80th concert season 2021-2022

Opening concert: Trio Salona

September 25th, 2021. Review by Christine Colbourne.

The opening concert of Haywards Heath Music Society's 80th season was given by Andrew Thurgood (violin), Sarah Carvalho-Dubost (cello) and Louisa Lam (piano). These well known, popular local musicians were making their debut as the newly formed Trio Salona. Judging by the enthusiasm with which their wonderful performances were received they will be a popular addition to the music scene.
From the opening notes of Rachmaninov's Elegiac Trio no.1 the large audience knew they were in for a treat. This Romantic work was delivered with a rich, warm tone and all the passion the music demands.

Trio Salona

The sound was excellently balanced and the interplay between the instruments highlighted the very conversational style of the music. The Trio brought the same qualities to Shostakovitch's Piano Trio no.1, a work written in 1922 and using a different harmonic language. Again the music was intelligently and perceptively played with each instrument being given its chance to shine.

Sandwiched between these two works was a piece by another Russian composer, Tchaikovsky.. As a gift to the Society to celebrate its 80th year Andrew had arranged the Polonaise from Eugene Onegin for Violin, Cello and Piano. The much loved familiar music tripped along and was rapturously received by the very appreciative audience. After the interval came the greatest of Beethoven's works for this combination of instruments, the Archduke Trio. The music zipped along with commanding and scintillating performances from all three players.

This was a superlative account of a much loved masterpiece which captured all the various facets of the work. After this tour-de-force we were delighted they found the energy to play an encore.
Andrew wrote a short piece last year to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. The very clever two part work was based on a well known tune - Happy Birthday! What better way to end this glorious start to our 80th season. It has been said that Chamber Music is the music of friends and tonight's concert demonstrated this perfectly. These three musicians play with impeccable ensemble and perfect rapport. We wish them every success for the future

National Youth Jazz Orchestra Ambassadors

October 25th, 2021. Review by Ian Barras-Hill.

The much anticipated return of the NYJO Ambassadors, under their leader Mark Armstrong, drew a larger audience to St Wilfrid's church since their first visit to us in April 2018. We welcomed a young sextet comprising Mark on trumpet and flugelhorn, Asha Parkinson (alto sax), Emma Rawicz (tenor saxophone), Tom Morley (piano), Harry Pearce (bass) and Adam Merrell on drums. They kicked off with 'Moanin' by Bobby Timmons, a jaunty jazz tune with catchy opening bars that repeated throughout punctuated by Mark's high note virtuosity on the trumpet.

NYJO playing to HHMS

The next tune, 'Crisis' by Freddie Hubbard, brought an inventive solo by Emma on the tenor sax backed by a great driving beat from Adam on drums whose tapping rim shots, bass drum pedalling and intuitive response after each player's solos was masterful. In fact Adam's dexterity in shifting the rhythm at key moments during many of the numbers played tonight enhanced the horn and piano solos to a large degree.
The slow, dreamy start to the Wayne Shorter composition 'Sleeping Dancer Sleep On' heard Asha blow a plaintive melody on alto sax followed by Harry's extended double bass solo. Both were a welcome respite from the harder edge bebop-tinged earlier pieces. The first set ended with Benny Golson's 'Blues March', a return to the funky, upbeat closeness of the sextet and much appreciated by the audience who enthusiastically clapped between solos.

In a well illuminated St Wilfrid's Church, with new state-of-the-art LED lights beaming down from the roof, our audience caught up with society friends during the interval. Everyone was delighted to be hearing live music once again. Count Basie's 'Shiny Stockings' was a stomping classic to light up the second half followed by Tom's immaculate rendering on piano of a Thelonious Monk tune 'In Walked Bud.' We were treated to an original work by Mark called 'Tears in the Rain,' inspired by the poetic ending of the cyborg in the film Blade Runner, and distinguished by beautiful, lyrical playing from Mark on muted trumpet. The band ended their Legends of Jazz programme with a pulsating version of Duke Ellington's ' Caravan' in which Adam on drums again showed his versatility by controlling the rhythm, even slowing the music down to a hushed heart beat where time seemed to stand still.

