CONCERTS IN 2019
FIRST TERM: JANIUARY TO APRIL 2019
10th January. ARTISTI CON BRIO. Joana Ly, Ed McCullagh violins;
Rebecca Breen, Johan Höglind, violas; Davina Sham, cello.
We welcome 2019 auspiciously with five string-playing members from a huge flexi-ensemble of internationally like-minded performers, formed in order to create a ‘platform where European-based musicians have the freedom and inspiration to explore music, try out their ideas and ultimately continue their never-ending development ’. The main work in their programme is Dvořák’s E flat String Quintet Op 97, written – like the better known symphony – to record his musical impressions of the ’New World’. The hour is filled out with Mozart’s beautiful Duo in G for violin and viola and Schubert’s String Trio Allegro in B flat D471. The programme and the quality of the playing makes this a ‘not to be missed’ occasion.
17th January. ORIOLE QUARTET. Poppy Beddoe, clarinet; Emma Purslow, violin; Florian Belbeoch, cello; Roelof Temmingh, piano.
Brought together especially to perform Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time on Armistice Day 2016 (we have a performance here by a different group on 5th September), this impressive ensemble has remained successfully together. So not the Messiaen, but we have another major piece for this combination: Hindemith’s 1938 Clarinet Quartet, with its beautiful slow movement; also a late Brahms masterwork, the A minor Trio for clarinet, cello and piano.
24th January. MELISSA DAVIES, soprano; MADELAINE JONES, piano.
Melissa has local connections, but is now living in London, studying Vocal Performance at Trinity Laban. She has worked extensively as a soloist in oratorio and opera, but as a recitalist likes to pursue contemporary repertoire. Madelaine is a prize-winning pianist and composer, active across the board – a recent commission was from Carlisle-based Dance Ahead for a large-scale community dance work; her intriguing Exposure for nude pianist was premiered in Paris in 2017. The recital is dominated by Jonathan Dove’s incredibly evocative The Tempest-based Ariel for unaccompanied soprano, but also includes Madeleine’s own Barcarolle, concert arias by Mozart, Lieder by Brahms, Debussy’s Verlaine settings Fétes galantes and a piano piece by Louise Farrenc. Texts/translations will be provided. A musical feast, full of variety!
31st January. KEVIN AYESH, piano.
North Carolina based prizewinning virtuoso, ambassador for the piano, and teacher. Kevin has played and given master-classes throughout the world, and we are on his schedule for a UK visit. He has crammed his programme with some great music for us: Mozart’s elegantly extrovert concerto-style B flat Sonata K333, Brahms’ Intermezzo in A major from Op 118, one of his loveliest pieces, and Chopin’s most ambitious work, the Sonata in B minor Op 58.
7th February. KYMIA KERMANI, clarinet; BELINDA JONES, piano.
Dutch clarinettist Kymia, who now mainly works in Hamburg and Berlin, is one of the finest of her generation. She played with us as a student and liked us, so she is back, bringing a hugely welcome newcomer in Belinda, a pianist who has likewise garnered no mean reputation, The Times saying she is cultivated and versatile, with a significant musical personality. Quite a duo! They also have CDs, which might be on sale. The programme is very much on the lighter side of the repertoire, and will make for a most enjoyable concert: John Ireland’s Fantasy Sonata, Leonard Bernstein’s Clarinet Sonata (just too late for his centenary), Malcolm Arnold’s Sonatine and a good injection of Richard Rodney Bennett and Gershwin. Kymia is returning to open our 2019/20 season with Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.
14th February. AYLESBURY OPERA. Ilana Jacobs, soprano; Christie Cooke, mezzo; Brian Smith-Walters, tenor; Andrew Mayor, baritone; Derek S Henderson, bass; Kelvin Lim, piano.
Regulars will need no urging to come to this presentation, as vocal standards at Aylesbury Opera are so high these days, and their musical direction right on the button. On this occasion they will be singing excerpts from French Opera:
Saint-Saens, Samson et Dalila; Bizet, Carmen; Massenet, Heliodade; Gounod, Faust; and including some piano solos.
21st February. PAUL WILKINSON, piano.
