Gesualdo Six: There is no rose

There is no rose
The Gesualdo Six, Owain Park
St John’s, Smith Square, 14 December 2018

Although only formed four years ago, The Gesualdo Six have gained an impressive following, not least at St John’s, Smith Square where they were one of the four members of the second Young Artists Scheme in 2015/16. They used that residency to launch their Composition Competition at SJSS, with the second following in 2019. For their concert in this year’s SJSS Christmas Festival, they gave a mixed programme of Christmas music ranging from plainchant and the early 15th century Trinity Carol Roll and music by Taverner and Tallis, through to living composers, including their own director Owain Park. Continue reading

BBC Proms: Reformation Day

BBC Proms: Reformation Day
Prom 47: Bach’s ‘Little Organ Book’ past and present
Prom 48: A Patchwork Passion
Prom 49: Bach’s St John Passion
Royal Albert Hall, 20 August 2017

Prom 47: Bach’s ‘Little Organ Book’ past and present
William Whitehead, Robert Quinney, organ

The BBC Proms’ acknowledgement of the anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation came with three concerts on Sunday 20 August, starting with a lunchtime organ recital featuring the premieres of three pieces from The Orgelbüchlein Project played by its founder/director, the organist William Whitehead. The programme opened and closed with Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E flat (from the Clavierübung III, BWV 552), played by Robert Quinney (who also played Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata in A major (Op. 65/3)). It also included the fourth of Schumann’s Fugues on B-A-C-H and two of Bach’s own Orgelbüchlein chorale preludes played by William Whitehead and, just before the final Bach Fugue, Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s ‘Prelude to the Grand Organ Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach’: a duet for both organists. Continue reading

Bach 2 the Future

Bach 2 the Future
Fenella Humphreys
Champs Hill Records CHRCD102. 79’16

Bach: Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006; Cheryl Frances-Hoad: Suite No 1; Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata for Solo Violin No 2; Gordon Crosse: Orkney Dreaming; Biber: Passacaglia; Piers Hellawell: Balcony Scenes; Cyril Scott: Bumblebees.

This is the first volume of a project devised by violinist Fenella Humphreys. She has invited six contemporary composers to write works related to one of the six Bach works for unaccompanied violin. I am not sure of the format of future volumes, but this CD includes just one Bach piece (the Partita No 3 in E minor) together with three of the new works, one based on the E minor Partita (by Cheryl Frances-Hoad), the other two based on the other two Partitas. Continue reading