14-21 May 2022
Free event

There’s no need to book for any of these free events, just turn up!

Saturday 14 May
Sheffield Winter Garden
Musicians from Classical Sheffield perform short concerts throughout the day in Sheffield’s Winter Gardens. Performances include collaborations with violinist Raye Harvey – catch Raye at 1.30pm with CoMA Sheffield and at 2.00pm with violin and cello duo Lucy Philips & Jonny Ingall.

Sunday 15 May
1pm – 1.30pm
Samuel Worth Chapel
Singers of all ages and abilities come together for music-making and an informal performance, following a morning of workshopping English composer Tippett’s arrangement of Willis’ Steal Away and American composer Shruthi Rajasekar’s Jayjaykar!.

Wednesday 18 May
1pm – 2pm
Crucible Studio Foyer
Musicians from Leeds Conservatoire perform short concerts over the hour’s break between concerts.

Wednesday 18 May
Orchard Square
Musicians from The University of Sheffield, Leeds Conservatoire, and participants from our recent Bridge weekend for young wind musicians, perform short concerts throughout the afternoon.

Thursday 19 May
5.30pm – 6pm
Site Gallery
Sheffield Music School are joined by CoMA Sheffield and musicians from Bastard Assignments in this workshop and informal performance of open scores by Sarah Hennies and Joanna Bailie. The public are welcome to watch the workshop process from 4.30pm, before we open our doors for an informal performance at 5.30pm.

Saturday 21 May
10am – 11am
Crucible Studio Foyer
Sheffield Music Academy perform short concerts in the foyer, led by Martin Cropper.

Saturday 21 May
12pm – 1pm

Crucible Studio Foyer & Crucible Adelphi Room
Musicians from The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Music Academy perform short concerts in the Crucible Studio foyer and Adelphi Room.



Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2022

The nine days of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival, featuring Ensemble 360 and guests, are an absolute highlight of our year.

It’s an opportunity to enjoy a huge range of music in just a few days; for audiences to gain more in-depth knowledge about our Ensemble 360 musicians, a composer or a piece of music; and for us to present music that’s rarely heard.

For this year’s Festival, we’ve been working with Guest Festival Curator, the Scottish composer Helen Grime MBE.

Winner of a British Composer Award in 2003, Helen’s work has been widely performed across the world, with commissions from prestigious organisations such as the BBC Proms, London Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center and Wigmore Hall, where she was Composer in Residence from 2016-18.

For Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2022, Helen has produced a dazzling programme with her musical fingerprints all over it: deeply embedded in the canon of classical music, but outward-looking to the innovative and surprising.

In each concert, she’ll be sharing some of the wonderful chamber music gems that so many of us love, as well as introducing rarely-played delights that deserve to be heard more often, uncovering a world of treats for your ears to enjoy.

Concerts feature works and arrangements by some of Helen’s favourite composers such as Janáček, Knussen and Ravel.

These sit alongside cornerstones of the repertoire from Brahms’s Serenade No.1 through a selection of Chopin’s Nocturnes, three of Beethoven’s most monumental string quartets and Dvořák’s epic, spirited second piano quartet.

She has brought an openness and sensitivity that enables us to hear familiar works in fresh ways, pairing them with diverse new works. With a deep concern for the visual, there’s also a concert linking chamber music across the ages with visual art – featuring music inspired by the art of Stanley Spencer, Goya and more, and music by Bach and Chopin that has itself inspired some wonderful artists.

There’s so much to enjoy with Music in the Round, Ensemble 360, Helen Grime and guests this May. Browse the full programme on our What’s On pages, or download a brochure. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

“It’s been a huge pleasure and honour to be guest curator of the 2022 Sheffield Chamber Music Festival.

“I’ve had lots of fun, working with Ensemble 360, putting together programmes of music I love, finding connections between old and new music and threading through various themes that are close to my heart.

“Each concert features the music of at least one female composer, including overlooked gems from the last few hundred years as well as more recent pieces and a world premiere. I was also keen to explore the relationship between visual art and music and this features in a concert and roundtable discussion. This Festival also moves beyond the Studio to other venues in the city, taking music out and about to new audiences, which is so important for the future.

“I’m very excited to be welcoming some of the most distinguished musicians working in the country as guest artists, and I hope you’ll enjoy meeting them as well as seeing Ensemble 360 back in their Festival home.”

