Ducasse in the Trees

Meet the Players

March the second is the date for the opening concert in the Bath Recitals 2019 Chamber Series with the Ducasse Trio. Let’s meet these three talented players…

This vibrant young ensemble was formed in 2012 and consists of a violinist from France, a pianist from Ireland and a clarinetist from the UK. they met as students at the Paris Conservatoire and Southbank Sinfonia. IN 2014 they won the Worshipful Company of Musicians / Concordia Award and made their Wigmore Hall debut in 2015 followed by being finalists with the Young Concert Artists Trust in 2016.

Pianist Fiachra Garvey at the Irish Chamber Orchestra, University of Limerick during a recording for Lyric FM. (Pic: Alan Place Press 22)
Pianist Fiachra Garvey at the Irish Chamber Orchestra, University of Limerick during a recording for Lyric FM. (Pic: Alan Place Press 22)

Fiachra Garvey made his solo debut recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Fazioli Hall, Venice. International prize-winner at international competitions from Dublin to Prague, he has recorded 2 solo discs with RTE. Fiachra is Director of the Dublin International Piano Competition and Artistic Director of the West Wicklow Festival.

Charlotte Maclet
Charlotte Maclet

Charlotte Maclet is the musical director of Camerata Alma Viva and the first violin of Quatuor Zaide. She also performs with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields as well as performing as a soloist, chamber musician and chamber orchestra leader.

William Slingsby-Duncombe
William Slingsby-Duncombe

William Slingsby-Duncombe is a regular performer at top venues including the Wigmore Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall. Currently trialing as principal clarinet with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, he has recently played with the Hallé, Royal Opera House, BBC Concert Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and the English National Ballet.

The Ducasse Trio has performed at leading venues and festivals from the Royal Festival Hall to the Spoleto Festival Italy.

The trio recently embarked on a national tour of Ireland and are keen advocates of commissioning exciting new works for their trio such as by composers Christian Dachez and Charlotte Bray.

‘An exceptionally exciting group who play brilliantly together, with huge verve and imagination.’

Thomas Ades, composer

‘Utterly spellbinding Stravinsky’

Alasdair Tait YCAT 2016 finals

Join us for a wonderful of music from this talented trio and explore some fabulously evocative music composed for the sonorous woodwind of the clarinet, the warm bowed strings of the violin and the rich resonance of the piano.

Saturday 2 March 7.30pm
St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath

Khachaturian Trio
Debussy Premiere Rhapsody
Shostakovich Five pieces
Ives Largo for clarinet, violin and piano
Debussy Sonata for violin and piano
Stravinsky The Soldier’s Tale

Discover the Clarinet Trio

Pic: Kegelstadt Excerpt

This Spring the Bath Recitals 2019 chamber music series offer two opportunities to hear a rather unusual but particularly beautiful chamber music grouping with the Ducasse Trio on 2 March and the Jacquin Trio on 6 July…

We can thank Mozart for writing the first clarinet Trio in 1787 which he dedicated to his student Franziska von Jacquin. The clarinet was a relatively new instrument at the time and no composer before Mozart had written for this combination of instruments with a clarinet, a bowed string instrument and a piano. The string instrument is usually the violin or viola – but it can be a cello. Mozart’s success was followed by his Clarinet Quintet and the Clarinet Concerto which all helped to increase the instrument’s popularity.

Mozart
Mozart

However the repertoire specifically composed for such a combination was quite limited. In fact, of the mainstream composers up until 1900 this is about it:

Notable works for clarinet trio

  • Mozart Clarinet Trio in E-flat major, K. 498 ‘Kegelstatt-Trio’
  • Beethoven Clarinet Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11 ‘Gassenhauer-Trio’
  • Schumann Märchenerzählungen, Op. 132
  • Carl Reinecke Trio for piano, clarinet and viola, Op. 246
  • Brahms Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op. 114
Brahms Trio

So where does the rest of the music come from? Fortunately, there is plenty of classical repertoire out there for the piano trio (violin – cello – piano) and it is a relatively simple process to ‘convert’ these to music for the clarinet trio which can really illuminate the music in a fresh way.