Paul is journeying down from Leeds, where he lectures at the Music College and University there. In another of our more adventurous concerts, our guest is an improviser, especially in the field of jazz. Paul will create some of his one-off compositions as well as showing artistic flair for interpreting and exploring the music of others, including some you will be sure to recognise. As the concert will be completely improvised it is impossible to predict what will happen, or where the music will take Paul and indeed his audience. It is worth saying that improvisation is the essence of all musical cultures except our own. Another open invitation to open minds.
28th February. THE HERMES EXPERIMENT. Héloïse Werner, soprano; Anne Denholm, harp; Oliver Pashley, clarinet; Marianne Schofield, double bass.
French-born Héloïse, one of the rising figures in the contemporary music scene [The Stage], has been given rave reviews for her singing and acting powers, and the group, winners of the Tunnell Trust Awards 2017, Park Lane Young Artists 2015/16 and victors in the Nonclassical Battle of the Bands in 2014, is an ensemble which revels in its idiosyncratic make-up. It commissions new works (from more than fifty composers to date), creates its own arrangements (for our concert Ravel and Double Fiesta by the great magician of the voice, Meredith Monk), and ventures into live free improvisation. They are also deeply into musical education and various projects promoting contemporary music: in short the Hermes is energetically proactive in the up-to-the-minute music scene. We have works by well-regarded composer Errollyn Wallen, and by those seeking to establish themselves – Joseph Davies (born 1887), Robin Haigh (1993) and Josephine Stephenson (1990).
7th March. ENGLISH PIANO TRIO. Timothy Ravenscroft, piano; Jane Faulkner, violin; Pal Banda, cello.
A second appearance of this distinguished international trio, now in its 27th year – quite a privilege for us. The English Piano Trio have been requested by Ian Rutland Boughton, grandson of the composer Rutland Boughton, to perform the world premiere of the 1948 Piano Trio. Rutland Boughton was born in Aylesbury in Bicester Road. His Celtic music drama The Immortal Hour (1912-13) and Christmas choral drama Bethlehem (1915) were immensely popular in their day, and it was he who brought music to Glastonbury – but after the 1920s fashion was disdainful of him. The trio, we are told, only lasts 10 minutes, and is very tonal and very English; we can expect quite a few of the many admirers of the composer to attend (and on 11th April). We shall hear also a trio by Haydn (no 31 in E flat) and the Beethoven E flat Trio Op 70 no 2, the companion piece to the Ghost Trio – much less played, but just as fine.
14th March. CARLA SANTOS, JOANA LY, violin.
Two terrific musicians from Portugal (you will have heard Joana on 10th January, and Carla is a member of the Dryads Duo, frequent visitors), playing music from the heart of Europe, some of the earthy, very short Duos Bartók wrote in 1931, based on folk songs from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia… – not all 44 of them, but a generous selection. They are also including a baroque sonata by Leclair, and Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins. A feast for violin lovers!
21st March. FITZROY STRING QUARTET. Stefano Mengoli, Laura Custodio Sabas, violins; Emily Pond, viola; Michael Newman, cello.
One of the finest young quartets, with many awards and prizes, and worldwide experience – so where else should they come but Aylesbury? This is an ensemble not daunted by ‘difficult’ works, and they are playing for us one the most difficult, and for all its brevity, perhaps the most important and influential twentieth century quartet, Bartók’s Third. This is framed by two very contrasting pieces: an early quartet by the immensely productive Boccherini, paralleling Haydn as the founder of modern chamber music; and Mendelssohn’s E minor Quartet, Op 44/2, written just after his marriage, and with a finale composed, as one commentator has it, with the invigorating energy of a honeymooner. To quote Barry Millington in the Evening Standard, This prizewinning quartet is one to look out for.
28th March. ANTONIO OYARZABAL, piano.
Born in Bilbao, now resident in London, Antonio has a career as a recitalist, playing with orchestras and as a chamber musician, and tours widely – and finding a generous response to his musicianship. What has been called his ‘magical touch’ will be clearly evident in our programme, which he calls The Inner Child: Schumann’s evergreen Kinderszenen, Debussy’s Children’s Corner, the Spaniard Mompou’s Scènes d’enfants and Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye Suite. His of CD of The Inner Child won the Spanish Golden Melomano Prize, and will hopefully be on sale. It can be sampled on his website.