This was a fantastic evening of bright energetic jazz played by a young professional group, musically mature beyond their years, and applauded enthusiastically by our audience. For those to whom modern jazz is a mystery and who came to hear these young players out of curiosity rather than devotion to the form, Mark's introductory remarks before each piece was a boon. He set each tune in context, harking back to an era in the mid 20th century when the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Charlie Mingus and other band leaders and soloists forged ahead with daring compositions, stretching the boundaries of chromaticism, melody and harmony in the process.

Miriam Teppich (violin) and Julian Broughton (piano)

February 27th, 2022. Review by Ian Barras-Hill.

No Larking About – We only book the Very Best Musicians!
On Saturday February 19th 2022 we welcomed Miriam Teppich (violin) with Julian Broughton (piano) who chose to play sonatas by J.S. Bach and Beethoven; romances by Clara Schumann, folk dances by Bartok and the hugely popular "The Lark Ascending" by Ralph Vaughan Williams at Haywards Heath Methodist church.
Their presence was a joy and godsend to this society as the musician booked to play this evening – Eleanor Corr, the celebrated violinist – fell ill on the previous Thursday and was unable to fulfil the engagement. In haste we searched for other professional musicians who could step in at short notice.
Much to our relief and delight Miriam and Julian rose to the challenge magnificently.

Miriam and Julian playing to HHMS

As founder member and leader of local Ensemble Reza and hugely experienced soloist and chamber musician, Miriam had previously duetted with celebrated British composer Julian Broughton several times. He had even written a Fantasy Suite for solo violin especially for her and this mutual empathy and instinctive understanding of each other's musical interpretations of the works they came to play displayed a true partnership that really shone through in the performance they gave tonight.

Miriam began with Bach's Sonata in G Minor for solo violin (BWV 1002) and rendered the four contrasting movements - Adagio, Fuga, Siciliana and Presto - with plaintive and lively expression.

The succeeding Beethoven Sonata no. 6 in A Major for piano and violin (Opus 30) opened with a cheerful Allegro shared between piano and violin before moving on to a glorious Adagio where the violin's theme was matched with sonorous dotted rhythms by Julian on the piano ending with an inventive, dance- like set of Allegretto variations.

In the second half of the concert we were treated to a dazzling and moving interpretation of "The Lark Ascending" by Vaughan Williams. Thie much-loved work was played tonight to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest British composers. It is a short one-movement work inspired by a poem by George Meredith and was first performed in Bristol in 1920 by the violinist Marie Hall accompanied at the piano by Geoffrey Mendham.
Adrian Boult conducted the first orchestrated performance in 1921. So tonight we heard the work as first conceived by the composer. A review of the time said "It was one of the happiest things the composer has ever done...full of melody and grace, of ease and spontaneity".
To listen to the rapturous rise of the skylark, hovering and swooping in its flight above, evokes a joy and freedom that embodies the very essence of musical expression. Miriam and Julian certainly drew the poetry and bathos out of this work. We were delighted also to hear Julian's own Nocturne composition straight after - a gentle, lyrical work – that suited the mood after the skylark had soared into the heavens.

Next came Three Romances for violin and piano Op.22 by Clara Schumann (1819-1896). The first romance began with hints of gypsy pathos, before a brief central theme with energetic arpeggios. The second romance was more wistful, with many embellishments, beginning with a plaintive melody leading to lively leaps and arpeggios, followed by a development section and a return of the first theme. The last movement had long melodies with a rippling piano accompaniment by Julian.

As if to completely break the mood of romantic pieces and serious sonatas that had gone before, Miriam energetically dived into playing Bela Bartok's "Romanian Folk Dances" Sz 56, a popular work based on Romanian tunes from Transylvania which were originally played on a fiddle or a shepherd's pipe. Much skipping and high kicking was imagined here with a swirling sash dance delivered through the speedy finger work of gypsy violinists. A polka and other fast dances ended the set which Miriam delivered with great passion and brio.

Our audience of around 70 enthusiastically applauded Miriam and Julian at the end of their fantastically varied programme. We were all hugely grateful for them, coming out and saving the day, and we look forward to hearing them again in the future.

The society is also pleased to announce an extra concert on Saturday May 14 th at the Methodist Church when Eleanor Corr and pianist Aleksandra Myslek will come to play their original programme of Grieg, De Falla, Fazil Say, Ravel and Britten works...with an extra surprise in store!

Ariel Lanyi (piano)

March 29th, 2022. Review by Christine Colbourne.

