IN the first of four concerts, which were to include all three of Tchaikovsky’s string quartets, the Dudok Quartet of Amsterdam gave the first of them alongside other Russian works by Glinka and Shostakovich.
Tchaikovsky wrote all his quartets in his thirties. He had produced a successful Allegro for string quartet as a graduation exercise, based on a Ukrainian folk tune, so he knew his onions by the time he embarked on No 1 in D, Op 11. It was the making of him outside Russia, largely because of its fetching Andante. But the Dudoks proved it has much more to offer.
They opened dead-pan, non-vibrato, reflecting the second half of the composer’s Moderato e semplice instruction. The movement remained restrained, traces of warmth only really detectable in the first violin.
The slow movement’s famous melody was equally intimate, almost bleak, the ensemble resisting the temptation to make too much of it. One admired that: the music was allowed to speak for itself. When Tolstoy heard it, he was moved to tears; we could understand why.
The sprightly scherzo bordered on the skittish, its strong accents spilling over into its trio. But it was in the finale that the Dudoks showed their true mettle. Their ensemble remained remarkably taut right through to the vivacious coda. We might have heard more from the viola and later the cello in their presentation of the second theme, but teamwork remained the name of the game. We could not complain.
We encountered Tchaikovsky briefly again after the interval, in two months of The Seasons arranged from the piano original: March (The lark’s song) and July (The reaper’s song), tastefully done.
They were but a prelude to Shostakovich’s Quartet No 5 in B flat minor, which was premiered in late 1953 only after the post-Stalin “thaw” had set in (although written the previous year): the composer had considered its searing personal diary too incendiary before then.
The Dudoks treated it as a Russian novel, piling incident upon incident over a marvellous motor- rhythm generated by the cellist. Its climax – the three upper voices in unison – was approached with gradually increasing tension, after some brief rays of sunshine from the leader.
The jaunty little dance that followed changed imperceptibly into something much more vicious, ending in recitatives from all the players, an angry cello last. The group’s focus was intense throughout. This was Shostakovich with his heart on his sleeve – and all the more telling for that.
The evening had opened with an arrangement of Glinka’s overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila, frothy enough but hardly a substitute for the orchestral version. But keep an eye out for the quartet’s forthcoming recording of Tchaikovsky’s quartets. On this evidence it could be something special.
IN the festival centrepiece, separate concerts are held in the stately home’s Long Gallery, Chapel and Great Hall, featuring the Consone Quartet, Historical Fiction and Guildhall Gold Medal winner Oliver Wass.
Venus And Adonis, All Saints’ Church, Kirkbymoorside, July 21, 11am; All Saints’ Church, Helmsley, July 22, 4pm; St. Michael’s Church, Malton, July 23, 4pm.
THE first great English opera, composed by John Blow, comes to life in a Ryedale Festival Opera pop-up production in three historic churches. Experience everything from tragedy to comedy, cynicism to flirtations in a tale of love and lust.
Myrtles, All Saints’ Church, Kirkbymoorside, July 16, 7pm; Kate Wakeling, All Saints’ Church, Kirkbymoorside, July 16, 9.30pm.
ROBERT Schumann’s love for his talented pianist wife Clara Wieck finds new form almost 200 years later in the world premiere of Myrtles, translated into English from the original Myrthen by Jeremy Sams with added poems from Kate Wakeling. Wakeling performs her own poetry collection, Her Stride Says Comet, in a separate concert afterwards.
Anna Lapwood: Organ, Ampleforth Abbey, July 15, 7pm to 8pm; Come And Sing, St Peter’s Church, Norton, July 16, 3pm to 5.30pm; Double Concert, Sledmere House and Church, July 17, 7pm; The Echo Of Angels, St Mary’s Church, Lastingham, July 18, 3pm; Discover The Organ, St Mary’s Church, Lastingham, July 19, 3pm to 5pm (free tickets).
ANNA Lapwood is among several young artists-in-residence that form the backbone of the 2023 programme. Noted forher impromptu organ performance with Bonobo at the Royal Albert Hall, she will perform, conduct, lead masterclasses and talk attendees through her instrument throughout the festival.
Nicky Spence: The Food Of Love, Duncombe Park, July 18, 8pm; Vocal Masterclass, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 20, 3pm to 5pm (free tickets); A Most Marvellous Party, Helmsley Arts Centre, July 21, 7pm.
