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"...for warmth and intimacy and glorious surroundings, Llanfyllin can scarcely be beaten" - The Allegri Quartet

2011 Concert Programme

As each concert occurs, a review will appear, linked to from the date of the concert in the programme below.

Date

Programme

Performers

8 July

Haydn String Quartet op 20 no2 in C major
Alec Roth Quartet No2
Beethoven Op59 no3

The Allegri String Quartet

10 July

Children's Concert
Tickets £1 on the door
All welcome

TBA

10 July

Beethoven String Quartet op14
Borodin Quartet No2
Schubert String Quintet in C

The Allegri String Quartet
Bozidar Vukotic (cello)

15 July

Summer Song Concert
Welsh and English Music and Song

David Watkins (harp), Ffion Davies (soprano), David Fisher (piano and organ), Grey Gowrie (poet)

16 July

Schubert String Trio movement in Bb major
Mozart Piano Quartet in G Minor
Schubert Trout Quintet

The Allegri String Quartet
Elisabeth Altman (piano)
tbc (double bass)

17 July

Beethoven Sonata No.14 "Moonlight" Sonata
Rachmaninov Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Opus 3, No.2
Chulovskiy Piano Sonata No.1 (British Premiere)
Chopin Ballade No.1
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.2
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.12

Andrey Chulovskiy (piano)

POETRY BOOK SALE AND SIGNING - At the concert on the Friday 15th, our Summer Soiree, Grey Gowrie will not only be reading poetry but will be will be available at our book sale, to sign copies of his highly acclaimed volume Third Day, and the anthology of Fado poems to which he contributed three translations.

If you would like to comment on the Festival, on the programmes (past or current) or make suggestions for the future, please contact us using this e-mail form.

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8 July 2011 – The Allegri String Quartet

Haydn String Quartet Op 20. No.2
Roth String Quartet No.2
Beethoven String Quartet Op.59 No.3

We are accustomed to sunshine and warmth for the Festival, so the cool, overcast, drizzly evening might have been rather depressing. Certainly the rather sparse audience did not linger outside, but were seated promptly in time to be welcomed to this first concert of this year's Festival by our Chairman, Pamela Clare-Joyce.

Housekeeping and formalities completed, the Allegri began the concert with Haydn - always a good start! The programme notes, by Christopher Symons, made us aware of the great importance of the Op.20 set to the development of the String Quartet as a form, but as ever, the performance, which showed the Allegri's customary light touch, was not one which over-emphasized that importance. Instead we were treated to a performance whose key element was that of enjoyment.

The second piece was entirely new to all of us, the Second String Quartet of Alec Roth. This was briefly introduced by the composer, who told us the story of its' commissioning (by a music-lover whose lifetime ambition it had been to commission a string quartet) and gave us some insight into the inspiration and composition. Always when such new music is performed there is a debate about whether the new item on the programme may have "scared off" some members of the audience, but in this case, if indeed any were scared off, they missed a treat. The quartet was charming, melodic, accessible, and in fact, fun. The musical language felt familiar, and I was not surprised to find, when I spoke with the Quartet later, that it has already been performed over a dozen times, to very positive responses.

After the interval, the Allegris returned with Beethoven's third Rasoumovsky Quartet. Again, the programme notes illuminate the music, but again the performance swept all before it. Elegant, calm, passionate and invigorating by turns, this was a fantastic end to the first concert of the Festival, promising much for the next four concerts.

Rachel Wright
Committee Member

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Children's Concert - Llanfyllin Institute, Sunday July 10th, 2.30 - 3.30

As a Music Festival, we are passionate about encouraging children, young persons and adults to learn more about serious music. Two years ago, we programmed a highly popular concert in The Workhouse at Llanfyllin, where children and adults enjoyed listening to, and participating with, The Allegri String Quartet and Ieuan Jones. It was voted great fun, and superb value for money.

This year we once again invite you to join Sue on keyboards, Geof. on drums, Pamela on vocals and our intrepid Ukelele player, and participate in a fun hour, learning about aspects of music and rhythm.

We will provide free sweets and free Llanfyllin Festival pens for all, and a variety of improvised percussion instruments so that you can all join in and have a very instructive afternoon, and a jolly good time.

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10 July 2011 – The Allegri String Quartet with Bozidar Vukotic ('cello)

Beethoven String Quartet Op 14
Borodin String Quartet No.2
Schubert String Quintet in C

For the second concert of this year's Festival, the audience convened in sunshine rather than drizzle - a great improvement on Friday evening, as all agreed!

During his introduction, Raffy told us that the Op.14 - a transcription reluctantly made by Beethoven of one of his own piano sonatas - does still feel very pianistic, with many of its flourishes lying uncomfortably under a violinist's hands. It is a tribute to the expertise of the Allegris that the audience was less aware of this fact than of a sense of discovery. The Op.14 made an unfamiliar and rather charming start to the evening.

