page.


Preview: Portsmouth University Choir at Holy Trinity Gosport: “Evening Song”

Maggie McMurray writes:

We couldn’t be more thrilled to be welcoming George Burrows and the University of Portsmouth Choirs, accompanied by Anthony Groves and featuring soprano, Rebecca Silverman, in their tea-time concert, ‘Evening Song’, 3.30pm, Sunday 2nd December at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport! We are expecting 120 voices to swell our wonderful acoustics, creating a sound not to be missed . . . A very warm welcome awaits you plus a concert to celebrate ‘evening’ and the winter season! Do please join us for a 3.30pm start; free entrance with retiring collection with tea and cakes to follow.

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George Burrows is Reader in Performing Arts at the University of Portsmouth, where he has lectured on music and theatre for more than 15 years. He worked for the Royal Opera House and at the University of Newcastle, before coming to Portsmouth where he learned to conduct and engaged in postgraduate studies. His published research focuses on interwar musical theatre and jazz. He founded the Song, Stage and Screen international conference in 2006 and the academic journal, Studies in Musical Theatre (intellect) in 2007. He is active as a performing musician and directs the University of Portsmouth’s choir, student choir and scholars’ choir. He is author of The Recordings of Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy, which is in preparation with Oxford University Press. Writing that book inspired him to learn the Sousaphone. He lives in Gosport.

Rebecca Silverman was born and educated in Essex. She was drawn initially to musical theatre but, at the age of fifteen, with a growing interest in classical singing, she had the opportunity to take a small principal role in a new opera commissioned by the Royal Opera House. At the age of seventeen, she auditioned successfully for entry to the Royal College of Music. She is currently in her final undergraduate year, and will be returning to RCM in September 2017 to study for her Masters degree. In 2015, she performed the roles of Adele in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus with Chelmsford City Opera, and Pepik in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Cathleen in Vaughan-Wiliams’ Riders to the Sea, both with British Youth Opera. She has participated in masterclasses with Mhairi Lawson. She is also an experienced recitalist and a regular performer at livery company banquets in the City of London. Rebecca would like to express her gratitude to the Worshipful Company of Coopers for its continued support of her studies.


Chichester Voices: ‘Let the choir ring out their joy’

Jill Murison writes:

This year’s two Carol Concerts promise to be a wonderful evening of festive music, including audience participation, performed by the renowned local chamber choir Chichester Voices. The concerts will be conducted by Andrew Naylor and will feature some much-loved works including ‘I Saw Three Ships’, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”. Also, there will be the world premiere of “Laetabundus” – a sequence for Christmas by local composer & choir member Michael Walsh, and The Bee Carol, composed by choir member David Russell.

Audiences will have two chances to hear the concert: Firstly at the RNLI Station, Kingsway, Selsey, PO20 0DL on Saturday 15th December at 7.30pm. Richard Allum will be at the keyboard & the choir is raising money for Selsey Lifeboats.

Then, on Thursday 20th December, again at 7.30pm, the choir will be at their usual home of St Thomas a Becket’s Church, Pagham, PO21 4NU, raising money for Rotary Charities.

Directed by Andrew Naylor and accompanied by Richard Allum, tickets for these concerts cost £12 (£10 concessions, children and OAPs).

Tickets for the Selsey concert are available from the Selsey RNLI Station shop, at www.selseylifeboats.co.uk and 01243 601822 or Chichester Voices on 07900 098197 and at www.chichestervoices.org.uk and on the door.

Tickets for the Pagham concert are available from Rotary on 01243 268288 or Chichester Voices on 07900 098197 and at www.chichestervoices.org.uk and on the door.


Preview: The Solent Male Voice Choir – ‘A Christmas Hallelujah’

Come and celebrate Christmas with The Solent Male Voice Choir and guest soprano Ciara O’Connor, who will be singing “O Holy Night” on 18 December at The Pallant Hall at 7.30 pm. Marion Porter will be the reader.

The choir will sing a Christmas setting of Cohen’s Hallelujah, Winter Wind, an arrangement from Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, The Gloria by Vivaldi, Sea Fever by John Ireland, Please Father Christmas, The Holly & the Ivy, A Holly Jolly Christmas – watch out for the kazoos! – and other seasonal pieces, including two audience participation carols.

There will be refreshments to follow, including mince pies and mulled wine.

Tickets are £7.50 on the door, to include the refreshments and there will be a raffle.

The Hall will be nice and warm, accessible to all and although the concert only lasts about one hour and a quarter, you might like to bring a cushion!

Concert page


Preview of HSO’s next concert: Baroque and modern music combined

Stuart Reed writes:

None of the musicians can remember Havant Symphony Orchestra ever playing Baroque music before. So it will be great to hear them play something extraordinary at their next concert at 7.30 pm on Saturday 1st December at Oaklands School, Waterlooville.

The concert is jam-packed full of great music.

The HSO’s opening number will be Sir Edward Elgar’s arrangement of the Overture in D minor by George Frederick Handel. It’s not exactly true Baroque but an exciting work, none-the-less. Under the baton of Jonathan Butcher, the HSO are likely to give a noteworthy performance.

The Bob Harding Bursary holder, Stefano Boccacci, will conduct Gustav Holst’s A Somerset Rhapsody Op 21. The famous folk tune collector, Cecil Sharpe, asked Holst to compose this very English work.

It contains four rural tunes – The Sheep Shearing Song, High Germany, The True Lover’s Farewell and The Cuckoo. Holst weaves the melodies in and out, sometimes overlapping them. It’s got all the wholesome flavour of country life in Southern England.

Enthusiastic Stefano, who comes from Colombia, has enjoyed working on this material with the HSO so much that at one rehearsal he completely forgot to bring the session to an end. After about 20 minutes of extra time, that ace clarinet player Spence Bundy, who had been playing most of the day already, had to call time before exhaustion set in.

French Composer Maurice Ravel took two laborious years (1929 – 1931) to write his Piano Concerto in G major. He said it exhausted him. He believed that the days of composers scribbling down ideas on bits of paper were long gone and thought that writing music was seventy-five percent an intellectual activity.
The work was written specifically for Marguerite Marie-Charlotte Long, a renowned pianist and teacher. Her husband had been killed in World War One. She and Ravel toured twenty European cities performing this jazzy, upbeat work.

Dinara Klinton will be at the keyboard to play Ravel’s Concerto. Born in Ukraine, she studied at the Moscow Central Music School, the Royal College of Music in London and the Moscow State Conservatory. She is renowned for her fantastic virtuosity, energy and power. Sir Andras Schiff described her as a real virtuoso, a born pianist. What a treat it will be to hear such a prestigious artist play with the HSO.

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony will conclude the programme. In 1913 fellow composer George Butterworth suggested VW write it. The work was first performed in 1914.

Tragically, Butterworth was killed at the Battle of the Somme. This may have prompted VW to start revising it, which he did in 1918, 1920, and 1933. It’s been lost and reconstructed but was finally published in 1933.

The work is said to be a mixture of serious intent and picturesque amusement. It’s full of the sounds of the capital. Westminster chimes set the scene. There are snatches of music denoting bustling streets, fun and games on Hampstead Heath, a foggy November afternoon in Bloomsbury Square, the singing of lavender sellers, frolicking street urchins, a busy Westminster Embankment with the mighty Thames flowing through the heart of the city and the splendour of up-market hotels. Doubtless, Musical Director Jonathan Butcher will bring all of this to life.

