I have been a member of Oxted & Limpsfield Music Society for very many years and therefore have listened to numerous recitals given by first-rate pianists. Never before, however, have I heard playing of such quality and sensitivity as performed by 29 year old Pavel Kolesnikov.
Whether playing pianissimo (always a beautiful singing tone), or fortissimo (deep and resonant, never a hard forced note), every sound was sheer joy.
In the second half of his programme he played well-known Chopin favourites with such a miraculous variety of timing, they sounded as if one had never heard them before.
Pavel's playing, which I never wanted to end, moved me to tears.
This was an outstanding concert – certainly one of the best O&LMS has ever staged. Pavel Kolesnikov’s Chopin interpretation was sublime and I just didn’t want it to end.
Pavel Kolesnikov’s recital was exhilarating in its technical brilliance, yet also moving in its sensitivity to the challenges presented by the romantic in his chosen programme. Though relatively undemonstrative, there could be no doubt of the deeply felt engagement with the music, and there is plainly huge promise for the future as he builds on the achievements of his career thus far. A memorable performance!
I waited with excited anticipation as the young Russian pianist entered the Concert Hall on Saturday evening having heard his playing in the previous weeks on Radio 3 and also hurriedly read some of his recent achievements on the international music scene from my programme notes.
Silence fell, applause began, then incredible playing of Schubert, Schumann and Chopin flowed with such passion and grace that I had the feeling of being drawn into the music rather than just listening.
Amazing playing from a musician early in his career. Could he be this generation's Vladimir Ashkenazy? Take every opportunity to judge for yourself as you won't be disappointed! Encore!! I returned home feeling somewhat exhausted from being surrounded by such an aural experience.
It was fantastic to listen to a world-class talent playing just for us in Limpsfield.
A wonderful concert.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THIS RECITAL
The Committee received many written and verbal comments in praise of the recital. We were expecting Brindley Sherratt to perform but he had to cancel 48 hours before the concert. Tremendous thanks go to the wonderful bass baritone, Stephan Loges, who saved the day. Stephan and Malcolm Martineau collaborated on a revised programme at very short notice. Many thanks to all those who wrote in and below is just a small selection of the comments received.
Attracting Stephan Loges to perform for the Music Society at such short notice was a real coup. Magnificent. Well done indeed. It was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding evenings I can remember. Stephan had complete mastery of his repertoire, while Malcolm Martineau showed that superb rapport with the singer which makes him so sought after an accompanist. All in all, a really great evening.
Thanks to the Society for all the hard work behind the scenes to find Stephan Loges, an amazing bass baritone, at such incredibly short notice. It was a wonderful concert. We are so privileged to have access to such world class musicians in our small Surrey town.
I just wanted to say thank you again for managing to engage Stephan Loges, such a great replacement performer for Saturday night's concert. He sang beautifully and I really enjoyed the variety of pieces.
It was a beautiful performance! I was almost dancing out of the theatre! Stephan and Malcolm really got us all going. It was a perfect marriage of bass baritone and piano in a multi-faceted programme. Well done for finding this vocal gem at such short notice.
What a pleasure it was to hear such well-loved pieces of music played so superbly by Imogen Cooper and then, after hearing her insightful introduction to Darknesse Visible by Thomas Adés, how surprised I was by it. The extremes of dramatic sound, followed by moments of silence and then the delicacy of the trills, all contributed to an exhilarating experience. Having Darknesse Visible flow seamlessly into the Beethoven Sonata was inspired. To only hear the music would have been special enough but the evening grew better and better. It was enlightening to hear Imogen talk about her life as a professional musician and the differences between giving solo piano recitals, performing concertos with top class conductors and orchestras, as well as collaborating with some of the best singers for Lieder recitals. To then hear her talk about the ethos of the Imogen Cooper Music Trust and her aim of sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience with very talented young pianists, was inspirational. I felt very lucky to have been at this exceptional event.
Thank you for a most wonderful experience. The evening was a triumph on all levels! Everyone I spoke to had only praise at the delightful turn the evening took, with Imogen talking about her life, her career, her Music Trust and then answering questions from the audience. A first for the Oxted & Limpsfield Music Society, as far as I can remember, and something everyone enjoyed! And then there was the music of course; Thomas Adés (all those different facets) melting into the Beethoven Sonata. Incredibly brilliant.
I have never heard such purity of sound from a piano in any recital and that greatly enhanced my enjoyment and appreciation of Imogen Cooper’s playing. I was so intrigued that I asked whether it was electronically enhanced in any way and the answer was an emphatic ‘No, the piano was itself alone in our very special hall.’ Apparently the Yamaha piano was completely rebuilt with a contribution from O&LMS over the summer and will be heard a lot during the 2017/18 season. An O&LMS committee member also told me that both Imogen and her tuner had said that the Bawtree Concert Hall’s depth and quality of sound was quite remarkable. This is praise indeed after hearing during the intimate Q and A session where else she had played in the world. We are so lucky.
