Concert 5. Wednesday 16 February 2011 8pm PDF Print E-mail

LONDON BRIDGE ENSEMBLE

 

PROGRAMME

 

Bridge

Phantasie Piano Quartet (1910)

Bridge

Three songs with viola & piano

Barber

‘Dover Beach’ Op.3 [baritone & string quartet]

Butterworth

‘Love blows as the wind blows’ [baritone & string Quartet]

Dvorak

Piano Quintet in A Op.81

 

 

 

The London Bridge Ensemble Daniel TONG piano, Laura SAMUEL & Ken AISO violins, Tom DUNN viola, Kate GOULD cello and Ivan LUDLOW baritone has now firmly established itself as one of Britain’s most exciting and brilliant chamber groups. Here is a rare chance to hear the exquisite setting by Barber of Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” along with other rarely played song settings for baritone and chamber ensemble.  They finish their programme with one of the most joyful, optimistic and tuneful chamber works ever written.

 

“In the glorious [Bridge] Phantasie Quartet of 1910 these stylish newcomers deserve a place at the top table next to such exalted predecessors as Benjamin Britten and the Amadeus Quartet.”  GRAMOPHONE

 

“Sounds of unfailing beauty and warmth.”   THE STRAD

   

 

Review of Concert

 

An Intriguing Programme

 

A strong and welcome feature of this concert season is the number of unusual programmes  –this one was a fine example. The works featured were all written within a span of forty-five years.

 

They began with the eponymous Bridge Phantasie Piano Quartet.  For many listeners Frank Bridge is remembered as Benjamin Britten’s composition teacher who he admired for his rigorous craftsmanship. So it was good to hear Bridge’s music and to experience that craft allied to the expressive warmth and richness that the players projected so well. In the rarely heard ‘Three Songs with Viola’ Tom Dunn’s playing brought out the melancholy that reflected so well the poignancy of World War 1. Bridge himself was a professional violist and comparison of these songs with the more familiar Brahms songs with viola showed game, set and match to Bridge.

 

George Butterworth’s ‘Love Blows as the Wind Blows’, is a great rarity.

Written in 1912, just four years before he was killed in the Battle of the Somme, there is a sadness and intensity inherent in the music that the young performers captured with great sensitivity.

 

Before the interval the same players returned for Samuel Barber’s ‘Dover Beach’ for baritone and string quartet, written before he had found his individual American voice. It is his earliest regularly performed work. This setting of Matthew Arnold’s profoundly pessimistic poem is difficult to bring off and Ivan Ludlow’s rich, dark baritone suited this piece admirably.

 

After the interval we entered a completely different world. Sadness never lasts for long in the music of Dvorak; surely one of the most spontaneous-sounding composers whose lovely tunes and folk-like gestures should fill the listener with gratitude, as did this performance of the Piano Quintet op.81. From Kate Gould’s opening cello solo we knew that this performance was in safe hands. When the writing became more strenuous the piano never dominated. Indeed throughout the concert, pianist, Daniel Tong, never overpowered the other performers. There was a lovely restatement of the main theme by violinist Laura Samuel and the dreamy start to the development section was beautifully done by all the players. A gentle melancholy by the viola began the Dumka and a delicacy in the flowing music followed. The dance-like quality of the contrasting Vivace sections was well caught, and where the melodic interest is given to the second violin, Ken Aiso, shone. The Furiant had true Czech flavour and in its Trio the cross-rhythms that typify it were spectacularly played.

 

The Finale was given a joyous performance, the piano especially dexterous. Its wistful coda was magically done and the final sprint to the finishing line brought richly deserved applause for this performance and for the fascinatingly conceived programme.                                                                                                

 

C.R.W.

 

CLUB NOTES for 16 February 2011

 

CAN YOU HELP THE CLUB?

Once a year, according to our Constitution, we have to provide Accounts for Ilkley Concert Club. These have to be agreed by an Independent Examiner, whose job it is to make an external check on the Club's accounts to ensure that nothing untoward has occurred. This external check can be undertaken by anyone with some financial experience. For example, you may have been the treasurer of an organisation, worked in a bank or have done the finances for a small company. It is not an audit, so accountancy qualifications are not required. Also a member of the Club may do it provided that they have no connection with any member of the committee. The Examination simply requires a review of the Hon. Treasurer's records to ensure that the accounts accurately reflect those records. We need a volunteer to help the Club by doing this task. If you would like to help or you know someone else who can, please contact the Chairman d.pyett@,btopenworld.com (01943 609744) or Vice-Chairman david@,wharmby,demon.co.uk (01943604178).

 

DONATION OF CD COLLECTION - Please visit CD Stall!

We have been given some 200 CDs - covering just about every well-known composer (plus others!) and at all price levels. The aim is to have these (plus our large existing stock) available at the February concert, so there will be a huge selection to choose from. We are very grateful to Dr and Mrs G. K. Douglas, from Menston, for this gift.                                     Don't miss out!!

 

VIOLA

A number of people have asked about Lawrence Power's viola. The gorgeous sound came from a rare instrument from Bolognese maker Antonio Brensi made c.1610. "When I first started playing it, it was like driving a Porsche when you've just passed your driving test." Nevertheless you should attribute a large part of that gorgeousness to the skill of the player!

 

SCHOOL STUDENTS

Are members aware that School Students can buy returned tickets, if available, for just £2 by phoning David Pyett before each concert? If any of you know of School Students interested in classical music, either as players or listeners - they may be children, grandchildren, children of neighbours, babysitters etc. - please let them know about this wonderful opportunity to hear top quality music. These will be some of the people who may become members of Ilkley Concert Club in the future.

 

VISIT OUR WEBSITE at www.concertclub.ilkley.org