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/an-english-idyll-with-the-havant-symphony-orchestra


Portsmouth Cathedral Choir and The Renaissance Choir join forces in aid of Rowans Hospice

Rowans Hospice, in conjunction with Portsmouth Cathedral Choir and The Renaissance Choir, is hosting a Christmas Concert by Candlelight on Saturday 8 December to celebrate 25 years of the Hospice and raise money for its Silver Jubilee Appeal – an ambitious capital appeal to raise £7.5m to redevelop the hospice building to ensure it is fit for future care.

The concert programme will include beautifully written music from the 17th to the 21st century and carols to celebrate the festive season. The feast of seasonal music will include Renaissance motets by Victoria and Lassus, settings by Pearsall and Sargent, as well as modern works by composers such as Rutter and Chilcott. There will be old favourites including Tavener’s “The Lamb” and “O come all ye faithful”.

Limited tickets are still available for this concert from the Rowans Silver Jubilee website.

Rowans Hospice Silver Jubilee Appeal is an ambitious capital appeal project in 3 phases that will improve the overall experience for patients, families and carers. Phase 1 of the project will involve a complete renovation of the hospice building including bringing patients rooms up to date with modern technology and design elements and improving communal areas. This work will ensure that the hospice can continue to deliver outstanding care for the next 25 years and beyond.

Visit the concert page.


Preview: “Wassail!” with the Portsmouth Choral Union

Lois Johnson writes:

Portsmouth Choral Union’s Christmas Concert on December 15th, at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral, will give audiences the opportunity to hear ‘Wassail’ by Alexander L”Estrange – one of this country’s foremost and most popular modern choral composers. Scored for recorder, piano/guitar, accordion, double-bass and percussion, Wassail is full of catchy, exciting and rhythmic arrangements of carols old and new. The Choral Union will be joined in this performance by the pupils from Castle Primary School, Portchester – one of the finest school choirs in the area. The composer himself will lead the instrumental ensemble – all under the direction of conductor David Gostick.

This concert, which promises to be an excellent start to the Festive season, will also include audience participation carols and individual items from both PCU and Castle Primary School.

The photo shows the composer leading a recent ‘Wassail!’ singing workshop day.

Visit the concert page.


Preview: Zoltan Takacs to perform at St John’s lunchtime recital series

Crispin Ward writes:

Violinist and chamber musician Zoltan Takacs will be visiting Chichester again this week as he performs in the lunchtime recital series in St John’s Chapel on Thursday 15th November at 12.00.

Born in Budapest in 1959 Zoltan has played in renowned orchestras for over 36 years as Concert Master and Principal First Violin, including Principal Viola for 4 years in the Budapest Symphony Orchestra as well as Solo Violist of Concentus Hungaricus, the Hungarian Broadcasting Company Chamber Orchestra.

For the last 26 years Zoltan has lived in Helsinki, Finland. During this time he has been Concert Master of the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Guest Concert Master of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra / South – Australia and Orquesta Santa Cecilia / Madrid, Principal First Violin in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

His musical interests extend beyond the classical genre, including folk, pop, and jazz. He has for instance participated in “Absence”, a 2004 jazz recording, with Laszlo Süle (piano), Pentti Lahti (saxophone) and the Scarbantia String Quartet. The CD was a strong contender in the contest for Jazz record of the Year in Finland.

Zoltan has also performed in orchestra and chamber music concerts and solo recitals in Europe, USA, Venezuela, Peru, South Korea, Japan and Australia.
Zoltan graduated from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest in 1983 and has studied with Maria Vermes and Janos Pallagi (of the Hubay school), Vilmos Tatrai (a student of Carl Flesch) and Semyon Issaewits Snytkowski (a student of David Oistrakh). He has collaborated with (and been deeply influenced by) Brenton Langbein, Concert Master of the Basel Chamber Orchestra. He has attended courses by Ruggiero Ricci and Andre Gertler. In terms of musical and instrumental development a significant connection has been Christopher Warren-Green, concert master of the Philharmonia Orchestra, London.

Zoltan has studied conducting with Professor Atso Almila (Sibelius Academy, Finland) and Professor Janos Furst (Conservatoire de Paris). As a member of the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra he was awarded the Bartok prize in 1988.

Entry to the Thursday Lunchtime recitals is free with a retiring collection in aid of St. John’s Chapel building conservation fund.

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/crotchets-and-quavers-at-st-johns-chapel


Chichester’s St Richard Singers want you to come and sing Fauré’s Requiem with them!

Chichester’s St Richard Singers are offering a Come and Sing: Fauré’s Requiem as their contribution to the commemoration of the centenary of the close of World War One.

The event will be staged on Saturday, November 17, with registration at 12.30pm followed by a rehearsal from 1-4pm and an evening performance at 7.30pm (singers: £10 with £5 for U25s and students; concert entry free with a retiring collection towards costs and St Wilfrid’s Hospice). It all takes place at St George’s Church, Whyke, PO19 7AD, The choir’s director of music Jake Barlow will be masterminding proceedings.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/chichester-s-st-richard-singers-want-you-to-come-and-sing-faure-s-requiem-with-them-1-8695223

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/come-and-sing-faure-requiem


A feast of local talent continues the Remembrance theme

Thomas Lydon writes:

The Petersfield Choir, now firmly established as the town’s leading choir, and under the direction of its new conductor, local resident Thomas Lydon, continues its association with The SouthDowns Camerata, based in Liss, and its four regular soloists, all of whom live in the area and yet were trained in top internationally-famous music schools.

In the season of Remembrance and with the centenary of the ending of the First World War, the concert will be full of spectacular and moving music.

Top of the bill is Haydn’s sparkling and lively Nelson Mass, arguably his greatest single composition, written at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, with the original title of ‘Mass in Troubled Times’.

Vaughan Williams’ Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge is a response to the ending of the First World War based on Psalm 90. The finale is described as one of the most inspired endings in English choral music.

In addition, the orchestra will perform Elgar’s Serenade and there will be a selection of four short vocal solos.

The concert will be on Saturday, 24th November at 7:30pm in St Peter’s Church, Petersfield and admission is free.

Concert page.


Preview: “Forgotten Genius: Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel”

Local concert pianist Angela Zanders is to give an illustrated recital on Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, the much-neglected sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn, at St. Peter’s Church, Petersfield on Saturday 10th November at 3pm-5pm.

Fanny was also a prolific composer of genius, but the social conventions of the nineteenth century dictated that women could not pursue careers, so her music was largely forgotten after her death.

Angela will focus on Mendelssohn-Hensel’s major piano work, ‘Das Jahr’, a cycle of pieces depicting the months of the year. She will perform the work in its entirety, but first she will discuss the life and achievements of the composer and provide an introduction to this moving and virtuosic work.

“Before 1964, Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel was only thought to have written a few songs in her lifetime, but it gradually became apparent that she had actually composed over 400 works and was an astoundingly talented composer. ‘Das Jahr’ was only discovered in 1989 and truly deserves to be more frequently included in recital programmes,” said Angela.

Entrance is free with a retiring collection and refreshments will be available in the interval.

Concert page.


Petersfield Orchestra marks the Armistice

Piers Burton-Page writes:

Remembering the end of World War One looks as if it is going to loom large in the national consciousness very shortly. Nationally and locally, events are planned that will bring the Armistice of November 1918 to the forefront of people’s minds.

Among the different ways in which to respect the memory of all those who served on the front line or on the home front, local music group the Petersfield Orchestra plans a concert that promises a powerful musical tribute. Just four days after Remembrance Sunday, conductor Mark Biggins will lead a programme that features pieces by four English composers, each of whom was engaged in the conflict in one way or another.

