Monday, 15 July 2013

Hilary Boxer and Susan Steele: 'Cello and Piano Tasty Music at Budleigh Festival Saturday 13 July 2013 - plus full listings of this week's festival concerts


Hilary Boxer ('cello) and Susan Steele (piano)
together again at Temple Church Budleigh Salterton
Lunchtime Concert of Beethoven and Brahms
12 noon Saturday 13th July 2013

Following the Budleigh Festival opening concert by 'Voces 8' on Friday evening (12 July), Hilary Boxer and Susan Steele opened the (free) lunchtime concert series on Saturday with a recital of 'cello and piano duets in true 'Tasty Music' style.

Hilary and Susan are well known for their 'Sonatas, Spirited and Serene' - heard in the Exeter Central Library Music Room (when it was still in action - Monday 6 December 2010) and Glenorchy United Reformed Church Exmouth (Wednesday 19 October 2011).

This time they introduced a new twist. They started with an extra special duet, in anticipation of the Merry Opera Company's production of Mozart's 'Magic Flute' (coming to Exmouth Pavilion, as part of the Budleigh Festival, this Friday 19 July - see listings below!)

Beethoven's 'Seven Variations on "Bei Männern, welche liebe Fühlen"' was composed in 1801, and based on Pamina's aria in Mozart's 'Die Zauberflöte'. (The Magic Flute, of course!)

Exeter opera lovers will remember the performance of Elaine Ruth White's English jazz version of the opera, performed at the Bikeshed in autumn 2010 (in the cocktail lounge - before they got the go-ahead to use the theatre space beyond).

Stephanie Green was Pamina, imprisoned by Sarastro in the Masonic Temple and under the watchful eye of Monostatos. Torn between her mother's wish for her to kill Sarastro and escape, her love for Tamino, and Sarastro's entreaties to embrace the Masonic life, Stephanie sang (in English) to her captor Monostatos, "In men, who feel love - a good heart is not lacking!"

At the Temple Methodist Church in Budleigh (appropriately enough), Hilary and Susan opened their concert without introduction. In a perfectly co-ordinated combination of sound they launched straight into the first 'variation' on Pamina's song. Several loud opening chords gave way to a gentle dance rhythm. At a nod from Susan at the piano, the tempo increased - before a sudden stop.

The second variation began with a tinkling piano tune, quickly joined by the burble of Hilary's 'cello. This time Susan nodded to indicate a dramatic reduction in speed. The following variation was even slower. Susan was transfixed as she played the delicately paced piano melody - and Hilary concentrated on the deep and sonorous 'cello part.

Next the piano and 'cello entered into a conversation in counterpoint, which gave way to a gentle piano solo - joined by the 'cello in gentle continuo. As Hilary started to pick up her own melody, Susan broke in with torrents of piano sound before the familiar opening dance recommenced.

There was also a grandiose march - and a rousing reveille in pizzicato by Hilary. As the variations drew towards their conclusion, Hilary was wearing a smile of satisfaction - fully in the thrall of the music. Susan, at the piano, was ecstatic. The big finish led not to silence, but a a few further notes dying away - and including a few gentle birdcalls. Pamina's final sobs perhaps.

Hilary then had time for a little announcement. As a great fan of Budleigh Festival, she has attended many concerts here, but this was her first public performance at the Temple. Hilary will be back with the Festival Orchestra on Tuesday night (16 July) to play Barber's 'Adagio for Strings', Dvořák's 'Serenade for Strings' - and the extraordinary 'Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings' by Sir Benjamin Britten with James Gilchrist and Anneke Scott (which was performed by the Britten Sinfonia at Dartington - Sunday 6 February 2011 - with Mark Padmore and Stephen Bell). Full details of this week's Festival Orchestra concert are in the listing below.

Having paid their respects to the great Mozart and Beethoven, Hilary and Susan continued with another sonata (definitely spirited, and very serene). Johannes Brahms' 'Cello Sonata No 1 starts very seriously. Hilary was concentrating closely on the score, while Susan performed gymnastics at the piano, teasing out the full potential of the music.

As the passion built, determination was written on both faces. The slower and more gentle the melody became, the more concentration was needed - and the feeling of tension in the air was constant. Each development in the theme suggested yet more to come, and never disappointed.

The tune became more strident, punctuated by single bow strokes on the 'cello. Just as the opening theme reappeared, Hilary threw in one perfect pizzicato note - just audible, but beautiful. A gentle 'cuckoo' on the 'cello recalled the ending to Beethoven's 'Variations', before melting back into rippling cascades. Incredibly those cascades began to become more vigorous and impassioned, leading to a loud and vigorous finish and final drawn out note.

The resulting applause was inevitable - but mistimed. There were two more movements still to come. The minuet was delicate and agile, with a great sense of fun. Both players had wry smiles as they experimented with this new sound. Susan even seemed to sing her own words as she played. As Susan slowly turned the final page she gave a nod and the style changed abruptly - finishing with delicate pizzicato on the 'cello, and piano.

The final allegro was a moving military theme on the piano accompanied by rasping notes on the 'cello. Hilary's bow crashed down full octaves to the open bass strings, like the sound of breaking branches. The pace accelerated, thrilling, expressive, exciting and full of the joy of discovery before resolving to a thoughtful conclusion.

To tumultuous applause, Hilary and Susan began to leave the stage. A slight confusion followed. Normally they will treat the audience to one last piece as an encore. However, this time the piece was in the programme - 'Le Cygne' (The Swan) from 'The Carnival of the Animals' by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Like a light dessert after a gourmet meal, their last duet was gentle and refreshing. Susan's piano continuo was light and airy, and Hilary's 'cello playing plaintive, as the poor swan - and the concert - drew a few last lingering breaths.

