Monday, 14 February 2011

Classical Journey Tuesday 15 February

It's that time again!  Every Tuesday the Classical Journey 'goes live' on Exeter's one and only community radio station Phonic FM.

Despite the wealth of reports and reviews on this site since last Tuesday, there are still four great local events which should get a mention this week - and a full post to themselves in due course!

Cast of the Exeter University Theatre Company
production 'Kes'
From Tuesday to Saturday the Exeter University Theatre Company have been at the Northcott Theatre every night to perform Laurence Till's Play 'Kes'.  Based on Barry Hines' novel 'Kestrel for a Knave' the play is  about Billy Casper, a young Yorkshire boy in the sixties with little to enjoy or look forward to, except the thrill of training his 'pet' kestrel.  The training at the University must be very good, because these drama students put on a very professional production.  It was interesting to see a group, all of whom were born in the nineties, working to recreate the experiences of the sixties.  I never quite felt myself transported back to that time.  Several anachronistic props jarred whenever they appeared, and the isolation and vulnerability of a child in a time before the internet or even mobile phones is hard for today's student to reproduce convincingly on stage.  However, the students did a magnificent job of creating the characters.  Will Hughes as Billy, and Joe McDonnell as his older half-brother Judas, were perfectly matched and the contrast in characters between the sensitive Billy and his swaggering, bullying, but insecure older brother was convincing and shocking.  For comic relief Luke Theobald, as the self-obsessed P.E. teacher Mr Sugden, avoided any influence from Brian Glover's portrayal in Ken Loach's film version of the play and created a quite different character who nevertheless still combined the discordant characteristics of clown and tormentor.  Luke's cameo scenes as other characters were worth looking out for.  'Man eating a sandwich in the betting shop' particularly stood out as a masterpiece of minimalist comedy.  A special mention may be needed for Mia Hatfield and Sophie Jukes.  In a cast who were all, admittedly, a little too old for anyone to imagine that they were still at school, Mia and Sophie played the only two schoolgirls so convincingly they appeared to be too young!  Well done James Bailey for your version of Mr Farthing, the more caring teacher.  Naturally he is the most popular supporting character and you really did him justice.

the Northcott is hosting three more theatre productions between now and the end of February:
Watershed Productions' 'Charlie & Lola's Best Bestest Play'
The Uncommon Players' 'Speaking in Tongues'
Miracle Theatre Company's 'Beauty and The Beast from Mars'
Full details on the Northcott Theatre website:

Pianist Susan Steele and
North Devon Sinfonia
On Thursday Susan Steele played Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concert with the North Devon Sinfonia at the Queen's Theatre in Barnstaple.  Many Exeter listeners will remember Susan playing 'Sonatas, Spirited and Serene' with Hilary Boxer in the Music Room last year (see post for Monday 6 December on this site).  Susan has since been giving a lot of time to preparing for this concert and, once again, gave a very spirited performance.  A very striking figure, Susan is always popular with audiences and she definitely gave everyone their money's worth on Thursday night.

Heavenly voices - Counterpoint choir
On Saturday night a vast audience converged on Buckfast Abbey in Buckfastleigh, many from considerably further afield than Exeter.  The attraction?  The long awaited return of David Acres' baroque choral group 'Counterpoint'.  The name hints not only at counterpoint, the feature of baroque music involving overlaying very different melodies, but also the beautiful and emotion laden counter-tenor voice so perfectly suited to the acoustics of ecclesiastic architecture.  As well as a wealth or a capella vocal music by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd from the choir, David Davies. Director of the St Peter's Singers here at Exeter Cathedral, gave several solo performances on the Buckfast Abbey organ.  A great setting and great music - magical!
Listen out for the music of Tallis and Byrd on Tuesday's programme.

