London Conchord Ensemble

“CD of the Week”

The Daily Telegraph.

London Conchord Ensemble’s latest CD release ‘St Petersburg’ is attracting critical acclaim. The recording brings together works by four composers at the forefront of St Petersburg’s musical life in four succeeding generations during a period when St Petersburg was the centre of Russian musical culture.

Jessica Duchen

Classic FM Magazine, July 2010

This ensemble reaches parts that other chamber groups do not, thanks to the instrumental variety represented in the pool of players. Drawing on the talents of some of London's best freelance and orchestral musicians, the group loves exploring the byways of the repertoire. In this intriguing disc it has summoned a caviar-feast of rarely heard music by composers based in St Petersburg, from Glinka – the founding father of a nationalistically Russian musical style – to the young Shostakovich, whose early piano trio draws on that tradition. Fine attentive performances all round: Balakirev's Octet is a special treat.

Stephen Pritchard

The Observer Reviews, Apr 2010

Four succeeding generations of St Petersburg's finest - Glinka, Balakirev, Glazunov and Shostakovich - are represented on this highly entertaining disc of chamber music, played with style and verve by the London Conchord Ensemble. Chief among the delights is Glazunov's string quintet in A minor, a gloriously carefree and sunny piece, written when he was 26. Dmitri Shostakovich was only 17 when he wrote his Trio No 1 in C minor, but it already has some of the hallmarks of the great man to come. (He was Glazunov's pupil and his father took huge risks supplying his alcoholic teacher with illicit vodka from state supplies.) The final track is a rare treat - the only surviving movement of Balakirev's Octet opus 3.

Geoffrey Norris

Saturday Telegraph 'Classical CD of the week', May 2010

Russian composers of the 19th century were in general much more active in realms of orchestral music than they were in writing for chamber ensemble. But this disc unearths some real rarities, which the Conchord Ensemble plays with an aplomb, sensibility and purposefulness that suggests a genuine enthusiasm rather than mere disinterment for the sake of being different.

The earliest piece, and by far the least Russian sounding, is Glinka's Trio pathétique of 1932. Glinka's taste at this time was for Italian opera, whose influence is clearly reflected in the trio's coloratura-like brio, dramatic gestures and smooth melodic lines. Balakirev's Octet for piano, flute, oboe, horn, violin, viola, cello and double bass, composed in the mid-1850's, adopts a similar stance, both in its theatrical opening and in the fact that the piano part displays the decorative bravura in vogue at the time. Unlike the Glinka, however, the melodic lines and the harmonic procedures have a distinct Russian accent. So, too, does Glazunov's String Quintet of the early 1890s, in which characteristics that became well-worn in his later music are deployed with considerable energy. Shostakovich's First Piano Trio of 1923 looks back to the elegiac trios of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, but also has key pointers to his mature style.

Robert Layton

International Record Review, June 2010

The great Russian composers of the nineteenth century were more drawn to the orchestra than they were to chamber forces. Colour was a primary concern and their mastery of it is incontrovertible. This valuable disc centres on real rarities, which will be unfamiliar even to connoisseurs in the field. The excellent London Conchord Ensemble puts us all in its debt in offering this repertoire. Let me say straight away that they all play with great intelligence and musicianship and are blessed with a natural recorded balance and vivid sound recording.

The earliest piece is Glinka's Trio pathétique of 1832 about which David Brown in his masterly biography (Glinka. A biographical and critical study; Oxford, 1974) is less than enthusiastic. Written at a time when he was under the spell of Italian opera, its ideas are unmemorable: as Professor Brown put it 'there is really no reason why we should remember it any more than Glinka's other Italian compositions'. It certainly appears in its best light in this lively and persuasive account.

Edward Garden is equally unenthusiastic about the Octet for piano, flute, oboe, horn, violin, viola, cello and double bass in his study of Balakirev (Faber, 1967), though he right approves the inventive quality of the piano writing (it was composed in the mid 1850s). The Glazunov String Quintet, written nearly four decades later, when its composer was in his early twenties, is a rarity on disc. It includes a second cello rather than viola, and has a sustained lightness of colour and sweetness of temperament. Its invention unfolds with great naturalness and generosity.

I had forgotten how rewarding Shostakovich's early Piano Trio, a student work, which precedes the First Symphony, is. It leaves you in no doubt that here is a composer of quality, even if the familiar personality is yet to emerge. Recommended with enthusiasm.

Four succeeding generations of St Petersburg's finest - Glinka, Balakirev, Glazunov and Shostakovich - are represented on this highly entertaining disc of chamber music, played with style and verve by the London Conchord Ensemble. Chief among the delights is Glazunov's string quintet in A minor, a gloriously carefree and sunny piece, written when he was 26. Dmitri Shostakovich was only 17 when he wrote his Trio No 1 in C minor, but it already has some of the hallmarks of the great man to come. (He was Glazunov's pupil and his father took huge risks supplying his alcoholic teacher with illicit vodka from state supplies.) The final track is a rare treat - the only surviving movement of Balakirev's Octet opus 3.


