Our members’ concert on 12th June 2017

Dear Member,

My apologies, it turns out we do have a June 12th concert after all, and it will be a fine one. Please remember to download and print your own programme, which is available for download here.

But first a reminder to let Liz Sharma know if you are intending to join in the 10th July Play-in, especially if you are a wind player, so that she can create extra parts if necessary. I believe the first half of the programme is now full, with a recorder ensemble and some more Rubbra Sonata from Chris and Rupert.

Toby Louw is now back from his travels and is updating the website, but is still hoping that someone nearer home will take it over. If you think this might be you, Toby could explain what is involved.

Our June concert features once more our favourite cellist Deni Teo, with Sarah Park at the piano. They will start with the Beethoven’s 4th cello sonata op. 102 no. 1 in C major 1) andante – allegro vivace and 2) adagio – allegro vivace

The sonatas No 4 and 5 were composed between the end of 1812 and 1817, during which time Beethoven, ailing and overcome by all sorts of difficulties, experienced a period of literal and figurative silence as his deafness became overwhelmingly profound and his productivity diminished. The complexity of their composition and their visionary character marks the start of Beethoven’s ‘third period’.

The overall structure of No.4 is possibly unique in Beethoven’s works, comprising just a pair of fast sonata-form movements, each with a slow introduction, so although this might not seem obvious, we are in fact getting the whole work.

They will follow this with the Shostakovich cello sonata op. 40 composed in 1934, of which we heard the first movement in May. This month they play the other three movements, which are: 2) allegro, 3) Largo and 4) allegro.

The second movement has a perpetual motion energy, its thrusting repeated ostinato pattern relentlessly shared while a delicate first theme – almost incongruous – is presented by piano in widely spaced octaves, a sonority often used by Shostakovich.. Piquant wit abounds in familiar classical gestures set askew, sudden lurches into unrelated keys, until the initial driving ostinato resumes, leading to a sudden conclusion.

The bleak expanses of Russia are evoked in the soulful slow movement, the piano providing a dark backdrop for the cello’s rhapsodic, vocal theme. Caustic wit colours the brief yet ebullient finale, a type of rondo in which the main playful theme appears three times, imitated by both instruments, interspersed by episodes full of sparking scales.

To complete the concert we have a string quartet – Saori Howse, Graham Ritchie, Catherine Barlen and Paul Robinson, – who will play the third movement, Allegro molto, of the Elgar Quartet in E minor Op.83. This quartet originated from a request for a work by Carl Fuchs, cellist of the Brodsky Quartet back in February 1900. Nothing happened until in 1917, Elgar was ill and depressed by war-time London and recalled his promise. He began work on the String Quartet on 25 March 1918, while recovering from having his tonsils removed, and finished only the first subject of the first movement at that time. Distracted by two other works, he only returned to the quartet in October, and just finished it by Christmas. The Quartet was first performed privately at Elgar’s London home in January 1919, with George Bernard Shaw present, among others.

The Quartet was dedicated to the Brodsky Quartet, however, the members of the Brodsky Quartet were now around 70 years of age, which seems to have been considered rather old at the time. In any case, the public premiere was given by another quartet in May 1919.

Best wishes, Hilary