Posts Tagged ‘The King’s School Ely Concert Series’

Review: Hannah Roberts (‘cello) and Simon Parkin (piano) at the Hayward Theatre in Ely on Friday night 20th June 2014.

June 22, 2014

ImageHannah Roberts (‘cello) and Simon Parkin (piano) gave a splendid concert on Friday night in the Hayward Theatre as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series. They played works by Beethoven, Fauré, Debussy, Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss. Fauré ‘s ‘Elegie, op 24’, a very well-known piece, was played on an instrument made by Robin Aitchison who was in the audience.

This duo played with potency, verve and excellent syncopation. Hannah brought out most beautiful rich sounds from her instruments while Simon exhibited tremendous technique and timing. These two were particularly good at maintaining a sense of excitement and anticipation, never missing an opportunity to vary the expression and build up the climaxes to tremendous heights.

In the opening Beethoven sonata the musicians were masters of surprise, highlighted the contrasting louds and softs. In this work, Simon’s meticulous articulation became immediately apparent.

Fauré’s popular ‘Élégie’ was as sonorous and melodious as hoped for.

Debussy’s Sonate contained expressive long phrases with many reminders of his unique transparent style in the piano part – the Submerged Cathedral, for example. Hannah gave a very good impression of a passionate guitarist in the second movement while in the final ‘Finale’ the performers set our souls free with their uninhibited involvement.

After interval, Mendelssohn’s ‘Variations Concertantes, Op 17’ were wonderful, the phrases cleanly executed and movement between notes in the ‘cello was particularly smooth and seamless.

The final ‘Sonata in F, op.6’ by Richard Strauss opened strongly with the varied demands of articulation within the phrases beautifully managed. The second movement, ‘Andante ma non troppo’, contained meaningful pensive moments with Simon bringing out key notes on the piano particularly well. The final ‘Allegro vivo’, was, indeed, lively while the ‘cello positively sang at times and the timing between the performers was beautifully synchronised, no matter how tricky the parts.

This was a wonderful concert. The next in the series will feature Dan Curzon (horn) and Elliot Launn (Piano) and will be on Friday 19th September in the Recital Hall, 1930.

Contact : tel (01353) 653931




Review of Jong-Gyung Park’s piano concert in the Hayward Theatre on Friday 8th March 2013 as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series

March 10, 2013

ImageEly is very fortunate. The high standard of the performers in the concerts the King’s School Ely Concert Series provides is equal to any heard in big cities Europe-wise. Tonight’s impressive performer was Jong-Gyung Park who transfixed the audience with a high-powered contrasting programme of piano music.

Her concert opened with the potent ‘Klaviersonate, op. 1’ by Alban Berg. This relatively modern work was magnificent in her hands. With an unswerving touch, every note was given its necessary role. Thoughtful phrasing, variations of expression, exquisite timing and tremendous climaxes breathed fire into this complex composition. The internal tensions were delightfully explored.

The next composition, Chopin’s ‘Sonata no.3 in B minor, op. 58’ demonstrated Chopin’s many fascinating qualities: The first movement, Allegro maestoso, featured finely – shaped lyrical beauty, the composer’s nostalgic poignancy ever-present. In the second movement, ‘Scherzo. Molto Vivace’, she captured a certain playfulness while mastering perfectly its virtuosic demands. The serenity and attention to detail in the Largo movement led to an impressive final movement, its moments of flamboyant gymnastics magnificently handled while the whole overriding musicality transfixed the listeners.

Britten’s ‘Holiday Suite’ began the second half of the programme and she captured the character of each movement exactly. One could recognize the jagged snatches of sparkling splashes of water in ‘Early morning Bathe’. The composition was further enlivened with the smoothness of ‘Sailing’ , the mischievous helter-skelter moments in ‘Funfair’ and the serene stillness of ‘Night’.

‘Piano Sonata  No.26 in Eb major, op.81a’ by Beethoven gave us a taste of Classical music, although the romantic passions of the piece were well drawn out by this phenomenal performer. Her ability to create different dimensions of sound at different registers simultaneously gave this piece significant depth. The expressiveness of the three movements, ‘Les Adieux’, ‘L’Absence’ and ‘Le Retour’ was ever apparent.

The programme ended with a mammoth composition by Ravel. This ‘La Valse’ often harked back to the light-hearted smooth rhythm of the Viennese Waltz we all know and love, but in Ravel’s hands expertly performed by the fine pianist, the waltz was transformed into mammoth proportions including gigantic gestures and phenomenal technical demands.

The well deserved encore relaxed us with a delicate and sonorous ‘Berceuse’ by Chopin.