4th April. OLIVE MURRAY, soprano, CHRISTOPHER FOREMAN, piano.
Olive has considerable experience as a versatile singer of opera and oratorio as well as a recitalist, appearing in many London venues as well as elsewhere in the UK and abroad. Christopher is perhaps better known as a church musician, and has a working repertoire of three thousand organ pieces; he has also been Olive’s duo partner since 2001. We are going to have songs by Mozart, Haydn, Liszt, Poulenc, Richard Strauss, Bizet – and perhaps a few more. In short, a very enjoyable occasion.
11th April. ARWEN NEWBAND, violin; ANNA LE HAIR, piano.
Two professional musicians with local connections who are good friends of our concerts, both as a duo and as members of the Icknield Trio; they can also be relied upon to be adventurous in their programming. Following our premier of the Rutland Boughton Piano Trio (7th March), we have a very rare outing for the Violin Sonata, which is also likely to see interest beyond the Vale. Almost as rare is Joaquín Turina’s 1924 four movement fantasy, El poema de una sanluqueña, in which he expresses his love for the resort of Sanlúcar, and its beautiful Andalusian girls… living in a sad and never-ending dream. Stravinsky’s more familiar Divertimento, drawn from his ballet The Fairy’s Kiss, fills out an extremely varied programme, lasting around 65 minutes.
18th April. AYLESBURY CONSORT OF VOICES. Kelvin Turner, director.
Our brilliant Consort returns with a beautifully programmed Maundy Thursday concert: Of Birds and Bees. We’ll hear favourite madrigals such as Sweet Honey-Sucking Bees, The Suffolk Owl, The Silver Swan, Ah Robin, Dainty Fine Bird, and some Chansons. Also two sublime Responsories for Maundy Thursday by the great Spanish master, Victoria. Some simply wonderful music.
25th April. SIMON WATTERTON. piano.
Our replacement guest is one of the finest UK Beethoven pianists of his generation, and he is going to play for us that composer’s E major Sonata Opus 109. Not only that, but also another masterpiece, the twenty short pieces comprising Schumann’s Carnaval, mainly virtuoso character portraits. This is an experience quite unmissable, especially with a pianist such as our guest (see his website). He also promises one or two extra bon mots – so likely to go beyond the hour.
SECOND TERM: May to July 2019
2nd May JAMES NEWBY, baritone; PANARETOS KYRIATZIDIS, piano
Beethoven - An die ferne Geliebte - complete (6 songs)
Liszt - Die drei Zigeuner
Mahler - Revelge
Duparc Extase and Phidyle
Warlock - The night and Yarmouth Fair
Butterworth - On Wenlock Edge - Excerpts:
Loveliest of trees
When I was one-and-twenty
Look not in my eyes
Think no more, lad
The lads in their hundreds
Is my team ploughing?
We are sorry not to be able to provide texts for this concert but you may wish to download them for yourselves.
9th May. CANTABILE. Sophie-Anne Chaplin, violin; Andrew Liddell, guitar.
By coincidence, this week’s guests are also from Trinity Laban, but their duo premier last year was in Scotland. Both are very versatile (we are not sure whether Sophie-Anne will display her vocal skills; she is also involved in theatre; and Andrew is pursuing a career as a violinist).This is pure enjoyment, with a diverse and entertaining programme, ranging from baroque Germany, Spain and Latin America to Scarborough Fair.
16th May. NING HUI SEE, piano.
Trained in her native Singapore and at the Royal College of Music, London-based Ning Hui has won international acclaim and many prizes: The Straits Times praised her refined touch and all-round musical personality.
She will play for us: Scarlatti, Sonatas in B flat major, K 551 and in E flat major, K 474;
Beethoven, Sonata No. 27 in E major, Op. 90; Chopin, Preludes nos 1-15 + 17; Clara Schumann (on whose music our guest is something of a specialist), Romanzen Op. 11 No. 1 and Robert Schumann, Schlummerlied.
23rd May. CHARLOTTE ROWAN, violin; CHARLOTTE STEVENSON, piano.
