Friday, June 03, 2016

Conchord takes off

One thing about living in south-west London that's difficult to ignore is the presence of planes. In this otherwise tranquil corner of the capital we're blessed with riverside walks, the open greenery of Richmond Park with its deer, green parrots and running routes, and historic town centres around Kingston, Twickenham, Barnes and Richmond which each have a distinctive character to enjoy. Still, there are planes, on their way into or out of the airport up the road. In the old days of Concorde, you'd hear a far-off whistly noise at 5pm every day, and if you were outside you'd run for cover because the roar as it came in on the Heathrow approach was absolutely unbelievable.

But now Conchord of a much more welcome kind is coming to Twickenham. Recently I had a call from my very old friends Danny and Emily Pailthorpe. Dan is principal flute with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Emily, originally from the US, is a superb oboist. Some years ago they founded the London Conchord Ensemble, a chamber group of like-minded musicians to focus on woodwind repertoire; and their Conchord Festival has tried out a couple of locations in the past. This year, though, they're bringing it home to Twickenham, where St Mary's Church - a beautiful venue a stone's throw from the town centre and virtually on the river - will be the centre for three terrific days of music-making starting a week from today (10-12 June).

It really is packed with treats, featuring baritone Roderick Williams, actor Simon Callow, pianists Alistair Beatson and Julian Milford, violinists Daniel Rowland and Michael Foyle, cellist Thomas Carroll, conductor Duncan Ward, with works ranging from an all-Bach opening to Stravinsky ballets and The Soldier's Tale, and delights from Debussy, Duparc and Dvorak.

If I were planning a festival programme myself, I think it might look much like this. Please come and enjoy a weekend of world-class music by the Thames! Twickenham is about 20 mins by train from London Waterloo via Vauxhall and Clapham Junction.

Here's the full programme and you can book tickets here.

Friday 10th June, 8:00pm Ticket price: £20Opening Concert: An Evening of Bach

This opening concert showcases soloists from London Conchord Ensemble playing well-loved pieces by JS Bach, musical master of the Baroque. Featuring the Oboe d’amore Concerto and Flute Suite, with its famous dancing Badinerie, the programme culminates in the eternally popular Double Violin Concerto.
JS Bach – Concerto for Oboe d’amore in A major, BWV 1055
JS Bach – Suite in B minor for flute and strings, BWV 1067
IntervalJS Bach – Suite for Solo Cello No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009
JS Bach – Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043
Emily Pailthorpe oboe Daniel Pailthorpe flute Thomas Carroll cello Daniel Rowland violin Michael Foyle violin London Conchord Ensemble

Saturday 11th June, 3:00pm 
Ticket price: £20Piano Four Hands Recital

In a tribute to the great ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev, this afternoon begins appropriately with the languid dreaming of Debussy’s Faun before showcasing the catchy tunes of Dvořák’s Slavonic dances. In a rare treat, Stravinsky’s elemental The Rite of Spring is played in its original piano fourhanded version.
Debussy arr. Ravel – Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Dvořák – Slavonic Dances (selection)
IntervalStravinsky – The Rite of Spring (original version for piano four hands)
Julian Milford piano Alasdair Beatson piano

Saturday 11th June, 7:00pm 
Ticket price: £30A Night at the Ballet

Star actor, writer and director Simon Callow joins London Conchord Ensemble to narrate The Soldier’s Tale, Stravinsky’s Faustian tale of a soldier who makes a pact with the devil. Structured like a ballet evening, with intervals separating each work, the evening also features one of the most beloved works of chamber music, Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence.
Prokofiev – Quintet in G minor, Op. 39
IntervalTchaikovsky – Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70
IntervalStravinsky – The Soldier’s Tale
Daniel Rowland violin Simon Callow narrator Duncan Ward conductor London Conchord Ensemble

Sunday 12th June, 2:00pm 
Ticket price: £10Mash-up the Music: A Family Concert

Wiggle in your seat with an exciting mix of energetic rhythms and flowing melodies. Bring your family and don’t miss singing and clapping along with James Redwood and his friends to a bouncy spiritual and a lively sea shanty! London Conchord Ensemble will introduce their instruments and play some musical highlights from the festival.  This event will be particularly special for 4 to 12-year-olds and their families.
Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Entry for under 3 years is free and they do not need a ticket (lap seated).
James Redwood presenter London Conchord Ensemble

Sunday 12th June, 7:30pm 
Ticket price: £30Final Concert: Bohemian Rhapsody

In this grand finale, the international baritone Roderick Williams thrills us with sensual French songs by Duparc and Ravel, featuring some of the highlights of the song repertoire. We also hear the world premiere of his melodic composition for three instruments. Combined with the bohemian charms of the Martinů and Dvořák quartets, this final concert of the festival will send us out with a dance in our step.
Martinů – Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Cello and Piano H315
Duparc – Songs
Ravel – Chansons madécasses
IntervalRoderick Williams – Rhapsody for Flute, Oboe and Cello (world premiere)
Dvořák – Piano Quartet No. 2 in E flat, Op. 87
Roderick Williams baritone London Conchord Ensemble