2022 Programme

16 – 18 September 2022

EVENT 1

Friday 16 Sept 1.00pm - 2.00pm

£10 unreserved

Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate

Recital

Tim Lowe (Cello)
Alasdair Beatson (Piano)

Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Sonata for Cello and Piano in C Major Op. 102 No. 1

 

Ernest Bloch  (1880 – 1959)

Pieces from ‘Jewish Life’

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Cello Sonata in F Major, Op.6

Tim Lowe and Alasdair Beatson open the 2022 festival with three classic works from the cello repertoire. Tim’s playing has been described as ‘… probing, virtuosic and yielding by turns’  and he is joined by the wonderful Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson - ‘Artistry incarnate’ The Times.

 

In 1815 frail, ill and profoundly deaf Beethoven dug deeply into his innermost soul and found a renewed creative energy, imagining strange new music, transcendent and of such beauty that perhaps only a broken-hearted person might write. This sonata was the harbinger of his so called ‘late period’.

 

Bloch's musical style does not fit easily into any of the usual categories. Many of his works draw heavily on his Jewish heritage. Ernest said that to write music expressing his Jewish identity was, "… the only way in which I can produce music of vitality and significance". These three beautiful Pieces from Jewish Life are typical of Bloch’s music.

 

Richard Strauss loved the expressive sound of the cello. At the age of seventeen, during the winter of 1882-1883, Richard almost completely re-wrote his original attempt at a cello sonata, keeping only the introductory Allegro con brio. In the new version he fills his youthful Cello Sonata with passionate, vibrant sounds that foreshadows his opera Elektra.

 

So in this recital we have mature Beethoven, terse and pared down to essentials, contrasting with the opulence and joie de vivre of the young Strauss pre-figuring a composing career that would span nearly eighty years!

 

One of the core aims of York Chamber Music Festival is to bring a new generation of young people to open up to chamber music.

 
Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events

 

EVENT 2

Friday 16 Sept 7.30pm

£15 unreserved

National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church

Concert by Festival Artists

Tristan Gurney,
Jonathan Stone
 (violins)

Sarah-Jane Bradley,
Scott Dickenson 
(violas)
Marie Bitlloch,
Tim Lowe 
(cellos)

Josef Haydn (1732-1809)

String Quartet Op. 76, No. 2 “Fifths”

 

Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1957)

String Trio in G minor

 

Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)

String Sextet B flat

String groups of three, four and six make up this concert!

In his late fifties Haydn travelled twice to London. What he discovered there was nothing like the rarefied, intimate salon of the aristocratic court he had been used to but an 800-seat hall buzzing with all sorts of people, attentive and excited. In response Haydn composed quartet music that was vibrant with virtuosic playing, wonderfully tuneful; attention grabbing. Back in Vienna this creative energy carried forward to the quartets of Op. 76, his last set of six. Fantastic music touching the edge of Romanticism and even foreshadowing modernism over the horizon.

Sibelius’s string trio is also from his mature chamber music period. It was never finished apart from the Lento. It is an experimental piece with a mix of different forms and in the process creates a large symphonic arch spanning the entire movement. This technique led to the one-movement form of his last, great Seventh Symphony (1924).

 

Coming out from under the shadow of the mighty Beethoven the twenty six year old Brahms found his own voice using two cellos and two violas, alongside violins, to produce a sound-world that has a gentle charm with a visceral, mellow, golden glow. Brahms’s String Sextet in B Flat is one of the most comforting and popular works in the repertoire. Perhaps, these days, we need to bask in such music.

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events

 

EVENT 3

Saturday 17 Sept 1.00pm - 2.00pm

£10 unreserved

Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate

Recital

Alasdair Beatson (Piano)

Franz Schubert  (1797 – 1828)

Valses Nobles D969

 

Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937)

Valses Nobles et Sentimentales

 

Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)

Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26

"Echoes of Vienna"

Internationally acclaimed Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson brings to York a colourful and festive programme of piano music on a Viennese theme. His recital is a picture of the vibrant city; a hub of musical creativity without parallel and the capital of the waltz.

 

He plays two sets of waltzes, contrasting composers and eras. Schubert’s Valses Nobles begin the programme by conjuring the grandeur and pomp of  Vienna’s ballrooms, while painting  portraits full of wit and eccentricity. By contrast, Ravel transports the dance-form to a more intimate world, full of his signature seductive harmonies and an almost dream-like beauty. The programme ends with Schumann’s Suite Carnival-time in Vienna – a joyful and affectionate homage to the city, its traditions and festivities. 

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events

 

EVENT 4

Saturday 17 Sept 7.30pm

£15 unreserved

Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York

Gala Concert by Festival Artists

Tristan Gurney, Jonathan Stone(violins)
Sarah-Jane Bradley,
Scott Dickenson
(violas)
Marie Bitlloch,
Tim Lowe 
(cellos)
Alasdair Beatson (piano)

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Piano Quartet in E flat major Op. 16

 

Luigi Boccherini (1743 – 1805)

String Sextet in F Minor, Op. 23, No. 5, G457

 

Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904)

Piano Quartet No 2 in E Flat Major

Beethoven finished his Mozart-inspired Piano Quintet in E flat major for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn on a concert tour to Berlin in 1796 where the young musician was wowing  audiences with his piano improvisations. Back in Vienna the quintet was premiered at Ignaz Jahn’s restaurant, not quite the exalted venue of King Frederich-Wilhelm’s palace where the 26 year old had been a sensation. Ever with an eye to good business  (in this case the sale of sheet music) Ludwig  quickly arranged the quintet, with minimal reworking, as a piano and strings quartet. Both versions were published together as Op. 16 in 1801.

Boccherini’s set of six sextets composed in 1776 are uniquely the earliest string sextets to have been composed and it is due to Boccherini’s genius that he invented both the particular beauty of this lush string ensemble but also how to ‘voice’ its particular combination of instruments (adding a second viola and cello to the standard string quartet). It was the trail-blazing blueprint for others to follow. Hear those by Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky tomorrow afternoon. Not to be missed!

Finally, we find Dvorak on holiday in the old farm house he bought as a summer retreat in Vyoská, near Prague. From this tranquil base he wrote much of his greatest music including the Piano Quintet that we played with Angela Hewitt last year and  its little sister the Piano Quartet in E Major. In fact not so ‘little’ because it is a rich and powerful piece that dazzles like a gypsy dance and sounds practically orchestral as it whirls headlong to its conclusion!

Young Person’s Ticket

18 year olds and under free entry to all events