This was indeed yet another wonderful concert provided by the King’s School Concert Series. You are advised to book early for their next events including ‘La Bohème’ on Friday 10th May 2013 730 pm.

Review: Robbie Stern (violin) and Philippa Naylor (piano) at the Hayward Theatre in Ely On Friday 11th November 2011 for The King’s School Ely’s nineteenth season

November 16, 2011

Review: Robbie Stern (violin) and Philippa Naylor (piano) at the Hayward Theatre in Ely On Friday 11th November 2011 for The King’s School Ely’s nineteenth season

Robbie Stern (violin) and Philippa Naylor (piano) captured the hearts and minds of the audience in the Hayward Theatre, Ely on Friday night. The regular supporters of the King’s School Ely Concert Society series have come expect an event of the highest quality and they were not disappointed.

Robbie and Philippa, two students in their final year at Cambridge University, knew their stuff. Robbie demonstrated an assured command of his instrument. No matter which techniques the pieces demanded, he executed them effectively every time. Philippa also displayed a tremendous technique and shaped her contributions expertly to match Robbie’s well.

The programme consisted of pieces that were Robbie’s favourites and the decision to include such demanding compositions for performers and listeners certainly paid off. The instrumentalists’ empathy with the composers’ intentions made their playing credible and captivating.

Such was the homely atmosphere that these concerts have come to engender, the audience was more than happy to wait a little before the concert began so that Robbie’s parents had a chance to get to the concert hall from Ely station.

Robbie chose to open the concert with a charming movement from J S Bach’s PartitA No.1 in B minor for solo violin: Allemande – double. It became immediately apparent that Robbie has a most endearing capacity for bringing out the musicality of a piece while at the same time maintaining a sense of tension and restraint that creates that special bond between composer, performer and audience.

Philippa then joined Robbie on stage and they performed Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major by Maurice Ravel. Robbie introduced the item and mentioned how Ravel had said he believed the violin and the piano had little in common and could never enjoy complete equilibrium. This piece certainly displayed this attitude by the composer. However, just as I have difficulty in accepting Ravel’s apparent boast that he could describe anything in music – even a chair, it is difficult to accept that these two instruments were entirely incompatible. Whatever the intension of the composer, these skilled performers did have rapport, their music although seemingly ‘at odds’ at one level, was nevertheless cohesive with effective communication and understanding between the instruments. The opening Allegro contained moments of mutual understanding, effective dialogue and intriguing juxtapositions that nevertheless ‘matched’.

The second movement reflected the kind of blues music Ravel probably heard in the streets of Paris. …

The concert ended with another challenge for the performers: Serge Prokofiev’s Sonata for Violin and Piano no. 2 in D, Op. 94. This work offered Prokofiev’s attractive melodies and classical structures and these made the unusual intervals of his day all the more acceptable to the unaccustomed ear. The first movement, Moderato, had a most tuneful opening, and Robbie’s exquisite restraint was again particularly noticeable.  The second movement, the traditional Scherzo, was indeed playful and jolly at times, the third movement, Andante, created an overall sense of suspended quiet and calmness with occasional more thrilling developments. The fourth movement, Allegro con brio, opened with a flourish and the piece certainly added fiery liveliness to the proceedings.  In this movement the amazing technique of the performers was particularly apparent. The potency and strength of Rebecca was never in any doubt even though she performed as ‘accompanist’ throughout the evening. As expected, Robbie rose to the occasion and filled the hall with sounds of dramatic intensity, providing an admirable ending to this most enjoyable concert.

Forthcoming events:

Wednesday 16th to Friday 17th November King’s Company Play ‘Improbable Fiction’ by Alan Ayckbourn 7.30 in the Hayward Theatre admission free

Sunday 20th November ‘Christ the King’ Choral Concert King’s Chapel Choir, Prime Brass and Jonathan Lilley (organist) 8 p.m. Ely Cathedral

Thursday 24th November Lunchtime Live Concert 1.10 Ely Cathedral

Friday 2nd December, King’s Charity Concert 7.30 p.m. Hayward Theatre

Friday 20th January King’s Ely Concert Society, Richard Uttley (piano) 7.30 Recital Hall

Thursday 26th January lunchtime Live Concert 1.10 St. Mary’s Church Admission free

Contact: Lisa Bushell at King’s Ely Music School (01353 653931) email: (for the entire review)

Rosemary Westwell

Review: Mediterranea Trio for the King’s School Ely Concert Society in the Hayward Theatre, Ely.

