Bandstand Chamber Festival and St John's Waterloo present:
CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust (sponsors of Community Tickets scheme)
The Neville Abraham Foundation
The Carne Trust (sponsors of the Solem Quartet’s performance on 11 December)
Dasha Shenkman OBE
Peter Bull (sponsor of Mozart Clarinet Quintet, performed by the Maxwell Quartet & Anthony Friend)
With thanks to
Maggini Quartet Charitable Fund
Thomas and Megan Tress
St John’s Waterloo
Please follow social distancing protocol and wear a mask at all times.
There are no public toilets available at St John's Waterloo. The nearest toilets are in Waterloo Station.
Please do not film the concerts.
Spotlight Chamber Concerts
From 7 - 19 December, Spotlight Chamber Concerts brings some of the world’s finest classical musicians to the safely socially-distanced interior of one of London’s landmark churches, St John’s Waterloo. With dramatic lighting centred only on the performers, the audience is invited to focus solely on the immersive experience of live music in this series of concerts and recitals set to lighten up the winter months ahead. Tickets are strictly limited, so subscribe below to be the first in line.
This series was founded by Anthony Friend in 2020, and is an initiative of the Maggini Quartet Charitable Fund.
7 December 2020
Roderick Williams & Susie Allan
with Momentum artists Kathryn Rudge, mezzo soprano and Edward Hawkins, bass
11 December 2020
13 December 2020
Maxwell Quartet & Anthony Friend
18 December 2020
19 December 2020
Sunday 13 December 2020
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Quartet in C, Op. 74, No. 1
2. Andantino grazioso
Scottish Folk Music
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Clarinet Quintet, K. 581
4. Allegretto con variazioni
Haydn is often appraised in terms of the legacy he left future composers. His popular nicknames, ‘Father of the Symphony’, ‘Father of the String Quartet’, or simply ‘Papa Haydn’ all pay respectful tribute to his originality, but implicitly frame him as an older relation to Mozart and Beethoven, both of whom studied with Haydn himself, and both of whom drew heavily on the stylistic and formal innovations Haydn perfected in his vast output. Haydn’s 104 symphonies, 68 string quartets, 45-or-so piano trios, 52-odd keyboard sonatas, 11 keyboard concertos and 15 masses are somehow staggeringly varied, whilst also converging on a crystalline conception of style. These works are especially notable amidst a vast number of other pieces for more obscure instrumentation (there are a few dozen works for mechanical clock, for example) partly because they helped define these genres as the most significant of all, inspiring further contributions from not only Mozart and Beethoven, but from almost all major composers even to the present day. However, there is something patronising in this view of him; Haydn’s achievement stands on its own merit, rather than in terms of where it eventually led in the music of his successors.
We perhaps tend to find Haydn’s long life, vast output and success within the establishment as rather less poetic than the unhappy or tragically short lives of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and other less fortunate artists. Haydn’s life and career was not without its difficulties, including about 8 years as a struggling freelancer from 1749-1757, teaching himself composition from various treatises and taking work where he could get it – including sometimes as a street performer. However, in 1761 he was eventually taken into employment by the Esterházy family, who became his longtime benefactors. Their love and appreciation of music – and wealth – gave Haydn the ideal context in which to develop as a composer; he even had access to his own orchestra. Moreover, when the terms of his contract were renegotiated in 1779, Haydn suddenly gained his artistic and commercial independence: his music was his own property, and no longer belonged to his employer. His career exploded, and he found fame throughout Europe and travelled widely, including repeatedly to London. It is not an exaggeration to say that he was the most famous musician in the world.
Against that backdrop, it is interesting that his output includes not only large numbers of ‘public’ works like symphonies, but also intimate chamber music works. The string quartet was characterised as a sophisticated conversation amongst ‘amateurs’ (a word without pejorative implications in the eighteenth century); for example, Haydn and Mozart played through some of their quartets together. Domestic music making of this kind was a primary form of entertainment, and enthusiasm for published works in ‘private’ genres such as string quartet, piano trio and piano sonata was sufficient for Haydn to achieve wealth and fame internationally long before he was able to visit the far corners of Europe.
