FINALE

Steven Isserlis & Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Saturday 25 May 2024, 7.15pm

Tickets
£21
£14 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

ONSLOW Nonet (35’)
FAURÉ Elégie (7’)
TCHAIKOVSKY Souvenir de Florence (33’) 

A grand work for a grand finale: captivating charm and wit from George Onslow’s Nonet. Nicknamed the ‘French Beethoven’, this is a chance to hear one of his finest and largest-scale chamber works whose five movements move through an expressive array of moods from turbulence to a jubilant conclusion. 

Steven Isserlis then joins pianist Tim Horton for a heartfelt lament by Gabriel Fauré, before we sign off with Tchaikovsky’s celebratory musical postcard, Souvenir de Florence. This hugely popular string sextet by the great Russian composer features both Steven Isserlis and Ensemble 360’s cellist Gemma Rosefield, and promises to be a fitting farewell to the Festival in our anniversary year.  

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis

George Onslow, grandson of the first Earl of Onslow, is an interesting figure, straddling the twin worlds of London and Paris. Almost killed in a hunting accident – an incident which inspired his best-known work, a string quintet subtitled ’The Bullet’ – he sounds like a lively character, whose music was admired by Chopin. Tchaikovsky – who praised the piano quartet by Fauré that opened this festival – closes our programme with his irresistibly celebratory Souvenir de Florence. Party time! 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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CLOSE-UP: MUSIC FOR CURIOUS YOUNG MINDS

Elinor Moran, Roderick Williams & Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Saturday 25 May 2024, 10.30am

Tickets
£12
£7 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 16s

Book Tickets

No interval 

Five wind musicians and a very special guest breathe life into the wondrous world of chamber music. Created specially for young audiences, this concert combines well-known classical favourites with new works performed on flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn, with singer. 

Ideal for 7–11 year-olds and their families. 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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FRIDAY NIGHT IN PARIS

Roderick Williams & Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Friday 24 May 2024, 7.15pm

Tickets
£21
£14 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

FAURÉ Piano Quintet No.1 (31’)
RAVEL Chansons Madécasses (13’)
POULENC Sextet (18’)
FAURÉ La Bonne Chanson (33′) 

Musical national treasure Roderick Williams, soloist at King Charles III’s Coronation and Singer-in-Residence with Music in the Round, returns to the Crucible Playhouse with Ensemble 360 for a magical tour through the City of Light.  

Fauré’s first Piano Quintet was a labour of love that he nurtured over many years, and the song cycles and works for violin he wrote alongside it echo through this exquisitely constructed piece. 

Poulenc’s kaleidoscopic sextet encompasses jazz, ragtime, pastiche of Mozart and a tribute to Ravel, whose ‘Madagascan’ songs they follow, in this programme luxuriating in the many sounds of fin de siècle Paris.  

Culminating in Fauré’s intricate song-cycle, crafted from the poems of Paul Verlaine, this concert reunites Ensemble 360, with Music in the Round’s singer-in-residence Roderick Williams for the first time since 2017. 

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis 

“What a treat it will be to hear Roderick Williams in Fauré’s seductive ‘La Bonne Chanson’ (the first time he’s ever sung it, I understand!). Before that Ravel takes us away from Paris on a magic carpet for his bittersweet Chansons Madécasses. Poulenc is perhaps the ultimate Parisian composer, and so manages to make an appearance here – despite his disgraceful sin of (apparently) not appreciating Fauré’s music. Well – apart from that, he’s a wonderful composer…” 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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ROMANTIC PIANO

Mishka Rushdie Momen

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Thursday 23 May 2024, 11.00am

Tickets
£16
£10 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

R SCHUMANN Gesänge der Frühe No.1 (3′)
FAURÉ Nocturne No.13 (8′)  
RAMEAU Le Rappel des oiseaux, Rigaudons I, II & Double, Les tendres plaintes (7′)
MENDELSSOHN Variations Sérieuses Op.54 (12′)
R SCHUMANN Waldszenen (extracts) Einsame Blumen, Verrufene Stelle, Freundliche Landschaft, Vogel als Prophet (10′)
RAVEL Miroirs (extracts) Oiseaux tristes, Alborada del gracioso, Vallée des cloches (18′) 

No interval 

Named ‘Critics’ Classical Music Breakthrough Artist’ in The Times Arts Awards 2021, Mishka Rushdie Momen was praised as “one of the most thoughtful and sensitive of British pianists” shortly before she gave her debut recital at the Crucible Playhouse in January 2022. This recital highlights her versatility, with music encompassing three centuries, from the baroque lyricism of Rameau to the impressionism of Ravel.  The work of Robert Schumann also features, a composer with whom Mishka has a special affinity and of whom she is a sensitive and arresting interpreter. 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

View the brochure online here or download it below.