I think everyone who was present at St Wilfrid's Church on Saturday will agree that we heard piano playing of the highest quality. Ariel Lanyi appeared for Haywards Heath Music Society under the auspices of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.

This twenty-four year old held the audience spellbound throughout the entire evening. You could literally have heard the proverbial pin drop, such was the quality of musicianship and technical mastery on display.

From the opening bars of Mozart's sonata in G major Ariel demonstrated his outstanding ability to make the piano sing. Listening to his playing and the ways in which he can vary the tone is an immersive experience.

Ariel Lanyi playing the piano

With Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood" he opened a veritable Box of Delights. These well known miniatures have never sounded better as he moved from one scenario to another. From "Traumerei" to "Knight of the Hobbyhorse" and "Child falling asleep" Ariel took us into different worlds changing the mood for each piece. The concert ended with Beethoven's mighty Hammerklavier sonata, a work of huge complexity, length and difficulty. Ariel's performance was dazzling - I never expect to hear this piece played better. Huge chords and beautiful ethereal notes were plucked from the keyboard - the St Wilfrid's piano sounded magnificent!

Our Chairman, Ian Barras-Hill, in his concluding speech said "I think we are all agreed we have heard something very special here tonight".
Ariel follows this with concert tours in the USA, Europe and South America. We are delighted we were able, courtesy of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, to have such an exciting pianist to play for us in Haywards Heath.

80th Anniversary celebrations and Bella Tromba

April 23rd, 2022. Review by Ian Barras-Hill.

A true milestone was reached when our members, invited guests and the Mayor of Haywards Heath gathered on Saturday April 23rd to mark this amazing anniversary of the Haywards Heath Music Society at St Wilfrid's church Centenary Hall followed by a special concert by the all-female trumpet quartet Bella Tromba.

Birthday cake and fizz were served to over 80 in attendance with speeches by Howard Mundin, the Mayor of Haywards Heath and eminent tenor and musicologist Neil Jenkins, President of the society (pictured cutting the cake, right). The U3A Recorder Consort, led by Christine Colbourne, - Descant, Treble, Tenor and Bass - played short selections of music to honour Shakespeare's 458th birthday.

Founded in 1941 by Gertrude Lampson the HH Music Society has organised music recitals in the town and the surrounding area, bringing much needed and affordable live music to Mid Sussex from September to April each year.
Classical, jazz, choral, musicals - a full range of music styles is offered by the society, displaying the talents of gifted young professional musicians, both aspiring and established, many of whom go on to pursue international careers such as clarinetist Emma Johnson, Scottish virtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie, Julian Lloyd Webber, BBC Young Musician of 2012 cellist Laura van der Heijden and in 2021 BBC Proms piano soloist Pavel Kolesnikov.

The society is particularly pleased to host the annual Young Musicians Showcase in March where young talent from local schools in the area share a platform to play their best. Concerts are held in the impressive surroundings of St Wilfrid's Church, offering beautiful acoustics and ambience, or in the more intimate atmosphere of the Methodist Church in Haywards Heath.

That evening the young virtuosi Bella Tromba - Jo, Emma, Katie, and Imogen - dazzled us with their upbeat trumpet versions of Bizet's Carmen, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and a medley of jazz standards including I Got Rhythm, On the Sunny Side of the Street, My Funny Valentine and the foot stomping Bugle Call Rag. Bella Tromba are a unique trumpet quartet who have performed chamber music extensively in the UK and abroad, at many music and outdoor festivals. They have been particularly active in the commissioning and performance of new works.

Their background has been as regular trumpet players for orchestras such as the LSO, Britten Sinfonia and the English National Ballet. They played works by Bizet, Erik Satie, Enescu, Clara Schumann and Tchaikovsky in the first half of their concert and unique arrangements of jazz standards, folk tunes and favourites from musicals after the interval.

Other than Gershwin, we were introduced to works by lesser known composers Margaret Bonds, Henri Tomasi, Jimmy McHugh and Jack Pettis and Emma delighted us on bass trumpet with a beautiful Cornish tune "Sweet Nightingale" played in a softer, lyrical style. The girls deft interweaving of bright harmonies amongst their different pitched trumpets was delivered with force and clarity throughout and each piece was applauded vigorously by the audience.

We all left St Wilfrid's church humming and happy on this very special anniversary occasion!