On Saturday the second of my two charity concerts this year took place in St Andrew’s Church in Sheffield and I’m delighted to announce that £714.58 was raised for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
The concert opened with Boyce’s Symphony no. 1 and a joyous sound from the string orchestra under the baton of Robin McEwan. I then performed Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin and Piano with the wonderful Tim Horton (pianist in Ensemble 360 and the Leonore Piano Trio). This work, composed when Mendelssohn was only 14, was new to many members of the audience, but several commented that it ought to be better known.
After the interval and a chance to enjoy some delicious cupcakes the fabulous Abbeydale Singers took to the stage and treated us to some more Mendelssohn in the form of his Four Sacred Part Songs. It is always a pleasure to hear the choir perform, especially in such a beautiful acoustic.
The orchestra then concluded the concert with Dvorak’s wonderfully atmospheric Nocturne for Strings and the rousing Capriol Suite by Peter Warlock.
This is the largest event I have organised to date and, although there were stressful moments along the way, it was all worth it for the amazing experience and to be able to give so much money to such a great cause. Many thanks to all the performers and those who helped behind the scenes and of course to the audience for supporting the event.
This week it’s school half term and I’m immersing myself in Beethoven’s music in preparation for next weekend’s Sheffield Chamber Orchestra concert (Saturday 1st March, Firth Hall, Sheffield). There are a few tickets left, so visit the orchestra’s website if you want one!
Our programme begins with the overture to Il matrimonio segreto (The Secret Marriage) by the Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa; it’s very fast and good fun to play! We will then be joined by the wonderful violinist Ben Nabarro for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto.
In the second half of the concert we will perform Beethoven’s third symphony, the ‘Eroica’. This work was premiered in 1805, just a year before the violin concerto, and initially was not well received by the critics who found it too long. Beethoven himself later suggested that it be performed near the beginning of a concert while the audience was still alert!! It is much grander in scale than his first two symphonies and the first movement is uncharacteristically long for the time (691 bars). The second movement is a sombre, evocative funeral march and this is followed by the light Scherzo and Trio and the Finale, a theme and variations.
Initial sketches for a third symphony date back to 1802, but during the years Beethoven was composing it he took a break to work on several other projects, including the ‘Waldstein’ Piano Sonata op. 53. A few months ago I heard the latter performed by the pianist Tim Horton, who is currently part-way through a cycle of all Beethoven’s piano sonatas. The next installment will also be next weekend (Friday 28th February at Emmanuel Church, Barnsley) and includes Op.26 in Ab, Op. 22 in Bb, Op. 90 in E minor and Op. 101 in A. Fabulous playing not to be missed! (For ticket information visit Music in the Round)
If you are a Beethoven fan then South Yorkshire is definitely the place to be next weekend!