What a superb season we had last year! Starting with the Dante String Quartet, then Madeleine Mitchell in November and in December Saxophonist Hannah Marcinowicz, playing with pianist John Reid. Understandably, one or two wondered about this concert, but in the event they were totally won over.
I missed the Northern Brass in February, due to getting my diary wrong, but I know the concert was well enjoyed. I deserved no sympathy at all for booking a ‘steam in the snow’ photographic holiday in the mildest winter weather the Harz Mountains had experienced for years! No sympathy and no snow!!
In March, the Calvert-Turner Duo played a programme from Bach to Ravi Shankar by way of Bartok and Astor Piazzolla. A nice feature was several young children in the audience, who were learning harp and cello. Rowena and Ellie spent ages after the concert signing CDs and talking to the young musicians. Wouldn’t it be great if we saw more young people in the audience?
Our final concert of the winter was given by the outstanding Brazilian pianist, Clélia Iruzun. Her Chopin interpretations were a revelation and her presentation of South American and Spanish music demand a sharply upward reappraisal of these composers. And what a lovely, unassuming person she is.
Our 59th Season ended with the Absolution Saxophone Quartet at the summer concert and AGM. No wonder they were finalists in the 2010 chamber music top award at the RNCM. The expressions on the audience’s collective faces when the quartet wandered in for the second half of the concert playing ‘Hoe Down’ deserved videoing. ‘Serious Music’ isn’t always serious!
At this time, we are keenly anticipating next season. This will be our 60th year of presenting concerts in Clitheroe and it will be another memorable year. We start on 5th October with the Piatti String Quartet, who will be playing Haydn, Bartok and Smetana. The Piatti are an outstanding group and sponsored by the Countess of Munster Trust, a great recommendation. They have all won individual prizes at the RAM or the RCM. When we next see rave reviews in the national newspapers and magazines, we may surely be allowed a smug thought that we have already heard them in Clitheroe and know just how good they are.
The Erato Trio may also be described as young, but have already established themselves in Britain and Europe. Individually they are multiple prize winners; Julia Morneweg made her concerto debut as soloist in 2005, two years before she graduated with honours from the Royal College of Music. Yuri Kalnits was even more of a prodigy. He won the prize for the most outstanding string player of the year at the Royal College of Music only 16! John Paul Elkins has played all over the UK and in ten other countries. He has also played as soloist in at least seven piano concertos over this time. The trio have won many prestigious prizes and have two recordings awaiting release, one containing the Haydn C Major Trio to be played at our concert. This promises to be another outstanding evening.
The Gallimaufry Ensemble is to give our December concert. This quintet is renowned for their breathtaking musical ability and imaginative programming. The Times said: “dazzlingly well done” and “They clearly possess boundless nerve and resolute techniques”. The Guardian’s view: “(Carter’s Quintet) … was arrestingly performed, with every facet of its strenuous intellectualism unblinkingly explored.”
The Eblana String Trio with David Curington from the RNCM will start 2012 in the right way. Their concert is on the 8th February. We have been lucky to book them as they are in great demand. They were excellent when they played for us previously and are even better now, as I heard for myself at the finals for the RNCM’s Chamber Group of the Year competition in 2010. Having David Curington along is an extra bonus. Look out for Britten’s early oboe quartet! This isn’t well known, but it deserves to be.
Our 7th March concert is particularly interesting. Pianist Ana Laura Manero was born in Cuba and cellist Arturo Serna in Venezuela. Together they are the Duo Teresa Carreño, with a high reputation for their interpretation of both European and South American music. The first half of their concert is devoted to Tchaikowsky and Rachmaninov. After the interval, they play works by Piazzolla, Villa-Lobos and Alberto Ginastera. Interestingly, both were connected with El Sistema when in Venezuela. The pupils from this free musical education programme played Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in this year’s proms. Anthony Hewitt’s remarkable project is to cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats, playing at each stop to raise money for the Sistema Scotland project and two other charities.
Our Diamond Jubilee season ends fittingly with a concert played by Martin Roscoe. Martin is an old friend and needs no introduction, being one of the world’s most prolific, respected and best-loved pianists. He will be playing four Beethoven Sonatas. Again there are connections to other parts of our celebration year. Martin himself is celebrating sixty years. Anthony Hewitt was one of his pupils!
Anthony (the “Olympianist”) will be stopping in Clitheroe on the night of 18th May 2012, when he will be playing a concert of works by Schumann, the details of which will be confirmed shortly. This concert will be in “The Grand”, because the School is unavailable and because there will be great interest outside of our own members. National and local newspapers are interested and also television and radio. There will be a civic welcome on his arrival and press and television crews in attendance. This will give excellent publicity to our Society and our friends at the Grand, who will be handling ticket sales and much else. Tickets will be priced at a very reasonable £10. We want our own members to have a chance of tickets first and you will be kept informed. Above all, we want everyone to enjoy some fine music played by a very fine pianist. Anyone who was at his CCS concert with Alexander Zemstov a couple of years ago or his recent recital at the Ribble Valley International Piano Week will understand.
On other matters, our website www.clitheroeconcerts.org/ is even better with very detailed notes of concerts, artists and works posted by our Chairman, Tony Cooper. The historical programmes will settle many an argument about our past seasons! Subscriptions and donations may be paid and individual tickets purchased via the website. A page of links to other local musical societies makes life easier if a good concert is discovered in Burnley, Preston, Manchester or even over the ‘border’ in Skipton or Ilkley.
Meanwhile, the Secretary’s new informal email ‘jottings’ give breaking news. And it’s really well worth looking at our website. If you don’t have a computer or are without an email address, why not ask a friend, family member or the library to help. Watch out also for the articles both before and after the concerts in the Clitheroe Advertiser. They support us well. Our thanks must be given to Howard and Susan Brindle who feed and accommodate our artists and to those who provide tea and coffee at the interval. And to those who generously give donations, now worth a quarter more through gift-aiding.
Ann Robinson has taken over as Membership Secretary and Barbara Milne-Redhead as Publicity Officer, but we are still desperate for more help. Organising the concerts is an exciting hobby but we need a Treasurer by law and some more committee members. It’s satisfying fun! Please think about it and let us know.
Hon.Secretary and Concert Organiser