Concert 5. Wednesday 12th February 2014 8pm PDF Print E-mail





Bach Sonata no. 3 in E BWV 1016
Lekeu Sonata in G (1892/93)
Beethoven  Sonata in A op. 47 “Kreutzer”




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.”

Jack Liebeck is established as one of the most compelling young violinists on the concert platform. He has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Simon Crawford-Philips has developed a diverse career as soloist, song accompanist and chamber musician, notably with the Kungsbacka trio and the Piano Duo with Philip Moore.


Bach’s E Major sonata has deservedly become one of the most popular of a set of six. We surely would have heard much more of Guillaume Lekeu had he not died at the age of 24. His passionate and beautiful Sonata occupies a similar sound world to that of his teacher César Franck. The “Kreutzer” sonata hardly needs introduction, except to note its extraordinary energy and the equality between the violin and piano parts.


"The buzz about British violinist Jack Liebeck is well-founded …



"Simon Crawford-Phillips is well known to Ilkley audiences … and has had rave reviews from me."










Wonderful Duo makes up for ferocious weather



Ilkley Concert Club's recital in the King's Hall on Wednesday coincided with atrocious weather. For those who got to the concert, the outstanding Jack Liebeck (violin) and Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano) gave us a concert to remember. Their empathy with the very attentive audience was a tribute to the rapport between them.


Starting with the sonata by Guillaume Lekeu, a Belgian composer of whom we would surely know more, had he not died of typhoid at the age of only 24. Premiered in 1893 this late romantic music, chromatic and rhapsodic with rich and expressive ideas, was given an ideal performance. Without becoming over-indulgent, the players were able to take advantage of the rich harmonies and opportunities for their instruments for a convincing performance.


In an unusual order for the listener, the Bach duo sonata no 3 came next and the piano was mainly the 'accompaniment' to the florid virtuosic writing for the violin. Here Jack Liebeck took full advantage although keeping his dynamics and tone appropriate to a work written over 150 years earlier. Perhaps, at least for this work, the piano lid could well have been on 'half stick' bearing in mind its origin for a harpsichord. The playing of both musicians in the brilliant finale was beautifully executed and the audience responded with well merited applause.


Astonishingly it is nearly 50 years since the 'Kreutzer Sonata', Beethoven's most famous duo, was last played at Ilkley Concert Club. The Club had particularly requested that Jack Liebeck include it in the programme. The interplay of the two very equal parts was particularly well integrated, often with great sensitivity and delicacy; Simon Crawford-Phillips now taking proper advantage of the expressive qualities of the Steinway piano. Whilst it is difficult to highlight any part of this magnificent work, the final tarantella with the violin's dancing triplets will stay a long time in the memory. The audience's response included not only enthusiastic clapping but also much foot stamping. Once again Ilkley Concert Club's reputation for superb concerts was clearly in evidence.


David Pyett


The following recordings were recommended in the concert programme



The set of six Sonatas for Violin and Klavier on "authentic" instruments is extremely well recorded in superb performances by Rachel Podger (violin) and Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord). The Channel Classics set of 2 CDs (CCS 14798) is at mid-price. For those who prefer the piano to the harpsichord, Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) and Enrico Pace (piano) are on a 2 CD budget set from Sony 86971 12432. Performances and recording quality are extremely good.



Alina Ibragimova (violin) and Cédric Tiberghien (piano) play superbly and are realistically recorded on Hyperion CDA 67820 (full price). The disc is completed by Ravel's music for violin and piano. An interesting alternative has the young Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin playing their hearts out on Naxos 8.110989 (mid price), recorded in 1938. The couplings are Beethoven's Violin Sonata No.3 and the Cesar Franck Violin Sonata., and the transfers to CD are very good.



Ibragimova and Tiberghien again give a well recorded live performance on Wigmore Hall Live WHLive 0045 (medium price). The disc is completed by refreshingly vital performances of Beethoven's Violin Sonatas Nos.3 and 6. A complete set of the Violin Sonatas, beautifully played and superbly recorded, is given by Renaud Capuçon (violin) and Frank Braley (piano) on Virgin 50999 642001 01 (3 CDs for around the cost of one full price disc). This set is a superb bargain.


Raymond Waud.







Part of Ilkley Concert Club's long term success is the result of very careful planning of the concert programmes. David Pyett has led this activity for many Seasons. I gave a flavour of what needs to be considered when planning a Concert Series in Club Notes for 10 Feb 2010 (abbreviated and updated below*).


Starting with the 2014-15 Season our new Concert Season Planner Sarah Warnes takes over the leadership. Sarah held a series of professional concerts at her house near Harrogate for 10 years, so she is already very experienced. She is an accomplished keyboard player, with a wide knowledge of artists and the keyboard repertoire. She chairs the Concert Season Planning Group, with members Josephine Wesley, our Honorary Secretary, and David Pyett, our President. Josephine brings a wide knowledge of Lieder, song and other chamber music, and very important for this job, she goes to more live concerts than anyone else I know; David needs no introduction in this context.


* Before I joined the ICC committee I had been impressed by how interesting the programmes were. A lot of arduous but enjoyable research by the Concert Season Planners goes into making it so. I am sure Club members will be interested to hear how it is done. Many things come into play:

Balance for the season between types of artist and music & musical periods.

Appeal of the whole Season Programme to ICC Members.

The balance of music within each concert.

Availability of artists.

The distribution of the total budget amongst the concerts.

Whether individual pieces have been played recently.


Next time I will describe the Concert Data Base, which tells us what we have heard and when.


To have any chance of booking some artists we have to start the process as long as 2 seasons ahead. Knowing the availability of the most popular artists, we can then start to fill in the gaps. A balanced season might comprise a piano recital, vocal, string and wind chamber music, chamber music with piano, baroque or similar music, sonata recital etc. You have to keep the overall plan in mind, but be prepared to be flexible. The process is rather like doing a jigsaw, in which you have to find out who has the pieces you need.


Bearing in mind the constraints we are open to suggestions from members about what music or artists they would like to hear. Suggestions that are made may not make it in the next season, but they might fit well into the one after that. Send a brief note with suggestions to Sarah by mail (Sarah Warnes, Keldwick, Thornthwaite, Harrogate HG3 2QS) or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .