Concert 3. Wednesday 30 November 2011 8pm Print









String Quartet in D Op. 64/5 [the Lark]


Fantasy No. 1 in G Minor (Cl. & Quartet)


Clarinet Quintet in B Minor Op.115



Robert Plane’s career has encompassed solo, chamber and orchestral music.  He is now holds the position of Principal Clarinet in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.  His recording of Messiaen's 'Quartet for the End of Time' was praised by BBC Music Magazine as the 'best modern account' of this monumental work.


We heard the Dante Quartet at Ilkley in 2008 when they gave an excellent concert with oboe player George Caird.  The Dante is one of the finest string quartets in Britain, renowned for its rich palette of tone colours and the emotional intensity of its performances.





“[Robert Plane] ravishing in tone and exploiting a wide dynamic range . . . it’s hard to imagine more sympathetic music making.” The Gramophone


“[the Dante Quartet] can summon up and crystallise the stylistic personalities of different composers . . . [they] respond with fire, angst, compassionate sensibility and outstanding artistry.” The Telegraph






Superb Clarinet Playing at the Ilkley Concert Club


Theirs was an interesting programme featuring standard repertoire alongside rarities and beginning with one, Purcell’s extraordinary Chacony for strings. They projected its often astringent harmonic clashes in a rhythmically vital performance.


The opening of the Haydn ‘Lark’ Quartet is one to look forward to keenly, but on this occasion, owing to undernourished violin tone and insecure intonation, the lark failed to take flight. Things looked up in the gentle slow movement and following lively minuet. Full amends were made in the moto perpetuo finale where Krysia Osostowicz played the non-stop rush of semiquavers with great élan.


Robert Plane then joined the quartet, talked to us engagingly about the piece he was to play and congratulated us on filling the hall (long may Ilkley’s enthusiastic support for live classical music continue). Stanford’s Fantasy no.1 for Clarinet and String Quartet gave him plenty of opportunity to display his very characterful playing in the more animated sections and mellifluous tone, especially in the middle slower movement. Not great music perhaps, but music that we were grateful to be given the rare chance to listen to.


Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet is a ‘late’ work and can suffer from the reputation that this fact has bestowed on it. It is a cliché to talk of its ‘autumnal glow’ and its perceived air of regret and resignation. But if that is stressed in performance then what is in fact a fine and strong piece of chamber music can all too easily seem mawkish and self-pitying. Robert Plane and the Dantes steered well clear of that trap, whilst still plumbing the work’s considerable depth and strength of feeling. The first movement had proper momentum and its contrasting elements were well projected. The slow movement is the heart of the piece, the opening was full of tenderness and the central gypsy music had true Magyar flavour. Cellist Bernard Gregor-Smith shone in the wistful scherzo and viola-player Rachel Roberts’ was poignantly expressive in the last movement’s final variation; altogether a richly satisfying performance.




The following recordings were recommended in the programme:



Harmonia Mundi produce a budget CD of Purcell Chamber Music with London Baroque on HMA 1951327. The performances and recording are very good.



The Auryn Quartet on Tacet TACET 189 (2 CDs at budget price) give excellent performances of all 6 of the Op. 64 Quartets. A single budget disc of Op. 64, Nos.4-6, with the ever reliable Kodaly Quartet on Naxos 8.550674, provides a good alternative.



Tonight's soloist gives excellent performances of Stanford's Clarinet Sonata, Fantasy No.1 and Fantasy No.2, etc. on Naxos 8.570416 (budget price).



Thea King with the Gabrieli Quartet gives a beautiful elegiac performance with excellent sound quality on Hyperion CDA 66107 (full price). The coupling is the Brahms Clarinet Trio. Brilliant Classics have licensed the Nimbus recordings of the Clarinet Quintet, Clarinet Trio and Clarinet Sonatas (93156 – 2 CDs at budget price). Karl Leister and the Brandis Quartet give smooth, romantic performances.

Raymond Waud.





We are fortunate indeed to have, been able to engage Adrian Brendel at short notice to play almost the same programme with Leon McCawley as was originally planned. Adrian has of course made many chamber music appearances with his famous father Alfred. He is a regular participant in many prestigious Festivals including Aldeburgh, Cheltenham and the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg. His piano trio with Till Fellner and Lisa Batiashvili is also much in demand throughout Europe.



As I sit here in early November writing the Club Notes for our third concert, the sun is streaming through the window and it is very mild outside. It is difficult to remember that last year on Dec 1st, the day of our third concert, heavy snow had already been falling for 6 days. On that day a slight thaw and re-freezing made many local roads impassable and walking was extremely hazardous. It was only by heroic efforts from the artists - the Sally Pryce Harp Ensemble - and the staff at the King's Hall that the concert took place at all, albeit with about half the normal audience. The point of mentioning this is that we did our best to keep you informed about what was happening through our website.


We can't alter the weather, but we can be prepared. If we do experience really extraordinary events in the future that might prevent the concert from happening, we will keep you updated via the website. For those who don't use the Internet, why don't you ask someone who sits near you to let you know if there is an important message on our website. To keep things in perspective, in its 65 years ICC has had to cancel a concert just once because of bad weather. If there is no message on the website, you should assume that the concert will go ahead as usual. []



Have you visited our CD stall lately? If you have, you will appreciate that we have a huge number of CDs available because of so many generous donations over the past year. If you haven't, you owe it to yourself to come and look - especially with Christmas so close!


We have CDs to suit virtually all tastes and at a wide range of prices – all donated and with a target price of about half the shop price. Whether you want chamber music, symphonic, instrumental, opera, vocal, jazz, light music or simply some inexpensive 'sampler' CDs for the car or kitchen - we have them. The CD stall has raise £3,848 for ICC so far, so a bumper concert could see us past £4,000 - go on, help us make that happen this evening!