Sound Junction Weekend, investigate the frontiers of contemporary electronic music over four concerts, described as an ‘immersive experience of three-dimensional sound; unbound by pitch or rhythm, instrumentation or abstraction’, with guests Jonty Harrison and Denis Smalley in residence throughout and pitching their work against that by students and staff from Sheffield University’s state of the art Sound Studio led by Adrian Moore. Concert 1, Friday, 7.30pm (pre-concert talk, 7pm). Concert 2, Saturday, 1pm. Concert 3, Saturday, 7.30pm. Concert 4, with Leeds University Music Department participation, Sunday, 1pm. Sheffield University Concert Season. Firth Hall (Firth Court), Western Bank – all concerts are free admission but booking is required: www.sheffield.ac.uk/concerts or 0333 6663366.
Russia in the Round, this year’s May Festival, 5th –13th May, from Music in the Round starts at the Crucible Studio, Friday, 7.15pm – Pre-Concert Talk, 6pm. See below
Bel Canto Choir, 30-strong Mexborough-based choir makes the short trip to Sheffield to sing for Sheffield Music Club, offering John Rutter: Requiem, and a selection of his anthem arrangements taking in For the beauty of the earth, All things bright and beautiful, Gaelic Blessing and The Lord bless you and keep you; plus Bob Chilcott: A Little Jazz Mass and a Cole Porter Medley, arranged by the choir’s conductor Robert Webb. Jonathan Gooing is the keyboard accompanist, with Clare Wheat: soprano, Stephen Cameron: bass, also cello, and Steven Kohutt: percussion. St Andrew’s Psalter Lane Church, Friday, 7.30pm – £10, £8 concessions, £3 students.
SingSoc, Sheffield University Singers’ Society, more precisely the affiliated Melodia and Socii Cantorum choirs, also programme Bob Chilcott’s Little Jazz Mass, along with Fauré’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria settings. St Mark’s Church, Broomhill, Friday, 7.45pm – £8, £4 concessions.
A Child of Our Time, Tippett’s secular oratorio in heard at the penultimate concert in the Sheffield International Concert Season offering an opportunity to hear his Five Negro Spiritual arrangements in context. Elizabeth Llewellyn: soprano, Madeleine Shaw: mezzo-soprano; Joshua Ellicott: tenor and James Platt: bass, are the soloists with the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, Hallé Choir and Hallé Orchestra, all marshalled by Sheffield-born and bred Ryan Wigglesworth from the conductor’s podium. Proceedings get underway with an outing for Haydn’s Symphony No 103 Drum Roll. City Hall, Saturday, 7pm – £21, £19, £16, £5 students, under 18s.
Pre-concert talk, Trisha Cooper ‘in conversation’, 6pm – free.
Lunchtime Concert, given by PhD students in the Department of Music at Sheffield University. University Concert Season. Firth Hall (Firth Court), Monday, 1.10pm – free.
New Music Ensemble, excellent group, director George Nicholson, based at Sheffield University perform Stravinsky’s Septet, Webern’s Concerto for Nine Instruments and student compositions. University Concert Season. Firth Hall (Firth Court), Tuesday, 1.10pm – free, but booking is required: www.sheffield.ac.uk/concerts or 0333 6663366.
SingSoc, second outing in a week to perform Mozart’s Requiem setting and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. University Concert Season. Firth Hall (Firth Court), Western Bank, Thursday, 11th of May, 7.30pm – in advance: £10, £8 over 65, unwaged, £5 under 26, students – www.sheffield.ac.uk/concerts (no booking fee), 0333 666 3366 (subject to £1.50 fee).
On the door: £12, £10 over 65, unwaged, £6 under 26, students.
RUSSIA IN THE ROUND:
This year’s May Festival from Music in the Round, 5th –13th of May, with all events/ concerts at the Crucible Studio, except as noted. NB: event-running times are approximate. ‘Russia in the Round' @ www.bernardleemusic.com
Unless otherwise noted, all concerts are given individually or collectively by members of Ensemble 360: Benjamin Nabarro, Claudia Ajmone-Marsan: violins; Ruth Gibson: viola; Gemma Rosefield: cello; Laurène Durantel: double bass; Juliette Bausor: flute; Adrian Wilson: oboe; Matthew Hunt: clarinet; Amy Harman: bassoon; Naomi Atherton: horn; Tim Horton: piano.
Pictures at an Exhibition, ten new artwork created in association with Ignite Imaginations which has had artists working with ten community groups across Sheffield to produce new works of art in response to the music Mussorgsky wrote depicting his ten Pictures at an Exhibition. On display, 8am –8pm (6pm, Sunday) throughout the festival in the Winter Garden – free.
