BBC Radio 3 ‘Record of the Week’ – Arcadia Quartet/Weinberg Quartets/Chandos Records

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 11th January 2021

Congratulations to the Arcadia Quartet and Chandos Records as their first disc of Weinberg String Quartets (Not 2, 5 & 8) are BBC Radio 3’s ‘Record of the Week’ this week.

You can listen again to the programme presented by Andrew McGregor at the following link; the announcement and the review can be found at 2:29:03:

The disc can be purchased and downloaded from Chandos Records:

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Tasmin Little & Piers Lane perform in York – Concert available online (free) from Weds, 9 December 2020

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 2nd December 2020

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Christmas is in the air: Emma Johnson plays Christmas concert at Romsey Abbey – 12 Dec 2020

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 2nd December 2020

Gorgeous Christmas programme at Romsey Abbey on 12 December 2020, featuring clarinetist Emma Johnson.

In a time when concerts are few, it is so wonderful that live music returns to Hampshire in a socially distanced concert to celebrate Christmas.

Tickets available at

Romsey Abbey 7pm Emma Johnson with Andrew West, piano

Beethoven Variations on La Ci Darem La Mano
Schumann Fantasy Pieces
Mozart Larghetto
Emma Johnson Isolation Lament
Monti Czardas
Reade Prelude from the Victorian Kitchen Garden
Joplin The Entertainer
Gershwin Medley
Trad. arr. Johnson Coventry Carol
Trad. arr. Johnson We Wish You a Merry Christmas
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Review: Raphael Wallfisch shows affinity for Weinberg Cello Concerto

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 26th October 2020

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Raphael Wallfisch shows affinity for Weinberg Cello Concerto

At first blush, it may seem like a recording of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s music doesn’t belong in the Cello Concertos by Exiled Jewish Composers series. After all, wasn’t Weinberg a Soviet composer?

He was, but he very much belongs in this series. Weinberg was born in Warsaw. His family moved to Russia, and after the Revolution, it was impossible for him to return. He was effectively an exile within the Soviet Union.

And his religion and personality made him somewhat of a political exile, too. Weinberg seemed to alternate between winning Stalin prizes and threatened with arrest.

The works in this release show a slightly different side of Weinberg. His style is often compared to that of his close friend Dimitri Shostakovich. These works, though, have a strong Jewish musical element in them. And that sound is purely Weinberg.

This release features three works. The Cello Concertino Op.43bis served as the basis for the much larger Cello Concerto Op. 43 (both performed here). Also included is the  Fantasia, Op. 52.

The Concerto is double the length of the Concertino — but it’s just padding. The Concertino is a modest, tightly-focused work. Weinberg’s music features Jewish melodic elements prominently, IN 1948 such overtly religious overtones were dangerous, and the work remained shelved and unheard for decades.

In expanding the work, Weinberg softened the Jewish elements. But Wallfisch’s playing shows they’re still there. He bends the tones in the style of a Jewish cantor, making plain the work’s foundation.

The Fantasia also uses Jewish melodic patterns, but this time set against harmonies that are both more complex and less tonal than his 1943 concerto.

As always, Wallfisch’s sympathetic performances provide insight into the scores. In this case, his decision to highlight the Jewish elements in the music provides added insight into the complex personality of Mieczyslaw Weinberg.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Cello Concerto Op. 43
Fantasy, op. 42; Concertino op. 43bis
Cello Concertos by Exiled Jewish Composers
Raphael Wallfisch, cello
Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra; Lukasz Borowicz, conductor

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Tasmin Little – Farewell Recital with pianists, John Lenehan, Martin Roscoe, Piers Lane and Andrey Gugnin

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 26th October 2020

Thursday 22nd October at London’s Royal Festival Hall at 19:30

Tasmin Little: Tasmin’s final Southbank Centre recital

This concert marked Tasmin’s final Southbank Centre recital and was be broadcast live on R3 (no audience). Tasmin performed with her four pianist partners.

Andrey Gugnin, piano
Piers Lane, piano
John Lenehan, piano
Martin Roscoe, piano

BRAHMS – Sonatensatz (Piers Lane)
CLARA SCHUMANN – 3 Romances (Martin Roscoe)
LILI BOULANGER – Nocturne (Piers Lane)
BRAHMS – Sonata No. 3 in D minor (Andrey Gugnin)
ROXANNA PANUFNIK – Hora Bessarabia for solo violin
COLERIDGE TAYLOR – Demande et Réponse (Piers Lane)
AMY BEACH – Romance (Martin Roscoe)
AMY BEACH – Sonata (John Lenehan)


Arts Desk: Tasmin Little Farewell Recital, RFH review – memories, tributes and dreams

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 26th October 2020

Tasmin Little Farewell Recital, RFH review – memories, tributes and dreams

The violinist partnered by four pianists in an event to remember

Bidding farewell to the Royal Festival Hall, Tasmin Little was at the very peak of her powers. It’s almost unthinkable that we will never see her play here again. Many have hoped that she’d be one of those musicians who announce their retirement only to be back for one last time…and another… but Little is a genuine soul who has always said what she means and meant what she says. And she says that that really is that.