By contrast, Borodin's Quartet was very familiar indeed, expansive (Raffy described it as "big-hearted") and tuneful. Two of its' melodies found fame in the musical "Kismet", and more generally many of its sonorities are reminiscent of Dvorak. This was not the tragic, tortured Russian of literature, but a good-tempered, rather boisterous, sociable fellow. If, perhaps, it is not great music, the integrity and attention of the performance saved the sweet, familiar melodies from seeming saccharine.

Some years ago, Bruno Schrecker introduced another performance of the Schubert Quintet which formed the second half of the concert by telling us that he felt that this was music we should all listen to several times a year in order to maintain an even mental keel. Perhaps all musicians feel the same. Certainly, the lovely, golden, companionable sounds which open the Quintet produce a sense of reassurance, while even the more turbulent sections of the piece are balanced by a sort of quiet acceptance. A rousing final movement drew cheers from the audience, sending us out with the sense of exhilaration that the Allegri have so often provided.

Rachel Wright
Committee Member

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15 July 2011 – An Evening of Song and Poetry

David Watkins (harp)
Ffion Davies (soprano)
David Fisher (piano and organ)
Grey Gowrie (poet)

It has become a tradition with the Festival to have the chamber concerts which form the main focus bracket a concert of rather different fare, often vocal. We are, after all, in Wales!

Indeed, this evening's performance was thoroughly Welsh evening of poetry and song. Grey Gowrie is a rarity among poets, in that he can read his own work effectively. He was also available to sign his books in the interval, in return not for cash in hand, but for a donation to Save The Children.

Ffion Davies sang in Welsh, English, French, and Italian - perhaps I should have termed this a truly international evening! - ably accompanied by either David Watkins (harp) or David Fisher (piano). She managed the vocal pyrotechnics of Donizetti and the spare simplicity of Suo Gân with equal grace and charm.

Regular attendees at the Festival may remember the harpist David Watkins from a concert in November of 2009. This evening, as well as introducing many of the pieces, and accompanying Ffion Davies in some folk songs (some arranged by William Matthias, and some arranged by himself), he played some of his own pieces, several inspired by the Welsh countryside or by Welsh folk songs.

It is unusual in Llanfyllin to have a piano form part of the Festival, so David Fisher's rendition of Rachmaninoff, and of a variety of accompaniments were a rare treat. He also transferred to the organ for the virtuosic Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Bach, which brought the evening to a great conclusion.

Rachel Wright
Committee Member

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16 July 2011 – The Allegri Quartet with Elisabeth Altman (piano) and Chris Laurence (double bass)

Schubert String Trio Movement in B flat major
Mozart Piano Quartet in G minor
Schubert Trout Quintet

In the absence of Raffy, as he put it, Ofer introduced the Schubert Trio Movement, telling us that it was a lovely piece, and that no words of his could do it justice, so "just sit back and enjoy the music". So indeed it proved, a piece enchanting and exciting by turns, and one which the performers clearly enjoyed as much as the audience.

Our programme notes (by Chris Symons, a great friend of the Festival and a talented musician in his own right) informed us that early amateur performances of Mozart's Piano Quintet met with less than favourable reviews. Only when professional performers took the piece on did it meet with approval. Certainly it was a complex and virtuosic piece, although the Allegris and Elisabeth Altman performed with grace, verve and aplomb.

Schubert's Trout Quintet deservedly has a special place in the repertoire, embodying so well the sense of companionable music making that the best of his chamber music displays. Playful variations on the famous melody offer each of the instruments a chance to shine, and the sense of sunlight on beautiful countryside (alas, a long-forgetten dream in rain-soaked Llanfyllin on this occasion!) was never more strong.

This was a truly wonderful evening, the final visit of the Allegris for this year, and the rapturous and prolonged applause gave testimony to the audience's appreciation.

Rachel Wright
Committee Member

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17 July 2011 – Andrey Chulovskiy (piano)

Beethoven Sonata No.14 "Moonlight"
Chopin Preludes Op 27 (No 7 and No 20), Fantasie-Impromptu Op 66, Waltz in C Sharp minor Op 64 No 20
Chulovskiy Piano Sonata No.1 (British Premiere)
Rachmaninov Prelude in C Sharp Minor, Opus 3, No.2
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.12

It is always gratifying to find that familiar music takes on a new dimension when heard in live performance. One could scarcely find a more well-known piece of eary Romantic music than Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, yet under Andrey Chulovskiy's fingers the familiar notes took on different emphases and were illuminated in different ways.

From Beethoven to the formidably challenging Chopin, and again the liquid, sparkling sounds rang out in a silent hall, avid for every note.

The second half began with Chulovskiy's own sonata, written in memory of his teacher Nathan Perelmann. Something of the flavour of Rachmanninov, here, elements of melody interspersed with pianistic pyrotechnics. One wishes that the legendary teacher could have heard his student's offering.

Next Rachmanninov himself. Conceived, I feel sure, for a larger venue than St. Myllin's, this filled the church, fiery and passionate.

Finally, Liszt - another genius of the keyboard, and a fabulous painter in sound. Golden sunsets and violent storms, quiet moments and tumult rolled out over the audience - a breathtaking end to the Festival!

Rachel Wright
Committee Member

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