Reviews of the Concerts of The Chipping Sodbury Music Society

are published in the Chipping Sodbury and Yate Gazette.

Reviews for the 2019 - 20 Season

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.

Gerry Philp 

This concert was possible with the help and colloration of The Countess of Munster Musical Trust

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.

Gerry Philp

Roaring Fork Wind Quintet

December 3rd 2019

Festive Winds

The December concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society welcomed back the Roaring Fork Wind Quintet: Estelle Greely – Flute, Jennifer Mears – Oboe, Claire King – Clarinet, Eleanor Whitfield - Bassoon and Stephen Macallister - French Horn. They were joined on the platform by two of the evening’s composers Peter Nickol and Paul Carr.

The first movement of Mozart’s Serenade in C minor got the concert off to a fine start. This harmonious work was given a sensitive treatment with an ideal tempo. Peter Nickol’s Serensina is a good-natured piece of many different moods well captured by the players. A quintet by the little-known female composer, Claude Arrieu, proved a delightful composition with plenty of humour and a decidedly French flavour.

The Argentine Carlos Gardel was known as the king of tango and his Por Una Cabeza was a nostalgic and relaxed interpretation of this idiom. Scott Joplin wrote a concert waltz Bethena which proved as enjoyable as his better-known rags. Eric Ewazen’s Reverie is a pastoral dreamlike composition with an energetic middle section.
Paul Carr’s Occasional Postcards, a substantial work, was full of wit and charm reflecting visits across Europe from breezy Brighton to sultry Florence. An arrangement of Gershwin’s I Got Rhythm brought out the pathos so often lacking. An enthusiastic audience was rewarded by an encore, Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, a festive end to a successful concert.


December 2019

Roaring Fork with the two  composers Peter Nickol (far left) and Paul Carr (far right).

The Piatti String Quartet

February 11th 2020

The February concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society welcomed the return of the Piatti string quartet. This internationally acclaimed chamber group provided a stimulating programme of music by English Russian and German composers.

Purcells Chacony in G minor dating from around 1680 was a piece which grew in intensity from a quiet beginning and which for its period gave the cello a distinctive role.

Borodins string Quartet no.2 composed in 1881 as a wedding anniversary present to his wife is a deservedly popular work full of good tunes.The artists played with great concentration and avoided over sentimentality in the familiar slow movement. The chirruping scherzo and frenzied finale received an lmpassioned performance.

The final work Beethovens String Quartet opus 59 no.3 named and written in honour of Count Rasumovsky celebrated the 250th anniversary of the composers birth.A dramatic introduction was followed by a delightfully cheerful theme relished by the players. The second movement saw various themes tossed around among the players. An optimistic third movement gave way to a fast and furious finale enjoyed by the group and audience alike.
This had truly been an evening to remember with playing of great accomplishment by a quartet properly recognised as leading exponents in their field.

Gerry Philp


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.