Recent news

Classical Music Magazine: These Women’s Works – Tasmin Little/Chandos

Clarinetist, Emma Johnson joins the roster of O’Carroll Artist & Project Management

I am delighted to announce that the wonderful British clarinetist, Emma Johnson, will join the roster of O’Carroll Artist & Project Management with immediate effect. As an agent, I am always keen to represent artists who have a diverse range of creative interest and a truly imaginative sense of programme and Emma is a leader in this field.

One of the few clarinettists to have established a busy career as a solo performer which has taken her to major European, American and Asian venues as well as to Africa and Australasia, Emma Johnson is one of the UK’s biggest selling classical artists, having sold well over half a million albums.
Emma has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras in repertoire which includes all the major clarinet works as well as pieces written especially for her by John Dankworth, Will Todd and Michael Berkeley amongst others. She has also collaborated with artists such as Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Dame Cleo Laine and she directs her own group, Emma Johnson and Friends. Her recording of the Brahms Quintet with the Michelangelo Quartet was recently made CD of the month by Music Web International.
Emma works in a diverse range of genres; her jazz trio has been particularly well received by concert audiences and she has also collaborated with composer Jonathan Dove on a retelling of the story of the Pied Piper for children. Her compositions and arrangements have been published by Music Sales and Faber Music.
Emma Johnson’s TV appearances range from a recital for Sky Arts TV, to gala events such as a recent televised Prom celebrating the BBC Young Musicians programme. Emma played the popular hit theme tune for The Victorian Kitchen Garden on BBC TV which won an Ivor Novello Award. Her radio work includes Artist of the Week for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and for radio stations worldwide as well as guest slots on programmes such as Woman’s Hour and World at One on BBC Radio 4. Her broadcasts about Finzi and Milton were both chosen as picks of the week.

Emma grew up in London and her career was launched when, at the age of 17 she won BBC Young Musician of the Year followed by the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York. However, she decided to study Music and English at Cambridge University before embarking fulltime on a musical path. A Patron of ClicSargent, the childhood cancer charity (www.clicsargent.org.uk), Emma was the first woman to be made an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge and to have her portrait commissioned by the college. She was honoured by the Queen with an M.B.E. in 1996.

Ahead of their residency at the Wigmore Hall, a wonderful review for the Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch’s first release of Beethoven piano trios.

‘Dans le trio pour piano « L’Archiduc » Beethoven s’est sublimé pour son dernier trio, Il est vraiment d’une beauté divine. Et l’interprétation du Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch est d’une grande prouesse, le violoncelle de Raphael Wallfisch s’exprimant toujours avec passion, nous fait voler. Le piano est tenu par Arnon Erez qui joue tout en subtilités, et sa dynamique est parfaite, ses phrasés sont finement joués, bref Raphael sait nous captiver de son jeu cristallin. Le violon de Hagai Shaham conduit parfaitement les différents thèmes de ce trio.
L’espiègle Allegro Moderato nous offre une admirable partie de piano menée de main de maître par Arnon Erez donnant ainsi plus de couleurs aux notes.
Dans le second mouvement le violoncelle est dansant et le violon se fait meneur
Mais le bonheur est de courte durée, dans le troisième mouvement nous tombons dans les profondeurs d’un malaise, une blessure…
Le dernier mouvement est plus léger et plus dansant, le piano y est d’une telle splendeur, le rythme se fait tarentelle. C’est dans un mouvement joyeux que le pianiste achèvera par d’éclatants arpèges le dernier trio de Beethoven.
“Dans le trio pour piano « L’Archiduc » Beethoven s’est sublimé pour son dernier trio, Il est vraiment d’une beauté divin’. Et l’interprétation du Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch est d’une grande prouesse, le violoncelle de Raphael Wallfisch s’exprimant toujours avec passion, nous fait voler. Le piano est tenu par Arnon Erez qui joue tout en subtilités, et sa dynamique est parfaite, ses phrasés sont finement joués, bref Raphael sait nous captiver de son jeu cristallin. Le violon de Hagai Shaham conduit parfaitement les différents thèmes de ce trio.’
Cet album « Beethoven: Piano Trios Vol. 1 » est un beau moment à passé avec un beau trio de musiciens bourrés de talent.
Emanuel Moor, Classiquehd.fr
https://classiquehd.fr/…/beethoven-piano-trios-vol-1-review/

‘Not-so-little women emerge from the shadows’ Steve Moffat, Limelight Magazine, 20 May 2019

BEACH • SMYTH • CLARA SCHUMANN (TASMIN LITTLE, JOHN LENEHAN)
Not-so-little women emerge from the shadows.

by Steve Moffatt on May 20, 2019

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