Concert 7. Wednesday 9th April 2014 8pm Print






Fantasie in F K594 (arr.)
Reicha Quintet in E flat op. 88 / 2
Stravinsky Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet
Irving Fine Partita
Francaix Wind Quintet no. 1 (1948)
Parke "Mississipi Five"





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.”

The Galliard Ensemble has a lively, entertaining and distinctive performance style that has thrilled audiences in Britain and abroad. Former BBC New Generation Artists, the Galliard have become one Britain’s leading chamber groups.


Following Mozart’s late Fantasie in F, originally for a mechanical organ, they play a quintet by Reicha, a lifelong friend of Beethoven. Françaix’s Quintet is full of good humour, showing great command of the wind instruments’ potential. Irving Fine’s Partita has a clear airy texture reflecting the influence of Stravinsky. The concert ends with a five movement suite of tributes to New Orleans jazz by Jim Parker, known for his film and TV music such as “House of Eliott” and "Midsomer Murders" as well as many concert works. 


"This in short is wind quintet playing of great distinction … a very good idea of how enjoyable the Galliard’s public concerts must be. Strongly recommended."









A Curate's Egg Concert at the Ilkley Concert Club


We've become so used to concerts of a very high standard this season that this one, not quite on that level, disappointed. Two of the regular members of the ensemble were unable to appear. Their deputies, the clarinettist and the oboist are both excellent artists, but in an ensemble of just five players their close musical relationship is easily jeopardized by such a substitution.


The opening Mozart Fantasy in F minor suffered most from this lack of empathy, things took time to settle down with occasional lapses of ensemble and a rather careful approach in the performing style. This caution carried over into the ensuing Reicha Wind Quintet. It is not top-drawer music; it's pleasant to listen to but it needs stronger advocacy than the decorous Galliards gave it. The concert came to life with twentieth century Irving Fine's bracing Partita that followed. The performance had all the energy, character and expressivity that had been so lacking earlier. Would that Mozart and Reicha had been given similar treatment, the latter especially needed to be 'sold' more effectively.


To give relief from the ensemble sound there were two solo items. Stuart King gave a spirited performance of Stravinski's Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet, catching the jazzy inflections of the third one superbly and after the interval Kathryn Thomas played Debussy's Syrinx for solo flute with appropriate cool elegance.


The second half of the concert illustrated the difficulty facing such groups of devising a balanced programme. The wind repertoire is quite extensive; there are few masterpieces but many works in lighter vein. These can be delightful but too much focus on them can bring tedium. The Françaix chic First Wind Quintet is just too long for its material and despite the virtuosic performance it received it outstayed its welcome. Jim Parker's Mississippi Five was briefer and the Galliards entered into the jazz spirit evoked by the music with élan to bring a rather mixed bag of an evening to an enjoyable finish.



The following recordings were recommended in the programme:


There are rather more ítems than usual in tonight's programme, so I have limited my recommendations. All the CDs are well recorded with excellent performances.


Mozart and Jim Parker

I do not normally recommend CDs that are not readily available via the retail trade but, in this case, the competition is so limited, and the performances by the Aurora Ensemble are so good, that I am making an exception. The disc, entitled "Humoreske", is available via at mid Price, and the couplings are by Arnold, Grainger, Reicha, Walton and Zemlinsky.



The fine performance by the Michael Thompson Wind Quintet is on Naxos 8.550432 (budget price), and the coupling is the Op.100, No.5 Wind Quintet.



A Naxos disc 8.573032 (budget price), features Julien Herve (clarinet), and has Bartók-Contrasts, Bernstein and Poulenc-Clarinet Sonatas, Gershwin-3 Preludes, and Gould-Benny's Gig.


Irving Fine

Recorded with their usual expertise, Chandos have a CD performed by The Reykjavik Wind Quintet (CHAN 9174 – full price). The couplings are pieces by Barber, Schuller, Harbison, Beach, and Villa-Lobos.



EMI have a very cheap CD (7051232) with Syrinx played by Philippa Davies. The couplings of the Debussy and Ravel String Quartets and Ravel's Introduction and Allegro, with the Chilingirian Quartet , make this an outstanding bargain.



A Canadian group, The Mirage Quintet, on Naxos 8.570444 (budget price), give an excellent performance, and the couplings are pieces by Tournier, Schmitt, Pierné, and Roussel.


Raymond Waud.






Our Concerts Database is now accessible on line. Into the address bar at the top of your browser type, This will allow you to select from all Concerts, Composers and Artists in various ways to suit your whim. For ICC committee members it is an invaluable tool for planning future Concert Seasons and writing Programme Notes for concerts. One of the most common questions is "When did we last have artist X or composition Y?". Playing around with this database is a great generator of programme ideas as well a fascinating insight into the history of ICC. Tony Hudson ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) will be pleased to receive your comments.


69th SEASON 2014-2015

As usual the New Season Brochure will be mailed towards the end of June. If you have not received your Brochure by the easy-to-remember Fourth of July, please contact our Membership Organiser, Pam Harris (01943 608585 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

The concerts and dates for the next Season are not completely decided yet but to give you a flavour what is coming, here are some hints:

Natalie Clein (cello) & Sergio Tempio (piano)—Bach, Mendelssohn & Shostakovich; Heath String Quartet—Haydn, Bartok and Beethoven; Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)—Beethoven, Ravel and Bartok; Aurora Wind Ensemble—Ibert, McMillan, Bridge, Shostakovich; La Serenissima (Baroque group)—"Handel & the Italians"; Ensemble 360—Mozart, Klughardt, Johann Strauss arr. Berg, Schumann (piano quintet).



Over the past year we have had to modify the lighting of the platform that is used in our concerts. This was because the lamps on the bar above the platform were changed to ones that are adaptable for many of the uses of the hall. Unfortunately their cooling fans are too noisy for use in our concerts. We think the new lighting scheme that we have developed works very well for the artists, and the decorative illumination of the inner curtain gives a pleasing background. If you have any comments or concerns, please let me know ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 01943 604178).