Helen Grime MBE, Guest Festival Curator, Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2022


Robert Webb & Shruthi Rajasekar

Samuel Worth Chapel, Sheffield
Sunday 15 May 2022, 10.00am

£5 plus Eventbrite booking fee

Past Event

Singers of all ages and abilities come together for music-making and an informal performance.

Sing with us in the peaceful setting of Samuel Worth Chapel as we explore two pieces of beautiful music that meld histories together through time.

We’ll workshop English composer Tippett’s arrangement of Willis’ Steal Away and American composer Shruthi Rajasekar’s Jayjaykar! before an informal performance to friends and family at the end of the event (1pm-1.30pm).

Sheffield Chamber Choir’s Robert Webb will lead us in performing this beautiful music which together references choral traditions from both England and India while providing perspectives from two very different places and points in history. Shruthi Rajasekar will also be zapping in from the US during the day and has recorded insights about her music especially for you. We’ll be sharing this with you during the break. 

Either learn by ear or from provided notation. This event is for both beginners and experienced singers alike (although some experience of singing in a choir will be helpful).

Recordings of both pieces can be found here: https://linktr.ee/mitr_participation and if you’d like a chat before signing up, please email ellen@musicintheround.co.uk

by RayMesh Photography



Sheffield CoMA

Site Gallery, Sheffield
Thursday 19 May 2022, 4.30pm / 5.30pm

FREE, please book through box office

Past Event

*Please note the new start time for this event*

You are welcome to attend from 4.30pm to observe the process of this workshop, or to join the group at 5.30pm to watch the partcipants’ performances of Sarah Hennies’ Growing Block and Joanna Bailie’s Hildegardestraße Bundesallee.

Led by Sheffield CoMA (Contemporary Music for All) in partnership with Sheffield Music School, this workshop features new works for mixed ensemble. Edward Henderson of Bastard Assignments also joins the session to reflect on the branches of experimental practice that have informed both CoMA and his group, ahead of their Sounds of Now concert the same evening.


Helen Grime, Ensemble 360 & students from The University of Sheffield

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Wednesday 18 May 2022, 11.00am

FREE, please book through box office

Past Event

Join us for the final hour of a morning in which composition students from The University of Sheffield work on their latest compositions with Ensemble 360 as they are coached by Helen Grime.

*Please note the change to the previously advertised venue for this event and the new time. This workshop will now be held in the Crucible Studio Theatre, as originally advertised.

Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.*


Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Friday 13 May 2022, 7.15pm

Tickets: £20
£14 Disabled & Unemployed
£5 Students & Under 35s

Save £s when you book for 5 or more concerts*

Past Event

JANÁČEK Concertino (17’)
MARTINŮ Three Madrigals (16′)
MEREDITH Tripotage Miniatures (15’)
DVOŘÁK Piano Quintet No.2 (40′)

Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No.2 provides a joyous opening to our first live festival in two years. Before this, the world-class musicians of Ensemble 360 have some fun with Anna Meredith’s Tripotage Miniatures, best translated as ‘jiggery-pokery’, plus Martinů’s Three Madrigals for violin and viola, full of playful repartee, and Janáček’s Concertino, featuring movements he compared to a ‘grumpy hedgehog’, a ‘fidgety squirrel’ and ‘a scene from a fairy-tale’. 

Welcome drinks
Celebrate the start of the Festival with us and enjoy a post-concert complimentary glass of wine or soft drink (served to all ticket-holders).

This evening is generously supported by Kate Dugdale.

