Our last pre-Covid concert was the March 2020 RWCMD Showcase. After a gap of nearly a year, we decided to collaborate with Hay Music to put on three specially recorded on-line concerts in March, April and May of this year, each followed by a live Zoom question and answer session with the musicians:
- Flora Brass Quintet from RWCMD
- Max Baillie and Robin Michael - Ravel Cello Sonata
- Darragh Morgan (violin) and Mary Dullea (piano)
The on-line concerts were a learning experience – as was the collaboration with another music society. The three recitals got a favourable response from those who tuned in, esp. the Ravel, but audience numbers were modest. Corinna did an excellent job as interviewer to keep the ball rolling in the live sessions!
Our live programme then resumed in June 2021 with:
June: Joglaresa - Medieval Ensemble return with a mixed programme of ‘Greatest Hits’
July: Violin and piano recital from Polish/Italian duo Emma Abbate and Michal Ćwiżewicz.
August: Mary Hofman/ Richard Ormrod - Beethoven in Wales (3)
September: Usha Kapoor/ Edward Leung - violin & piano recital
September: Notos Oboe Quartet
October: Reiko Fujisawa, piano recital
The resumption of live concerts – using the repeat pattern of one hour recitals to enable social distancing - was very encouraging and numbers were close to 70 or just over for Joglaresa (a fun way to start up our live programme) and the three piano/violin duos. Standard of playing in all three was particularly high. We’ve kept a mix of well known composers with some that were new to most of us (two Polish and one Welsh). And our musicians have been equally international and diverse. Last month saw our return to Monmouth and everyone really loved the sound of Joseph Sanders’ oboe playing which came across well in the large hall, and also his friendly relaxed manner of communicating with us. The sun shone and it was a lovely occasion!
We have resumed a similar pattern of solo piano recitals, duos, trios and quartets, with a Christmas choral concert here in the church on Saturday afternoon, 11th December. There is obviously still uncertainty over what level of restrictions should be applied to audience numbers in the church, but with 50%bcaopacity at bridges we can accommodate up to 80 with good distancing between bubbles.
Some other highlights in store:
- Salomé are vibrant and energetic – a Schubert theme emerging this year with one of his best loved string quartets the climax of the concert next month.
- Rosie Biss (Principal Cello with the WNO) and her piano trio in January
- A new combination of instruments ‘guitar and violin duo’ next spring
- The 4th and final Beethoven in Wales recital
However, we need help from all members and friends to build up numbers further so that we can continue to attract performers of the highest quality. Please continue to support us – and help by inviting family, friends and neighbours who might need reminding about when concerts are on, or who might be tempted to come to concert for the first time.
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