Preview: The Kalore Trio International Women’s Day Concert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Reed

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