The Hanbury Wealth Recital Series
We look forward to welcoming internationally acclaimed pianist Grace Mo to the College on Monday 24th September, for the first of this academic year's Recital Series, generously sponsored by local business Hanbury Wealth. Held in Memorial Hall, the event is open to the College community and the general public.
Two more concerts in the Series are planned for 2018-19, all starting at 7pm in the Memorial Hall, on Tuesday 5th March 2019 and Wednesday 1st May 2019. The names of the performers will be confirmed nearer the time, so watch this space!
Earlier this year, we enjoyed three recitals in the series: a Cello and Piano Recital by cellist Cameron Smith and prize-winning pianist Madelaine Jones; a Choral Recital by the Gentlemen of St. John's College Cambridge and a Solo Piano Recital by Lucy Parham. You can read the reviews in the drop-down menus below.
Lucy Parham - Solo Piano Recital, Music For A Spring Night
“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
We were delighted to welcome Lucy Parham back to the College on Thursday 26th of April for the final instalment in the Hanbury Wealth Recital Series. Lucy is no stranger to Bishop’s Stortford College, having been here recently as part of the Ferguson Lecture series with her wonderful composer portrait, “Rêverie – The Life and Loves of Claude Debussy”, together with the actor Michael Maloney. On 26th April, Lucy came on her own to regale us with a solo piano recital with the evocative title of “Music for a Spring Night”.
The concert began with the little-known work by the composer Clara Schumann which she wrote at the age of 14, Nocturne Op. 6. Not only was this an absolute gem of a piece, but Parham, who is a great champion and promoter of the music of Clara Schumann, played it with great delicacy, intimacy and fantasy. The first half of the concert was entirely linked to Schumann and the central and most substantial part of it was the collection of pieces, Fantasiestücke Op. 12. This is one of Robert Schumann’s masterpieces for the piano and it explores, through short poetic and virtuosic pieces, the fictional characters of Eusebius and Florestan, which in turn are projections of Schumann’s own bipolar personality. Throughout her career, Lucy Parham has been acknowledged as a great interpreter of the works of the Early Romantic generation, and through this work we experienced clear evidence of her mastery and complete understanding of the language and vision of Schumann’s music.
Closing the first half of the recital, we revisited Schumann for the last time, although through the lens of Franz Liszt. The two song transcriptions, Frühlingsnacht and Widmung, were played with a beautiful cantabile and exquisite command of the melodic line. The virtuoso elements of Liszt that kept appearing like small bursts of passion, were masterfully conveyed by Lucy who reasserted her complete command of the keyboard.
After the interval, Lucy began with a selection of pieces by Claude Debussy, which transported us through the highly programmatic nature of the music to distant parts of the globe. The highlight of this group of works was Pagodes, in which Parham brought to life the sonorities and textures of this Gamelan inspired composition. The layers of melodies and intricate polyrhythms typical of the music of Bali and Java floated magically across the Memorial Hall and mesmerised the audience.
Throughout her career the music of Chopin has been a constant for Lucy Parham. It is through this constant exploration over the years of Chopin’s repertoire, that Parham has been able to distil the essence of the works presented in this recital. The Nocturne in D flat was not only played beautifully, but through her masterful use of rubato and tonal control Parham managed to move emotionally many members of the audience around me. The climax of the recital coincided with the final piece in the programme. Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F minor is one of the greatest works of piano literature, and this interpretation was, without doubt, one of the very best that I have ever heard. The gentle and restrained way with which Parham began, added with great effect to the incredible emotional build-up throughout the piece. Not only was there lyricism and poetry in her playing, but the levels of excitement and climactic joy in the moments preceding the final coda, will stay in my memory for a very long time.
We are very thankful to Lucy Parham for delighting us with her music making, and before she returned to London, I managed to persuade her to return to us again in the near future, perhaps to perform her Composer Portrait of Sergei Rachmaninoff.
We are also very grateful to Hanbury Wealth for the support throughout the concert series.
Iago Núñez, Music Teacher
The Gentlemen of St John's College, Cambridge - Choral Recital
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 - Cello & Piano Recital
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.