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FOCUS ON FAURÉ

Steven Isserlis & Guests

Crucible Adelphi Room, Sheffield
Friday 24 May 2024, 2.30pm
Tickets£5 Strictly limited to Friends of Music in the Round 
Find out more about how you can become a Friend here
Please contact verity@musicintheround.co.uk for details of how to book your ticket.

Steven and guests chat about one of his favourite composers, Gabriel Fauré, in celebration of his centenary year. 

Strictly limited to Friends of Music in the Round  

Find out more about how you can become a Friend here.

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

View the brochure online here or download it below.

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FAURÉ STRING QUARTET

Irène Duval & Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Friday 24 May 2024, 1.00pm

Tickets
£16
£10 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

ENESCU Violin Sonata No.2 (24′)
FAURÉ Violin Concerto (12’)
FAURÉ String Quartet (23′) 

No interval 

Violinist Irène Duval, a prize-winner at the 2021 Young Concert Artists Trust International Auditions, opens this concert with a monumental sonata written by Fauré’s violin virtuoso pupil, George Enescu. Irène joins Ensemble 360 for Fauré’s only string quartet, an ethereal piece that derives its principal melody from Fauré’s early Violin Concerto. It was his final work and is a fitting swan-song that resolves into an ultimately life-affirming finale. 

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis 

“Enescu’s impassioned Violin Sonata No.2 reveals the strong influence of his revered teacher Fauré. Like his beloved Schumann, Fauré used a theme from his Violin Concerto in his final work, his only string quartet. Unlike Schumann, however, Fauré did so deliberately; having discarded the Violin Concerto, he must have been loath to waste such a beautiful melody. It provides a poignantly human response to the chant-like opening of a work that gently, lovingly bids us farewell. Fauré’s work here is done, he seems to tell us; and it is time for him to pass on to the better world he has so often allowed us to experience through his music.” 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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AN EVENING WITH STEVEN ISSERLIS

Steven Isserlis, Irène Duval & Mishka Rushdie Momen

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Thursday 23 May 2024, 7.15pm

Tickets
£21
£14 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

N BOULANGER Three pieces for cello and piano (8’)
DEBUSSY Cello Sonata (12’)
RAVEL Sonata for violin and cello (20’) 
R SCHUMANN (arr. Isserlis) Violin Concerto (mvt 2) (12’) 
R SCHUMANN Ghost Variations for piano (12’)
FAURÉ Piano Trio (21’) 

Three acclaimed musicians and frequent collaborators perform music they adore. This thoughtfully crafted programme celebrates the musical loves and legacy of the French composer, Gabriel Fauré. 

Highlights include our Guest Curator’s arrangement of a movement from Schumann’s beloved Violin Concerto, which shares a theme with the delicate and haunting ‘Ghost Variations’ for piano; the final work by one of the giants of Romantic music. Fauré’s miraculous Piano Trio, his penultimate work, radiates ecstatic joy to conclude what promises to be a very special evening of music. 

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis 

Schumann’s Geister Variations for piano have a tragic history: they were effectively his final work,
written in the last days before he was taken to the asylum where he was to spend his remaining years. He believed that the spirits of Schubert and Mendelssohn, surrounded by angels, had appeared to him in a dream and dictated the theme; he seems never to have realised that he had actually composed the theme earlier, as the violin’s main melody in the slow movement of his violin concerto (as well as another, much earlier, version in a ‘song for the young’). The variations really seem to be his farewell to life. Fauré’s Piano Trio, although his penultimate work, is quite different, pulsing with ecstatic energy from its opening bars; the slow movement is simply breathtaking – I know nothing like it in the whole of music. For me, this is one of Fauré’s very greatest works.” 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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“An extraordinarily moving performance where time, very briefly, seemed to stand still.”