The third visit of the ‘two Charlottes’, this is a pairing of musicians from Scotland about as compatible as one can hear. That said, Charlotte Rowan is an unashamed virtuoso on the violin, and revels in the most difficult show pieces the repertoire has to offer; her technical adroitness and flare have impressed audiences all over the UK (see comments on her website). However as well as Wieniawski and others, we have the hugely enjoyable C minor Sonata Op 45 of Grieg (also being played on 6th June: having asked for this work for ages, two performances come along – but such is the quality of the piece we didn’t seek a programme change). Connoisseurs of the violin shouldn’t miss this.
30th May. FILIPPO DI BARI, GIULIA SEMERANO, piano four-hands.
A well-established duo of energetic and enterprising pianists from Italy based in London. The programme for Aylesbury they call Looking back, looking forward: piano duets of the 1900s. It contains a fascinating novelty: the original version of War Pages by Alfredo Casella, an influential figure in Italian music in the first half of the last century: four miniatures which, in effect, are soundtracks to war newsreel clips. Also Debussy’s enigmatic Six épigraphes antiques, Poulenc’s early all-too-brief and irrepressible Sonata for Four Hands, and selections from György Kurtág’s endlessly inventive and diverting Játekók (Games), and some of his beautiful Bach transcriptions. Something for most tastes, even the intrepid.
6th June. OLIVER NELSON, violin; VASILIS RAKITZIS, piano.
A welcome return of this fine duo. Oliver has appeared as a concerto soloist throughout the UK and abroad, including in Muscat with the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra, playing privately for the Sultan afterwards. He was also the body double in the crucial ‘violinist’ scenes in François Girard’s film The Song of Names. Vasilis is likewise enjoying an international career, retaining particularly strong links with his native Greece, where he won the prestigious Eleni Mykoniou Prize awarded by the Academy of Athens. Both are also heavily involved in teaching. Mozart and Schubert accompany a second performance of the Grieg C minor Sonata (see also 23rd May), a thoroughly Romantic, tuneful work, embodying the spirit of its composer’s genial brand of musical nationalism.
13th June. ANERN TRIO AND FRIENDS (sextet). Lisa Ueda, Nao Sakai, violins; Ian Byrne Brito, Natalia Solis Paredes, violas; Nigel Blomiley, Madeleine Ridd, cellos.
Three outstanding musicians form the core trio itself: Lisa is a concerto soloist and recitalist world-wide, and is a member of the prize-winning Ueda/Rinaldo Duo. Her husband, Ian, is a soloist, chamber musician, teacher, and – as an expert on historical instruments – manager at Stringers; and Nigel occupied the first cello desk at the BBC Concert Orchestra for many years. Karen and Naomi both play in the Royal Opera House Orchestra, and Joe is a freelance pupil of Ian’s. The programme consists of an anonymous 1802 arrangement of Mozart’s great Violin and Viola Sinfonia Concertante in E flat K364, and one of Tchaikovsky’s most joyfully exhilarating works, Souvenir de Florence, in its original sextet version. Around 70 minutes. This feast of fine string playing is the last concert of the 2018/19 season largely paid for by our audience donations.
20th June. PASSEPARTOUT PIANO DUO. Alexandra and Nathan Tinker, piano four hands.
Alexandra, from Romania, and Nathan, from Japan, formed the duo in 2011. It is very flexible, performing a wide repertory wherever music is needed. Outreach programmes and teaching are very important to both our guests, as are their independent careers as solo and collaborative musicians: Nathan is particularly in demand as an accompanist. We are also going to hear one of his compositions, but the bulk of their programme is taken over by arrangements of two of the key works in western music: Debussy’s exotic and erotic Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, based on his own two-piano adaptation, and Stravinsky’s own four-hand version of the elemental The Rite of Spring – another audience request fulfilled. But will our piano survive to play another tune?
27th June. DUO GIULIANO-MIKELEIZ. Daryl Giuliano, cello; Iñigo Mikeleiz, accordion.
