Review:Ryedale Festival 40th Anniversary Season, Nicola Benedetti/Leonard Elschenbroich/Alexei Grynyuk Trio, Church of St Peter & St Paul, Pickering, June 4
CONCERTO soloists need to have well-developed egos. They have to put their musical personalities out there. Composers demand it, audiences expect it. But when it comes to chamber music, a completely different mind-set is required.
Nicola Benedetti is most likely to be found, professionally speaking, playing her Stradivarius in front of an orchestra; similarly, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk are equally renowned as soloists. But when the three of them team up they must submerge their talents into the ensemble.
In the first of two identical “launch”concerts on Friday for next month’s Ryedale Festival (whose details will be announced in a fortnight), they shared considerable insights – and immense joy – with a live audience, in trios by Beethoven and Brahms.
Czerny tells us that Beethoven wrote his Piano Trio in E flat, Op 70 No 2, for Countess Erlödy, shortly after staying with her in Hungary. Some bread-and-butter letter! His soft spot for the countess – they exchanged a number of letters – is underlined by the marking dolce (sweet) at various points in all four movements.
The opening Poco Sostenuto evoked poignant reflection on the tribulations of the pandemic. Thereafter, barely a passing cloud disturbed the music’s sunny charm and good humour. The key to its success was the restraint and sensitivity of Grynyuk’s piano. Time and again his quiet intelligence drew us into the intimacy of the texture.
The double theme and variations of the second movement – very rare in Beethoven – attracted a little fierceness when in the minor key, as a Hungarian dance should, but was teasingly spaced at the end.
The second Allegretto’s Schubertian melody was neatly shared between violin and piano, while the unrelenting energy of the finale was irresistibly invigorating. Just what the doctor ordered.
Brahms’s Second Piano Trio, in C major, opens with such an impetuous, heavily larded piano role that the strings are always going to be stretched to maintain some kind of balance. There were moments here when they became temporarily submerged. But order was restored when dialogue between the strings emerged with clarity in the development section, and the approach to the closing unison was reached in satisfying style.
The slow movement was contrastingly sombre, its second theme serenely introduced by the cello. The will-o’-the-wisp scherzo – with a very smooth trio – was crystallized by its final pizzicato. The finale threw caution to the winds, in the grandest romantic manner. At no time did we feel that this was anything but a well-oiled ensemble, quite without individual pretensions. It was all about teamwork.
FROM circus at York Theatre Royal, to Moby Dock on a Hull dry dock, Benedetti in Pickering to Riding Lights on film, Charles Hutchinson enjoys his ever busier perch to spot what’s happening.
Circus in town: Ockham’s Razor in This Time, The Love Season, York Theatre Royal, June 8 and 9, 8pm
CIRCUS theatre company Ockham’s Razor’s This Time is a show about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves, presented by a cast ranging in age from 13 to 60.
Circus and aerial skills, autobiographical storytelling and original equipment combine in a visual theatre piece that looks at love, support and struggle in families, alongside perceptions of strength and ability: how we are strong in different ways at different times in our lives.
Festival residency of the summer: Nicola Benedetti: Live and In Person, Ryedale Festival 40th Anniversary Launch Concert, Pickering Parish Church, tomorrow (4/6/2021), 4pm and 8pm
TOMORROW, in-person music making returns to Ryedale Festival at Pickering Parish Church, when Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti opens her 2021 festival residency by launching the Live and In Person series.
She will join her regular chamber music partners, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, to perform one of Beethoven’s wittiest and most loveable works and an inspired piano trio by Brahms.
Outdoor play of the month: Moby Dick, John Godber Company, Stage@The Dock, next to The Deep, Hull, until June 12
JOHN Godber and Nick Lane’s radical reworking of Herman Melville’s epic novel, Moby Dick, is being staged in Hull’s dry dock amphitheatre by an East Yorkshire cast of eight from the John Godber Company
Adhering to Covid-safe rules, and with a playing time of 70 minutes and no interval, this fast-paced physical production transports socially distanced audiences to the deck of Captain Ahab’s ship the Pequod in his catastrophic battle with the monster white whale, Moby Dick.
