Saturday, 8 October 2011

A New Concert Series at Glenorchy Exmouth opening with pianist Brian Strurtridge Wednesday 5 October

Talented pianist from Bournemouth Brian Sturtridge
On Wednesday 15th October David Lee put on the first of this winter's season of Glenorchy lunchtime concerts. The series will only run until  Christmas this year - in the new year the venue (Glenorchy United Reformed Church in Exeter Road, Exmouth) will be closed for renovation.

Wednesday's concert was one of those happy circumstances. Bournemouth pianist Brian Sturtridge, former Cambridge student of Glenorchy regular David Southerns, just happens to be having a holiday with his wife pam at Christow at the moment. He very kindly came and gave a recital while he is in the area.

'October's Musical Babies' featured five composers all born in October - but in very different periods of history.

Brian started with Baldassare Galuppi - Venetian successor to Vivaldi in the eighteenth century. Joyce clark played us one of Galuppi's sonatas at Glenorchy on 4th May before she went to Venice herself. Brian gave us another - equally light and full of joy.

Brian continued with more modern pieces from the twentieth century - two preludes by Karol Szymanowski, intricate inventions from Ralph Vaughan Williams 'Little Piano Book', three country dances by Alexander Zemlinsky and a very challenging, and exciting, sonatina in three movements by Kenneth Leighton.

Between pieces Brian would spring energetically up onto the stage to give his humorous introductions, before diving back to the piano to amaze us with his musicianship. Robert Browning's poem 'A Toccata of Galuppi's' was a fitting introduction to the opening sonata which started in a restful vein, but soon became an exciting gallop. Ralph Vaughan Williams, it seems, was born on the same day (although some years before) Brian. What clever parents!

The final Sonatina by Kenneth Leighton was the most thrilling and aggressive. The middle andante was slightly more restful, but the final Prestissimo, initially gentle and tinkling built to an enormous crashing finale.

A crashing finish to Kenneth Leighton's Sonatina No 1
Brian Sturtridge assisted by wife Pam
Light relief was provided by the encore - the second from Howard Ferguson's wartime composition 'Five Bagatelles for Piano'. Just as effective now as it was during the war, Bagatelle number 2 soothed the audience with its sweet rolling melody - so sensitively played by Brian.

Many thanks to Brian and Pam for taking the time to come and perform - and for a delightful recital.

This week the Glenorchy series continues on Wednesday 12th October with a concert by the Beacon Piano Trio - Joyce Clarke playing piano, Anna Cockroft violin and Ruth Lass 'cello.

The following week 'cellist Hilary Boxer will bring her second 'Tasty Music' duet to Glenorchy. After a first concert in Barnstaple, Hilary and pianist Susan Steele will play their much loved 'Sonatas Spirited and Serene' featuring the music of Bach, Boccherini and Beethoven.

Still to come will be the welcome return of John Walthew playing clarinet with pianist Josephine Pickering, Organ and Piano duets by David Lee and David Southerns, and a soprano recital by Mary O'Shea with regular accompanist John Scarfe.

Concerts are on Wednesdays at 12.30. Tea and Coffee are served at 12 and there is no charge for admission or refreshments - just the option to contribute to the retiring collection. In Glenorchy tradition the proceeds go towards something very specific to help in the work of the church: this season, a new monitor to help with public lectures.

Glenorchy Concerts: a lovely midweek lunchtime treat!

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