Canadian cellist Daryl has impressed us on several visits, but Spanish accordionist Iñigo is a new guest, with an instrument rarely heard at our concerts. Both cello and accordion are able to maintain sound for a long period of time and vary their colours and intensity with the same note: as no less a figure than Mstislav Rostropovich said, If cellists want to discover the possibilities of the cello, they should play the accordion… He might well have been thinking of the astonishing music Sofia Gubaidulina has written for the bayan, the Russian button accordion – and we have an example dominating our concert, In Croce, in which two strands of sound form an aural cross; this is another audience request. Also Locatelli, Granados, Bloch (From Jewish Life) and Piazzolla (Le Grand Tango).
4th July: AMADEUS PIANO DUO. Sharon Barnea; Famia Choi Castro, piano four hands.
Many of our regulars will remember Sharon and Fami very well, and now they are back on the road having taken three years off touring to look after their daughter, with Aylesbury high on their schedule. They are going to play one of their specialities, Schubert’s towering F minor Fantasie D940, as well as his Andantino varié D823, an arrangement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no 3, and a selection of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances. Finely honed professionals to the core, Sharon and Fami first featured in our series as students in 2008, and many times afterwards; it will be good to renew our connection with them.
11th July. RIDGEWAY ENSEMBLE. Judith Sheridan, voice; Margaret Richards, cello; Daniel King Smith, piano.
A highly regarded and popular trio specialising in themed concerts, with readings (not at St Mary’s – we are going for music only). Our concert is called New Horizons – Diverging Paths: Cello, piano and vocal music 1900-1930. It is described thus: As the twentieth century dawned, composers all over Europe were seeking new ways to express themselves, some reacting against the high Romantic style which had been dominant for so long by turning to the traditions of their native countries, while others pushed beyond the limits of accepted tonality. We explore the different paths that developed in the early years of the century, and the effect of the First World War, in a programme ranging from Richard Strauss to Weill and Gershwin.
18th July. ALBERT LAU, piano.
Steinway Artist Albert returns to Aylesbury, even though he is now based in Cologne and playing all over Europe and Asia, not least in sell-out concerts with violinist Paola Delucchi as the Apeiron Duo, also at St Mary’s in its earlier days. Albert is a musician of great versatility (his Purcell Room debut was devoted entirely to John Cage), and is anxious to open up the repertoire, and not always the contemporary. Thus we have in our hour music by two of the most important female composers of the nineteenth century: selections from Fanny Hensel’s Lieder aus Pianoforte (she was Mendelssohn’s sister, and yielded to a family injunction not to publish her music for almost all of her short life), and Clara Schumann’s Variations on a theme of Robert Schumann; and her husband’s own little-played First Sonata in F sharp minor. As far as we know Albert is coming from Cologne just for our concert, indicating the respect our series has achieved.
25th July. SALLY QUANTRILL, flute; LYDIA BOSWORTH, piano.
After a break last year Sally and Lydia resume their end-of-season slot, and they are already booked for 2020. Their programmes are always pleasurable, beautifully played, blending (hopefully) with some summer sunshine. Sonatas from CPE Bach and Charles Koechlin, and novelty items by the Azerbaijani composer Fikret Amirov and John Wilson.
THIRD TERM: SEPTEMBER to DECEMBER 2019
5th September. CONSONE STRING QUARTET. Agata Daraskaite, Magdalena Loth-Hill, violins; Elitsa Bogdanova, viola George Ross, cello.
This replaces the advertised concert, cancelled because of a family tragedy. Our 2019/20 season now begins with a wonderful opportunity to hear a superb young string quartet, just selected by the BBC as New Generation Artists, having already won the 2016 Royal Overseas League Ensemble Prize and other plaudits. The quartet was formed at the Royal College of Music in 2012 with the aim exploring of the Classical and early Romantic repertory on period instruments, with a special focus on the neglected teenage Schubert quartets. We are having one of these, the C major D32, in our programme, along with two of Haydn’s most adventurous and exciting quartets, the D major Op 20/4, and the so-called Rider Quartet in G minor Op 74/3. It is worth noting that they are flying back from Hungary after playing in the Haydn Room at the Esterházy Palace, where the great man was in charge of music for years, a day or two before our concert. Do check the Consone Quartet website, and also read the rave reviews of their debut CD, which will be on sale. We would like to openly thank the quartet for stepping into the breech after the sad cancellation of the Messiaen.
