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Charlton Fridays
- - the finest and best preserved Jacobean mansion in the London area

Hommage à Schumann

Schumann Märchenerzählungen, op.132
Kurtág Hommage à R Schumann
Bruch Acht Stücke, op.83 (selection)

London Lithuanian Trio Ugne Tiškute viola Antanas Makštutis clarinets & bass drum Morta Grigaliunaité piano

Charlton House 31 May 2013

A notable recital. This was a repeat of a programme given at the Royal Academy for Music by gifted senior students who had refined their already superb performances.

Schumann and Bruch went down well,but Kurtag was not appreciated by the Charlton regulars, and eyebrows were raised by their substituting a discrete dropping of the piano's lid to signify finis, really a better solution than Kurtag's heavy joke to end his Schumann tribute (a single quiet tap on a bass drum - RAM wouldn't lend them one).

Peter Grahame Woolf

See Hommage à R Schumann with the bass drum ... !


Reactions and Reflections - Les Six

6 Poèmes de Paul Éluard - Georges Auric Banalités FP 107 - Francis Poulenc 6 Chansons Françaises - Germaine Tailleferre Le Bestiaire - Louis Durey Poèmes Juifs - Darius Milhaud 6 Poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire - Arthur Honegger

Bethan Langford (mezzo-soprano) Megan Quick (mezzo-soprano) Timothy Connor (baritone) Justin Snyder (piano)

Charlton House, 22 March 2013

This was a more difficult programme for regular listeners to Amber Rainey's series mainly because translations were not provided and the repertoire was more esoteric.

See full review from BachTrack


Barber, Poulenc & Britten

Claire Candy, Alessaandro Fisher & Harriet Kirk [L to R below] with Ricardo Gosalbo (piano)

8 March 2013

A marvellous vocal recital, one of a series curated by Amber Rainey of the Guildhall SMD.

Theirs was a strong programme, facilitated for this audience by Amber Rainey's introductions (and page-turning !) and by the provision of English texts for all three of these important cycles.

All the singers were excellent, as was their pianist. There was the usual near full house as we have become used to at Charlton, but it amazed the musicians, as did the wonderful acoustic of this prime venue, to which all the experienced singers adjusted perfectly.

None of them overwhelmed us as had Dušica Bijelić and Ashley Riches of the Royal Opera House's Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at Blackheath's intimate Recital Room earlier in the week, in a programme of Debussy & Britten songs and the final scene from Eugene Onegin.

It had felt as if they had prepared that event as for the vast space at Covent Garden. Is due attention in the Jette Parke course given to song recital singing, often in smaller venues, which has to be part of the work for aspiring opera stars?

Don't miss a forthcoming recital in the series, with music by Les Six and pianist Justin Snyder at Charlton House on March 22nd, and at Regent Hall in the final concert of the series, Amber Rainey herself at the piano.

Peter Grahame Woolf




Debussy, Ropartz, R R Bennett, Piazolla etc

RAM Harp Quintet
1st March, 2013

A nice, soothing selection of French music with harp, together with a quintet by the late Richard Rodney Bennett, in a not dissimilar idiom.

Very cold, and a smaller than usual audience








Arnold - Three Sea Shanties
Greaves - Beethoven's Fifth Bossa Nova and Mozart's Turkey Rock Mambo
Hallam Dance Suite
Ibert - Three short pieces

Sideris Wind Quintet

Charlton House Old Library, London,
17 February 2012

This lively group of recent graduates from London colleges gave a scintillating concert to an appreciative weekly audience of mainly elderly people at Charlton House; they did not respond to an invitation to take to the floor and dance with some of the jazzier items - so do see on a video how the Sideris work with children !

Some of the of the more jazzy arrangements were just a bit genteel (though the horn player was outstanding and not afraid to take risks). The group might benefit from a jazz-oriented musician to help rehearse them in that repertoire?

Peter Grahame Woolf


For future concerts, check on bachtrack.com



Berio, Kurtag, Webern & Xenakis etc

Lunchtime concert, Charlton House, London, 24 February 2012

An interesting, stimulating and contentious programme put on at short notice.

Songs by "multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger composer" Fred Thomas (guitar & piano) were soothing with Ellie Rose's delicate voice, very slightly amplified.

More stimulating were short pieces by Berio, Kurtag & Webern; nothing to frighten the horses there until the surprise cello solo of Xenakis' Kottos [Lucy Railton, below] a rough and quite lengthy modernist classic from 1977, which will have been unfamiliar - uncompromising (and shocking) - to most people there...

Congratulations on innovative programming which sent Charlton's large captive audience out arguing about whether they'd liked what they'd heard...







Peter Grahame Woolf

See Lucy Shailton in a music theatre piece by Matthew Shlomowitz.
She is the curator for the new music concert series Kammer Klang resident at Cafe Oto, Dalston, where she will play Kottos again on 17 April 8 p.m.




Charlton House, London 4 Nov 2011

A splendid concert of music for ensembles, devised, introduced & conducted by Stephen Maw, who has built up a loyal lunch-time audience of c. 100 at the lovely library of Charlton House.

