Tuesday 10 December 2013

St John's Smith Square 300th anniversary season

St John's Smith Square - 300th anniversary season
St John's Smiths Square presents an amazing variety of music in its concert programme for January to April 2014, in what is its 300th anniversary year. Lucy Parham starts her cycle of composer portraits, whilst Artur Pizzaro starts his cycle of Rachmaninov's piano music. The London Bach Society celebrates Bach's birthday, John Woolrich celebrates his 60th and John Tavener's 70th birthday weekend becomes a memorial. James Gilchrist has a Schubertiade. Young musicians include the Rodolfus Choir, Academia Musica Choir and the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra. Other groups include the Orchestra of St. Johns, the London Mozart Players, the Chapelle du Roi, Polyphony and the Tallis Scholars.

Lucy Parham will be presenting all four of her composer portraits, mixtures of words and music in which Parham is joined by a roster of distinguished artists.  Composers involved are Robert Schumann (Beloved Clara with Harriet Walter and Henry Goodman, 19/1/2014), Franz Liszt (Odyssey of Love with Joanna David and Martin Jarvis, 16/3/2014), Claude Debussy (Reverie with Simon Russell Beale, 19/10/2014) and Frederic Chopin (Nocturne with Juliet Stevenson and Alex Jennings, 23/11/2014). Each one takes place on a Sunday afternoon and is followed by a Q and A.

Another cycle running throughout the year is Artur Pizzaro's performances of the complete Rachmaninov solo piano music. The first two concerts include the Variations on a theme of Corelli, Piano Sonata No.2, Etudes Tableaux and the Variations on a theme of Chopin (25/2/2014, 2/4/2014).

The Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Blair, returns for two concerts, Elgar's Cello Concerto with Oscar Alabau, Sibelius's Symphony no. 7 plus music by Tchaikovsky and Brahms (22/1/2014), and Grieg's Piano Concerto (with Vesselina Tchakarova) plus music by Borodin and Tchaikovsky (12/3/2014).

More young people, this time from Hereford Sixth Form College in the form of the Academia Musica Choir performing Bach's St John Passion (22/1/2014) and music by Allegri, Scarlatti, Palestrina, Victoria and Lotti (19/4). And the Rodolfus Choir and Spiritato, director Julian Perkins, perform Daniel Purcell's (1664 - 1717) Judgement of Paris with soloists include Ashley Riches, Ciara Hendrick, Amy Freston and Anna Dennis (5/3). The one-act opera written for a competition in 1701 when four composers, Daniel Purcell, John Eccles, John Weldon and Gottfried Finger, all set a libretto by William Congreve and had their operas performed and voted on by the audience. In 1989 Anthony Rooley and the Consorte of Musicke re-played the competition at the BBC Proms, performing all three surviving scores.

And the Friends of Wexford Festival Opera are offering a chance to hear the most promising singers from 2013 (11/2)

London Mozart Players are directed by pianist Howard Shelly in a programme of music by Dvorak and Mozart (29/1). John Lubbock and the Orchestra of Johns have two concerts: they are joined by Tasmin Little for a performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, plus music by Stephen Montagu, Mozart and Beethoven (6/2), and by Jack Liebeck for Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin with Ilona Domnich, Quirijn de Lang and Bozidar Smiljanic (14/3).

The Whitehall Orchestra, conductor Michael Nebe are joined by Raphael Wallfisch for a rare outing of Cello Concerto in C major by Eugen D'Albert (the Scottish born, German naturalised composer 1864 - 1932) plus Beethoven's Symphony no. 9.

John Woolrich's 60th birthday is celebrated on 6 April 2014 with a series of concerts of music by Woolrich, and Mozart. The London Bach Society are celebrating Bach's birthday with a concert by the Steinitz Bach Players and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, including music by Bachs JS and CPE (21/3).

What was planned as a celebration of Sir John Tavener's 70th birthday has become a memorial. Over two days (25 and 26 January), students of the Royal College of Music, the Orchestra of St Johns and the English Chamber Singers come together for concerts of Tavener's music including The Protecting Veil, the UK premiere of Miror des Poemes and the world premiere of Mahavakyas for cello and soprano.

James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook are presenting a Schubertiade, two days of Schubert's music including Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise and Schwanengesang plus the String Quintet in C major and The Trout Quintet (1 & 2 February).

Alistair Dixon and the Chapelle du Roi perform their annual Tenebrae by candlelight, with music by Tallis, Victoria, Palestrina and Guerrero (16/4). Polyphony and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenement perform Bach's St John Passion conducted by Stephen Layton with Andrew Kennedy as the Evangelist (18/4, Good Friday), Peter Philips and the Tallis Scholars are inaugurating the London International A Cappella Coir Competition with a concert of music by Gibbons, Parsons, Tallis, Tye, Tavener, Victoria and Vivanco (21/4, Easter Monday).

The church is still consecrated, and will be holding a choral eucharist for Epiphany on 14 January 2014 at 1.05pm with Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium.

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