Join us for Baroque Tales and cocktails!

Musica Poetica are bringing their unique take on music from the flamboyant Baroque era to Bath on 26 August. Find out what they will be playing in Baroque Tales.

Musica Poetica are bringing a fantastic programme of familiar and less familiar music from 17th and 18th century Europe:  From France with the music of Rameau and Clérambault; to Italy with Cavalli, to Germany with Tunder and to England with the music of Purcell and Handel.


PROGRAMME

Saturday 26 August 2017

Old Theatre Royal, Orchard Street, Bath

Franz Tunder: 
Salve coelestis pater & An Wasserflüssen Babylon

Heinrich Biber: 
Sonata Representiva

Louis-Nicolas Clérambault: 
La Mort d’Hercule

Jean-Philippe Rameau: 
3-ième Concert, Pièces de Clavecin en Concerts

George Frederic Handel: 
Rejoice Greatly (from Messiah) & The Harmonious Blacksmith

Henry Purcell: 
Fairest Isle, King Arthur

Richard Leveridge: 
3 Comic Songs

Francesco Cavalli: 
La Calisto, Scenes 1 & 2


What is more, Musica Poetica will perform on period instruments – fascinating to look at and beautiful to listen to. Including violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord, these instruments will support the solo soprano and bass-baritone vocals.

Musica Poetica

“An early-instrument ensemble of exceptional quality.”
Opera Britannica

Musica Poeticahave a growing reputation for energetic and engaging performances of repertoire from Monteverdi to Mozart., they have been praised for their “constantly upbeat brilliance and dynamism”. 

Throughout 2017 they have been based at the historic location of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in Holborn for a series of nine concerts entitled Tunder’s World.

The focus of the concerts has been to explore the magical world of this 17th century German composer who lived and thrived through a period of great musical change – and he even has an asteroid named after him!

Hear some of Tunder’s music as part of Baroque Tales on 26 August!

Remember – your ticket includes a complimentary Baroque-themed cocktail with canapés to ensure our summer musical party goes off with a swing.

Galerie des Glaces, Versailles

The Baroque Age

The next Bath Recitals event is Baroque Tales – our summer musical party with Baroque-themed cocktails and canapés. Today we delve a little deeper into The Baroque Age.

On 26 August Musica Poetica take us on a 17th and 18th century whirlwind tour of Europe with Baroque Tales  and Music with a TWIST!

Fontana di Trevi, Rome

Fontana di Trevi, Rome

But what exactly is – or was – the Baroque Age? The word Baroque actually comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning Misshapen Pearl. In architecture we associate the word with ornate and heavily ornamented design such in the Fontana di Trevi in Rome above or at the in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles just outside Paris (pictured above).

In music it defines the historical period from approximately 1600 to 1750. During that time many great changes were witnessed in musical composition and performance.

Classic FM has produced a really helpful series of ‘Fast And Friendly Guides’ to musical periods. This short video tells us the key points of the Baroque era which saw an explosion of new musical ideas from composers such as Bach and Handel, the birth of opera with Monteverdi and Purcell, and Vivaldi’s 500 dazzling concertos:

Your ticket includes a complimentary Baroque-themed cocktail with canapés to ensure our summer musical party goes off with a swing.

Musica Poetica

“An early-instrument ensemble of exceptional quality.”
Opera Britannica

With kind support from the Odin Trust

Schubert’s Great Piano Trios

Alongside the string quartet, the Piano Trio must rank as one of the most popular and successful chamber music forms from the classical period onwards.

It was Mozart who is credited with transforming the piano plus solo instrument sonata into the balanced trio with piano, violin and cello. Haydn also made his mark on the genre. In addition, home music-making made the piano trio an ideal solution for arrangements of larger works. Beethoven, for example transcribed his first two symphonies for piano trio and also wrote two original sets piano trios.

Schubert first dabbled with the idea of the piano trio form when he just 15 but it was not until the last year of his life in 1827 that he finally finished his first piano trio – the Trio No. 1 in B-flat major D.898. 

But it was his epic Trio No. 2 in E-flat major D.929 at almost 50 minutes in length, and one of the last compositions he was to complete, which really shows the genius of Schubert in this genre.

Fame was to come to the main theme of the second movement when it was used in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film Barry Lyndon. It has also been use in several other films including The Hunger, Crimson Tide, The Piano Teacher, John Adams and The Mechanic.

It was composed to celebrate the engagement of Schubert’s school-friend Josef von Spaun and was among the few of his late compositions Schubert heard performed in his lifetime. Its first private performance was given by Carl Maria von Bocklet on the piano, violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh, and cellist Josef Linke. 

And this is the work performed in Bath Grand Pump Room on 18 June by the Linos Trio.  Following the tradition of the piano trio as a medium for performing arrangements of the great classics the concert also includes the Linos’s own arrangement of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas and Sally Beamish’s fabulous arrangement of Debussy’s atmospheric La Mer.

