2.8.20

Recordings of July concerts available until 7 August

With many thanks to everyone who has supported our series of online recitals during July, we're delighted to make the recordings available again for a short period, until 7 August. 

8 July: Jong-Gyung Park and Anthony Zerpa-Falcon (piano duet: Schubert Fantasie in F minor)
15 July: Ruth Beedham and Marcus Andrews (cello and piano: Bridge cello sonata)
22 July: Alessandra Testai and Robin Jeffrey (voice and lute/guitar: songs from Italy and England)
29 July: Rachel Threlfall and Martin Bloor (cello and viola: Telemann, Beethoven etc)

The funding page for any donations (which are shared equally among the performers) will close on 7 August. Click here to donate

Future plans

It is possible that we will be able to hold concerts in King Charles church again this autumn, in the same way that services are taking place within the government's guidelines. These may involve an audience in due course, and may be broadcast live or recorded. Whatever the solution, we will keep you informed via this blog.

Read more here about the how and why to do concerts online.

26.7.20

Martin Bloor & Rachel Threlfall online recital 29 July

In the last of our four mini-recitals during July, Rachel Threlfall and Martin Bloor (cello and viola) play a varied programme of four short duos. Scroll down for programme notes.

Click this link to join us on Wednesday evening 29 July, online at 6:30pm for a 30 minute event, including a quick conversation with the artists. This will take you straight through to a Zoom conference in watch/listen mode.

Click here for the recording on Vimeo. Their exclusive performance has been recorded in advance. The recording will be available for seven days from the concert start time.

Click here to donate to our music series, if you wish to show your appreciation. We'll share funds equally between each of our four online concerts. No matter how small, your contribution will show our musicians how much you value their talents at this difficult time. All the money we receive goes to them.

Find out more about why we think this is so important here.

Thank you very much for your enthusiasm for chamber music and your support for all those who make it possible. We are planning for concerts to be broadcast or recorded in King Charles church again this autumn, and look forward to welcoming you to a live concert in person as soon as that is possible!

PROGRAMME NOTES

Telemann Canonic Sonata No. 1 
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) ranked among the most successful composers during his lifetime, completely overshadowing J. S. Bach whose music was not fully appreciated until some years after his death. George Frederick Handel once said of Telemann that he could write a work in eight parts as easily as anyone else could write a letter. The six Canonic Sonatas are a collection originally entitled "Six Canons or Sonatas for two German Flutes or two Violins, Compos'd by Georg Philip Telemann." Each movement of these sonatas is a two-part canon in which both musicians play precisely the same lines, one bar apart.

Rebecca Clarke – Lullaby from Two Pieces for Viola and Cello 
Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) was an English viola player who had a worldwide career as a soloist and chamber musician, performing with the most well-known musicians of the time, including Pablo Casals and Artur Rubinstein. She formed an all-female chamber ensemble, The English Ensemble, who performed all over Europe and is recognised as one of the viola’s greatest exponents, both as a player and as a composer. Debussy is often mentioned as an influence, as well as her friends Bloch and Ravel. The two pieces for viola and cello were composed in 1918 and premiered by Clarke and the cellist May Mukle a year later in New York’s Aeolian Hall.

Shostakovich – Prelude from 5 pieces for 2 violins and piano 
These five pieces were collected and arranged for two violins and piano by Lev Atovmyan, a friend and assistant to Shostakovich, with the composer’s permission. The lush, almost Brahmsian Prelude is taken from Shostakovich’s score to the 1955 film The Gadfly, in which the famous Romance can also be heard.

Beethoven – Duet “With Two Eyeglasses Obligato”
Beethoven wrote this duet around 1796-7, but it was published only in 1912. Most certainly he wrote it for his friend and cello player Baron Nikolaus Zmeskall von Domanovec. Beethoven played the viola so it’s very likely that he intended the duo for them to play together. Nikolaus Zmeskall was one of the first people Beethoven met when arriving in Vienna. He was secretary in the Hungarian Chancellery and remained Beethoven’s friend all his life. He was a skilled amateur cello player and composer. In one of Beethoven’s letters he apparently teases Zmeskall for his short-sightedness, saying “je vous suis bien obligé pour votre faiblesse des votre yeux” (“I am most obliged for the weakness of your eyes”), and this could be the reason for the title “Eyeglass Duet” as it has become known.