This unique evening featured one violinist, two gowns, four pianists, four piano stools and plenty of disinfectant. Since its first planned date was cancelled during lockdown, circumstances have transformed it: instead of Little and three pianists at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we met four of them in the more sizeable neighbour. Switching pianists between pieces entailed Covid-safing the Steinway each time, the keyboard cleaned repeatedly to within an inch of its life.

Over several decades Little has worked principally with just three duo partners, Piers Lane, John Lenehan and Martin Roscoe; here they were to celebrate with her, but also with the Russian rising star Andrey Gugnin (the two pictured below), winner of the Sydney International Piano Competition in 2016, where Little first encountered him in the chamber music round. This became almost the recital equivalent of the Rose Adagio – that moment in the ballet The Sleeping Beauty when Princess Aurora dances with four princes – besides a tantalising taste of what the future might have held. Little and GugninThe ingenious and original programme included Johannes Brahms as a “token dead white male”, but the main part was devoted to the stellar if under-recognised line-up of Amy Beach, Lili Boulanger, Clara Schumann, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Roxanna Panufnik. Reasons for the enduring neglect of excellent composers are manifold – add to some fairly obvious sexism and racism the fickle swings of musical fashion. Here, though, was plenty of music that, had it been written by, for example, Elgar or Kreisler, would be popping up in concert three times a (normal) week.

Little took the stage first with Lane, playing the Brahms Scherzo from the “FAE” Sonata – probably one of the best concert openers in existence, even if it’s in the middle of a multi-composer work. From the start, Little’s charisma, strength of tone and sheer glamour in a silver gown called to mind the great female violin virtuosi of the past, the likes of Jelly d’Arányi, Maud Powell (of whom more in a moment) and Gioconda de Vito who, like Little, quit the concert stage in her fifties while her playing was still at its finest.

It was Joseph Joachim, though, for whom the Brahms was written, and likewise the Clara Schumann Three Romances, full of rhythmic flexibility and melodic flair. This time Martin Roscoe was at the piano, his clear touch glittering in the final piece to offset Little’s sustained cantilena with its familiar character of rich vibrato, malleable light and shade and unfailing communicative instinct. The Nocturne by Lili Boulanger – the Parisian composer who died aged only 24 in 1918, leaving some 50 quite marvellous works – proved magical, with Lane and Little in seamless harmony, as if playing one joint instrument rather than two. Tamsin Little in the RFHYet while Little’s ensemble with her three longstanding colleagues was as comfortable as coming home, Andrey Gugnin brought in the freshness of the unexpected. In the Brahms Sonata No. 3 in D minor, the pair seemed to improvise an extraordinary musical pas de deux, from deep meditation to virtuoso heights, with several miracles of timing and sensitivity: here was a potential Rudolf Nureyev to Little’s Margot Fonteyn. We can dream.

Little, having switched her silver gown for turquoise, began the second half with Panufnik’s Hora Bessarabiafor solo violin, a work written for the Yehudi Menuhin Competition in 2016 that happily is becoming a recital favourite. It’s a sort of Bulgarian-style solo cousin to Ravel’s Tzigane, with mesmerically swooping quarter-notes and a literally footstamping finale that seems guaranteed to bring the house down, however socially-distanced the audience. A final outing for Lane in Coleridge-Taylor’s Demande et Réponsewas quite a tear-jerker (as if the whole evening wasn’t). So often Little and Lane have sparkled through the joys of their recitals, leaving us with a spring in our step, but this was pure tenderness, direct from the heart – a wonderful tribute to colleagiality and friendship. Tasmin Little farewell line-upFinally, Amy Beach: the Romance, with Roscoe at the piano, another for that roster of glorious potential encores; but best of all, the Violin Sonata in A minor, Op. 34, a substantial four-movement work replete with powerful, late-romantic personality, composed for the American violinist Maud Powell, who also premiered the Coleridge-Taylor Violin Concerto. The excellent John Lenehan joined Little for an inspiring account that glowed and barnstormed with near-orchestral sonorities, expertly pacing the long-spun melodic lines in the slow movement.