Godber’s production references Hull’s global importance as a port, its former prowess as a whaling centre and contemporary conservation issues of conservation.
“Film” of the week: Riding Lights Theatre Company in Pericles, York International Shakespeare Festival, online, tomorrow (4/6/2021) to Sunday
YORK company Riding Lights present their sparkling, streamlined, 80-minute theatre-on-film performance of a lesser-known but still gripping Shakespeare work, Pericles, The Prince Of Tyre, online.
In a “perilous voyage through the storms of life”, brave adventurer Pericles sets off to win the girl on everyone’s lips. Uncovering a sinister truth, he plunges into a rolling surge of events that leaves him broken, gasping for life.
Topical themes of abuse of power, desperate crossings of the Mediterranean and sex trafficking ensure this extraordinary saga sails uncomfortably close to home. For tickets, go to ridinglights.org/pericles.
York gig announcement of the week: Roger Taylor, Outsider Tour, York Barbican, October 5.
QUEEN legend Roget Taylor will play York Barbican as the only Yorkshire show of his “modest” 14-date Outsider tour this autumn.
In a “surprise announcement”, rock drummer Taylor, 71, confirmed he would be on the road from October 2 to 22. “This is my modest tour,” he says. “I just want it to be lots of fun, very good musically, and I want everybody to enjoy it. I’m really looking forward to it. Will I be playing Queen songs too? Absolutely!”
Outsider, his first solo album since 2013’s Fun On Earth, will be released on October 1 on Universal, dedicated to “all the outsiders, those who feel left on the sidelines”.
On the move: Changes afoot at Scarborough Open Air Theatre for 2021 and 2022
CANADIAN rocker Bryan Adams is moving his entire ten-date UK outdoor tour from 2021 to the summer of ’22, now playing Scarborough Open Air Theatre on July 1 and Harewood House, near Leeds, on July 10. Tickets remain valid for the new shows.
In further OAT changes, Kaiser Chiefs have moved to August 8; Keane, August 21; Olly Murs, August 27; UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, August 28; Snow Patrol, September 10, and Duran Duran, September 17. Westlife stick with August 17; Nile Rodgers & Chic with August 20.
For next summer’s line-up, Ru Paul’s Drag Race: Werq The World has changed to May 29 2022; Crowded House, June 11; Lionel Richie, July 2, and Lewis Capaldi, July 7.
Exhibition of the week: Summer Eclectic, Blue Tree Gallery, Bootham, York, until July 3
SUMMER Eclectic marks the reopening of Blue Tree Gallery after a run of online shows.
“It’s good to see York open again for all to visit and enjoy, as we help to keep York culturally alive, safe and well,” say Gordon and Maria Giarchi and their gallery team. “We’ll be open to the public with this show and it’s available online too.”
On view are original paintings by Yorkshire artists Janine Baldwin, Colin Cook, Deborah Grice and Karen Turner.
Auditions of the week: York Shakespeare Project’s Sonnets At The Bar, Bar Convent, York, Friday and Saturday
YORK Shakespeare Project has a not-so-secret new location for its latest sonnet adventures, the secret garden of the Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, in Blossom Street, York, for Sonnets At the Bar 2021 from July 30 to August 7.
Open-to-all auditions will be held at the Bar Convent tomorrow (4/6/2021) from 5pm and on Saturday from 10am. Those wanting to arrange an audition time should contact director Emilie Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting ‘Sonnets’ in the heading and indicating a preference of day and time day and time.
“I will provide details of everything you need to prepare when confirming your audition time,” says Emilie, who performed in last year’s Sit-down Sonnets.
RYEDALE Festival’s 40th anniversary celebrations will burst into life with the online Spring Festival from May 2 to 8.
Scottish-Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti and her trio then will launch Ryedale’s 40th Anniversary: Live and In Person series in Pickering on June 4.
Ryedale’s Summer Festival, from July 16 to August 1 will present such artists as Jess Gillam, Isata Kanneh-Mason, 2019 BBC Young Musician Coco Tomita, Abel Selacoe and the BBC Big Band, with many more names to be announced soon.
Solace, escape and hope will be at the heart of Ryedale Festival’s online-only Spring Festival, available on RyeStream, the festival’s streaming platform at ryedalefestival.com/ryestream/.
