Past concert programmes

16th February, 2019
Student Concert
First half:
Angie Cheung; Oscar Seyhan; Joanne George; Molly O'Flynn; Jodi Lee
Second half:
Molly O'Flynn (violin); Oscar Hare; Beverley Fung; Ritheka Ranjesh
Free Admission

19th January, 2019
J S Bach: Sonata in G major, BWV 1027
Racheol Sierra (cello), Hugh O'Neal (piano)
Janacek: In the Mists
Naomi Grayburn (piano)
Jascher Gurewich: Seguidilla
McGarry: Dreams of You
Tchaikovsky: Melodie
Evelyn Harrison (sax), Rosemary Kemp (piano)
Holst: Four Songs for Voice and Violin Op 35
Rebecca Clarke: Three Old English Songs
Bob Ahern (tenor), Liz Baldey (violin)
Clarinet and piano items by Rene Herbin, Darius Milhaud, N Gillon, R Challan, Rimsky-Korsakov
Evelyn Harrison, Rosemary Kemp

15th December, 2018
Sound the Trumpet (Duet) – Purcell
Ombra mai Fu – Handel
Amour Viens Aider - Saint -Saens
L'amour est un oiseau rebelle -Bizet
Jane Larsen, Jean-Pierre Brzechwa, Joe Ward
Variation no. 18 from Rapsodie on a Theme of Paganini S.
Rachmaninoff (adapted for piano solo by Hermene W.Eichhorn)
Nocturne in: Eb major, opus 9, no. 2, Andante F. Chopin
Nocturne in B major opus 32, no. 1, Andante Sostenuto F. Chopin
Etude in C# minor opus 10 no. 4 ”Torrent” F. Chopin
Rosemary Kemp (piano)
Jeanine Tesori: Girl in 14G
Zhanna Kemp and Valeria Guidotti
Gounod: Juliette waltz
Zhanna Kemp and Valeria Guidotti
Apres un reve
Zhanna Kemp and Valeria Guidotti
C.M. von Weber: Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano Op.63
Allegro Moderato, Scherzo, Shepherd’s Lament, Finale
Beatrice Sales, Rosemary Cole, Nick Cooper
Including buffet with wine and soft drinks

17th November, 2018
Bach: Prelude and Fugue no.6 from Book 2 Well Tempered Clavier. BWV 875/1 and 2.
Penny Mathews
Folk Dances: The Porthole of the Kelp (Irish traditional) and The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance (English traditional)
Stuart Deeks (violin), Polina Loubnina (flute), Zhanna Kemp (piano)
John Loeillet of London: Trio Sonata in D minor Op.2 No.4
Zhanna Kemp, Polina Loubnina (flute), Anna Huber (violin)
D Scarlatti: Sonatas
D major Longo 164 Allegretto
E flat Longo 203 Andante Cantabile
A minor Longo 241 Allegro
D major Longo 461 Presto
E major Longo 23 Andante Commodo
Rosemary Kemp (piano)
Bach: Concerto in D minor BWV 1043 (Largo)
Stuart Deeks (violin), Polina Loubnina (flute), Zhanna Kemp (piano)
Chopin: Nocturnes
E minor Op 72 No.1
C minor Op 48 No.1
F minor Op 55 No.1
John Bruzon (piano)

13th October, 2018
Russian Folk Songs
Rachmaninov: I fell in love to my sorrow
Shishkin: Bright is the night
Daria Robertson & Zhanna Kemp
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphe; Reverie; La Cathedrale Engloutie; Arabesque no. 2
Joe Ward (piano)
Malcolm Arnold: Beauty Walks the Woods at Night
Spohr: Sei still mein Herz; Wiegenlied; Das heimliche Lied
Arnold Cooke:The Echoing Green (from Blake Songs of Innocence Experience)
Arthur Bliss: The Ragwort; The Dandelion
Terence Greaves: A Garden of Weeds: Buttercup, Poppy,Thistle, Belladonna, Nettle
Mozart: Don Giovanni: In quali' eccessi, o numi, Mi tradi quel' anima ingrata
Sue Mileham, Nicola Grunberg, Jane Plessner

22nd September, 2018
Chopin: Polish songs
Jean-Pierre Brzechwa, Joe Ward
Chaminade: Flute Concertino
Karen Rash and Nicola Grunberg
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro Non so piu, cosa son; Voi, che sapete
Gounod: Faust
Verdi:Un Ballo in Maschera:Volta la terrea; Saper vorreste
Sue Mileham and Nicola Grunberg
JS Bach arr Myra Hess: Adagio Organ Toccata No 1
F Liszt: Valle d’Obermann
John Bruzon (piano)

Review: 7 October 2017

We don’t hear Nicola Grunberg enough in piano duets – she’s usually part of a violin/piano duo - but with Judith Maddison she’s paired up to one with distinction. This is the second time I’ve heard her recently in this combo. The repertoire’s adventurous too (it ought to be remembered that Grunberg gave the first outside-Soviet Union performance of Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata with her husband, the late Cecil Aronowitz).

They started with two of Barber’s Souvenirs Op.20, acid chic tunefulness edging to post-war blues in both the Waltz and Pas de deux. It’d be good to hear the whole Suite. Richard Rodney Bennett’s Suite for Skip and Sadie is recognizably from the same aesthetic, if not quite as well-known. It’s an attractive children’s piece, a Good Morning and Good Night framing the characterful Sadie’s Waltz and Skip’s Dance. These like so much of Bennett’s output are grateful, teasingly memorable, and deliberately generic. They’re an attractive addition to the sub-genre of works for children in this medium. Grunberg and Maddison are right on top of this medium,: light, poised, crisp and full of élan.

