THE CHIMPANZEES OF HAPPY TOWN

Ensemble 360 & Lucy Drever

Palace Theatre, Mansfield
Wednesday 10 April 2024, 11.00am

Tickets

£8 Adults
£5 Children

Book Tickets

Celebrating the importance of love and happiness in everyone’s lives, Paul Rissmann’s much-loved musical retelling of Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees’s best-selling picture-book returns.  

Meet Chutney the Chimpanzee who, with one small act of planting a seed, transforms the lives of the entire town of Drabsville, and teaches its inhabitants to celebrate their differences and make life more colourful along the way!   

With narration, visuals from the book and lots of music to introduce the musicians of Ensemble 360, this is a brilliant first concert for 3 – 7 year-olds. 

BEETHOVEN & DVOŘÁK

Ensemble 360

Palace Theatre, Mansfield
Wednesday 10 April 2024, 7.30pm

Tickets
£14
(£5 Under 26s)

Book Tickets

BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op.59 No.2
SHAW Entr’acte
DVOŘÁK String Quintet No.2 in G Op.77

This concert begins with one of Beethoven’s deeply passionate quartets, which he dedicated to the Russian Count Razumovsky. Then a work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning US composer Caroline Shaw, whose hypnotic string quartet is full of energy and beauty.

Finally, Dvořák’s exceptional and unusually scored string quintet is operatic in scope and richly textured, earning the dedication for my country’ from the Czech composer, who yearned to create a distinctly bohemian musical language in a time of turmoil across eastern Europe.

BEETHOVEN Ludwig Van, String Quartet in E minor Op.59 No.2 Razumovsky

Allegro 
Molto Adagio. Si tratta questo pezzo con molto di sentimento  
Allegretto. Maggiore (Thème russe)  
Finale. Presto 

“Demanding but dignified” was how the Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung described Beethoven’s new quartets dedicated to Count Rasumovsky when they were first heard in 1807. Composed in 1806, and including Russian melodies from a collection of folk tunes edited by Ivan Prach (published in 1790), these quartets were a major development in the quartet form. But though they were longer and more challenging than any earlier quartets, they were an immediate success. Before the Rasumovsky Quartets were played, Beethoven offered them to publisher Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig – in a job lot with the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Fourth Symphony and Fidelio, but the deal fell through and the quartets were first published in Vienna by the Bureau des Arts et d’Industrie and in London by Clementi. 

While the first of the Rasumovsky Quartets is unusually expansive, the second is more concentrated. From the opening two-chord gesture establishing E minor as the home key, the first movement is tense and full of rhythmic ambiguity. The hymn-like slow movement has a combination of richness and apparent simplicity that blossoms into a kind of ecstatic aria: Beethoven himself is reported to have likened it to “a meditative contemplation of the stars”. The uneasy rhythms of the Scherzo are contrasted by a major-key Trio section in which Beethoven quotes a Russian tune that famously reappeared in the Coronation Scene of Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov. The finale begins with a surprise: a strong emphasis on the note C that is tantalising and unexpected in a movement that moves firmly towards E minor.  

© Nigel Simeone 

SHAW Caroline, Entr’acte

Entracte was written in 2011 after hearing the Brentano Quartet play Haydn’s Op. 77 No. 2 — with their spare and soulful shift to the D-flat major trio in the minuet. It is structured like a minuet and trio, riffing on that classical form but taking it a little further.

From Caroline Shaw Editions.

