Friday, May 24, 2024

Shaldon Festival 2008

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Fauré Quartet

Choral Workshop and Informal Concert 2008 directed by Sir Neville Marriner

Guy Johnston with Kathryn Stott

The Ten Tors Orchestra

Fauré Quartet

Faure Quartet photo
Faure Quartet

Concert
Sunday 22 June 2008

FAURÉ QUARTET
Winners of the 2003 Parkhouse Award

Erika Geldsetzer violin
Dirk Mommertz piano
Sascha Frömbling viola
Konstantin Heidrich cello

Programme:

Mahler Piano Quartet Movement
Saint Saëns Piano Quartet in Bb major, Op 41
Brahms Piano Quartet in C minor, Op 60


There are not enough superlatives to describe the playing of the Fauré Quartet on the Sunday evening, the final concert of the Festival; this was chamber music making of the highest order. The energy and dynamism they brought to their playing belied the fact that they had set off from Germany at 5.00am that morning. It is fair to say that most of the audience were not familiar with the two works in the first half but by the interval the question on many lips was, “had they recorded the two pieces?” A highly charged and passionate performance of the Mahler Piano Quartet Movement was followed by the revelation of Saint-Saëns Piano Quartet in Bb major. Apart from the sheer musicality, they played with flawless precision and the Prestissimo tempo of the third movement down to a pianissimo ending was breathtaking. The final work, Brahms Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 60 was again a masterly interpretation with such a perfect balance and understanding between the four players, a memorable conclusion to this year’s Festival.

Enid Hayles


Choral Workshop and Informal Concert 2008 directed by Sir Neville Marriner

Choral Workshop
Saturday 21 June 2008

CHORAL WORKSHOP AND INFORMAL CONCERT

Neville Marriner Choral workshop photo
Neville Marriner Choral workshop

Music Director: Sir Neville Marriner
Peter Adcock piano
Héloïse West soprano
Benedict Nelson baritone

Programme:

Charles Villiers Stanford Songs of the Sea
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Exsultate, Jubilate
Gabriel Fauré Requiem

It was a privilege to welcome back Sir Neville Marriner to direct the choral workshop on the Saturday; his third visit to the Festival. The 200 singers were joined by a capacity audience for an informal concert in the evening, breaking all previous records. The first half showcased two young soloists who have very promising careers ahead of them. The baritone Benedict Nelson gave a spirited rendering of Stanford’s Songs of the Sea accompanied by the chorus, the wording ‘Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain’ having particular resonance that evening. We were then treated to an enchanting performance from soprano Héloïse West, her pure bel canto voice rising effortlessly in Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate. Following this, the unaccompanied Negro spiritual, Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? was sung with such purity of voice and poignancy of feeling that many in the audience were moved near to tears. The choir then performed the tranquil setting of Fauré’s Requiem articulating all the detail worked on by the maestro during the day, and conveying the emotion of the piece to an appreciative audience.

Enid Hayles


Guy Johnston with Kathryn Stott

Concert
Friday 20 June 2008

Guy Johnston photo
Guy Johnston

Guy Johnston Cello
Kathryn Stott Piano

Programme:

Stravinsky Suite Italienne
Bridge Sonata in D minor for Cello and Piano
Graham Fitkin Relent
Britten Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 65
Rachmaninov Prélude et Danse Orientale
Chopin: Polonaise Brillante
Detail:

On the Friday, the Festival was pleased to welcome the cellist Guy Johnston, BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2000. In the afternoon he conducted a workshop with 11 aspiring young cellists, their ages ranging from 5-18. It was clear they were enjoying this rare opportunity; playing alongside them Guy gave them useful tips and encouragement. As a bonus they were able to come along in the evening to hear his Recital with the international concert pianist Kathryn Stott. The audience were enthralled by their technical brilliance and musicianship in the opening piece, Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne. Guy conveyed both lyricism and drama in Frank Bridge’s Sonata whilst Kathryn brought the first half to an exciting conclusion with a work composed especially for her by Graham Fitkin entitled Relent. Relentless it certainly was; a fast and fiendishly difficult piece with strong and syncopated rhythms played with great verve. The thoughtful interpretation of Britten’s Cello Sonata was followed by the warmth and intensity of Rachmaninov’s Prelude et Danse Orientale. The Recital concluded with a dynamic and passionate account of Chopin’s Polonaise Brillante.

Enid Hayles


The Ten Tors Orchestra

Ten Tors Orchestra photo
Ten Tors Orchestra


Concert
Thursday 19 June 2008

TEN TORS ORCHESTRA

Conductor: Simon Ible

Programme:
Handel Water Music Suite No.2
Mozart Horn Concerto No.4 Soloist: Alec Frank-Gemmill
Walton Two string pieces from Henry V
Mozart Symphony No.41 ‘Jupiter’

The opening concert of the nineteenth Shaldon Festival in St Peter’s Church on Thursday 19 June attracted not only a packed audience but also a packed performance stage with 28 orchestral players; a record number for the Festival. The Ten Tors Orchestra, under the baton of their Conductor Simon Ible, delighted the audience with their varied programme. Highlights included a memorable performance of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4, the solo horn part played by Alec Frank-Gemmill, an outstanding young musical talent. His technique was clear and precise but more important was the sympathy and enjoyment of the music which he communicated so well to the audience. The stillness of two string pieces from Walton’s Henry V set a perfect introduction to Floodlines by Karen Wimhurst, premiered in Plymouth earlier this year. An evocative piece for string orchestra, paying homage to the wild force of water, it certainly seemed to have captured the imagination of the The Ten Tors players as they gave a performance of great conviction. The concert ended with a rousing account of Mozart’s Symphony No.41 ‘Jupiter’.

Enid Hayles