12th September. PANARETOS KYRIATZIDIS, piano.
Popular with our ‘regulars’, popular with his fellow-musicians, Panaretos’s versatility is a hugely appreciated asset to the contemporary London musical scene; at the moment he is working towards founding his own opera company. Although better known as an accompanist he is a fine solo pianist, and as such he is launching our two-year celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birth anniversary with sonatas in sunny major keys. It took a while to choose – they’re all so wonderful, says Panaretos. But we have the beautifully contrasted selection of the quirky F major, Op 10/2, the Pastoral in D Op 28 – one of Beethoven’s own favourites – and the epic Waldstein in C Op 53.
19th September. ADRIAN OLDLAND, piano.
Since winning the Alfred Kitchin Prize in 2010, Adrian has become of the UK’s most sought after younger pianists, with further multinational prizes and a busy career throughout Europe, as well as at home. He is an unashamed Schumann specialist, and for his second visit will be playing for us Kinderszenen and Arabeske, as well as Chopin’s great E major Scherzo, Brahms’ two evergreen Rhapsodies Op 79, and a Liszt/Schumann arrangement.
26th September. GENEVIÈVE USHER, soprano, and friends: Iona Voicu-Arnautoiu, Jane MacSween, violins; Elizabeth Hart, viola; Rosalind Laher, cello; Alan Thomas, cello; Norman MacSween, organ continuo.
Versatile and enterprising soprano Geneviève has assembled this ensemble for a performance of a particularly treasurable setting of the Stabat Mater – a medieval poem on Mary’s suffering as she witnesses Christ’s crucifixion – composed by Boccherini, a pioneer of chamber music who influenced Haydn, and whose honourable place in musical history is only now being given its due. This work belongs to 1781, and although composed in Spain reflects the composer’s Italian origins. A combination of baroque echoes in a classical world, it is of exquisite poignancy. As a contrast members of the instrumental group are playing a vigorous Trio Sonata in G by another pioneer, CPE Bach. Notes, the Latin text and translation will be available. Thanks again to our audience for making this possible.
3rd October. DRUCKER PIANO QUARTET. Maria Kouznetsova, violin; Henrietta Hill, viola; Toby White, cello; Ryan Drucker, piano.
With the exception of Maria (see Wikipedia), these musicians have memorably been to Aylesbury before, and we know how good they are! By the time we hear this newish combination – coming together in 2017 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as postgraduate students and a Junior Fellow – they will have had their debut at the 2019 Lake District Summer Festival. As Henrietta says, we believe in exploring the wonderful piano quartet repertory already well loved, and lesser known contemporary works.
STOP PRESS!!!! Ryan Drucker has sustained an injury, and cannot play. The excellent pianist GAMAL KHAMIS is taking his place, and the programme is now: MOZART, Piano Quartet in E flat and FAURÉ, Piano Quartet in C minor. To echo our illustrious Webmaster, both ‘belters’!
10th October. CLARE DENIZ, cello.
‘More Bach!’ has been a consistent demand, and this concert is a major response (see also 7th November). Cellist Clare, one upon a time in the Strawbs rock band, and now – after studying under Jacqueline du Pré and mentorship by Paul Tortelier – having a busy international career in classical music as a performer and teacher, is coming to Aylesbury to play nothing but JSB. We are going to hear no less than three of the solo Suites written around 1720 – no 2 in D, no 4 in E flat, and no 6 in D. These are collections of contrasted dances, introduced by a free-form Prelude, and at the heart of western instrumental music. In the St Mary’s acoustic they will sound particularly fine. There was a stillness which allowed Bach’s music to speak across the centuries to the audience (report of Clare at the Dawlish Festival). See also 21st November.
17th October. MASAYUKI TAYAMA, piano.