As encore, rather than picking out one pianist, Little gave us another solo, her own arrangement of “Danny Boy”, while her four partners hovered nearby to listen. How the few of us present longed for a full house to stamp, cheer and throw flowers. Hear it on Radio 3 while you can.

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Christmas Present alert: A wonderful new book on chamber music from Ripon Concerts to raise money for musicians during this period.

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 14th October 2020

Roger Higson and artist Roger Chapman have written “From Duet to Decet” to support musicians, whose livelihoods have been shattered by the Covid 19 pandemic.

This light-hearted introduction to chamber music gives you everything you need to know to enjoy the chamber concert experience.

Find out about musical instruments, ensembles, composers, famous chamber works, venues, music societies, music festivals and much more.

“Informative, entertaining, and thoroughly useful. Just wish we could have had it two years ago when we started to get interested.” JA

We wrote the book because we and very many music societies around the country have had to cancel our concerts and very aware of the financial hardship that so many of our musicians have been facing. We felt that this would be a good way of supporting them as well as spreading the message about the joys of chamber music.

A great family stocking present – 76 illustrated pages

Written to support musicians. All proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to Help Musicians UK – (formerly The Musicians Benevolent Fund)

ONLY £12 (incl. post and packing)

£10 + £2 p&p
Copies available:


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Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe play live online at Stoller Hall, Chethams – Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 14th October 2020

Manchester Chamber Concerts Society are delighted to announce that they will be streaming a live concert from the Stoller Hall at Chethams .  
This will be via our website On Tuesday October 13th at 7-30pm  
and via the Stoller Hall Website  
World renowned performers violinist Tasmin Little  
together with our Artistic Director and pianist Martin Roscoe  
Clara Schumann 3 Romances op 22  
Beethoven “Spring” sonata No. 5 in F majorOp. 24  
Amy Beach Romance  
Cesar Franck Sonata in A major  
“Franck’s work has become a party piece for Little and Roscoe, the violinist at the peak of her form, notwithstanding her (now delayed ) intention to retire at the 2020 Proms , and the pianist despatching the fiendish keyboard part with breathless elan”Sunday Times ,30th August 2020   
While Manchester Chamber Concerts will not be charging for this concert they are asking for donations in support of this concert via a link on our website.  
Money raised will go to Help Musicians,a UK wide charity which provides musicians with a lifetime of support when it’s needed most .  
They are now supporting 3,600 musicians through their Financial Hardship Funding. 
They hope you can join them for this event and please share this information with your friends  

Let Music Live – Support Freelance Musicians: Tuesday, 6 October @ 12.00 in Parliament Square, London and Centenary Square, Birmingham

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 5th October 2020

O’Carroll Artist & Project Management supports:

Let Music Live


Leading freelance musicians unite in Parliament Square to call for targeted support for colleagues in the arts and entertainment sector

Tuesday 6 October, 12:00

Parliament Square, London

Centenary Square, Birmingham


400 freelance professional musicians from all parts of the industry will be joined in support by leading musical figures including David Hill, Raphael Wallfisch, Emma Johnsonand Tasmin Little, Bill Barkleyto perform in Parliament Square and Centenary Square, Birmingham, shining a light on the need for targeted support for freelance musicians and all those who work in the arts and entertainment sector. They are also joined in solidarity by the Musicians’ Union, The Incorporated Society of Musicians,The Musicians’ Answering Service,Morgansterns, Emily Eavis, Jools Holland, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dan Smith of Bastille and more.


Conducted by renowned director David Hillin Parliament Square, the freelance musicians will perform a short section of ‘Mars’ from Holst’s ThePlanetsbefore standing in silence for two minutes. The 20% of the piece that they will perform represents the maximum 20% support that freelancers receive from the government through the SEISS grant. The two-minute silence represents the 33% of musicians currently not covered by the SEISS grant (MU). The event will be Covid-safe, adhering strictly to social distancing regulations, facilitated by support from #WeMakeEvents.


Covid restrictions have disproportionately impacted the music and events industries, resulting in an almost total loss of opportunity to work. Investment is essential so that freelance musicians can continue to support the intricate network of businesses that rely on arts and events for their footfall.


Jools Hollandcommented,

“I fully support these wonderful musicians in their actions.  They are part of an industry devastated by this crisis. Most importantly they bring such joy to our spirits, our country and our world.   Post-apocalyptic scenes are often portrayed in fiction as places where there are no leaves on trees and the birds don’t sing.  If we don’t support our musicians now, who find it impossible to work, I fear we are all taking a step closer to that nightmare world.”


The arts and culture industry contributes £10.8 billion a yeardirectly to the UK economy (ONS), with growth in creative industries previously running at five times that of the rest of the economy. With effective short-term support, freelance musicians will continue to make a positive impact.