Last Saturday was my first experience of the Oxted & Limpsfield Music Society and I live a stone’s throw away in Bromley. What an absolutely professional concert was put on. The Society’s President, Imogen Cooper, coaxed incredible dynamics from a modern Yamaha piano which was perfectly matched to the acoustics of an interestingly curved performance space. Looking at the website and the printed programme I had no idea that such quality of music and performers is available during the winter months.
Thank you for a great evening. My friend and I both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and Imogen’s performance was stunning. When we listened to the conversation afterwards we also found out what a lovely lady she is. The pleasure of hearing the concert, which I’m still smiling from, is going to continue as I’m now going to listen to her again on one of her CDs – what joy!
A big thank you to Oxted and Limpsfield Music Society for going beyond what we could experience at a similarly professional concert in London, Paris or New York. We heard a fantastic performer playing a thought-provoking mixture of Haydn, Adés and Beethoven, intelligently informative programme notes about the repertoire, a superb atmosphere with flowers lights, projection and a wonderfully clear sound, a 'meet the artist' talk which was refreshingly honest and natural, all topped off with a fine reception. An evening to remember indeed and a new high for everyone I spoke to which is why, unusually for me, I have written this.
Pat Davey (drums), Jon Shenoy (reeds), Andrea di Biase (double bass), Arthur Lea (piano).
My wife and I went to this year’s end of season concert of The Oxted and Limpsfield Music Society in the Bawtree Concert Hall and we were superbly entertained to a great concert entitled “Duke Ellington, Ragtime to Post-bop” performed by The Pat Davey Quartet. The ensemble was put together specially for O&LMS by Pat Davey, comprising four accomplished musicians from the London and international jazz scenes. We learned that Pat is also an established composer and academic. It was instantly clear why he is a drummer of some repute in his own right as well as a much in demand session musician.
He put together a splendid evening for us that commenced with some well-known standards and some compositions of his own. The second half of the concert was devoted entirely to works of Duke Ellington and included some wonderful free interpretation of familiar numbers from his repertoire and none better than the group’s superbly soft rendition of “Mood Indigo” that went so well with the glorious mellowing vista from the concert hall which overlooks the Kent and Surrey Weald. It was indeed an enthralling evening!
They provided a wonderful evening of marvellous improvisational jazz, an ensemble that gelled in every number with fantastic versatility and Jon Shenoy even brought a total of seven different saxophones and clarinets to the concert. A great evening from a great group that will hopefully return in the near future.
What a wonderful experience it was on Saturday 4th March. Such passionate playing. Thank you for arranging it.
Another mesmerising evening with superb playing of a standard that left me spellbound. Heavenly musicianship.
The Committee received many written and verbal comments in praise of the recital held in February on a very cold and snowy night. One audience member said to me it was the best and most exciting O&LMS concert he had been to in some years. Many thanks to all those who wrote in and below is just a small selection of them.
It is said that 'Hanna' means a gift from God. Hanna Hipp most certainly is! Her effortless vocal and acting presentation knows no bounds and her love of her country was so obvious in the sensitive way she sang the first half of the programme.
Poland has had a very sad history but as one song said "Victory will be ours". She portrayed this hope with such beauty and compassion in her singing.
Emma Abbate completed the excellence of this performance.
This was a superb recital, with both Hanna Hipp and her accompanist, Emma Abbate, on the top of their form. In the first half of the recital Hanna Hipp demonstrated the remarkable breadth of her vocal and emotional range.
Poulenc’s Huit Chansons Polonaises, sung in Hanna’s native Polish, was particularly memorable, while Ravel’s Quatres Chants Populaires and De Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Españoles, very different in style, were hugely enjoyable.
The second half of the recital, devoted to operatic arias by Handel, Mozart and Gounod, showed off Hanna Hipp’s considerable stage presence as she stalked up and down the audience steps, giving individual attention to each person present.
The recital tested the Bawtree Hall acoustics to the utmost and, while some in the audience may still regret the move from the Centenary Theatre, there is wide agreement that the acoustic of the new venue is infinitely better and the wider stage area gives far greater scope for performers and audience alike.
Hanna Hipp showed why she is in such demand to wow audiences both in personality and sheer musicianship. Bryn Terfel will need to be on his mettle when she joins him as Magdalena, Eva's nurse, in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in March.
I think I speak for everyone that Saturday's concert by Hanna Hipp and Emma Abbate in the dramatic new Bawtree Hall was one of the best O&LMS events ever. Thank you so much O&LMS.
The new Bawtree Hall at Hazelwood School in Limpsfield revealed a clear acoustic more perfect for chamber and solo performance than any similarly sized venue in London or the South East. The rapier-sharp acoustic gave the feeling that Mishka Rushdie Momen and Chiara Enderle were playing solely for each individual listener. They performed a balanced and ambitious programme with verve and perfection.
