Chetham's School of Music 2016
WebphotoChethamsConcert.png
Venue:
St Peter's Church, Shaldon
Bridge Road
Shaldon
Teignmouth
Devon
TQ14 0DB
United Kingdom
Type: Concert
Date: Friday 17 June 2016
Start Time: 7.30pm
Performer(s): Chetham's School of Music Chamber Ensemble
Host Organisation: Shaldon Festival
Box Office Contact: Malcolm Watson
Box Office Email: tickets@shaldonfestival.co.uk


Ticket Information: Tickets: £12 for adults, £5 for students.


CHETHAM’S SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Soloists and Ensemble
Directed by STEPHEN THRELFALL


PROGRAMME

Joanne Lee (flute)/Jade Hughes (oboe)
Brenda Blewett (piano)
Sonata in G minor, BWV 1020 JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH

Jade Hughes (oboe)
Brenda Blewett (piano)
Sonate Op. 166 CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS

Joanne Lee (flute)
Brenda Blewett (piano)
Suite Op. 34, No. 1 CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR

INTERVAL

Hannah Godfrey-Clarke (double bass)
Brenda Blewett (piano)
Fantasia ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ GIOVANNI BOTTESINI

Peter and the Wolf SERGEI PROKOFIEV
Chetham’s Ensemble
Stephen Threlfall (conductor)
Leon Winston (narrator)
Joanne Lee (flute)
Jade Hughes (oboe)
Oliver Burrow (clarinet)
Florence Plane (bassoon)
Patrick Renehan (French horn)
Mitzi Marley-Clarke (violin)
Neil Dixon (violin)
Leo Strelle (viola)
Nina Rivas (cello)
Hannah Godfrey-Clarke (double bass)
James Burton (percussion)

Detail:



Concert Review

Shaldon Festival warmly welcomed back Chetham’s School of Music for its Friday evening concert. The Manchester-based music school has a long and very fruitful relationship with the festival. Members of Chetham’s, including its Chamber Ensemble, arrived earlier in the week with their Director, Stephen Threlfall, to rehearse Peter and the Wolf with pupils from both Shaldon School and Teignmouth Community School, Mill Lane. An important part of the mission of Shaldon Festival is to engage young people in the making and appreciation of classical music and Peter and the Wolf provided another excellent opportunity.

The children had previously taken part in a mask-making workshop led by Cara Roxanne to create large facemasks representing the human and animal characters in the story. The challenge was to weave the children’s performance with their masks into the flow of the narrative of Peter and the Wolf. The actual performance is reviewed later in this account. In addition to rehearsing for the Friday concert, during the week the Chetham’s musicians performed at a number of venues including the Alice Cross Centre and Westlands Retirement Home, bringing great pleasure to many local people.

Chetham’s School of Music is one of Britain’s foremost music schools and works with very high-performing young musicians to develop their talents to the full. Students at Chetham’s regularly take part in the BBC Young Musician of the Year.

The Friday evening concert began with JS Bach’s Sonata in G minor, BWV 1020, scored originally for flute and harpsichord. Joanne Lee played the flute in the opening Allegro with considerable confidence, handling the tripping notes and trills with delicacy and assurance. Jade Hughes played her oboe for the second movement, the Adagio, and immediately impressed with her mellow tone and sensitive and expressive phrasing, bringing out the best in her instrument. Both instruments shared the third movement, the Allegro, which, with its demandingly brisk pace, sets challenges for both players that they met with considerable skill. There was a fine balance between the two instruments with the flute occupying the higher register and the oboe complementing with its warm lower tones. Brenda Blewett accompanied on the piano throughout, sensitively supporting the students’ playing.

Jade Hughes then returned to the stage with Brenda Blewett to play Saint-Saëns Sonate Opus 166. The listener was immediately struck by Jade’s clarity of tone and impeccable timing, not rushing the piece but allowing the music to breathe and unfold. The third movement – Molto Allegro – is a virtuoso tour-de-force, with the full range of the instrument in constant play. Jade clearly relished the challenge of the piece and drew particularly warm applause as she took her final bow.

The first half of the concert concluded with Joanne Lee playing her flute in Widor’s Suite Opus 34. No.1. The opening movement – Moderato - explores the lower register of the flute with long sustained notes requiring considerable control over breathing that Joanne was equal to. The Allegro Vivace followed with its rapid scales like bird-song and contrasting beautifully with the third movement – Romance – where Joanne and Brenda played with a touching delicacy, each instrument complementing the other in beautiful balance.

After the interval, the Festival enjoyed the rare treat of hearing a double bass as an instrument in its own right. Giovanni Bottesini was called "the Paganini of the double bass” in his own life-time as he undertook a successful career as musician and composer of music for the instrument. Hannah Godfrey-Clarke, supported by Brenda Blewett on piano, provided one of the outstanding performances of the evening in playing Bottesini’s Fantasia Lucia di Lammermoor. From tender cello-like upper notes to the full sonority of the open bass strings, the piece demonstrates the full potential of the instrument and makes considerable demands on the player. Hannah was fully equal to the challenge, which requires both strength and dexterity and she clearly enjoyed the subtle and dance-like interplay between the piano and the double bass that is one of the key features of the work. She left the stage to prolonged applause.

The final work of the evening was Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf played by Chetham’s Chamber Ensemble and involving local primary school children with their animal and human face-masks. Written in 1936 in a burst of creativity within just one week by Prokofiev, the piece is one of the most well known in the whole orchestral repertoire. And therein lies the challenge – to ensure each performance is fresh and vital, avoiding clichés and exploring the work as if for the first time. Led by their Director of Music, Stephen Threlfall, the Chetham’s Chamber Ensemble gave a sparkling performance, full of energy and wit, revelling in the humour and wonderful colours of the instrumentation. Entrances – so important when helping differentiate the characters - were particularly crisp and the playing throughout showed remarkable discipline and genuine love for the story-telling. The local primary school children had made masks representing each character – two per character, 20 masks in all. The children appeared with their masks, assembling two by two as the characters are first introduced in the story and finally parading round the church as the music reached its conclusion. Peter and the Wolf is held together by the storyteller, and Shaldon Festival Trustee Leon Winston gave a masterly performance from the pulpit, orchestrating the drama of the narrative and ensuring that everyone involved – performers and audience – were drawn together through the power of storytelling. At the conclusion, the audience enthusiastically applauded the performers who had given so much to make a truly memorable Friday evening for the Festival.

Roger Kirk

Photos of Peter and the Wolf mask making and performance are shown on the Outreach section of this website.


Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon



VENUE

St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB

CAR PARKING ADVICE

1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.