Concert 7 - Wednesday 12 April 2017 at 8pm PDF Print E-mail

ROBERT PLANE  clarinet



Mozart   Clarinet Quintet in A major, K581     

"An exceptional ensemble...a unanimous

sense of musical breath and a meticulous

attention to detail." MUSICAL OPINION   

Bowen  Phantasy Quintet for bass clarinet,  Op.93           
Haydn    String Quartet Op.76, No.2 (slight programme change)      

"Robert Plane is an eloquent and impassioned clarinettist. The playing is full-blooded and committed..."




A Quartet for the new millennium, the Sacconi has a reputation for reaching out to audiences with infectious energy and enthusiasm. Their style, commitment and fresh imaginative approach has gained them an international following and a busy schedule. For Ilkley the quartet is joined by clarinettist Robert Plane. Since winning the Royal Overseas League Music Competition in 1992, Robert's solo and chamber music career has flourished world-wide. No stranger to ICC, Robert is remembered for his eloquent, impassioned playing.

Mozart's sublime Clarinet Quintet starts the concert – despite seeming to reflect an aching despair this music manages to smile through the tears. York Bowen's Phantasy Quintet from the 1930s is for the rarely-heard bass clarinet: the late romantic idiom brings darkness and intensity to this one-movement work. We finish with the first of Haydn's last set of quartets, grandiose and symphonic in breadth and construction.


Concert Review


A Perfect Partnership at the Ilkley Concert Club


It was a pleasure to welcome the Sacconi Quartet and Robert Plane (clarinet) back to the Ilkley Concert Club for this Wednesday's concert. The programme began with a performance of Haydn's D minor string quartet from op 76 which demonstrated clearly why this relatively young ensemble is so highly rated. They clearly enjoy playing together and gave a lively and thoroughly convincing account of the work. Their style is clearly informed by historical performance practice but not slavishly so and is distinguished by the intensity with which they relate to each other, each performance developing as a true conversation between equals. There was wonderful warmth in the hymn-like texture and accuracy in the pizzicato chords which accompanied the first violin in the slow movement and a delightful playfulness in the execution of the rustic canon of the minuet – surely one of Haydn's better jokes!


Robert Plane joined the quartet first for the Phantasy Quintet for bass clarinet by York Bowen, a highly chromatic piece in a late romantic style. An audience which earlier in the season had heard Verklärte nacht might even have noted some similarities with early Schoenberg! The rich chocolate tones of the bass clarinet contrasted with but never dominated the texture, showing what an excellent ensemble player Robert Plane is.


Even in the much more concerto-like Clarinet Quintet of Mozart which followed the interval, Plane remained a member of a chamber ensemble rather than a soloist. Playing a basset clarinet, for which the work was probably written, his virtuosity was never in doubt. He spun a wonderful limpid solo line through the slow movement but was content to become part of the accompaniment when that was called for. The Sacconi Quartet were excellent partners here as before, shining particularly in the first trio of the third movement.


The enthusiastic applause was followed by a performance of Glazunov's Oriental Reverie, a dream-like piece evoking all the exoticism which Russians from west of the Urals found in the souks of Samarkand!


The following recordings were recommended in the Concert programme



An old favourite, that in my opinion has not been surpassed, is on Hyperion CDA66199 (full-price). Thea King (basset clarinet) and the Gabrielli String Quartet give superb readings of the Quintet and the Clarinet Concerto, the latter with the English Chamber orchestra conducted by JeffreyTate. A good budget alternative has Karl Leister (clarinet) and the Berlin Soloists on Apex 0927443502. The coupling is the Brahms Clarinet Quintet.



Tonight's soloist, Robert Plane (bass clarinet), with Mia Cooper (violin), David Adams (viola) and the Gould Piano Trio, features on a well recorded Chandos CD-CHAN 10805 (full-price). The disc includes other Bowen works:- Clarinet Sonata, Rhapsody Trio, Piano trios in d minor and e minor. As a mid-price alternative, Timothy Lines (bass clarinet) and the Archaeus Quartet appear on Naxos 8.571366. Bowen's String Quartets Nos.2 and 3 complete the disc.



The Takács Quartet perform all six Op.76 Quartets in lively and understanding performances on a naturally recorded Decca two disc budget priced set – 475 6213. For a slightly warmer performance the Kodaly Quartet play the first three Op.76 Quartets on Naxos 8.550314 (medium-price). The Kodaly Quartet have successfully recorded all the Haydn Quartets, and they are at their best in OP.76

Raymond Waud


Club Notes for this Concert


72nd Season Preview - 2017/18

11 October 2017    FRANÇOIS-FRÉDÉRIC GUY piano  

Beethoven & Brahms, sonatas & variations

‘Guy brought something special to the twilight opening movement of the [Moonlight Sonata].’   Bachtrack 2014


Sven-David Sandström, Smetana & Beethoven piano trios         

‘One of the greatest performances of chamber music I have ever encountered . . .’   American Record Guide USA


Brahms, Mahler, Dvořák & Respighi - lieder & song
‘. . .  mezzo Stotijn offers a beautiful voice with consummate musical intelligence . . .’ La Scena Musicale ‘Julius Drake is one of Britain’s most sought-after pianists for chamber music and Lieder’ BBC Magazine

10 January 2018      RUISI QUARTET

Haydn, Pavel Fischer, Britten & Debussy

Winners of the Royal Philharmonic Society award for Young British String Players delivering performances that are ‘strikingly immediate, committed and direct.’ Chichester Observer, 2014

14 February 2018    SEPTURA BRASS ENSEMBLE

Bridging la Manche’ Josquin des Prez, Robert Parsons, J-P Rameau, Purcell, Debussy, Parry, Ravel & Vaughan Williams
‘Septura, probably today’s leading European brass group . . . sheer unabashed virtuosity. Absolutely fabulous.’   David Denton Yorkshire Post

14 March 2018       SCHUBERT ENSEMBLE OF LONDON piano & strings

Bruch & Dvořák piano quintets & Charlotte Bray piano quartet
The Schubert Ensemble have decided to bring their 35-year career to a close at the end of June 2018. Their fourth visit to ICC by this distinguished ensemble will be therefore sadly be their last.


Brahms: the three violin sonatas 
‘. . . what you noticed first here was a bowing technique that approached the supernatural in its expressive variety. A model partner, Mr.Tiberghien provided muted shadings and prickly outbursts ideally matched to Ms. Ibragimova’s manner.’ New York Times

2 May 2018            TRIO APACHES piano trio& O DUO percussion group

Rachmaninov trio, percussion compositions by O Duo, Granados, Glass, plus Shostakovich 15th symphony arranged for trio and percussion.

Trio Apaches return with percussion group O Duo with a very unusual programme.  ‘Shostakovich's Second Trio, surely a masterpiece, received a superb performance [by the Apaches].’ Geoffrey Kinder, Ilkley Gazette. O Duo are ‘. . . brimming with style and panache.’ Daily Telegraph