The success of Haydn’s chamber music in fact led to these pieces finding their way out of the home and on to the concert platform. The three Op. 74 quartets were composed in 1793, one half of a commission from Count Anton Apponyi, on Haydn’s return to Vienna from London. He had been astonished to find his Op. 64 quartets performed not in private settings, but in Johann Peter Salomon’s public subscription concerts in Hanover Square. At a time when concert etiquette had not yet been refined, and silence was not expected, the Quartet in C, Op. 74, No. 1 is one of a number of string quartets in which Haydn uses grand gestures at the beginning of the work in order to hush the crowd.
Beyond the first movement’s bold, silence-inducing opening chords, the Quartet in C also seems to have captured some of the brilliance of the sonority of his London Symphonies. The first movement dazzles with flights of virtuosic passagework, but also creates the illusion that there are more than just four players.
Emotionally, the second movement tends towards stylishness rather than the confidential outpouring of emotion we sometimes find in Haydn’s more introverted quartets. It is high-minded, clear-eyed music, yet full of surprising harmonic twists.
The Menuetto, usually the scene of courtly humour, provides rustic vigour in its outer sections, whilst its lilting central Trio section, in the unrelated key of A major, is disarmingly sweet-natured.
Perhaps more than any of the other movements, the Finale sees the quartet doing an impression of a fine orchestra in full flow. There is an almost exhausting array of articulation styles, and virtuosic demands are made on all four players. The two violins shouting in octaves over rustic cello drones are the big arrival points in the movement, the last of which concludes the work with a flourish.
Mozart is frequently hailed as one of the greatest geniuses of all time, whose work amounts to musical perfection. He was an astounding child prodigy who had his first piece, Andante pour le clavecin, published when he was five years old. By the age of 10 he was famous throughout Europe, thanks to his father Leopold, who not only educated him but also took him on ambitious concert tours. Despite his renown, he died aged 35 and was buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave, leaving his Requiem, K. 626, ominously incomplete. Such talent combined with such tragedy has made him irresistible to dramatists, biographers and gossips ever since. We get nearer to the essence of his appeal, though, through Wye J. Allanbrook’s phrase about the purpose of the artists of the Enlightenment: ‘to move the audience through representations of its own humanity’. For many, Mozart gives us a truer reflection of life — with all its nuances, momentary sadnesses and joyful vitality — than any other composer. His Clarinet Quintet in A, K. 581, is an apt example.
Just as many of Mozart’s greatest operatic roles were conceived for specific singers Mozart knew personally, we owe the existence of several late works by Mozart featuring the clarinet to a friendship that blossomed between Mozart and the clarinettist Anton Stadler (1753-1812). The Clarinet Quintet in A, K. 581 was composed in 1789, following on from the Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, K. 498; in 1791, shortly before his death, Mozart would complete his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, K. 622 for Stadler.
The two musicians first met in 1781, and it is likely that the introduction of clarinet parts to much of Mozart’s orchestral and chamber music in the last ten years of his life was inspired by Anton Stadler and his brother, Johann, also a clarinettist. Friedrich Schink was a contemporary of Mozart who heard Stadler playing Mozart’s music, and wrote to Stadler saying,
My thanks to you, brave virtuoso! I have never heard the like of what you contrived with your instrument. Never should I have thought that a clarinet could be capable of imitating the human voice as it was imitated by you. Indeed, your instrument has so soft and lovely a tone that no one can resist it.
The Clarinet Quintet combines three areas in which Mozart was expert: most obviously the string quartet; but also the concerto, in the soloistic writing for the clarinet; and opera, in the arioso writing for clarinet and strings alike. The work, however, takes the form of a Classical string quartet, with a substantial Allegro first movement, a sublimely beautiful Larghetto slow movement, a courtly Minuet and Trio and an energetic Allegro set of variations as a finale.
Colin Scobie, violin
George Smith, violin
Elliott Perks, viola
Duncan Strachan, cello
1st Prizewinner and Audience Prizewinner at the 9th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in 2017, and hailed as “brilliantly fresh, unexpected and exhilarating” by The Scottish Herald, and "superb storytelling by four great communicators" by The Strad Magazine, the Maxwell Quartet is now firmly regarded as one of Britain's finest young string quartets, with a strong connection to their folk music heritage and a commitment to bringing together wide-ranging projects and programmes to expand the string quartet repertoire.