In addition, by the time we get into the early 20th century composers were discovering – or re-discovering – this unique combination of instruments with fabulous and evocative timbral contrasts between the sonorous woodwind of the clarinet, the warm bowed string of the strings and the resonance of the piano.

Ducasse Trio
Ducasse Trio

The first concert with the Ducasse Trio on 2 March takes most of its programme from the early 20th century with fabulous music by Khachaturian, Debussy, Shostakovich, Ives and Stravinsky.

‘Utterly spellbinding Stravinsky’

Alasdair Tait: YCAT 2016 finals

And in July, A terrific programme of music for this vibrant instrumental combination from the Jaquin Trio who explores some of the earlier repertoire by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Glinka and an exciting new piece by Helen Grime.

Jacquin Trio
Jacquin Trio

‘Impressive skill and character’

The Times

So join us on this fascinating journey with the Clarinet Trio in 2019. All concerts are at 7.30pm in the comfortable and central location of St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath. 

The Glory of Bach at Christmas

Saturday 22 December sees the culmination of Bath Recitals’ 2018 Baroque Season with a glorious celebration of the magical world of JS Bach and those who inspired his wonderful music…

268 years have passed since Johann Sebastian Bach died in Liepzig. Yet his music continues to thrive today – particularly with his festive Christmas Oratorio and his poignant Easter Passions.

From Cantatas to Concertos, Oratorios to Organ works, Preludes to Fugues, the music of Bach represents the final flowering of the Baroque in northern Europe.

Classic FM refers to him as ‘music’s most sublime creative genius’, his music is featured more often than that of any other composer in The Telegraph’s list of the 168 best classical music recordings, and according to conductor and baroque musicologist Sir John Eliot Gardiner he is ‘arguably the greatest of all composers’.

German Christmas Baroque

Musica Poetica make a welcome return to Bath for this concert featuring the music of JS Bach in the context of German Baroque Christmas. Composers from Biber to Buxtehude and from Schütz to Scheidt all wrote glorious music for Christmas which paved the way for Bach’s genius who was to become a towering figure of the baroque age and the undoubted master of ‘The German Baroque’.

A Feast for the Senses

Caravaggio’s masterpiece of still life, Still life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge, was painted around 1603 and depicts a wicker basket heaped with various fruit and vegetables looking so succulent and delicious you can almost pick them off the canvas and eat them…

The story goes that Caravaggio was sued by his landlady for cutting a hole in the ceiling of the rooms he rented to allow a mellow shaft of light to create the characteristic lighting falling from the top left of the painting.

Around the time this was painted, composers throughout Europe were also being inspired by a new wave of music which saw a shift away from Renaissance style contrapuntal polyphony with all the voices being theoretically equal, to the treble-bass polarity of the baroque and the development of basso continuo.

This was radical stuff, and composers of the early 17th century were unwittingly creating the foundations for one of the greatest composers of all time – JS Bach.

Heinrich Biber
Heinrich Biber

Composers such as the Bohemian-Austrian violinist Heinrich Biber – one of the most important composers for that instrument – began writing virtuosic melody lines full of ornamentation and invention.

Heinrich Schütz
Heinrich Schütz

Others like Heinrich Schütz brought the colour and vitality of the new music from Italy to the northern Germanic states where they flourished through choral singing with a particular focus given to the nuance and declamation of the text.

Dietrich Buxtehude
Dietrich Buxtehude

And the great Danish-German organist/composer Dietrich Buxtehude whose chorale-cantatas so inspired Bach that the 17 year old JS Bach walked 250 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck to hear him perform.

JS Bach by Haussmann (1748)
JS Bach by Haussmann (1748)

These and many other composers were all paving the way for one of the greatest composers in musical history – Johann Sebastian Bach – a towering figure of the baroque age. Through his 65 years he was to become the master of what we now call ‘The German Baroque’.