I knew Bax's luscious Nonet, a deliciously 'heart-on-sleeve' work of yearningly lyrical melodies, in the '50s from a 78 r.p.m. shellac disc, and was keen to take the opportunity to renew its acquaintance (hear substantial extracts from the Hyperion recording). Gorgeous sonorities in Charlton House's perfect ambience and acoustic.

Bax was followed by a novelty, Glinka's quite extraordinary Serenade on tunes from Donizetti's Anna Bolena, for septet featuring harp and piano, together with lower strings, horn & bassoon, each with rewarding solo spots taken in style.

The concert is to be repeated at Trinity College Chapel and at Regent Hall in the West End. Try to catch it.

Peter Grahame Woolf


Royal Greenwich Brass Band conducted by Stephen Maw at
Charlton House 12 October 2012

First, click here and be amazed !

This was (I trust) the loudest concert ever at Charlton House, drawing many players from Trinity (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) which contributes its student musicians generously to this series.

It hyped up the audience to palpable exhilaration, "milked" by Maw to demand an encore. No ear-protectors visible amongst the band and hopefully many listeners were already hard of hearing?

Most of the pieces were medleys of more or less well-known tunes, the sort one is used to in the Parks on Sunday afternoons. We began with a March, then a post-1914/18 Postbellum Rhapsody. I enjoyed Gaelforce by my nearly name-sake Peter Graham and we climaxed with all the bells of St Petersburg in Boris's coronation (not our current Boris !), before quietening down to Elgar's Nimrod.

Gorgeous !


Gabrieli, Jacov, Grieg, Poulenc arr. Hughes, Harvey

Royal Academy of Music Trombone Choir/Bob Hughes with David Shipley,

Regent Hall, Oxford St. W1 2 November 2012

A couple of weeks or so on, and Stephen Maw [see him above conducting at Charlton House] was to be seen at Regent's Hall, greeting some 70 arrivals seeking an hour's peace amongst the Oxford Street shoppers.

About fifteen trombones from RAM, in various groupings, made a bright, cheering sound in this excellent acoustic, with no lack felt by the absence of trumpets (which can be overwhelming and bad for the ears - q.v. Greenwich Band review immediately above!).

A well varied programme under Bob Hughes (President of the British Trombone Association). Specially notable were songs by Roger Harvey (prolific arranger of music for brass) who was present, including his Boats with quotes from familiar sea songs, in whch sonorous young bass David Shipley held his own easily. One of those was a setting of Lear's The Owl and the Pussy-cat, who went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat.

May I be forgiven for mentioning that my small son broadcast and made an LP of Stravinsky's The Owl and the Pussy-cat (his final composition, setting the first English verse to be memorized by his wife Vera) and that Simon's younger brother became a trombonist in the National Youth Orchestra...

Peter Grahame Woolf

Brahms, Shostakovich, Stravinsky etc

Isabel Villanueva, Viola. Oxana Shevchenko, Piano
Brahms Eb Viola Sonata; Stravinskiy, Shostakovich

Charlton House, 23rd November 2012

"We've gradually got used to modern music here", a contented senior-citizen regular attender at these concerts told me on the way home after Isabel Villanueva and Oxana Shevchenko had ended daringly with the long slow, agonising finale of Shostakovich's last work, his Viola Sonata, Op.147.

Before that the mostly elderly audience had listened with rapt attention to Stravinsky's Elegy for solo viola and, earlier, everyone enjoyed Isabel's impassioned account of the second Brahms sonata, in which her partner went a bit wild coping with the Charlton House piano, which was not in best condition.

An exciting event, which MP's readers and Charlton's "silver surfers" ["riding the crest of the internet wave"] could follow up afterwards by watching on YouTube both artists in Bartok; also Isabel in Gubaidulina's double-viola concerto Two Paths.



Beethoven, Barber, Grieg, Strauss etc

Academy Horn Ensemble/Michael Thompson

Charlton House 1 p.m. 30 November 2012

This student ensemble played with a will, taking risks, and it was fun for those who were not too perfectionist; a reminder that until the time of Denis Brain, broken notes from the horns were regular in symphony concerts.

The horn is the most fickle of orchestral instruments and this large ensemble of experienced and less experienced students (maybe the whole RAM horn department?) gave us a lively concert, but not really one fairly to be videoed and recorded. Beethoven's Egmont overture, with which they began, features the horn, so it was interesting hearing them cope with the whole score, rather well.

However, it attracted the largest audience yet crammed into the Old Library. The Richard Strauss piece Feierlicher Einzug der Ritter des Johanniter-Ordends (say that again?) was really impressive, as was a jazzy encore with the addition of a huge Sousaphone in which the group really got to 'swing'. Elsewhere I wondered if a conductor might have helped bring out the full character of some of the pieces?

We all enjoyed ourselves as I hope you do my photos ! Where else outside a city centre can a comparable venue boast such a large and loyal regular lunchtime audience?

Peter Grahame Woolf