Seven inspiring performances, each lasting approximately 50 minutes, will be filmed and shared over a week early next month, in collaboration with Castle Howard, the Yorkshire Arboretum and North East naturalist and filmmaker Cain Scrimgeour, whose camerawork will capture spring’s arrival in Yorkshire.
The Spring Festival will kick off a 40th anniversary year wherein Ryedale Festival will reveal 40 headline events in “one-off, late-announced, open-ended, can-do bursts” that will enable the festival to remain responsive to the unique circumstances of Covid-clouded 2021 and still be as creative and flexible as possible.
Clarinet and piano duo Michael Collins and Michael McHale will open the online festival on May 2 at 3pm with Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, a virtuoso showpiece by Widor and the spellbinding sonata that Poulenc composed for Benny Goodman.
On May 3, from the Long Gallery at Castle Howard, two of the brightest stars on the British piano scene, Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy, will perform Schubert’s gypsy-inspired piano duet, Divertissement à la Hongroise at 8pm.
The next day, soprano vocal duo Fair Oriana will mix renaissance and baroque with flavours of folk, medieval and contemporary music from the Great Hall, Castle Howard, in an 11am concert of imagination, innovation and intimacy entitled Now Is The Month Of Maying.
Rising York mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston and festival director Christopher Glynn, on piano, will take over the Long Gallery for Nature Is Returning on May 5 at 8pm. Spring- inspired songs by Schumann, Brahms, Copland and Finzi will be complemented by extracts from Charlston’s Isolation Songbook, her 2020 commission to reflect lockdown lives in music.
On May 6, in The Beauty Of The North at 1pm,the trademark joie de vivre of the Maxwell Quartet will illuminate St Mary’s Church, Ebberston, with one of Haydn’s most sparkling quartets (Opus74, No.1), alongside Scottish folk music and Anna Meredith’s tribute Teenage Fanclub, the Scottish grungy power-pop band that she loved as a teenager.
Friday night, May 7, will see the fast-rising combo The Immy Churchill Trio toast the arrival of spring with a late-night session of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook at Helmsley Arts Centre. Vocalist Immy Churchill will be joined by Toby Yapp, on bass, and Scottie Thompson, on piano, for this Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year programme at 9pm.
Finishing the online spring celebrations back at Castle Howard with The Lark Ascending on May 8 at 3pm, the virtuosic London Mozart Players and violinist Ruth Rogers will perform an irresistible chamber programme of Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending and Vivaldi’s Springfrom The Four Seasons.
The Spring Festival season will be available to view on RyeStream until the end of May. Each concert is free-to-view but with the request of a donation to support the festival.
Director Christopher Glynn says: “We are delighted with our Spring Festival, which promises to be a wonderful mix of great music in beautiful places. I asked our fantastic line-up of performers to reflect a hopeful, springtime theme in their programmes, which we’ll interweave with footage specially created by the superb wildlife filmmaker, Cain Scrimgeour, who is spending several days capturing spring’s arrival in and around the Yorkshire Arboretum.
“I’ve asked Cain simply to capture what we might have seen – if we were lucky – on a country walk to attend the concerts in person, and to reflect the importance of nature as a place of solace, escape and regeneration during lockdown days.”
On Friday, June 4 ,in-person music making returns to Ryedale Festival at Pickering Parish Church at 4pm and 8pm, when Nicola Benedetti will open her festival residency by launching the Live and In Person series, joining her regular chamber music partners, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Alexei Grynyuk, to perform one of Beethoven’s wittiest and most loveable works and an inspired piano trio by Brahms.
Glynn adds: “There will be no brochure and no ‘big-reveal’ of the programme this year. Instead, our 40th anniversary will be a ‘build-as-we-go’ festival, where the full 40-piece jigsaw gradually comes into view.
“We will still concentrate wonderful performances in July, but we will also remain as creative and flexible as possible to make the very best of this different landscape for both artists and audiences.”
Planned in a spirit of optimism and renewal, and bringing some of the most exciting artists of the moment to North Yorkshire, the programme for Ryedale’s Summer Festival will consist of 40 headline events, some that may be repeated or shared on RyeStream.