Meet the Linos Piano Trio

Just a few weeks to go until we welcome the Linos Piano Trio.  to Bath with German/Brazillian violinist Konrad Elias-Trostman, Russian/French cellist Vladimir Waltham and Thai/British pianist Prach Boondiskulchok. Let’s find out a bit more about these international musicians… 

First Prize and Audience Prize winner of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition 2015, the Linos Piano Trio has achieved recognition as an extremely dynamic and creative young chamber ensemble.

“a slow-burning, gripping performance, the playing rich and passionate.” – The Strad

Prach Boondiskulchok (piano) 

Thai-British pianist Prach Boondiskulchok studied piano and composition at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a Scholar of Princess Galyani Vadhana. A Park Lane Group Young Musician in three consecutive years, Prach has performed at many prestigious venues and festivals around the world including the Royal Festival Hall, St Johns Smith Square, Schoenberg Centre (Vienna), Thailand Cultural Centre (Bangkok), Viana Festival (Portugal) and the Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival (USA).

Konrad Elias-Trostmann (violin) 

Born of German and Brazilian parents, Konrad grew up in London and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music completing his Masters at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln in 2016. He was recently accepted on the Postgraduate course to work with Rainer Schmidt at the Mozarteum University Salzburg. A devoted chamber musician, recitalist and orchestral musician, Konrad has worked with some of the world’s greatest conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis and Antonio Pappano.

Vladimir Waltham (cello)

Berlin-based cellist Vladimir Waltham was born into a family of musicians in the South of France and now divides his time between solo, chamber, orchestral and teaching on both modern and baroque cello, as well as various other early instruments. Notable successes include receiving the Audience Prize at the 2013 York Early Music Competition and his Hieronymus String Quartet winning the Cavatina Intercollegiate String Quartet Prize and Audience Prize.

Join us at Bath’s spectacular Pump Room on Sunday 18 June for a concert of music as you will never have heard it before with some fantastic new arrangements of La Mer and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice pitted against Schubert’s phenomenal Second Piano Trio.

A fresh look at Debussy’s La Mer

One of the more exciting pieces in the programme by the Linos Piano Trio on 18 June will be a rather exceptional performance of Debussy’s ‘La Mer’. Those of you who know Debussy’s impressionistic masterpiece will be only too aware that this is a piece for huge orchestral forces. So what is this all about? Nicholas Keyworth has been investigating…

British composer Sally Beamish has written much successful chamber, vocal, choral and orchestral music. She has also worked in the field of music theatre, film and television, as well as composing for children and for her local community.

In 2012, Trio Apaches were performing Sally’s The Seafarer at the Lincoln International Chamber Music Festival. They asked her to consider creating an arrangement of Debussy’s La Mer for piano trio, as a companion piece to The Seafarer.

Sally Beamish

Sally Beamish

Her initial reaction was an unequivocal NO. Sally had already arranged some early Debussy pieces for cello and orchestra, for Steven Isserlis a few years earlier describing it as:

‘one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – and it took me twice as long as it would have done to write an original concerto!’

However, after a good deal of pursuasion, she agreed despite being a daunting prospect. Watch this fascinating discussion about creating this arrangement with Sally Beamish and Trio Apaches pianist, Ashley Wass:

And it wasn’t a simple case of giving all the tunes to the violin, the base line to the cello and the accompaniment to the piano. Very often, Beamish had to give Debussy’s string lines to the piano, so that the violin and cello could sustain the wind melodies. At other times she used the cello to sustain a bass resonance, and gave a cello solo to the violin.

It reminded me of a particularly tricky game of Sudoku – you changed one instrumentation, and another no longer worked.

It turned out to be an illuminating and stimulating journey, and made her think about instrumentation in a new and more creative way.

I’m profoundly glad I said ‘yes’ in the end!’

“a magical rethink that unashamedly shrinks Debussy’s grand evocations down to a more intimate scale, but loses nothing of La Mer’s power and detail” – The Scotsman

Linos Piano Trio

Linos Piano Trio

“Sally Beamish has produced a colossal, creative masterpiece” – The Herald

Sally Beamish’s arrangement of La Mer was first performed in 2013 and recorded in 2014. You can hear it alongside Schubert’s mighty Piano trio in Eb and  the Sorceror’s Apprentice by Dukas on Sunday 18 June at the glorious Pump Room.

500 years of music for Queen Elizabeth

The next concert from Bath Recitals features beautiful music spanning 500 years from the time of Queen Elizabeth the First to our present Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Some of the most wonderful music from the time of Queen Elizabeth I starts the concert with music by John Sheppard, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons. But then we are transported forward in time to our own period and to some of the music written during the long reign our very own Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II

Director Tom Hammond-Davies tell us:

‘One on the connecting threads here are the words of William Shakespeare who lived under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth I. Yet it was his words which inspired so many composers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II from Benjamin Britten to Vaughan Williams and John Rutter.’

One of the more unusual highlights will be from the great British jazz pianist George Searing with Spring. The composer of over 300 titles, including the jazz standard Lullaby of Birdland, many people will be surprised to hear that Shearing also wrote a series of settings of Shakespeare Sonnets including this exquisite piece in this captivating choral arrangement.

