Sterling Trio with Elizabeth Bass, harp

Trio

The trio has been working with guest harpist Elizabeth Bass recently, and it’s been great to explore some unusual works for this brilliant combination of instruments. We have two performances under our belt already, and future dates are:

  • 24th May, 12 noon. Wilmslow United Reform Church.
  • 8th June, 1pm. Hyde Town Hall (Tameside Concerts Society).
  • 11th June, 8pm. St Andrews’s Church, Sedburgh (Sedburgh Music Festival).

Programmes include a newly-adapted work by Manchester composer Andy Scott as well as Arnold Bax’s evocative Elegiac Trio. 

Klezmer-ish on Radio Merseyside

Klezmer-ish

Ahead of our sold-out concerts in Liverpool Philharmonic’s “Music Room” we squeezed in a live session on Jenny Lee Summers’ Radio Merseyside show. Thanks to Jenny for making it great fun! You can listen to the show on the iPlayer for the next two weeks here, and we start about 38 minutes in. 

More info on the Music Room gigs to come…

Coaching with Vacation Chamber Orchestra

Teaching & Education

Looking forward to a few days in the Yorkshire Dales next week coaching on the VaCO Easter chamber music course. An all-Czech programme consisting of the Martinu and Novak Nonets. Will be nice to catch up with organisers Jane Lomax and Xen Kelsey!

Klezmer-ish in South Wales

Klezmer-ish

It seems a long time ago now, but back in September we travelled to Pontardarwe in South Wales on our first Klezmer-ish “tour”. A fun gig and a hearty Welsh breakfast the following morning…we even hired a tour bus!

Chamber Studio

Duo

Simon and I have been taking part in the Chamber Studio programme this term, working on the Sonatas by Brahms in sessions at London’s King’s Place, with coaching from violinist Richard Ireland. 

The sessions are open to the public, and remaining dates are November 15th and December 19th, both at 6.15-9.15pm. 

“Tallis Remembered” on Radio 3 (again!)

Duo

Peter Hope’s “Tallis Remembered” has again been played on BBC Radio 3 – this time on Petroc Trelawny’s breakfast show. The piece is one of a number of woodwind works by Hope we recorded on the Divine Art disc “Wind blown“. 

The programme should be available on the iPlayer for a few more days here

Review in “The Clarinet”

Duo

I was thrilled to have a nice review of the Peter Hope Sonata I recorded last year in my own “trade mag” The Clarinet, written by Christopher Nichols of the University of Delaware. 

Here’s the full review:

Wind Blown: Sonatas for Wind Instruments by Peter Hope comes from the Divine Art label (DDA 25137) and is available for purchase as a digital download through iTunes or as a CD at www.divineartrecords.com. Peter Hope (b. 1930) is a new and welcome discovery, but his biography suggests his music is more familiar than his name, especially for those residing in the United Kingdom. BBC TV News used his music for over a decade as its theme music. Hope frequently arranged for the BBC Concert Orchestra and artists such as Jose Carreras, Kiri te Kanawa and Jessye Norman. His compositional voice is accessible and self-described as “unashamedly tonal.” This recording, his first complete disc of compositions, contains sonatas for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and recorder. In addition, there are two chamber works for unusual combinations: one for recorder, clarinet and piano and one for speaker and recorder.

 The clarinetist is Thomas Verity, principal second and E-flat clarinet in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout Hope’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Verity performs with a focused and vocal sound that is complex and rich in overtones. This is especially noticeable in the upper clarion and altissimo registers, with excellent intonation throughout the range of the instrument. He phrases every passage with conviction, which is a delight to hear. Pianist Simon Passmore, director of music at St. Ann’s Church in Manchester, joins Verity for this recording.

 Hope structures his sonata in three contrasting movements. Verity spins beautiful, lyrical phrases over Passmore’s supportive accompaniment in the first movement titled “Moderato.” The second movement, “Vivace,” contrasts as it is largely “conversational.” Listeners should notice Verity has admirably polished technique – his rendition, executed with apparent ease, generates excitement. The closing movement, “Freely, Allegro,” includes elements of klezmer style, evident from Hope’s choice of modes, dance-like music and energetic portamentos! Despite all the exuberance in this movement, it concludes in a poignant, reflective manner.

 Tallis Remembered, written for the unusual instrumentation of recorder, clarinet and piano, originated as a work for violin, recorder and piano. John Turner joins Verity and Passmore for this chamber work, which is a theme and variations written in response to Wendy Cope’s poem Tallis’s Canon. This charming, smallscale work provides clarinetists the rare opportunity to collaborate with a recorder in 21st century repertoire.

Christopher Nichols (The Clarinet)”

Stephen Pratt: “Solo Uno”

Duo

Recently I’ve enjoyed learning Liverpool composer Stephen Pratt’s piece “Solo Uno” for solo clarinet. It was actually written for a previous student of mine, Emma Haugton, and was premiered by my teacher, Nick Cox, so some nice connections there!

Stephen celebrates a  “signifiant” birthday this year, and I was asked to mark this by playing the second movement of “Solo Uno” in a concert in the Music Room (Liverpool Philharmonic Hall), alongside compositions by some of his students from Hope University. You can listen to a recording from the day here:

Stephen’s website is here, and the sheet music is available from HH publishers.

“Tram Tracks” songwriting project – the finished tracks!

Composing & ArrangingKlezmer-ishTeaching & Education

The enormous “Tram Tracks” project run by Sarah Atter and the Bridgewater Hall, is over! A team of musicians worked with local schools and community groups to write a song for each of the 93 stops on the tram network, and the finished tracks can be enjoyed here.

Here are the four songs I was involved with…

…the staff and volunteers group at Orsdall Hall, Salford:

 

…a track written by members of the public at a walk-up day at the Bridgewater Hall:

 

…the Y4 class from St Michael’s Primary School, Whitefield:

 

…and a commission for Klezmer-ish:

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