Chipping Sodbury and Yate Gazette.
Reviews for the 2019 - 20 Season
Michael Butten ~ Guitar
November 12th 2019
At the November concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society guitarist Michael Butten proved a highly successful short notice replacement for fellow musician Giacomo Susani, who had been struck down by illness.
The help of The Countess of Munster Musical Trust in this rearrangement was invaluable.
Five pieces by English renaissance composer John Dowland quickly demonstrated the artist’s concentration and sensitive approach to this graceful music.
By contrast modernist Roberto Gerhard’s Fantasia required a contemporary approach. An arrangement of Bach’s Violin Sonata no 3 showed this music in a new light.
The soulful adagio was followed by probably the longest fugue ever written. The soloist obviously enjoyed the challenge.
A Fantasia by the little-known composer Luigi Legnani proved to be a very attractive composition, written in an operatic style, and was both tuneful and humorous.
Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal after John Dowland gave the soloist opportunity to show off the huge range of expression achievable on the guitar.
An enthusiastic audience had enjoyed a highly satisfying evening.
Huw Wiggin (Saxaphone)
Oliver Wass (Harp )
8th October 2019
A Rare Delight
A saxophone and harp might seem an unlikely combination of instruments but Huw Wiggin, one of the most popular saxophonists of his generation, and award winning harpist Oliver Wass showed at the October concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society that the results could be quite magical.
An Arabesque and Prelude by Debussy evoked the sultriness of a hot summer’s day. A Bach Sonata seemed newly minted. A selection entitled Around the Clock showed that in the right hands the harp can play jazz as well as any guitar.
Ravel’s haunting Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte proved a heartrending piece and was played with great sensitivity. A selection of children’s songs revealed the immense range of the saxophone. Avo Part’s Spiegel im Spiegel, a typical minimalist composition, proved strangely evocative.
Chant du Menestrel by Glazunov was full of plaintive nostalgia. By contrast De Falla’s Spanish Dance gave the harpist ample opportunity to show off his amazing dexterity. Two Songs by Gershwin were achingly beautiful in a special instrumental arrangement. The concert ended with variations on the well-known theme from Carnival of Venice. The artists had great fun with their homespun interpretations.
Comments by members of the audience as they left were uniformly of praise for a wonderful concert given by artists at the very top of their game.
Flute/Recorder and Harpsichord
Tuesday 10th March
Back to Baroque
The Passacaglia Duo, Annabel Knight - recorders and flutes and Robin Bigwood – harpsichord, were welcomed back for the March concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society. A programme, mainly from the renaissance and baroque periods, provided a temporary respite from today’s problems.
Two works by CPE Bach showed how progressive this composer was with works full of dramatic contrasts and pregnant pauses. A piece by Couperin originally for the clavichord had glowing textures’ and the little known Philidor’s Suite in five movements included a dance-based finale derived directly from the French Royal Court.
Josquin des Prez’s Plusieurs Regretz is a 15th century composition and its improvisatory structure reflects the playing style of that time. The real gem of the evening was a sonata by an obscure composer Michel Blavet. This unusually contained variations on a courtly minuet.
Telemann was a prolific and famous composer of the baroque era and his Sonate Methodique was typically lively and full of good tunes. Gordon Jacob’s Sonatina belonged unquestionably to the 20th century and this humorous work provided a suitable final item in a satisfying and well received concert.