Gloriana! is the title for his fascinating programme which was included in the Blenheim Singers’ 2016 tour to Frankfurt, Bavaria and the Alsace under their Director, Tom Hammond-Davies – and with a hugely positive reception wherever they went.

Each item is introduced by a different member of the choir giving a more personal insight into the music and to the poetry to which it is set.

The Blenheim Singers perform Gloriana! at the Bath’s Old Theatre Royal on 6 May at 7.30pm.

Blenheim Singers: Gloriana!

Music and poetry from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I

Saturday 6 May, 7.30pm
Old Theatre Royal, Bath

Blenheim Singers

The next concert in the 2017 Bath Recitals series is a glorious programme celebrating the composers and writers who flourished under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth I. The arts were central to her long and peaceful reign when composers such as William Byrd and writer William Shakespeare both benefited from her support.

“Choral music at the highest level. An impressive experience.”
Augsburger Allgemeine

This concert features some of the finest a cappella singing in a celebration of the music and poetry of the period together with some more contemporary works inspired by the spirit of the age. A truly magical evening of top quality music.


Programme

Sheppard: Libera nos
Tallis: If ye love me & O nata lux
Byrd: Haec Dies & Ave verum corpus
Gibbons: Magnificat and Nunc dimittis ‘Short’
Britten: Choral Dances from ‘Gloriana’
Vaughan Williams: Three Shakespeare Songs
Shearing: Spring
Rutter: It was a lover and his lass & When daisies pied


Blenheim Singers
With their unique link to Blenheim Palace, the seat of the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, the Blenheim Singers shares the vision of the Palace’s UNESCO status by building “peace into the minds of men and women” through musical performances of the highest level. Following their highly successful 2016 tours to Germany and France, audiences continue to be enthralled by the passionate and authentic musical experience presented by this group.

2017 concert season underway

The 2017 Bath Recitals concert series is underway after a fabulous opening concert by the Ruisi String Quartet. 

And that’s just the start of a wonderful programme of events to look forward to throughout the year ahead.

VISIT OUR BOX OFFICE NOW

Coming up we have choirs from Oxford and Blenheim, a dynamic new piano trio, a fabulous guitar & flute duo, a Quartet bringing music from the USA and Japan, and Baroque music with a Twist at our summer spectacular.

VISIT OUR BOX OFFICE NOW

‘The most perfect expression of human behaviour is a string quartet’

With the forthcoming season’s opening concert by the Ruisi Quartet, Nicholas Keyworth explores the background to this wonderful musical genre.

As British conductor, Jeffrey Tate so aptly put it: The most perfect expression of human behaviour is a string quartet.’ With its musical and spiritual equality between the four string players – two violin players, a viola player and a cellist – the string quartet became the most prominent chamber ensemble from the mid 18th century onwards and possibly the most perfectly satisfying musical form both for performers and audiences alike.

The origins of the String Quartet are rather murky and connected to a large extent to the emergence of the instruments, violin, viola and cello as we would recognise them today. Baroque music relied on the security of the bass line – the ‘continuo’ of harpsichord and cello, above which the higher solo instruments would play the main melodic lines.

Chamber musicians perform trio sonata.
C18 Anon from L’Iconographie de l’Orgue et du Clavecin

There are some example for what might be termed a ‘prototype’ string quartet such as with Scarlatti’s “Sonata à Quattro per due Violini, Violetta [viola], e Violoncello senza Cembalo” (Sonata for four instruments: two violins, viola, and cello without harpsichord).

But it was down to a purely chance circumstance involving none other than the teenage Joseph Haydn in the middle of the 18th century which was to create the first ‘real’ string quartets. Haydn’s early biographer, Griesinger takes up the story:

‘The following purely chance circumstance had led him to try his luck at the composition of quartets. A Baron Fürnberg had a place in Weinzierl, several stages from Vienna, and he invited from time to time his pastor, his manager, Haydn, and Albrechtsberger in order to have a little music. Fürnberg requested Haydn to compose something that could be performed by these four amateurs. Haydn, then eighteen years old, took up this proposal, and so originated his first quartet which, immediately it appeared, received such general approval that Haydn took courage to work further in this form.’

Joseph Haydn playing quartets. 
StaatsMuseum, Vienna, unknown artist

Haydn was to go on to write 68 quarters during his lifetime and firmly establish the genre as we know it. The teenage Mozart quickly saw the opportunities presented by this new genre and was to write a further 23 string quartets. However, as the great musicologist Donald Tovey put it:

”as the development of Haydn’s quartets reaches its goal, …further progress is not progress in any historical sense, but simply the difference between one masterpiece and the next.”

Nevertheless, string quartet composition flourished from this moment forward and continues right up to the present day with significant contributions from many of the major composers including Beethoven, Schubert, Dvořák, Bartók, Shostakovich and Peter Maxwell Davies.

With kind support from the Richard Carne Trust