Friday, May 24, 2024

Shaldon Festival 1996

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Endellion String Quartet

Wells Cathedral School

Young Musicians’ Platform

Choral Workshop and Informal Concert 1996 directed by Raimund Herincx

Endellion String Quartet

Endellion String Quartet

Sunday 23 June 1996

Endellion Quartet
Andrew Watkinson violin
Ralph de Souza violin
Garfield Jackson viola
David Waterman cello

Haydn: String Quartet Op. 76, No. 4 ‘Sunrise’
Wolf: Italian Serenade
Beethoven: String Quartet Op. 59, No. 2

The final concert in this year’s Seventh Shaldon Festival was given by The Endellion String Quartet. The combination of an excellent acoustic and one of the world’s leading string quartets made the occasion a particularly memorable one. The programme offered was suitably varied, ranging from Haydn to Barber.

The first item, Haydn’s “Sunrise” quartet immediately established the ensemble’s attention to details of style and the high level of communication and understanding among the players. These are particularly required in the late Haydn quartets with their frequent use of antiphony and their exploration of all the combinations of the four instruments. As with all Haydn Quartets, the first violin part is the most demanding, but the ensemble’s leader, Andrew Watkinson, presented his part with style and bravura throughout.

The quartet inserted into their published programme the original string quartet version of Barber’s Adagio, a work they have recorded in its entirety. This was a warm, forward-moving performance in which the viola playing of Garfield Jackson stood out in tone and control of line. It would perhaps have been worthwhile to perform the entire quartet, enabling us to see the famous movement in its proper context, rather than as a classical ‘pop’.

The final item of the first half was Wolf’s Italian Serenade, a one-movement work full of racy salterellos and tarantellas which the players seemed really to enjoy, presenting it with the appropriate sense of dance and humour.

The concert concluded with the immense E minor quartet from Beethoven’s three ‘Rasomovsky’ quartets, a work of great contrasts which the players conveyed effectively, ranging from the rapt concentration of the lengthy ‘adagio’ to the extrovert bravura of the finale.

Wells Cathedral School

Saturday 22 June 1996

Wells Cathedral School Chamber Orchestra
Roger Durston: Director

String Chamber Orchestra, Conductor: Ioan Davies
William Mathias: Divertimento for Strings Op. 7

Wind Ensemble, Conductor: Kevin Murphy
Mozart: Serenade in Bb (Gran Partita)

Large Brass, Conductor: Paul Denegri
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances

Julien Cheriyan
Julien Cheriyan

Julien Cheriyan (pictured): Piano
Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in Bb minor

Wells Cathedral School Chamber Orchestra, Conductor: Roger Durston
Haydn: Symphony No. 100 ‘Military’

The young players’ commitment to the music, their expertise and energy, was evident throughout. Nowhere was this seen more clearly than in a vibrant and passionate performance, by a large brass ensemble, of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances (West Side Story) with is complex rhythms and time changes, producing a tight and meticulous ensemble, so ably conducted by Paul Denegri.

It was particularly nice to have a return visit from Julien Cheriyan who played Chopin’s Scherzo in B flat minor. Since his appearance at last year’s festival, he achieved the distinction of winning the keyboard section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year and appeared in the televised concerto final last March.

To hear talented young musicians is always a privilege and their passionate commitment to the music is always exciting. But no one present at this concert would have left unmoved or uninspired. Thanks must be given to Roger Durston who introduced each item, telling us how this exciting specialist music school works to equip its young musicians. We wish them well.

Paul McClure

Young Musicians’ Platform

Friday 21 June 1996

Young Musician’s Platform
The young artists were introduced by Edmund Fivet, Director of the Audi Music Competition and Principal of the Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Alison Farr: Piano
Scarlatti: Two Sonatas in G major and B minor
Ravel: Oiseaux tristes
Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No 1

Neil Shewan: Horn
Eugene Bozza: En forêt
Damase: Berceuse
Rossini: Prélude, theme and variations

Catrin Finch

Catrin Finch: (pictured) Harp
JS Bach: Etude No. 8
Hindemith: Sonata for Harp
Marcel Tournier: Féerie – prelude and danse

Nellie Seng: Piano
Rachmaninov: Etudes – Tableaux Op. 39 No. 9
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 2

The second Festival concert of 1996 was a Young Musicians’ Platform. Alison Farr aged 16 (piano) won the Audi Junior Musician of the Year title in 1994 and was a finalist in this year’s BBC Young Musician of the year, and attends Wells Cathedral School. She produced a wide range of tonal colour, her playing full of variety, producing a lovely cantabile as required, and well able to cope with the demands of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1.

Neil Shewan aged 17 (horn) is still at school in Cambridge, but exhibited a total professionalism in his whole performance. There was never a moment of anxiety with this most difficult of instruments and with excellent breath control and a lovely range of tone and colour he fully engaged his audience with Damase’s Berceuse and Rossini’s Prelude, theme and variations. A nice touch was that Neil was ably accompanied by Brenda Blewett, a former pupil of David Parkhouse (in whose memory this Festival has been established).

Catrin Finch aged 15 (harp), twice a finalist in the Audi Junior Musician competition and winner of the Junior competition at the World Harp Festival in 1991, is already an accomplished performer. She showed a fine command of her beautiful instrument and knew how to explore its different timbres and nuances in music as varied as Bach and Hindemith.

Jonathan Scott aged 18 (piano), a pupil at Chetham’s School, winner of many competition prizes and due to pursue his career in September at the Royal Northern School of Music, brought this delightful and exhilarating concert to its conclusion with a programme which included the demanding Brahms Paganini Variations exhibiting a great facility at the keyboard.

Janyce Pringle

Choral Workshop and Informal Concert 1996 directed by Raimund Herincx

Thursday 20 June 1996

Raimund Herincx
Raimund Herincx

Raimund Herincx: Conductor
Wyn Turner: Organ
Andy Stark: Trumpet

Four postgraduate students from the Royal College of Music
Meinir Thomas: Soprano
Elinor Carter: Alto
Mark Guerin: Tenor
Nigel Brookes: Bass
Margaret Brown: Second Alto
Aubrey Maybin: Keyboard Continuo

Handel: Messiah

The 1996 Shaldon Festival opened on Thursday June 20th with Handel’s “Messiah from Scratch”. A popular work, performed regularly, this was unusual in that the choir, soloists and conductor had not had a prior rehearsal together, thus truly “from scratch”. Conductor Raimund Herincx said at the end “no Messiah is perfect, but what a privilege it has been to be involved here in Shaldon, a truly superb effort”.It was indeed a very pleasant and worthwhile evening. Mention should be made of the excellent accompanist on the organ, with the solo trumpet which was at times rather too dominant. Additionally it seemed a pity that the choir “faced the wrong way” (from an audience viewpoint), but it must have been difficult for the conductor to position himself to gain good control. His calm direction put everyone at ease. The short semi-chorus contribution from Trinity School, particularly in a Festival where youth is a highlight, the four excellent soloists from the Royal College of Music, and Margaret Brown, who lives in Devon, gave a good base for the enthusiastic 85-strong chorus recruited in South Devon. What more could one wish for a rousing Festival opening.

Janyce Pringle