Thursday, June 13, 2024

Shaldon Festival 1998

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Katharine Gowers and Charles Owen

The Eric Yeo Memorial Concert

Wells Cathedral School

Midsummer Serenade

Katharine Gowers and Charles Owen

Sunday 21 June 1998

Katharine Gowers
Katharine Gowers

Katharine Gowers: Violin
Charles Owen: Piano

Winners of the 1997 Parkhouse Award

Brahms: Sonatensatz Scherzo in C minor
Mozart: Sonata in Bb major K378
Janácek: Sonata
Franck: Sonata in A major

The final concert was given by Katharine Gowers (violin) and Charles Owen (piano), the 1997 winners of the Parkhouse Award, an international award given in memory of David Parkhouse’s outstanding contribution to chamber music, and in whose memory the Festival was established. The audience was treated to a duo that shone with excellence. The splendid interplay between two players of matching talents was constant throughout a programme of Brahms, Mozart, Janá?ek and Franck. Together they explored the colours, the moods, the lyricism and the passion of the music, and left an admiring audience asking for more.

Janyce Pringle

The Eric Yeo Memorial Concert

Saturday 20 June 1998

The Eric Yeo Memorial Concert

The English Mozart Singers and Players with the Shaldon Festival Chorus

Antony le Fleming with dog
Antony Le Fleming

Conducted by Antony Le Fleming (pictured)
Leader Brenda Willoughby
Oboe Soloist Linda Byrt
Organ Peter Adcock

Handel: Zadok the Priest
Handel: Oboe Concerto in G minor
Mozart: Litaniae Lauretanae K109
Warlock: Capriol Suite
Albinoni: Adagio for Organ and Strings
Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine
Antony Le Fleming: Cantate Domino

The third concert of the 1998 Festival was a memorial to Eric Yeo, who was for seventeen years the dedicated and much loved organist and choirmaster at St Peter’s, Shaldon, and who was also a founder member of the Shaldon Festival. Conductor, Antony le Fleming, with the English Mozart Players led by Brenda Willoughby, the English Mozart Singers,the Shaldon Festival Chorus and Peter Adcock at the organ opened the Eric Yeo Memorial Concert with a thrilling performance of Handel’s Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the 230 strong audience. Linda Byrt played the oboe solo part in Handel Oboe Concerto in G minor most sensitively and this was followed by Mozart Litaniae Lauretanae K109 and Warlock Capriol Suite.

The second half of the concert comprised some of Eric Yeo’s favourite works. First was Albinoni Adagio for Organ and Strings in which Peter Adcock played the organ part quite wonderfully, and this was followed by Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine.

Cantate Domino, O sing unto the Lord a new song, a work composed by Antony le Fleming and specially commissioned for the 1995 Shaldon Festival, was conducted by the composer in the rousing and extremely moving finale to this memorial concert.

Ro Rickett

Wells Cathedral School

Friday 19 June 1998

Wells Cathedral School young musicians
Mei Yi Foo: Piano

Mei Yi Foo Photo
Mei Yi Foo

String players included Timothy Shepherd cello

Haydn: Fantasia in C for piano
Shostakovich: Piano Trio in D minor Op. 49
Brahms: Variations and Fugue on a theme of Handel Op. 24
Saint-Saëns: Septet Op. 65

The second concert of the 1998 Festival was presented by Wells Cathedral School and was a concert that David Parkhouse would have relished: highly-talented young musicians performing music in which he himself excelled, in an ideal setting, St Peter’s Church, Shaldon. The carefully balanced and well-chosen programme was throughout performed with both professional polish and considerable panache.

The undoubted and popular star of the programme was the young Malaysian pianist Mei Yi Foo who firstly presented the unjustly neglected Haydn Fantasia with sparkle and bravura on a difficult piano. She returned at the end of the concert to play the Brahms Handel Variations with intelligence, charm and complete technical control. I for one would willingly pay to hear her play an entire recital – and she deserves a better instrument which would do justice to her outstanding control of colour. Her platform manner is unfussy and entirely focused, and she treated the enthusiastic audience to a jewel of an encore.

The other works performed by the Wells Musicians were the curiously scored and neglected Saint-Saens Septet, played with lyricism and a sense of fun, and the bleak Shostakovich Piano Trio, a demanding work for young musicians but presented here with understanding and virtuosity. Honours must go to the cellist b>Timothy Shepherd who from the opening harmonics to the driving rhythms of the finale seemed to control and instinctively project the complex journey that performing and hearing the Trio entails.

Paul McClure

(Footnote. Aged 18 when she appeared at the Shaldon Festival, Mei Yi Foo has gone on to establish her career as a concert pianist. Hailed as a “pianist to watch” by BBC Radio 3, “Rising Star” by International Piano, and the winner of the Maria Callas Grand Prix 2008 in Athens, Mei Yi Foo has captivated audiences across Europe, the Americas and Asia.)

Midsummer Serenade

Thursday 18 June 1998

Midsummer Serenade

Ian Caddy Photo
Ian Caddy

Marilyn Hill Smith: Soprano
Ian Caddy: Baritone (pictured)
Rebecca Holt: Piano

Mozart: La ci darem from Don Giovanni
Puccini: One fine day from Madam Butterfly
Millöcker: The doleful prima donna from Der arme Jonathan
Mozart: The kindly voice from The Magic Flute
Mozart: Non piu andrai and Oh why are you so cruel! from The Marriage of Figaro
Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel
Puccini: O mio babbino caro
Baker: Someone is sending me flowers
Gershwin: A selection from Porgy and Bess
Strauss: Tipsy Song from A night in Venice
Lehár: On my lips from Giuditta
Gilbert and Sullivan: Selection
Flanders and Swann: Have some Madeira
Ivor Novello: Selection
Lehrer: The Wiener-Schnitzel Waltz
Lehár: Vilia and Love Unspoken from The Merry Widow

The ninth Shaldon Festival opened with a splendid Midsummer Serenade provided by Marilyn Hill Smith(soprano) and Ian Caddy (baritone), ably accompanied by Rebecca Holt. A wide-ranging programme, including music by Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Gershwin and Gilbert and Sullivan, was presented with great artistry, matchless diction, true professionalism and an obvious enjoyment that delighted the large audience.

Janyce Pringle