World premiere recording of Frederick Septimus Kelly’s String Trio

world premiere recording of Frederick Septimus Kelly's String Trio

The Septimus Trio (Nowak – Verpoest – Vercruysse) made the world premiere recording of Frederick Septimus Kelly’s String Trio.

Purchase your download here: https://www.woutervercruysse.com/product/fs-kelly-string-trio-in-b-minor/

Recordings took place from 11 till 13th May 2018 by Bert Lietaert and were supervised by Chris Latham in Beeldenstorm, Anderlecht, Belgium.

This recording was made possible by the generous funding of C. Jones, F.S. Kelly’s great niece and with the support of Beeldenstorm and the Flowers of War.

Release date: 6th January 2020

Septimus Trio
fLTR: Wouter Vercruysse, Kaja Nowak & Diede Verpoest

FS Kelly String Trio 

The irony of FS Kelly’s catalogue is that his most substantial work is scored for a combination that hardly exists today – the string trio. The string quartet is generally considered the most demanding idiom to write for, because it only contains four lines, making the texture incredibly transparent. Given most chords require three or four tones to be sounded to create a sonorous texture to support the melody, the demands on the composer to beautiful lines that also can come together make a satisfactorily rich backdrop for the leading voice, are extreme. If it is difficult to score satisfactorily for four parts, then writing for three is clearly even more technically demanding both for the composer and for the players – Kelly’s String Trio’s parts are filled with double stops. The compositional challenges are clearly demonstrated by the scarcity of masterworks in the genre. 

If we disregard baroque trio sonatas, then the greatest string trio is the Mozart Divertimento in E major, K. 563, with the Ernő Dohnányi Serenade in C major, Op. 10, probably the second best work. Beethoven wrote five string trios and Schubert two, (D 471 in one movement, and D 581, both in B flat major). None of their trios are stronger works than Kelly’s. However it might take until Kelly’s trio is arranged for string orchestra, as the Dohnányi has been, before a wider audience can appreciate just how much drama the work contains. This string orchestra arrangement will occur shortly.

In Kelly’s String Trio, we have the rarest of all beasts, an Australian romantic ‘War Horse’. It was written over an exceptionally long period, taking three years of intense work, which he began in 1909, and completed it in Sydney at the end of May 1911, where it was premiered on Friday 4 August 1911 in St James’ Hall (opposite St James Church in King Street). It is the greatest late ‘romantic’ work written for strings by an Australian composer. What is initially hard to reconcile is that it sounds like it might have been written by Brahms, the closest comparisons to the work being Brahms’ first two string quartets Op. 51 No.1 and 2.

The String Trio exudes the freshness of youth and the angst also, the key of B minor giving a hint of what will come. Traditionally the key of fate, Bach uses it in his Mass in B minor and the St John Passion, Schubert in his Unfinished Symphony, Brahms in his Clarinet Quintet, Dvořák in his Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky in his Pathetique Symphony, Liszt in his Piano Sonata in B minor and Wagner in the Ride of the Valkyries. These are all works supercharged with deep feeling, and from our position in history, it is difficult not to hear Kelly’s String Trio as a fervent raging against the dying of his light, especially the final coda of the finale. 

Kelly was born into death, his middle name, Septimus, due to being the seventh and last child, of which only four survived into adulthood. Two siblings died in infancy, his beloved oldest brother Carleton died in 1899 when ‘Sep’ was eighteen and studying in England. His father, with whom he was particularly close, died two years later in 1901, and finally his mother in 1902. By the age of twenty two, Kelly was independently wealthy and living in Bisham, England with his sister Masie, while his brother Bertie, briefly a student of Joseph Joachim, and to whom he dedicated the work, had returned to Sydney. 

Kelly was driven to succeed in three disciplines, piano, composition and rowing and spoke in his diary of a “race against time” to notate the works that populated his ‘teeming brain’. It would be a race he was destined to lose, unable to have enough time before his death in the Somme in 1916, to notate his Symphony in E Major, the Lyric Phantasy (for large orchestra), the Aubade for flute, strings, horn bassoon and harp, a String Quartet in E minor and about a dozen songs. These all existed in his musical imagination, sufficiently realised that he could play them for friends. Even more irritating is that there is likely a score of his Symphony in G minor, and about another dozen late works described in his works as having been notated but missing from his papers. We can only hope they may come to light as his profile increases.  

