Concert Reviews 2021-22

The Ardeton Ensemble

12th October 2021


After 20 long months live classical music returned to Chipping Sodbury town hall on 12 October.

The Ardeton Ensemble, Sarah Loveridge, Elizabeth French, Rachel Johnson and Dury Loveridge presented a hugely enjoyable concert of popular string quartets.

Haydn, the father of string quartets proved a good choice to open the programme. From a soulful introduction to a humorous finale the intricate interplay of instruments was well displayed. Haydn was the first composer to liberate the cello from a mere accompanist role and the cellist had ample opportunity to shine.

The nocturne from Borodin’s second string quartet is loved the world over. Dedicated to his wife, it is richly romantic in tone. The Ensemble’s love of this work was palpable.

Schubert’s Quartettsatz is the sole movement remaining from an unfinished quartet. An often poignant work, it reminds us that the composer sadly died at the early age of 31.

Dvorak, one of the most prolific composers of the late 19 century, is best known for his New World symphony. His American quartet was written soon afterwards and similarly reveals the influences of native American folk music. This work, full of melodic inventiveness was written in America where Dvorak was feted wherever he went and earned him money beyond his wildest dreams.

The final piece was Gershwin’s Lullaby for String Quartet. Compared to his major jazz inspired works this is a gentler composition and its calming influence provided a relaxed end to a fine concert.

Review: Gerry Philp.

October 2021

Concerts in 2022

In 1958, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust was founded to ensure the continuation of Lady Munster’s help for young musicians into the future. Lady Munster was able to watch her Trust’s steady growth from its inception in 1958 until her death in 1979. And Lady Munster’s generous endowment to the Trust remains the basis of the Trust’s work to this day.

Leo Popplewell - cello   and   Malcolm Archer - piano

February 8th 2022

The delayed second concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society, sponsored

by The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, took place on Tuesday, 8th February

at the Town Hall.  Leo Popplewell, cello, and Malcolm Archer, piano, gave a

varied and stimulating programme of music.

E.J.Moeran’s Prelude was given a warm and lyrical performance with the Irish folk music background clearly identified. 

Frank Bridge’s 4 Early Pieces were honest in their easy melodic charm, especially his cradle song from 1910.

J.S.Bach’s Gamba Sonata No 2 was written for an instrument which developed into the modern cello. The interplay between cello and piano was a delight throughout all four movements.

Gabriel Faure’s music is deeply personal and works well for cello and piano.  His Elegie, Romance, Papillon and Siciliene were played with obvious affection.

Malcom Archer’s very own cello sonata, written specifically for his friend and co-artist, Leo Popplewell, proved to be the highlight of the evening. A haunting first movement, sprightly second and a stirring finale combined to make this a work which deserves the widest recognition!

An encore of Benjamin Britten’s arrangement of “Down By The Sally Gardens” rounded off a most enjoyable evening in the company of two distinguished musicians.

Gerry Philp

February 2022

Leo Popplewell  and  Malcolm Archer

Helen Reid 

March 8th 2022

“Visions of Night”

The accomplished pianist, Helen Reid, was the soloist at the March concert

of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society. 

A Debussy Nocturne, full of melancholy and colour, was well realised and provided a fine opening work to the concert. 

 Rhian Samuel wrote her “Dream Images” in 1977. This technically difficult composition was performed with great assurance and dedication.

Poulenc, a French composer of many moods, wrote his 8 nocturnes over a period of 9 years. Slow, sensitive and nostalgic one minute and helter skelter the next. All were played with relish and affection.

Schumann’s “Kreislerania”, 8 movements for solo piano was reputedly written in only 4 days! The contrasting sections, some impulsive, others dreamlike, were well delineated, the soloist enjoying such pianistic writing. 

Martin Butler, born in 1960, was composer in residence at Princeton. His works are inspired by American folk music and “Nathaniel’s Mobile” was no exception. Characterised by much use of the upper register of the keyboard a remarkable, haunting quality was sustained.

Benjamin Britten’s Nocturne is full of quiet charm. The soloist’s gentle approach underlined this quality and brought the concert to a satisfying conclusion. 


A wonderful concert enjoyed by all. 

Gerry Philp.

11th March 2022

The Fitzroy String Quartet

April 12th 2022

The April concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society welcomed the Fitzroy Quartet. Formed in 2015, it has already earned a high reputation, winning many awards throughout Europe.

The opening work, Mozart’s 14th String Quartet, written in 1782, was dedicated to his fellow composer, Haydn. More complex than previous works, all four instruments receive an equal share of the music. This was well illustrated in a performance which did full justice to this satisfying composition.

Bartok’s String Quartet No.3 provided a great contrast. Dating from 1926, this work is full of enormous power showing an Hungarian toughness throughout. The technical difficulties were addressed head-on and with some relish.

The final work, Mendelssohn’s 4th String Quartet, composed whilst on honeymoon, was a delight. The elfin-like Scherzo and final Presto brought shades of his music to a Midsummer Night’s Dream and the romantic Andante recalled his songs without words. The coordination achieved by the soloists, in all the many tricky moments, was remarkable.

So ended an outstanding concert, enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.

Gerry Philp

20th April 2022

Lauren Scott

May 3rd 2022

The May concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society featured the acclaimed harpist Lauren Scott. Beginning lessons, aged six, she has performed with all the major British orchestras and has recently started to write music for the harp: GYPSY DANCE, PRINTEMPS, HABANERA CAPRICHOSA, BEYOND THE HORIZON and CELESTIAL SPIRALS, demonstrated the wide range of her musical talent.

Many items have been broadcast on BBC3 and Scala Radio. The BBC Music Magazine said of her “thoughtful and compelling she draws sounds of deep soulfulness".

Other works by well known modern composers included the haunting IN A LANDSCAPE by John Cage and the nostalgic FAREWELL TO STROMNESS by Peter Maxwell Davis. Works by Monika Stadler, Douwe Eisenga, Gary Carpenter, and Rudiger Opperman explored the many capabilities of the harp.

An encore by Paul McCartney set the seal on an evening which saw Lauren weave a very special magic.

Gerry Philp

May 2022

Wotton Silver Band

June 7th 2022

The final concert of the Chipping Sodbury Music Society 2021-22 season featured the Wotton Silver Band under their musical director David Boorer. An enthusiastic audience enjoyed a wide ranging programme of music from show business to the classics.

A premiere performance of the march, The Mariner composed by 18 year old band member Morris Harper was a remarkably mature piece from a gifted young man. Tenor horn and cornet solos were outstanding. A Queen medley, Broadway favourites and an arrangement from West Side Story saw the band enjoy themselves, playing with great energy and commitment. Two movements from Malcolm Arnold’s Cornish Dances received very sensitive interpretations.

A Jubilee Finale of Proms favourites Crown Imperial, a march by William Walton, Nimrod and Pomp and Circumstance March no.1 by Edward Elgar got the audience"rocking in the aisles". 

This had been an evening to savour. On this evidence The Wotton Silver Band will continue to go from strength to strength.

Gerry Philp

June 8th 2022


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