The centrepiece is the Third Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams who was a stretcher-bearer in the trenches. Subtitled ‘Pastoral’ it is haunted by distant fanfares and bugle calls while a wordless voice echoes the cries of the dead and wounded. The grieving fields are not those of England but the poppy-strewn landscape of Flanders.

In his Cello Concerto of 1919, Edward Elgar created one of the great elegies for the fallen, one that positively aches with melancholy and loss. Soloist with Petersfield Orchestra will be rising cello star Joy Lisney: the surname may be familiar as her family are closely associated with Hindhead Music Centre. A composer herself, and a conductor as well as cellist, Joy promises to bring to the piece all the required eloquence of feeling.

Two shorter works, again English, are also to be heard: George Butterworth was a close friend of Vaughan Williams, though rather younger. He was killed on the Somme in 1916. His short work ‘Banks of Green Willow’ takes a familiar folk tune and transforms it into a timeless idyll. This year is the centenary of Gustav Holst’s famous ‘Planets’ Suite. Holst helped with musical entertainment for troops based in Greece. His ‘Somerset Rhapsody’ also uses folk tunes and speaks vividly of an England that disappeared forever after the war was over.

This concert by Petersfield Orchestra commemorating the Armistice promises a musical feast as well as honour where it is due. It takes place in Petersfield Festival Hall on Thursday 15 November at 7.30, with a free introduction to the event at 6.30. Tickets are on sale online and from One Tree Books in Lavant Street 01730 261199 at £18, £16 and just £1 for those under 18.

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/petersfield-orchestra-autumn-2018-concert

Review page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/noticeboard/review-petersfield-orchestra-autumn-2018-concert


Orchestra plays Bizet for mental health charity

A music-oriented mental health charity is the latest good cause to benefit from a concert by the Portsmouth Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tonic is a Portsmouth-based charity which raises awareness and challenges the stigma often associated with mental illness through music and art-based events.

The orchestra’s next concert, on Sunday December 9 (3pm) at the Church of the Resurrection, Brecon Avenue, Drayton, will feature Bizet’s Symphony in C Major, as well as Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture and Strauss’s Serenade in Eb Major.

Chair of the Orchestra and ‘cellist Di Lloyd said: “Tonic is a relatively new charity and the orchestra thought it was important to show how important music can be in terms of mental well-being.

“It really is a universal language and we look forward to working with the charity to make this concert a success and raise the profile of this issue.”

Tonic organises music workshops, gigs, art groups, and community projects throughout the year for people experiencing mental health problems.

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

The orchestra, founded in 2009 and now in its tenth season, has raised more than £15,000 for local charities.

If journalists or photographers would like to attend the concert for the purposes of review, please contact colin@fcmedia.eu / 07766 305676 to be added to the media list. A selection of photographs from the concert will be made available for media usage by cocoFOTO.eu.

Image: The Portsmouth Philharmonic Orchestra playing at the Portsmouth Festivities in the summer of 2018. Photo credit: Colin Farmery / cocoFOTO.eu


Chichester Symphony Orchestra 2018/19 Season

Chichester Symphony Orchestra started the new season on 23rd October with a full Cathedral at a lunchtime concert. The programme was Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture, Järnefelt Praeludium and Beethoven’s First Symphony. Read a review.

Our next concert will be on Saturday 26th January 2018 and will be a new fixture on our calendar – an afternoon Family Concert programmed as ‘An Afternoon at the Movies’ and is intended to be for all the family. The programme will include Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bare Mountain, Gershwin in Hollywood, and music from Star Wars and Abba. The concert will be in the Millennium Hall at Westbourne House School, Shopwyke – just outside Chichester and with plenty of free parking – and will start at 3 pm and run for about an hour. Conductor Simon Wilkins will ensure the afternoon is enjoyable for all.

New players, with some orchestral experience, are always welcome to join the orchestra. We will be swelling the ranks for the Family Concert and would love to hear particularly from any brass and upper string players who might like to come along, as well as percussionists and players of less usual instruments. If you have been wondering about getting back to playing, or have recently moved into the area and think this might be for you, do get in touch either via our website www.chichesterso.co.uk or direct to jillhookercso@btinternetcom.

March 23rd will be a more traditional orchestral concert, but with some sectional string and wind/brass ensembles.

On July 13th, the last Saturday of the Festival of Chichester, we will perform Brahms violin concerto with soloist Catherine Lawlor, and Dvorak 5th Symphony.


Chichester Singers offer classic and contemporary

Phil Hewitt writes:

The Chichester Singers mark the centenary of the armistice which ended the First World War with a concert combining classic and contemporary in Chichester Cathedral on Saturday, November 3.

Under the title “Lest We Forget”, they will offer Ron Corp’s And All the Trumpets Sounded and Brahms’ Requiem. Musical director Jonathan Willcocks said: “To mark the centenary, we are combining one of the great works of the choral repertoire with a very dramatic contemporary piece. We were planning the concert with the centenary of the armistice in mind, and the choir were very keen to perform Brahms’ Requiem again.

Pictured: Jonathan Willcocks

Read more at https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/chichester-singers-offer-classic-and-contemporary-1-8685068

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/lest-we-forget-centenary-of-the-1918-armistice/


Preview: Portsmouth Choral Union’s Armistice Anniversary Concert

Ian Schofield writes:

Earlier this year Portsmouth Choral Union gave two performances of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s ‘A Sea Symphony’, one in Germany and the other here in Portsmouth. As part of their commemorative concert to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, they will perform Vaughan Williams’s rarely heard cantata ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’. For audiences familiar with the pastoral nature of works such as his ‘The Lark Ascending’ and ‘Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis’, this powerful work will demonstrate a much more dramatic side to the composer’s musical personality.

Written in 1936, Dona Nobis Pacem is a plea for peace and refers to then-recent wars and the growing fear of a new one. Its wide-ranging texts are drawn from the Catholic Mass, three poems by Walt Whitman, passages from the Bible and part of a political speech by John Bright – in which he tried to prevent the Crimean War. The work is accompanied by a large orchestra and includes important parts for Soprano and Baritone soloists.

The concert will take place at St. Mary’s Church Portsea on Saturday 17th November. Also in the programme will be Howard Goodall’s ethereal ‘Eternal Light’, the beauty of this modern classic will be enhanced by graceful dance form members of the Giselle Academy.

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/armistice-anniversary-concert


Portsmouth Chamber Music Series features pianist Steven Osborne

Award-winning pianist Steven Osborne will be in concert at Portsmouth Guildhall on Monday 5 November.

Steven is one of the most highly regarded pianists in the world. His numerous awards include The Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year (2013) and two Gramophone Awards.

You can learn more about Steven from his blog where he has reflected on why people go to concerts and reminisced about attending a concert that his wife, who is also a musician, took part in.

The responses to his blog post offered different motivations to why people attend concerts: one audience member said, “It’s about the experience and emotion connected to music. You lose yourself, it’s overwhelming & uplifting.”

A mother brought her 7 and 12-year-old boys to a concert to show them that there is a new world where beautiful music exists. In Portsmouth, one person goes regularly because the music takes her mind away from her anxiety and depression.

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.

The programme for Steven Osborne’s concert in Portsmouth shows him at his finest. There will be wonderful sets of miniatures by Poulenc and Debussy, contrasted with a highly dramatic sonata by Prokofiev, and then perhaps the finest of all piano sonatas, Schubert’s final Sonata in B-flat.

Tickets are £18 (£16 concessions) and available through the Guildhall’s box office and you can read more about Steven Osborne and his blog at www.stevenosborne.co.uk. For questions about the Portsmouth Chamber Music Series, contact Colin Jagger, Director of Music at the University of Portsmouth on 023 9284 3023 (music@port.ac.uk).

