Looking forward to 2017

In another busy and successful year for Music at King Charles, in 2016 we were entertained by the Chelys Viol Ensemble, the Temenos Chamber Choir, the ESK Wind Ensemble, the Orpheus Male Voice Choir, the King Charles Singers, Ellen Smith, Alex Metcalfe, the Archaeus Quartet, Christopher Sayles, Michael Bacon and James McVinnie.

What does 2017 have in store?

Plans are being made for a series of song recitals in the spring, and a further series of chamber music concerts in the autumn. We hope to work again with our friends at the Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival and Merry Opera.

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We welcome any suggestions for repertoire, performers or programme ideas and we are always looking for volunteers to assist at concerts, either with publicity or helping on the day Do get in touch if you would be interested in helping out.

Contact kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk
We wish all of our supporters and friends a very Happy Christmas and fulfilling New Year.


Michael Bacon: Organ Recital

Saturday 16 November, 7:30pm

Marking Max Reger's centenary. Programme includes Reger's 'Halleluja! Gott zu Loben', Chorale Preludes by Bach and new pieces from The Orgelbuchlein Project, together with music by Howells and Bridge.

Free admission. Retiring collection.

Michael Bacon read Music at Liverpool University, where he studied the organ with Terence Duffy, Organist of the Metropolitan Cathedral. Subsequently taking lessons with Thomas Trotter and Anne Marsden, he was for ten years Director of Music at King Charles the Martyr, where his performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Nativité du Seigneur was a feature of the Christmas celebrations. He is now Principal Organist at King Charles, and has given many recitals at the church and elsewhere, notably two concerts in France on Classical French organs in conjunction with the King Charles Singers, and as accompanist of that choir he has also become accepted to play for Evensongs at Westminster Abbey - a carefully guarded honour! In November 2013 he concluded a journey through the complete Bach organ works, having played all 300+ pieces at concerts or services. As a Sound Engineer for Radio 3, Michael has recently had particular responsibility for organ music, as well as specialising in recording early music performances.


Howells Requiem: 13 November

Sunday 13 November, 6:30pm
Evening Service for Remembrance Sunday
The King Charles Singers

Herbert Howells’ Requiem is a short work, composed in 1932 or 1933. Howells used elements of it for his Hymnus Paradisi, a much larger-scale work which he wrote in response to the death of his son Michael, aged nine, in 1935; but the Requiem itself remained unpublished until 1980, three years before the composer’s own death. The music and the choice of texts express a sense of deep sense of loss as well as hope. The climactic moments occur at ‘lux perpetua’. In the third movement, the words shimmer in chord clusters like light through stained glass. Then, in the fifth movement, the mood of solemnity is broken by a bright declamation, leading to a sense of utter peace in the final movement.
This is a church service and not a concert, but followers of Music at King Charles may be interested in attending. There is no charge for entry.


Christopher Sayles, piano: 29 October

Saturday, 29 October, 7:30pm
£12.50 (£11 in advance, tickets available here)

We are delighted to welcome international concert pianist Christopher Sayles to King Charles for a recital of Beethoven Sonatas. Through the evening, Christopher will introduce the music, talking about Beethoven's life and how he revolutionised composition for the instrument.

This is the first solo recital on the church's Yamaha grand piano since its renovation earlier this year.

Christopher Sayles was born in Caterham, Surrey in 1984 and began taking piano lessons at the age of seven. At the same time he became a chorister at St. John’s Church, Caterham Valley, where he eventually progressed to become Head Chorister, as well as obtaining the St. Nicholas Award (now Gold Award) in July 1998. Christopher was educated at St. Bede’s School, Redhill, where his passion for music greatly increased.

In 2003 he went to study music at Leeds College of Music, where he was given piano tuition by Marion Raper and Julian Cima. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Michael Grady Award for Piano Accompaniment. On completing his Bachelor Degree in June 2006, Marion Raper persuaded him to stay on to take his Masters and a subsequent career in music. His recitals of this time included Beethoven’s third piano concerto, Debussy’s “Pour le piano” and other works of reputable note.