Sheffield Chamber Music Festival runs 13–21 May 2022

Download a Festival brochure


JANÁČEK Leoš, Concertino

For piano, two violins, viola, clarinet, horn and bassoon

Più mosso
Con moto

Janáček started his Concertino after hearing the pianist Jan Heřman playing his song-cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared in November 1924. The composer told Heřman that he’d played it ‘magnificently, like no one else’, and he soon set to work on a piece for him. The first sketches are dated ‘Prague, 1 January 1925, by the Vltava’ and ‘11 January 1925, on the train from Prague’, but this piece recalls not the nation’s capital where it was conceived, but the Moravian countryside where Janáček grew up and where, in fact, the work was finished: the manuscript is dated on the title page ‘Hukvaldy, 29 April 1925’. Though not stated on the score, the Concertino is programmatic. Janáček wrote to Heřman that ‘it arose from the youthful mood of the sextet Mládí’ and in a letter to Kamila Stösslová he told her that he had composed ‘a piano concerto – Spring. There’s a cricket, midges, a roebuck, a torrent – yes, and a man!’ In a later description from 1927, the theme of spring remained, but Janáček assigned a specific animal character to each of the first three movements: a hedgehog for the first, a squirrel for the second, and various nocturnal animals for the third. According to a note on the autograph manuscript, the fourth movement represents a rushing torrent. The result is one of Janáček’s most enchanting and untroubled chamber works, notable for some typically inventive scoring as well as its great charm. Much to Jan Heřman’s understandable irritation, he didn’t give the first performance of the Concertino that Janáček dedicated to him. In a letter of 1 July 1925, Janáček agreed to let the young pianist Ilona Štěpanová-Kurzová give the première, which she did on 16 February 1926, at a concert of the Club of Moravian Composers in Brno.

Nigel Simeone © 2011

MARTINŮ Bohuslav, Three Madrigals

Poco allegro
Poco andante

It was hearing a performance of Mozart’s Duo in B flat played by Josef and Lillian Fuchs (brother and sister) that inspired Martinů to compose his Three Madrigals in February–March 1947, with the subtitle ‘Duo No. 1’ on the autograph manuscript. Martinů wrote to his friend Miloš Šafránek on 16 May 1947: ‘I have written Three Madrigals for violin and viola … for J. Fuchs and Lillian (his sister) who is a great and unique viola player. I heard them at a concert and was amazed by their artistic quality, so I wrote the Duo for them, and it seems to be good. They are both excited and will put it in their Carnegie recital.’ This was given on 22 December 1947 and in the next day’s New York Times, the venerated critic Virgil Thomson gave a warm welcome to the new work: ‘a delight for musical fantasy, for ingenious figuration [and] for Renaissance-style evocation.’ Josef and Lillian Fuchs performed the Madrigals on many more occasions and when their recording of the work was issued in 1950, it was coupled, appropriately, with the Mozart Duo in B flat.

© Nigel Simeone

MEREDITH Anna, Tripotages Miniatures

I              Lanolin                                 E flat Clarinet & Horn
II             40 Watt                                Piccolo & Double Bass
III           Moth                                      Alto Flute, Oboe & Horn
IV           Buzzard                                 Cor Anglais & Viola
V             Scrying                                  B flat Clarinet, Viola & Double Bass
VI           Majolica                                Tutti (Flute, Oboe, B flat Clarinet, Horn, Viola & Double Bass)
Tripotage Miniatures are a collection of 3 duets, 2 trios and a tutti movement for mixed sextet. Each miniature is around 1-3 minutes long.
The miniatures are exploring different kinds of opacity, glitch, fuzz, shade and grime – imagining underhand dealings that place a sort of filmy surface on top of the material. (My favourite translation of Tripotage from the French is Jiggery Pokery.)
Sometimes this filter seems to drain colour – turning the material almost sepia, sometimes it makes ideas a bit murkier – harder to grasp, slippery and falling through the fingers, sometimes it causes moments to stutter and distort and sometimes it’s about capturing a fleeting feeling of distance, of something out of reach.
There are tiny thematic links between the movements but they could also be played individually – it’s about capturing a moment – even if it’s a slightly shady and disquieting one.
© Anna Meredith

DVOŘÁK Antonín, Piano Quintet No.2 in A Op.81

Allegro, ma non tanto
Dumka. Andante con moto – Vivace – Andante con moto
Scherzo. Furiant – Molto vivace
Finale. Allegro 

Dvořák composed his great A major Piano Quintet in 1887 (a much earlier quintet from 1872 is in the same key) and it was described by Otakar Šourek as one of ‘the most delightful and successful works’ in the whole chamber music repertoire. From the spacious cello theme that opens the quintet, Dvořák shows the seemingly effortless spontaneity of a composer at the height of his powers. The second theme turns the mood more wistful, and the music oscillates between melancholy and warmth, culminating in a jubilant climax. The second movement is a Dumka, with slow outer sections based on a melancholy tune, and a quick central section derived from the same musical idea. The Scherzo – described by Dvořák as a Furiant – begins with one of his most enchanting quick melodies and this is followed by two more: an undulating tune and another of folk-like simplicity, before the opening idea returns. The central Trio provides an oasis – a tune in long notes over which Dvořák introduces fragments of the main theme. The opening melody of the Finale dominates much of what follows. Near the close, a brief fugal section leads to a moment of tranquillity before the final dash to the end.  