'Counterpoint' will be in Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 9 April to perform the incomparable 'St John Passion' by J S Bach - in the original German!  The opening chorus 'Herr, unser Herrscher' will be worth the price of admission on its own.
Details at, booking:

Less is more: The Vienna Mozart Trio
On Sunday night the Northcott Theatre production team showed the other side of their prodigious output.  As the third in their 'Classical Concert Series' they invited the very charming and wonderful 'Vienna Mozart Trio' to perform for an Exeter audience.  The stage was bare, recently vacated by the Exeter University Theatre Group.  Husband and wife Diethard and Irina Auner, formerly a well established 'cello and piano duo in their own right, were joined by their illustrious, award winning son, violinist Daniel Auner.  A perfect example of family harmony, they presented three hours of glorious music with obvious love and passion.  In addition to a Mozart Piano Trio they also performed Beethoven's 'Ghost' Trio and Dvořák's longer Trio 'Dumky' (meaning 'pensées' if that helps - ponderings).  The music was anything but ponderous though.  The Mozart and Beethoven were full of Classical style and brilliance, while the Dvořák overflowed with romantic invention.  With their unassuming stage presence and performance style one can become a little complacent about the incredible skill and coherence of this trio.  One audience member who had heard the Dvořák 'many times' stated unequivocally that this was the best performance she had ever heard.  Praise indeed!

The fourth in the 'Classical Concert Series' will be a performance by the 'Piatti Quartet' on Sunday 13 March.  Details at, booking information here.

Fuller articles on all these wonderful concerts will be posted as they become available.  A range of further exciting concerts taking place in Exeter and the surrounding area over the next two weeks are listed at the end of this post.

Only a short journey this Tuesday:

1549  England    TALLIS Thomas          Lamentations of Jeremiah    Pro Cantione Antiqua
1681  Bavaria    CORELLI Arcangelo   Trio Sonata in C                  The English Concert
1711  Venice     VIVALDI Antonio       L'estro Armonico                 The English Concert
1786  Vienna     MOZART W A           Trio in G                             Pires/Dumay/Wang
1817  Milan       PAGANINI Nicolò      Caprice Opus 1 No 24       Daniel Auner
1827  Vienna     SCHUBERT Franz      Trio in E flat                        Vienna Mozart-Trio

Daniel Auner and his parents Irena and Diethard make up the 'Vienna Mozart-Trio' which you can read about above.  Daniel is already an extremely distinguished violinist at the age of 23.  In November last year he won another international prize to add to the collection, the Gradus ad Parnassum in Vienna.  The recording of the Schubert Trio in E flat was made less than a month ago and is exclusive to Phonic FM.  Enjoy!

Master Luthier Shaun Newman

At about 11am we shall be visited in the studio by a local master-craftsman.  Crediton Luthier Shaun Newman will be talking about an amazing project to recreate the ancient Gothic harp.  He will have the finished article in the studio and we can hear how it sounds.  Shaun doesn't play the harp, however.  He is a guitarist and while he is talking we will have time to hear a selection of his recordings - played on guitars he has made himself.

José Ferrer:                    Tango No 3
Gary Ryan:                     Night Sky
Jaime Bosch:                  Cantilena
David Cottam:                Cinquefoil
Joseph Kosma:               Autumn Leaves
Gary Ryan:                      Russian Bear
Trad. Spanish:                A la Nanita Nana
Johann Kaspar Mertz:       Moderato
David Cottam:                 Santillana
Heinrich Marshner:           Bagatelle
Matteo Carcassi:               Pastorale
David Cottam:                  Comillas
José Ferrer:                       Leccion 49

As usual at the end of each month, the 'Classical Journey' gives way 'The Mighty Book' for a wonderful exploration of the treasure trove of latest book releases.  I recall from last month's show that Tina is away in New Zealand, but Gill and Abi are sure to keep up the wonderful standard of 'The Mighty Book' while she is away.  Meanwhile, as there will be no 'Classical Journey' next week, here are a selection of the wonderful events going on in and around Exeter over the next 2 weeks:

Soprano Alison Burnett
Glenorchy United Reformed Church Exmouth Wednesday 16 February 12.30pm
Lunchtime Recital
Admission Free