Rachel studied with Leonid Gorokhov at the Royal College of Music and performed in master classes with Stephen Isserlis, Raphael Wallfisch and Mstislav Rostropovich. Since graduating in 2002 Rachel has pursued a busy freelance career in London. She has worked regularly with a variety of ensembles and orchestras including The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Rachel toured for several years with English Touring Opera and the Carl Rosa Opera Company as solo cello. As a chamber musician Rachel has performed in some of the UKs most prestigious venues including St Martin in the Fields, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St James Piccadilly, National Gallery, Conway Hall and the music room at the V&A museum. She gave the world premiere of Nicola Moro’s composition War: eight poems by Harold Pinter and has also performed in art exhibitions including collaborations with Turner Prizewinner Martin Creed.

As a recording artist Rachel’s solo projects have included several recordings for BBC Radio, including collaborating with playwright Joanna Lawrence for Radio 3’s “The Wire” and she appeared as solo cello on the soundtrack to Radio 4’s production of Les Miserables. Recent solo engagements have included performances of Vivaldi concertos with Ensemble Precioso d’Alsace in Strasbourg and Coswiller, France.

As well as pursuing an active performing career Rachel is committed to teaching and education. She has held teaching posts at leading schools including Stowe School and has been involved in educational projects with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia. She currently teaches cello at Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School. Rachel performs on a George Crask cello made in the mid 19th Century.

Martin studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and as a student was the recipient of the Rachel Godlee Memorial Prize for Viola as well as being awarded all the available prizes for chamber music. He studied chamber music with musicians including Vilmos Tatrai, Alexander Baillie and Shmuel Ashkenasi and Richard Young of the Vermeer Quartet.

Upon graduating he took up a position with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. This was followed by an appointment to the Royal Northern Sinfonia. During his time at the orchestra he was involved in frequent chamber music projects with other Principal members of the orchestra as well as small scale concerts with such artists as Heinz Holliger, Thomas Zehetmair, Ruth Killius, Christian Zacharias, Nikolai Demidenko and Heinrich Schiff including performances in the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. He also performed as soloist with the orchestra.

Since leaving Royal Northern Sinfonia in 2007 he has led a busy and diverse career based in London. Frequently in demand as a Guest Principal he has performed with orchestras including RTE Concert Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, London Musical Arts Orchestra, Mozart Festival Orchestra, Lancashire Sinfonietta, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He was recently invited to join La Folia, Orchestre de Chambre d’Alsace and has performed with the Soloists of the Philharmonia. More recently he has focused on chamber music and solo work, performing throughout the UK and Europe.

Recent solo performances have included the Kings Lynn and Stratford Festivals and he has performed world premieres of works by composers including Brian Elias and Howard Blake. Concerto performances have included Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 6.

Martin held a teaching position at Wycombe Abbey School for several years and has taken part in education projects for the Philharmonia Orchestra. Having a young family, he now teaches in Tunbridge Wells and privately at his home in East Sussex. He performs on a viola by Mark Robinson which he commissioned in 1987.

1.7.20

Online concerts, July 2020

Join us online in July, as we reopen Music at King Charles and do our bit to keep chamber music alive in Tunbridge Wells.

We've invited some of our favourite past performers to present a short, early evening recital, and also to have a quick conversation about musical life in lockdown.

Click this link to join us on Wednesday evenings online at 6:30pm for a 20-30 minute event. This will take you straight through to a Zoom conference in watch/listen mode.

Links to recordings will be published on this page after each event.

8 July: Jong-Gyung Park and Anthony Zerpa-Falcon (piano duet: Schubert Fantasie in F minor)
15 July: Ruth Beedham and Marcus Andrews (cello and piano: Bridge cello sonata)
22 July: Alessandra Testai and Robin Jeffrey (voice and lute/guitar: songs from Italy and England)
29 July: Rachel Threlfall and Martin Bloor (cello and viola: Telemann, Beethoven etc) 

Click here to donate. You will be pleased to know that we are inviting a donation as a way of expressing your support for our musicians. When you make your donation, do include a short message. We'll share funds equally between each concert. [DONATIONS CLOSE ON 7 AUGUST]

No matter how small, your contribution will show our musicians how much you value their talents at this difficult time. All the money we receive goes to them. Meanwhile, Music at King Charles will be making a donation to the charity Help Musicians from existing funds.

Find out more about why we think this is so important here.

Thank you very much for your enthusiasm for chamber music and your support for all those who make it possible. We look forward to welcoming you to a live concert in person in the not too distant future!

ALSO:  see http://codatw.co.uk/ for online concerts

28.6.20

Plans for online recitals

You may have seen my recent post Bringing the music back, in which I discussed a response to the immense difficulties facing concert venues looking to reopen for live music, and the mental and economic struggles that musicians are going through at this time.