Photo credit: Ben Ealovega


Preview: stirring works by Haydn and Handel at Emsworth concert

Diana Wren writes:

Portsmouth Festival Choir was so pleased with its last concert venue that it is revisiting Emsworth Baptist Church for its next concert, its first under the direction of its new conductor, Ben Lathbury (pictured).

The main work will be will be Haydn’s stirring Nelson Mass. When he wrote this work, Haydn’s world was in turmoil. Napoleon had won four major battles with Austria in less than a year. The previous year, in early 1797, his armies had crossed the Alps and threatened Vienna itself. In May 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt to destroy Britain’s trade routes to the East.

So the summer of 1798 was a terrifying time for Austria, and Haydn’s own title for it was Missa in Angustiis (Mass for troubled times). However, Napoleon was dealt a stunning defeat in the Battle of the Nile by British forces led by Admiral Horatio Nelson. Because of this, the mass gradually acquired the nickname Lord Nelson Mass. In 1800, Lord Nelson himself visited the Austrian court and may well have heard the mass performed.

Paired with this work, will be Handel’s four Coronation Anthems. Handel wrote these for the coronation of King George II, and each is designed for a different part of the Coronation ceremony. The most popular one, Zadok the Priest, has been performed at every coronation since its premiere. However, the other three are well worth hearing and the choir will perform them in the order in which they were written.

The choir will be accompanied by the Portsmouth Festival Orchestra and four fine soloists who have delighted local audiences before, namely Hugo Herman-Wilson, Dominic Bevan, Anna Cooper and Clare Tunney.

The concert takes place on Saturday 17th November at 7.30 pm in Emsworth Baptist Church in North Street. There is plentiful free parking nearby. Tickets are £16 and £13 available from ticketsource.co.uk or from choir members. Students and under 18’s go free.

Visit the concert page.


Get involved with 2019 Festival of Chichester!

Festival of Chichester organisers are hosting their traditional autumn public meeting as they start to plan the 2019 Festival. Running from the middle of June to the middle of July next year, the festival will offer scores of arts and community events in and around Chichester, building on an excellent 2018 festival this summer. But the festival is always keen to make sure it is reaching as many people as possible. Hence the public meeting. Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “We will be delighted to see our regular festival contributers at the meeting, but we are very keen to see people who have yet to make their festival debut”.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/get-involved-with-2019-festival-of-chichester-1-8660218

The public meeting will be in the Council Chamber, North Street, Chichester, PO19 1LQ on Friday, October 19. Doors 7pm for 7.15pm start. As places are limited, please register in advance with Phil Hewitt at phil.hewitt@chiobserver.co.uk.

No more than two people per organisation.

The dates of the 2019 Festival of Chichester will be June 15-July 14.

 


Preview: Parry Centenary by the Portsmouth Baroque Choir

Sarah Raper writes:

7 October is the centenary of Sir Charles Hubert Parry’s death (7.2.1848 – 7.10.1918).

In their concert on Saturday 20th October at the church of the Holy Spirit, Southsea, Portsmouth Baroque Choir will sing some of his best-known works. ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ was commissioned by and dedicated to Charles Villiers Stanford. ‘I was Glad’ was written originally for the coronation of Edward VII but rewritten in its present form for the coronation of George V in June 1911. ‘Hear my words, ye people’ was written for the Festival of the Salisbury Diocesan Choral Association and ends with the hymn ‘O praise ye the Lord’.

The centrepiece of the programme is Parry’s ‘Songs of Farewell’, written during the First World War and when Parry knew that he had not long to live. Including them is an appropriate way to mark the centenary of the Armistice. A number of Parry’s part-songs and two of his organ preludes are also included in the programme.

Visit the concert page.


Preview: “The Divine Genius of Mr Purcell” by the Chichester Voices

David Russell writes:

Chichester Voices’ next concert is “The Divine Genius of Mr Purcell” celebrating the work of Baroque genius Henry Purcell. It will be performed at St George’s Church, Cleveland Road, Chichester, PO19 7AD, on Saturday November 10th 2018 at 7pm.

Although Purcell’s works are not quite as well known as Handel’s, with the exception of the achingly beautiful “Dido’s Lament” which will be performed, they effortlessly display the same varied range of musical styles, from sparkling grandeur, through interweaving fugal passages, to stunning polyphony, combining solo, choral & orchestral writing.

The choir is raising money for the very deserving St Wilfrid’s Hospice and continues the theme of single composer tributes, following on from the hugely successful, sell-out Handel concert this time last year.

The concert will feature professional soloists, The Orchestra of Friends, and 2 guest trumpeters, highlighting the majesty & splendour of the baroque repertoire! The programme includes the hauntingly beautiful “Dido’s Lament”; the Coronation Anthems “I was Glad” and “My Heart is Inditing” for 8 part chorus; orchestral works such as the “Fantasia no.7 for Strings” & “Sonata in D for Trumpet & Strings”; and the popular “Te Deum & Jubilate Deo in D”….the preface to the vocal score describes how ‘all the strands come together at the final Amen, and, with the trumpets soaring above the ensemble, a work of great technical and musical ingenuity ends in a blaze of sound’! Don’t miss it!

Concert page: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/the-divine-genius-of-mr-purcell-by-the-chichester-voices


Preview: Solent Symphony Orchestra “Classical Favourites”

Allan Mead writes:

The Solent Symphony Orchestra perform a not to be missed programme at St Thomas’ Cathedral, Old Portsmouth this Saturday, 6th October at 7.30pm. Finlandia by Sibelius, the most iconic of all his works, opens the concert followed by Brahms’ Violin Concerto played by the young and hugely talented Catherine Lawlor (pictured). This is a magnificent tour de force which will delight and amaze the audience. If this were not enough, after the interval we have Saint-Seans Organ Symphony No3 with David Price (Organ), probably the composer’s best known and finest work. This concert is a must for all music lovers.

Concert link: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/solent-symphony-orchestra-autumn-concert/

Read a review here.


Pearl’s Stamina: two concerts this October in Romsey Abbey

Dame Pearl Mace from Southampton (pictured) had her ninetieth birthday last month. In her career as a teacher she showed thousands of youngsters how to play the violin. She also founded a musical dynasty. Her son Michael is a well-respected ‘cellist who tutors Army bandsmen on the instrument. Her grandchildren are musical too.

Pearl is also famed for her stamina. She and ten other musicians will be rehearsing and performing for something in the order of ten hours as they play two blockbuster concerts in this month at Romsey Abbey. Pearl will take her place among the first violins. Younger musicians freely admit that they would love to have Pearl’s staying power.

Players from the Havant Symphony, the Portsmouth Philharmonia, the Meon Valley and many other ensembles besides will take their places in the Southampton Concert Orchestra and the Charity Symphony Orchestra to perform several challenging, but well-known works.

On Saturday 13th October the Southampton Concert Orchestra will play a great programme including The Planets by Gustav Holst, Gustav Mahler’s Rucket-Lieder and Ottorino Respighi’s Pines of Rome. The conductor is Paul Ingram.

On Saturday the 27th October the same players will appear with the Charity Symphony Orchestra performing Anton Bruckner’s Symphony number 8 plus Richard Wagner’s overture the Flying Dutchman as well as his Good Friday Music from the opera Parsifal. Craig Lawton will conduct the CSO which is raising money for Leukaemia Busters, a very worthy charity.

Tickets can be obtained on line via ticketsource.co.uk/musicinromsey or from the Romsey Visitor Centre on 01794 512987.

