Archive for September, 2012

Review of a piano recital by George Harliono presented by Chatteris Music Society at the Parish Church of St Peter and St. Paul, Chatteris on Saturday 1st September 2012.

September 11, 2012

Chatteris Music Society, spearheaded by Katherine Childs, struck a winner when they asked 11-year-old George Harliono to give a piano recital in the village church today.  The audience knew it would be a grand occasion as the church was packed with enthusiasts.

One would expect a young lad of that age who started playing the piano at the age of 7 to play ‘nicely’ but not necessarily in the mature manner someone of twice his age would. However, this young performer was no ordinary player. He presented a full challenging programme that demonstrated an highly effective technique and there were many moments of mature musical awareness that is normally only associated with the best of performers.

His opening item, Piano Sonata No 14 in c sharp minor (The Moonlight Sonata) by Beethoven, flowed beautifully in the first movement (Adagio Sostenuto), with many of the underlying melodic fragments clearly delineated.  He brought out the skittishness of Beethoven in the second movement (Allegretto) while his playing of the third movement (Presto Agitato) was at a magnificently energetic speed with much of Beethoven’s angst very much apparent.

By way of contrast, George then showed an impressive ability for cohesion in Estampes by Debussy: In the first movement, Pagodes, he shaped the phrases beautifully creating unmistakable images of grand Japanese pagodas. In the second movement, La soirée dans Grenade, a constant reference to Spanish rhythm and melodic flavour combined with his varied touch contrasted  combined well with the typical flowing delicacy of Debussy and prominent resounding thematic material, while in the third, Jardin sous la pluie, the atmosphere was again created wonderfully as his technique made the music flow exquisitely, creating fluid, watery textures.

His brother, Joshua Harliono (violin) then gave a delightful performance on the violin of the first of Four Romantic Pieces by Dvorak (Allegro Moderato)

After interval of tea and cakes, George played one of his favourite pieces, Rachmaninov’s Prelude no.12 in c sharp minor (op. 3 no2). There was no doubt that George has a phenomenal technique and this piece demonstrated this particularly well.

A mature approach and some particularly effective soft episodes in Schubert’s Four Impromptus D899 (Op. 90) ended the concert magnificently.  The first Impromptu in C minor (Allegro Molto Moderato) showed tremendous contrasting dynamic levels and in the second, E flat (Allegro) this amazingly talented pianist presented some astounding runs in the right hand. The third in G flat (Andante) brought out the mature musicianship of this young performer. The expression he created in the opening was spellbinding.  In the final, fourth Impromptu, in A flat (Allegretto) he managed some deliciously soft ripples in the right hand. He brought out the poignancy of contrasting episodes and swelling dynamics particularly well.

With an immediate stage presence, George confidently introduced the pieces, moved assuredly to sit at the grand piano and gave a recital of mammoth proportions for a performer of this age. It was perfectly understandable that he was given a standing ovation and there were people queuing for his autograph at the end. The demand for an encore was easily met and George gave a splendid performance of Glinka’s ‘The Lark’ to make this one of the most amazing performances I have seen recently.

Chatteris Music Society’s next event will be ‘An Evening of Music’ with Andrew Parnell (piano), Koren Parnell (clarinet) and Rebecca Duckworth (soprano) with music by Schubert, Gershwin, Finzi and Poulenc at Chatteris Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul tel: 01354 669104

Events next year include European Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra (Youth Orchestra), Kings College Choral Scholars, Los Guitanos, and Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra (featuring a piano concerto).

For more information contact: 01354 693279

Review of Prime Brass in Concert in Ely Cathedral on Sunday 9th September 2012

September 11, 2012

Prime Brass, conductor Paul Trepte and Johnathan Lilley on the organ have presented highly successful concerts in Ely Cathedral for a number of years. This year’s event was as successful as ever, however, this time there was a difference. A special, new work was included: – Paul Patterson’s The Royal Eurostar. Before it was performed, the composer described what we were to expect and the enthusiasm of his description was certainly warranted by the colour, excitement and variation it achieved. With trumpeters and timpani at different parts of the Cathedral, adding to and contrasting the sturdy band of brass and percussion players in the octagon ( supported by organist Jonathan Lilley) the resultant rolling fanfare of sound had us pinned to the seats, wondering what delights would come next. We could easily imagine the excitement of its first performance at Waterloo Station, the home of The Eurostar, in the presence of the Queen and the Prime Minister then, Lady Thatcher.

