Sat 24th Sep 2016 Alexei Grynyuk (piano)
Sat 22nd Oct 2016 Joanne Appleby (soprano) and Andrew Rees (tenor)
Sat 19th Nov 2016 "In Voice and Verse"
Sat 18th Feb 2017 Ensemble Reza
Sat 18th Mar 2017 Riyad Nicolas (piano)
Sat   8th Apr 2017 Laura van der Heijden (cello)

Sat 24th Sep 2016:       ALEXEI GRYNYUK (piano)
alexeiUkrainian pianist Alexei Grynyuk launched Haywards Heath Music Society’s 75th concert season in spectacular style on 24th September. In his programme of major works by Chopin and Russian composers, he displayed virtuosity and sensitivity of the highest order. The standard of his playing throughout was what audiences expect to hear in the world’s major concert halls. We were privileged to listen to him – at a fraction of the price – in the sympathetic and responsive acoustic of St. Wilfrid’s Church.

Alexei Grynyuk began his recital with a group of well-known Chopin pieces, Nocturne Op 9 No 3, Polonaise Op 53 and Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante. These were brilliantly played with superb technique and great musicality. The recital continued with Rachmaninov’s B flat minor Sonata Op 36. The Allegro opens with spectacular arpeggios in the bass, the second movement is melancholic and massive surging chords follow in the final movement, creating an impressive tour de force. This intense and compelling work was followed by a scintillating account of the Russian Dance from Stravinsky’s Petrushka.

The second half of the recital comprised Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, arguably much more atmospheric as a piano solo than as an orchestral arrangement. Alexei Grynyuk successfully captured the subject matter and style of the ten idiosyncratic paintings by Mussorgsky’s late friend, Victor Hartmann. The five linking Promenades, subdued and animated in turn, which depict the composer walking round the exhibition, sometimes reflecting on what he has seen and sometimes eagerly anticipating what lay ahead, were equally well played. The Great Gate of Kiev, culminating in a triumphal peal of carillons, proved a thrilling climax.

Alexei Grynyuk then treated the highly appreciative audience to an exquisite encore, Chopin’s A minor Mazurka Op 17 No 4. This wise choice contrasted well with the drama of the Mussorgsky and brought his superlative recital to a spellbinding conclusion. It was undoubtedly one of the most outstanding concerts the Society has promoted in recent years.

John and June Ingleton
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Sat 22nd Oct 2016: JOANNE APPLEBY (soprano) and
      ELLIOT GOLDIE (tenor)
jojo In the second concert of their milestone 75th season, the Haywards Heath Music Society’s audience was treated to a musical exploration of the many aspects of “Love”, guided by two locally-based operatic stars, Joanne Appleby from Glyndebourne and Elliot Goldie from Covent Garden. Their programme included examples of Love in many forms: the ecstatic, the unrequited, the lecherous, the faithful, the unfaithful.....and so on, as envisaged by composers such as Mozart, Verdi and Puccini through to modern musicals by the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The range was wide, yet each of these pieces was thoughtfully interpreted and beautifully performed, whether as a solo or in duet. In this, the singers were admirably supported by the sensitive accompaniment of pianist Duncan Williams. It is hard to select highlights from such a varied and consistently brilliant programme, but memorable moments included Joanne’s “Si, mi chiamano Mimi”, from “La Boheme”, Elliot’s rendering of “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose”, and their duet in “Tonight” from “West Side Story”.

It was clear from the audience reaction at the end that the evening had been a great success, and would be long remembered.
Jeff Harris

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Sat 19th November 2016: IN VOICE AND VERSE
joOn November 19th a Muse of Fire descended on St Wilfrid's Church in the shape of Lance Pierson (actor), Belinda Yates (soprano) and Heather Chamberlain (piano). Continuing their celebratory 75th season, Haywards Heath Music Society was paying its own tribute to Shakespeare in this the 400th anniversary of his death. His incomparable plays have, through the ages, inspired many composers of vocal and instrumental music.The trio "In Voice and Verse" performed a wonderful selection for us from Pelham Humfrey and John Wilson in the C17 through to Richard Stoker in the C21.
Four sections on various aspects of love formed the first part of the programme. Belinda and Heather provided the beautifully presented music and they were joined in each section by  Lance  whose commanding rich, sonorous voice and deep insight into the characters captivated the audience.
The second half brought the programme up to date with "Shakespeare's Greatest Hits". Here we had favourites from Kiss me Kate and West Side Story which were sung with great feeling by Belinda, while music by Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn was impeccably played by Heather on the piano..  All too soon this magical programme was over. The words and music melted into thin air as the audience left to brave the elements of a stormy night.
Haywards Heath Music Society is grateful to the highly talented trio "In Voice and Verse" for providing such a memorable tribute to the Bard!
Christine Colbourne


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Sat 18th February 2017: ENSEMBLE REZA
As part of the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of its formation, Haywards Heath Music Society was delighted to welcome a return visit from Ensemble Reza. This group of local virtuoso string players goes from strength to strength.  All the members have experience of playing with top orchestras and chamber music groups, and this area is very fortunate to have access to such high quality performances.