On finishing his Masters, Christopher made his public concert debut in the Leeds International Concert Season in October 2007. His highly praised performance of the Brahms Op.79 Rhapsodies led to his being awarded the Robert Tebb Trophy for Outstanding Performance.

In the years following his studies at Leeds, Christopher moved back to Caterham, and was very active as a concert pianist, giving solo recitals in famous London churches, various music societies and cathedrals nationwide. In 2008 and 2010 respectively, he gained his Licentiate and Fellowship Diplomas at Trinity College of Music with distinction.

From 2009 to 2011 he was Director of Music at the United Reformed Church, Caterham. Christopher moved to Berlin in 2011 with his then girlfriend, now wife, Linda. There he continues his concert career, giving recitals in Berlin and Brandenburg, as well as teaching piano at the Musikschule Landkries-Oder-Spree, Schöneiche.

Sonata No.2 in A Major, Op.2 No.2
Sonata No.9 in E Major, Op.14 No.1
Sonata No.13 in E Flat Major, Op.27 No.1
Sonata No.14 in C Sharp Minor, Op.27 No.2 'Moonlight'


The Schubert Ensemble, 13 October

Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival presents the world-famous Schubert Ensemble on Thursday 13 October at 7:30pm

We are delighted that the TWIMF return to King Charles to host this concert. Tickets available here at the discounted price for advance booking. Tickets for under-18s are just £5.

Since its first concert in January 1983 the Schubert Ensemble has established itself as one of the world's leading exponents of music for piano and strings. Regularly giving around 50 concerts a year, the ensemble has performed in over 40 different countries, has over 80 commissions to its name and has recorded over 30 critically acclaimed CDs. In the past few years the Ensemble has enjoyed a busy international schedule, with performances in Romania, Norway, Spain, Holland, Bermuda, the UAE and the USA, as well as a first visit to China. Two of its recent recordings were chosen as CD of the month by the BBC Music Magazine.     

This concert takes place in the middle of the Ensemble's series of piano quintets at Kings Place in London.

You can contact Music at King Charles by email at kcmconcerts@blueyonder.co.uk for tickets or if you wish to leave/join our mailing list. You may also follow this website to be sent updates - see the right-hand side of the page.


Archaeus Quartet: 8 October

Saturday 8 October, 7:30pm

Tickets available from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/mkctw with a discount for pre-booking.

This concert is part of the Archaeus Quartet's three-year cycle of Beethoven's string quartets, demonstrating, as they put it, that "Beethoven journeyed further in his lifetime expressively, conceptually and emotionally than any other composer".

Formed in 1990, the Archaeus Quartet has performed in music clubs and arts centres throughout the UK, and at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London.

Beethoven String Quartet in C minor Op.18, No.4
It has been suggested that Beethoven's C minor quartet is based on material from his earliest period in Bonn; whatever the truth, the work represents him at full power so far as he had evolved it around 1800, when the six Op.18 quartets were being composed.

Beethoven String Quartet in E minor Op.59, No.2 (1806)
The second Rasumovsky quartet gives vent, perhaps, to some of the nervous tension that begins
to show itself in the scherzo of the first. Like another even more tense later quartet, Op. 132, it has
a deeply contemplative slow movement.

Beethoven Quartet in F major, Op.135 (1826)
Apart from the second finale of Op.130, the F major quartet is the last substantial work Beethoven
finished. It is smaller in scope and lighter in character than the other late quartets. Profundity is not
always weight or elaboration, and the Lento is a piece as deep as it is seemingly simple.

(Extracts from notes by Robert Simpson)


Music Festival news

Michael McHale
The Tunbridge Wells International Music Festival returns this year at the end of the month, kicking off with the Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra on 2nd October at the Assembly Halls. More information. And on 9th October, there's a chance to hear the fantastic pianist Michael McHale, playing a Mozart concerto with the London Sinfonia. Michael accompanied Felicity Lott in a recital at King Charles last year, and he was sensational.