I wrote: "For many musicians, whose livelihoods have been so suddenly interrupted, performing online has become an unexpected necessity. It doesn’t suit everybody. But not being able to perform isn’t just about not earning a living: it’s about not properly living at all. It’s about not being able to express yourself; not fulfilling your purpose. I’ve talked to players who speak of the frustration and emptiness when all the music around them is just on the pages of books and on their music stands, not vibrating and flowing from their instruments and voices."

Let's all encourage and thank musicians who are experimenting with different methods of reaching audiences online whenever we can. If you see an online performance of any kind that asks for a financial contribution, do make that donation, however small. The vote of support and encouragement it gives is worth more than any amount of money. 

So, for our part, Music at King Charles will be opening its virtual doors in July for a series of short online recitals. Please watch this space! 

Rupert Preston Bell

14.5.20

May update

With concert halls and churches closed for the foreseeable future, musicians are not finding life easy. But many have found adventurous ways of performing nonetheless, and we want to support them.

So we are making plans to bring our supporters some exclusive performances in an online music series.

In the meantime, here are a few recommendations from players we have hosted before, which we think you will enjoy.

Jamie McVinnie (organ) recorded this stunning minimalist piece by Philip Glass at St Andrew Holborn, London on 23 March just minutes before the lockdown.

 Alex Metcalfe (piano) continues to broadcast some illuminating short recitals, like this one.

Steven Devine directs the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in the second of their online "Bach, the Universe, and Everything" series. An entire Bach cantata performed by musicians in lockdown.

Cantabile, the London Quartet, give their take on Zoom meetings in their typical style with this lovely song with a twist at the end.

Finally, the King Charles church YouTube channel continues to build a library of church music, for the congregation on Sundays but also for your enjoyment.

12.4.20

Music at Easter

Music at King Charles is necessarily quiet at the moment, but we can share some seasonal music we have been using for Passiontide and Easter at King Charles

Music for Good Friday
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gpe3P0k3H0QIVkGjvrugw_fh6J4XrRN

Music for Easter (including Widor's Toccata)
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gpe3P0k3H3ePnHvVRPhY6nsoIa0JR1o

In these quiet days, musicians everywhere are finding it tough going. Where we can, we will be looking for ways to support them and will share performances online by those who have been part of our music series in the past. For example:




For now, we wish you a very Happy Easter.

11.1.20

King Charles Lecture 2020

The Harpsichord "in the English manner" - an illustrated exploration of English keyboard music 1600-1685.

Saturday 1st February, 2:30pm

Historical keyboard specialist Steven Devine discusses and plays 17th Century harpsichord music, showing how the particular musical language of England in the time of Charles I became influenced by Charles II's time in exile in the European continent, culminating in a uniquely "English Style". Music by Lawes, Locke, Blow and Purcell among others, all played live.

Church of King Charles the Martyr, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1YX
Followed by tea in church hall
No admission charge. Retiring collection

12.11.19

Bach: Christmas Oratorio 7 December



Parts 1, 2, 3 and 6 of the Christmas Oratorio.

7pm start time. Performance expected to finish around 9:15.

All advance tickets are now sold. However, there are plenty of seats in the galleries, with restricted view. Tickets for these seats only will be available on the night.

As the church will be full, do arrive in good time to allow for local traffic and parking.

For more useful details see venue information.

Soloists
Kate Semmens, soprano
Mark Chambers, alto
Rory Carver, teno
Florian Stortz, bass

The Devine Musick 
Violins: Dan Edgar, Nia Lewis. Viola: Nick Logie. Cello: Kinga Gaborjani. Bass: Liz Bradley.
Flutes: Rachel Beckett, Christine Garrett.
Oboes & Oboes d’amore: James Eastaway, Geoff Coates
Oboes da Caccia: Nicola Barbagli, Cherry Forbes
Trumpets: Katie Hodges, Hannah Opstad, Adam Wood
Timpani: Will Edwards
Organ and Director: Steven Devine

Decimus Consort 
Soprano: Kate Faber, Caroline Preston Bell, Ellen Smith, Polly Walton. Alto: Christina Astin, Nicholas Perkins, Ben Toombs. Tenor: Alex Churchill, Stephen Pritchard, Philip Mills. Bass: Keith Bryant, Patrick Glencross, Chris Jeanes

24.10.19

String brilliance

Saturday 9th November, 7:30pm

We have the great pleasure of looking forward to hearing these terrific players: Tristan Gurney (violin), Martin Bloor (viola) and Rachel Threlfall (cello), who will play Bach - Three Part Inventions BWV 787-801, Beethoven - String Trio in C Minor Op.9 No.3, Martinu - 3 Madrigals for Violin and Viola, and Dohnányi - Serenade in C major for String Trio, Op 10.