DVOŘÁK Antonin, String Quintet No.2 in G, Op.77

Scored for the unusual combination of string quartet and double bass, Dvořák’s String Quintet in G major was first performed on 18 March 1876 as the composer’s Op.18 – a number that was changed when the work was first published by Simrock twelve years later in 1888. Originally the work had five movements (with an ‘Intermezzo’ before the Scherzo, reworked as the Nocturne in B major for string orchestra), and despite the published opus number, it is one of the composer’s first chamber works to be fully characteristic of his mature style. The first movement opens with a motif played first by the viola (Dvořák’s own instrument) that dominates much of the musical argument – the triplet figure in it is to be heard in the second theme too. The Scherzo finds Dvořák writing in the style of a folk dance, the opening theme consists of a lively opening motif that contrasts with a gentler idea over which Dvořák later introduces a warmly expressive new tune. The third movement has been described by the great Dvořák scholar Otakar Šourek as ‘one of the most entrancing slow movements in the whole of Dvořák’s chamber music … a flowing stream of passionate warmth [and] depth of feeling’. The finale has the same kind of sunny mood as the first movement, but with an even greater sense of joyful energy. Though there are moments of repose (during which the thematic material is treated to some ingenious transformations), the work ends with what Dvořák’s biographer Otakar Šourek aptly described as ‘high-spirited verve’.  

 

© Nigel Simeone 

SOUNDS OF NOW: LULLABY WITH MANASAMITRA

Manasamitra

Woolwich Works, Woolwich
Thursday 2 May 2024, 8.00pm

Tickets

Standard: £12
Concessions: £10.25

Book Tickets

Attendees can enjoy the space as they wish: relax, get lost in the music, or engage with the melodies.

This event is the brainchild of Supriya Nagarajan, a Carnatic tradition singer from Southern India. Teaming up with musicians including Duncan Chapman, they’ve crafted a special soundscape for Woolwich.

Featured Artists:

  • SUPRIYA NAGARAJAN: Vocals
  • DUNCAN CHAPMAN: Field Recordings & Electronics
  • LUCY NOLAN: Harp

Note: There won’t be a break during the performance, but there will be a discussion with the artists afterward.

Thanks to the Hinrichsen Foundation for their support.

THE CHIMPANZEES OF HAPPY TOWN

Ensemble 360

Junction, Goole
Friday 19 April 2024, 10.00am / 1.15pm

Tickets: £3.50

1 free teacher ticket for every 10 tickets paid

Book Tickets

Celebrating the importance of love and happiness, Paul Rissmann’s hour-long musical retelling of Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees’s much-loved picture book returns.

Meet Chutney the Chimpanzee who, with one small act of planting a seed, transforms the lives of the entire town of Drabsville, and teaches its inhabitants to celebrate their differences and make life more colourful along the way!

With narration, visuals from the book and lots of music to introduce the musicians of Ensemble 360, this is a brilliant first concert for 3 – 7 year-olds.

ENSEMBLE 360

Ensemble 360

The Stables, Milton Keynes
Wednesday 13 March 2024, 8.00pm

Standard: £22.50-£25
Under 25s: Free

Book Tickets

MOZART Amadeus, Trio in E flat K498 Kegelstatt

Andante
Menuetto
Rondo. Allegretto

This is Mozart’s only trio for his three favourite instruments: clarinet, viola and piano. The nickname ‘Kegelstatt’ means ‘skittle alley’, and legend has it that Mozart wrote the work during a game of skittles. This may be far-fetched, especially given the rather noble character of the music, but what is certain is that he wrote the trio in Vienna, and entered it in his own thematic catalogue on 5 August 1786. The first movement is a marvellous example of Mozart’s invention at its most concentrated and unforced: every element in this sonata-form movement derives from the ornamental turn that is such a distinctive feature of the opening. The Minuet surprises by its almost grand character – no mere courtly dance, but something more imposing – and this is followed by an unhurried Rondo that brings this radiant work to a lyrical conclusion.

© Nigel Simeone

MOZART Wolfgang Amadeus, Clarinet Quintet in A K581

Allegro 
Larghetto 
Menuetto 
Allegretto con variazioni  

The Clarinet Quintet was completed on 29 September 1789 and written for Mozart’s friend Anton Stadler (1753–1812). The first performance took place a few months later at a concert in Vienna’s Burgtheater on 22 December 1789, with Stadler as the soloist in a programme where the premiere of the Clarinet Quintet was a musical interlude, sandwiched between the two parts of Vincenzo Righini’s cantata The Birth of Apollo, performed by “more than 180 persons.” 

