2nd May: Lunchtime Concert – “There’s something about Clara”

In our first lunchtime concert of 2017 to feature a singer, cathedral lay clerk Jonathan Hanley takes a break from his day job as St John’s parish administrator, and performs for us some of the 19th century’s most beautiful songs, works by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, including one of Schumann’s great song cycles, his opus 39, “Liederkreis”.

Ben Horden will provide the piano accompaniment for Jonathan’s fine tenor voice.

As usual the café will be open from noon, serving a range of hot drinks and homemade quiche, cakes, scones etc. All profits from the café will go to The Green Backyard.

The concert will begin promptly at 1pm. Admission is free, but those who are able to afford it are asked to make a donation. The suggested amount is £4.

Something about Clara!

Clara Wieck, who was already touring Europe as pianist from the age of 11, earning the admiration of such heroes of the Romantic Era as Goethe, Paganini, and Chopin, was only 18 years old when in 1837 she received and accepted a proposal of marriage from composer Robert Schumann, nine years her senior, and then a pupil of her father Friedrich. Friedrich was bitterly opposed to the proposed marriage, and the couple were only united in 1840, after successfully suing Friedrich and obtaining a judge’s permission to marry. In the years that followed, inspired by his love for Clara, Robert composed many wonderful songs. In 1853 the young Brahms, then only 20, became a protégé of the couple, but in 1854 tragedy struck, when Robert, in the grip of mental illness, attempted suicide and was confined to an insane asylum for the remainder of his life. Brahms had been staying with the family and continued to live with Clara and her children until Robert’s death two years later in 1856, and he and Clara remained devoted friends until their deaths, only eleven months apart, some forty years later. So it was that Clara, herself a composer, became the inspiration for two other great German composers.

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18th October: Lunchtime concert – “In sweet music is such art”

facebook eventIn the first of two lunchtime concerts for the autumn, tenor Jonathan Hanley and piano accompanist George Haynes will be bringing us a concert entitled “In sweet music is such art: Songs to Shakespeare”. The programme will feature settings of Shakespeare, and his contemporaries John Donne and Francis Quarles, by English composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Benjamin Britten, Roger Quilter, and Eric Coates. The concert will also feature the première of a song by George Haynes.

Admission to the concert is free, but if you are able to afford it, a donation will be much appreciated, and will help to fund future talks and concerts. The suggested donation is £4.

As usual the café will be open for an hour before the concert from noon, staffed by volunteers from The Green Backyard, and will be serving a selection of hot and cold drinks, home made cakes, quiche, scones etc. All profits from the café will go to The Green Backyard.

Jonathan is a lay clerk at Peterborough Cathedral, and is also the current parish administrator for St John’s!

6th July – 6pm Concert: Winterreise

fb_event_buttonUPDATE: This concert has been postponed due to illness, and will now take place at 6pm on Wednesday 6th July.
In this free early evening concert Craig Torr (piano) and Gareth Jenkins (tenor), who are both members of the music department at The King’s School, perform Schubert’s “Winterreise” (Winter Journey) song cycle. There will be a retiring collection with the proceeds going to St John’s.

Winterreise is a ycle of 24 songs for male voice and piano composed in 1827 by Austrian composer Franz Schubert, with words by German poet Wilhelm Müller. Schubert was reviewing the publisher’s proofs of the cycle in the weeks before his death, shortly before his 32nd birthday. He had already performed the songs for a gathering of friends, but they had not yet reached the public.

The poetry is written in the voice of a young man who, upon seeing his beloved marry another, sets out on foot in the deepest winter to escape memories of her. His heart is broken, and his life is a torment of memories, dreams, and present pain. Schubert’s music perfectly captures that torrent of emotion with his exquisite control of the harmonies and melodic flow. The subject matter — a wanderer alone with his sorrows — was a popular theme of the Romantic era.