Concert 3. Wednesday 11th December 2013 8pm Print



Baroque Ensemble 



Telemann Paris Quartet in D major
Handel Trio Sonata in E minor

Le Sonnerie de Geneviève du

Mont de Paris

Vivaldi Concerto in D RV94

Deuxième Recreation de


Rebel Les Caractères de la Danse
Telemann Paris Quartet in E minor




Within months of its formation in 2005,
the Escher Quartet was invited by both
Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman to
be the quartet-in-residence at their
summer festivals. Appointed BBC New
Generation Artists in 2010-12, they
continue to play at prestigious venues and
festivals around the world.
The short Bridge Quartet, a single
movement in three sections, starts with a
vigorous march, followed by a lovely slow
section, and a jolly finale. Britten’s last
quartet (1975) was the composer’s
swansong. It ends with the famous
Passacaglia finale – now to be viewed as a
farewell to life. Elgar’s quartet was written
in the aftermath of WW1 along with the
violin sonata, piano quintet and cello
concerto. Nostalgia for times past and the
horror of war pervade this quartet. The
outer movements are restlessly beautiful
and the central movement marked
piacevole (pleasing) tells of innocent
“…total focus, unflagging energy, bottomless
technique and, perhaps most important, rare
musical insight and a profound level of cohesion.”

Florilegium (flute, violin, viola da gamba, cello and harpsichord) are one of Britain’s outstanding period instrument ensembles. Regular performances in some of the world’s most prestigious venues have confirmed their status. Since their formation in 1991 they have established a reputation for stylish and exciting interpretations.


They play Baroque music from the European Courts in the early 18th Century. Handel and Vivaldi need little introduction. Telemann wrote his collection of Paris Quartets after encountering some outstanding French Musicians in Paris in the 1730s. The works by Marais, Leclair and Rebel contain numerous fashionable dances in vogue at the French Court at this time.


They climbed the heights of dancing bliss and left the Wigmore sighing with pleasure.” 











Unexpected Baroque Delights at the King's Hall Ilkley


The byways (and some highways) of the baroque are not really 'my bag', so it was with a certain sense of duty that I attended this concert. But I had a great evening out, as I'm sure did the rest of the audience judging by their reaction to this very varied menu of unfamiliar music, most of which had never been heard before in the King's Hall. Performances of early music can suffer from a didactic po-faced approach, but not when the happy band Florilegium is in town. All star performers in their own right together they make an awesomely talented ensemble.


They began with a Telemann Paris Quartet which show-cased Ashley Solomon's deft flute playing, There is less French polish in the Handel Trio Sonata that followed, but both these works contain many brief movements, a problem for programming if a sense of short-windedness is to be avoided. The Marais Bells of St Genevieve dispelled this, an extended and obsessive workout for the bass viol that Reiko Ichise responded to feistily. The concluding Vivaldi concerto featured much lively interplay between the players, with violinist Jean Paterson's joyous contribution especially noteworthy.


Much baroque music was written as background music and the Leclair suite that opened the second half may well be an example, delightful but despite the best efforts of the players it didn't work for me in a formal concert setting. The Rebel Suite that followed was a revelation. A kind of musical switch, twelve movements skilfully interlinked with varied instrumentation and lasting under ten minutes, was captivating.


The concert ended with another Telemann Paris Quartet. This was far more interesting musically than the one we'd heard earlier, and it gave cellist Jennifer Morsches a chance to demonstrate her skill and expressivity. The final very tender chaconne was surprise ending to a remarkable concert. A second surprise came with the cheeky encore in which harpsichordist Terence Charlston, who'd discreetly supported the players throughout the evening had the last word.



The following recordings were recommended in the programme:


Where Florilegium have recorded the items in tonight's concert they can be purchased with confidence. Some recommended alternatives are listed below.



There is a very good recording of the original and revised Paris Quartets by Musica ad Rhenum, conducted by Jed Wentz on Brilliant Classics 93649 (3 discs for the price of 1 medium price CD).



The Opus 5 Trio Sonatas, which include the one in e minor, are performed by The London Handel Players on SOMMCD 044 (full price).



This piece is included on a disc of works by Marais and Sainte-Colombe, performed by Spectre de la Rose on Naxos 8.550750 (upper budget price).



Collegium Pro Musica perform Vivaldi's Chamber Concertos on an excellent Brilliant Classics set 94332 (3 discs for the price of 1 medium price CD).



The complete Flute Chamber Music, which includes tonight's piece, is performed by a group including Fenwick Smith (flute) on Naxos 8.557440-41 (2 discs at budget price). The performances and recording quality are excellent.



The Palladian Ensemble perform this work on a superbly recorded Linn CD – CKD100 (full price). The disc also includes works by Le Moine, Marais and Couperin.


Raymond Waud.




CD Sales


Congratulations to Tony Hudson on the success of the CD stall. At the AGM, before the last concert, it was revealed that the income from CD sales last Season was £1473. To put this in perspective, this was almost exactly what it cost the Club for putting the piano on the platform and tuning it for four concerts last Season. Without seeing it happen, you may not realise how much work goes into the setting up of the stall on each concert day, when Tony is usually helped by his wife Pat. He is also almost last to leave on concert nights when the stall has to be packed up with help from Richard Rundle. Between concerts he has the tricky task of pricing the CD's sensibly and deciding how to display them.


There would be no sales without the generous gifts of CDs from our members. In particular I must mention the recent anonymous gift of the Complete Mozart Edition produced by Philips for the bicentenary of the composer's death — approximately 180 CDs. Moreover without the CDs enthusiastically bought by members each concert day there would be no boost to the Club's income. So thank you all.


The "Ingeniously designed viola made by Christophe Landon."


In the programme note for last concert this was the description of the viola played by Pierre Lapointe of the Escher Quartet. Several people asked me what made it ingenious. I had talked to Pierre before the concert and had taken a look. Since the last half of the 19th Century composers have made increasing demands in their viola writing in solo compositions, ensemble and orchestral parts. If you scale up a viola, basing it on the way that violins had evolved over the centuries, the back would be about 21 inches long compared to an average 16 inches, in order to provide a volume of air for optimum resonance on the lowest (C) string — impossible to play. There have been many attempts to increase the volume but maintain playability. One such is Pierre's viola, a prize winning design made about 30 years ago. The instrument is wider and deeper than usual, and most importantly asymmetric, allowing the player's left hand room to reach round the neck to play the very high registers now demanded by composers. His instrument certainly produced high quality sound and a very resonant C string.


David Wharmby