Monday, 19 August 2013

Classical Journey 10am Tuesday 20 August 2013 Special Guest: flautist Leonie Stevenson-Jones

Leonie Stevenson-Jones
flautist & physicist

Leonie Stevenson-Jones
visits the Phonic FM studio
This Tuesday morning Leonie Stephenson-Jones will be in the Phonic FM studio to talk about her interest in the flute - and physics. We will also listen to Michael Gluyas' recordings of Leonie's recital with Andrew Daldorph which was at Newton St Cyres earlier this month.

Meeting the master
Leonie with Judith Hall
Powderham May 2011 
Leonie is still at school. She is studying for her maths, physics, chemistry and music A-levels at Exeter College. On weekends she gets extra flute tuition at the Junior Guildhall.

Back in 2011, Leonie met Australian flute virtuoso, Judith Hall, after a Divertimento concert at Powderham Castle. Judith inspired the audience in the James Wyatt music room with her beautiful playing of Mozart's flute quartets (with Mary Eade, Andrew Gillett and Vicky Evans).

Leonie plays 'Mars, Bringer of War'
EMG Symphony Orchestra Mar 2012
In 2012 Leonie took the opportunity to join in Marion Wood's open rehearsals with the Exeter Music Group Symphony Orchestra. In March she was in the flute section for Holst's 'Planets' and Elgar's 'Enigma Variations'.

Having achieved Grade VIII on the flute, Leonie took up a work experience placement with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. As Christmas approached, Leonie had another chance to rehearse with EMG - Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, and Leroy Anderson's incredible 'Sleigh Ride'.

Tchaikovsky Nov 2012
This year (once the summer exams were over) Leonie was able to prepare for a concert of her own. A chance conversation brough her into contact with another of Exeter's great conductors, Andrew Daldorph. As well as conducting the Exeter Chamber Choir and East Devon Choral Society, Andrew is an amazing pianist. He regularly plays Jazz with saxophonist Chris Gradwell ('and friends'!) and has composed many pieces for jazz ensemble.

Andrew is also organist at the Church of St Cyr and St Julitta in Newton St Cyres, just north of Exeter. He and his wife Sally are well known for their enthusiasm and generosity where young musicians are concerned. At quite short notice they were able to arrange for Leonie to give a recital at the church on Thursday 8th August.

Bill Holt
introduces the concert
A capacity audience arrived to hear the new performer. To avoid throwing Leonie straight into public performance, Andrew started the concert with a familiar Prelude by Dietrich Buxtehude. The lively alternation between playful and serious playing put the listeners in a very good mood for what was to come.

Andrew Daldorph
checks the running order 
Although it was reasonable to assume that Leonie was one of Andrew's students, Andrew introduced her by saying that they had only met during the rehearsal for the concert. Appropriately they started their recital with a piece by Johann Sebastian Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel, in the 'style galant'. Andrew played delightful piano interludes which said, "Be my guest!". Leonie would then take over before sliding into a gentle duet with the piano. In the second movement (un poco andante) Leonie played flute links for Andrew's single chords. Although Leonie had sheet music, she seemed to rely extensively on memory. Each time Andrew's playing broke off, Leonie was ready with a polite trill.

Andrew plays Boëlmann
assisted by Sally Daldorph
Leonie had another break while Andrew played a couple of playful nocturnes by John Field. Then she had another chance to show her skill, with a two movement 'fantasie' by Gabriel Fauré. The flute part raced up and down the scale between jaunty piano dances. As the pace increased the flute keys could be heard rattling on their mountings - but Leonie never missed a note.

After the usual convivial Newton St Cyres interval, the second half was in two parts. First Andrew treated us to more music on the church organ - Léon Boëlmann's 'Suite Gothique' no less - ending with the rousing toccata. (See Alex West's performance at Glenorchy 27 April 2011.) Andrew reminded us that Naoko Maeda played a toccata on the Newton St Cyres organ in August 2012 - Bach's 'Toccata & Fugue'.

Leonie Stevenson-Jones
plays Widor's Flute Suite 
Finally Andrew joined Leonie for a flute suite composed by another Parisian organist, Charles-Marie Widor.

The opening moderato was a delicious duet. during the scherzo the piano was restrained. Andrew played single notes amongst elaborate flute flourishes which led to pregnant pauses. The final crazy passage was brought perfectly to an abrupt halt - just in time for distant church bells to chime out nine o' clock.

The romance was just that - a gorgeous assortment of glissandi and sustained trills which Leonie delivered with mastery. The final opened ominously on the piano, leading to Leonie's most testing passages of all. The flute sweeping around the scale before suddenly stopping, followed by a re-opening of business by Andrew on the piano. As her fingers flashed up the scale faster and faster, the music raced to its spectacular conclusion.

The audience response was so positive and enthusiastic, Leonie was persuaded to return and play the last movement of Fauré's Fantasia again - with exactly the same response. This first outing for a new musician was an unqualified success. Bill Holt's good wishes for her future were echoed by all present. Everyone hopes to hear Leonie Stevenson-Jones in concert again very soon.

Watch this space for details.

Sally and Andrew applaud along with the audience 

Leonie acknowledges her accompanist
in true 'gallant style'

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