The String Trio is surprisingly long, almost 40 minutes, consisting of four extremely technically challenging movements. It seems to be expressing his struggle to accept his fate of being fated to live a life interrupted, cut off in full stream. It. The first movement, the Allegro appassionato, jumps immediately into this turbulent world of sound and feeling while the second, a sublime Romance, has one of the great cantabile lines for the violin, reminiscent of the Andante Cantabile from Mozart’s String Quartet No. 14, K. 387, also in G major. Set against pizzicato chords in the viola and cello, the violin line literally floats above them, until interrupted by an explosive ‘Agitato’ outburst, in which the violin and cello answer each other furiously before returning to the opening material. The Scherzo is somewhat reminiscent of the Scherzo from Dohnányi’s Serenade, and features a truly charming trio, while the final movement, marked Allegro moderato ma con moto, begins with a chorale like melody which quickly becomes very intensely agitated.

Kelly began the work in October of 1909, at his home in Bisham, on the Thames near Henley. He took the work on a number of occasions to Donald Francis Tovey with whom he was still studying composition, and indeed one of the three surviving manuscripts is covered with Tovey’s suggestions and comments. Kelly would acknowledge Tovey’s insistent criticisms aided him to take the work to a higher level, but ultimately the frustrations he had with Tovey’s pedantic interventions, meant it also ended Kelly and Tovey’s relationship of student and mentor. After this Kelly would only trust the great English pianist Leonard Borwick, a close friend who was also his flatmate in London, to give him feedback on his works. 

By late April in 1910, Kelly was still trying to finish the first movement of his B minor Trio, noting in his diary it was taking ‘an incredibly long time’ to resolve. Kelly clearly struggled with the work, turning to autosuggestion to get around his mental blockages, making “suggestions to myself before going to sleep each night in order to bring on a musical frame of mind in the hopes that ideas will occur (easily) to me”, He even records on the 8th of May, 1910, having experienced inspiration for some of the material in the work during a visit to the Sistine Chapel. 

A first version of the work was completed at the Grange on 4 October 1910. The next day he boarded the Orontes, bound for Australia, and during the long sea passage, heavily revised the work. Arriving in Sydney he notes in his diary entry of Friday 10 February 1911 that he is doing a “good deal of work at the first movement of my B min String Trio”. He describes working on it during his visit to the Hydro Majestic Hotel in Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains on 6 March 1911 and finally finishes it in his family home of Glenyarrah, in Double Bay, Sydney on the 31 May 1911. It was premiered by Henri Staell (leader of his own eponymous quartet and concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony at the time), Kelly’s brother Bertie (Mr T.H. Kelly) on viola and Bryce Carter on cello. 

Thereafter Kelly polished the work for four years (making it the work he spent the longest time on), before finally engaging the English Quartet (which included the composer Frank Bridge on viola) to perform it at a summer concert at his house in Bisham on 17th June 1914, less than a fortnight before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which led to the outbreak of the Great War.

The work gained some popularity around this time being also performed by the famous cellist Pablo Casals (who performed often with Kelly in recitals) as well as by the violist Lionel Tertis, and the violinist Jelly D’Aranyi, who was in love with Kelly. They would perform together extensively in March and April of 1916 while he was back in London on leave after serving at Gallipoli. Before he left for France in May, he would give her the corrected string trio parts from which this edition was made. The parts were lovingly preserved in her music collection in Florence, along with the Gallipoli Violin sonata manuscript, which he wrote for her in the trenches there.

Chris Latham, Sydney, 15th August 2019

Concert pour petites pattes

Samédi, le 21 décembre 2019 / Zaterdag 21 december 2019

Beeldenstorm, Anderlecht
Bergensesteenweg 145 Chaussée de mons – 1070 Anderlecht
À coté de / Vlakbij Metro Clemenceau

15u Version francophone
16u crêpes / pannenkoeken
17u Nederlandstalige versie

Participation libre / Vrijwillige bijdrage
reservatie: 02 532 43 50
secretariaat@beeldenstorm.be

Connaissez-vous l’histoire de Woutine la petite souris? 

C’est une histoire singulière et pleine de tendresse. Woutine rêve de voyager. Mais ses petites pattes de souris l’empêchent d’aller aussi loin qu’elle le voudrait. Alors, pour vivre ses voyages, elle se faufile dans les salles de concert et part à l’aventure grâce aux notes et aux mélodies. Son ami Riner l’accompagne dans ses voyages musicaux.

À deux, ils forment un incroyable duo de souris ! 

