Newcastle Early Music Festival

Jhon-and-Jane-238-web28 February 2013

Masterminded by Jamie Savan of His Majesties Sackbutts and Cornetts (and Lecturer in Music at Newcastle University), the Newcastle Early Music Festival adds significantly to existing period-performance offerings in the North East (the Avison Ensemble, for instance). John and I took our McNulty fortepiano on a trip to Newcastle University’s magnificent oak-panelled King’s Hall for a lunchtime concert of works for clarinet and piano by Mozart and Vanhal.

The piano sounded wonderful in such a glorious acoustic, and afterwards we gave a masterclass to music students on woodwind and piano – also a chance to introduce our period instruments to players of their modern equivalents.

The Angelic Sound of the Chalumeau

Jane and Clarinets08 0679 February 2013

Two masterpieces of the baroque concerto repertoire are for an early cousin of the clarinet, the chalumeau. Typically associated with pastoral imagery in baroque opera and oratorio (Fux, Conti and Vivaldi all wrote for it), the chalumeau’s haunting sounds proved attractive to Fasch and Telemann who both composed concertos for chalumeau and strings.

I performed both works this weekend with Linden Baroque, directed by my colleague from ensemble f2, Steven Devine. In the Telemann, written for two chalumeaux, I was partnered by my student, Sarah Smith, and later in the programme, another of my students, James Brookmyre, joined us in an Ouverture for three chalumeaux and strings by Graupner.

Thanks to Steven for initiating this concert, and hopefully something of a revival for the ‘angelic’ chalumeau!


photo7 December 2012

Our DVD of Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio, which we recently filmed for Optic Nerve Productions, was launched today in Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House at London University during a conference on the piano in chamber music organised by The Institute of Musical Research. Preceded by a lecture-demonstration by John Irving, Peter Collyer and myself, we performed Mozart’s trio before an appreciative audience of academics, performers and the general public. And once again, we were ‘on camera with Mozart’, for the DVD’s Director, Colin Still, and Editor, Jane Clegg were there to film the performance for a podcast of the whole conference to appear on the IMR webpages, where you will soon be able to view it alongside the “Kegelstatt” video documentary and performance on iTunesU.


imageresizer2 November 2012

The Brighton Early Music Festival goes from strength to strength with an incredible line-up of top period artists performing music from the Middle Ages though to the eighteenth century. Typically, BREMF has stopped at Baroque, but this year DeNOTE has stretched the boundaries a little with a programme of Mozart and Stamitz for clarinet, viola and fortepiano at the Friends’ Meeting House on Ship Street.

Built in 1806 on land acquired from a local butcher, the Friends’ Meeting House Main Meeting Room has excellent acoustics for chamber music. Almost contemporary with the building is an anonymous 1809 arrangement of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet that kicked-off this intimate concert, followed by a fine viola and piano sonata by Carl Stamitz (surely one of the earliest of its kind?), a Mozart sonata, and all rounded-off by the “Kegelstatt”.

DeNOTE Heads North

IMG_9658a12 October 2012

Passing on skills to emerging generations of performers is very close to my heart and one strand of Ensemble DeNOTE’s profile is educational work in colleges and universities. This month we are heading to The University of Hull to do a lunchtime concert in the Middleton Hall (also home to a fine art gallery, far too little known and including work by Henry Moore and Roger Fry), followed by a chamber music coaching workshop for Music Department students. I was joined by John Irving and Peter Collyer in a programme including Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio, which we recently filmed for Optic Nerve Productions, and due for release in early December.

The student groups deserve real praise for approaching the session from a professional standpoint. We were able to concentrate on polishing already well-prepared performances, including a slow movement from Beethoven’s Clarinet Trio, Op.11. Many thanks to Lee Tsang and Elaine King for arranging a most enjoyable day!

Launching Series Five

church9 September 2012

South West London’s premier charity concert series, Music in New Malden kicked-off today in fine style with a performance of two classical quintets for Piano and Winds by Pleyel and Mozart. I was joined by John Irving, Leo Duarte, Ursula Monberg and Nathaniel Harrison. Pleyel’s C major Quintet perhaps started life as a string quartet, though its popularity meant it had been arranged for this alternative combination by about 1800. Mozart’s Piano and Winds Quintet needs no introduction – Mozart once referred to it as his finest work. An appreciative and generous audience meant that this latest series of MINM got off to a fine start, followed by the usual tea and cake!

A Relaxed Cat in North Yorkshire

12-13 August 2012

Jamie Walton’s North York Moors Chamber Music Festival has now gained a real following (and Arts Council funding) and this year I’m doing two concerts featuring Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, Spohr’s Nonet and a Hummel Clarinet Quartet in two historic churches at Egton Bridge and Lythe, showcasing the spectacular architecture and countryside of the North York Moors.

Amid glorious weather there was time, in between rehearsals, for an interview with John Robert Brown for Clarinet and Saxophone Society Magazine on my work as a period clarinettist and at the Guildhall School. As we talked, a cat took advantage of the near-Mediterranean sunshine to demonstrate its best sunbathing pose right in front of our eyes – hence the title of John Robert Brown’s article in CASS (and this blogpost).

Musical Dynamite

photo6 July 2012

And so to King’s College, Cambridge for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem with the Academy of Ancient Music, joined by the Choir of King’s Cambridge and directed on this occasion by Stephen Cleobury. What a spectacular setting with a great sound from this fine choir. Playing Principal Basset Horn, I was partnered on this occasion by Sarah Thurlow. The performance went with a bang on several counts, in fact, as one player’s violin exploded shortly before the interval. In true professional style, he completed the concert on a borrowed instrument!

Jubilee Concert

29 June 2012

DeNOTE perform tonight at Canterbury Christ Church University to celebrate the University’s Jubilee. On the menu is Mozart (Piano Trio and Violin Sonata) and in the second half, Beethoven’s Trio Op.38. We’ll be playing in the University Chapel which sits at the centre of the campus buildings – it will be a night to remember!


DVD Recording

10 MAY 2012

Finchcocks Museum of Musical Instruments was the location for DeNOTE’s recent project on fcfrontMozart’s ‘Kegelstatt’ Trio, K.498 for Fortepiano, Clarinet and Viola.

DeNOTE is currently making a DVD on this work, documenting the rehearsal process, discussing issues in performance practice and historical instruments and finishing with a performance of the Trio. Filmed by Colin Still of Optic Nerve Productions, the DVD is co-funded by Canterbury Christ Church University and The Institute of Musical Research.

In the magnificent setting of Finchcocks, Jane Booth, Peter Collyer and John Irving spent a daywhitewords filming the rehearsals and performance. Our project investigates the intimacy of chamber music performance, focusing especially on the interaction of the players in the production of the performance rather than its presentation ‘in concert’ to an audience. As usual with DeNOTE, there is a strong research basis for the performance, including a particular focus on the creative involvement of the players with the notated score.