Darius Battiwalla, not really in need of introduction, his main activity in the city being as music director of the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus but, elsewhere, an in demand organist – in particular, the activity he is pursuing here! – pianist and harpsichord player with a rather nice programme of Widor: Allegro Vivace from Symphonie V; Vivaldi/Bach: Concerto in D minor; Flor Peeters: Scherzo from Suite Modale; and Reger: Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H, at the Sheffield Cathedral Lunchtime Recital, Friday, 1.15pm – free, donations welcome.
Ariadne auf Naxos, a candidate to go under the Opera heading maybe with Nigel Simeone exploring the complex composition history and a century of recordings of Richard Strauss’s opera for the Sheffield Recorded Music Society at Millenium Hall, Polish Catholic Centre, 518-520 Ecclesall Road, S11 8PY, Friday, 1.45 –3.45pm – £3.
David Clover Festival of Singing, the inaugural Singers’ Platform weekend over, time for the main event, the annual singing competition administered by the City of Sheffield Teachers’ Choir and held over three days with a different final day venue this year. It begins Friday, 6pm, with the opening session taking in Songs from the Shows, British Song, Oratorio or Sacred Song, Junior Recital (all 13 to 15 years of age categories), Opera (16 to 18), at Dore and Totley United Reformed Church, S17 3QS; where is continues Saturday with British Song, Oratorio or Sacred Song, Intermediate Recital (all age 16 to 18) from 9.30am; Songs from the Shows (16-18) French Song, German Song, English Song (all any age) from 2pm; the Anniversary Class – items marking an anniversary this year (any age), Open Recital (23 and over) from 6.15pm; before decamping to Kenwood Hall, S7 1NQ, on Sunday for Vocal Solo (ages nine to 12), British Song, Oratorio or Sacred Song, Senior Recital, Opera (all 19 to 22) from 10am; Recital Finals, Non-Recital Final, Adjudications and Presentations from 6.45pm – £3, £2 concessions per session; final session £7, £3.
Hallam Sinfonia, and its music director Natalia Luis-Bassa with a concert advertised as ‘In-between Giants: the fourth symphonies’ – the respective No 4 by Beethoven and Mahler – with the implied suggestion perhaps that they not up to scratch. A ‘Cinderella’ status label could possibly be unfairly attached to Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony coming between his Third and Fifth but Mahler’s Fourth, while dwarfed maybe by the scope of his Third and Fifth symphonies – when was the last time you heard either of those? – is his most frequently performed and popular symphony. Alison Claire Robertson (wonder why she never seems to have made more of a name for herself!) is the soprano soloist in the last movement at High Storrs School, S11 7LH, Saturday, 7.30pm – £10, £8 concessions, under 25 free.
Sterndale Singers, perform Haydn’s Missa in Augustiis (Mass for Troubled Times), or at least that was the title it premiered with in 1798 – pretty common knowledge what happened after! It may even have performed on the very day that news filtered through of Nelson’s annihilation of Napoleon on the Nile and it slowly became known as the Lord Nelson Mass until the nickname became indelible as the ‘Nelson’ Mass. Programmed with it is Haydn’s setting of the Te Deum, presumably the second and most often heard one from 1799 – he penned a setting around 30 years earlier in the same key – and Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Dominica, written the year before Vesperae Solennes de Confessore with the same settings. The only soloist known is soprano Fiona Constantine, David Milsom’s Meiningen Ensemble provides instrumental support and Robert Webb is the conductor, at St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church, Saturday, 7.30pm – £10, £5 students, under 16 free.
Goldberg Variations, Bach’s celebrated, virtuosic set of 30 variations book-ended by the aria they are based on with an eminent American pianist Jeremy Denk performing the finger gymnastics opens the Sheffield University Spring Concert Season at Firth Hall, Western Bank, Sunday, 7.30pm – £10, £8 senior citizens, £5 unwaged, under 26, students. NB: duration 80 minutes and no interval.
HMS Pinafore, semi-staged concert performance conducted by Martin Handley from Tarantara Productions, a professional company formed in 2014 to find a new audience through educational projects and to do ‘justice’ to the spirit of Gilbert and Sullivan. To quote its manifesto: “Tarantara’s performances reject the outdated stylistic conventions of the past but without embracing those modern ‘updatings’ of this glorious repertoire which, in attempting to reinvent the genre, do not do justice to the essence of what are a set of core works within the English speaking music theatre repertoire.” Such well-tried G&S specialists as Frances McCafferty and Barry Clark are on board – Rebecca Bottone plays Josephine here on Saturday evening! at Buxton Opera House, Wednesday, 3rd of February, Saturday, 7.30pm; plus Saturday, 2.30pm – £14 –£32. 01298 72190
Iolanthe, fairies clash with the House of Lords in a second G&S offering from Tarantara Productions in another semi-staged concert performance (apparently, full staged ones are in the company’s repertoire) with most of the Pinafore cast on duty again, in different roles! Buxton Opera House, Thursday, 4th of February and Friday, 7.30pm – £14 –£32. You can read more about Tarantara Productions and some clearly talented young singers, as well as the occasional seasoned performer, at www.tarantaraproductions.co.uk
Madama Butterfly, further familiar territory –exceedingly so! – at the same venue with a performance of Puccini’s indestructible opera in a production by the Russian State Ballet and Opera House, a company that incorporates some of the best artists within the Russian Federation. Sung in Italian with English surtitles at Buxton Opera House, Monday, 7.30pm – £20 –£36.
Low Flutes Day, full-day workshop for ages 18-plus on playing alto, bass and contrabass flutes with specialist Carla Rees. Whether you already play a low flute, have only dabbled with them, or want to try them out, the day will help you with repertoire advice, tone production and technical problems, extended techniques, projection and intonation. Find out how low flute playing can help with your C flute playing too! This is the ideal opportunity to try new ideas, solve problems and develop your low flute playing. The day starts and ends with ensemble playing, trying out some of Carla's fabulous arrangements for groups of low flutes. Woodwind shop, Just Flutes, will also be there with a selection of instruments and sheet music to browse and try! Sharrow Performing Arts Space, Sitwell Road, Sheffield S7 1BE, Saturday, 27th February 2016, 10am-5pm – £50. More information and booking at http://www.sheffieldflute.co.uk/low-flutes-day.html
Compose Yourself! creative composing classes run by Sheffield composer Jenny Jackson aimed at adult musicians. Informal and practical, the classes will enable the exploration and development of ideas in a small, relaxed group setting – no previous composing experience necessary: just an open mind! Classes are held at Jenny’s home in S11 and the next block of six begins on Thursday, 7th April, fortnightly, 10am –12pm (£15 per 2-hour session) – one place available. Also, new: a Composing for Beginners class starting Monday, 4th April, weekly, 10am –12pm (£15 per 2-hour session). For more information, and to book your place, please follow the link to Jenny’s website: www.jennyjacksoncomposer.com/compose-yourself
For details of Choral Evensong at Sheffield Cathedral and St John’s Church, Ranmoor, and music at daytime services, please see the respective websites of both in the ‘Who’s Doing It’ section of Classical Sheffield.