The Festival is well worth supporting, so see their full programme here.

Music at King Charles has its own concert on Saturday 8th October, with three seminal Beethoven quartets played by the Archaeus String Quartet. Buy tickets here.

King Charles church is then the venue for the Festival concert on Thursday 13th October, when the world-renowned Schubert Ensemble will play piano quintets by Bruch and Schumann. Buy tickets here. And the church also hosts a special Flute Masterclass with Karen Jones, professor at the Royal Academy of Music, on Saturday 29th October.

Just coming up, meanwhile, over at West Malling, we recommend the music series 'Music at Malling' with a variety of high-class performers from the classical scene. This runs from 23rd September to 1st October. A particular highlight will be the complete sonatas for violin and harpsichord performed by Steven Devine and leading Baroque violinist, Richard Gwilt, on Tuesday 27th September at 1pm. But there is much more, as you can see from the Music at Malling website.

Do keep an eye on the Beult concert series, too. There's a great jazz concert coming up on 1st October, and the CODA chamber music series' next event on 16th October at Rose Hill School in Tunbridge Wells.

To keep in touch, why not FOLLOW this blog? Just click on the button down on the right hand side of the page on the web version of the site.


Schubert Piano Trio

Saturday 17 September, 7:30pm

A piano and piano trio recital of late works by Franz Schubert.

Tickets available (discount for advance booking)from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/mkctw or from the performers directly.

Katy Johns - violin
Miriam Cox - cello
Alex Metcalfe - piano

Impromptu in Ab D.935/4
Four Impromtpus D.899
Trio in Eb, D.929

Katharine Gorsuch Johns (violin) was a member of the prize-winning Bronte String Quartet from 2001 to 2006 and now works as a freelance violinist. Having studied with Itzhak Rashkovsky and Miriam Fried, her playing career has taken her to venues such as Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and St David’s Hall. She has also performed at IMS Prussia Cove and on BBC Radio 3. Her recent work includes performances with Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells and English Chamber Orchestra.

Miriam Cox (cello) studied at the Junior Academy under Robert Max and later at the Royal College of Music with Alexander Boyarsky. Since 2009 Miriam has been heavily involved in the Kent original music scene, playing with several groups and singer songwriters. She wrote and recorded, along with her husband, drummer James Cox, for Frances Yonge’s recently released third album Stonewaller. Miriam and James also feature in the loosely labelled ‘folk’ band Son of Kirk, who regularly play in London and the South East and with whom she will soon be recording a second E.P.

Alexander Metcalfe (piano) studied at the Royal College of Music under Raymond Fischer and was subsequently awarded a Nelly Ben-Or foundation scholarship to study the application of Alexander Technique to piano playing. He has performed at many prestigious venues throughout the UK and Europe (including LSO St. Luke’s, the Royal Albert Hall and King’s Place) and played with a variety of orchestras and ensembles (including London Sinfonietta and London Symphony Orchestra). He has given lecture recitals on many of the great masterpieces of the Classical and Romantic eras (such as Liszt’s B minor sonata, Schumann’s Fantasy in C and the last 3 piano sonatas of both Beethoven and Schubert.) His debut CD, a collection of works by Erik Satie, was released in 2014.


'Voice of the British Isles': 11 Sept

Ellen Smith and Michael Grant open the 2016 Music at King Charles series with a luscious collection of folksongs, at 3:30pm on Sunday 11 September. Admission is free and there is a retiring collection.

You can get a taste of their music in this short selection of extracts on YouTube.

Inspired by the haunting sound world of Jan Garbarek, Ellen and Michael have reinterpreted some of the most enduring folk melodies from across the British Isles for the unique combination of voice, harp and soprano saxophone.

Ellen Smith graduated from University College London with a first class honours degree in Classics before pursuing a Masters in Music Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she specialised in Early Music. Particular career highlights include London performances of the Handel harp concerto with the Clemens non Papa Consort, