Reviews of the Concerts of The Chipping Sodbury Music Society

are published in the Chipping Sodbury and Yate Gazette.

Reviews for the 2014-15 Season

The Haydn Lute Trio    5th May 2015

“The 18th Century Lute in Ensemble”

The final concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society 2014 15 season saw the welcome return of the Haydn Lute Trio. David Parsons lute and theorbo, Eleanor Harrison violin and Miguel Calvo cello gave a concert of mainly baroque period works.

Notable in the first half was Veracini’s sonata in A minor. A nostalgic largo was followed by three lively allegros all given a confident and purposeful performance. A trio and larghetto by the little known composer Falkenhagen proved a delight. The attractive yet simple melodies were given a ravishing treatment with particularly rewarding parts for the violin.

After the interval Miguel Calvo excelled in Vivaldi’s sonata for cello and continuo. His rapt playing was breathtaking. Corelli’s sonata in A major was typically full of sparkling allegros and soulful slow movements.

The final work was by David Parsons himself. His Five Beaches Suite was an atmospheric piece based on dance rhythms from France and Spain and proved a satisfying ending to a well received concert.

Gerry Philp 12 May 2015

4 Girls 4 Harps    April 7th 2015

4 Harps in Perfect Harmony

A packed house enjoyed a truly memorable evening’s entertainment at the Chipping Sodbury Music Society April concert. “4 Girls 4 Harps” Harriet Adie, Keziah Thomas, Eleanor Turner and Elizabeth Scorah, took the audience on a whirlwind tour of the Middle East, Russia, South America, Africa, France, Spain and the UK.

Arrangements of well-known compositions such as Handel’s “Royal Fireworks Music”, Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” and Ravel’s “Ma Mere L’Oye” took on a whole new aspect.

There were pieces specially commissioned for the group, including Harriet Adie’s atmospheric “Middle Eastern Sky”, the hypnotic “African Reflections” by Monica Stadler, and “Saraswati” by Edward Langstaff, a haunting work based on Indian rhythms.

Responding to prolonged applause, the audience was treated to a lively encore, the famous “Clog Dance” from “La Fill Mal Gardée” by Hérold.

Celebrating 15 years together, 4 Girls 4 Harps had shown why they are considered the leading harp ensemble in the whole of Europe.

Gerry Philp 9 April 2015

Photo courtesy of RichMcD Photography

Men With Horns     March 10th 2015

Three Course Musical Feast

At the March concert the audience was treated to a musical feast offering three courses for the price of one.  First - Men with Horns Paul Sawbridge, Steve Macallister, Alistair Smith and Allen Cheshire; second - baritone Niall Hoskin and pianist Steven Hollas and third - a Men’s Choir conducted by Mike Daniels.

It soon became apparent that this was to be an evening to remember. The natural horn is notoriously difficult to play but any technical difficulties were overcome with ease, and hunting music by Rossini, Berlioz, Neukomm and Schumann brought vividly to mind horses, riders, hounds and the chase.

Songs by Schubert, Vaughan Williams and Ireland were sensitively done and a first performance for 200 years of the riotous drinking song King Wine was delivered with great gusto.

The men’s choir excelled themselves in Elgar’s Greek Anthology with expressive phrasing and clear enunciation.  The rarely played introduction to the Blue Danube Waltz was a delight before the piano was joined by the choir who sang with obvious enjoyment, encouraged by a consistently animated conductor.

The final item, five hunting songs by Schumann, provided an exciting end to a well received concert.

Gerry Philp  13 March 2015

Flercussion    17th February  2015

"A Bang, a Crash and a Flutter ..."

An unusual combination of instruments featured in the February concert entitled “Debussy and Dance”.  Flercussion comprising Jo Ashcroft, flute and Calum Huggan, marimba and percussion, sponsored by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, treated the audience to arrangements of both familiar and less well known works.

Piazolla, the Argentine tango composer, provided the lively opening and closing numbers. The pronounced Latin American flavour was well captured.  Four works by Debussy showed how well his music could be adapted for flute and marimba.  Excerpts from his Children’s Corner Suite and Deux Arabesques were played with great sensitivity and there was ravishing flute playing in the second arabesque.

The Waltz Number 2 from Shostakovich’s Suite for Jazz Orchestra was sensuous and melodious, a deliberate response to the oppressive Soviet regime.  Calum Huggan was able to let his hair down in Gledhill’s Battercada.  This excitingly different work showed off all manner of percussive effects.


An enthusiastic audience was rewarded by an encore “Keep Cool Boy” from Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Gerry Philp 19 February 2015

Alicia Chaffey          January 27th 2015

"Alicia Chaffey makes a good impression on music lovers"

The January concert at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall was given by pianist Alicia Chaffey. The first half was devoted to music from the Romantic period and the second half to the Impressionist era.  A generous programme was highly enjoyable and the following highlights give a flavour of the evening.

Liszt is generally thought of as a composer of technical brilliance. His sonata Number 5 from his “Journeys Through Italy” demonstrated his poetic side.  This mood was realised to perfection by the soloist and a nostalgic haze hung over the whole piece.

Rachmaninov was one of the finest pianists of his day and his 6 Moments Musiicaux, an early work, shows how he was developing the expressive possibilities of the instrument.  Alicia Chaffey clearly loves this composer and Moments Numbers 1 and 6 were played with great affection and total concentration.

The most substantial work of the evening was Kabalevsky’s Piano Sonata Number 3.  Composed in 1946 it proved more approachable than most music composed around this time.  The opening allegro was cheerful and optimistic, the andante calm yet purposeful and the final allegro hectic with a dramatic ending.  All these moods were well expressed and brought to an end a highly successful concert by a young talented pianist who was well appreciated by an enthusiastic audience.

Gerry Philp  31 January 2015

Emergence         14th November 2014

The November concert was devoted to two major chamber works:

Brahms’ String Sextet No 1 and Schubert’s String Quintet.


EMERGENCE, made up of some of London’s most exciting young chamber musicians: Michael Trainor and Chris Jensen - violins, David Wigram and Annie Beilby - violas, Jessie Ann Richardson and Reinoud Ford - cellos were greeted by a packed audience.


Brahms’ first String Sextet is an early work and is sunnier than most of his later compositions.  The first movement with its striking main theme was well projected, the enchanting slow movement gave the violas a chance to shine and the infectious rhythm of the scherzo was played at a steady tempo but with the helter-skelter trio given its head. The final carefree rondo capped a fine performance of this satisfying piece.


Schubert’s String Quintet was written just two months before his untimely death. A work of great beauty it has remained one of the most popular chamber works in the repertoire. The opening allegro, poignant and turbulent in turn, was played with great concentration. The ethereal adagio seemed to make time stand still. The boisterous scherzo was well controlled and the soulful trio, which in some way reflected Schubert’s impending death, was played with searing intensity. The final allegretto, lighter in mood, provided some relief at the end of such a profound work.


A rapturous reception was well deserved. As one member of the audience remarked to me, the artists so obviously loved the works they played.

Gerry Philp 14 November 2014

Del Mar Piano Trio     

 14th October  2014

“First Impressions”

The Del Mar Trio -   Francesca Barritt ~ violin,  Morwenna Del Mar ~ cello

and Yshani Perinpanayagam ~ piano  got the 2014-2015 season off to an exciting start.

Beethoven’s Trio Opus 1 No 1 already showed how well ahead of his time this composer had become. The jaunty opening and cheeky coda bookended a first movement full of vitality. The wistful slow movement with a newly liberated cello operating on equal terms with the violin and piano was followed by a quirky irregular scherzo and a headlong staccato-like finale.

Rebecca Clarke’s Piano Trio, composed in 1921, provided an arresting and substantial work. Tempestuous and passionate at times, with a recurring motif yet encompassing calmer and sorrowful passages, this piece held the attention throughout. The dedicated approach of the players was never in doubt.

After the interval Schubert’s Trio No 1 proved a real tonic. Delightfully exuberant, the opening movement was full of songful melodies, the andante nostalgically beautiful, the scherzo effervescent with a contrastingly soulful trio and the rondo finale buoyant and bouncy and played with obvious affection.

The audience responded with great enthusiasm to a very generous, well played and balanced concert.

Gerry Philp 16 October 2014