TENOR Nicky Spence, the BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year 2022, brings his singing and acting skills to Ryedale to mark the 400th anniversary of composer William Byrd’s death and 50th anniversary of Noël Coward’s passing, with a masterclass for budding singers squeezed in.
Dudok Quartet and Philip Ross Bullock: Pre-concert talk – From The Depths Of My Soul I, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham, July 19, 6pm; Dudok Quartet, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham, July 19, 7pm.
Pre-concert talk – From The Depths Of My Soul II, Birdsall House, July 20, 10am; Dudok Quartet, Birdsall House, July 20, 11am.
Pre-concert talk – From The Depths Of My Soul III, All Saints’ Church, Slingsby, July 22, 10am; Dudok Quartet, All Saints’ Church, Slingsby, 11am.
Late Night Candlelit Concert – What Remains, St Gregory’s Minster, Kirkdale, July 22, 9.30pm.
IN addition to a beautiful candlelit concert, the Dutch quartet take festival attendees on a journey through Tchaikovsky’s compositions for the ensemble, with time to take in quartets from Glinka, Shostakovich, and Mozart, and songs from Boulanger performed with soprano Siân Dicker. Professor of Russian Literature and Music Philip Ross Bullock delivers talks on the Tchaikovsky pieces before each performance.
Bomsori Kim and Mishka Rushdie Momen, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering, July 22, 7pm.
Mishka Rushdie Momen: Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering, July 24, 4pm.
Orchestra of Opera North and Bomsori Kim, Church of St Martin- on-the-Hill, Scarborough, July 24, 8pm.
Mishka Rushdie Momen and Friends, National Centre for Early Music, York, July 25, 8pm.
THE final two artists-in-residence join forces for a vivacious night of Beethoven violin sonatas. Classical Breakthrough Artist in The Times Arts Awards 2021 Mishka Rushdie Momen also performs both a varied solo programme ranging from Byrd to Prokofiev and as part of a piano trio for a Romantic period-fest.
Korean violinist Bomsori Kim plays with the Orchestra of Opera North, performing Brahms’s stirring Violin Concerto between orchestral masterpieces from Mozart and Tchaikovsky.
Jess Gillam Ensemble, St Peter’s Church, Norton, July 27, 8pm.
CUMBRIAN saxophonist Jess Gillam will pique interest and begin journeys of musical discovery with her ensemble.
The Clare Teal Seven, Milton Rooms, Malton, July 23, 7.30pm
YORKSHIRE jazz vocal legend, four-time winner of BBC Jazz Singer of the Year and performer of popular songs Clare Teal leads seven-piece troupe through a night of storytelling and euphoric music
Concerteenies and baby-friendly concerts: A Musical Story I, Milton Rooms, Malton, July 23, 11am; Baby-friendly Concert I, Milton Rooms, Malton, July 23, 1pm (free for babies).
Concerteenies – A Musical Story II, Scarborough Library, July 24, 11am; Baby-friendly Concert II: Scarborough Library, July 24, 1pm (free for babies).
Concerteenies – A Musical Story III, National Centre for Early Music, York, July 25, 11am; Baby-friendly Concert III, NCEM, York, July 25, 1pm (free for babies).
POLLY Ives and Louise Thomson narrate and play a reimagining of Arre Chung’s Mixed for children aged three to seven in Concerteenies, as well as performing concerts from all genres for pre-crawling babies where parents can learn baby massage techniques and enjoy their own dose of relaxation.
Ryedale Festival runs from today to July 30.For full festival details and tickets, go to: ryedalefestival.com.
RYEDALE Festival artistic director Christopher Glynn’s eye for spotting and supporting early-career artists runs through his 2023 programming.
Among the artists in residence is organist Anna Lapwood, who gives two recitals, conducts her choir and invites all to join her in open-access Come and Sing and Discover the Organ events.
Also in residence is BBC Music Magazine’s 2022 Personality of the Year, Scottish tenor Nicky Spence, Korean violinist Bomsori Kim and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen, won The Times Classical Breakthrough Artist Award.