From Cantatas to Concertos, Oratorios to Organ works, Preludes to Fugues, the music JS Bach represents the final flowering of the Baroque in northern Europe. Today, 268 years after his death, his music continues to thrive. Indeed, in The Telegraph’s list of the 168 best classical music recordings, Bach’s music is featured more often than that of any other composer.

Manuscript of Bach's St Matthew Passion
Manuscript of Bach’s St Matthew Passion

German Baroque Christmas is a celebration of the magical world of JS Bach and those who inspired his wonderful music.

THE BAROQUE SERIES

German Christmas Baroque

MUSICA POETICA
Saturday 22 December 7.30pm
St Michael’s Church, Broad Street

And of course our popular bar will be open at St Michael’s serving suitably festive Christmas drinks!

German Christmas Baroque

A celebration of the magical world of JS Bach and those who inspired his wonderful music with the culmination of Bath Recitals 2018 and a German Baroque Christmas. Find out more…

Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the towering figures of the baroque age. Through his 65 years he became a master of the German Baroque.

In 1705, When he was just 17, he famously walked 250 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck to hear the 68-year-old

Dietrich Buxtehude perform. He was to become one of many of Bach’s influences across the continent who defined him as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Johann Sebastian Bach statue, St. Thomas Church, Leipzig
Johann Sebastian Bach statue, St. Thomas Church, Leipzig

The authentic voices and instrumentalists of Music Poetica make a welcome return to Bath for this concert. This glorious seasonal celebration of the wonder of a Baroque Christmas with music from 17th and 18th century Germany will form the culmination of Bath Recital’s 2018 Baroque Season.

Musica Poetica in performance at Bath Recitals earlier this year
Musica Poetica in performance at Bath Recitals earlier this year

an early-instrument ensemble of exceptional quality”

Miranda Jackson – Opera Brittanica

This festive evening celebrates the music of JS Bach with a programme including some of his most famous cantatas and chorales. In addition will enjoy some Christmas favourites by some of the composers who inspired him including Praetorius, Buxtehude and Schütz.

THE BAROQUE SERIES

German Christmas Baroque

Saturday 22 December 7.30pm

St Michael’s Church, Broad Street

JS Bach

Bereite dich Zion (Prepare yourself, Zion) from Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring from Cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life) BWV 147

Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke (I am content with my fate) BWV 84

Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (Now come, Saviour of the heathens) BWV 61

Philipp Nicolai arr JS Bach

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern (How beautiful is the morning star) BWV 436

Chorale from Wachet auf! (Sleepers Wake) BWV 140

Michael Pretorius

In natali Domini (On our Lord’s Birthday)

Traditional arr Michael Pretorius

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (Lo, how a rose e’er blooming)

Samuel Scheidt

Puer natus in Bethlehem (A Child is born in Bethlehem)

Heinrich Schütz

Singet dem Herren ein neues Lied  (Sing unto the Lord a new song) SWV 342

Verbum caro factum est (Here the Word became flesh) SWV 314

Dietrich Buxtehude

In dulci jubilo (In sweet rejoicing) BuxWV 52

Chant: Veni redemptor gentium (Come, Redeemer of the nations)

Keep the Home Fires Burning

The association of music with conflict is legendary, and the First World War is no exception. Never Such Innocence on 3 November looks back at some of the extraordinary writings and music that emerged from this period….

The Holborn Empire

Prior to 1914 the Music Hall was the centre of popular cultural life with ever larger theatres of up to 2000 seats staging live musical acts alongside animal imitators, acrobats, human freaks and conjurors. This was before the days of the affordable gramophone and so cheap seats at a show provided access to a new repertoire of populist songs.

George Formby

The stars of the day ranged from the jauntily comic to the bawdy performer such as the likes of George Formby (pictured) and Harry Lauder.

During the war years alone the Music Hall was the perfect platform for several thousand new music hall songs. A real hit could sell over a million copies.