Curtain Up, opening concert and a sizeable taste of the curiously undervalued Glazunov to begin, three pieces: String Quintet Op 39 (the two cellos), Réverie for horn and piano Op 24 and Idyll for horn and string quartet, before Tchaikovsky’s symphonic Piano Trio Op 50 – did you know that he hated this particular combination of instruments, by the way, but still came up with this magisterial masterpiece, subtitled In memory of a great artist (Nikolai Rubinstein) without being asked for it? 7.15 –9.05pm – £19, £13 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Pre-concert Talk, Prof Marina Frolova-Walker from Cambridge University sets the scene for the festival, 6pm – free, concert ticket holders.
Horn Calls, horn players from the Royal Northern College of Music herald the opening of the festival with the sound of traditional East European hunting calls around the streets of the city centre. 10.30am – free.
Massed Brass, a reprisal of an event in last year’s festival in association with Brass Bands England as hundreds of musicians from across Sheffield converge to perform well known Russian tunes and brass band favourites, ‘Even louder, bigger and brassier than last year’, they say! Tudor Square, 11.45am –12.30pm – free.
Tradition, with Borodin’s energetic, early Piano Quintet providing a stark contrast with Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No 2, another In Memorium piano trio started in 1943 in the last days of the Leningrad siege but finished as a tribute to one of his closest friends, Ivan Sollertinky, a victim during the emergency evacuation of Novosibirsk in February 1944. It was also his first work to employ Jewish subject matter. 12.45 – 1.40pm – £13, £8.50 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Peter Hill, an old friend re-appears to examine Stravinsky’s work with the Ballets Russes prior to the First World War (which means talk of The Rite of Spring) prior to a four hands-one piano recital with another old friend, Benjamin Frith, at 4pm. Adelphi Room, Crucible Theatre, 2.00 –2.30pm – free to the concert ticket holders.
Pictures – 1, Ensemble 360 pianist Tim Horton plays Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition against a backdrop of the new ‘Pictures’ – it was originally written for piano before Ravel orchestrated it, in case you didn’t know. Winter Garden, 3.00 –3.35pm – free. Repeated Wednesday at Crucible Studio.
Ballet Classics 1, four-hands-one piano recital from Peter Hill and Benjamin Frith taking in excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty (transcribed Rachmaninov) and Swan Lake (transcribed Debussy), plus Stravinsky’s Petrushka – The Rite of Spring is on the 13th of May under different hands. 4.00 –4.55pm – £13, £8.50 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
The Fatal Knock on the Door, recalling, in association with Sheffield Theatres, the paranoid pinnacle of Stalin’s despotic reign, the ‘Great Purge’ or ‘Great Terror’ (1937-38), when absolutely no-one was immune to deportation to Siberian salt mines at best, at worse, execution. Noted actors Sara Kestelman speaks the words of poet Anna Akhmatova and Simon Russell Beale (who is actually filming The Death of Stalin at present) the off-stage USSR All-Union Radio newsreader proclaiming diatribes taken from original Soviet broadcasts and editorials. Music heard is by Prokofiev: Overture on Hebrew Themes; Weinberg: Aria Op 9 for string quartet – Polish-born Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-96) lived in Russia after 1939, was befriended by Shostakovich and hugely prolific – 22 symphonies, for a start! Glière: Romances, could be any of 11 solo pieces with piano; Myaskovsky: Finale of Cello Sonata No 2 – Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950), life-long friend of Prokofiev and sadly neglected East of Moscow given the individual quality of much of his music; also highly prolific, out-symphony-ing Weinberg with 27! Tsintsadze: Spring from 12 Miniatures for string quartet on Georgian Folk Songs – Sulkhan Tsintsadze (1925-91) hailed from Georgia and regularly incorporated indigenous music in a fairly large output; Khachaturian: Clarinet Quintet; and Shostakovich: String Quartet No 7. 7.15 –9.20pm – £19, £13 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Pre-Concert Talk, Prof Marina Frolova-Walker stays over to reflect on music in Stalin’s time and the Stalin Prize award to Soviet composers. Adelphi Room, Crucible Theatre, 6.00 –6.45pm – free, concert ticket holders.
Sheffield Young Singers, director Helen Cowan, perform music from Eastern Europe, including Kodály’s Dancing Song, and beyond, including Adonai roi from Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Winter Garden, 2.00 –2.30pm – free.