The King’s Singers and assorted actors lead celebrations of the 400th anniversaries of William Byrd and the First Folio of Shakespeare, while Boris Giltburg is among performers marking Rachmaninov’s 150th birthday. The Dudok Quartet presents a complete cycle of Tchaikovsky’s string quartets, as well as bringing audiences their arrangements of jazz and folk legends.
Groundbreaking musicians such as Cumbrian saxophonist Jess Gillam and the joyful Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective mingle with young artists, among them guitarist Plínio Fernandes, showcasing his debut album Saudade, trumpeter Aaron Akugbo, innovative pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu and the vibrant voices of the National Youth Choir of Scotland.
Yorkshire jazz singer Clare Teal performs with an all-star band; The Young’uns, from the north east, present a folk night; A Light Music Afternoon celebrates Max Jaffa, remembered fondly in North Yorkshire for his many seasons performing in Scarborough, and a concert at Birdsall House revels in the music of Noel Coward, with Mary Bevan among the singers.
Further highlights will be the Orchestra of Opera North with Jonathan Bloxham; Royal Northern Sinfonia with violinist Maria Włoszczowska; a Triple Concert at Castle Howard; a pop-up production of John Blow’s magical mini-opera Venus and Adonis that tours to ancient and atmospheric churches across the region, and four world premieres, including an innovative new take on Schumann’s song cycle Myrthen, sung in English and interwoven with poems by Kate Wakeling.
Young audiences can enjoy Arree Chung’s Mixed, as presented by Polly Ives and harpist Rosanna Rolton in Concerteenies, while babies and their grown-ups are invited to a magical musical experience across classical, folk, world and popular music.
The festival takes place in more than 30 venues, ranging from Castle Howard to a remote moorland chapel, taking in York and Scarborough too. The event was runner-up in the Best UK Concert Series category at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2023 with the citation: “Yorkshire’s Ryedale Festival always wraps its arms around its community. Local people don’t just watch the star visitors; they come in droves to get equally involved.”
A new initiative this year is the Ryedale Primary Choir for children aged seven to 11, run by Caius Lee, launched in collaboration with the Richard Shephard Music Foundation.
Children are having fun attending free music sessions in school holidays, where they meet and sing with professional musicians, especially Ryedale Festival Young Artists. The choir will make its festival debut by appearing on stage with The King’s Singers at the opening concert, having worked with them in a masterclass.
Christopher Glynn says: “This year’s programme brings together great performer-communicators like Anna Lapwood and Nicky Spence, with exciting talents such as superstar violinist Bomsori Kim and pianist Mishka Rushdie Momen.
“Trailblazers like Jess Gillam and the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective mingle with world-famous artists like the King’s Singers and stars of the new generation. We celebrate the anniversaries of composers William Byrd and Sergei Rachmaninov but also break new ground with five world premieres, including a co-created Community Song Cycle.
“The festival is all about quality, innovation and enjoyability, sharing great music with more people every year. I look forward to welcoming audiences to be part of this year’s adventure.”
Artist in residence Bomsori Kim says: “I am absolutely thrilled to be chosen. This is an incredible opportunity for me to connect with audiences in the UK and share my love and passion for music. I am particularly excited to perform Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas, as these are true masterpieces that have always inspired me.
“I cannot wait to communicate with the festival audiences through the universal language of music, and I hope to create a truly meaningful and unforgettable experience for everyone who joins me on this wonderful journey of discovery.”
Fellow artist in residence Anna Lapwood says: “My first performance after lockdown was filming a performance for Ryedale Festival after the in-person festival had to be cancelled. It feels really special to be returning to the festival now and to have the chance to perform to a real audience, both on some of the amazing organs in the area and conducting the Pembroke College Chapel Choir.”
Mishka Rushie Momen says: “I’m delighted to be returning to the Ryedale Festival this summer for a residency at the end of July. The three concerts encompass wonderful works by Byrd, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Smetana, in solo, duo, and trio programmes. I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with the fantastic festival audience and sharing this great music together.”
Nicky Spence says: “It’s a privilege to bring such a varied offering to the Ryedale Festival this year. What could be better than making music with longtime collaborators in the beautiful surroundings of North Yorkshire?
“Having so enjoyed the audience’s response when I featured in the festival in Wagner’s Parsifal a few years ago, I look forward to buttering many a crumpet with new friends and music lovers alike.”