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

Profile: Shoshanah Sievers

Parents, who have youngsters studying the violin, can do no better than take them along to hear Shoshanah Sievers play with the Charity Symphony Orchestra. The concert is at the Turner Sims Hall, University of Southampton, at 7.30 pm on Saturday 18 May.

To see such a young and talented musician perform is sure to encourage and inspire any students of the instrument to practice like they’ve never done before. More mature, adult violinists may also marvel at this up-and-coming virtuoso.

Incredibly, Shoshanah began learning the violin just before she was three years old. Her grandfather composed and lectured in music, so maybe classical music is in her genes.

Shoshanah joined the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music in 2011 at the age of eleven. Off to a flying start, she made her concerto debut about the age of twelve playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A major with the London Mozart Players.

She became the youngest ever winner of the Joan Weller Composition Competition. In 2016 she performed “Le Nuances de la Lumiere” with the Aurora Orchestra at a BBC Proms Extra event at the Radio Theatre.

In the field of piano composition, Shoshanah has also excelled. She’s written a piece for eight hands and one of her piano trios has been twice performed and recorded at Farnham Maltings.

Shoshana has also played at top venues in Germany and the United Kingdom. She has played concertos by Dvořák with the Winchester Symphony Orchestra and by Bruch with the Petersfield Orchestra. She has played together with Tasmin Little and worked closely with Sir Karl Jenkins.

Shoshanah was brought up near Grayshott. Her grandmother was Polish which may explain why she chose to play Henryk Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto number 2. It’s a Romantic work with captivating, beautiful melodies. Shoshanah, who says she is excited to be playing with the CSO, will certainly make the most of its virtuosic brilliance.

Tickets for this unmissable concert can be obtained from the Turner Sims Box Office, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ (tel. 02380 595151).


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.


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.

 


Profile: David Gostick

David Gostick’s life is overflowing with music. His days are spent selecting, editing, preparing and tailoring music to get the best out of those who perform it. He’s also working on studies for his doctorate in music.

David’s a distinguished conductor and has been the Musical Director of the Portsmouth Choral Union (PCU) since 2012. Arguably, the PCU is the leading amateur chorus in the South East of England.

Currently, David is working flat out for the PCU’s next big concert at St Mary’s, Fratton, Portsmouth at 7.30pm on Saturday 6 April 2019. Entitled “Dramatic Classics”, the concert is sure to live up to its billing.

David loves any music which tells a story, so has included the oratorio “Crossing of the Red Sea” by the brilliant Austrian pianist and composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel in the evening’s performance. This masterpiece tells the tale of Moses crossing the Red Sea with Pharaoh in hot pursuit.

David says it is engaging music involving some fantastic chorus work and remarkable, wild solos for soprano voice. The highly adaptable soprano Claire Seaton will be sure to delight the audience during the concert. It has a wonderful showpiece aria which also featured on the Wesley “Confitebor” recording made by the PCU in 2017.

There’s a story behind the story too. Hummel’s manuscript was thought to have been lost. Infact it was hiding in the British Library for over a hundred years. Herman Max dug it out and brought it back to life in a recording.

The PCU is presenting this work for the first time in the UK. (No need to brush up your German, Latin or ancient Hebrew, David’s translated it to be sung in English.)

Hummel is often mistakenly thought of as a one-hit wonder. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although his renowned trumpet concerto is universally well known and liked, he also wrote wonderful concerti for bassoon, mandolin and piano as well as operas and choral works. He studied under Mozart, Haydn and Salieri and was a big mate of Beethoven. All of this comes out in his music.

Also in the programme is Mozart’s Mass in C minor (K427 unfinished). The Mass was premiered in Salzburg in 1783. The solo “Et incarnatus est” was sung by Mozart’s fiancée Constanze whom he had brought to meet his family for the first time.

David began learning the ‘cello and piano when he was eight. He sang in the church choir in Kenley, South London. He also read music at Oxford.

Like Hummel and Mozart, David is married to a professional singer who performs under the name of Faye Eldret. They live down in Dorset, with their children George and Harriet. George, who’s eight, is joining Salisbury Cathedral Choir. When David actually does have time to spare, he walks the family dog and looks after two hives of bees. His honey is much sought after to soothe the throats of his enthusiastic choir members.

Author: Stuart Reed

Visit the concert page.


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.


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

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


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