Our members’ concert on 13th February 2017

Dear ECMC Member/Friend,

The February concert will be on Monday 13th. Do bring your own programme, which is available for download here.

Before I give you the programme details, do note in your diaries that the following concert will be on March 13th, and is organised by Saori Howse; please let her know if you have anything to offer.

We start our February 13th concert with two 18th-century trio sonatas for two recorders and continuo by Daniel Purcell and Robert Valentine, played by Linda Shanks & Hilary Potts (recorders), Kathryn Weeks (cello) and Chris Moore (piano continuo).

Daniel Purcell (c. 1664 – 1717) was the younger brother or possibly cousin of Henry Purcell, also a choirboy in the Chapel Royal, also worked as a composer for the theatre and completed Henry’s score for The Indian Queen when Henry was dying, as well as writing many sets of sonatas for recorder and violin. No.3 consists of Adagio – Allegro, Largo and Allegro.

Robert Valentine (c.1671 – 1747), also known as Roberto Valentini and Roberto Valentino, was a composer, recorder player, oboist and violinist, born in Leicester but apparently not baptised until 3 years later. He was the last of six brothers who all became professional musicians. Perhaps to escape the local competition, he moved to Rome and became a naturalised Italian. H e is noted for his large number of compositions for the recorder. Sonata No.1, in F, was composed around 1720, and the movements are Preludio, Allemande, Allegro, Adagio, Gavotte (from Sonata 2) and Giga. We have inserted the Gavotte from No.2 before the Giga because we rather liked it.

Next, a complete contrast in the Piano Concerto No. 2, Op.18 2nd Movement (Adagio sostenuto), by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943), arranged for two pianos and performed by Li Lin (soloist) and Deni Lin (orchestra). We heard the first movement at our October concert. This is one of Rachmaninoff’s most enduringly popular works, and established his fame as a concerto composer. Famously, this work confirmed his recovery from clinical depression and writer’s block, cured only by a course of hypnotherapy. As a result, the concerto was dedicated to Nikolai Dahl, the physician who had done much to restore Rachmaninoff’s self-confidence. The complete work was premiered, with the composer as soloist, in November 1901. The arrangement for two pianos would probably have been made very soon after, as in those days the piano duet versions of symphonies and concerti were a major source of income for the publisher.

Finally, the regular team of Theresa Cory and David Smith will play the Flute Sonata Op.120
by Edwin York Bowen (1884-1961) As well as being a pianist and composer, York Bowen was a talented conductor, organist, violist and horn player, as well as a distinguished professor of music at the Royal Academy. Despite achieving considerable success during his lifetime, many of the composer’s works remained unpublished and unperformed until after his death in 1961. Bowen’s compositional style is widely considered as ‘Romantic’ and his works are often characterized by their rich harmonic language. He was notably one of the first modern British composers to add to the viola repertoire, and one of the most celebrated English composers of piano music of his time. He premiered all his own piano concerti, two of them at the Proms. The flute sonata was written inn 1946, probably for Gareth Morris (brother of the writer Jan Morris), a fellow Academy Professor, and the movements are: Allegro non troppo,
Andante piacevole and Allegro con fuoco.

You may also be interested in the professional chamber music concerts put on by the Friends of St Mary’s on many Wednesday evenings. For instance, on February 1st you could hear violin sonatas by Schumann, Joachim and Brahms, and items for wind ensemble by Auric, Bizet and Poulenc. The Friends are very generous to us, with a low rental for our events, and even advertise the Club in their mailouts, so it would be good if as many of our members as possible would also join the Friends.

Lastly, the Club does have a business card, some of which I recently came across when clearing out a drawer. It would be helpful if members would take one or two in their handbags/ wallets to hand over should they meet someone potentially interested in joining.