The Mozart Violin Sonata in B Flat K.378 brings Grunberg back with her regular violin partner, Cynthia Eraut. This work’s both substantial and silvery. It’s a work that settles into B flat brilliance with its Allegro moderato, strong and quite big-boned. The Andantino sostenuto e cantabile slips by with a signing nagging inwardness I felt I’d like to hear again. The Allegro Rondo’s another piece of melodic tugging, edging sideways to small surprises, and vivid. Nicely projected, this duo never over-emphasize their performances.

After he interval we enjoyed a rarity: Schumann’s Op.135 – thus very late – Poems of Mary Stuart. These five works, sung by Jane Money with Richard Haslam at the piano, are beguiling, inward-looking pieces befitting their subject. The five poems based on actual pieces by Mary but refracted through all sorts of Romantic creations, take us through a Schiller’s Eye view, including the middle work addressed to Queen Elizabeth 1. The last two take a lingering farewell from the world. She had begun with marriage and hope. Money’s mezzo voice does pierce through these obliquities, and we’re lucky to have such fine works rendered at all. Haslam’s pianism as ever perfectly supported.

Hugh O’Neal’s Schubert Piano Sonata in A minor D.845 is a tremendous arc of a work veering early to desolation. The memorable Moderato that O’Neal pitches without pushing to any kind of opening allegro speed moves to the Andante poco molto, an interrogation of loneliness. O’Neal enjoys the whole Scherzo marked Allegro vivace moving to a slower Trio as you’d expect. The energy’s carried through the equally Allegro Vivace Rondo finale. With O’Neal, perfectly attuned to this fragile world of secure sorrow and evanescent joys, you do feel as if he’s the ideal guide. Schubert’s acute and sometimes volatile sensibility is movingly conveyed.

Another fine concert of core and rarity, a perfect balance. It’s good we can now hear them on the site.

Simon Jenner


Review: SMC 9th September 2017, BUC

The inaugural Sussex Musicians concert opened and ended with spectacular strength, and entertained all through.

Bax’s 1921 Viola Sonata is one of the greatest written for this combination. The finest is one from 1919, Rebecca Clarke’s, and Britten’s Lachrimaye from 1950 is the other best known. Add to that Shostakovich’s 1975 valediction (it’s striking how many composers end their lives writing or orchestrating viola works: Bartok and Britten too), with the best two or three of Hindemith’s and you have the core repertoire.

Oddly, this is the only work of that list inspired by Lionel Tertis, and Bax wrote a Concerto (called Fantasy) fro him in 1919, a Legend in 1929, which we heard a couple of years ago from this team; and a Second Sonata from 1934 got turned into his masterly Sixth Symphony. Perhaps looking at the oddity of the first two movements there, someone might steal it back?

The Bax has enormous power and like the Clarke encloses a scherzo in the middle, a format Walton later followed in his concertos.

Beatrice Sales opened out more and more in her playing, both singing and gritty where required. Kevin Allen powered support through Bax’s tricky piano part, written fro himself, someone who could sight-read anything. The opening rises in broken Celtic-sounding reminiscence but is a world away from Bax’s Irish adoption. It’s angular, modern and rises on tremendous perorations, speeding to Allegro then fading in a speaking tone of infinite regret. The diablerie of the Scherzo is strutting, angry, ferociously questing with a plangent middle trio section. The finale’s of course return: Molto lento. This too is shot through with sudden bursts and only settles resignedly. Sales and Allen know what they’re about as a duo, and brought this aching, angular masterwork of beauty, humour and desolation.

Sue Mileham with her inimitable wit and entertaining brio was able to break the spell after a brief pause with Karen Rash on flute and Nicola Grunberg on piano. Its an enticing combination. Arne’s The morning is a twittering confection, full of trills and tessituras, everyone reaching for a lark rise to top notes.

Saint-Saens’ ‘Une flute invisible’ similarly delights in the flute, as this composer always does, Rash weaving a proto-impressionistic haze around Mileham’s voice.

Henry Bishop’s ‘Lo! Here the Gentle Lark’ also weaves in larks, using Shakespeare’s ords as Mileham too points out is rather manically rising. These are rare works, rarely performed. Mileham’s often known for entertaining and she does that here, but in the music she charts unfamiliar territory for herself and most listeners.

Finally John Bruzon rendered us first a transcription by Alfred Cortot: it’s the second movement of Brandenburg Fifth Concerto in F minor. A remarkable sustained meditation in Bruzon’s hands, and retaining a cantilena feel as it sings suspended.

Bruzon’s virtuosity emerged wholly in the service of Liszt, his 1849 ‘Funérailles’ an extraordinary hybrid between a march and lament commemorating friends killed in the 1848 Hungarian uprising against the Hapsburgs. The tread of simple chords across the keyboard concatenates gradually into a frenzy, a protest, and a sad and angry consolation as the late great poet Geoffrey Hill put it. Bruzon gave an electrifying performance, terracing the gradual sonic wedge as it swayed across the keyboard, singing tone raised with the tempo, into an antiphonal carillon of rage. Muriel Hart, who’s been attending Sussex Musicians since 1941, said she couldn’t recall a finer piano performance in the last few years anywhere. I’m not sure I can either.

Simon Jenner