This letter was sent out to all members in February 2021

Dear Members and Friends

We hope that you are all well and that you have been able to find, during this wet and cold start to the year, music that has warmed your hearts.

Unfortunately, and this probably comes as no surprise, we have to announce the postponement of the last four concerts.  The continuing uncertainties surrounding when an audience of any reasonable size will be able to enjoy live music means that it is not practical to continue with the concerts as planned.  It is a great disappointment that Chiaroscuro, Brodsky Quartet with Laura van der Heijden, Michael Collins and London Winds, and Noriko Ogawa, Peter Donohue and O Duo will not be coming to Ilkley this year.  As with our previous postponements the artists have all been invited back to play in a future season, which in most likelihood will be 2022/23, and the Concert Club have offered to pay half their fee now.

Ilkley Chamber Music Online

Having received favourable feedback and estimating that close to half of our members watched at least one of the online concerts last year we are planning to support the artists whose concerts we have now had to postpone by commissioning a similar online series in the four weeks around or leading up to Easter.  The concerts will be available for a full week rather than just four days, having heard a number of members say it would have made very pleasant Sunday viewing.

Our commissioning means that the artists do receive payment for their performance by the Club.  In response to feedback received we plan to include an option for members to donate to the Club to support those payments as well as to continue the option to support Help Musicians.

In addition we are investigating how we can make the concerts available beyond our membership.  Primarily to local residents who may normally attend as purchasers of single tickets or members of other local groups currently unable to attend their live concerts.  If we are able to do this, please can you help us by promoting this with your friends asking them to make a donation.

Full details about the next series of online concerts will be circulated in March.

Help Musicians

Since launching the Help Musicians appeal in May last year we have reached a total including gift aid of £1,850.  The May appeal contributed £761 and the Ilkley Chamber Music Online £1,089.

You may also remember back in November we highlighted Roger Higson and artist Roger Chapman’s book ‘From Duet to Decet’ which was being sold to support Help Musicians.  We have been advised that they have raised over £5,000 and that the addresses to which they have sent books would certainly suggest that it has landed with members of many music societies.

Many thanks to everyone who donated directly or purchased the book.

Recommended Listening

This month Ilkley should have hosted Chiaroscuro string quartet.  Formed in 2005, this truly international string quartet comprises Russian violinist, Alina Ibragimova, Spanish violinist, Pablo Hernan Benedi, Swedish violist, Emilie Hörnlund and French cellist, Claire Thirion. Dubbed ‘a trailblazer for the authentic performance of high classical chamber music’ by Gramophone magazine, this ensemble performs music of the Classical and early Romantic periods on gut strings and with historical bows.  The quartet’s unique sound, described in the Observer as ‘a shock to the ears of the best kind’, is highly acclaimed by audiences and critics all over Europe.

The programme was to include Haydn’s op 9 quartets of 1769, his first ‘mature’ set and no. 4 his first in a minor key, Mozart’s K575 the earliest of the last set of quartets, written in 1789 at the height of his powers for the cello-playing King of Prussia, and concluding with Mendelssohn’s first quartet, the op 12, forging his own style while absorbing the lessons of the quartets of Beethoven written in 1829 — definitely the elephant in the room of this programme!

Raymond Waud has kindly recommended the following recordings:

Haydn:  All 6 Op 9 Quartets are on a very well recorded Tacet 2 CD set at medium price (TACET 190), with the Auryn String Quartet.  An excellent alternative at medium price comes from the Kodaly Quartet’s complete set, and features op 9, nos. 1, 3, 4, (8.550786).  The whole set has proved a reliable favourite over the years.

Mozart:  The Chilingirian String Quartet on the CRD label are naturally recorded, and the performances compare well with any produced since.  The label is at medium price (CRD 3427).  A very good alternative at medium price, which is often overlooked, comes from the Eder Quartet on Naxos 8.550545. The CD is completed with String Quartets K172 & 173.

Mendelssohn:  The Doric Quartet have, fairly recently, produced op 12, with Quartets nos. 5 & 6, on 2 excellently recorded Chandos discs (CHAN 20122/2).  The 2 CDs last only 86 minutes, and are priced as for 1 full price disc.  A medium price alternative, with the Aurora String Quartet, comes from Naxos 8.550862. Quartet no.5 and the early one in E flat complete the CD.

Ilkley Concert Club