Thursday, 21 October 2010

That Monday Lunchtime Concert Programme in Full (compiled by Ruth Avis)

See James Keefe (Piano) and Ruth Avis (Flute) on Monday
12.30-1.30pm in the Exeter Central Library Music Room

Songs for Flute and Piano

'A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song.'
Maya Angelou

Aaron Copland      Duo for Flute and Piano (1971)
                               I   Flowing       
                                                   II  Poetic, somewhat mournful  
                                                   III Lively, with bounce

Samuel Barber      Canzone (1959)

Frédéric Chopin    Etude in C sharp minor, op. 25, no. 7 (1837)  

Ian Clarke             Orange Dawn (1992)
            "Orange Dawn was originally inspired by the vision of a dawn scene in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa.  Awakening exotic life, particularly birds such as pink flamingos, were envisaged silhouetted against a dramatic rising sun. From here the piece grows, taking on a range of emotions and reactions to Man's involvement in this 'other world' (or more accurately - 'real world'). These may range from serenity to awe and anger; the latter unfolding in the first part of the piano cadenza." - Ian Clarke

Claude Debussy     Syrinx  (1913)

Francis Poulenc     Sonata for flute and piano (1957)
                               I Allegretto malincolio               
                                                   II Cantilena
                                                  III Presto giocoso
Ruth Avis, flute
Ruth read Music and English Literature at Cardiff University, studying flute with Susan Buckland. Since graduating she has had tuition from Anna Noakes (of The Fibonacci Sequence) and Michael Cox (Principal Flute, BBCSO) and has played in masterclasses with Jonathan Snowden. She regularly performs throughout the South West in orchestras (including Exeter Symphony Orchestra), chamber ensembles, pit orchestras and as a soloist in venues including Exeter Cathedral, the Northcott Theatre, Cardiff Millennium Centre, and the Barnfield Theatre. Ruth has worked with and performed music by postgraduate composers at Cardiff University and the Dartington College of Arts and recorded the musical The Day Will Come for BBC Radio Devon. She is a member of The Piazzolla Duo with the guitarist Clive Betts. As well as performing, Ruth teaches flute and piano, works in Exeter Performing Arts library and nurtures a small family.

James Keefe, piano
James graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire last year with a First-Class Honours degree and the Fourth Year Piano Prize. He has for the last two years been pianist for the Thallein Ensemble, performing contemporary works in such places as the Royal Festival Hall, and has also been orchestral pianist, harpsichordist and celeste player for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra, performing regularly in Birmingham's Symphony Hall and Town Hall with conductor's such as Sakari Oramo, Michael Seal and Andris Nelsons. James also won the Conservatoire Lieder Prize with singer Anders Falbe, and was highly commended in the Accompaniment Prize. To add to this, James has played in masterclasses with pianist's Andrew Ball, Jacob Leuschner and Daniel Höxter, and has had lessons with the esteemed Peter Donohoe. James now works for the CBSO as a repititeur and accompanist for their many choruses, and has had the pleasure of working with conductors Simon Rattle and Simon Halsey in recent months on Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Birmingham's complete Mahler Symphony cycle for the 2010/11 season.

Devon Oxford and Cambridge Societies Annual Concert
'Cellist Morwenna Del Mar and pianist Alex West gave a sublime recital at St Margaret's Church on Wednesday evening.
Morwenna with Alex and Lily
Alex at the Nicholson Organ
There was a very special concert at St Margaret's Church in Topsham on Wednesday evening.
Philippe Obussier brought together members of the two great Devon Alumni societies, Oxford and Cambridge, to hear an extraordinary recital by two young, Devon based, Cambridge graduates.
Morwenna Del Mar, who was formerly a pupil at the Maynard School in Exeter, has completed further music study at the Royal Academy and the Eastman School, NY, since leaving Cambridge. She now plays with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Alex West, formerly a pupil at Exeter School, graduated in mathematics and now works for the Met Office in Exeter developing models to predict the behaviour of sea ice - something we urgently need to understand!

He attended Cambridge as an organ scholar and now also has a diploma from the Royal School of Music as a pianist and is working towards his membership of the Royal College of Organists which, going by Wednesday's performance, he richly deserves.
Morwenna started the evening with a solo performance of Bach's Suite No. 2 for 'Cello, which we heard in part on last week's 'Classical Journey'  She played all six parts faultlessly and delightfully, before being joined by Alex on the piano for an unusually beautiful arrangement of Woldemar Bargiel's Adagio for 'Cello and Orchestra.
After the interval they played us a 'Song without Words' by Felix Mendelssohn before Alex gave us an absolutely incredible virtuoso performance on the new Nicholson organ.  Two Bach masterpieces (one originally by Vivaldi) sandwiched an incredible 'Sketch for Pedal-Organ' by Robert Schuman.
 The Organ console was, sadly, locked in position on Wednesday,  Only those who squeezed over to the right side of the church were able to see Alex in action.  He showed amazing skill managing the vast array of controls while playing separate parts on the three manuals and the pedal keyboard.  Even for those who could not see, the sound was equally impressive!
Credit should also go to his able page turner, St Peter's schoolgirl Olivia Segal.  Even keeping track of the music on the page is quite an achievement!
Finally Alex and Morwenna joined forces again for Robert Schumann's moving Adagio and Allegro for 'Cello and Piano.
Special mention must go to former Phonic FM presenter, Lily Neal, ('Light Bites') for her informative and entertaining introductions to the players and the pieces - and two of her own, now legendary, poems which she recited as an extra special treat before each half.  (Who can forget 'Rita' and her uplifting experience in Cheltenham Promenade?)
Many thanks to all the organisers and especially to the two star performers, Morwenna Del Mar and Alex West.

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