The Guardian

FRENCH GEMS

Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Wednesday 22 May 2024, 7.15pm

Tickets
£21
£14 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

RAVEL Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré for violin & piano (3′)
SAINT-SAËNS Oboe Sonata (12′)
ADÈS Alchymia for clarinet quintet (24′)
MESSAGER Solo de Concours for solo clarinet (6′)
FRANCK Piano Quintet (35′) 

The heart of César Franck’s Piano Quintet contains some of the most darkly passionate music he ever composed, surrounded by storms and drama that make this magnificent work a truly captivating experience. Thomas Adès is one of our greatest living composers and his chamber music glimmers with intricate beauty and exquisite colours. Alchymia is inspired by the world of Tudor England, and Adès makes reference to composers of that time as well as the influence of Shakespeare. Opening with Maurice Ravel’s homage to his teacher Gabriel Fauré, this concert looks back to those who shaped him and forward to those writing today for whom he remains a guiding light. 

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis 

Thomas Adès, with his deep love of both Couperin and Fauré, makes a guest appearance in this mostly Gallic affair, with his magnificent clarinet quintet. The programme ends with César Franck’s stormy piano quintet, a shockingly bold outpouring from a composer who until then had been known for his quiet piety; it is said that the transformation was effected by his passionate love for Augusta Holmés. If so, that was quite a passion! 

This concert is generously sponsored by Kim Staniforth. 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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“[Adès’s Alchymia is] both immediate and intriguing: a 20-minute chamber work with the scope of a symphony”

The Guardian

FESTIVAL LAUNCH

Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Friday 17 May 2024, 7.00pm

Tickets
£16
£10 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

FAURÉ Piano Quartet No.1 (29′)
FARRENC Nonet (33′) 

No interval 

A spectacular launch for Sheffield Chamber Music Festival, showcasing two spellbinding works in the intimacy of the Crucible Playhouse. A passionate Piano Quartet by Gabriel Fauré – whose music our Guest Curator Steven Isserlis has described as “uniquely moving and uplifting”– opens the evening.  

Louise Farrenc’s triumphant Nonet follows, with nine musicians filling the stage to perform a piece full of glorious melodies and radiant colours.  

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis  

“It seems fitting to begin the festival with Fauré’s first, and still most popular, work for chamber ensemble, followed by a large-scale work by one of the finest 19th century French composers, Louise Farrenc, whose music is enjoying a revival. About time!” 

Welcome drinks
To celebrate the start of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival, all ticket-holders are invited to enjoy a free drink with us in the Crucible Foyer after this concert.  

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024.

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FAURÉ Gabriel, Piano Quartet No.1 in C Minor, Op.15

Fauré’s glorious First Piano Quartet was composed over a four-year period (1876–79) and was given its premiere at the Société Nationale de Musique in February 1880. In 1883 Fauré revised the last movement, and it is in this version that the work was published. It is dedicated to the Belgian violinist Hubert Léonard (1819–1890). The first movement opens with a stirring unison string theme punctuated by syncopated piano chords, contrasted with a more lyrical second idea. The Scherzo begins with pizzicato chords over which the piano traces a melody of sparkling delicacy. Roles are reversed in the Trio section – the piano supplying the accompaniment to a theme of ravishing beauty and refinement presented by the strings. The slow movement was said by Fauré himself to be a lament for the sudden ending of his engagement to Marianne Viardot (one of Pauline Viardot’s daughters) – expressed through music of eloquent, passionate restraint. The finale is both exciting (with the dotted rhythms of the opening theme) and radiant (the arching second theme), crowned by a conclusion of unquenchable ardour.

 

Nigel Simeone ©

FARRENC Louise, Nonet in E flat, Op.38

With the first performance of this Nonet in 1850, Louise Farrenc achieved her greatest success as a composer – so much so that as a result she was able demand (and to get) a teaching salary for her job at the Paris Conservatoire that was the same as that paid to her male colleagues – a remarkable coup in the middle of the nineteenth century.

 

The premiere took place on 19 March 1850 at the Salle Erard and the ensemble was led by a brilliant young prodigy: Joseph Joachim – still in his teens but already an artist who was in demand all over Europe. Coincidentally, the violin has some unusually florid moments in the Nonet, including a cadenza at the end of the first movement. More remarkable, though, is the skill with which Farrenc shares the musical argument throughout the instruments, though it’s not surprising when we note that she was an accomplished composer of orchestral works including three symphonies, the last of which had been played in Paris a year earlier, in 1849.

 

Given the quality and originality of this music, it’s puzzling that Farrenc is not better known. As well as having to battle with prejudice against her gender, she had another issue to face: for composers to enjoy really big success in nineteenth-century Paris they needed to write operas, and Farrenc’s interests lay entirely in instrumental music. Still, the Nonet was greeted with tremendous enthusiasm, though her music lapsed into obscurity after her death in 1875. In the last twenty years or so Farrenc has enjoyed a well-deserved revival, with recordings of all her major chamber and orchestral works.