Stuart Reed


Preview: Mozart and Haydn at Ferneham Hall – all change!

Remember the days when classical orchestras filed onto the stage in sepulchral silence like mourners at a funeral? With a curt bow from the stern-faced conductor, the ensemble would play obscure, high-brow works. It was as though the audience didn’t even exist. And woe betides the luckless audience member who applauded in the wrong place.

Thankfully, times are changing. At last, amateur orchestras are waking up to the fact that classical music audiences are getting smaller and older. Something has to be done to welcome younger newcomers to the concert scene and foster their interest.

In the forefront of this change in mood and already making strides in the right direction is the Havant Chamber Orchestra. Their progressive conductor, Robin Browning, has already taken the initiative by bringing the orchestra off the stage and closer to the public. He feels that this gives a better connection between the players and those who have left the comfort of their own home to be there. Chamber orchestras probably began that way in the days of Haydn and Mozart – small ensembles in modestly sized rooms, cheek by jowl with the listeners. Figuratively speaking, the audience and players embraced one another.

In the Havant Chamber Orchestra’s next concert Robin intends to connect with the audience even more by prefacing each work with a few, well-chosen, words of introduction. Many will regard this as a welcome move but Robin is treading warily. Wisely, while breaking down barriers between orchestra and audience, he is anxious not to alienate the more traditional music lovers.

HCO’s concert at 7.30 pm on Saturday 13 October at Fernham Hall, Fareham is sure to be a delight especially for Mozart and Haydn fans.

First on the bill is the overture “Mitridate”. Mozart wrote it when he was just fourteen. It’s for an opera in three acts and was performed at the Milan carnival in December 1770.

Next on the programme is Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. It’s probably the finest work ever written for a solo instrument. There’s pleasure in every note of the opening allegro. The andante would sooth even the most troubled brow and the rondo finale is full of glee.

Widely recognised as one of the finest clarinet players in this region, Robert Blanken is the soloist of this famous work. He will also give a pre-concert talk about it at 6.30 pm.

There’s another overture on the menu too. Called “L’incontro improvviso”, it’s written by Haydn. The opera’s title translates as “the unexpected encounter” and it has a Turkish/Arabian setting. In those days the Austrians were fascinated by all things Middle Eastern.

To round off the evening Robin has included Mozart’s Symphony Number 36. Known as the “Linz”, it’s a favourite of his. Mozart composed it at breakneck speed. It took him four days to write it just to please the mayor of the small Austrian town of Linz, which he and his wife were visiting.

This promises to be a gem of a concert. Tickets can be obtained via http://www.fernehamhall.co.uk/booking-info or by telephoning 01329 231942.

Stuart Read

Concert link: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/mozart-and-haydn-at-ferneham-hall


Chichester Chamber Concerts launch latest season

Presenting its 14th season in 13 years, Chichester Chamber Concerts will be offering something genuinely special over the autumn and into the spring.

The season offers a concert a month at the Assembly Room, North Street, Chichester on Thursdays at 7.30pm, running from October through to March.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/chichester-chamber-concerts-launch-latest-season-1-8644837

Visit https://www.chichesterchamberconcerts.com for further details of the concerts. The next one is on Thursday 24 January at 7.30pm with: Matthew Hunt: clarinet, Alina Ibragimova: violin, Louise Hopkins: cello and Alasdair Beatson: piano playing Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen’s profound Quartet for the End of Time.

Read a review of the Merlin Ensemble concert in November.


Crotchets & Quavers: a new series of concerts at Chichester’s St John’s Chapel

A new series of concerts at Chichester’s St John’s Chapel is being masterminded by Crispin Ward, head of orchestral studies at the University of Chichester.

Crispin is hoping that the Thursday lunchtime concerts will help St John’s be seen as much more of a music venue: “We have used it before and it has been used in the Festival of Chichester, but we would love to see it develop. Our idea is to get something going there regularly and develop it as a concert space that is working really well. The potential is huge.”

Coming up are Crotchet and Quavers are on October 4 and Clarinet Roulette on October 11. The concerts are 12-12.45pm. People can come and go as they please. There are no tickets. The concerts are free, with donations going to the Friends of St John’s.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/new-series-of-concerts-at-chichester-s-st-john-s-chapel-1-8646284

4 October

11 October


Preview: “Lest We Forget” concert by the Chichester Singers

Jonathan Willcocks writes:

November 2018 will be a moment for sombre reflection on the Centenary of the Armistice that brought to an end four years of bitter conflict which took the lives of so many in the Great War.

To mark this moment of national remembrance, we will perform two highly appropriate and deeply moving works. Ron Corp is one of the UK’s leading contemporary choral composers (and conductors) and his work And all the trumpets sounded combines the words of the Latin Requiem Mass with those of poets such as Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and Wilfred Owen, whose work was so affected by their wartime experiences.

Partnered with this evocative new work will be Brahms’ Requiem, truly one of the great masterpieces of the choral repertoire. And, for our soloists, we will enjoy again the exceptional work of soprano Claire Seaton and baritone Gareth Brynmor John.

Concert date: 3 November
https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/lest-we-forget-centenary-of-the-1918-armistice


Music appreciation sessions with Angela Zanders

Concert pianist and music lecturer Angela Zanders continues her courses on music appreciation at the studio in the New Park Centre, Chichester, starting on September 24. “They are open to anyone who enjoys classical music and is interested in learning more about the subject”, she said.

The course of eight sessions starts on Monday 24 September from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the New Park Centre and is entitled “The Inspiration of Image in Music” and will explore a wide variety of music inspired by such images as water, bells, the times of day and night.

To reserve your space, or for any further information about the course, contact Angela on 07582 537123 or email a.zanders@hotmail.co.uk.
Read more at the link below.

https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/music-appreciation-with-angela-zanders-1-8635316


Preview: Consort of Twelve in concert at Holy Trinity Church, Bosham

Catherine Martin is making a return as director of the Consort of Twelve in a concert in Holy Trinity Church, Bosham at 6pm on Sunday, September 23.

Spokeswoman and cellist Lynden Cranham said: “The works she has chosen show how composers could be inspired to reinvent or rework music of their own or other composers.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/music/consort-of-twelve-in-concert-at-holy-trinity-church-bosham-1-8637089

Concert link on MiP: https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/concerts/the-consort-of-twelve-reinventing-and-reworking/

Image: Catherine Martin


Preview: “Lest We Forget” concert by the Renaissance Choir

“Lest We Forget” is the title of the next Petersfield concert by the Renaissance Choir. It is a commemoration of the end of World War 1.

This concert provides the astonishing programming opportunity of performing works from three composers who served in their respective armies in the war: the British Army (Ralph Vaughan Williams), the French Army (André Caplet) and the German Army (Paul Hindemith). Adept programming is a mark of the choir that was recognised when the choir received its most recent award from “The News”.

The programme will also feature the written word, with poetry being read by Piers Burton-Page, a Petersfield resident and erstwhile broadcaster on BBC Radio 3.

In a change to its usual unaccompanied programmes, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem will be performed along with St Peter’s organist, Mark Dancer, as well as with Cameron Todd playing trumpet and Nik Knight (timpanist).

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) wrote this work in 1936 as a response to his time in the war where he obviously experienced many traumatic events.

The work goes a long way to refute the minority view that he has little to say as a composer and that he relied too frequently on insubstantial folk melodies. This work firmly establishes his credentials as a man who can paint the full range of human emotions in his writing.