The rest of the concert contained some momentous compositions that demonstrated the tremendous power and skill of the performers. These included Hymne au Sacré-Coeur by Naji Hakim, Marche Triomphale du Centenaire de Napoléon 1 by Louis Vierne, Spitfire Prelude and Fugue by William Walton, and Entrata Festiva Op. 93 by Flors Peeters. The programme was balanced with moments of beauty and pleasant sustained sounds provided by Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis by Timothy Jackson and Feierlicher Einzug der Ritter des Johanniter-Ordens by Richard Strauss.

Paul’s conducting was inspired throughout and it is no surprise to learn that he received Honorary Fellowships from both The Royal School or Church Music and the Guild of Church Musicians this year.

Prime Brass will return to Ely Cathedral on the 20th of October 2012 to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Huntingdonshire Male Voice Choir.

The next concert at Ely Cathedral will feature the City Of Ely Military Band on 23rd September 2012.

Review of Cambridge Voices in Ely Cathedral on Monday 27th August 2012.

September 1, 2012

ADeC, Ian de Massini, Cambridge Voices and The Orchestra of the Age of Reason (directed by Peter Britton) triumphed again. To a packed Lady Chapel, they presented a highly energized performance of Bach’s well-known Mass in B Minor. As one would expect with Ian, there was never a dull moment. This was no ordinary performance. A work that at first seemed so familiar was invigourated wih unique verve and delight as the music positively come alive, keeping the listeners spellbound throughout the performance. Ian’s enthusiasm, his empathy with the inner working so Bach’s composition and messages and his capacity to inspire created a glorious experience never to be forgotten.

The highlights were when the choir and orchestra sang in full reign, especially in the opening and third Kyri e, Cum Sancto Spiritu (Prelude and Fugue) in part two, Credo 1(Fugue)  in part three and Sanctus (Fantasia) in Part 4.   The immediate impact of these pieces sent shivers down the spine.

It is amazing how these wonderful musicians could fill the Lady Chapel (and its renowned delayed echo) with exquisitely-shaped lines that interwove again and again and yet remained clear in a full, rich ‘unmuddied’ texture. The acoustic qualities of the Lady Chapel were wonderfully harnessed: every detail carefully considered. Changes of timing, mood and texture were carefully and smoothly controlled and from the very opening when the choir surrounded us, we were made to feel centre-stage, at the core of the music.

One of the most moving items was very early into the evening when Ian, (Countertenor), Nick Nightingale (Tenor) and Chris Newlands (Bass) sang ‘Homage to Cambridge Voices’ – Ian’s special arrangement of the opening to Byrd’s Mass for 3 Voices. It was indeed a splendid way to remember past members and the 25th anniversary of the choir. This was a very personal journey for us as listeners as it must have been for Ian and these fine musicians. Ian’s description in the programme of his visit to France that initiated the beginning of this amazing choir, gave insight into how his infectious love of music and his unbridled talent has inspired some of the greatest music to be heard in the Lady Chapel.

Of the solos, most notable contributions were Philippa Gardner (contralto) opening the concert with the Plainsong: Requiem aeternum, the trio of Ian, Nick Nightingale and Chris Newlands, Lucy Taylor (mezzo-soprano) singing Que sedes in part two, Josephine Stephenson (soprano) singing Hymn to the Virgin Mary: – A maiden most gentle in part 3 Belinda Hambling-Boulton (soprano) singing Agnus Dei in part four and, of course, the trio at the beginning.

The orchestra excelled itself, its authentic sound the result of the combined talent of performers who were experts in their field with special contributions from the solo violin, trumpets and oboe d’amore.

This was a magnificent event and a very special celebration unique never to be forgotten.