Tickets £15 (£12.50 in advance) https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/mkctw/pentagon-ensemble/e-elyzop

Pentagon String Ensemble have performed together for many years. Individually the members have performed as Principal players with orchestras including London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and as chamber musicians they have collaborated with such artists as Alfred Brendel, Thomas Zehetmair, Heinz Holliger, Christian Zacharias, the Soloists of the Philharmonia and the Soloists of the LPO.

Tristan Gurney enjoys a wide-ranging career as a director, soloist, chamber and orchestral violinist. He established himself on the British chamber music scene as leader of the Edinburgh Quartet (2007-2016). During his time with the quartet, Tristan collaborated with many esteemed artists such as harpist Isobelle Moretti, tenor Andrew Staples, clarinetist Maximilliano Martin and flautist Juliette Bausor and worked closely with composers such as Sir James Macmillan, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Helen Grime, Tom Harrold and Howard Blake. The Edinburgh Quartet released several CDs with Tristan, including, recordings of Matyas Seiber Quartets, Robert Crawford Quartets and Haydn, Shostakovich and Prokofiev Quartets all to great acclaim. Their disc of Sir James MacMillan String Quartets was awarded a ‘Critics Choice’ and included in the list of best recordings of 2014 in Gramophone Magazine. Tristan is currently the Curator of Chamber Music at Sage Gateshead. In addition to programming, it is a role that draws on his Chamber Music expertise, joining his friends and colleagues at Royal Northern Sinfonia as a director, soloist and chamber player. Tristan combines his responsibilities at Sage Gateshead with a flourishing freelance career, regularly collaborating with chamber music colleagues and guesting as a principal player with orchestras such as the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He is also Principal Second of Scottish Ensemble which performs at prestigious venues and festivals worldwide and has a regular series at Wigmore Hall, London. Tristan studied the violin at the Royal Nothern College of Music with Yossi Zivoni and then at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto with Lorand Fenyves and plays on a Ferdinand Gagliano Violin.

Martin Bloor studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and as a student was the recipient of the Rachel Godlee Memorial Prize for Viola as well as being awarded many prizes for chamber music performances. Upon graduating he took up a position with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. This was followed by an appointment as Sub-Principal viola of Northern Sinfonia. During his time at the orchestra he was involved in frequent chamber music projects with Principal members of the orchestra as well as with such artists as Heinz Holliger, Thomas Zehetmair and Ruth Killius including performances in the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. He also performed as soloist with the orchestra. Since leaving Northern Sinfonia in 2007 he has led a busy and diverse career based in London. He has played Guest Principal with orchestras including RTE Dublin, London Concert Orchestra, London Musical Arts Orchestra, Mozart Festival Orchestra, Lancashire Sinfonietta and BBC National Orchestra of Wales in venues i ncluding the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall and St. Martin in the Fields as well as performing with the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. Recent solo performances have included Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.6 with Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and performances with the Soloists of The Philharmonia. More recently he has combined chamber music with teaching commitments.

Rachel Threlfall studied the cello with Leonard Gorokhov at the Royal College of Music and performed in master classes with Stephen Isserlis, Ralph Kirshbaum and Raphael Wallfisch. Since graduating in 2002 Rachel has pursued a busy freelance career in London. She has worked regularly with a variety of ensembles and orchestras including The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Rachel toured for several years with English Touring Opera and the Carl Rosa Opera Company and in small opera productions involving solo string sections. As a chamber musician Rachel has performed in some of the UKs most prestigious venues including St Martin in the Fields, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St James Piccadilly, National Gallery and the music room at the V&A museum. Rachel performed the world premiere performance of Nicola Moro composition War, eight poems by Harold Pinter performed by 2 voices, five solo Cellos and Piano. She has also performed in art exhibitions including collaborating with contemporary artist Martin Creed. As a recording artist Rachel’s solo projects have included several recordings for BBC Radio, including collaborating with playwright Joanna Lawrence for Radio 3’s “The Wire” and appeared as solo cello on the soundtrack to BBC Radio 4’s production of Les Miserables. She has also been involved in several recording sessions for pop artists, TV adverts and computer games As well as pursuing an active performance career Rachel has been able to balance her teaching commitments having taught cello from beginner to professional standard. She has held a teaching post at Stowe School and currently teaches the cello at Lady Margaret’s School, Chelsea. She has been involved in educational projects with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia. Rachel performs on a George Crask cello.