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13 May 2015, 7.30pm

20th Century Theatre 291 Westbourne Grove , London W11 2QA 

BOOK 'BAROQUE LONDON' HERE

In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries London was the most vibrant and cosmopolitan musical centre in Europe. Alongside music for theatre and chapel, a rich tradition of chamber music developed, whether for performance at court or in private salons. Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque, together with speaker Richard Wigmore, celebrate Baroque London’s musical pre-eminence in a programme of string sonatas ranging from Purcell’s intricate, inward-looking sonatas in 3 and 4 parts to the breezy tunefulness of William Boyce and Thomas Arne. En route they take in a flamboyant sonata by the expatriate Italian virtuoso Francesco Geminiani, and two captivating trio sonatas by Handel, the German émigré who inherited Purcell’s mantle as ‘England’s own Orpheus’. 


10 June 2015, 7.30pm


20th Century Theatre 291 Westbourne Grove , London W11 2QA 

Ferenc Rados piano  

Illustrated talk by Misha Donat 

TICKETS £25

price includes wine and refreshemnts 

BOOK HERE


Beethoven Piano Sonata in A flat major, Op. 26

Schubert Piano Sonata in D major, D850

Schubert composed his piano sonatas at a time when the genre was in decline, and public taste favoured much less demanding fare. Only the awe-inspiring figure of Beethoven was exempt from the appetite for what Schubert once dismissed as ‘miserable Mode-Waare (wretched fashionable stuff). As a composer of Lieder, dances and shorter piano pieces, Schubert had seen his fame spread far beyond the confines of Vienna, but when it came to compositions on a larger scale his ambitions were constantly thwarted. The extent of his artistic legacy was so little known to his contemporaries that the epitaph for his tombstone, written by Austria’s leading dramatist, Franz Grillparzer, lamented: ‘The art of music here buried a rich possession, but far fairer hopes.’ Beethoven’s funeral, some eighteen months before, had been a much more public affair, and Grillparzer had written an oration very different in tone: ‘The man who inherited and increased the immortal fame of Bach and Handel, of Haydn and Mozart, is no longer; and we stand weeping over the broken strings of an instrument now stilled.’


11 June 2015, 7.30pm


20th Century Theatre 291 Westbourne Grove , London W11 2QA 

Aleksei Kiseliov cello

Itamar Golan piano  

Illustrated talk by Iain Burnside  

TICKETS £25

price includes wine and refreshemnts 

BOOK HERE


Britten Cello Sonata, Op. 65

Shostakovich Cello Sonata, Op. 40

The catalyst was ‘Slava’, the charismatic cellist Mstislav Rostropovich: in 1960, at the height of the Cold War, he gave the UK premiere of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, an event at which Britten met Shostakovich and Rostropovich for the first time. The two composers were both shy men, but recognised each other as kindred spirits as well as fellow artists. Britten’s immediate response was to pen his bold Sonata in C, in some ways a portrait of Slava, his courage, humour and suffering. Shostakovich’s own Cello Sonata dates from the creative crucible of his pre-war years when he was learning to subvert conventional forms in emotionally powerful ways. Britten said of Shostakovich, ‘no one composing today has equal influence on me’. Shostakovich responded by dedicating his Symphony No. 14 to Britten. Cellist Aleksei Kiseliov and pianist Itamar Golan perform these two masterpieces of the chamber repertoire.



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