Bartholomew LaFollette and Caroline Palmer
Playing to a full audience at the Methodist Church in Whitstable, Bartholomew LaFollette (cello) and Caroline Palmer (piano) galvanised listeners both (very) young and old. In the evening’s well-balanced programme, ranging from lyrical and meditative to energetic and furious, they offered pieces as diverse as Stravinsky’s Suite italienne (compiled and transcribed by the composer in collaboration with Gregor Piatigorsky from his own ballet Pulcinella), Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3 (BMW 1009), Brahms’s Four Serious Songs, op. 121 and Grieg’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, op. 36.
LaFollete in particular maintained his sensitive virtuosity throughout the demanding programme, which enabled him to create a sense of consistency that spanned even strongly contrasting pieces.
Almost exactly two hundred years separate Suite italienne (1925; based on a work that was at first – and falsely – attributed to the Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi) and Bach’s cello suite (one of six, composed presumably between 1717–23) which were presented in the first half of the concert. Both pieces may share musical features associated with the baroque period. But the neo-classical and neo-baroque style of Stravinsky’s suite with its baroque themes and classical textures, yet often innovatively voiced chords, progressive harmonies and rhythms differs significantly from the simple motoric rhythms, often monophonic texture and less chromatic harmonisation of Bach’s suite in C major. In his captivating performance, LaFollete sensitively and compellingly articulated the different characters of each piece. Palmer’s accompaniment in the Suite italienne was no less accomplished and she convincingly retained an infectiously enthusiastic and delicate touch even whilst playing percussive phrases, such as some of the brisk figures of the Tarantella.
The second half of the concert opened with Brahms’ Four Serious Songs (Vier ernste Gesänge), a cycle of four songs on biblical texts originally composed for bass and piano shortly before the composer’s death. Transcribed for cello, the solo line was taken by LaFollette. The cellist achieved a true cantabile sound which successfully emulated the phrasing, profundity and emotional clarity of the human voice. The despair, resignation and hope expressed in the four songs was complemented by Grieg’s cello sonata in A minor. Charged with a similar frustrated anger and pensiveness, the Norwegian composer’s virtuosic writing not only requires complete technical fluency and intimate understanding of musical emotion from the cellist, but also from the pianist. Palmer glided over the technical issues of the piece with such ease and professionalism and interpreted the musical lines with such perceptiveness that the primarily accompanying piano part of the previous two pieces with piano and cello instrumentation rose to the equal and fantastic grandeur of the cello part.
In what was an absorbing and enlightening concert, LaFollette and Palmer presented their musical offering with great aplomb and sheer brilliance. This was an evening of pure pleasure.
Timon Staehler, Music Scholar,
St Edmund's School Canterbury
A reminder for your diaries that the concert on Sat 25th November will feature the cellist Bartholomew LaFollette.
Bartholomew will be making two changes to the programme published in our brochure. The Bach Suite No. 4 in E flat Major will be replaced by the Bach Suite No.3 in C Major and the Schubert Arpeggione Sonata by the Stravinsky Suite Italienne - a virtuoso showpiece for cello and piano.
Just 10 days to go before our next concert so I hope the date is firmly in your diary!
We are very please to welcome the wonderful Irish pianist Michael McHale who's programme includes the Beethoven Sonata in C sharp minor ("The Moonlight"), a number of beautiful virtuosic pieces by Chopin including the F minor Ballade and Mussorgsky's Picture at an Exhibition.
Belfast-born Michael McHale has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading pianists and has developed a busy international career as a solo recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician.
He has performed as a soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow Symphony and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras, the London Mozart Players, and all five of the major Irish orchestras, and performed at the Tanglewood Festival, Wigmore Hall, London, Berlin Konzerthaus, Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Lincoln Center, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and Pesti Vigadó in Budapest. 2016/17 performances include concerto performances with the City of London Sinfonia and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida, and a début concert at the Tokyo Spring Festival. Future engagements include a début in the Dublin National Concert Hall's International Concert Series performing the Schumann Concerto with the City of London Sinfonia.
This concert is being sponsored by Gill Smyth and is dedicated to the memory of Anthony Copley who died in July 2016. Anthony was a great friend of Whitstable Music Society and greatly enjoyed attending our concerts particularly the piano recitals so I'm sure he would have appreciated this concert in his memory.
