Posts Tagged ‘music’

That looks interesting…

October 17, 2017


…things I ought to remember not to forget.



The Slaves of Solitude:

Leningrad Symphony:

La tragedie de Carmen:



London classical music listings

April 13, 2016


Guardian Time Out concert-diary visitlondon londonclassical concerts bachtrack
11-Apr 2 3 2 9 N/A 2 2
12-Apr 8 5 2 12 3 2 3
13-Apr 5 6 3 10 2 2 9
14-Apr 7 9 5 14 2 5 8
15-Apr 6 7 8 18 3 8 12
16-Apr N/A 6 8 15 1 8 9
17-Apr N/A 4 4 14 0 4 10

An enquirer on Tripadvisor wants to know the best classical music listings for London.

So we put ‘classical music listings london’ into Google and discounting individual venues what we get is as follows.  Time Out is horribly clunky and incomplete.  Concert Diary is quite neat but also incomplete. is comprehensive but pretty clunky and difficult to get useful information out of. seems to be a site for selling tickets at some of the main venues. is also pretty clunky but gives you a lot of detail on a restricted number of concerts.  Bachtrack is whizzy and gives useful information quickly and neatly, as well as being reasonably complete.  By way of comparison, the hard-copy Guardian listings are also neatly laid out, but not especially complete.

So we recommend Bachtrack, supplemented by if you think you might be missing something.

Conway Hall Sunday Concerts

December 12, 2011

At the last one of these I went to, the person sitting next to me described himself as the former director of the concerts, and said that they would benefit from a larger audience. Accordingly, this blog urges its readers to have a go.  It’s cheap (£ 8), you hear ensembles you would pay a great deal more for elsewhere, you don’t have to book and you can sit where you like.  The concerts with some slightly unusual pieces on the programme are often the most interesting ones:  this isn’t necessarily the place you’d go to hear definitive performances of the classical/romantic repertoire, and if there’s an unusual piece on the programme it often means the performers really want to play it and have something to say.  Nowadays you can even get a piano recital at no extra charge before the main event on some dates.

As a service to the community, we present below the concerts featuring in the new brochure (Spring 2012 Part I)–official website here:

January 8th
Pre-concert Recital (5.30pm):
Simon Callaghan piano
Bach: Partita in C minor BWV825

Fibonacci Sequence
Gina McCormack violin
Catherine Yates violin
Yuko lnoue viola
Benjamin Hughes ‘cello
Kathron Sturrock piano
Simon Callaghan piano*

Brahms: Hungarian Dances [selection]*
Mozart: Piano Concerto in A K414
Moskowskii Spanish Dances Op.12 [selection]*
Dvorak: Piano Quintet in A Op.81a

January 15th
Tippett Quartet
John Mills violin
Jeremy Isaac violin
Julia O’Riordan viola
Bozidar Vukotic ‘cello

Haydn: Quartet in C Op.20/2
Beethoven: Quartet in E flat Op.74 ‘Harp’
Dvorak: Quartet in F Op.96 ‘American’

January 22nd
Bacchus Trio
Thomas Goud violin
James Barralet ‘cello
Atisdair Beatson piano

Beethoven: Trio in C minor Op.1/3
Liszt arr. Liszt Vallee d’Obermann
Chopin arr. Barralet: Polonaise Op. 3
Brahms: Trio in B Op.8

January 29th
Fitzwilliam Quartet
[Delius Anniversary Concert]
Lucy Russell violin
Cotin Scobie violin
Atan George viola
Heather Tuach ‘cello

Grainger: Molly on the Shore
Grieg: Quartet in G minor Op. 27
Delius: String Quartet

February 5th
Greenwich Trio
Lana Trotovsek violin
Stjepan Hauser’cello
Yoko Misumi piano

Mozart: Trio in G K546
Rachmaninov: Trio Elegiaque No. 1
Schumann: Trio No.2 in F Op.80

February 12th
Easton Trio
Madeleine Easton violin
Jonathan Ayling ‘cello
Daniel Grimwood piano

Beethoven: Trio in D Op.70/1 ‘Ghost’
Ross Edwards: Trio
Mendelssohn: Trio in C minor Op.66

February 19th
Pre-concert Recital (5.30 pm):
Hiro Takenouchi piano

Rachmaninov Sonata No.2
and works by Georgy Catoire

Maggini Quartet /
Hiro Takenouchi piano
[Rose Hacker Memorial Concert]

Suzanne Stanzeleit violin
David Angel violin
Martin Outram viola
Michal Kaznowski ‘cello

Haydn: Quartet in E Op.54/3
Bridge: Quartet No.4
Elgar: Piano Quintet in A minor Op.84

February 26th
Badke Quartet
Lana Trotovsek violin
Emma Parke viotin
Jon Thorne viola
Jonathan Byers ‘cello