Man With a Movie Camera, experimental Soviet silent documentary film from 1929 which long ago achieved classic status because of its pioneering qualities in the development of cinematic art as it followed city life in the Soviet Union during the course of a single day. Soundtracks to accompany the film have proliferated in recent years and here is another, live one when the film is screened in the University of Sheffield Festival of Arts and Humanities with Ensemble 360’s supremely accomplished double bass player Laurène Durantel also calling on her no less proficient skills as a pianist and vocalist. Students’ Union Auditorium, Sheffield University (across the road from Firth Hall), 3.30 –5.00pm – free, but booking required: www.moviecamera.eventbrite.co.uk
Mirrors, it seems churlish to offer any form of criticism on such a magnificently planned festival but the absence Russian song – a veritable treasure trove to which just about every composer has contributed, many substantially – is surely an unfortunate omission. At the only concert in festival, this one, where the human singing voice is heard it is in Russian/ Baltic church music interspersed with appropriate instrumental music and features Arvo Pärt: Spiegel in Spiegel (Mirrors in the Mirror); Rachmaninov: Bogoroditse, or Ave Maria; Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks: Silent Songs; Tavener: Akhmatova Songs – six of them premiered in 1993; Sviridov: Holy God – Georgy Sviridov (1915-98) wrote music in a number of genres, but chiefly vocal and choral; Tchaikovsky: Cherubic Hymn; and Bogoslovsky (arr McEwan): Dark is the Night for ensemble and choir – Nikita Bogoslovsky (1913-2004) was a prolific composer of songs, operettas, film soundtracks and theatre music. Performers are Ensemble 360, Ella Taylor: soprano, Abbeydale Singers and a Bring and Sing Choir, director Angus Smith, MitR’s artistic director and member of the renowned Orlando Consort. Sheffield Cathedral, 7 –8.05pm – £13, £8.50 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Introducing the (Chamber) Music of Russia, schools’ concert designed for Key Stage 2 pupils and staff presented by members of Ensemble 360. 10.45 –11.40pm – £3 per pupil, staff free. 0114 281 4660, or email@example.com
In the Beginning, taking in Haydn’s String Quartet Op 33 No 1; the first performance of Jenny Jackson’s Focus Pull, one of the four commissions for the festival from Sheffield’s composer collective, Platform 4, inspired by the Russian work it is played with, here the third of four string trios, Op 31, penned by Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915), a master contrapuntalist, although not as prolific as most of his countrymen but influential, especially on Tchaikovsky, as he merged composing with being a pianist, teacher, music theorist and author. He also almost certainly, if unknowingly, inspired the creation of Leo Tolstoy’s ‘other man’ in his famed novella The Kreutzer Sonata! 12.45 –1.40pm – £13, £8.50 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Steven Osborne, the widely acclaimed pianist pays a visit to reprise a solo concert given in March 1936 by Rachmaninov at the City Hall as part of the Sheffield Festival when he played his own two sets of Études-Tableaux, Op 33 and Op 39, along with works by Schubert and Brahms. Here, the etudes (a selection from Op 39) rub shoulders with late Brahms: Three Intermezzi Op 117 and No 2 of Schubert’s six Moments Musicaux. 7.15pm –9.15pm – £19, £13 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
My Beloved, a particularly attractive affair of Glinka’s Viola Sonata transcribed for bassoon; a work by the forgotten man of Balakirev’s circle of nationalist composers, the ‘Mighty Handful’, the enormously prolific César Cui: Cinque petits duos Op 56 for flute and violin; and his fellow circle member, Borodin, is also represented with his String Quartet No 2 with its famed Notturno movement which became ubiquitous when it was borrowed, along with other music by Borodin, for the musical Kismet in which guise it gives the concert its title! 12.45 –1.30pm – £13, £8.50 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Friendship, something of a powerhouse concert, its title seemingly deriving from Britten’s Cello Suite No 3, written for his longstanding friend, the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Before it is Prokofiev’s lip-shattering Flute Sonata Op 94 from 1943, while proceedings end with Shostakovich’s angst-free, non-satirical Piano Quintet Op 57 from 1940, add no introversion and you have what can only be called calm, happy Shostakovich. Difficult to know for certain which Russian work (probably the latter) inspired Platform 4’s Tom Owen to write Paraphrases, getting its first performance, and pianist Steven Osborne stays overnight to join Ensemble 360 on this occasion. 7.15 –9.00pm – £19, £13 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Wednesday, 10th of May:
Hiccup, the blurb for this concert describes it as ‘roller-coaster ride’ which is about right with Khachaturian: Sabre Dance from Gayane (arr Heifetz); Chris Noble: Bear, Ascend – the third Platform 4 commission; Rachmaninov: Trio Élégiaque No 1; Gubaidulina: Quasi Hoquetus for viola, bassoon and piano – Sofia Gubaidulina (1931 -), resident in Hamburg since 1992 and internationally feted, though hardly an ‘in flavour’ composer with Soviet authorities. Most of her music stems from deeply devout religious beliefs, though perhaps not the work here, which translates as ‘Like a Hiccup’; and Glinka: Trio Pathétique for clarinet, bassoon and piano. 12.45 –1.40pm – £13, £8.50 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Pictures – 2, Tim Horton’s second performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Crucible Studio, 5.45 –6.20pm – £10, £7 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Souvenirs of Italy, Glinka: Grand Sextet for string quartet, double bass and piano – the central opus of three ensemble inspired by the operas of Bellini and Donizetti during a three-year trip to Italy in the early 1830s; Stravinsky: The Soldier’s Tale Suite; and Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence, so-called because he penned one of the string sextet’s principal themes during a visit to Florence. 7.15 –8.45pm. – £19, £13 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Concert being recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
Music Box for Babies, with Ensemble 360’s Matt Hunt and Laurène Durantel supplying the Russian musical entertainment on a piano while those aged zero-to-two will no doubt follow their inclinations. Crucible Theatre Concourse, 10.15 –11.10am and 11.30am –12.25pm – £6 adults, babies free.