Once again, Hilary Boxer's well established 'Tasty Music' collaboration with Susan Steele delivered the very best in romantic music from the nineteenth century. A great addition to the Budleigh Festival line-up. We can only hope that they will be performing together again soon.

Meanwhile, this week, Hilary has organised a triple Tasty Music treat for us. She will be at the Corn Barn in Cullompton this Thursday evening (18 July) with three of her established duetting partners. Jane Greenwood will be there with her 'cello, David Cottam with his guitar, and Ruth Molins will bring her flutes!         CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS

And in Budleigh Salterton the festival continues as it began - with two wonderful concerts every day this week. On Thursday evening the Academy (of St Martin in the Fields) Chamber Ensemble will be here to play a stunning selection from their tour repertoire. (They probably won't play the Britten Serenade again!) What a choice we will have to make that night!

Tune in to 'Classical Journey' on Tuesday morning to hear more about this week's festival concerts, and the wonderful Budleigh Festival.

The Festival Chairman, John Pearce will be in the Phonic FM studio to expound the virtues of the glorious experience which is the Budleigh Festival.

John Pearce
Budleigh Festival Chairman

Budleigh Salterton Tourist Information Centre
- Get your tickets here!

Voces 8
St Peter's Church, Budleigh Salterton
Friday 12 July 7.30pm
Writer: Jim Clements
Soprano: Emily DickensAndrea Haines
Counter-Tenor: Chris WardleBarnaby Smith
Tenor: Sam DresselRobert Smith
Baritone: Paul Smith Bass: Dingle Yandell

Hilary Boxer
Susan Steele
Tasty Music
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Saturday 13 July 12.00
'Cello: Hilary Boxer
Piano: Susan Steele
Admission FREE

Erdem Misirlioğlu
St Peter's Church, Budleigh Salterton
Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
PIANO RECITAL (see video)
Erdem was piano winner at 2008
BBC Young Musician of the year
- head to head with Jadran Duncumb
(See English Tourning Opera Nov 2011

Soprano Val Howels
Free Lunchtime Concert

Temple Church Budleigh Salterton
12.00 Monday 15 July
(Photo: Branscombe 1 Oct 2011)

Val Howels
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Monday 15 July 12.00
Admission FREE

Sitkovetsky Piano Duo
Sitkovetsky Piano Duo
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Monday 15 July 7.30pm
(see video - Schumann A minor Sonata)
Violin: Alexander Sitkovetsky
Piano: Wu Qian
(Read about their Northcott concert
in 'buried treasure' February 2012)

Exeter School String Quartet
Exeter School
String Quartet

Temple Church
Budleigh Salterton
Tuesday 16 July 12.00

Musical Director:
Peter Tamblyn
Admission FREE


James Gilchrist

Natural Horn:

Anneke Scott

Budleigh Festival Orchestra
St Peter's Church, Budleigh Salterton
Tuesday 16 July 7.30pm
Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings
Antonin Dvořák: Serenade for Strings
Sir Benjamin Britten: Serenade
for Tenor, Horn & Strings
(performed at Dartington Hall by
Conductor: Nicholas Marshall
Horn: Anneke Scott

Robert Millington
Robert Millington
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Wednesday 17 July 12.00
Admission FREE

Anna Tilbrook
Tenor, Horn & Piano
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Wednesday 17 July 7.30pm
Tenor: James Gilchrist
Horn: Anneke Scott
Piano: Anna Tilbrook

Colyton Grammar School
Senior Choir
Colyton Grammar School
Senior Choir
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Thursday 18 July 12.00 noon
Musical Director: David House
Admission FREE

Harvey de Souza
Academy Chamber Ensemble
(Academy of St Martin in the Fields)
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Thursday 18 July 7.30pm
A selection from:
W A Mozart: Horn Quintet in E flat K407
Gioachino Rossini: String Sonata in G
Richard Strauss: "Till Eulenspiegel"
Franz Schubert: Octet in F major D803
Carl Nielsen: Serenata in Vano
Alexander Borodin: String Sextet in D
Piotr Tchaikovsky: "Souvenir de Florence"
Johannes Brahms: String Sextet No 1
Sir Benjamin Britten: Serenade for
Tenor, Horn & Strings
Violin: Harvey de Souza
           Martin Burgess
            Jennifer Godson
Viola:  Robert Smissen
           Duncan Ferguson
'Cello: Stephen Orton
           John Heley

The Academy concert is a repeat of the concert at Shaldon on Friday 21 June
and will be repeated at Minehead on Friday 19 July.

Rothko Quartet
Rothko Quartet
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Friday 19 July 12.00 noon
Violin: Olivia FrancisEmily Bouqhuis
Viola: Alex Macdonald
'Cello: Cameron Stuart
Admission FREE

The Queen of the Night
Fleur Bray
The Merry Opera Company
Exmouth Pavilion
Friday 19 July 7.30pm
(based on W A Mozart)
Director: Stephen Hose
Producer: Kit Hesketh-Harvey
Tamino: Lawrence Olsworth-Peter
Monostatos: Glenn Tweedie
Sarastro: Thomas Faulkner
Pamina: Daisy Brown
Queen of the Night: Fleur Bray
Papageno: James Harrison
Papagena: Gemma Morsley
Tickets: £24/19/16
Box Office: Budleigh TIC 01395 445275
Exmouth Pavilion 01395 222477
online from 'led tickets'

Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin
Violin and Piano Duets
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Saturday 20 July 12.00
Violin: Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin
Piano: Marty Parkes
Admission FREE

Duncan Walsh Atkins
Tim Fitzhigham
Flanders & Swann
Temple Church, Budleigh Salterton
Saturday 20 July 7.30pm
Michael Flanders: Tim Fitzhigham
Donald Swann: Duncan Walsh Atkins

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