Beethoven: Quartet in G op.18\2
Thomas Tomkins: A Sad Paven for these Distracted Tymes
Maxwell Davies: A Sad Paven for these Distracted Tymes
Mendelssohn: Quartet in F. Minor Op.80

March 4th
Lakeside Trio
Chihiro Ono violin
Vladimir Waltham ‘cello
Prach Boondiskulchok piano

Dvorak: Trio in F minor Op.65
Panufnik: Piano Trio
Ravel: Piano Trio

March 11th
Tim Orpen Trio
Tim Orpen clarinet
Victoria Simonsen ‘cello
Daniel Tong piano

Beethoven: Trio in B flat Op.11
Beethoven:’Cello Sonata
in G minor Op.5/2
Poulenc: Clarinet Sonata
Brahms: Trio in A minor Op.114

March 18th
Edinburgh Quartet
Tristan Gurney violin
Philip Burrin violin
Jessica Beeston viola
Mark Bailey ‘cello

Haydn: Quartet in C Op.76/3
Shostakovich: Quartet No.8
in C minor Op. 110
Beethoven: Quartet in F Op.135

March 25th
Rautio Trio
Jane Gordon violin
Adi Tal ‘cello
Jan Rautio piano

Haydn: Trio in E flat HobXV:10
Beethoven: Trio in E flat Op.1/1
Bridge: Phantasie Trio
Faure: Trio in D minor Op.120

The Leaden Echo Leonid Desyatnikov

June 5, 2011


This is all right.  There are ostinati and indulgent passages of violin writing.  It’s all very expertly performed.  The problem for me is that the composer Desyatnikov is determined not to show us anything of himself.  The extensive and interesting notes make the same point by way of a quotation from The Real Life of Sebastian Knight.

So the CD contains:

Return which builds up to a sample of traditional Japanese funeral music; so variations in reverse I suppose

A triptych of pieces (Du côté de chez Swan, Variations on the Obtaining of a Dwelling and Wie der Alte Leiermann…) that derive respectively from Le cygne, Haydn’s Farewell Symphony, and the song by Schubert.  All of these pieces left me asking ‘Why?’

The Leaden Echo a setting for counter-tenor and smallish ensemble of part of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.  On the one hand, the musical manner is that of Purcell’s approach to setting English words as filtered through Britten, but without Britten’s economy.  On the other hand, leaving out the Golden Echo means we get something that Britten has already done a great deal better in his setting of the Lyke-Wake Dirge.  It also leaves Hopkins expounding And wisdom is early to despair, which sounds more like A E Housman and is not what GMH meant to say here.  But then I would have had no idea of what William Purefoy was singing without looking at the texts.

Finally Main theme from motion picture Moscow Nights is what it says: high-grade film music.

I very much preferred Desyatnikov’s Russian Seasons.  There the original material had sufficient emotional content and closeness to him to draw out something…good…the refusal to either poke fun or sentimentalise in itself told you something…


Elizabeth Llewellyn (and Simon Lepper) SJSS 13 April

March 29, 2011

Following my earlier posting, Aurélie Jamard from Albion Media has written asking me to mention Elizabeth Llewellyn’s appearance at St John’s Smith Square on Wednesday 13 April in the Rosenblatt Recital series.

Elizabeth Llewellyn

Simon Lepper








Here’s the programme:

Elizabeth Llewellyn soprano
Simon Lepper piano

Handel Ma quando tornerai Alcina;
Se’il mio duol Rodelinda
Mozart E Susanna non vien!… Dove sono
Le nozze di figaro

Walton A Song for the Lord Mayor’s Table
Strauss Ständchen; All mein’ Gedanken; Du meines Herzens Krönelein; Nachtgang; Allerseelen
Puccini Mi chiamano Mimì La Bohème
Verdi Come in quest’ora bruna Simon Boccanegra
Gounod Ah! je ris de me voir Faust

Intermezzo calls this ‘an essential night out’

Southbank Sinfonia, St John’s Waterloo 17 March

March 19, 2011

This concert was not as crowded as I had expected, given that Intermezzo had been so complimentary about Elizabeth Llewellyn.  She certainly gave her all in the service of putting the numbers over to the audience, and it may have been quite an overwhelming experience for those sitting at the front.  So might sitting right under the bell of the trumpet for the Scarlatti numbers. The orchestra members who weren’t performing this evening showed great energy as claqueurs from the back of the church.

Simon Over the conductor said there were also opportunities to hear Southbank Sinfonia in Bury Court Barn, Bentley, Surrey and also in Italy.  You could email Stuart Angel if you wanted to know about Italy.

