Concert 1 - Wednesday 5 October 2016 at 8pm Print

and CHI-CHI NWANOKU (double bass) 

 Beethoven     Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op.16              

“atmosphere of heady ebullience…” 

“playing of magnificent verve…”  


 Hummel         Quintet in E flat major, Op. 87      
 Schubert        Quintet in A major, D667, 'The Trout'           

The superb blend of the strings, the supreme finesse and sparkle with which the piano part was

imbued…"   Westmoreland Gazette    

The popular Frith Piano Quartet returns to Ilkley, this time with double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku, with a performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet to open the season. The quartet was formed by pianist Ben Frith in 2001 with violinist David Heard, violist Louise Williams and cellist Richard Jenkinson. They quickly made a name for themselves as the most exciting British piano quartet. Chi-chi Nwanoku has become one of Britain’s most sought-after double bass players, developing a worldwide reputation as one of the finest exponents of the instrument.


The programme also contains Beethoven’s early piano quartet arrangement of his quintet for piano and winds, modelled on Mozart’s quintet K 452. This is followed by a masterly quintet by Mozart’s only full-time pupil, Hummel, whose reputation as a pianist and composer ran a close second to Beethoven.  


The Concert Review 

Formidable Five start the new Season at the Ilkley Concert Club 


The Concert Club audience gave a justly warm welcome to the members of the Frith Piano Quartet, joined by leading double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku, as they launched the Club's 71st season with an outstanding display of the best in chamber music playing. The Frith are understandably proponents of the piano quartet repertoire but for this concert every work - even that for four players - was a quintet! 


The programme commenced with Beethoven's Piano Quartet in E Flat major, an early work which shares his op 16 with a quintet version of the same work for piano and winds, inspired by an earlier work by Mozart. Immediately we knew we were in safe hands! The ensemble of these players is formidable and can only come from a thorough knowledge of each other's musical personalities. No one player needed to push their tone to get their voice across and the warmth of their unison playing was a joy to listen to. Nevertheless, in the Andante of the Beethoven, each of the string players was able to put their solos across without dominating. 


The quartet was enriched by the lively personality and the appropriately restrained playing of Chi-chi Nwanoku's bass in the Piano Quintets of Hummel and Schubert which followed. The Hummel is a genial piece and here received a winning performance with genuine warmth in the slow movements and lovely light playing, particularly in the finale. 


Hummel and Schubert were of course both accomplished pianists and it is not surprising that the piano plays a major part in these works, especially in the 'Trout' Quintet which rounded off the evening. However the beautifully articulate playing of Ben Frith never threatened to overwhelm the string texture while he was still able to give appropriate prominence to Schubert's beautiful melodies and the bright upper registers of the King's Hall piano.


The fourth movement variations, the memorable core of this work, received a wonderful performance and the concert was rounded off with a vigorous and playful account of the final Allegro which sent the listeners home more than happy.



The following recordings were recommended in the Concert Programme



An excellent Hyperion disc, CDA67745 (full price), includes the Piano Quartet and Beethoven's reworking of the c minor Piano Trio, the String Quintet Op.104. Also included is the charming "Eyeglass Duo" for Viola and Cello. The recording quality is up to Hyperion's usual high standard.


Hummel and Schubert

Both works are included on another Hyperion CD, Helios CDH55427 (budget price). The Schubert Ensemble of London is outstanding, and is very well recorded. An interesting alternative for the Hummel, on period instruments, is on a very cheap Brilliant Classics disc, which includes Piano Quintets by Dussek and Onslow. The excellent performances are by the Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet.

The reliable label Naxos has a lovely performance of the "Trout Quintet" on 8.550658 (budget price). Jenó Jandó (piano) and the Kodaly Quartet also perform Schubert's Adagio and Grand Concertante on this well recorded CD.
Raymond Waud


Club Notes for this Concert


Each person who has a Season Ticket automatically becomes a Member of Ilkley Concert Club (ICC). We have 21 New Members this Season, rather fewer than usual. This does not reflect falling interest in ICC: quite the opposite. We had very few resignations and consequently there are over 30 people on the waiting list to become Member next Season. We do hope you will enjoy this Season's music and that of many more to come. The fact that all the Seats available for Season Ticket holders are sold before the Season starts means that the Concert Planning Group can be confident of the income available to book artists for future seasons.


Please note the AGM will be held in King's Hall before the next concert on Wednesday 2 November 2015 at 7pm. This is your organisation and we welcome your input and views.



Season Ticket Holders – please do let us know if you can't come to a concert. Jennie Rundle organises the sale of any returned ticket(s) that you are unable to use. ALL she needs is an email or phone call and she will do her best to resell your ticket(s). Many New Members joined ICC because they were able to appreciate its pleasures by buying seats for individual concerts.

If you intend to give the refund to ICC, as many do, please let Jennie know when you email or phone her – grateful thanks for those donations.

If you intend collect your refund, please make sure you collect them at the end of the following concert, but please let Jennie know if there is a reason you are unable to do this and she can make an alternative arrangements.
Mrs Jennie Rundle – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 01943 609 045
10am to 7 pm only please (10am to 1pm on Concert Day)


Thanks to the generosity of Members, the collection made at the end of the May concert for this charity (formerly Musicians Benevolent Fund) was just over £1,166. According to Bob Ryan, our Hon. Treasurer at the time the tax that they can reclaim on this will bring their total to just over £1,300.