This was a remarkably sparkling programme. If Mishka Momen had played purely with technical perfection we would have gone home impressed and satisfied, but she also gave us such a compass of interpretation and subtleties that we were engaged 100% in the musical messages.
Chiara Enderle played from her feeling for the music so directly to the audience it was almost as if her hands, bow and cello were irrelevant.
Their virtuosity shone through when playing as equal partners in the pieces for two instruments as well as in the solo repertoire.
SOME AUDIENCE COMMENTS
It was a huge privilege to be present, witnessing Stephen Hough's extraordinary gift to us. We entered into the world of this brilliant polymath, seemingly from another planet, in a superbly balanced programme. Although the central piece had to be the César Franck, it was truly exciting to be taken out of (most of) our comfort zones in Stephen's own magnificent 12-note Sonata 3 (Trinitas), encouraging a greater attempt to the understanding of the dodecaphonic scale. In it, the exquisitely harmonised chorale tune of 'Nicaea' shone through intermittently, giving us a glimpse of the inner faith and sacrifice of this giant of the piano, destined at one time for the priesthood. Enormous thanks to him, and once again thank you to the O&LMS Committee for bringing him to Limpsfield.
I couldn't let the occasion go by without saying what a coup it was to have the world-class Stephen Hough give a concert locally. His sumptuous, thoughtful playing was a delight. I hope he was fully aware of the appreciation we felt for him.
What a fantastic opening concert for the season. Stephen Hough’s performance was amazing, and it was lovely to hear him play after listening to him recently on Desert Island Discs. I was completely mesmerized throughout the concert.
This recital to mark the start of The Great War in 1914 was a truly auspicious event.
Roderick Williams is a well-known name in recital, concert and opera circles nationally and internationally and, after his forthcoming appearance at the Last Night of the Proms, he will be much more widely known amongst the general public as well. Whilst this recital had no resemblance to that coming event, the performance that he and Gary Matthewman delivered on 1st August was of extreme brilliance.
Roderick is a lyric baritone with a beautiful vocal instrument, secure in pitch and legato. It is totally apt for his superb interpretive gifts which, on this occasion, were laid at the feet of English Song and the majority of the programme encompassed that extraordinary generation of composers and poets who had the misfortune to be born in the final two decades of the 19th Century and therefore served in the First World War.
The coalescing of poetry and music gave birth to the enormous riches known as English Song which has been largely neglected in the concert halls of the world, but now familiar to all young English-speaking singers. So Roderick Williams had riches indeed to explore and he chose a wide-ranging repertoire starting with 'Six songs from A Shropshire Lad' composed by George Butterworth; possibly the greatest loss to English music amongst many other losses. The programme brought together songs by other familiar composers such as Arthur Somervell, Edward Elgar, Ivor Gurney, Gerald Finzi, Martin Shaw, John Ireland, Charles Ives, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Anthony Payne, as well as songs by some relatively unfamiliar names.
The two artists conducted the “exploration” expertly. Roderick articulated the texts to perfection, drawing upon the wide range of colours in his voice and creating the feeling that he was singing, as it were, to each of us personally. It was an absolutely magnificent demonstration of the art of song delivered by an artist at the height of his powers and glorying in his ability to touch every emotion during two hours of sustained mastery. It was a truly a stupendous performance, the like of which it was a privilege to witness. We must hope that both Roderick Williams and Gary Matthewman can be persuaded to perform for us again.
SOME AUDIENCE COMMENTS:
I am still thinking about the moving performance of Friday evening's tour de force. I had to swallow very hard during Butterworth’s setting of A.E. Housman's ‘Is my team ploughing?’ This was a very fitting remembrance concert, which everyone I spoke to was glad to have attended.
I was enthralled by the whole recital, but the songs which really moved me were ‘Channel Firing', in the first half and ‘Pain’ in the second half. 'Channel Firing' had not just wonderfully emotive singing, but also a beautifully played piano accompaniment which evoked so vividly the threatening thunder of the guns. The whole of ‘Pain' – the singing, music and words – moved me immensely, as did the final song, ‘Only a man harrowing clods’. Roderick Williams transfixed me, not just with his voice but with his stage presence and his penetrating eyes.
The choice of songs, the incredibly moving vocal interpretation and a most accomplished accompanist created a truly memorable evening. Roderick Williams has a beautiful clarity of diction so the audience could hang on to every word. Gary Matthewman’s wonderful accompaniment especially in ‘Adlestrop’, the Edward Thomas poem, was so atmospheric that one could have heard a pin drop. The rapt attention of the whole audience led to those wonderful few moments of stillness at the end of the recital when, lost in the moment, the audience remained silent before the rapturous applause began.