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Hastings Philharmonic new programme of live music

Welcome back to newly normal!

Until I visited an Oxford Lieder recital at Fairlight Hall last Saturday evening, I didn’t realise how much I have been missing live music in the good old way (but still subject to social distancing). Now the Hastings Philharmonic are also back to work with a whole programme, a minimum of six events to delight us – a leap of faith in these difficult times, writes Chris Cormack.

Ashley Riches photo:

It was a brilliant recital at Fairlight Hall featuring British bass-baritone Ashley Riches, and it reminded me how I have always left these Oxford Lieder recitals in a wonderful mood, feeling that all is well with the world!

The songs from Dvořák, Ravel, Poulenc and Ives came out of folk traditions that were so important to the composers, and started with Dvořák’s fiery Gypsy Songs; heart on sleeve, and equally thrilling and touching.

Ravel is tops by me and his were the ‘pop songs’ of their time given ‘Rolls-Royce’ piano treatment by Sholto Kynoch,

Sholto Kynoch and Ashley Riches at Fairlight Hall recital on 12 September.

Oxford Lieder’s artistic director and a master of evocative piano textures and imaginative harmonies – who knew that it was Ravel who composed the best-known music for Burns’ Ye Banks and Braes‘? I have no hesitation in saying that Sholto and Ashley’s version far excelled over John McCormack’s.

On 19 October you can listen to the same recital live from Wigmore Hall here and make your own judgement. There is no ticket income for this digital broadcast since the Wigmore Hall will be empty, so please consider making a donation towards the operating costs by card or text.

Another of Ravel’s  chants populaire that I would like to listen to again in October was one in Italian as a tribute to Puccini. This was a wonderful and uplifting programme: just what’s needed at the moment! Ashley sang in eight different languages including a Spanish dialect –  nine if you count Scottish and American English as separate (‘two peoples divided by a common language’!).

Marcio da Silva and Francis Rayner

HPO recitals

So it is with great relish that I look forward to a recital of Ravel’s (bring it on!) Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, by Hastings’ finest specialist in French impressionist music, pianist Francis Rayner at Christ Church, 7.30pm on Saturday 19 September.

Together with this, Hastings’ favourite bass-baritone, Marcio da Silva, will be singing a beautiful programme of English and French songs as follows:

Let us Garlands Bring • Finzi
The House of Life • Vaughan-Williams
Cinq Mélodies de Venise op.58 • Fauré

together with Francis’


Three Préludes • Debussy and No. 1 in E flat minor, Op. 33 No. 1 • Fauré.

Helen May

Being socially distanced, the number of tickets are limited and I suspect it might be sold out quickly, but recommend you still have a go in case returns become available. It is a pity that there are no Ravel songs in the programme, but I shall be clapping ceaselessly until Marcio sings us an encore of Ravel’s Ye Banks and Braes!

HPO Recitals | Let Us Garlands Bring, 7.30 pm Saturday, 19 September 2020 Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

If you fail to get tickets for this Saturday, get in quick with tickets for the next two delightful events:

  1. Opera Favourites, and Schubert’s famous Lied The Shepherd on the Rock/Der Hirt auf dem Felsen • Schubert
    Song to the Moon • Dvořák
    Caro Nome • Verdi
    Jewel Song • Gounod
    Carmen Fantasie • Sarasate/Bizet
    Rhapsody in Blue • Gershwin
    Rigoletto Fantasia • Bassi/Verdi. Soprano Helen May will not disappoint, nor will the accomplished Ivanov & Chen Duo – Boyan Ivanov, clarinet, and  Lysianne Chen, piano
    7.30pm, Saturday,17 October, Christ Church, St Leonards-on-Sea. Tickets
  2. HPO culminates the first set of HPO Recitals with the new but recognised piano Dumky Trio, featuring the great violinist Ayşen Ulucan, Oliver Mansfield on cello and Francis Rayner piano:
    Dumky Trio, Op. 90 •
    Trio in C minor, Op. 101Brahms
    Trio in E flat major, Op. 1 No. 1 • Beethoven.
    7.30pm, Saturday 21 November, Christ Church, St Leonards-on-Sea. Tickets

Ivanov & Chen Duo – Boyan Ivanov, clarinet, and Lysianne Chen, piano

These fundraising recitals aim to ensure the continued growth and development of the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra. There is another opportunity to support HPO here, which I am sure will do much to help Hastings stay an important centre for classical music.

Another opportunity to see Ashley and Sholto together will come on Saturday 3 October at 3pm and 7.30pm at Vinehall School, where six singers will treat us to a ‘Schubertiade’. There will, of course, be Schubert ‘greats’ such as An die Musik, An Silvia and Ave Maria, but also some astonishingly beautiful part songs which do not get heard often enough. See also this event: Die schöne Müllerin.

The Dumky Trio – dum·ka (do͝om′kə)n. song, especially a Slavic folk song, that has alternating happy and sad passages.


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Posted 15:09 Monday, Sep 14, 2020 In: Music & Sound

1 Comment

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  1. Christopher Cormack

    A great recital last night, lovely to go out with friends in the balmy September evening air!
    Here is part of the evening |:
    Let us Garlands Bring

    Comment by Christopher Cormack — Monday, Sep 21, 2020 @ 00:16

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