Nigel Simeone © 2014 

IZZY GIZMO family concert

Ensemble 360 & Aga Serugo-Lugo

SADACCA, Sheffield
Saturday 14 May 2022, 11.00am / 2.00pm

Tickets: £5

Past Event


Music and narration performed by Ensemble 360 and Aga Serugo-Lugo

Best-selling children’s book ‘Izzy Gizmo’, by Pip Jones and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, tells the enchanting story of an intrepid young inventor who puts her talents to work to rescue a crow that can’t fly. This family concert brings Izzy’s mechanical marvels and infectious creative spirit to life! 

Original music by Paul Rissmann features instruments including strings, woodwind, horn and piano, and you might even spot the musicians playing pots, pans, whistles and household items! Together with story-telling and visuals from the book, 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

Sheffield Chamber Music Festival runs 13–21 May 2022



Helen Grime, Tim Horton & Guests

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Saturday 14 May 2022, 4.30pm

Students and Under 35s FREE

Past Event

Festival Curator Helen Grime and Ensemble 360 pianist Tim Horton are joined by guests from the worlds of visual art and music to discuss the connections and themes linking these art forms, and the ways they are woven through Helen’s work and this Festival.

Sheffield Chamber Music Festival runs 13–21 May 2022

Download the Festival brochure



Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Saturday 14 May 2022, 7.15pm

Tickets: £20
£14 Disabled & Unemployed
£5 Students & Under 35s

Save £s when you book for 5 or more concerts*

Past Event

WATKINS ‘Resurrection of the Soldiers’ from Four Spencer Pieces (6’)
GRIME Aviary Sketches (after Joseph Cornell) (12′)
CAGE Nocturne for violin and piano (5′)
DEBUSSY Preludes Nos. 2 & 4 from Book 2 (7′)
GRIME Whistler Miniatures (12’)
JS BACH Prelude & Fugue in E minor BWV900 (4’)
CHOPIN Nocturne Op.15 Nos.1 & 2 (9’)
CHOPIN Nocturne Op.48 No.1 (6’)
CHOPIN Nocturne Op.55 No.2 (6’)
JS BACH Prelude & Fugue in F BWV880 (5’)

Music inspired by giants of painting fills the opening half of this concert. Starting with Huw Watkins’ contemplative and architectural vision of Stanley Spencer’s memorial altarpiece, the programme explores works inspired by Richter and Cornell among others. It concludes with Helen Grime’s subtle, jagged and, at times, peaceful piano trio – a musical evocation of three chalk and pastel works by Whistler. 

After the interval, the programme focuses on works for solo piano that have inspired visual artists. Chopin’s four nightscapes gave birth to Whistler’s languid, darkly beautiful paintings of the same name. These are bookended by two preludes and fugues by JS Bach that set Paul Klee’s creative mind ablaze, inspiring a number of the artist’s colourful abstract works.

Projections of artworks will provide a backdrop to this concert.

This concert is dedicated to Dr Margaret Staniforth, a great supporter of The Lindsays and Music in the Round for many years.

Please note the change to the previously advertised programme for this concert.
We apologise for any disappointment this may cause.

Sheffield Chamber Music Festival runs 13–21 May 2022

Download the Festival brochure


WATKINS Huw, ‘Resurrection of the Soldiers’ from Four Spencer Pieces

This sequence for solo piano actually comprises six pieces, since the four titled movements inspired by paintings of Sir Stanley Spencer are enclosed between a Prelude and Postlude in which serenely descending harmonies settle on repeated notes, tolling like a distant bell. And repeated notes prove a recurrent feature of the Spencer Pieces proper.
The distant, tolling bell of the Prelude returns at the still opening of the longest movement ‘The Resurrection of Soldiers’, with convergent high and low sonorities suggesting a passing echo of ‘Le gibet’ from Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit. In due course the music passes over into a convolved fugue, but so subtly that it is difficult tell exactly where the transition occurs – or where it passes back again into the preludial music.
Not least striking about the Four Spencer Pieces, is how Watkins, even at his most aggressively chromatic, contrives to keep his textures clean of the dispiriting greyness of so much ‘advanced’ piano writing. The Maidenhead Music Society commissioned the work in 2001 and Watkins gave the premiere in the parish church at Cookham, the Thames-side village Spencer lived in for so long and transfigured in his paintings.
© Bayan Northcott, 2012

GRIME Helen, Aviary Sketches (after Joseph Cornell)


Cast in five movements, each takes its starting point and character from the works, listed above, by Joseph Cornell. What interests me about his assemblage boxes is his ability to create miniature worlds. They are immediate and alluring but also rich in associations.