Hope to see you at the concert.
The Sacconi Quartet at Whitstable Music Society
Often it is argued that London (e.g. Wigmore, Kings Place) is the only place to hear world class performance of chamber music. This idea was entirely contradicted when the Whitstable Music Society opened this years concert series with a recital given by the stellar Sacconi String Quartet together with one of the great English pianists Charles Owen.
A full to capacity audience were enthralled by the programme from the outset, quite appropriately attracted by the prospect of one of Haydn's greatest quartets, 'The Emperor', one of the most sublime piano quintets in the repertoire by Dvorak, and the shock of the new in the piano quintet of English composer Johnathon Dove. They were not to be disappointed having been treated to ravishing playing by the Sacconis and the muscular pianism of Charles Owen.
Virtuosity was in abundance throughout. Haydn, taxing the players in this highly developed and sophisticated genre, calling for extremes of dynamic, precise passage work and sonorous melody whilst Dove demanded complex rhythmic passages to be played with energy and panache. The dialogue between the quartet players and with the pianist was both uncanny and exciting, each enjoying the others interplay, communicating effectively with each other and audience alike.
A rapturous reception at the conclusion of the Dove (the new kid on the block) was matched by the applause following the sensuously romantic Dvorak quintet. The music was sublime, so too the playing of the Sacconi Quartet and Charles Owen. A world class start to a season of concerts in the seaside town of Whitstable.
October 2 2017
Dear Members and Friends
Sat 9th September will be the last night of The BBC Proms and what a fantastic series of Promenade Concerts 2017 has produced. Traditionally one feels that with the last night of the Proms, as the schools go back, the summer is coming to an end - but fear not!
The Whitstable Music Society starts its 2017/18 season on Saturday 30th September with a wonderful recital from the Sacconi Quartet. The Sacconi is one of those ensembles that regularly return to Whitstable “by popular demand.”
Many of our members will already know that the award-winning Sacconi Quartet is recognised for its unanimous and compelling ensemble, consistently communicating with a fresh and imaginative approach. Performing with style and commitment, the Quartet is known throughout the world for its creativity and integrity of interpretation. Formed in 2001, its four founder members continue to demonstrate a shared passion for string quartet repertoire, infectiously reaching out to audiences with their energy and enthusiasm. The Quartet has enjoyed a highly successful international career, performing regularly throughout Europe, at London’s major venues, in recordings and on radio broadcasts.
The quartet will be playing works by Haydn, Jonathon Dove (Piano Quintet with Charles Owen) and the Dvorak Piano Quintet (again with Charles Owen)
More information on this and the other concerts we have planned for the current season are is now available on our new website.
Since our last concert at the end of April 2017 the committee have been working on this our new website. Thanks to all the members of the committee for the hard work they have put in to develop our website which we hope will help promote the society to a wider audience. We are especially grateful to Neil Anthony and Christopher Palmer who have lead on this important project. We would be very pleased if you let us have your feedback.
We look forward to seeing you on 30th September!
In time for the start of the 2017 - 2018 season, this is our forty-third season of chamber music concerts in Whitstable!
Here, you will find all the concerts for the current season on the front Concerts page along with links to other items which may be of interest. Our Tickets page gives full information on prices, how to get a ticket, the venue location and you can download the programme for this season, just click on the image.
There's lots more to see! Discover More About The Artists, or learn More About The Music in this years programme.
Find out more About the charity itself and the team who run it, browse the Gallery which will be added to progressively each season. Read some short Reviews, and indeed if you have been to one of our concerts why not Send Us A Review.
If you are not familiar with the wonderful hospitality in and around Whitstable and are coming from further away why not come for the night or a weekend? Stay & Eat! If you are a lover of chamber music and live performance, keep in touch by following our News Updates 'Allegretto' where you will also be able to share our updates with friends via social media.
Of course, we are most grateful to our Sponsors who help make this all possible each of the forty three seasons!
If you have a question to ask before coming to experience one of our concerts, hopefully you will find an relevant and appropriate answer in the FAQs, but if not please do Get In Touch and ask. We look forward to greeting you with a warm and friendly welcome very soon!