 

The Nonet is in four movements and has the combination of melodic inventiveness and charm that music by lesser composers often lacks. With echoes of Beethoven, Schubert and Spohr, this is the work of a serious and gifted musician who has a genuinely individual style. The fluency with which the violin cadenza merges seamlessly into the end of the movement is a mark of this. The rather Schubertian opening to the slow movement reveals a superb melodist, and the plucked strings and spiky interjections at the start of the Scherzo – and the rampaging tune that eventually emerges – are vastly appealing and characterful. After a slow introduction, the finale feels easy-going but makes considerable demands on the players.

 

Nigel Simeone

“Supreme sophistication.”

The Arts Desk (2023)

“Triumphant.”

Bachtrack (2023)

SIR SCALLYWAG & THE BATTLE OF STINKY BOTTOM

Ensemble 360 & Lucy Drever

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Saturday 18 May 2024, 10.30am

Tickets
£12
£7 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 16s

Book Tickets

No interval 

When King Colin sets his sights on finding the famous Golden Sausage, there’s only ONE person for the job: Sir Scallywag! But will the six-year-old knight be mighty enough to defeat the filthy trolls and win the Stinkiest Battle Ever? 

Paul Rissmann’s much-loved musical retelling of Giles Andreae and Korky Paul’s best-selling picture book returns. With narration, visuals from the book and lots of music, this is a brilliant first concert for 3–7 year-olds. 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024.

View the brochure online here or download it below.

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“My own seven and five-year-olds who were enchanted by the show, one rated it ‘ten thumbs up’ and the other gave it ‘1,000 out of 10’. Both were keen to have the Sir Scallywag story read to them repeatedly that night too.”

Yorkshire Post

SAINT-SAËNS: THE RENAISSANCE MAN

Ensemble 360 & Friends

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Tuesday 21 May 2024, 7.15pm

Tickets
£21
£14 UC, DLA or PIP
£5 Under 35s & Students

Book Tickets

SAINT-SAËNS 
Morceau de concert for horn and piano (9’) 
Bassoon Sonata
(12’)
Les odeurs de Paris (5’) 
L’assassinat du duc de guise (19’)
The Carnival of the Animals (22’) 

Camille Saint-Saëns’ most celebrated work, ‘The Carnival of the Animals’ is a work unlike any other, transporting the listener into a musical menagerie that includes a swan, a tortoise, lions and a plunge into a truly magical aquarium. It is presented here alongside rarely performed pieces including ‘Les odeurs de Paris’, a musical riot, with the addition of trumpets and children’s toys to convey the many smells of Paris. Early French film The Assassination of the Duke of Guise is one of the very first to feature an original film score. Written by Saint-Saëns, the music will be performed live alongside a screening of the film in a celebration of the beloved French composer. 

Note from Guest Curator, Steven Isserlis 

“Saint-Saëns was a marvel in every way. Poet, playwright, philosopher, astronomer, classical scholar, animal rights activist, and so on – the list is endless; and this was in addition to being a master pianist, organist, conductor – and of course, composer. In his own words, he produced music as an apple-tree produces apples – but what an amazing variety of that fruit! Reams of music, ranging from witty to profound, conventionally charming to experimental, grand to intimate – he is a composer whom it is impossible to pigeonhole.  We will hear a rich variety of his oeuvre, including a film score (the first ever written by a well-known composer); a party piece with toy instruments; his very last work – the most famous of all bassoon sonatas; and finally that imperishable jewel, the ‘Carnival of the Animals’. 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

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RELAXED CONCERT: CARNIVAL

Ensemble 360

Crucible Playhouse, Sheffield
Tuesday 21 May 2024, 1.00pm

Tickets
£5
Carers free
(please also book your free ticket via box office)

Book Tickets

SAINT-SAËNS Morceau de concert for horn and piano (9’)
SAINT-SAËNS Bassoon Sonata (12’)
SAINT-SAËNS The Carnival of the Animals (22’) 

No interval 

For this ‘Relaxed’ concert featuring ‘The Carnival of the Animals’, doors will be left open, lights raised, a break-out space provided, and there will be less emphasis on the audience being quiet during the performance. People with an Autism Spectrum, sensory or communication disorder or learning disability, those with age-related impairments and parents/carers with babies are all especially welcome. 

Part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival 2024. 

View the brochure online here or download it below.

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