From the start, Mozart is at his most daringly beautiful: the luxuriant voicing of the opening string chords provides a sensuously atmospheric musical springboard for the clarinet’s opening flourish. The rich sonority of the Clarinet Quintet is quite unlike that of any other chamber music by Mozart, but it does have something in common with his opera Così fan tutte (premièred in January 1790), on which he was working at the same time. In particular, the slow movement of the quintet, with muted strings supporting the clarinet, has a quiet rapture that recalls the trio ‘Soave sia il vento’ (with muted strings, and prominent clarinet parts as well as voices) in Così. The finale of the Quintet is a Theme and Variations which begins with folk-like charm, then turns to more melancholy reflection before ending in a spirit of bucolic delight. 

Nigel Simeone © 2012 

SCHUBERT Franz, Piano Quintet in A major D667, ‘The Trout’

Allegro vivace 
Andante 
Scherzo: Presto 
Theme and Variations: Andante 
Allegro giusto 
 

Silvester Paumgartner was a wealthy amateur cellist who lived in Steyr, Upper Austria, and an enthusiastic supporter of Schubert and his music. After playing Hummel’s Piano Quintet Paumgartner wanted a quintet for the same combination of instruments (violin, viola, cello, double bass and piano) from Schubert, who visited in the summer of 1819 (and again in 1823 and 1825). Paumgartner also wanted a work that included reference to Schubert’s song Die Forelle, The Trout, which had been composed in 1817. For Schubert, his visits to Paumgartner in the Upper Austrian countryside were a delight, a chance to make music, enjoy good company and revel in the spectacular scenery. 

 

Willi Kahl, writing in Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music wrote that ‘the fundamental tone of the piece is defined by the persistence of a major key throughout’ – underlining that this is among Schubert’s most genial chamber works. The first movement is brilliant but never flashy while the Andante is the expressive core of the work, suggesting, Kahl believed, ‘a moonlit night-song from the Styrian landscape’. The Scherzo is muscular and energetic, with a more easy-going central Trio section. In the first three variations, the theme is heard in its original form (on a different instrument each time) and remains clearly recognisable in the more freely worked fourth and fifth variations. In the last variation, Schubert brings the Quintet back to the original song as the unmistakable figurations of the song’s piano accompaniment are heard for the first time, to utterly enchanting effect. The finale is amiable and untroubled (though not without a couple of surprises), bringing this most affable of works to a properly jubilant close. 

 

© Nigel Simeone  

THE CHIMPANZEES OF HAPPY TOWN

Ensemble 360 & Elinor Moran

The Stables, Milton Keynes
Wednesday 13 March 2024, 11.00am / 1.00pm

Please call 01908 280800 to book

Book Tickets

Paul Rissmann’s much-loved musical retelling of Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees’s best-selling picture-book returns. Meet Chutney the Chimpanzee who, with one small act of planting a seed, transforms the lives of the entire town of Drabsville, and teaches its inhabitants to celebrate their differences and make life more colourful along the way!

With narration, visuals from the book and lots of music, this is brilliant first school/family concert for 3-7 year-olds. Before the concert why not buy the book, download the free participation pack, use the Learn the Songs YouTube videos and other learning and participation resources at: https://linktr.ee/mitr_learnin…

Free twilight teachers/educators INSET session for participating groups on Tuesday 6 February, 4.30-6pm. Contact education@stables.org for more information.

SIR SCALLYWAG AND THE GOLDEN UNDERPANTS

Ensemble 360

EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge
Saturday 10 February 2024, 2.00pm / 4.30pm

Adult £12
Child £5
Family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) £30

Past Event

When King Colin’s golden underpants go missing, it’s Sir Scallywag to the rescue! Brave and bold, courageous and true, he’s the perfect knight for the job … even if he is only six years old!

Original music by Music in the Round’s children’s Composer-in-Residence, Paul Rissmann, features instruments including strings, woodwind, and horn, presented together with story-telling and projected illustrations from the best-selling children’s book by Giles Andreae and Korky Paul.

