HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Marlowe Music Week 2009: Friday chamber music

Posted by HelenEdith on August 14, 2009

I went out for four nights in a row, but stayed in last night, missing “Party Pieces” at Joyce’s place. In fact, I decided to watch some tennis on the TV and next thing I knew, I woke up just as the match was over. 😳

Earlier in the week, I had asked Malcolm if there was any chance of playing some music for bassoon and strings, and he said that there would be a string quartet at his place this morning and suggested that they were starting at 10:30 and to give them time to play some quartets and to come along a bit later.

That gave me the chance to get my bassoon out at home and have a look at the music that I was interested in playing. Then I went over to Malcolm’s place at about 11:30, just as they were stopping for their refreshment break. That gave me a chance to get my bassoon assembled and then I joined the other musicians in the garden and enjoyed a glass of apple juice.

When we reconvened, we started with Three Arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, transcribed for bassoon and string quartet by Michael Campbell. I had looked at these at home earlier in the day and only the third of the three was familiar to me, but as soon as the music arrived on peoples’ stands, they commented that we really needed a mandolin! It turned out that the whole of Deh, viene alla finestra was played pizzicato! Not having studied the score in much depth, I hadn’t realised that, so it came as quite a surprise to me. However, it was a nice surprise. 🙂 Then five string players (because we had two violas sharing a part) picked up their bows to play Dalla sua pace and Il mio tesoro intanto.

Then I got out Henry Hargrave’s Concerto No.IV in B flat. Henry Hargrave was an English composer who was active in the second half of the 18th Century and his set of five wind concertos (three for bassoon; and two for oboe and bassoon) are available from Phylloscopus Publications. Concerto No.IV has five movements: con spirito, allegro, siciliana, gavotta and minuet – allegro. It was nice and lively with all of those dance movements, but not too difficult for the string players to read through, although I’d had a quick look at the bassoon part ahead of time. 🙂

We had a little bit of time left, so I got out Henry Hargrave’s Concerto No.I in B flat. I played that last year with three different groups, but haven’t touched it since, so I had a little look at it this morning, too. 🙂 It has a more conventional Allegro – Adagio – Vivace concerto structure and is a typical baroque concerto where soloist and strings converse. It really doesn’t work well with a piano reduction, so I greatly appreciated the opportunity to play it through with strings.

The string players said that they enjoyed it too, as it was something fresh for them to play; and some different music is always welcome.

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