Each movement treats the ensemble in a different way, exploring the range of possibilities inherent in the combination. In the first movement, two are pitched against one but the groupings are continually shifting. There is a reference to Ravel’s Oiseaux Tristes in the melody that is spun through it and also in the rapid figuration throughout.

Marked ‘mechanical’, the second movement features a pizzicato cello line in ever changing patterns set against repeated gestures in violin and viola. Gradually everyone plays the pizzicato line with the repeated gestures skittered between violin and viola, this material eventually taking centre stage. The pizzicato becomes the repeated material before shortening at each statement until we are left with just one note.

In the third movement, a solo viola line is punctuated by flurried bursts of activity in the violin and cello. Eventually everyone comes together in a unison line before the viola comes to the fore again.

In FORGOTTEN GAME, an exchange of quiet, ephemeral harmonics is interrupted by fast, violent outbursts. The juxtaposition becomes more rapid and tense before its release.

The final movement opens with a chorale and is interspersed with fleeting, intertwined passages. The two things become one leading to an impassioned climax. A very quiet, slow coda reflects on what has come before.

© 2015 Helen Grime

CAGE John, Nocturne for violin and piano

In this piece, Cage tries to soften the distinctions inherent between the two instruments used. Overall, the piece has an atmospheric character, like many other compositions from this period. It should be played with sustained resonances, and ‘sempre rubato’, giving the work a quirkily Romantic feel. The piano part employs mostly chordal arpeggios and tone clusters, the violin part mostly sustained tones.

From JohnCage.org

GRIME Helen, Whistler Miniatures

Three Whistler Miniatures falls into three movements, contrasted in mood and tempo:

I: The Little Note in Yellow and Gold (Tranquillo)
II: Lapis Lazuli (Presto)
III: The Violet Note (Lontano, molto flessibile)

The titles refer to three chalk and pastel miniatures, which are displayed in the Veronese Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Although the music does not relate directly to the pictures, I was taken by the subtly graduated palate and intimate atmosphere suggested by each of them.

Throughout the piece the violin and cello form a sort of unit, which is set against the contrasting nature of the piano.

The first movement opens with a very quiet and gentle piano melody. Gradually the violin and cello become part of the texture, but moving at a slower pace. The violin and cello form an overlapping two-part melody, very high in register and ethereal in quality whilst the piano moves at a quicker pace with a more detailed and elaborate version of the string material creating a delicate, layered effect. This leads to a faster section, the two string instruments have overlapping material with more agitated outbursts from the piano. This builds to an impassioned and somewhat flamboyant piano solo, featuring falling gestures and is interspersed with an intensified and quicker version of the previous string material until the end of the movement.

The second movement is lively and virtuosic for all three players. A running continuous line is passed back and forth between the cello and violin, eventually being taken by the piano before a more melodic section. Lyrical lines are contrasted with the more jagged material of the opening, the three instruments coming together in rhythmic unison before an extended and complete melody is heard in the violin and cello. Each melodic entry is lower in register and dynamic, seeming to die away before the final presto section takes over until the movement’s close.

Beginning with a distant high piano melody and set against muted strings ‘quasi lullaby’, the third movement alludes to the textures and material of the opening of the piece. A more agitated florid section leads to a heightened rendition of the piano melody for high cello surrounded by filigree passagework in the piano and violin. The violin takes over before the final section, which combines the piano writing from the opening of the first movement, but here it is much darker in nature.

© Helen Grime

BACH Johann Sebastian, Prelude & Fugue in E minor BWV900

This prelude and fugue forms part of a quintet of works in a succession of keys C-D-E-F-G. It is unknown whether Bach wrote them for teaching or as part of a larger project similar to The Well Tempered Clavier but there is no manuscript with possible answers. The two-part work starts with a prelude filled with fugue elements. In just eighteen bars, Bach manages to squeeze in three sections, each closing with a string of fast notes. The fugue itself is less complex than you might expect from Bach, which may explain the term ‘fughetta’ – as the diminutive does not apply to the length of the piece. The theme builds up tension with surprising pauses, which are later filled in spiritedly by the counter theme. In its final entrance, the main theme itself is also ornamented, as the introduction to a powerful ending.

