Concert 8. Wednesday 8 May 2013 8pm Print

FIBONACCI SEQUENCE

 string & wind octet

 

PROGRAMME

Richard Strauss      

arr. Hasenohrl

Till Eulenspiegel – einmal anders!

(another way!)

Arthur Butterworth   

Romanza for horn & string quartet op. 12

Weber

Andante and Rondo Ungarese op. 35

Schubert Octet in F D803

 

Now in its eighteenth year, the Fibonacci Sequence is one of the UK's most distinguished chamber ensembles with a wide-ranging discography and impressive reviews. The ensemble members appear regularly at the world's leading festivals and venues. They are led by Gina McCormack (first violinist of the Sorrel Quartet for 13 years).

 

They start with Hasenöhrl's astonishing arrangement of Strauss's famous tone poem – for just five players!

 

Local composer Arthur Butterworth's Romanza, with its exquisite horn solos, was written in 1951.

 

Weber's piece, written at the request of the bassoonist of the Munich Orchestra, is a set of variations followed by a Rondo with a Hungarian flavour.

 

The concert ends with Schubert's much-loved Octet for string quartet, bass, clarinet, bassoon & horn. What a wonderful end to the season!

 

 

   

"... dazzlingly good chamber ensemble ...

exuberantly expressive, intimate style ...

gorgeously idiomatic playing" THE TIMES

 

CONCERT REVIEW

 

A Spring-like End to the Season at the Ilkley Concert Club

 

As we got into May, at last Spring arrived and the Fibonacci's programme came as a celebration of release from the terrible Winter we'd all endured. They began with Strauss's Till Eulenspiegel in an arrangement for just five players. What a starter! It gave them ample opportunity to demonstrate their virtuosity which they did with great panache and humour, especially clarinettist Julian Farrell. All the playing was so very characterful that you hardly missed the other ninety-five players in the original version for full orchestra.

 

After this boisterous frolic came an ideal change of mood to Arthur Butterworth's Romanza for horn and string quartet. Imbued with the English pastoral style it was sensitively played; its central, more agitated music given full value and the quiet ending, with its muted effects lingered in the mind. The composer was present and he told me afterwards that Stephen Stirling's performance of the solo part had been 'beautiful'.

 

This reflective interlude was followed by Weber's Andante and Hungarian Rondo, another frolic played with great style. Encouraged by the leader Gina McCormack the accompanying string trio gave crisp and sparkily accented support to the solo bassoonist Julie Andrews. She was soulful in the opening, then full of dance-like bounce in the ensuing rondo with literally breath-taking virtuosity at the end and sent the audience off for the interval smiling broadly.

 

All the players returned for Schubert's Octet. This hour-long serenade-like work can, in a less inspired performance outstay its welcome, but not on this occasion. The playing was always rhythmically alert, the double bass of Duncan McTier supplying a richly toned foundation to the ensemble throughout. Schubert gives a number of solo opportunities for the cello to which Benjamin Hughes responded expressively. Second violin and viola do not get a similar share of the limelight but Helen Paterson and Yuko Inoue played their essential supporting roles superbly. All eight players received heartfelt applause at the end.

 

A wonderful end to the season, Faboniccis come again.

G.K.

 

The following recordings were recommended in the concert programme:

 

Richard Strauss

The Fibonacci Sequence give an outstanding performance on Deux-Elles DXL 1122 (full price), and the recording quality is excellent. The couplings are other horn related pieces by Glazunov, Mozart, Koechlin, Nielsen and Poulenc.

 

Arthur Butterworth

This work has been recorded commercially on the Canadian CBC label, but does not seem to be currently available.

 

Weber

My favourite recording is on BIS SACD-1620 (full price), coupled with the same composer's Bassoon Concerto and the two Symphonies. The performances by Jaakko Luoma (bassoon) and the Tapiola Sinfonietta are outstanding, and the recording, as usual with BIS, is state of the art. The Fibonacci Sequence have an excellent performance of the piece on Deux-Elles DXL 1104 (full price), coupled with works by Sauget, Ibert, Gordon Jacob, and Mozart.

 

Schubert

There are so many excellent recordings of this work that it is hard to choose a "perfect" performance. My favourite is by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble on Chandos CHAN 8585 (full price), with superb recording quality. A splendid budget recording on EMI 3508642 (2 discs), is coupled with Beethoven's Octet and Septet, and Mendelssohn's Octet. Finally, the Fibonacci Sequence version is well recorded, and has received very good reviews, on Deux-Elles DXL 1145 (full price).

 

Raymond Waud.

 

CLUB NOTES

 

A DELIGHTFUL STORY

 

 Arthur Butterworth wrote a regular column from 2001 to 2011 for Music Web International (www.musicwebinternational.com/ButterworthWrites).

 

This is a fascinating, thoughtful, wise and amusing series on music, as he has observed it over his long and productive life – highly recommended. Arthur sent David Pyett this amusing story about his Romanza, to be played tonight. Here is a slightly shortened version, printed with his permission:

 

"It was originally written for Farquharson Cousins - once principal horn of the old YSO - but at the time this was written (1954 ?), he was with me in the SNO. He pestered me to write this for a potential broadcast in the Scottish Region, but it never came about, so I was left with it.

 

Some time later Ifor James took it up and gave its first performance with the BBC Northern under George Hurst in about 1956. Ifor James' performance in the Manchester studio was hair-raising: It was a live concert - 7.30pm - and the second piece on the programme - the broadcast had already begun, - but no Ifor James ! - The conductor and producer glanced anxiously at the studio clock. He had rehearsed with them in the afternoon. However, as the closing bars of the overture (can't remember what) were being played, in rushed Ifor, in full evening dress - white tie and tails - he had been playing just up the street with the Hallé in their overture. (Hallé concerts began at 7.00pm) and had calculated that this would be over by about 7.15 - time to rush down Peter Street to the Deansgate studio- whip off his overcoat and just play. Time to warm up? ...No!...no need, he'd only just been blowing it ten minutes before, so what's there to get excited about ? It was a splendid performance, but he got a ticking off from the producer for causing such anxiety to all concerned."

 

CONNOLLY - MARTINEAU RECITAL

 

Thanks to all members who responded to our request to return tickets. We managed to satisfy all of our 63 requests for "Returned Tickets" so the Hall was very nearly full; very gratifying for our splendid artists. Remember that you can collect your "Returned Ticket" refunds at the interval of tonight's concert from the desk in the Winter Garden.

 

The encores were Poulenc's dreamy "Hôtel", a setting of poem by Appollinaire – about smoking in sunlit hotel room, and "Cotswold Love" written in1938 by English composer Michael Head, an evocative setting of the area in which Sarah lives of a poem by John Drinkwater.