It’s A Long, Long Way to Tipperary.

At the outbreak of war, many songs encouraged young men to join up with tiles such as We Don’t Want to Lose You, but We Think You Ought to Go and It’s A Long, Long Way to Tipperary.

But after a few months of war with rising numbers of casualties these recruitment songs all but disappeared.

When the War is Over

Increasingly these music hall songs focused on dreams about the end of the war such as Ivor Novello’s When the Boys Come Home and Keep the Home Fires Burning. 

Songs often portrayed soldiers as brave and noble, while the fragile and loyal women waited patiently at home for their loved ones.

The Spirit of England

In the world of British classical music the war coincided with a time of transition. The older generation of composers such as Parry, Stanford and Elgar would normally have been overshadowed by a younger generation of composers. Ivor Gurney, Arthur Bliss and Herbert Howells were all students in 1914, but as many of these were of enlistment age they were sent to the front and of course many of them never returned. Of those composers who went to fight, George Butterworth, F S Kelly, William Denis Browne, Ernest Farrar, Willie Manson and Cecil Coles tragically did not survive.

‘A very special, moving and immensely absorbing production’

Gurney

Although difficult for composers to write whilst on active service, the pieces they did write are a barometer for the times. Ivor Gurney, returning after 15 months at the front, having been shot and gassed, brought with him five of his most enduring songs. One mud-spattered manuscript, a setting of By a Bierside, was written by the light of a stump of candle in a trench mortar emplacement.

There were demands such as in The Musical Times for the composers of the day to write music which commemorated, celebrated and raised the spirits of the Nation. Elgar’s The Spirit of England, for example,was initially popular but but as the mood of the nation turned peoples’ emotional needs changed to a desire for music which expressed people’s grief, and served as a memorial to those who had been lost.

Chris and Gamal in Never Such Innocence
Christopher Kent and Gamal Khamis performing

After the noise of war fell silent at 11am on 11 November 1918 it was left to the older generation to reflect on the conflict and to pay homage to its memory. For example, Vaughan Williams after serving with the Medical Corps in France, wrote his achingly beautiful Pastoral Symphony in 1922 as a monument to loss, with bugle calls echoing across the French landscape.

Never Such Innocence captures the spirit of the age in a moving narrative recital of words and music from the First World War delivered by professional actor Christopher Kent and pianist Gamal Khamis.

THE RECITAL SERIES

Never Such Innocence

Saturday 3 November 7.30pm
St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 

Tickets are just £16 (or £15 in advance with a discovery card)

Beautifully nuanced show – tender, moving, angry”

With generous support from

Carne Trust

Beethoven’s Great String Trios

Beethoven wrote some of his most engaging pieces for the String Trio. Yet after the age of 28 he was never to write any more. We find out why..

Beethoven left his native Bonn at the age of 22 to take lessons from Josef Haydn in Vienna. Everything was going well with several successful works under his belt including collections of String Trios.

In 1797 Beethoven began composing his opus 9 set of three String Trios which he dedicated to his patron Count Johann Georg von Browne. 

Count Johann Georg von Browne
Count Johann Georg von Browne

At the time of publication Beethoven regarded these Trios as the best compositions he had ever written. 

Carnevale String Trio
Carnevale String Trio

Suddenly, just when he was in total command of the genre, he abandoned the String Trio for ever. The reason being that he was ready to take up the wider challenge of the String Quartet. Yet Musicologist Gerald Abraham believes that Beethoven’s String Trios are on a par with the quartets he was to write afterwards in terms of their style and aesthetic value.

The Carnevale String Trio will be performing Beethoven’s last String Trio – a work in which Beethoven unleashes what the musicologist Denis Matthews describes as a ‘creative demon’. 