CHOPIN Frédéric, Nocturne Op.15 Nos.1 & 2

Chopin’s fourth nocturne is in simple ternary form (A–B–A). The first section, in F major, features a very simple melody over a descending triplet pattern in the left hand. The middle section in F minor, in great contrast to the outer themes, is fast and dramatic (Con fuoco) using a challenging double note texture in the right hand. After a return to the serene A theme, the ending does not contain a coda, but rather two simple arpeggios. Some critics have remarked that this nocturne has little to do with night, as if sunlight is “leaking” from the piece’s seams. Chopin’s fifth nocturne is marked Larghetto, featuring an intricate, elaborately ornamental melody over an even quaver bass. The second section, labelled doppio movimento (double speed), resembles a scherzo with dotted quaver-semi quaver melody, semiquavers in a lower voice in the right hand, and large jumps in the bass. The final section is a shortened version of the first (14 bars rather than 24) with characteristic cadenzas and elaboration, finishing with an arpeggio on F♯ major, falling at first, then dying away. Many consider this nocturne to be the best of the opus, stating that its musical maturity matches some of his later nocturnes.

CHOPIN Frédéric, Nocturne Op.48 No.1

Chopin’s Nocturne in C minor is among the finest of all his explorations of this form. More overtly dramatic than most of his other nocturnes, it begins with a solemn, halting melody in the right hand, supported by chords that have some of the characteristics of a funeral march. The result, though, is more lyrical and more plangent (reminding us of Chopin’s fondness for bel canto opera) than the austere tread of his most famous funeral march (in the B flat minor Sonata). The central section is a richly harmonized chorale in C major, that is – in due course –infiltrated and disturbed by a quicker, more chromatic figure in a triplet rhythm that eventually provokes an explosive climax – complete with Lisztian octaves – before the music turns back to the minor key, and the material from the opening. Here Chopin does something unexpected. The uneasy triplet rhythms that had disrupted the chorale are now transformed into a restless, agitated accompaniment for the melody, and it is only in the last two bars that the nervousness finally subsides.


This Nocturne was the first of a pair dedicated to a favourite Chopin pupil – Laure Duperré, the beautiful daughter of an admiral – and was first published in 1841 by Schlesinger in Paris. The following year, it was reviewed in the Revue et Gazette musicale by Maurice Bourges. Writing in the form of a letter to an unnamed Baroness, Bourges offers a description of the work’s design that was quite novel for the time outside the pages of composition treatises (Schumann was one of the few who had attempted something similar in the general musical press): ‘Here in a few words is an outline of the thirteenth nocturne. A first period, in C minor, is distinguished by the character of the melody that dominates it; the second, in C major, begins pianissimo; it belongs to the complex form that has been very aptly called melodic harmony; then it ends with a restatement of the first theme, accompanied this time by pulsating chords that give the general rhythm a new warmth.’

Nigel Simeone 2010

CHOPIN Frédéric, Nocturne Op.55 No.2

The second nocturne in E flat major features a 12/8 time signature, triplet quavers in the bass, and a lento sostenuto tempo marking. The left hand features sweeping legato arpeggios from the bass to the tenor, while the right hand often plays a contrapuntal duet and a soaring single melody. There is a considerable amount of ornamentation in the right hand. The characteristic chromatic ornaments often subdivide the beats in a syncopated fashion in contrast with the steady triplets in the left hand. It differs in form from the other nocturnes in that it has no contrasting second section, the melody flowing onward from beginning to end in a uniform manner. The monotony of the unrelieved sentimentality does not fail to make itself felt. One is seized by an ever-increasing longing to get out of this oppressive atmosphere, to feel the fresh breezes and warm sunshine.

BACH Johann Sebastian, Prelude & Fugue in F BWV880

Composing 48 keyboard pieces in all 24 keys was the sort of challenge Bach enjoyed. In each of the two parts of The Well-Tempered Clavier he brought together the musical couple prelude and fugue 24 times; twelve in minor keys and twelve in major. In the preludes, he gave free rein to his imagination, and demonstrated mathematical tours de force in the fugues. In contrast to the iron discipline Bach had to apply to his church compositions, here he could abandon himself without worrying about deadlines. This Prelude and Fugue in F is from the first part of the work and dates from 1722, although it contains some music that was written in the preceding five years. Bach described the target group for this collection of pieces as follows: “For both the education of the industrious musical youngster and the enjoyment of those well-versed in this material”.