The first half consisted of two quartets. The elegant and beautifully phrased classical Divertimento in D Major K.136. was played with impeccable ensemble by Lucy Jeal, Andrew Thurgood, Anna Cooper and Sarah Carvalho-Dubost. Contrasted with that was the Ravel Quartet in F Major, a most beautiful work combining Romanticism with Impressionism. The shimmering texture and pastoral nature of the opening movement evoked the style of both Vaughan Williams and Debussy.
Lucy Jeal, Andrew Thurgood, Matthew Quenby and Pavlos Carvalho played the work with great flair with some very thoughtful, introspective moments especially in the peaceful 3rd movement.

After the interval all six players came together to perform the rarely heard String Sextet in D Major by Korngold. Perhaps best known for his many film scores, this highly individual work was a revelation. Each movement had its distinctive characteristics, in fact we could almost have been listening to four separate film scores. The opening  introduced the most glorious song like melodies reminiscent of the Romantic era. In complete contrast the ultra calm second movement where time seemed to stand still brought to mind the slow movement of Schubert's C Major Quintet. An Intermezzo with a Viennese flavour led to the final movement, a Presto which would have served well as music for an action film.
To finish this exceptional concert Pavlos chose a very short piece by Schumann which he dedicated to Haywards Heath Music Society - which has been bringing top professional music to Haywards Heath for 75 years.

Christine Colbourne

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Sat 18th March 2017: RIYAD NICOLAS (piano)
riyad On Saturday March 18th, Haywards Heath Music Society hosted a recital by an award winning artist from Countess of Munster Music Trust. This Trust was set up in 1958 by the then Countess of Munster to help outstanding young artists further their careers.Over the years the Music Society has been privileged to hear a glittering array of talented musicians, and this year was no exception. Riyad Nicolas, a Syrian born concert pianist, dazzled us with his total command of the keyboard. From the poetic insight into Bach's Prelude in C Major, BWV870 and the verve and clarity of part playing in its accompanying fugue, through to the carefully structured and authoritative performance of Beethoven's Sonata Op. 110 with all its colour, moods and increasingly complex Finale, Riyad's total commitment to the music shone through every note.

Two sets of Variation by Liszt and Brahms on Paganini's famous Caprice No. 24 in A Minor concluded each half of the programme. The famous melody with its contrasting Dies Irae tune was presented in various guises, all of them realised with sensitive musicianship and virtuoso keyboard technique. Works by  Scriabin and the contemporary composer Christian Mason completed the evening.

Clearly Riyad  is a pianist to watch out for. He said he would like to return to play again at Haywards Heath, and we hope that will be a possibility in the future.

Christine Colbourne

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Sat 8th April 2017: LAURA VAN DER HEIJDEN (cello) and TOM POSTER (piano)
smithWhat a wonderful concert to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Haywards Heath Music Society! Laura Van der Heijden (cello) and Tom Poster (piano) gave us an outstanding concert. Within a few minutes of the opening of the Debussy Cello Sonata it was obvious that these two extremely talented and sensitive musicians were at one with each other. The music of the Debussy is full of tempo and dynamic changes, and flits from bursts of staccato to languid, lyrical phrases in the blink of an eye. Their playing was so coordinated that it reminded me of the mystery of how starlings, in a huge flock, can communicate with one another so that they can change direction in a fraction of a second so as to remain together. Perhaps I was reminded of starlings’ behaviour by the fact that there was a member of that species that was trapped in the church and performed circuits of the nave on regular occasions during the concert.
The second piece was Schumann’s Three Romances, which was originally written for oboe and piano, but as was the custom in those days it was arranged for cello and piano, probably so that the printed music could reach a wider audience. The middle movement in particular was indeed “heartfelt”, and Laura’s beautiful bowing arm produced the most perfect legato. Her arm looks so relaxed, as does her right hand, which looks as if it is just resting on the bow and not gripping it at all, and this results in such fluid playing, and draws the best out of the 18th century English cello by Hill.
This was followed by Martinu’s Variations on a theme of Rossini, which was a tour de force of technical mastery by both musicians. Laura had to play some extraordinary staccato bowing, and Tom had his work cut out, but in spite of having some really challenging music to play, he still seems to be able to find the time to turn away from the printed music to watch Laura’s bow so that they are always perfectly together. It should be said at this point that he rose to the challenge of the piano in St Wilfred’s and made it sound as good as I have ever heard it, and only very occasionally did the piano overpower the sound of the cello, but I would say that on those rare occasions it was due to the writing, rather than the playing.
After the interval, we heard “L” by Graham Fitkin, originally written for Yo Yo Ma. This was a very entertaining piece, full of contrasts and interesting cross-rhythms, and a very nice overall shape. From a quiet passage in the middle with long held notes on the cello, it built up to a lively ending culminating in the last few bars of tranquillity.
The last piece was the Cello Sonata in G minor by Fauré, and was played with consummate musicianship. The piano part is complicated at times, but Tom played it with such delicacy that it was never overpowering.
A nice touch was the fact that both musicians spoke to the audience, which nearly filled the church, and the applause produced an encore of Ravel’s “Piece en forme d’habenera”.
All in all, this was a concert performed by two world-class players who are masters of their instruments.

Mike Lavelle 

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