King's Violin - a royal triumph

Photographer: David Rowley
Congratulation to everyone who contributed to The King's Violin - a the magnificent concert featuring the last surviving violin from Charles II's court band.
Pictured at the concert are the mayor and mayoress, Mr & Mrs Julian Stanyer, with Margaret Faultless and the historic instrument.
You can download a copy of the souvenir programme here.
Many thanks in particular to Dr Richard Luckett, Pepys Librarian Emeritus of Magdalene College, Cambridge, who inspired the programme and made the event possible.


Seasonal finale

Saturday 8 November 2014, 7:30pm
The King's Violin: a historic event for Tunbridge Wells. Court music of the English Baroque, concerning the visits of Charles II and Queen Catherine to the wells in 1663 and 1666. With eminent early music specialists Margaret Faultless (violin), Kate Semmens (soprano), Robin Jeffrey (lute), Steven Devine (harpsichord). Featuring the last surviving instrument from the very orchestra that played here on those royal visits. Download souvenir programme.

Saturday 13 December 2014, 6:30pm
Family Christmas Concert: (note earlier time): popular classics for Christmas with the Pentagon String Ensemble and King Charles Singers.

Booking information

Family Christmas Concert

Saturday 13 December, 6:30pm

We're delighted to present an early evening concert for Christmas, with singers, instruments, organ and audience carols!

Pentagon String Ensemble
King Charles Singers
Michael Bacon
Ellen Smith

There's a hugely varied programme with something for everyone; old favourites like White Christmas and The Snowman, classics like Corelli's Christmas Concerto and extracts from Handel's Messiah, and traditional carols for audience.

Tickets are just £11 in advance (£12.50 on the door) and it's FREE for children.
See www.mkctw.ticketsource.co.uk for booking.

For details of Christmas church services at King Charles, including the Nativity Play, Midnight Mass and the traditional Carol Service, go to the church website www.kcmtw.org/services.html 


RPO Soloists - 1 November: programme

Saturday 1 November, 7:30pm

Strauss: Capriccio
Brahms: B Flat Sextet
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence

Booking Information here
Discount for advance booking; save £2.50 on every ticket.

A superb evening of high Romanticism awaits!

Extracts from programme notes:

It is telling that Brahms's first mature venture into chamber music for strings came not in the form of a string quartet but in the virtually unprecedented shape of a string sextet. In contrast to the moreprogressive Romantic movement of his day, spearheaded by Liszt and Wagner, Brahms was a composer on whom the weight of Beethoven's legacy weighed heavily. He was unwilling, especially in the early part of his career, to take too readily to the genres in which his illustrious predecessor had excelled, such as the symphony and string quartet. And the significance of the opus number of the sextet, the same as that of Beethoven's first group of quartets, would not have been lost on him.

Clio Gould, Leader of the RPO
Paradoxically, the addition of an extra viola and cello creates a texture which is generally more transparent than that which Brahms preferred in his later string quartets. The composer often writes for the instruments in pairs or in groups of three, and allows himself to exploit more fully the melodic possibilities of the first viola and first cello.

With the benefit of hindsight, Richard Strauss represents something of an enigma for today's listener. In one sense he was the true heir to Richard Wagner, continuing in his mould-breaking super-Romantic vein with a series of innovative orchestral tone poems, such as Don Juan and Ein Heldenleben; then, in the second half of his career, turning his attention almost exclusively to opera, extending and refining Wagner's concept of the through-composed Music Drama with masterpieces such as Salome and Der Rosenkavalier.

Originally conceived as the overture to Strauss's final opera of that name, the sextet 'Capriccio' has achieved autonomy as a miniature concert piece in its own right.


Festival concerts - 16 and 23 October

In partnership with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, we are delighted to present:

Thursday 16 October, 7:30pm
The Schubert Ensemble
Works by Schubert, Dvorak and Brahms played by this wonderful, internationally acclaimed group who were such a hit with our audience a couple of years ago.
Booking information

Thursday 23 October, 7:30pm
Michael Collins (clarinet), fresh from his tour of Asia and Australia’s great concert halls, accompanied by pianist Nigel Clayton.  Michael and Nigel will play works by Poulenc, Saint-Saens, Finzi, Arvo Part and others in what promises to be a fabulous musical tour de force.
Booking information

There is much more on at the Festival, which culminates in our concert on 1 November with the Soloists of the RPO. See the full schedule at the Festival's own website here.


RPO Soloists - 1 November

Don't miss this chance to hear six principal members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra present three Romantic masterpieces for strings:
Strauss: Capriccio
Brahms: B Flat Sextet
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence

Saturday 1st November at 7:30pm
Booking information

Tchaikovsky's Opus 70 sextet is one of his latest works, and is deeply expressive. It originated from a theme jotted down in Florence, but the disinctly Russian melodies of its latter movements make its Italian genesis something of a distant memory.

This concert is presented in partnership with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival.


The King's Violin - 8 November

Court music in England, 1630-1700, with Margaret Faultless (violin), Kate Semmens (soprano), Robin Jeffrey (lute), Steven Devine (spinet/harpsichord)

Saturday 8 November 2014, 7:30pm
Booking information  |  Download souvenir programme

This concert will be attended by the Mayor, Cllr Julian Stanyer and Mayoress, Mrs Anne Stanyer.

Two years after his coronation in 1661, King Charles II paid a visit to the restorative spa of Tunbridge Wells, staying locally with his court. It is known and documented that he brought with him his band of musicians who will have provided both private and public entertainment. The violin - pictured - which is known to be the last surviving instrument that was played in his violin band makes a guest appearance in tonight’s concert.

Before the civil war, musicians had been in regular employment through the court of the King. When the revolution came, most of the King’s musicians went into private teaching, or employment in noble men’s houses, although some were conscripted and died in battle. At the restoration of the Monarchy, King Charles II re-gathered his musicians, and music once again thrived.

The King’s musicians then consisted of those who had played in the court of Charles I, and also new musicians who were emerging at that time. This concert features composers that were important in the King’s court both before the time of the Restoration, and also resulting from the Restoration. It looks at the kind of music that is likely to have been played for the king during his visit to Tunbridge Wells, and also looks forward to the music making that developed out of this period of change.


Music @ Malling

Music at King Charles is friends with other music societies in Kent also working to promote the highest standard of classical music for local audiences.

Take a look at our friends in Music@Malling http://musicatmalling.com/current-festival.php, which opens this week. Looks like a great programme!


21 September: Harps in Harmony

ConChordae 94, King Charles the Martyr Church, 3.30 pm, September 21.

Updated 18th September: Tunbridge Wells harpist Ellen Smith will be joined by Michael Grant (clarinet and saxophone), and pianist Paul Clark for an entertaining afternoon's concert. 

Their varied programme has a wide appeal, and provides a rare opportunity to hear the most ethereal of instruments, with music by Purcell and Handel, and Schubert’s evocative Shepherd on the Rock.

With great regret, harpist Danielle Perrett has had to withdraw from our concert owing to completely unforeseen circumstances that make it impossible for her to be with us, and despite great efforts to overcome an impossible situation. We send her our very warmest wishes. Music at King Charles is enormously grateful to Ellen and Michael for adapting their programme (largely unchanged), and to Paul for stepping in, to present what will be a wonderful concert despite this setback.