A rare and extraordinary virtuoso, with musicianship like no other – an enthusiastic blast from Moscow directed at Masayuki, but anyone fortunate to have been at his previous recital in Aylesbury would not have dismissed this as hyperbole: ‘Get him back!’ was the clear instruction, and here he is. Born in Japan, he has been drawn to London, initially to complete his studies, and then as a base for an international career. His Wigmore Hall debut was a sell-out. A Rachmaninov specialist (he is recording the piano music for a Japanese label – CDs on sale), Masayuki is intriguingly playing some of the composer’s transcriptions: Mussorgsky, Bizet, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Behr, as well as Chopin (including the Revolutionary Etude), and – as the main work – Beethoven’s sublime last sonata, the C minor, Op 111, for many the greatest piano sonata ever written.
24th October. HELOÏSE WERNER, soprano; NATALIE BURCH, piano.
Is there a more vital and dynamic soprano working in the UK at the moment than Paris-born Heloïse, or a more versatile enterprising accompanist than Natalie? Both are involved, with Hermes Experiment and SongSpiel respectively, at the cutting-edge of creating new musical and performing possibilities. We are having a performance of Britten’s rapturous song-cycle Les Illuminations, with a text from Rimbaud, and then what are likely to be world premieres of two works written in response to the Britten, by Jonathan Woolgar and Heloïse herself – a programme which is going to tour the country. We hope Hermes Experiment itself will return in 2021; Anne Denholm, their amazing harpist, is booked for 30 April next year.
31st October. KAPSETAKI TWINS. Stephanie and Marianna Kapsetaki, solo and four-hands piano.
On their first visit to Aylesbury, here we have professional musicians with a Europe-wide reputation who are also scientists: a neurologist (Stephanie) and evolutionary biologist (Marianna). One can only look at their website and Wikipedia with something like awe. Anyway, as pianists between them they have won 1st prize in ten international competitions, and four-hand prizes also. Just as they seem to move tirelessly between music and science, their music-making smoothly rings the changes particularly between their native Greece (specifically Crete) and the UK, piling up recitals and appearances for charity. We have solos (Scarlatti, Chopin warhorses: Fantasie Impromptu, Ballade no 3), a four-hand Liszt warhorse (Hungarian Rhapsody no 2) and ‘surprises’.
7th November. ANYSSA NEUMANN, piano.
When Anyssa included Bach at her previous Aylesbury recital you could have heard a pin drop. Someone mentioned the Goldberg Variations, and here she is to play what is arguably Bach’s keyboard masterpiece. The newspaper of her native Sacramento put it perfectly: Clarity, charm equipoise… liquid grace, live-wire tautness… a pianist who has established a deep connection with the Bach repertoire. Anyssa divides her time between the USA and London, as a bridge to Europe. She has written about the pianist Glenn Gould and on the use of music by the great Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman: she has just spent the summer as Artist in Residence at the Bergman Estate, Fârö. Any performance of the Goldberg is an event, and this should not be missed.
14th November. POPPY BEDDOE, clarinet; HENRIETTA HILL, viola; RACHEL WATSON, cello.
These three splendid musicians were last together at Aylesbury as members of the Scordatura Women’s Music Collective, and all have diverse and interesting careers – Rachel, for example, was a founder of the London Street Orchestra, and Henrietta has already appeared this autumn (see 3rd October). Poppy is one of the brightest and best of the UK’s young clarinettists. Their programme, featuring six female composers, four of them very much alive, is as interesting as one would dare to hope. It begins with Rebecca Clarke’s lovely 1941 Prelude, Allegro and Pastorale, for clarinet and viola, followed by Rhiannon Randle’s 2019 Duo, commissioned to be played with the Clarke. Amy Bryce’s The House that Man Built was composed for our players for the Suffrage Centenary last year, and makes use of contact mics. A transcription of a chant by Hildegard von Bingen leads us into a piece which quotes another chant by the medieval abbess, Hilary Tann’s Kilvert’s Hills. Caroline Shaw’s limestone+ felt (‘good fun’) ends the concert.
21st November. TRIO PIERNÉ. Ana Rodriguez, flute; Clare Deniz, cello; Alan Brown, piano.
The trio tells us that its repertory ranges from Baroque to the present day, but its core repertory is the sparkling and effervescent compositional oeuvre which transports the listener to the romanticism of the nineteenth century music salon. So: Friedrich Kuhlau was a Danish contemporary of Beethoven, and we are going to hear his Grand Trio in G minor; Weber was another Beethoven contemporary, and his substantial G minor Trio concludes the concert. The central work is an arrangement of the Piano Trio in G the young Debussy composed in 1880, but unpublished until 1986. The performers (including Clare Deniz, 10th October) are all prize winners of a calibre to make this a really delightful occasion.