Performed by the wonderfully dynamic and hugely engaging Ensemble 360 in conjunction with Music in the Round, this concert is a great introduction to live music for children. It’s full of wit, invention, songs and actions, and plenty of opportunities to join in.

For 3–7 year-olds and their families

THE CHIMPANZEES OF HAPPY TOWN

Ensemble 360 & Caroline Hallam

Junction, Goole
Saturday 23 March 2024, 2.00pm

Tickets £7

Book Tickets

Celebrating the importance of love and happiness in everyone’s lives, Paul Rissmann’s much-loved musical retelling of Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees’s best-selling picture-book returns.  

Meet Chutney the Chimpanzee who, with one small act of planting a seed, transforms the lives of the entire town of Drabsville, and teaches its inhabitants to celebrate their differences and make life more colourful along the way!   

With narration, visuals from the book and lots of music to introduce the musicians of Ensemble 360, this is a brilliant first concert for 3 – 7 year-olds. 

SHEFFIELD JAZZ 50TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Saturday 18 May 2024, 7.15pm

£20
£18 Over 60, Disabled & Unemployed
£10 Students with NUS
£5 15-17 year-olds
Under 15s free

*Sheffield Jazz tickets do not qualify for any other Music in the Round ticket offers or discounts.

Book Tickets

EMMA RAWICZ saxophones
IVO NEAME piano
CONOR CHAPLIN bass
ASAF SIRKIS drums
**
TONY KOFI saxophones
JONATHAN GEE piano
BEN HAZLETON bass
ROD YOUNGS drums

A very special concert, a double bill, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sheffield Jazz and its predecessors. It features two great all-star bands led by multi-award winning British Jazz musicians, one of whom is a longstanding favourite with Sheffield audiences and another who has made a huge impression in the past couple of years.

Described as “an astonishing new talent” by Jamie Cullum, rising star saxophonist and composer Emma Rawicz is already making waves on the UK scene. She has a unique sound, fusing many influences from lilting Afro-Cuban inspired grooves to modern jazz and funk numbers. Emma has already recorded two albums of original compositions, with her second, ‘Chroma’, released on the prestigious German label ACT, garnering numerous 4 star reviews.

One of the most popular jazz musicians (both in the UK and internationally), Tony Kofi is a saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, whose list of collaborators reads like a Who’s Who of jazz. Having cut his teeth in the Jazz Warriors of the early 90’s, Tony has gone on to establish himself as a musician, teacher and composer of real authority. He leads and co-leads several groups, including this quartet which is dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk.

“A young musician who is destined to be a major voice in the music both as an instrumentalist and composer.”

Jazz Views about Emma Rawicz

“There is so much respect in jazz circles for Tony Kofi.”

Jazzwise

ENSEMBLE 360

Ensemble 360

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon
Sunday 5 May 2024, 7.30pm

Full price: £24
Under 25s: Free

Book Tickets

Woodwind and strings balance in perfect harmony

SUK Meditation on an Old Czech Chorale ‘St. Wenceslas’ Op 35a
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Clarinet Quintet Op 10
HOWELLS Rhapsodic Quintet Op 31
DVOŘÁK String Quartet in F major No 12 Op 96 ‘American’

Praised by The Guardian as “one of the most adaptable chamber groups in the country”, Ensemble 360 is renowned for its virtuoso performances, bold programming and engaging interpretations of music. They present a sumptuous evening of music, with masterpieces ranging from Herbert Howells’s mystical Rhapsodic Quintet to Dvořák’s profound ‘American Quartet’. At the heart of this programme, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s exquisite Clarinet Quintet is arguably the composer’s greatest achievement in chamber music.

Don’t miss the Pre-concert Supper Club.

