|‘Notes from a Small Island’ is a series of concerts in which pianist Mark Bebbington showcases major works by British composers of the twentieth century during lunchtime concerts at St John’s, Smith Square.
|Friday 1st October 2021 at 13:00
St John’s Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HA
LIVE LUNCHTIME CONCERT
Notes From a Small Island (II)
John Ireland: Fantasy-Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
Peter Dickinson: Lullaby; Forgeries
Edward Elgar: Quintet in A minor for Piano and String Quartet, Op.84
Mark Bebbington, piano
Katherine Lacy, clarinet
Royal Philharmonic String Quartet:
Tamas Andras, violin
Andrew Storey, violin
Abigail Fenna, viola
Richard Harwood, cello
To book: www.sjss.org.uk/events/mark-bebbington-piano-0
Tickets £15, (Students £7.50)
Lunchtime showcase for major works by British composers
‘Notes from a Small Island’ is a series of concerts in which pianist Mark Bebbington showcases major works by British composers of the twentieth century. In this second concert, Mark is joined by some of London’s leading instrumentalists, principals from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, for a delightfully rich and varied chamber programme.
John Ireland’s lush Fantasy-Sonata for Piano and Clarinet, reflecting in 1943 the composer’s recent experience of evacuation from Jersey, paves the way for an earlier example of chamber music written in time of war: Elgar’s sublime Piano Quintet of 1918. Rejuvenated and inspired by the peace and rural beauty of the Sussex countryside, Elgar displays imaginative, unabashed late romanticism and a richness of texture that is at times almost orchestral – “full of golden sounds and I like it”, wrote the composer himself.
Linking the two works is a pair of pieces by one of Britain’s most respected composers, Peter Dickinson (b 1934). First, ‘Lullaby’: originally part of a six-movement suite called ‘The Unicorns’ (1982), it has been arranged by the composer for both voice and clarinet, and now for solo piano in a version dedicated to Mark Bebbington. It is followed by a set of miniatures – five delicious ‘Forgeries’ for piano duet evoking in turn the spirits of Poulenc, Hindemith, Delius, Stravinsky and Bartok, in which Mark will be joined by the Malaysian pianist, Irene Loh.
Commitment to British music
Mark Bebbington’s commitment to British music is well-known and his recordings for the SOMM label are numerous and varied, having included major works by Bax, Carwithen, Ireland, Vaughan Williams, Mathias, Alwyn and Bridge, which have earned him consecutive sets of 5***** in BBC Music Magazine, a Gramophone Magazine ‘Editor’s Choice’, and an International Record Review ‘Outstanding’ accolade, prompting International Piano Magazine to write: “Bebbington’s revivals of British piano music are second to none; he could well be dubbed the concert pianists’ Richard Hickox. Bebbington has almost single-handedly demonstrated that 20th-century British piano scores have an exciting role to play in the concert hall and recording studio”.
Poulenc shortlisted for Gramophone Magazine Award
More recently, a major new recording collaboration with conductor Jan Latham-Koenig, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for Resonus – part of a planned series – has produced a programme of works for piano by Francis Poulenc featuring the Piano Concerto (the last of his five concertos) and the rarely-recorded piano version of the Concert champêtre, so often performed by the composer himself. Joined by oboist John Roberts and bassoonist Jonathan Davies, Bebbington has also recorded the Trio for Piano, Oboe & Bassoon, and the Sonata for Oboe & Piano. Critically acclaimed, this recording has now been shortlisted for the Gramophone Magazine Awards 2021. A second album containing Aubade, Le Bal Masque, Flute Sonata and the Sextet has also been released.