Bottrill Duo – 27th April 2019

You will be delighted to learn that on 27th April (starting at 7pm) we shall once again be welcoming the Bottrill Piano Duo.

As many of you know, the dynamic range of our Steinway D Concert Grand is most fully displayed when piano duets are performed on it. The wonderful Bottrill Piano Duo (Zrinka and Andrew) is favouring us with a return visit that will include two of the greatest works ever composed for this medium.

The two principal works will be:

  • Schubert’s Fantasie in F Minor, D.940 [Op. Posthumous]

    Once heard, never forgotten, this late work, composed only months before his death at the age of 31, has its place in the pantheon of late Schubert works, alongside the C Major String Quintet, the G Major Quartet (Performed by the Fitzwilliams at the last concert) and his last Symphony, no. 9 in C Major, D.944.

    Musicologist Christopher Gibbs has described this work as “among not only his greatest, but his most original compositions for piano duet”. It was dedicated to Karoline Esterhazy, with whom Schubert was in (unrequited) love. Four months after his death it was published by Anton Diabelli. Its original manuscript resides in the Austrian National Library in Vienna.

  • Mozart’s Last Sonata for 4 Hands in C Major [K. 521, 1787]

    Even Mozart proclaimed, in a typical understatement, that performing this 3-movement sonata is “rather difficult”! Both parts are equally demanding, and the opening and closing movements are of exceptional brilliance. Having said that, the sonata breathes grace and elegance in the same vein as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, composed just two months later.

Interspersed between these pillars of the classical repertoire we shall hear a number of shorter gems by Dvorak and Janacek (both arranged for four hands by Andrew, this being their first performance), Poulenc’s 1918 Sonata, and finishing with a Spanish Dance by Manuel Da Falla.

What a comprehensive confection! It might be useful to print out these programme notes and bring them with you.

For full booking instructions, including suggested donations, please have a look at our concerts page. We look forward to welcoming you on 27th April and thank you, as ever, for your kind support and co-operation.

Fitzwilliam String Quartet – 23rd March 2019

Our next concert, on 23 March, will be exceptional – both in terms of the music, and the musicians who will perform it!

Having just celebrated their 50th year in existence, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet is one of the longest established Quartet ensembles in the world, and their violist, Alan George, is one of the original Cambridge undergraduates who formed it in 1968.

Alan obviously knows, and has performed, just about everything in the genre. So after the last FSQ concert at Greenacre, I naively asked him to name what he considered to be the truly greatest quartet ever composed. He thought carefully, but not overlong. “Sorry”, he said, “there isn’t just one such quartet, there are two. In my opinion, the two greatest quartets ever composed are Schubert’s last quartet in G Major – and the very last quartet that Beethoven completed, Opus 131 in C Sharp Minor.”

And that, friends, is the programme for the next concert! Maxability audiences are immeasurably privileged to hear the FSQ in a real “Chamber Music” setting, and you hardly need to know more than that before booking a place!

The two works were completed within a fortnight of each other, respectively in June 1826 (Schubert) and July 1826 (Beethoven), when both were very close to the end of their lives, aged 31 and 57 respectively. When Schubert heard a performance of the Beethoven quartet, he said “after this, what’s left for us to write?”

Yet his own final quartet in G, although utterly different, is equally remarkable. Its opening is unforgettable. It is launched by a swelling chord that slips from G Major to G Minor before reaching a leaping motif in dotted rhythms – and then a haunting passage of shivering mystery…….no words can convey what follows. Just listen.

Only five days before he died in November 1828 Schubert’s final request to his closest friends was for them to perform Beethoven’s C Sharp Minor Quartet.

Beethoven considered this quartet to be his “most perfect single work”. Robert Schumann said that this quartet “had a grandeur that no words can express. It seems to me to stand on the extreme boundary of all that has hitherto been attained by human art and imagination.” It consists of seven movements played without a break, the 6th lasting barely 10 seconds, and only the first and last movements are in the key of C Sharp Minor. When listening to this astonishing creation you will recognise above all that, in Beethoven, form and content are inseparable: the medium and the message are one.

For full booking instructions, including suggested donations, please have a look at our concerts page. We look forward to welcoming you on 23rd March.

We’ve still got some places on our ceramics classes.

We’ve still got some places on our ceramics classes. Join us and our highly talented teacher, Vinicius Les, to learn all about ceramics and take home your wonderful creations. We’re not-for-profit and our classes are heavily subsidised so it’s brilliant value. Our Saturday classes are designed for adults and children 12+ years. Admissions to these classes help to support the cost of classes for those with learning and physically disabilities for our weekday classes.

You will learn all of the basic skills, from which there are endless designing possibilities:

– Designing
– Slab building
– Hand sculpting and moulding, including pinching, coiling and slabbing
– Painting
– Glazing
– Firing
– There is a potter’s wheel available for those already skilled and interested in mastering this
– Special, 1:1 teaching is also available to interested people

Classes are held at the Flightways Centre in Colindale.

Email bookings@maxability.org.uk for more information, or just turn up!

Tuesday and Thursday Maxability ceramics classes, run by highly skilled ceramicist, Vinicius Les, are for physically disabled adults, as well as general admission classes for all adults.

Tuesday and Thursday Maxability ceramics classes, run by highly skilled ceramicist, Vinicius Les, are for physically disabled adults, as well as general admission classes for all adults. Maxability, a charity that was established by Anita and Emile Woolf, inspired by their son, who is deaf and physically disabled, aims to support those with disabilities, enabling them to discover and develop their talents and artistic abilities through quality ceramics and pottery classes.

We are able to accommodate all levels of disability, and offer one-to-one guidance to each attendee. All attendees are encouraged to bring along their carer if they have one.

Classes cost £125 per person for a 10-week course. We can also discuss a 6-week course, please get in touch if you’re interested in this.

Classes are held at the Flightways Centre in Colindale and the cost of attendance is heavily subsidised by fundraising concerts and dinners held by the charity, the sale of some ceramics items, National Lottery funding, and also by the cost of attendance of the general admissions classes.

Feedback from attendees at our classes is overwhelmingly positive, with both learning and physically disabled adults finding the classes to be empowering, enjoyable and inspiring. Attendees at our classes are guided in all stages of creating their ceramics items, so that after an average of 4 weeks they have a completed item of handmade pottery. The items can then be taken home to keep or give as a gift, or sold by the charity with the modest income going to the attendee – another way our courses empower disabled people.