SUK Josef, Mediation on the Old Czech Chorale

Josef Suk, a student of Antonín Dvořák and later his son-in-law, was a composer with a distinct artistic voice and strong ties to Czech musical heritage. His composition, the “Meditation on an Old Czech Chorale,” pays homage to the Bohemian patron saint, St. Wenceslas, and was written when a member of the Bohemian String Quartet to supplement the obligatory playing of the Austrian national anthem (after 1914) with a more distinctively Bohemian piece, and prayer for the wellbeing of the Czech people.

The “Meditation on an Old Czech Chorale’” is a single-movement for string quartet, which was later expanded into a version for string orchestra, adding a double bass line, and later still adapted for violin and organ. Suk‘s use of the violin as the leading voice enhances the expressive nature of the piece, allowing for moments of spiritual contemplation. The work commences with a solemn and tender introduction, featuring the initial statement of the hymn melody. Through subtle variations, this simple melody moves from serene introspection to intense and soaring passages as a recurring motif. The piece reaches a climax with the violin in its highest register, conveying a profound yearning. It gradually fades away, into tranquility.

COLERIDGE-TAYLOR Samuel, Clarinet Quintet Op.10

Allegro energico
Larghetto affettuoso
Scherzo. Allegro leggiero
Finale. Allegro agitato – Poco più moderato – Vivace

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born in London and entered to Royal College of Music in 1890 to study the violin. His ability as a composer soon became apparent, and he studied composition with Stanford, becoming one of his favourite pupils. His Piano Quintet Op.1 (1893) heralded the arrival of a remarkable talent, but the Clarinet Quintet, composed in 1895, demonstrates Coleridge-Taylor at the height of his creative powers. Stanford had given his students a challenge, declaring that after Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet, written in 1891, nobody would be able to escape its influence. Coleridge-Taylor couldn’t resist trying, and when Stanford saw the result he is said to have exclaimed ‘you’ve done it!’ Coleridge-Taylor took his influences not from Brahms but from another great contemporary composer: in places this work sounds like the clarinet quintet that Dvořák never wrote. That’s a mark of Coleridge-Taylor’s wonderfully fluent and assured writing. The sonata form first movement is both confident and complex, with the clarinet forming part of an intricately-woven ensemble texture. The Larghetto has a free, rhapsodic character, dominated by a haunting main theme. The Scherzo delights in rhythmic tricks while the central Trio section is more lyrical. The opening theme of the finale governs much of what follows until a recollection of the slow movement gives way to an animated coda. The first performance took place at the Royal College of Music on 10 July 1895, with George Anderson playing the clarinet. Afterwards, Stanford wrote to the great violinist Joseph Joachim describing the piece as ‘the most remarkable thing in the younger generation that I have seen.’

HOWELLS Herbert, Rhapsodic Quintet for Clarinet and Strings Op.31 

Lento, ma appassionato – A tempo, tranquillo – Piu mosso, inquieto – Doppio movimento ritmico, e non troppo allegro – Più elato – Meno mosso – Lento, assai tranquillo – Più adagio 

Herbert Howells is probably best remembered for his church music (including the famous hymn tune ‘All my hope on God is founded’ as well as several outstanding settings of service music) and for his choral masterpiece Hymnus paradisi. But he was also a gifted composer for instruments and wrote a good deal of chamber music at the start of his career. The Rhapsodic Quintet was completed in June 1919 and Howells himself said that there was ‘a mystic feeling about the whole thing’. Still, mystic feelings didn’t come without some serious hard work, and the Howells scholar Paul Spicer has drawn attention to an entry in the composer’s diary where he noted that the quintet had involved quite a lot of preparatory thinking. Howells wrote of his ‘long ponderous thoughts on problems of musical form … hours spent in an easy-chair, fire-gazing, form-thinking.’ The ‘form-thinking’ was clearly productive, since this beautifully written quintet for clarinet and strings in one movement appears to flow effortlessly from one idea to the next as well as having overall coherence. This was an early work – Howells had only recently finished his studies at the Royal College of Music with Stanford and Charles Wood – but his handling of the instruments shows tremendous assurance. Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music makes particular mention of this, describing the work as having a ‘sensitive appreciation of instrumental needs’, but there is more to it than that, since Howells also shows a great gift for unfolding long, lyrical melodies, and contrasting these with more capricious ideas. It’s this combination of fluent and idiomatic writing with memorable thematic material that led Christopher Palmer, in his biography of Howells, to call the Rhapsodic Quintet ‘an outstanding achievement’.  