Music Box, hands-on workshop for two-to-four-year-olds with Polly Ives steering them round Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet. Adelphi Room, Crucible Theatre, 10.30 –11.25am and 11.45am –12.40pm – £6 children, adults free.
Poetry, Marina Dranishnikova: Poème for oboe and piano; Nicolai Roslavets: Viola Sonata No 1; and, somewhat better known, Rachmaninov: Trio Élégiaque No 2. 12.45 –I.40pm – £13, £8.50 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Out of Time, Out of Place, Prokofiev: Quintet Op 39 for oboe, clarinet, violin, viola, and double bass; Martinů: Fantasia for theremin, oboe, string quartet and piano; Shostakovich: String Quartet No 8 Op 110; and Eisler: Septet No 1 – Variations American Children’s Songs. 7.15 –8.50pm – £19, £13 disabled, unemployed, £5 under 35s, students.
Pre-Concert Talk, the Story of the Thermin curated by one of world’s finest exponents, Lydia Kavina. Crucible Studio, 5.45 –6.30pm – free, concert ticket holders.
Concert being recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
The Day Before Spring, Dominic McHugh/ Matthew Malone resuscitation of Lerner and Loewe’s third show which had the Billboard Magazine proclaiming that “Lerner and Loewe look like potential supermen” following its premiere in 1945. Prophetic words, because two years later Brigadoon opened and they never looked back! Meanwhile, the tale of a married woman running into an old flame at a college reunion drifted into obscurity until a New York theatre company decided to put on a concert staging in 2007 and hit a snag: the score was never published and whereas there was an extant copy of the show’s complete text, the music, like Brigadoon, had vanished! So someone (Aaron Gandy, actually) painstakingly pieced together the entire original score from extensive parts of it among Loewe documents that had been bequeathed to Library of Congress in Washington. The show’s UK premiere was in 2010 at the Sadlers Wells Theatre in London and here it is now getting two outings (the first was on Tuesday in the University Concert Season. Firth Hall (Firth Court), Western Bank, Thursday, 4th of May, also pre-concert talk, 6.10pm, when Dominic McHugh and Matthew Malone discuss the show’s background), 7.30pm – in advance: £10, £8 over 65, unwaged, £5 under 26, students – www.sheffield.ac.uk/concerts (no booking fee), 0333 666 3366 (subject to £1.50 fee).
On the door: £12, £10 over 65, unwaged, £6 under 26, students.
Tosca, English Touring Opera’s staging of Puccini’s opera, seen at the Lyceum recently, and sung in Italian with English surtitles. Buxton Opera House, Thursday, 4th of May, and Friday, 7.30pm – £28 –£36.50, no booking fees; 01298 72190.
Patience, second offering, by Gilbert and Sullivan, from English Touring Opera on its spring tour and also recently at the Lyceum. Buxton Opera House, Saturday, 7.30pm – £28 –£36.50, no booking fees.
Fiddle Day, an opportunity for advanced classical violinists to try something different to intermediate/ advanced level with folk fiddler Sam Sweeney who is described as ‘amazing’. Dungworth Village Hall, Main Road, Dungworth, this Saturday, the 6th of May, 10am –5pm – £30, £20, student, unemployed.
Booking at: http://www.soundpost.org.uk/fiddle-day-with-sam-sweeney/
Woodwind Fitness Day, for all woodwind players on keeping you and your instrument in good condition to play. Sessions will cover Alexander Technique, breathing, posture, injuries and instrument maintenance and repair. Sharrow Performing Arts Space, S7 1BE, Saturday, 20th of May, 10am –4.30pm – £30. Further details and booking at http://www.sheffieldflute.co.uk/woodwind-fitness-day.html