Experience this fascinating music of passion and energy on Saturday 29 September alongside music by J.S.Bach, Dohnanyi and Gideon Klein

THE RECITAL SERIES

Carnevale String Trio

Saturday 29 September 7.30pm

St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 

JS Bach          Goldberg Variations (excerpts)
Dohnanyi        Serenade in C Major
Gideon Klein  String Trio
Beethoven      String Trio in C Minor op 9 no. 3

Tickets are just £15 – £16

With generous support from The Carne Trust.

A Trio in Four Parts

The talented violinist, violist and cellist making up the Carnevale String Trio bring a programme of four of the most exciting pieces written for this ensemble by some of the greatest composers  from the baroque to the present…

Although the String Trio never quite managed to match the popularity of the String Quartet, its origins date back earlier to the Baroque Trio Sonata – often with two violins and a bass instrument or ‘continuo’. By the 18th century the string trio scored for violin, viola and cello came to be more usual.

JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations were originally written for the harpsichord in 1741 for Johann Gottlieb Goldberg – a rather exceptionally talented 14-year-old from Danzig in Poland. Many of the 30 variations are written in three ‘voices’ so lend themselves particularly well to be played by three individual instruments and have been transcribed for string trio by Dmitry Sitkovetsk

Caption: Excerpt from Bach’s Goldberg Variation no.21 showing the three ‘voices’

The Hungarian composer Ernö Dohnányi wrote his delightful five-movement Serenade in C Major in 1902 ahead of its premieré in Vienna. Yet it sounds like something from an earlier age capturing more of the spirit of the 18th century. It is fair to say that Dohnanyi intentionally chose to produce an updated version of the classical serenade for string trio and based his work on Beethoven’s Op.8 Serenade.

Carnevale feels like an equilateral triangle: technically and musically balanced and respectful of the other two sides’ 

Andrew Maddox: Concerts in the West

Gideon Klein may not be an immediately recognisable name yet this Czech pianist and composer was to become the organiser of cultural life in Nazi concentration camps during World War Two. 

Following the occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 Klein was forced to abort his university studies, but the following year he was offered a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music.

However anti-Jewish legislation prevented his emigration and he was deported initially to the Terezín concentration camp – one of the few in which artistic activity was eventually permitted by Nazis on any scale, if only to deceive the broader public as to their real intentions. His works, including this poignant and tuneful String Trio were fortunately saved by his sister after his tragic death in 1945.

Beethoven’s String Trio in C Minor op 9 no. 3 was published in Vienna in 1799 as part of a set of Trios dedicated to his patron Count Johann Geog von Browne and was a significant milestone in the 28-year-old Beethoven’s development as a composer. At the time he regarded the trios as his best compositions yet and lead the way for his upcoming string quartets, which became the leading genre among his chamber music compositions.

Carnevale String Trio

THE RECITAL SERIES

Carnevale String Trio

Saturday 29 September

JS Bach          Goldberg Variations (excerpts)

Dohnanyi        Serenade in C Major

Gideon Klein  String Trio

Beethoven      String Trio in C Minor op 9 no. 3

All our concerts now take place in the beautiful and comfortable setting of St Michael’s church in Broad Street. 

Tickets are just £15 – £16

Supported by the Carne Trust

My Hat has Three Corners

Carnevale String Trio

The Venetian Carnival is known the world over for its flamboyant costumes, elaborate masks and opportunity for licence and pleasure. Dating back to the year 1162, the festival was actually banned in 1797 under the rule of the Holy Roman Emperor and later Emperor of Austria, Francis II and the use of masks became strictly forbidden. But it gradually returned and was fully enforced by the Italian government in 1979 as a celebration of the history and culture of Venice and now attracts upwards of 3 million people every year.

Venetian Carnival Masked Lovers

The Carnival of Venice, is a folk tunepopularly associated with the words My hat, it has three cornersand which has subsequently been arranged by composers from Chopin to Paganini and for just about every instrument under the sun. How much is that Doggie in the Window is even derived from the same melody!