Dona Nobis Pacem is regarded as his catharsis, finally setting aside the horrors which he must have seen when acting as a stretcher-bearer in the trenches. He saw a great deal of action at the front but, despite writing many letters during this period, he kept quiet about his experiences. Dona Nobis Pacem has brutality and battle, excitement, fear, pain, courage and bravura and, finally, resolution, which is borne by a belief that the best of the human spirit and the desire for peace will prevail.

It is almost certainly also a response to a worry about war coming again, written in the year in which the Germans marched into the Rhineland and David Lloyd George visited and admired Hitler.

Poems by Walt Whitman (1819-1982) form the central texts for the work. Whitman was a pacifist who had been a nurse in the American Civil War. Vaughan Williams was an admirer of his and set his poems in many of his other pieces.

There’s a great variation of and a huge contrast in musical styles in this work. The choir moves from beautiful chamber textures and intimate sacred choral writing to a huge operatic recitative and choruses. The phrase “Dona nobis pacem” is repeated and re-framed in four different ways in the piece, underlining the composer’s deep desire for peace.

André Caplet (1878 – 1925) composed his beautiful Messe a trois voix in 1920, just a few years before he died from pleurisy in 1925 as the result of a wartime gas attack. This work is full of haunting references to the injury which had such a dramatic effect on him.

As a composer, he experimented with unusual combinations of voices and instruments, producing intriguing timbres. In the Mass, there are points where the three female voice parts produce an almost exact representation of an air-raid siren. More poignantly still is the fact that some vocal effects appear to represent the sound of gas shells, or, as Wilfred Owen put it in his poem Dulce et Decorum Est, “All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots of gas-shells dropping softly behind.”

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) wrote his Six Chansons in 1939. These songs are very similar in style to the music of Francis Poulenc, a composer with whom the Renaissance Choir has a particular affinity. Hindemith enlisted in the German army in 1917 but didn’t see much action because his c/o, a musician, wanted him kept safe to play in the regimental string quartet!

The Chansons use rustic poems written by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). “The Doe”, “A Swan”, “Since All is Passing”, “Springtime”, “In Winter”, and “Orchard”, were written in French, in a beautiful lyrical style.

Hindemith’s settings echo the lyricism of the poetry. They are wonderful to sing – each one is different in character and mood. You can easily see the swan gliding majestically over a glassy pond, and the doe bounding gracefully through the forest. We tend to think of Hindemith in terms of his later instrumental music, but these earlier a cappella pieces are anything but atonal.


Preview: Los Ladrones at Holy Trinity Gosport – “Sullivan without Gilbert”

Los Ladrones will be performing at Holy Trinity Gosport on Sunday 7 October at 3.30pm.

The local group, comprising Jane Marett, soprano, Irene Cooksey, mezzo, Simon Cooksey, tenor, John Butt, baritone & Michael Powell, bass baritone, with Nigel Smith, piano and Marion Porter, narrator, is directed by Geoff Porter.

The group was formed in 2013 and have performed concert versions of Sullivan’s Contrabandista, (from whence it gets its name – The Bandits), The Zoo, Cox & Box and extracts from Haddon Hall, as well as two curtain-raisers, Captain Billy and Mr Jericho.

Los Ladrones has performed at Stansted House, St. Michael’s Church, Chalton, Titchfield Parish Room, East Marden Church and Bognor Regis Music Club. Future engagements include G & S Choruses at Havant U3A Christmas Lunch and two more curtain raisers, Cups & Saucers and The Willow Pattern at Stansted House.

The programme at Holy Trinity will include extracts from Sir Arthur Sullivan’s, The Beauty Stone, The Chieftain, On Shore & Sea & The Foresters.

Read a review.


Musical and arts events for the Gosport Heritage Open Days, 15-16 September

There is much to entertain and inspire us at Holy Trinity Church, Gosport, this coming weekend and we are delighted to be hosting several musical and arts events for the Gosport Heritage Open Days.

The art exhibition, celebrating the achievements of women in the past 100 years, is running throughout September and into October and will be open to the public throughout the weekend.

Saturday 2 – 3pm Alex Wilson and Friends will be playing jazz with refreshments to follow; Saturday 6 – 7pm Loic and Florence Rousseau Georgeault from Brittany will be giving a recital on the church’s historic ‘Handel’ organ; Sunday afternoon Pam Rhodes will be sharing her favourite hymns and the stories behind them, accompanied by Geoffrey Holroyde, and the weekend events close with the Catgut Hooligans who will entertain us from 7 – 8pm, Sunday evening.

See https://musicinportsmouth.co.uk/performers/holy-trinity-gosport-music-events for fuller info.


Funtington Music Group launches its autumn season

Harpist Frances Kelly visits Funtington Music Group in September to open the autumn season.

“An Illustrated History of the Harp” is in the Chichester University’s Chapel of the Ascension on Wednesday, September 12 at 7.30pm.

See www.funtingtonmusicgroup.org.uk and read more at the link below.


“Apocalypse Now”: the Charity Symphony Orchestra appeals for string players

Here’s a challenge for string players in the South Coast area. If you’re ready for romance and have lots of stamina, this is just the thing for you.

The prestigious Charity Symphony Orchestra urgently needs string players for its forthcoming concert on Saturday 27 October. The venue is Romsey Abbey – a great place to play in. There are three items on the bill by two of the most romantic composers ever to scribble a score.

Please click the image to find out more.

The main event is Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No 8 in C minor. There are also two pieces by Richard Wagner. These works demand a large ensemble and, as always, plenty of violins, violas, ‘cellos and basses are needed. Not only that, the players will need lots of stamina for these major works.

Bruckner’s Symphony No 8 was the last the composer wrote. It’s nicknamed the Apocalyptic Symphony. Dedicated to the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, it was published and premiered in Vienna in 1892. There are four movements, three in C minor which includes a trio in A flat major and an adagio in D flat major.

This major work is reminiscent of Beethoven but actually more like Wagner. This is handy as both the other works on the programme are by Wagner himself.

The Flying Dutchman is the overture from his opera Der fliegender Hollander. It all about the luckless captain of a ghost ship destined to sail the seas forever. It’s based on an old folk tale, but Wagner was inspired to write it after a very stormy sea crossing from Riga to London.

The third piece is Wagner’s Good Friday Music from his opera Parsifal; a story about a medieval knight in search of the Holy Grail. Knights and damsels and an elusive, mystic challis – you couldn’t get more romance than that.

Musicians taking part in this CSO concert will have the privilege and benefit of playing under the batons of three first-class conductors. Within the programme the Director of the CSO, Craig Lawton will be sharing the rostrum with his friends Dom Harries and Paul Ingram. Each of the three maestros will play one of the works.

The concert is in aid of Leukaemia Busters, an extremely worthy cause. As usual, it costs players nothing to take part. There will be a rehearsal at the Abbey starting at noon on Saturday 27th October and another earlier rehearsal at Cantell School Violet Rd, Southampton SO163GJ, from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday 29th September.

Those who would like to take part should contact the CSO Orchestral Manager, Harriet Carey via enquiries@charityso.org.uk.

For those who have not played with the Charity Symphony Orchestra before, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.


Preview: Cambridge Taverner Choir: Music from Renaissance Portugal

The splendours of Portugal’s musical golden age, in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, are brought to life in this concert by the Cambridge Taverner Choir, who pioneered the rediscovery of this exquisite repertoire. The greatest Portuguese composers of the age – Manuel Cardoso, Duarte Lobo, and Pedro de Cristo – produced music of intense expression and thrilling sonorities, combining the filigree beauties of Renaissance polyphony with the rich colours and dramatic gestures of the Baroque. Boxgrove Priory, with its frescoed ceiling and glorious acoustic, makes an ideal setting for this special concert.

