A members’ evening following the agm doesn’t sound like a barrel of fun but in fact it was an outstanding evening with some interesting pieces. We must thank Robin for assembling the programme for the Society.
First up was the first half of Brahms’s magisterial Piano Concerto No1 played by Stephen Kovacevich. This can be ‘overplayed’ and I have been to concerts where the pianist seems determined to put the concerto to death but what we heard of this version was finely balanced and it was a pity we could not have heard the whole of it.
Second up was Joseph Kosma’s Les Feuilles Mortes sung by Gigi Marga – a version with the composer can be seen here: https://youtu.be/12BRQQd7myM
Few may have heard of Ginette Neveu, a French violinist but her playing is quite distinctive and, at the risk of sounding like a Classic FM announcer, extremely smooth. The sound was somewhere between a violin and a viola, quite magical and the adagio from Sibelius’s Violin Concerto was wonderful.
Beatrice and Benedict was Berlioz’s last opera and had some success in Germany. He wrote it soon after the Trojans disaster and we heard Je vais le voir – Il me revient fidèle in a performance by the LSO and conducted by the late Sir Colin Davies.
The first half ended with the amazingly difficult Violin Sonata in G minor – 3rd movement “Devil’s Trill Sonata” by Tartini the inspiration for which supposedly came to him in a dream.
In the second half we had a audio-visual presentation of Gigue Fugue BWV 577 by JS Bach, played on the organ and which was the music played at the presenter’s marriage. This mode of playing music was the first for the Society.
Few will have heard of the woman composer and pianist Guirne Creith not least because although not prolific, many or her compositions were lost after her death. She had a very varied life, not just as a musician but – following her move to France – as a food writer under the name of Guirne van Zylen. Her best known work is a Violin Concerto from which we heard the Adagio.
After Andantino from Sibelius’s 3rd Symphony, The Man I Love by Gershwin played by Don Shirley. Shirley was a precocious musician who was the subject of the 2018 film Green Book. Being black, he had to take a bodyguard with him when he performed in the southern states of the USA.
A most interesting and varied evening with a mixture of the well known and some more or less completely unknown works.
The next meeting is on 11 November and is a presentation on some less well known British composers. 7:30 start as usual.