The Hanbury Wealth Recital Series
With the generous support of local business Hanbury Wealth, we are delighted to announce a Recital Series taking place at the College this Spring. The series will consist of three concerts, to be held in the Memorial Hall, each featuring a visiting soloist or ensemble for the delight of both the College community and the general public. Tickets to all events are just £10 for adults and free of charge for concessions.
We look forward to welcoming back the enormously popular pianist Lucy Parham on Thursday 26th April. Please click below to view the programme of the evening.
The first recital in the series took place on 8th March, featuring cellist Cameron Smith and prize-winning pianist Madelaine Jones, followed by a beautiful choral performance from the Gentlemen of St. John's College Cambridge on 21st March. Further details about the recitals and our performers are below.
Please click here for tickets.
Lucy Parham. Music For A Spring Night, Piano Recital at 7pm, Thursday 26th April
“In an age that has seen the piano become increasingly objectified, Parham takes her listeners back to a golden age when music was a metaphor for life itself. Hers is playing that is not so much about the actual notes but exploring the elusive regions of expressive reverie that lie tantalisingly hidden between and behind them”. BBC Music Magazine
Lucy Parham is acknowledged as one of Britain's finest pianists. She first came to public attention as the Piano Winner of the 1984 BBC Young Musician of the Year. Since her Royal Festival Hall concerto debut at the age of 16, she has performed extensively throughout the UK and Europe, South Africa, USA, Canada and Russia. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with leading orchestras in both the UK and abroad, including the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic to name just a few.
A Professor of Piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Lucy is also a regular broadcast presenter and guest on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and BBC TV. In 2006 she was Director of the Schumann Anniversary Festival at Cadogan Hall and the in 2010 she directed the Schumann 200 Festival at King’s Place. Her fourth series of Kings Place Coffee Concerts Series (Word/Play) was performed in 2016 and her second Sheaffer Matinée series, featuring all five of her Composer Portraits, has been running at St Johns Smith Square between September 2017 - April 2018.
Lucy's life-long passion for the music of Schumann inspired the original concept of her biographical Composer Portrait shows: Beloved Clara (2002); Liszt - An Odyssey of Love (2008); Nocturne - The Romantic Life of Frédéric Chopin (2010); Rêverie – the Life and Loves of Claude Debussy (2012) and Elégie– Rachmaninoff, A Heart in Exile (2016). A host of celebrated actors have narrated the shows, including Juliet Stephenson, Charles Dance, Harriet Walter, Simon Callow and Dominic West, to name just a few.
Music For a Spring Night
|Clara Schumann||Nocturne Op.6|
Nocturne in D flat Op. 27 No.2
Ballade No.4 in F minor Op.54
The fourteen-year-old Clara Wieck wrote her set of Soirées Musicales Op.6 in 1834. This haunting Nocturne subsequently became a pivotal piece in her relationship with Robert Schumann as its main theme was used as their secret “code”. This falling five-note motif (signifying the five letters in her name) can be found in many of his works, most notably in the opening of the Fantasie, Op.17.
- Fantasiestücke Op.12
- Des Abends (In the Evening)
- Aufschwung (Soaring)
- Warum? (Why?)
- Grillen (Whims)
- In der Nacht (In the Night)
- Fabel (Fabel)
- Traumes –Wirren (Dream Visions)
- Ende vom Lied (End of the Song)
The Fantasiestücke Op.12 was written in 1837 and all these eight fantasy pieces have descriptive titles. Florestan and Eusebius, Schumann’s two fictional “friends” are evident in every piece. Eusebius, who represents the tender, dreamy side of his character is at the heart of Des Abends and Warum, whilst the passionate and extrovert Florestan is particularly evident in Aufschwung, In der Nacht and Traumes-Wirren. Schumann wrote to his bride-to-be, the pianist Clara Wieck, “None of my things will really do for playing in public, but among the Fantasiestücke there is one, In der Nacht and another, Traumes-Wirren. They will soon be out, so just look out for them.”
In der Nacht is the most extended piece of the set and was coincidentally Schumann’s favourite. It tells of two lovers lost at sea and reunited in the poignant central section. Along with the other most virtuosic pieces in the set, Aufschwung, Fabel and Traumes-Wirren, In der Nacht contrasts most effectively with the evocative poetry of the tender and questioning Warum? and Des Abends. Of the last piece, “Ende vom Lied”, Schumann wrote to Clara, “Towards the end everything gives way to a joyous wedding, but then sorrow about you returned, and one can hear marriage bells and the death knell simultaneously”.
Their unique falling five- note motif (as heard earlier in the Nocturne Op.6) was a coded love message that Schumann wove into all his piano music, and it ends the coda with great stillness.
Robert Schumann transcribed Franz Liszt
Frühlingsnacht (Spring Night)
Liszt transcribed only a few of Schumann’s numerous Lieder compared with dozens of those by Schubert. He frequently played these transcriptions in his concerts, thus enabling a far wider audience to become acquainted with them than would otherwise have been possible.
In Frühlingsnacht, the final song of Liederkreiss Op.39, Liszt uses the piano to great effect to convey the rustling and murmuring of this spring night. Widmung (from Mythern, Op.25) was written by Schumann as a wedding present for his new bride, Clara and tells of his devotion to her.
- Poissons d’Or (Golden Fish)
- La Soirée dans Grenade (Evening in Grenada)
- Jardins sous la Pluie (Gardens in the Rain)
Poissons d’or (Golden Fish) is the final piece of Images Book Two. The extraordinary shimmering effect Debussy achieves is inspired by the Japanese lacquer of darting golden carp that hung on his study wall in his house in the Bois de Boulogne. Debussy captures the movement and freedom with incredible finesse and alarming accuracy – it is not just the fish you hear, but also the water in which they move.
