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|Glazunov||Two Noveletten (from 5 Noveletten, Op. 15)|
|Suk||Meditation on the St Wenceslas Chorale, Op. 35a|
|Mozart||Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K414|
|Elgar||Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84|
Sunday 20th January 2019 at 3.00 pm
The Courtenay Centre, Kingsteignton Road, Newton Abbot TQ12 2QA (map)
The internationally famous Fitzwilliam String Quartet makes its third appearance at nadsa concerts, but this time it is joined by Anna Tilbrook – one of Britain’s most exciting pianists with an enviable reputation as an accompanist and chamber musician. Expect a masterly interpretation of Elgar’s famous Piano Quintet.
The Fitzwilliam is now one of the longest established string quartets in the world: founded in 1968 by four Cambridge undergraduates, the group quickly achieved international recognition as a result of its members’ personal friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich and their subsequent championing of his string quartets following his death. He entrusted them with the Western premières of the last three, and before long they had become the first ever group to perform and record all fifteen. These discs, which gained many international awards, secured for them a worldwide concert schedule and a long term recording contract with Decca. Whilst the FSQ’s pre-eminence in the interpretation of these works has persisted, the authority gained has also been put at the service of diverse other composers, from the late 17th century to the present day. It remains one of the few prominent quartets to play on historical instrument set-ups, but has simultaneously brought about the addition of over 50 new works to the repertoire. Its involvement in 2013 with celebrating Britten's anniversary, and before that the chamber works of Delius and Grainger, are but two recent manifestations of the players’ enthusiasm for using anniversaries to promote less familiar music – following Vaughan Williams in 2008: thus it would appear that England is gradually taking its place alongside Russia and Vienna as a principal area of speciality, while in 2015 they looked further north, to honour the joint 150th birthdays of Glazunov, Sibelius and Carl Nielsen.
The last two or three years have witnessed an increase in the their presence on the British festival scene, with invitations from Petworth, Three Choirs, Leamington, Buxton, Ryedale, City of London, Fishguard, Swaledale, English Haydn, Beverley Early Music – during which time they have also been granted their very own chamber music festival in the prestigious “town of books” – Hay-on-Wye. Similarly, they have become more prominent once again in London, notably at King’s Place, Conway Hall, and St John’s Smith Square.2018 will begin with the realisation of a long term ambition to record Beethoven and Schubert quartets on gut strings, following the success of previous recordings on historical instruments: the plan is to begin with a CD of the former’s Opp.74/95/135. Thereafter, ideas are already forming for a big celebration of the quartet’s 50th anniversary season in 2018/9.
Anna Tilbrook is one of Britain’s most exciting pianists, with a considerable reputation in song recitals and chamber music. She made her debut at the Wigmore Hall in 1999 and has since become a regular performer at Europe’s major concert halls and festivals, as well as coaching regularly for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
Anna has collaborated with many leading singers and instrumentalists including James Gilchrist, Lucy Crowe, Sarah Tynan, Emma Bell, Barbara Hannigan, Willard White, Mark Padmore, Stephan Loges, Chris Maltman, Ian Bostridge, Barbara Bonney, Victoria Simmonds, Christine Rice, Iestyn Davies, Natalie Clein, Nick Daniel, Adrian Brendel and Jack Liebeck. For Welsh National Opera she has accompanied Angela Gheorghiu, Jose Carreras and Bryn Terfel in televised concerts.
With the distinguished British tenor James Gilchrist she has made acclaimed recordings of 20th-century English song for Linn records, including Vaughan Williams’s On Wenlock Edge (a finalist in the Gramophone Awards 2008), the cycles for tenor and piano by Gerald Finzi and most recently, songs by Britten and Leighton. For Chandos, James and Anna recorded a disc of Songs by Lennox Berkeley. In 2009 they embarked on a series of recordings for Orchid records of the Schubert Song Cycles and their disc of Die Schone Mullerin received great critical acclaim and was Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, November 2009. Schubert’s Schwanengesang along with Beethoven’s An die Ferne Geliebte was released early in 2011 and their recording of Winterreise was Record of the week in The Independent and was made recording of the month in the 2011 Christmas issue of BBC Music Magazine – “It is a profoundly considered reading, considered enough for some of the songs to be as penetrating as in almost any performance I have heard.” (Michael Tanner).
With String Quartets such as the Fitzwilliam, Elias, Coull, Barbirolli and Sacconi, she has performed a wide range of chamber music from Mozart’s Piano Concertos K414 and K415 to the Piano Quintets of Shostakovich, Brahms, Elgar, Bridge and Schubert.
Recent engagements have included her New York Carnegie Hall debut with Lucy Crowe, recitals in the Anima Mundi festival in Pisa, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Musee des Tissus Lyon, Wroclaw Cantans, Wigmore Hall, Oxford Lieder Festival, Derry City of Song and Machylleth Festivals, live BBC Radio 3 recitals from the Sage, LSO St Luke’s and Edinburgh, the Perth Schubertiad and concerts at Kings Place, Wiltons Music Hall and St.John’s Smith Square. She gave a chamber music recital in Pisa with Tedi Papavremi and Guido Corti and an acclaimed performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at the St David’s Festival. With the soprano Lucy Crowe she has performed at the Wigmore Hall, QEH, Lichfield Festival, Music at Oxford and the Gower Festival. In June 2011 Anna repetiteured and played in the performances of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for the Aldeburgh Festival conducted by Oliver Knussen with a cast including Angelika Kirchschlager, Ian Bostridge and Christopher Purves.
Anna is also in demand as a repetiteur, continuo player and vocal coach, working for companies including the Royal Opera, Royal Ballet, Aldeburgh Festival and the LSO and conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Vasily Petrenko, Harry Christophers and Edward Gardner. For the 2006 Buxton Festival she made her conducting debut, directing Telemann’s Pimpinone from the harpsichord.
Born in Hertfordshire, Anna studied music at York University and at the Royal Academy of Music with Julius Drake, where she was awarded a Fellowship and in 2009 became an Associate. She also won many major international accompaniment prizes including the AESS Bluthner prize and the award for an outstanding woman musician from the ROSL.