RPO Soloists - 1 November: programme

Saturday 1 November, 7:30pm

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

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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.

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
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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

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.


What's on this autumn

Booking is now open for another great series of concerts, coming up this autumn. It is a privilege to join forces again with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival, and the line-up for this series is as impressive as ever.

Tickets for all concerts can be bought online here www.mkctw.ticketsource.co.uk or by emailing us at kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk. Please also email us if you would like to be put on our mailing list to receieve occasional email notices of forthcoming events. Or you can 'follow' this site by email (see right-hand column of this page.)

Dulcinea Quartet
Saturday 13 September, 19:30
The Dulcinea Quartet - a wonderful range music from the string quartet repertoire by this innovative young ensemble. They will beplaying music by Mozart, Glass and Bartok. Buy tickets.

Sunday 21 September, 15:30
Ellen Smith and friends Danielle Perrett and Michael Grant - music for not one but two harps, with the added spice of saxophone and voice. Theirs is an entertaining programme for a Sunday afternoon, including music by Purcell, Handel and Schubert and some new folk song arrangements for this unusual combination. Buy tickets.

Schubert Ensemble
Thursday 16 October, 19:30
The Schubert Ensemble return to King Charles after a triumphant performance two year ago. This top international group play with huge enjoyment and skill, and are not to be missed. Their programme includes Dvorak's 2nd Quartet and the much-loved Brahms Piano Quintet. Buy tickets.

Thursday 23 October, 1930
Michael Collins has been described as the world's greatest living clarinettist. He is brought to King Charles thanks to our partnership with the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival. Programme to be announced. Buy tickets.

Saturday 1 November, 19:30
The RPO Soloists - more internationally-acclaimed players take the stage, as we present the RPO Soloists; six principal members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra taking time out to enjoy some chamber music. This promises to be a tremendous evening. Their programme includes Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence. Buy tickets.

Saturday 8 November, 19:30
The King's Violin - the climax of our series this year is a very special concert indeed for Tunbridge Wells, featuring the last surviving violin from Charles II's court orchestra. This historic instrument will be played by Margaret Faultless, as we reflect some of the music that might have been played on the King's visits to the Wells in 1663. With Baroque specialists Kate Semmens (soprano), Robin Jeffrey (lute) and Steven Devine (harpsichord). Buy tickets.

Saturday 13 December, 18:30 (note earlier time)
Christmas concert with the King Charles Singers and the Pentagon string ensemble. We present a family concert of carols and entertaining arrangements of seasonal favourites. Buy tickets.

We'll be posting more details nearer the time.


La Récréation de Musique, and 1764

Our concert on Saturday 14 June commemorates the 250th anniversary of the death of two French composers, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Jean-Marie Leclair. It's given by the exciting Baroque group "Follia", led by harpsichordist Yeo Yat Soon, who was brought up in Tunbridge Wells.

To book tickets at the discounted price of just £10, click here http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/109190.

It was on or about 23 October 1764, in Paris, that the renowned violinist and composer Leclair was found mysteriously murdered, at the age of 67. Six weeks earlier, Rameau has died of a fever. And among the other deaths in Paris that year were those of Madeam de Pampadour, Louis XV's mistress, described by Voltaire as "a beautiful woman, in the midst of a splendid career", and the Parisian poet Pierre Charles Roy, who had made an enemy of Rameau by writing a critical poem about him.

In the same year, Voltaire published bu Philosophical Dictionary, and Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto. Mozart visited Bach's youngest son, Johann Christaian, in London. Haydn, by then vice-kappellmeister for the Esterházy family, composed his 22nd symphony. Gluck wrote his most successful comic opera La rencontre imprévu in Vienna, a few years before moving to Paris for a while. And in Rome, Edward Gibbon was deciding to write a long book.

It may seem strange now, but in 18th century Paris music and what constituted 'good taste' were the subjects of enormous controversy and national argument, involving kings, philosophers, poets and musical theorists. Perhaps little of this is evident from the music itself in isolation, but I am sure that the music of the time will be brought to life in this concert, fresh as the day it was first heard. 


Concerts for Spring 2014

As ever, there is a great variety of high-quality music on offer at King Charles in 2014.

Coming up, the church is hosting an event organised by Ken Aiso as part of his "Soundness Festival", and we look forward to an autumn packed with talent.

Tuesday 22 April, 19:30
Nana Mzhavanadze (voice), Martin Fogel (guitar), Ken Aiso (violin) present Baroque music, and traditional songs from Scotland and Georgia. See Soundness Festival.

Saturday 26 April, 19:30
The Pentagon String Ensemble: music by Mozart and Haydn, and the Arensky Quartet for Violin, Viola and 2 Cellos.

Saturday 14 June, 19:30
Récréation de Musique: music by Rameau, Leclair, Forqueray and Telemann performed by Follia: William Summers, Baroque Flute; Diane Moore, Baroque Violin; Ibrahim Aziz, Viola da Gamba; Yeo Yat-Soon, Harpsichord.

Looking further ahead, in June Matchbox Opera will be putting on The Marriage of Figaro in the church. And then plans are nearly finalised for concerts in the autumn including a harp extravaganza, members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, another welcome collaboration with the Tunbridge Wells Interntional Music Festival, and a unique event featuring the last surviving violin from King Charles II's court orchestra, to be played by none other than the wonderful Baroque violinist, Margaret Faultless.