Pagodes is the first of three pieces that comprise the collection Estampes (Prints). Each depicts a geographical location – the Orient, Spain and France – and Debussy conceived each piece as an individual picture from an album. He was even very particular about the design of the front cover of the sheet music, since he wanted the player to see an evocative image for each piece. In Pagodes, the influence of the Javanese gamelan is obvious from the first bar and the use of the pentatonic scale and gong effects Debussy utilises immediately draw us into the world of the Orient. In this piece and the following one, La soirée dans Grenade, you can almost sense the tension between the erotisicm of the dance and the languid delicacy of the writing. Based on a dance – the habanera - this piece suggests the dying heat at the end of the day is replaced by the smouldering heat of passion.
Jardins sous la pluie, the third piece of the set, is influenced by two French nursery songs “We’ll go down to the woods and play” and “Sleep child, sleep”. These are both artfully woven into a toccata-like figuration which is alternately brilliantly virtuosic and playful.
- Nocturne in D flat Op.27 No.2
- Waltz in D flat Op.64 No.1
- Waltz in C sharp minor Op.64 No.2
- Ballade No. 4 in F minor Op.52
Inspired by the Irish composer, John Field, Chopin’s 21 Nocturnes have a unique and significant place in the history of solo piano music. Influenced by Bellini’s “bel canto” operas, the Nocturne evokes the mood of a dreamy and sometimes dark night by spinning a long melodic line over a flowing bass line. Op.27 No.2 in D flat is possibly one of the most popular and its dreamy mood depicts the summer evenings at Nohant that Chopin so loved.
Chopin was said to have been captivated by a dog chasing its tail when he wrote the Waltz in D flat Op.67 No.1. Known in France as the “Petit Chien”, its whirling and dexterous right-hand figuration have made it a popular encore piece and, despite its other nickname, it was never intended to be played in one minute! The second waltz of the pair, the Waltz in C sharp minor, is a far more reflective and wistful piece. Although the Waltz was a popular dance in the nineteenth century, Chopin’s Waltzes were never written to be danced to.
The Four Ballades remain at the heart of most pianists’ repertoire. All four are bound only by their title and present enormous challenges to the performer. The Ballade No.4 in F minor is one of his deepest, most profound and finest works in extended form.
Lucy has made numerous CD recordings, including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (RPO/EMI Gold), concertos by Ravel, Fauré and Franck (RPO records) and a solo Schumann CD (ASV). Her CD of Clara and Robert Schumann Concertos (BBC CO/Sanctuary) won the BBC Music Magazine "Critics' Choice of the Year”. For more information please visit her website.
The Gentlemen of St John's College, Cambridge - Performed on Wednesday 21st March
The Gentlemen of St John’s are thrilled to be performing at Bishop’s Stortford College on March 21st. Formed of the choral scholars of the world-renowned Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, The Gents have performed as their own ensemble to audiences around the world for over forty years. The “immaculately blended, responsive, interactive consort” of Altos, Tenors, and Basses of the college choir are noted for their versatility with a repertoire ranging from early sacred music and traditional folk songs to more modern close-harmony arrangements of jazz standards, Beatles’ classics, and contemporary pop songs. In recent years, the Gents have performed at London’s Cadogan and Wigmore Halls and have toured their way across three continents.
- Jubilate Deo - Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594)
- Sicut Cervus - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525-1594)
- Mass for Three Voices (Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus Dei) - William Byrd (c.1540-1623)
- In Manus Tuas I - John Sheppard (1515-1558)
- Ave Maria, Mater Dei - William Cornysh (1465-1523)
- If Ye Love Me - Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)
- Holy Is the True Light - William Henry Harris (1883-1973)
- Circumdederunt Me - Matthew Martin (1976- )
- O Nata Lux - Piers Kennedy (1992- )
- Ave Maria - Franz Biebl (1906-2001)
- A selection of favourite close harmony numbers
Cameron Smith and Madelaine Jones - Performed on 8th March
On Thursday 8th March we held the first Hanbury Wealth Recital in the Mem Hall, featuring cellist Cameron Smith and prize-winning pianist Madelaine Jones. Their programme included Ernest Bloch - Suite 'From Jewish Life'; Judith Weir - Three Chorales; Gabriel Fauré - Sicilienne; Paul Hindemith - Kleine Sonata for cello & piano and Camille Saint Saëns - Cello Sonata no.1 op.32.
A versatile and soulful cellist, Cameron Smith is a recent graduate of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he studied cello under the tutelage of Joely Koos. He freelances both as a chamber and orchestral musician, and has played in most of the city’s major concert venues, working with the likes of the ‘Ritz String Quintet’ and on upcoming shows ‘The Woman in White’, ‘Braille Legacy’ and ‘Grey Gardens’. Cameron has a passion for contemporary and underperformed music of the 20th and 21st centuries. He works regularly with composers and has performed several new commissions, while continuing his studies under the guidance of Tim Gill.
Madelaine Jones actively performs as both a solo pianist and a chamber musician, with recent performances at venues including Cadogan Hall and St. John Smith’s Square. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire, where she won numerous prizes and competitions. Alongside her busy performing schedule, Madelaine is also a composer, with recent commissions including an arrangement of Tawel Nos (‘Silent Night’) for the Eastcastle Chorus, and a piece for naked pianist which premiered in Paris in 2017. She is also currently undertaking research at the Open University, exploring the concept of lip-syncing in classical performance.
For more information about Madelaine you can view her website here.