Harlequin Casonvoa
Harlequin Casanova

The Carnevale String Trio bring some of this exuberance and excitement to the beautiful surroundings of Bath’s St Michael’s Church on 29 September with music ranging from baroque and early classical by Bach and Beethoven through to post romantic by Dohnanyi and contemporary with Gideon Klein’s tuneful and poignant 1943 trio.

My Hat has Three Corners is also an appropriate metaphor for the Carnevale String Trio consisting of three equal instrumentalists and as Andrew Maddocks of Concerts in the West described them recently:

Carnevale feels like an equilateral triangle: technically and musically balanced and respectful of the other two sides.

Carnevale String Trio
Carnevale String Trio

The three performers, Kamila Bydlowska (violin), Shiry Rashkovsky (viola) and Timothee Botbol (cello) are noted for the intensity of their performances and variety of repertoire having received enthusiastic responses from audiences and musicians across the UK. Since they were founded by these three talented and award-winning RCM graduates they have performed in venues such as the National Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Lancaster House and Somerset House.

‘Stylish and highly accomplished’

Dorset Echo

THE RECITAL SERIES

Carnevale String Trio

Saturday 29 September

JS Bach          Goldberg Variations (excerpts)

Dohnanyi        Serenade in C Major

Gideon Klein  String Trio

Beethoven      String Trio in C Minor op 9 no. 3

All our concerts now take place in the beautiful and comfortable setting of St Michael’s church in Broad Street. 

Tickets are just £15 – £16

Supported by the Carne Trust

Handel and George I on the Thames, 17 July 1717

Handel in England

How did one of the greatest German composers of the Baroque era, trained in Hamburg and Italy, become a British subject and the darling of the British crown and the public?

Grand Baroque on 25 August is a celebration of the music of George Frideric Handel, described by musicologist Winton Dean as ‘not only a great composer; he was a dramatic genius of the first order.’

Over in Hanover in what is now northern Germany, the successful composer George Frederic Handel was the Kapellmeister for the German Prince-Elector of Hanover – George Louis. 

However, Handel had started to spend more and more time in England at the behest of Queen Anne who had bestowed him with a yearly income of £200. 

Handel
Handel

The Elector was not too pleased with these split loyalties but when in 1714 the George Louis became King  George I of Great Britain his views started to change. Catholics had been prohibited from inheriting the British throne since 1701 and following the death of his second cousin, Queen Anne, George was the nearest Protestant relative – so he got the job – and thus began the start of the Hanoverian dynasty.

Water Music
Water Music

And when Handel’s newly composed Water Music was performed in a concert for the King on the River Thames it spurred their reconciliation.

In 1717 Handel became house composer for the Duke of Chandos (until he lost all his money on the South Sea Bubble fiasco). Nevertheless, Handel was now in demand and helped establish the new opera company The Royal Academy of Music and in 1723 moved into a house in Brook Street, Mayfair (pictured). He lived there for the remaining 36 years of his life. Over 200 years later the rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix was to move next door and it is now the Handel & Hendrix Museum!

Handel’s House
Handel’s House

When the King died in 1727, Handel was commissioned to write four anthems for the Coronation ceremony of King George II who then appointed him a British subject in gratitude for his work. One of these, Zadok the Priest, has been played at every British coronation ceremony since.

After his contract at The Queen’s Theatre ended Handel surprised everyone by immediately looked for another theatre and started a new company at Covent Garden Theatre.

Covent Garden Theatre
Covent Garden Theatre

But after 1741 Handel devoted more of his time to Oratorio following the success of his Messiah in Dublin. Now he could compose music in English for the wider British audience who adored this new theatrical musical narrative.

George II victoriously led his united British and Hanoverian troops into battle against the French at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743. AsComposer of the Musick to the Chapel Royal Handel composed a Te Deum in celebration of the victory. 

George II at Dettingen
George II at Dettingen

And when in In 1749 Handel composed his Music for the Royal Fireworks 12,000 people attended the first performance. And his performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital was to become an annual event for the rest of his life. When he was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1759 more than three thousand mourners attended his funeral, which was given full state honours.