Ensemble 360

Samuel Worth Chapel, Sheffield
Sunday 15 May 2022, 5.15am

Tickets: £20
£14 Disabled & Unemployed
£8 Students & Under 35s
(includes a hot drink and pastry)

Save £s when you book for 5 or more concerts*

Past Event

**Information for ticket-holders**

Parking and Access

At weekends there’s free parking on both Montague Street and Cemetery Road. Vehicle access to the Chapel is reserved for audience members with mobility issues.

Access to the Chapel is from Montague Street. Doors will open and Music in the Round stewards will be available to guide audience members to the Chapel from 5.05am. The path to the Chapel, 2 mins walk on a flat good surface, will be well lit, but staff will also be on hand along the pathway.


Alphorn transcriptions
CASALS Song of the Birds
JS BACH Chaconne from Partita No.2 in D minor BWV1004 (15’)
NISHIMURA Fantasia on Song of the Birds (6’)
HAYDN String Quartet Op.76 No.4 ‘Sunrise’ (22’)
DAVIES Yoik (8′)

Distant horn calls herald the rising sun as musicians from Ensemble 360 salute the dawn in this programme of music inspired by the natural world.

As the darkness gradually recedes and the beautiful Samuel Worth Chapel is flooded with light, the musicians complement the arrival of dawn with performances including the tender ‘Song of the Birds’, a Catalan folksong made famous by the great cellist Pablo Casals. Other treats include Bach’s ‘Chaconne’ for solo violin, a musical force of nature, and Haydn’s inventive ‘Sunrise’ Quartet. Sunday morning will never have sounded so good.

Capacity is limited for this event and early booking is advised. Coffee and pastries included.

Sheffield Chamber Music Festival runs 13–21 May 2022

Download the Festival brochure


CASALS Pablo, Song of the Birds (arr. Catalan traditional song)

The Catalan Christmas carol El cant dels ocells tells of birds singing with joy on hearing the news of the birth of Jesus. Pablo Casals made his cello arrangement after leaving Spain in protest at Franco’s dictatorship in 1939. He played it in almost all his concerts thereafter, including a memorable performance for President John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1961. The song became a musical emblem of Casals’s Catalan homeland, and his self-imposed exile. The great cellist himself made it clear that his reasons for making this arrangement were both musical and political, expressing the hope that ‘these sounds may be like a gentle echo of the nostalgia we feel for Catalonia. These sentiments must make us all work together, with the hope of a peaceful future, when Catalonia will once again be Catalonia.’  


Notes by Nigel Simeone, 2022 

BACH Johann Sebastian, Chaconne from Partita No.2 in D minor BWV1004

‘On one stave, for a small instrument, Bach writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.’ This is how Johannes Brahms described Bach’s gigantic Chaconne to his friend Clara Schumann. It is the last movement of Bach’s D minor Partita, composed in about 1720. Probably the greatest single movement ever written for unaccompanied violin, it is an extended set of variations on a short, four-bar idea announced at the start. Bach uses all his ingenuity to create a structure in which unity (the basic theme) and diversity (the astonishingly imaginative variations) are held in perfect balance over a long (256-bar) span. The outer sections are in D minor, while Bach provides tonal variety by modulating to D major for the central section. As Brahms suggested, the result is quite simply one of the marvels of Baroque music.  

Nigel Simeone, 2022 

NISHIMURA Akira, Fantasia on Song of the Birds

The Song of the Birds, played by Pablo Casals (1876-1973) in 1971, was based on a haunting and melancholy folk tune of his native Catalonia. Casals had experienced the horrors of both world wars, and this piece embodied the cello virtuoso’s prayers for peace. When performing it before the United Nations General Assembly toward the end of his life, he stood up and said, “Birds in Catalonia go singing: Peace, peace, peace.” I remember watching a video recording of this scene.

It might be more appropriate to call the piece this time a fantasia based on The Song of the Birds, rather than its arrangement. I wrote it freely, trying to capture the feelings and emotions of Casals, while imagining its performance by Japanese viola player Nobuko Imai. The original piece was written in A minor, but I chose C minor as its principal key to make the most of the viola’s open strings. Casals was one of the most important artists to Mr. Haruhiko Hagimoto; because I have dedicated this short piece to Mr. Hagimoto, and H.H. are his initials, the piece ends with a prolonged H note.