Dramaturgie: Lucie Burton
Danse et comédie: Lucie Burton (FR & NL) & Ezra Fieremans (NL)
Musique: Edenwood Duo
Guitare Classique: Catherine Struys
Violoncelle: Wouter Vercruysse

Cloud and Mirrors in Gramophone

Cloud and Mirrors in Gramophone

The album Cloud and Mirrors, a musical portrait of British composer Alan Charlton (1970-2018), received a review in the November issue of Gramophone. Click here to read the review.

Hear and see below Edenwood Duo’s live performance in the Royal Academy London during the CD presentation October 2019, where they played the Suite for cello & guitar by Alan Charlton:

The Suite for Cello and Guitar by Alan Charlton was commissioned in 2005 by Russian cellist Leonid Gorokhov and English guitarist Richard Hand. Unfortunately, Richard Hand died before they were able to premier the work. It was in 2017 that the work was finally given a premiere by the Edenwood Duo, during a concert in Charlton’s Art Nouveau home, as part of the Brussels Art Nouveau and Art Deco Festival.  The suite consists of five contrasting movements or dances. For this piece, Charlton was inspired by mime, imagining a clownish, tragicomic character, only able to communicate through this medium. Each movement of the suite conveys different episodes in the character’s life, rating in mood from comic to dramatic. Charlton uses the piece to explore the rich range of sonorities and sound effects available to both guitar and cello, and creates expressive dialogues between the instruments, in which they imitate and mirror each other. He also develops surprising new textures and harmonic colours through the use of wholetone and pentatonic scales, while his sudden changes in dynamics and tempo offer great dramatic effect. Intrada and Intermezzo have a stylised quality, while Tarantella and Burlesque are more vehicles for the respective instrumentalists’ virtuosity. The outer sections of Cantilena are lyrical solos for cello, with the guitar taking over the melodic material in the central section.

To learn more about Alan Charlton’s music and performances please see www.alancharlton.com.

Edenwood @ Festival Millesources

Edenwood @ Festival Millesources

Edenwood Duo received a last minute invitation for 2 concerts on breathtaking locations during the Festival Millesources in Dordogne, France.

16.08.19 21:00 | Église St. Pantaléon de Lapleau | Another Place
18.08.19 18:00 | Église de Soudeilles | Romantico

Tickets:

Billeterie sur place à partir de 1h à l’avance
Réservation et achats des places : e-MAIL: festival.millesources@gmail.com – TEL: 0033 6 64 78 21 05

Entrée : 15 € – TR 9 €
Abonnement
Duo (2 concerts) : 25 € – TR 15 €

Edenwood @ Festival MillesourcesEdenwood @ LapleauEdenwood @ Soudeilles

Gramophone review: ‘A smart musicianly team’

Gramophone Review

The album Bohemia Express by the St. George Quintet received a very positive review by Richard Bratby in Gramophone, ‘The World’s Best Classical Music Reviews’.

Some quotes:

‘The St George Quintet are a smart, musicianly team with a clean ensemble sound and a deft, springy rhythmic sense. There’s a Beethoven-like energy to the scherzos in both the main works here…’

‘… this is an engaging and enjoyable disc.’

‘… it really feels at its best in the melancholy afterword: a performance of Suk’s St Wenceslas Meditation in which the ensemble’s blend of tension, deliberation and expressive understatement seems to find exactly the right balance of tragedy and pride.’

Read the full review in the August 2019 issue of Gramophone or online: click here

GET HERE YOUR COPY OF THE CD BOHEMIA EXPRESS BY THE ST. GEORGE QUINTET.

Long read interview on Klassiek Centraal

Long read interview on Klassiek Centraal

In spring violinist Kaja Nowak and cellist Wouter Vercruysse received a visit by Tim De Backer for a long read interview on Klassiek Centraal about the ensemble the St. George Quintet they both are playing in and about SGQ’s latest CD Bohemia Express.

The introduction goes as such:

Mother why do we play?

On the journey of life people ask themselves the most existential of questions. For musicians, perhaps the most fundamental question is plain, but not so simple: why do we make music? With a fair bit of hindsight and just a pinch of Hineininterpretierung, one could say that the St. George Quintet was created to find and give an answer to this calling. After digging into the repertoire of some British legends and traveling through distant, Bohemian lands, the Belgian ensemble replies as it sees fit. “One of the reasons why I play music is to develop my powers as a human being”, says he. In close harmony, she sounds thus: “By devoting myself to art, I hope I can grow and other people can grow as well …”

Catch the full longread interview here: https://klassiek-centraal.be/nieuws/in-de-kijker/mother-why-do-we-play/

GET HERE YOUR COPY OF THE CD BOHEMIA EXPRESS BY THE ST. GEORGE QUINTET.

