Concert 6. Wednesday 16 March 2011 8pm PDF Print E-mail

CLARION3  clarinet, bassoon & piano





Trio Op.38 – First movement


Three Character Pieces [piano solo]




Clarinet Sonata


Bassoon Sonata Op.168


Trio Pathetique in D Minor



Janet HILTON (clarinet) has been  praised for the rapt eloquence of her phrasing, shaped with the quiet freedom of a great singer.” [FINANCIAL TIMES].  Laurence PERKINS has performed and recorded much of the bassoon’s solo repertoire - “the virtuoso moments are dazzling” [BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE].  Pianist Sarah Beth BRIGGS, an artist of extraordinary magnetism” [DAILY TELEGRAPH], gained international recognition when she became joint winner of the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg.

As well as the dramatic trio by Glinka they will play the trio by William Hurlstone (b.1876 – d.1906).   Described on occasion as the “English Brahms” many believe that Hurlstone could have been a truly great composer has he not died so young.  He writes beautifully for all three instruments and the piano part is virtuoso indeed.   The Beethoven trio is from the composer’s own extraordinary arrangement of his op. 20 septet.



Review of Concert


A Musical Mystery Tour at the Ilkley Concert Club


That Victoria Soames Samek deputized for the indisposed clarinettist Janet Hilton entailed no change in the published programme whose contents, although known to woodwind players are not regular repertoire items. So an interesting evening of musical exploration was guaranteed.


The first movement of Beethoven’s skilful arrangement for clarinet, bassoon and piano of his Septet made an agreeable overture for the concert. It was interesting to hear familiar music in a new guise, but the piano lid fully open sometimes led to the instrument’s over-dominance. Then followed Britten’s Three Character Pieces. Sarah Beth Briggs, who premiered these recently discovered solo piano rarities, spoke to us about them and her playing proved fully up to their virtuosic demands. The piano lid was then lowered with noticeable improvement in balance for William Hurlstone’s Trio. It is heavily influenced by Brahms with some characteristic writing for his beloved clarinet but also with many lyrical opportunities for the bassoon and a typically full-textured piano part. The music was never played during the composer’s lifetime and if there is a heaven he’s there, and surely grateful for Clarion 3’s convincing advocacy.


The Bernstein Clarinet Sonata is an early work. After a busy Hindemith-style work out the first movement’s wistful coda was beautifully played by the clarinettist. The second movement is more recognizably ‘Lenny’ in character and the players seized on both its jazzy qualities and haunting lyricism of the more reflective passages. Then came the Saint-Saëns Bassoon Sonata of 1921 which seems to belong to an earlier era. Nevertheless its agreeable discourse allowed Lawrence Perkins ample scope for both the legato playing and deft rapid figuration that were expertly displayed. The trio then reconvened for the idiosyncratic Glinka Trio Pathetique. The players responded well to its often operatic inspiration, the slow movement almost an Italian love duet played con amore by clarinet and bassoon. Here and throughout the concert the pianist was a tower of strength driving the mystery tour bus.       





The following recordings were recommended in the programme



An enterprising Naxos budget CD (8.553389) has the complete Op.38 Clarinet Trio coupled with one by Ferdinand Ries. The artists are Jurgen Demmler (clarinet), Markus Tillier (cello) with Peter

Grabinger (piano). The recording quality is very good.


It was difficult to find a modem recording, but Sarah Beth Briggs on Semaphore SML MP21 (full price) gives an excellent performance and is well recorded. The couplings are Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata, Rawsthome's Bagatelles and Brahms's Handel Variations.


The work is well recorded on Clarinet Classics CCO023 (full price), the artists being Victoria Soames (clarinet), Laurence Perkins (bassoon) and John Flinders (piano). The couplings are pieces by Howells and Lloyd with another work by Hurlstone.


A very pleasant Naxos budget disc (8.572240) has the Clarinet Sonata performed by Emma Johnson (clarinet) and John Lenehan (piano). The couplings are works by Sir John Dankworth and Aaron Copland, and the recording quality is excellent.


This work appears in a charming 2 disc set of Woodwind Chamber Music by Debussy and Saint-Saens, on Cala CACD1017 (2 CDs for the price of 1 full price). The artists in the Bassoon Sonata are Rachel Gough (bassoon) and Julius Drake (piano).


The London Conchord Ensemble give a very satisfactory performance on Orchid Classics ORC 100009 (full price). Recording quality is very good, and the couplings are works by Balakirev, Shostakovich and Glazunov.

Raymond Waud



CLUB NOTES for 16 March 2011


DONATIONS (from Bob Ryan, Honorary Treasurer)

In our December Club Notes we thanked our members for the Patrons' Donations that they send with their ticket applications. The amount donated with this season's ticket applications was an amazing £4580. That included amounts from quite a few members of substantially more than the minimum of £10. The Gift Aid provisions should increase that amount by £1150. Another source of donations is from the sale of Returned Tickets. Instead of collecting the refunds, many members donate them to the Club. The amount given this way for last season was £1043. Again the application of the Gift Aid provisions should increase that amount by £250. We are also fortunate to receive a number of other donations from members in the course of a season. The total amounts given to the Club make a considerable and most welcome addition to its income. They are crucial to our continued attempts maintain our exceptionally low season ticket prices. We are most grateful to our members for their generosity.



You will see from the above that Gift Aid relief increases considerably the value of donations made to the Club. There is a cloud on the horizon though. When the basic rate of Income Tax was reduced from 22% to 20%, 3 years ago, the amount available for Gift aid relief should have shown a similar decrease. The Chancellor was aware of this and made provisions for charities to continue to claim as though the rate was still 22% for a further 3 years. Those 3 years end on 5 April this year 2011. We thus need to maximise the donations qualifying for that relief to offset the reduction.


Therefore, with the applications for season tickets in the summer, there will be an entry for Gift Aid which we ask all members to complete, whether or not they have already completed a Declaration. That will help us iron out administrative problems such as joint applications, other members of the household applying or indecipherable signatures. We ask you to bear with us. It will only take a minute to complete and will help us considerably.


CDs (from Tony Hudson)

We told you about the generous gift of CDs from Dr & Mrs Douglas, which were offered for sale at the last concert. On that first evening the sale of CDs raised £209 and that's a record! I have phoned Mrs Douglas and she was really thrilled.