Akira Nishimura 

HAYDN Joseph, String Quartet Op.76 No.4 ‘Sunrise’

Allegro con spirito
Menuetto. Allegro
Finale. Allegro, ma non troppo

This quartet was nicknamed the ‘Sunrise’ on account of its opening idea, an ascending theme on the first violin, heard over sustained chords. It was completed in 1797, and published as the fourth in what was to be Haydn’s last set of six quartets. A strongly contrasting idea in semiquavers is punctuated by short, rhythmic chords. Throughout the movement, Haydn cuts between these two sharply characterized themes, often returning to the ‘sunrise’ idea in ingenious ways. For instance, quite near the start, the theme is heard on the cello, beneath long chords in the upper strings, and this time it heads in a new direction – descending rather than ascending. The variety of texture in this movement is a constant source of delight – a composer at the height of his powers in a genre which he had not only pioneered but also developed to new expressive heights. The slow movement is reflective and unusually free in terms of structure: here the fantasia-like form seems to emerge as a natural consequence of the musical ideas. The Minuet comes as a charming contrast, until the rather austere Trio section where the violins present a serpentine tune, full of chromatic twists, over a drone in the lower strings. The finale is based on a theme that resembles a folk-song, and it has been suggested Haydn may have discovered this tune during his second visit to London in 1795. For the most part, the mood of this movement is jovial apart from a darker central section where the tune is presented in B flat minor. The work ends back in the major, closing with two unusually full double- and triple-stopped chords.

Nigel Simeone © 2015

DAVIES Tansy, Yoik

Tansy and I have been collaborating on nature and the horn for many years. A horn player herself, Tansy really understands the primal connection the sound of the horn stimulates in the deepest layers of our shared human experience.  This aspect of her oeuvre fascinates me and I feel it strongly when playing “Yoik”. The haunting lyricism interspersed with a special playing technique sounding like the resonance found in an icy wind of distant memory is just wonderful. Tansy wrote the following about the piece:

A Yoik is not merely a description; it attempts to capture its subject in its entirety: it’s like a holographic, multi-dimensional living image, a replica, not just a flat photograph or simple visual memory. It is not about something, it is that something. It does not begin and it does not end.

A Yoik is not a song in the sense that it is about something. The melody is closely connected to the referential object in an indissoluble relationship. Linguistically this is expressed through the fact that one does not yoik about somebody or something, there is a direct connection; one yoiks something or someone.

The structure of a Yoik follows the Sami worldview of “No beginning, no end”. Sami see the world as following the circular patterns of nature. Living in a whited-out world of snow, often without horizon; perceptions of space, depth, time and environment are all closely-knit mysteries, to which the culture – and the Yoik – are intrinsically connected.

The name Christine Chapman is transmuted here – into the melody of my Yoik for Horn – so this is a yoik for and of her. The piece was composed by the river Medway in Kent, England. It is also a Yoik for that river, in the early morning.

Christine Chapman


Ensemble 360, Sheffield Chamber Choir & Young Musicians

Tickets: £20
£14 Disabled & Unemployed
£5 Students & Under 35s

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Past Event

GIBBONS The Silver Swan (2’)
BINGHAM The darkness is no darkness (5’)
SS WESLEY Thou Wilt Keep Him In Perfect Peace (4′)
WILBYE Draw on Sweet Night (5’)
FRANCES-HOAD Floodlight Starlight (3’)
RAMSEY Sleep Fleshly Birth (6’)
BINGHAM A Night-Piece (6’)
WARD Come Sable Night (5’)
BEETHOVEN arr. MAHLER String Quartet No.11 ‘Serioso’ (23’)
O’REGAN Care Charming Sleepe (7’)
BEETHOVEN Elegischer Gesang (6’)

“The darkness is no darkness with Thee, But the night is as clear as the day…” 

Join us at dusk in the company of Ensemble 360, Sheffield Chamber Choir, and talented young string players including from Sheffield Music Hub and Sheffield Music Academy. This concert promises to be a magical exploration of the exquisite melancholy of the drawing in of evening, featuring madrigals and contemporary choral works, together with Mahler’s lush setting of Beethoven’s much-loved ‘Serioso’ string quartet.

Song sheets will be available to purchase at this concert. 

Sheffield Chamber Music Festival runs 13–21 May 2022

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