Concert 2. Wednesday 2 November 2011 8pm Print


 & PAUL LEWIS (Piano)




Moments musicaux D780 Nos. 2,4 & 6


Die Schöne Müllerin D.795



Members of Ilkley Concert Club will recall memorable concerts by both artists. Mark Padmore gave a breathtaking performance of Schubert’s Schwanengesang (with Roger Vignoles) in our 62nd Season and is now regarded one of the outstanding tenors of the age.   Paul Lewis told us about the exceptional quality of a piano in Steinway’s showroom; that piano now graces the King’s Hall.  Shortly after it was delivered he “baptised” it in the opening concert of the 62nd season with a thrilling performance of the last three Beethoven sonatas.   Two of the country’s greatest artists now combine at Ilkley to perform Schubert’s much-loved song cycle.


“[After] last year's superb recording of Winterreise, Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis have turned their attentions to Schubert's earlier song cycle. Singer and pianist are perfectly matched in temperament and musicality, and every note has been lovingly considered...exquisitely thoughtful and refined.” 

The Telegraph















Vivid Story-telling at the Ilkley Concert Club

Their programme was generous, adding a selection of Schubert’s Moments Musicaux as a prelude to Die Schöne Müllerin, a song-cycle often given as the sole concert item. Paul Lewis had helped the Concert Club choose our new Steinway, and it was good to welcome him back to play ‘his’ instrument whose beautiful tone demonstrated the quality of his judgement. The three contrasted pieces chosen had sufficient meat to make up a short first half. The playing was affectionate and lyrical whilst not eschewing a more emphatic approach when required, something that would be so very evident after the interval.

Both these artists have truly international reputations - what a privilege to have them in Ilkley. Their consummate technical skill is a given. The subtle pianism is a joy and Mark Padmore’s tenor voice has superb control and flexibility and sustained its quality throughout the taxing seventy-minute song cycle. The performance was heard with rapt attention, the audience completely held by the spell these two had cast. Die Schöne Müllerin tells a tale and it was the vivid telling of the tale that so gripped the audience. 

Schubert’s piano parts unerringly paint pictures or evoke moods and both elements were vividly portrayed, the pounding mill-wheel, the gently flowing brook, the aggressive hunter, and the miller’s growing obsession with the colour green. Mark Padmore’s use of tone colour is remarkably daring and he is able to express the whole range of the miller’s feelings, the sturdy countryman, the wonder of meeting the mill-girl, his exultation and then his desperation when a rival appears, his sadness and attempted bravado and finally his rejection of life. Both artists gave variety to the strophic songs, finding something new in each verse. Other songs are like mini-operas and their dramatic mood changes were fully realized. The rapport between the players was so close that after the hypnotic ending it almost felt wrong to clap; but heartfelt applause eventually broke out, surely ‘An die Musik’, and for these two wonderful performers. 



The following recordings were recommended in the programme:


Schubert-Moments Musicaux

There are so many recordings of these pieces that it is almost a question of choosing your favourite pianist. I especially enjoy the playing of Stephen Kovacevich on EMI 503423 2 (budget price). The coupling is Schubert’s Piano Sonata No.21. An excellent alternative is the recording by Alfred Brendel on Philips 456061 2 (budget price). The complete Schubert Impromptus take up the rest of the 2 disc set.

Schubert-Die Schöne Müllerin

Tonight’s artists have a new recording which is one of the best available versions, using the Tenor voice. The recording quality is excellent on Harmonia Mundi HMU 907519 (full price). Should you prefer a baritone, the 1961 recording with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore is on EMI 9 65940 2 (budget price). The recording has transferred very well to CD, and both artists were at their superb peak when it was made.


Raymond Waud




We are sorry to tell you that cellist Guy Johnston, for reasons beyond our control, is not able to play in Ilkley as planned.  Such is the magic wrought by your Chairman, we are now delighted to announce that his place will be taken by cellist Adrian Brendel – no stranger to ICC. Amazingly there is just one change to the programme advertised in the Brochure; he will play Bach’s cello Suite Suite No. 3 in C major BWV 1009, not Suite No. 4.  Our accompanist, the very accomplished Leon McCawley - also no stranger, has played with Brendel before and is happy with the change.

Looking at last Season’s accounts, I was surprised to find that donations from members (including the Gift Aid income that they attract) contribute about 20% of our income.  This wonderful generosity comes in various forms: Patron’s Donations that accompany your Season Ticket application; refunds on “returned” tickets, which many give to ICC; straight donations and in the past, legacies.  From what some people have told us, their donations reflect their gratitude for the great music and artists that they are able to enjoy at such low cost.  A simple calculation shows that without these donations we would have to increase the ticket prices by about 25% in order to engage artists of similar quality: to illustrate, a season ticket in the front of the stalls would have to increase from £50 to £62.50.  Your donations are one of the reasons for the spectacular value that ICC offers.


Never before has the King’s Hall been so full as it was for Ben Grosvenor’s recital. We had to turn quite a large number of people away.  It shows the power of TV & media doesn’t it?  Thanks to Ben’s Prom performances he has had huge coverage.


Was I the only person to whom this line came to mind when Ben Grosvenor played his encore at the last concert?  The encore was an arrangement by Vladimir Horowitz of the John Philip Sousa’s march “The Stars and Stripes for ever” and gave further evidence of Grosvenor’s extraordinary virtuosity. Incidentally, the real words for the Web-footed stanza are “Hurrah for the flag of the free.”