The quartet performs regularly across the UK and abroad, at venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Queen’s Hall, Perth Concert Hall. After its success at Trondheim in 2017, the quartet has toured widely across Europe, with performances in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Portugal, including at Tivoli Concert Hall, Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, Stavanger, Schiermonnikoog, Wonderfeel Festivals, Lammermuir Festival, Fjord Classics, Cheltenham, St Magnus, and many other festivals across Europe.
Passionate about collaborating with musicians and other artforms, the quartet has worked with a global roster of artists and institutions including theatre company Cryptic, installation artists Wintour’s Leap, the Royal Ballet School, soul duo Lunir, folk duo Chris Stout & Catriona MacKay, cinematographer Herman Kolgen, and many more. In addition to a busy concert diary, the quartet regularly feature in broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Scotland, as well as regularly giving schools workshops and concerts for children.
The Maxwell Quartet has studied with the Endellion Quartet through a Chamber Studio mentorship programme at King's Place, and privately with Hatto Beyerle, founding member of the Alban Berg Quartet, in Hanover, Germany. Other mentors have included Miguel da Silva (Quatuor Ysaye), Erich Hobarth (Quatuor Mosaiques), Krysztof Chorzelski (Belcea Quartet), Donald Grant (Elias) and Alasdair Tait.
The quartet plays on two fine Italian violins, by Castello and Calcanius, generously loaned to them from the Harrison Frank Foundation; a J.B Vuillaume viola, and a Francesco Ruggieri cello, both on loan from generous benefactors.
Anthony Friend, clarinet
Anthony Friend is a clarinettist and concert promoter who founded the Bandstand Chamber Festival in 2020, and has subsequently launched Spotlight Chamber Concerts.
His playing has been praised as “delicious” (The Times) and “energised and raunchy, but not too much” (The Telegraph). Anthony’s chamber music collaborators have included the Allegri, Solem and Maxwell quartets, the Philharmonia Chamber Players quartet, pianists Karim Said, Joseph Havlat and Florian Mitrea, violist Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir, harpist Oliver Wass, double bassist Misha Mullov-Abbado, the Pelléas Ensemble and wind quintets Cavendish Winds and the Magnard Ensemble. As an orchestral musician he has worked with conductors such as Semyon Bychkov, Edward Gardner, Sakari Oramo, Leif Segerstam and Mark Wigglesworth. He regularly freelances with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera, and was a member of Southbank Sinfonia in 2017. He has been broadcast on BBC radio and television and played in major venues in the UK and abroad.
A keen exponent of contemporary and twentieth-century music, he is co-founder of Filthy Lucre, an immersive, mixed-genre new music night which moves from concert to club night. He has played Terry Riley’s In C at King’s Place with Katia and Marielle Labèque, and has worked with groups such as the Hermes Experiment, the Riot Ensemble and Ensemble x.y.
Aside from his performing, he runs the prestigious chamber music series Camerata Musica Cambridge, and writes programme notes for major artists and series such as the Aldeburgh Festival.
Anthony studied at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and then at the Royal Academy of Music with Angela Malsbury, Chris Richards, Lorenzo Iosco and Chi-Yu Mo. He previously studied with David Campbell and Michael Whight. His subsequent studies have been with Patrick Messina in Paris.
St John's Waterloo
St John’s, the church on the roundabout at Waterloo, was built in 1824 for Waterloo’s working people and rebuilt in 1951 as the church of the Festival of Britain: a beacon of hope and resilience. Today, more than ever, it is responding to the needs of London’s diverse communities as a church, a charity and a well-known music and arts venue, committed to being here for everyone.
St John’s Artistic Director Euchar Gravina said: “St John’s is a well-known music venue and runs the annual Waterloo Festival. In these challenging times, we’re finding new ways of bringing hope and new ways to serve through a year-round programme co-curated by artists and performers whose aim is to create stronger communities as well as creating art.”