March 16, 2011

The Mediterranea Trio had the audience spellbound when they demonstrated their amazing technique and cohesion in the Hayward Theatre on the 11th March 2011. Elenlucia Pappalardo (piano), Markella Vandoros (violin) and Alessandro Sanguineti (cello) combined perfectly, playing as one. Their concert included mammoth works that explored a wide range of styles and expressions.

Schubert’s Piano Trio no.2 in E flat major, D.929 opened the programme. In these four varied movements, the three players definitely added a Mediterranean flavour to their performance as they fully expressed the emotive and lyrical potency of Schubert’s themes. Cascading runs and broken chords in the piano and beautifully entwined violin and cello episodes captured our attention immediately. The playful Scherzo and its subsequent changes of mood and the intriguing stuttering theme in the final movement were also exquisitely executed.

Shostakovich’s Piano Trio no.2 in E minor, op. 67 that followed provided a contrast. In this work we were transported to the sparse countryside of Russia. Intriguing use of harmonics in the cello helped create an eerie sense of emptiness and loss associated with the souls of the missing people from the atrocities of the Second World War. This desolation branched into long episodes that were demonic, macabre or pervaded with haunting gypsy refrains. Not a moment was lost. Every nuance of expression and emotion was wrenched from the notes by these amazing musicians.

This delightful concert ended with Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. This work demonstrated without a doubt that these players ‘have it’. Some musicians, no matter how practiced they are, can create music that is note perfect and rhythmically exact but that never quite touches the soul of the music. However, these wonderful performers exuded natural Latin rhythmic ‘know how’ to fascinating effect. Their amazing technical agility, their expressive intensity and their empathy with the style was always permeated with an infectious Tango rhythmic pulse.

This was indeed a wonderful event.

The next concert in the King’s School Ely Concert Series will be on the 13th of May in the Recital Hall at 7.30 pm featuring Catriona Clark (soprano), Daniel Howard (baritone) and Oliver Hancock (piano).


(for tickets and information about King’s School events) Lisa Bushell, Performing Arts Administrator, (01353 653931) email:

Review Concert featuring Joo Cho (soprano) and Marino Nahon (pianist) as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Series in the Recital Hall, Hayward Theatre 12th November 2010

November 18, 2010

One of the purest forms of expression available to singers can be found in the Lieder repertoire and Joo Cho, a fine soprano from South Korea, took full advantage of the variety of expression and emotional depth in the works by Schubert, Liszt, Brahms and Schumann that made up the programme she presented on Friday as part of the King’s School Ely Concert Society Series.

Italian pianist Marino Nahon complemented her singing perfectly, fusing with the singer to enhance the sustained tension that pervaded the works. His amazing feats of exact articulation and his ability to create emotive, multidimensional textures were particularly impressive. 

The concert opened with a number works by one of the most valued composers of Lieder, Schubert.  These included Am Flusse (By the River), An Sylvia (Who is Sylvia?), Kolmas Klage, Im Frühling (In Spring), Die junge Nonne (The young Nun), Dass sie hier gewesen (That They Were Here), Der Zwerg (The Gnome), Nacht und Träume (Night and Dreams)  and Erlkönig (The Erlking). Her beautiful voice, exquisite vibrato and discerning shaping of the line, her clear diction and personal involvement in the colour and drama of the songs brought them to life. Kolmas Klage’s emotional darkness contrasted well with the lightness and freshness of Im Frühling   Together the performers moved through emotionally charged changes of mood and texture ranging from an almost tangible softness and sense of wonder to the heightened fury of the pain and suffering of death. 

After interval, Liszt’s Die Loreley, the tale of the maiden tempting sailors to their death was followed by an imposing homage to eternal love (Von ewiger Liebe) by Brahms.

The evening ended with Schumann’s Liederkreis op. 39 and included In der Fremde (In a Distant Land), Intermezzo, Wald gespräch (Conversation in the Wood), Die Stille (The Silence), Mondnacht (Midnight), Schöne Fremde (Beautious Foreign Land), Auf einer Burg (In a Castle), In der Fremde (In a distant Land), Wehmut (Melancholy), Zwielight (Twilight), Im Walder (In the Woods) and Frühlingsnacht (Spring Night).

The performers’ excellent sense of timing, their ability to capture the essence of expression in moments of bliss (in Intermezzo) intimacy (in Wald gespräch), sustained beauty (in Mondnacht) stateliness (Auf einer Burg) and anguish (in In der Fremde) were phenomenal.  

This was indeed a splendid evening and the encore well deserved.

The next Concert Series event will be The Mediterranean Piano Trio on Friday 21st January 2011 730 pm in the Recital Hall

Contact: Lisa Bushell (01353) 653931) email