October saw our annual Young Musicians’ concert and we were delighted to welcome back Jessica Madden, a young pianist currently at King Edward VI School, Stratford, who had played for us last year. Jessica had used the fee she received last year to purchase music by Clara Schumann, a composer who is enjoying a revival coinciding with the 200th anniversary of her birth this year, and this was an opportunity for her to play some of the music, which is not generally so well known.

Jessica’s performance last year was mature and confident and this year we could see how she had grown both as a musician and performer.   She opened her concert began with J. S. Bach’s Partita 5: Praeambulum BWV 829 played with brio and sparkle.  The tone changed with the delightful Three Sketches by Frank Bridge April, Rosemary and Valse Capriceuse written in 1906.  Jessica played with delicacy and sureness of touch, and afterwards informed us that, like Bridge, Jessica plays the violin as well as the piano.

Clara Schumann wrote Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann in 1853 and presented the music to him on his birthday on 8th June that year.   The first performance however was given not to her husband as one might expect, but to Johannes Brahms who was said to be deeply affected by it – and also by Clara herself with whom he had an affair!    It was also, Jessica told us, the last piece of music she heard before she died.  Jessica’s abilities thoroughly captured the varying moods of the variations. Following on from the Variations, Jessica performed Robert Schumann’s Romance in F sharp minor, followed by the powerful chords of Brahms’ Rhapsody in G minor.

On a lighter note, the concert ended with The Man I Love by Gershwin sensitively and beautifully played.

We were delighted to hear music both familiar and less familiar played by Jessica, who has just started studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire alongside her 6th form school studies.  Her enthusiasm for performing was evident throughout the recital, and we wish this talented young musician every good fortune in the years to come.

In October we had our annual Young Musician’s Concert and this year we were delighted to welcome Jessica Madden from Stratford upon Avon.   She is currently a student at the Stratford Grammar School for Girls and has been studying piano with Lynn Arnold, herself a regular performer for the Society.

From the outset we knew we would be enjoying a very varied programme of music. The Holberg Suite by Grieg is well known as a piece for string orchestra but, as Jessica explained, it was originally written for the piano.  Jessica’s confident performance of it certainly gave members a clear idea of the piece as Grieg originally envisaged it.  From Grieg we went to Haydn’s  Sonata in C major a work in three movements and  Jessica’s performance reflected  an assured distinction between the different moods of legato and brio.

From Haydn we went to Scarlatti and Jessica played two Sonatas K259 and 260 (out of the 500 Sonatas that the composer actually wrote!)    Next was a piece less well known to members, the Lark by Russian composer, Mily Balakirev.  This was a piece was a transcription of a piece written by Glinka, The Farewell to St Petersburg, and reflected the sounds of Russia. Jessica’s right hand sang out during this piece and her enjoyment of the music was clear. The programme ended with a fast and exciting performance of I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin.

Jessica is clearly a taleted musician and has already achieved much, passing her Grade 8 with distinction and taking part in a number of events including the Young Musicians’ Platform at Bromsgrove and the Leamington Music Festival.  In addition she has played at Butlers Marston and at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.   Her assurance and confidence at the keyboard were very evident and the audience had to agree that she (like Gershwin) had certainly “got rhythm”.

We hope very much that Jessica will return to us to play again in the future, and in the meantime wish her every success in her studies both in music and elsewhere.

October saw our annual Young Musicians’ concert and we were delighted to welcome back Jessica Madden, a young pianist currently at King Edward VI School, Stratford, who had played for us last year. Jessica had used the fee she received last year to purchase music by Clara Schumann, a composer who is enjoying a revival coinciding with the 200th anniversary of her birth this year, and this was an opportunity for her to play some of the music, which is not generally so well known.

Jessica’s performance last year was mature and confident and this year we could see how she had grown both as a musician and performer.   She opened her concert began with J. S. Bach’s Partita 5: Praeambulum BWV 829 played with brio and sparkle.  The tone changed with the delightful Three Sketches by Frank Bridge April, Rosemary and Valse Capriceuse written in 1906.  Jessica played with delicacy and sureness of touch, and afterwards informed us that, like Bridge, Jessica plays the violin as well as the piano.

Clara Schumann wrote Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann in 1853 and presented the music to him on his birthday on 8th June that year.   The first performance however was given not to her husband as one might expect, but to Johannes Brahms who was said to be deeply affected by it – and also by Clara herself with whom he had an affair!    It was also, Jessica told us, the last piece of music she heard before she died.  Jessica’s abilities thoroughly captured the varying moods of the variations. Following on from the Variations, Jessica performed Robert Schumann’s Romance in F sharp minor, followed by the powerful chords of Brahms’ Rhapsody in G minor.

On a lighter note, the concert ended with The Man I Love by Gershwin sensitively and beautifully played.

We were delighted to hear music both familiar and less familiar played by Jessica, who has just started studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire alongside her 6th form school studies.  Her enthusiasm for performing was evident throughout the recital, and we wish this talented young musician every good fortune in the years to come

The Music Society was delighted to welcome the return of young cellist George Wilkes to the Young Musicians’ Evening in October.  George, who is a Music Scholar at Warwick School and now studying for GSCEs, has played for the Society a number of times and the audience were therefore able to see how he has developed as a musician and performer since he first came to us.   Despite his young years, he plays with great sensitivity and ever growing maturity and we will be watching as he undoubtedly goes from strength to strength in the future.

Superbly supported by professional pianist, Lynn Arnold,  who had given us such a wonderful solo performance in September, George’s programme of music was a delight with cello and piano in total harmony.  It included Vivaldi’s Cello Sonata no 6 in B flat major, Gustav Holst’s Invocation and Rachmaninov’s wonderful Vocalise.  The audience savoured the entire performance and once again appreciated the talent of this young man.

Shipston Music Society’s concert season got off to a flying start with the Young Musician’s concert performed by violinist, eleven year old Hannah Brooks-Hughes and cellist George Wilkes, aged thirteen. They were accompanied by Lyn Carter on the piano.

It was a return visit by both Hannah and George who amongst others in previous concerts have impressed the membership with such incredibly high standards they have achived. Hannah began studying violin when she was four and a half, and piano a year later. She performed her first concerto at the age of eight with the Glevum Symphony Orchestra, and has given many solo recitals. She enjoyed a successful time at this year’s ‘Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts’, collecting six trophies and numerous medals. She also became the youngest ever winner of the Two Moors International Festival.

George was six years old when he discovered his passion for the 'cello and started having lessons with Christine Wimpenny. A music scholar at Warwick School, he is part of many ensembles and orchestras. He was a member of the National Children’s Orchestra for 3 years, performing at both the Symphony Hall and Town Hall in Birmingham. He especially enjoys the music of Brahms and Wagner. He hopes to one day study at a Music College in London; his ambition is to become a professional cellist.

The performance started with the Brahm’s sonata for piano and cello followed by Rachmaninov’s Vocalise and the Bach Cello suite. Then followed “The Swan” from carnival of the animals and the lark ascending concluding the first half with a Brahm’s Hungarian Dance. The second half of the programme included Faure’s Elégie and amongst other popular pieces compositions by Jardanyi, Goltermann, Sarasate, Monti concluding with Piazzolla’s “Oblivion”.

It is always a pleasure to listen to such young local talent and the very high standards they achieve, not just with an almost faultless performance but also the interpretation and feeling they are able to bring to their playing, something recognised by an appreciative audience with a sustained applause at the end of the concert. Richard Baldwin, society chairman, concluded the evening with a vote of thanks to these two young musicians and wished them success in their future together a thank you to Lyn who had worked hard to produce the programme

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