The Cambridge Taverner Choir has been delighting audiences for over 30 years with performances of sacred works from the early music repertoire acclaimed for their expressive passion and ‘sheer musicianship’ (Gramophone). Among the choir’s discography are recordings of Portuguese Renaissance Music shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award and hailed by Early Music as ‘an absolute revelation’.


Preview: Victoria Puttock & Mark Dancer (Saxophone and Piano)

On Saturday September 22 Victoria Puttock and Mark Dancer will be giving an evening concert of music for saxophone and piano in St Peter’s Church.

Most people tend to think of the saxophone purely as a jazz instrument, but there is a substantial repertoire of classical compositions for the instrument, and they will be exploring it over the course of the evening. The music to be heard will range from the rustic charms of Paule Maurice’s Tableaux de Provence, across the Atlantic for some very varied American works for the instrument, and back to France for some Spanish-inspired music by Henri Busser and the well-known Fantasia on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen by François Borne.

Victoria Puttock hails from Petersfield and studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London and then at the Royal College of Music, graduating with distinction in her Master’s degree. She prides herself on championing the core repertoire for the saxophone, whilst exploring new works that showcase the full range of this diverse instrument.

Victoria has performed at many prestigious venues including Royal Albert Hall (Elgar room), Cadogan Hall, V&A Museum, National Portrait Gallery, St John’s, Smith Square and the Southbank. Victoria is an active chamber musician and has worked with many ensembles including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta Academy, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Electronic Orchestra and the Multi Storey Orchestra in the BBC Proms.

Mark Dancer is a familiar face on the Petersfield musical scene, having been teaching, directing choirs and performing in concerts in Hampshire either as soloist or accompanist for more than twenty years. He is Director of Music at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield and conducts the Petersfield Choral Society. He is much in demand as an accompanist both on organ and piano, known for his sensitive and sparkling style of playing. He and Victoria first performed together in 2016 at the Michael Hurd Bursary Award Winners’ concert and have given several concerts together since to great acclaim.


MVC Open Night on 23 September

The Solent Male Voice Choir are inviting men to try out singing with a male voice choir at their OPEN NIGHT on Tuesday 25th September at 7.30pm in St Faith’s Church Hall (The Pallant Centre), The Pallant, Havant.

The choir sings a wide range of music sometimes in four-part and sometimes two-part harmony. Their current programme includes music by Cole Porter, Leonard Cohen and Vivaldi. Popular pieces such as I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables and fun sea shanty songs like Whale of a Tale from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea add to the mix.

At the OPEN NIGHT you will be able to hear and then join in with the choir. There is no need for any musical skill as it is all just fun. No need to book, just turn up, there is ample parking adjacent to The Pallant. More information at www.solentmalevoicechoir.org.


Portsmouth Chamber Music Series announces new season

Now in its fifteenth season, the Portsmouth Chamber Music Series brings world-class musicians to the city. In partnership with Music in the Round and the Portsmouth Cultural Trust, we present the finest music in informal surroundings where you are never more than a few metres from the performers. Q and A sessions follow each concert, and a 20% discount is available to those who book the whole series.

Tickets available from the Portsmouth Guildhall: 023 9387 0211

For further information or to join our mailing list, please contact music@port.ac.uk or 023 9284 3023

£18 full price, £16 concessions: book all six concerts and get a 20% discount, so £86.40 for the whole season (£76.80 concs). Student-standby tickets are available from 7pm on the day of each concert, for £6. Prices include booking fee and restoration levy.

All concerts start at 7.30pm in the Portsmouth Guildhall: seating is unreserved, with doors open from 7pm.

Monday 8 October, 2018, 7.30pm   Read a review

Goldmund Quartet

Florian Schötz & Pinchas Adt violins, Christoph Vandory viola, Raphael Paratore cello

HAYDN String Quartet in D, Op. 76 No. 5

SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 3 in F, Op. 73

BEETHOVEN String Quartet in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2

Rising stars from Germany, the Goldmund play with enormous flair and commitment to the music. The programme includes pieces by three of the greatest composers of string quartets. Haydn’s example is from his late great Op. 76 set, while the Shostakovich is the third of fifteen. That does not make it an early work, however, as he had already composed nine symphonies, and this quartet is a masterpiece in its own right. The Beethoven is the second of the three Rasumovsky quartets, a set which sees the composer moving away from the ‘classical’ style towards the truly unique style of his later works.

“The Goldmunds make a beautiful sound, elegant and transparent, with a real sense that these four players are friends both on and off the concert platform.” – Gramophone Magazine, Jan. 2017

Post-concert Q&A

 

Monday 5 November, 2018, 7.30pm   Read more

Steven Osborne 

POULENC 3 Novelettes

DEBUSSY Images Book II

PROKOFIEV Piano Sonata No. 7

SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat, D. 960

Steven Osborne’s insightful and idiomatic interpretations have made him one of the most highly regarded pianists in the world. His numerous awards include The Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year (2013) and two Gramophone Awards. This programme shows him at his finest, with wonderful sets of miniatures by Poulenc and Debussy contrasted with a highly dramatic sonata by Prokofiev, and then perhaps the finest of all piano sonatas, Schubert’s last.

“Some pianists gild everything they touch with their own personality; some are like chameleons, finding a new colour for each composer. Last night the wonderful Scottish pianist Steven Osborne did both, which lent the whole evening a miraculous air…every note seemed to vibrate with intelligence.” – The Daily Telegraph, Feb. 2016

Post-concert Q&A

  

Monday 28 January, 2019, 7.30pm  Read more

Ensemble 360

Benjamin Nabarro & Claudia Ajmone-Marsan violins, Ruth Gibson viola, Gemma Rosefield cello, Matthew Hunt clarinet, Naomi Atherton horn, Tim Horton piano

DOHNÁNYI Sextet in C, Op. 37

COPLAND Sextet

BRAHMS Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115

Ensemble 360 is the resident ensemble of Music in the Round, who play in a variety of combinations up to eleven musicians in total, allowing the possibility of programming interesting works which are rarely heard. This concert is a good example, featuring sextets which were composed just two years apart, and yet with sound-worlds which could not be more different. Indeed the Dohnányi is far more similar in style to Brahms, and this is a work that truly merits the label of ‘unjustly neglected masterpiece’. The Brahms on the other hand needs no introduction as this is perhaps the most famous of all his chamber works.

“The clarinettist [Matthew Hunt] played so beautifully it was as though he wished to make the very air of the hall melt.” – Tokyo Times

Post-concert Q&A

 

Monday 25 March, 2019, 7.30pm

Trio Isimsiz

Erdem Misirlioglu piano, Pablo Hernán Benedí violin, Michael Petrov cello

MOZART Divertimento in B-flat, K. 254

FAURÉ Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 120

BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat, Op. 70 No. 2

Formed in 2009 at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Trio Isimsiz won 1st Prize and the Audience Prize at the Trondheim Competition in 2015. They combine great unanimity of ensemble with lots of individuality of character. Mozart’s delightful first piano trio is contrasted with one of Fauré’s last works, composed when he was 78. Beethoven’s Op. 70 No. 2 is the companion piece to the more famous ‘Ghost’ Trio, but, as Beethoven once remarked in connection with two of his symphonies, it might be less popular ‘because it is so much better’!