For every £1 directly spent on music and events, an extra £2 is generated in the wider economy (ACE), powering a network of businesses across the country. Supporting freelance musicians means supporting the wider economy.


The music sector is a world-leading assetto the UK and its highly-skilled professionals are regarded as the world’s finest, in particular in recording award-winning film scores. The UK’s breadth and diversity of concerts, events, festivals and gigs is globally renowned, bringing life to towns and cities and attracting over 40% of inbound tourist spend (ACE), providing inspiration and joy to everyone through work in the community, from schools to care homes.


The largely freelance workforce that makes up the music industry has not received the targeted support it needs to go forwards. According to Musicians’ Union research, 70% of musicians are unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work. 87% of musicians face severefinancial hardship. 

Full details of the latest study in September by Musician’s Union:


Much of the £1.57 billion government fund for culture has not reached freelancers, as this money is largely earmarked for venues and organisations, many of which remain closed or at severely reduced capacity. Self-employed freelancers also account for more than 80% of all orchestral players.


Offering support at 20% of average monthly trading profits, capped at a maximum of £1,875 over the months of November, December and January, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension announced by the Government will put much of the skilled freelance workforce out of business. 33% of musicians are currently not covered by the SEISS grant (MU).


With other European nations investing more in their creative industries through this difficult time, the U.K. risks being left behind and losing its status as a leader in the field.


Let Music Livecalls on the Government:


  • to recognise that freelance musicians are an economic asset. It is essential they invest in freelancers so that they can continue to support the intricate network of businesses that rely on arts and events for their footfall.


  • for sector-specific support to reopen, including a subsidised concert ticket scheme while social distancing restrictions remain, and Government-backed insurance for live events and theatre performances.


  • for targeted support for those skilled workforces forced to remain closed by Covid restrictions, so that freelance musicians are still there to bring music to everyone when this is over.


Galvanised by the energy and the goodwill among the musical community to want to keep music alive and perform again, violinist Jessie Murphyconceived the idea of getting together in Parliament Square, to show that “we are here and ready to work”. Like so many in her sector, all of Jessie’s work this year, including festivals with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, had to be cancelled due to Covid. A post on Facebook asking “Anyone else in?” became a group of over 2,000 within days.

On behalf of freelance musicians, violinist Jessie Murphysaid:

“We want to show that our profession is viable, and valuable. Freelancing can be misunderstood, we play in the O2 one day, a small wedding the next, and a film recording session the day after. Each one of us is a small business that contributes both to the economy and the wellbeing of the country.”



Horace Trubridge, Musicians’ UnionGeneral Secretary, said:

“We know from the Union’s recent research just how many musicians are struggling financially and at real risk of leaving music for good. In better times, our members drive a £5bn music industry with their talent. One artist’s gig will create a domino effect of jobs, from lighting technicians to ticket sellers. If one musician is out of work, you can be sure many others will be affected too. We appreciate all the Government has done to support our members through the furlough and self-employment income support schemes so far, but they must not abandon musicians now. With social distancing measures still in place, venues can only sell at around 30% of usual capacity. We are calling on the Government to implement a seat-matching scheme, which would take venues’ potential revenue to 60%, providing a lifeline to musicians and the wider industry. Getting musicians back to work is the priority. However, this is simply not realistic for so many of our members while social distancing remains in place. We strongly urge the Government to recognise the unique situation that our members are in, and to provide sector specific financial support for musicians.”

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of The Incorporated Society of Musicians’ said:

“The ISM is proud to back this important campaign which calls on the government to provide support for the thousands of self-employed musicians that have not been able to work since March and are now facing desperate financial hardship. The government must introduce a measure similar to the Self Employment Income Support Scheme so that self-employed musicians can keep going until they can work again. The UK music industry is known for its world-leading talent which makes a huge contribution of over £5bn annually to our economy, so it is vital that musicians are not forgotten. These are dynamic entrepreneurs who will be back on their feet as soon as the sector can reopen and any support measures need only last until the necessary safety precautions are eased.”


“#WeMakeEvents is delighted that Let Music Live is lending its considerable support to the campaign. We have gained a lot of awareness through our recent activities, both with the public and the Government, particularly the Global Action Day on 30th September. We want that momentum to continue. Let Music Live is a wonderful way of garnering further support for our industry and those people and their families who are in need of help now.”


Due to strict limits on numbers in Parliament Square, musicians who would like to join the event should contact



For more information on any of the above, please contact:

Nicky Thomas Media

2-6 Baches St, London N1 6DN

+44 (0)20 3714 7594 | +44 (0)7768 566 530

Clarinetist Emma Johnson shares tips on successful performance.

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 1st October 2020

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