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 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.

Vitaly Pisarenko – 2nd March 2019

Piano recitals are an ideal medium for our ‘chamber’ concert evenings. Apart from the shared intimacy afforded by the the full range of tones of our wonderful Steinway concert grand, it enables us to allocate more space to seating than is possible when we host larger ensembles.

I am therefore delighted to announce that for our 2nd March concert that renowned young Ukrainian keyboard master, Vitaly Pisarenko, will perform a varied programme of works by Brahms, Schumann, Liszt and Chopin.

Vitaly Pisarenko, born in Kiev, gave his first public recital at the age of 6, and after winning First Prize at the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in 2008, Vitaly performed in over 25 countries worldwide – from Korea to Chile and Indonesia to Brazil – as well as in several French, German, Dutch and Italian Music Festivals.

He has made extensive international tours with leading orchestras, and performed in London at the Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square and St James Piccadilly. Later this year he will perform in Netherlands, Mexico, Turkey, Hong Kong and South Africa.

1st Half – Brahms & Schumann

In the first half of his recital Vitaly will perform the irresistibly haunting Theme & Variations (Op. 18b) of Brahms’ own piano rendition of the second movement of his String Sextet, dedicated to Clara Schumann as a birthday gift; followed by his Opus 4 Scherzo.

He will then perform Robert Schumann’s exhilarating G Minor Sonata – the first movement of which is famously marked ‘to be played as quickly as possible’. Schumann obviously had a keen sense of humour, because near the end it is marked “faster” and, just before the close, “faster still”! The gentle slow movement is followed by a breathtaking finale.

2nd Half – Liszt & Chopin

We shall hear two of Chopin’s Scherzos, and Liszt’s two Ballades. Liszt’s B Minor Ballade is linked to the Byzantine myth of Leander and Hero, the priestess of Aphrodite, who dwelt in a tower on the European side of the Dardanelles. Her lover, Leander, would swim every night across the Hellespont, guided by a lamp lit by Hero at the top of her tower… until one stormy night the wind blew out Hero’s light, Leander lost his way and was drowned. Hero, grief-stricken, threw herself from her tower.

You will gather that this promises to be an exceptional programme, and we are privileged to have secured Vitaly’s attendance in the midst of his impossible schedule of international tours. Not to be missed!

Those of you who completed the advance booking sheet at our concert on 2nd February need not respond to this email invitation, but if you have not booked you will appreciate the importance of responding soon – this will assuredly be a sell-out.

For full booking instructions, including suggested donations, please have a look at our concerts page. We look forward to welcoming you on 2nd March.