Richard Alston Dance Company
Northcott Theatre Wed/Thur 16/17 Feb 7.30pm
Details:; Booking:

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Exeter Cathedral Thursday 17 February 7.30pm
'Arabian Nights'
Mozart: The Magic Flute
Strauss: Don Quixote
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
Tickets from £9.50 (unreserved, side aisles)
Box: 665700

Topsham Film Society
Matthews Hall Topsham Friday 18 February 3pm / 7.30pm
House of the Flying Daggers
Tickets: matinée £3.50, evening £4.50

Exeter Recorded Concert Society
Exeter Central Library Music Room Saturday 19 February 1.30pm
In London Town presented by Paul Morgan
Admission free

Leader of Devon Baroque
Violinist Margaret Faultless
'Cellist Sebastian Comberti
(Read about Sebastian here.)

A really big Event this week is the return visit of 'Devon Baroque' to perform 'Europe in Transition'.  Three chances to see this wonderful concert, and citizens of Exeter need only travel as far as St James' Church (Here's an aerial view from to show exactly where St James' Church is.) 

Devon Baroque (Leader Margaret Faultless)
St James' Church Exeter Friday 18 February 7.30pm
Oldway Mansion Paignton Saturday 19 February7.30pm
Great Hall Dartington Sunday 20 February 3pm
Europe in Transition:
Boccherini: 'Cello Concerto in G (soloist: Sebastian Comberti)
Haydn: Violin Concerto in C (soloist: Margaret Faultless)
Mozart: String Divertimenti in D and B flat
Boyce: Symphony in F
Tickets £18 (Students £5)
(Exeter Box: 667080

(Paignton Box: 01803 211211
     - The photo on this website was taken in Dartington Great Hall by the way!)
(Dartington Box: 01803 847070

Choir 97
Glenorchy Church Exeter Road Exmouth Saturday 19 February 2.30pm
Choir 97 with pianists David Lee and David Southerns
Concert in aid of the Mercy Ships and the Reboboth Children's Home in Zimbabwe

Somerset Chamber Choir (Director Graham Caldbeck)
King's College Chapel Taunton Sunday 20 February 3pm
La Musique Sacrée
Duruflé: Requiem
Langlais: Messe Solennelle
Messiaen: O Sacrum Convivium
Poulenc: Quatre Motets pour un Temps de Pénitence (i.e. Lent)
Organist Richard Pearce, Mezzo-Soprano Stephenie Allman,
Baritone John Broad, 'Cellist Sara Lovell
Tickets £18 & £15 reserved £11 unreserved
Box: 01823 336344 (Mon-Sat 9.30-4.30)

Josephine Pickering
Glenorchy Church Exmouth Wednesday 23 February 12.30pm
Piano and Woodwind (there will be a replacement for clarinettist John Walthew)
Admission free

Moishe's Bagel
Dartington Great Hall Thursday 24 February 8pm
Jazz-inflected Klesmer and Balkan music
Tickets £14 (student £5) Box: 01803 847070

Tasmin Little(Violin) Exeter Symphony Orchestra
Blundell's School Tiverton Saturday 26 February 7.15pm
Bach: Partita No 3
Telemann: Fantasia No 2
Traditional: 'Danny Boy'
Mozart: Marriage of Figaro
Rossini: The Thieving Magpie
Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Britten: Matinées Musicales
Flanders and Swann: At the Drop of a Hat
Tickets £35 (to include supper)
Box: 492650 (9-5 mon-fri) or email .

Coming up in March:

Vérité Productions: 'the accordionist' - The Bike Shed 1-5 March
Exeter Chamber Choir: German Romantics - Crediton Parish Church 5 March
Piazzolla Duo: Tango and Celtic Music - Holy Trinity Exmouth 5 March
West Barok: Baroque Gems - Glenorchy Exmouth 5 March
Lara Melda (Née Ömeroğlu): Piano Recital - Chapter House 6 March

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