 

In de lente kregen violiste Kaja Nowak en cellist Wouter Vercruysse bezoek van Tim De Backer voor een long interview in Klassiek Centraal.

De introductie van het interview gaat als volgt:

Op levensreis stellen mensen zich de meest existentiële vragen. Voor musici ligt de meest fundamentele vraag voor de hand, maar ze is lang niet zo eenvoudig: waarom muziek maken? Terugblikkend en met een beetje Hineininterpretierung zou je kunnen zeggen dat het St. George Quintet is opgericht om op deze roeping een antwoord te vinden én te geven. Na een verkenning van het repertoire van enkele British Legends en een reis doorheen verre, Boheemse landen heeft het Belgische ensemble zijn antwoord alvast klaar. “Eén van de redenen waarom ik muziek speel, is om mijn vermogens als mens te ontwikkelen”, zegt hij. In harmonie klinkt zij zo: “Door mijzelf aan de kunst te wijden, hoop ik dat ik kan groeien en dat andere mensen hetzelfde kunnen doen …”

Lees hier het long read interview op Klassiek Centraal: https://klassiek-centraal.be/nieuws/in-de-kijker/moeder-waarom-spelen-wij/

BESTEL HIER JE EXEMPLAAR VAN DE CD BOHEMIA EXPRESS!

3 standing ovations in a row for Edenwood!

3 standing ovations for Edenwood Duo.

Edenwood Duo played 3 concerts in Cantal (Chapelle de Turlande & Pierrefort) and Aveyron (Montarnal) which all where honoured by standing ovations by the warm audiences! The press about Edenwood’s musical Tour de France this summer:

‘Une merveilleuse découverte musicale’ – Centre Presse (11/07/2019)
‘un public conquis’ – La Montagne (12/07/2019)
‘Le duo Edenwood enchante le public’ – La Montagne (19/07/2019)

Get here your copy of Edenwood’s CD Another Place.

CENTRE PRESSE | Une merveilleuse découverte musicale

Associer deux instruments à cordes, une guitare et un violoncelle, quelle singularité, pourraient dire ceux qui n’ont pas eu l’immense plaisir de découvrir les sons générés par ces deux instruments magnifiquement bien maitrisés par Catherine Struiss et Wouter Vercruysse. Dimanche 7 juillet la chapelle du village médiéval de Montarnal a résonné aux sons de ce duo inattendu. Initialement prévu dans les jardins du château, une trop belle et chaude météo, a imposé ce repli à l’ombre.

Après un rapide préambule historique du lieu par Jean-Claude Richard, adjoint à la mairie, Bernard Revel a présenté l’extraordinaire parcours musical de ces deux passionnés qui se sont produits dans les plus grandes salles du monde comme le Carnegie Hall de New-York, La cité de la Musique à Paris ou encore Shangaï .

Une bonne soixantaine d’auditeurs venus parfois de loin, parmi lesquels Mr le maire Paul Goudy et Mr Jean-Luc Joie de Bordeaux, luthier de renommée internationale, se sont assemblés dans ce petit havre de fraîcheur.

Pendant plus d’une heure le Duo Edenwood a fasciné l’auditoire avec des pièces jouées à la perfection en utilisant toutes les possibilités de chaque instrument. La touchante connivence de ces deux artistes ajoutait au délice de l’écoute des interprétations.

Avec beaucoup d’humour les deux complices ont commenté les œuvres jouées, qu’elles soient inspirées de l’ère médiévale belge, italienne ou estonienne, ou de la luminance provenant du silence. Une superbe Méditation avec de sublimes modulations  ont entrainé les auditeurs dans un recueillement intemporel et un voyage intérieur. Toutes ces pièces jouées avec énormément de délicatesse, de nuances, d’accents mélancoliques, de rythmes endiablé ont fait passer l’auditeur de la plus extrême douceur au feu le plus ardent, le tout dégageant une puissante poésie musicale.

C’est une salle debout qui a applaudit à tout rompre les interprètes de ce récital aux sonorités d’une étonnante beauté, subtil mélange de musique de chambre et classique.

Catherine et Wouter très touchés de l’accueil et ravis de jouer dans cet « endroit magique » dixit Catherine, n’ont pas hésité à jouer un rappel avec une pièce inspirée des rythmes du tango, sous de nouveaux applaudissements fort nourris.

Ces superbes instants musicaux et les visites du village et du donjon d’avant concert se sont achevés dans la cour du château où Gérard et Pascal ont offert le verre de l’amitié.  CENTRE PRESSE 11/07/2019