DVOŘÁK Antonin, String Quartet in F Op.96 The American Quartet

Allegro ma non troppo
Lento
Molto vivace
Finale. Vivace ma non troppo

Dvořák was teaching in New York in 1893, and for his summer holiday he travelled over a thousand miles westwards, to the village of Spillville in Iowa, set in the valley of the Turkey River. It had been colonized by Czechs in the 1850s and in these congenial surroundings Dvořák quickly wrote the String Quartet in F major. On the last page of the manuscript draft, he wrote: ‘Finished on 10 June 1893, Spillville. I’m satisfied. Thanks be to God. It went quickly.’

Coming immediately after the ‘New World’ Symphony (which was to have its triumphant première in New York later in the year), the quartet has a mood that suggests something of his contentment in Spillville. Dvořák’s assistant Josef Kovařík recalled the composer’s routine: walks, composing, playing the organ for Mass and talking to locals, observing that he ‘scarcely ever talked about music and I think that was one of the reasons why he felt so happy there.’

Just how ‘American’ is the quartet? While remaining completely true to himself, Dvořák admitted that ‘as for my … F major String Quartet and the Quintet (composed here in Spillville) – I should never have written these works the way I did if I hadn’t seen America’. The first performance was given in Boston on New Year’s Day 1894 by the Kneisel Quartet.

© Nigel Simeone

RELAXED FAMILY CONCERT: THE CHIMPANZEES OF HAPPY TOWN

Ensemble 360 & Lucy Drever

Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon
Sunday 5 May 2024, 2.00pm

Full price: £12
Students/ Under 18s: £7

Book Tickets

Meet Chutney the Chimpanzee who, with one small act of planting a seed, transforms the lives of the entire town of Drabsville, and teaches its inhabitants to celebrate their differences, making life more colourful along the way!

Celebrating the importance of love and happiness, Paul Rissmann’s hour-long musical retelling of Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees’s much-loved picture book is performed by Ensemble 360 and narrator Lucy Drever. With narration, visuals from the book and plenty of chances to join in, this is a brilliant concert for 3 – 7 year-olds.

SOUNDS OF NOW: ROTATIONS

Tabea Debus & Samuele Telari

Woolwich Works, Woolwich
Thursday 7 March 2024, 8.00pm

Full price: £13
Students/ Under 18s/ UC: £11.25

Book Tickets

A unique programme of music and movement, inspired by the physicality of Roosendael’s Rotations, created by virtuoso recorder player Tabea Debus and dazzling accordion player Samuele Telari, in collaboration with award-winning choreographer Sally Marie whose choreography is performed by dancer Elisa Blasi.

Featuring a new commission and works from giants of twentieth century music, the show’s choreography of the musicians makes full use of the ‘in the round’ setting.

This performance has no interval. There will be a post-show Q&A with the artists.

PÄRT – Pari Intervallo
BARTÓK – Pe loc (From Six Romanian Folk Dances)
ROOSENDAEL – Rotations for solo recorder
BARTÓK – Buciumeana (From Six Romanian Folk Dances)
LIM – slowly, turning
SEMIONOV – Allegretto (From Bulgarian Suite)
BACH –Siciliano, Largo (From Sonata in c-Moll BWV 1017)
CARDINI – Would you keep a secret?
BARTÓK – Poargă românească & Mărunte (From Six Romanian Folk Dances)
HOSOKAWA – Sen V for solo accordion
PÄRT – Spiegel im Spiegel

 

Find out more and join the conversation here.

Presented by Music in the Round, in partnership with the Young Classical Artists Trust.

Thanks to the Hinrichsen Foundation for supporting Sounds of Now.