At the end we had Handel’s Eternal Source Of Light Divine from the Birthday Ode For Queen Anne and it seemed very appropriate for a church…

Malek Jandali “Echoes from Ugarit” St John’s Smith Square 5 March

March 6, 2011


A relevant album cover


This was an interesting evening and ended up being strangely familiar.  As I was plodding swiftly towards SJSS I passed the Archbishop of Canterbury in the street and when I got there I seemed to be the only non-Arab (non-Syrian) in the audience.  So all of the speeches were in English specially for me!  That was hospitable, even by Arab standards.

Anyway, many late-arriving couples arrived late, the women with dyed hair, furs and vertiginous heels and the men looking like burly profiteers.  We watched a video about Malek Jandali, from which I learned that he had been born in Germany, studied music in Syria under Russian professors, and now lived in the United States.  After that, we watched a video clip entitled ‘Piano Dream’, which put me in mind of an airline advertisement.

Then the man himself appeared and played the piano parts from his ‘Echoes from Ugarit’ album.  The music put me in mind of some combination of Lyapunov (general style of piano writing) and Borodin (oriental influences).  But there were also signs of a man who had seem something different, especially in Echoes from Ugarit itself.  He dedicated ‘Yafa’ to the Palestinians (as ever, apparently)  and, on this occasion, to other Arab peoples struggling for freedom–not, however, the Syrians.  In fact, the piece Emessa (old name for Homs) was greeted with such enthusiasm it seemed like everyone had come from there originally.

At the end, the whole hall got to their feet for the compulsory standing ovation, again reinforcing my feeling I was back in Russia…

St Paul’s Sinfonia (St Paul’s, Deptford) 19 November

November 20, 2010


Not a very comprehensive picture

Haydn – Symphony No. 43 ‘Mercury’
Alan Rawsthorne – Divertimento
Schumann – Symphony No. 2

So a pretty successful first visit this season to St Paul’s Deptford.  The Haydn symphony was pleasant enough, and then the piece by Alan Rawsthorne was fresh and interesting (though not perhaps marked by thematic consistency).  I was certainly enwrapped by the elegiac sloe movement of Schumann’s Second Symphony, though I didn’t share the vview of the people behind me that the Finale should have gone on longer; in fact, I felt the first movement could usefully have gone on shorter.  I imagine that being played by a chamber orchestra helped with the scoring and the hearing what was going on in the different parts…

Next performance is on 17 December.

“Russian Seasons” again

August 8, 2010

Since I was puzzled by the words to Desyatnikov’s Russian Seasons I decided to invest in the CD.  That has texts in English and German (not Russian), but they don’t exactly correspond to what I heard (nor to each other).  You can view the texts that accompany the CD here.  The booklet says that the words and music derive from a collection entitled Традиционная музыка русского Поозерья, and you should be able to see a list of contents here.  This is based on expeditions made to the Tver, Smolensk and Pskov regions in the period 1971-1992 (which is not so long ago) and the words are in heavily dialеctal Russian, which explains why I was puzzled.

Anyway here is what I made of the pieces with words:

2. Качульная/Lullaby

I wasn’t very interested in this, and will remark only that the author of the English translation has taken конопля as ‘cannabis’ rather than ‘hemp’, which is rather alarming and makes me wonder if this translation is the work of a native English-speaker (nobody is credited with the English translation).

If anyone writes in sounding interested I might have a go.

5.  Духовская

Ой, кумушки
Кумитеся и любитеся
Любите и мене.

Вы пойдите в зялёный сад, цвяточки рвать
Сорвите вы мне.
Вы будите вяночки вить
Ой, свейте вы мне.

Вы пойдите к ряке Дунай, к ряке Дунай
Возмите и мене.
Вы будите вёнки пускать, вёнки пускать
Пустите вы мне.
Ваши вёнки по ветру плыли, по ветру плыли
А мой на дно пошёл.

Ваши дружки с войны пришли, с войны пришли,
А мой не пришёл.
Он нё идёт, письма нё шлёт
Забыл про мене.

Song for Whitsuntide

Oh my friends
Be friends to each other, love each other
Love me as well.

You will go to the green garden, to pick flowers,–
Pick some for me.
You will make wreaths, make wreaths,
Oh, make one for me.

You will go to the Danube River, to the Danube River,
Take me as well.
You will launch your wreaths, launch your wreaths
Launch one for me.
Your wreaths sailed with the wind, with the wind
But mine went down.

Your boy-friends have come from the war, from the war
But mine hasn’t come
He’s not coming, he sends no letters,
He’s forgotten about me…


The words here work even better in English than Russian, since ‘friends’, ‘be friends’, and–strangely enough–‘love’ are all stronger, simpler and…better…than the originals, and ‘green garden’ doesn’t go so well in Russian either.  In the manner of the Authorised Version, things in italics are those I’ve added so that the translation makes sense.  There’s a whole website devoted to this song here, and it has a lot of dreadful versions by female folk-singers who seem unable to carry a tune.