28th November. MEERA MAHARAJ, flute; DOMINIC DEGAVINO, piano.
Formed in 2017, the duo has enjoyed considerable success, not least as the winners of the Royal Academy of Music Flute Prize. Both musicians have now completed their Masters at RAM and Guildhall respectively, and are looking forward to developing their duo partnership and other individual music ventures. Between them they have already played at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and many big London venues. They are playing two of the most treasured works in the repertoire, Bach’s E major Sonata, with its lovely Siciliana, and Prokofiev’s tuneful D major Sonata, which is also well known in its violin version, tailed by the 2017 Sonata by Andy Scott, more familiar in the world of the saxophone (an instrument featuring next year).
3rd December. CARLA SANTOS, violin; SAUL PICADO, piano; JOANA LY, NUNO CARAPINA, violins; SOFIA SILVA SOUSA, viola; MIGUEL FERNANDES, cello.
This concert not only owes a debt to our audience generosity, but to those members of the Portuguese musical community in London who have come together to present the wonderful Ernest Chausson Concert for us. This is an event! Named after the baroque French concert, it is a kind of concerto for violin and piano, with a string quartet instead of an orchestra, and full of the kind of powerful emotional language one would expect from a piece of 1890; in the St Mary’s acoustic with these players it cannot fail to make an impact. Also, Carla and Saul will conclude our little Clara Schumann bi-centennial celebration with the exquisite Three Romances, written for the great violinist Joseph Joachim, and the quartet, hair down, will play Piazzolla’s Four for Tango. Carla and Saul are well known to us as the Dryads Duo; Joana is a member of Artisti con Brio (their year-opening performance of the Dvorak E flat String Quintet had a huge ‘thumbs up’) and will be adding to her appearances at Aylesbury in Beethoven quartets 2020/1; Nuno is an ex-member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and now plays in the Philharmonia, Sofia is a prize-winning violist and Artist-in-Residence in the Belgian Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, and Miguel is a cellist in the City of Birmingham SO.
12th December. AERIS BRASS. Ian Sankey, Martin Lee Thomson, Ali Goodwin, Adam Crighton, trombones.
We don’t often feature the trombone at Aylesbury, and to have four of them is a real treat, especially as they bring along such innovation and enterprise. Aeris Brass, which won this year’s British Trombone Society Quartet Competition, was formed in 2015 to make music with friends and to take that music to places they loved… The four commission new music, as well as make arrangements of pieces across the musical spectrum, some of which we shall hear, sending new sonorities around the church. A special pleasure should be a new piece by Laura Jurd, the brilliant jazz trumpeter. We are promised a little tinsel dusting, but even without it a most unusual and entertaining hour is guaranteed.
Our concerts are funded from our admission takings and donations and gifts (some very generous indeed) from our loyal audience. Our genius Treasurer ensures any donation is spent only on music, not on overheads. And we always pay our musicians as much as we dare. Every attendance makes a difference, and like all classical music societies we struggle to gain and keep an audience, so please come along whenever you can and help ensure our survival.
Aylesbury Lunchtime Music reserves the right to change programmes, and – as far as we are able – these are announced at previous concerts and posted on our website. We also have an email list to keep you informed: see or email Mike Butterworth.
Many of the musicians/ensembles have websites and are on YouTube, and we recommend that you look and listen.
Our thanks are due to Fr Doug Zimmerman, the Rector of St Mary’s, for making our guests so welcome, and for the help he gives the organising team. We must also extend our gratitude to the Parish Administrator, Karen Baker, who despite increased pressure of work never fails to print our listings (e.g. the one you are holding) and programmes.
Mike Butterworth: website, email, posters, press liaison, hosting
Trevor Dawe: hosting
Colin Ferris: treasurer, page turner
Janet Frost: hosting, admission desk
David Mulraney: bookings, programmes, listings
Marion Mulraney: admission desk
Jane Turner: hosting
Any comments? Suggestions? Talk to us, or email