“An outstanding debut disc by the Trio Isimsiz whose unusually thoughtful interpretations are presented with dazzling technical mastery” – Gramophone Magazine, March 2018

Post-concert Q&A

 

Monday 29 April, 2019, 7.30pm  Read more

Piatti Quartet

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank & Michael Trainor violins, Tetsuumi Nagata viola, Jessie Ann Richardson cello

HAYDN Quartet in D, Op. 20 No. 4

JOSEPH PHIBBS String Quartet No. 1

SCHUBERT Quartet in G, D. 887

We are delighted to welcome back the Piatti Quartet who gave such a memorable performance two years ago with Krzysztof Chorzelski of the Belcea Quartet. This time they present a quartet from the first set by Haydn regarded as ‘mature’. Indeed it is a fabulous set and No. 4 is one of the strongest. The Schubert quartet dates from towards the end of his life, and, like the piano sonata programmed earlier in the season, is a towering pillar of the repertoire. Joseph Phibbs has rapidly made a name for himself with orchestral works premiered by conductors such as Esa-Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, and Vassily Petrenko. The Belcea Quartet has recently commissioned a third quartet from him, and No. 1 was commissioned by the Piatti, and premiered by them in 2015.

“The Phibbs proved formally exhilarating yet plangent in its combination of vibrancy and formal rigour.” – The Sunday Times, May 2015

Post-concert Q&A

 

Monday 20 May, 2019, 7.30pm  Read more

Ensemble 360

Tim Horton piano, Benjamin Nabarro violin, Ruth Gibson viola, Gemma Rosefield cello

MAHLER Piano Quartet in A minor

STRAUSS Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 13

BRAHMS Piano Quartet in A, Op. 26

Mahler and Richard Strauss may be household names to orchestra-goers, but they are almost unknown for their chamber music. Mahler’s haunting single movement was composed during his late-teens, while Strauss’ full-length work in four movements dates from 1884 when he was 20. It is a wonderful piece full of hints of what was to come in the magnificent series of tone poems the first of which was premiered just two years later. Brahms’ quartet on the other hand is a fully mature piece is in his most energetic and entertaining style.

“…one immediately felt in the presence of players who embraced them with affectionate abandon – and had the skill to bring it off.” – BBC Music Magazine

Post-concert Q&A


Best yet as Festival of Chichester ends on a glorious high!

The 2018 Festival of Chichester ended on a huge high after four weeks of excellent audiences, superb performances and endless community spirit.

Festival co-ordinator Barry Smith said: “It has been an absolutely fantastic year. I think we really managed not just to match the year before but mostly even go one better. It has been brilliant the way we have bridged between the community and the professional artists that came to join the festival.”

Read more at the link below.


Preview: “Flower Power” in the Meon Valley

Hats off to those stalwarts in the Meon Valley Orchestra. They’re determined never to disappoint their public.

Although quite a few members of the MVO are on holiday or have family commitments, a condensed version of the ensemble will be playing at the Meon Valley flower Show on Sunday 22 July at 1.30 pm. Instead of the usual forty players, the group will be twenty strong. Because the musical director Lorraine Masson has a long-standing gig to perform elsewhere, ‘cellist roger Cole will conduct the doughty troopers.

The Meon Valley Flower Show performance is a legacy of the MVO’s past. Originally, it was just a handful of musicians known as the Meonstoke Village Band. They played simple folk music at garden parties, Christmas Fairs, carol services and similar events.

The Band’s original repertoire has been dusted off and polished up for the Flower Show. The list contains popular numbers like Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, College Hornpipe, Can Can, Skyfall, Don’t Get Around Anymore and a whole lot more. The MVO sounded great in rehearsal this week.

So if you fancy a blast from the past go to the Meon Hall in Pound Lane, Meonstoke next Sunday afternoon. It would be well over the top to suggest that these budding amateur musicians will blossom out before your very eyes. They’re already in full bloom.


Preview: The Kalore Trio at St Faith’s, Havant

There was a lot of the passion and ardour smouldering in the background of nineteenth-century classical music. So it is little wonder that the Kalore Trio has chosen pieces by Felix Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann for their debut performance.

The Trio’s very name is derived from the Italian word “calore” meaning warmth or heat. And there’ll be plenty of that when the Kalore Trio perform together for the first time at 3.00pm on Sunday 22 July at St Faith’s Church, Havant.

Renowned concert pianist Karen Kingsley, violinist Elizabeth Cox and ‘cellist Amanda Berry, make up the trio. All are top quality musicians in their own right. These ladies are hot stuff.

Karen Kingsley earned her diplomas at the Royal Academy of Music where she won several prizes. She has performed with most of the major orchestras in the Solent area and given piano recitals all over the UK. She’s a very experienced musician.

Amanda Berry and Elizabeth Cox both played in the Hampshire Youth Orchestra. They studied at Peter Symonds College before going to their respective music colleges in London. They also play in the Havant Chamber Orchestra and the Wessex Sinfonietta. Noted for her spirited playing style, Amanda is also the principal ’cellist with the Petersfield Orchestra.

The Kalore Trio will play Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No 2 Op 66 and Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio Op 17.

If tabloid journalists had been around in nineteenth-century Europe, they would have had a field day. For beneath the veneer of social respectability in Germany, Austria and Britain secret hanky-panky went on in abundance.

Like modern footballers’ wives and girlfriends or sexy celebs and their goings-on, the classical music stars of the Romantic age were having a whale of a time.

Here’s just some of the gossip of the time which would have sent the paparazzi into a feeding frenzy.

Handsome Johannes Brahms was madly in love with mother of seven Clara Schumann who was seventeen years older than he was. She was a virtuoso of the piano who gave concerts all over Europe and a pioneering composer too.

Despite being married to her husband Robert, Clara managed to have a two-year affair with the German composer Theodor Kirchner. But when it came to young Brahms she was no cougar. He would have gladly been her toy boy but she just admired his musical talent; end of story.

Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio Op 17 is often said to be her finest work; possibly her masterpiece. It is brim-full of tenderness, energy and creative originality. Clara wrote it in 1846 when she was carrying her fourth child. She was twenty-seven then and deeply devoted to her husband Robert. Some passages are intense and passionate. This was well before she met Brahms.

That’s not all. Married, father of five, Felix Mendelssohn fell head over heels in love with Jenny Lind, a stunningly good-looking soprano with a marvellous voice. She was known as the “Swedish Nightingale”. He wrote love letters begging her to elope to America with him. But level-headed Jenny turned him down. Instead, she ended up in the USA working for Phineas Taylor Barnum, a circus owner and showman who showered her with cash.

Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No 2 Op 66 was written in 1845, a year after the composer met Jenny Lind. He dedicated it to master fiddle player, Louis Spohr, the inventor of the violin chin rest and the orchestral rehearsal mark. However, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Felix may have poured out all his pent-up longing for lovely Jenny into this amazing work.

If you like your music appealingly provocative with plenty of piquancy, don’t miss the Kalore Trio’s debut performance. Admission is free but donations towards St Faith’s Big Build Campaign will be gratefully received.


Preview: Renaissance Choir concert “European Sacred Music”

The Renaissance Choir’s summer concert, at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Southsea on Saturday 14 July at 7.30pm, will give delight to lovers of Poulenc, Renaissance polyphony, and sacred choral music of the 19th and 20th centuries.

It features Poulenc’s Gloria, Allegri’s Miserere, and pieces by Lassus, Rheinberger, Bruckner, Rachmaninov and Fauré.

We are delighted to have Karen Kingsley accompanying us. She will also play some piano solos.

The picture shows us making a recording of Poulenc’s Gloria at the Visconti Studios at Kingston University in May for our next CD which will be released in the autumn.

Read our fuller notes relating to the two main works that we will be singing at the link below.


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