7.  Постовая

Табе, тело, одно дело
Табе, тело, одно дело
Уйти в глубины, [че]р[в]ям кормить
Уйти в глубины, [че]р[в]ям кормить.

А мне, душе, пострадая удти, пострадая идти
Коло рая и шла, но в рай не вошла
Коло раю и шла, но в рай не дошла
В нашем раю будет весело
Пташки дают
Цвяты цвятут
О на те[х] цвята[х]
Сидят ангелы.

Song for Ember Days

For you, body, there is only one thing
For you, body, there is only one thing-
To go into the depths and feed the worms
To go into the depths and feed the worms.

But for me, the soul, I’ll go suffering, suffering
Repenting all the while,
I went near Heaven, but I didn’t enter Heaven
I went near Heaven, but I didn’t reach Heaven,
In our Heaven it will be merry,
Birds give their voices
Flowers flower
And on those flowers
Angels are sitting.


As well as the italics, I’ve added some things in [square brackets] to what I heard to make it look more like recognisable (to me!) Russian.

9.  Свадебная

Кукуй, кукуша серая
Кукуй, кукуша серая
Так и давно куковала
Так и давно куковала.
Не плачи, младчица Машенька
Так и давно плакали мы.

Nuptial song

Cry ‘Cuckoo’, you grey cuckoo
Cry ‘Cuckoo’, you grey cuckoo
Тhus long ago as well you cried Cuckoo
Thus long ago as well you cried Cuckoo.
Don’t weep, Mashenka, you young girl
Thus long ago as well we wept.


The translation (both English and German) is a bit of a mystery.  If you made it Так не давно кукуя…Так не давно плакали мы, then it would be “Thus not long ago you cried ‘Cuckoo’…Thus not long ago we wept”, which is probably better consolation for the girl, even though it’s not what I heard Julia Korpacheva as singing and it’s still not the same as the translation.

12.  Последняя

Наши руки–грабли,
Наши руки–грабли,
Наши глазы–ямы
Что глазы завидют,
Что глазы завидют,
То руки заграбют.
Как на его, ох на свете,
Пустяки нам надо
Аллилуйя, аллилуйя,
Слава тебе, Бога!

А на том же, о на свете
Ничьё уж нам не надо
Только надо, один сажень земли
Гвозди и досточки.
Аллилуйя, аллилуйя,
Слава тебе, Бога!

Closing Song

Our hands are but rakes,
Our hands are but rakes,
Our eyes are but pits.
What our eyes catch sight of,
What our eyes catch sight of,
That our hands reach for.
How much in it, oh in the world,
We need vanities.
Hallelujah, hallelujah,
Glory to thee, O God!

But in that one, oh in that world,
We need nothing more.
We need only six foot of earth,
Some nails and some boards.
Hallelujah, hallelujah,
Glory to thee, O God!


There’s a wonderful rendition of the original ‘spiritual song’ here.  The ‘four boards’ in the translation seem to have come from the original rather than what’s on the CD.

St Paul’s Sinfonia, St Paul’s Deptford, 18 June

June 21, 2010


St Paul’s Sinfonia
Andrew Morley  conductor

Greenwich Trio:
Lana Trotovsek  violin
Stjepan Hauser  cello
Yoko Misumi  piano

1. Rossini ‘William Tell’ Overture
2. Beethoven Triple Concerto


3. Brahms Symphony No. 4

After Friends and supporters had been entertained to fizz and conversation in the church crypt, we clambered up the spiral staircase to the concert.  I was impressed to learn that there were other things in the William Tell overture as well as the final Allegro vivace, and my companion was impressed by the way that the church acoustic projected the sound out at us.  The Beethoven Triple Concerto was a fairly late replacement for a new piece that had never materialised, and this time the acoustic defeated me–I really had little idea of what as going on in the orchestral part.  I also commented that the pianist seemed to be trying out for the position of England goalie–but we could hear the violinist and cellist, and they were good.

During the interval, I was filled with foreboding as to how mushified Brahms 4 would be by the acoustic and I was pleasantly surprised, or to be more accurate, completely  astonished.  There followed a performance of total clarity and conviction, whipped along by Andrew Morley with great dynamism and passion, and I felt I saw the point of Brahms for the first time in something like thirty years.  As my companion pointed out, it does make a diiference when the orchestra play like they mean it, not like a group of the jaded and world-weary!  And I was most impressed by their commitment and attack.

St Paul’s Sinfonia:  very nice people and well worth supporting!–See their website.


The author is a Friend of St Paul’s Sinfonia, and on this occasion received two glasses of free fizz (and free entrance to the concert).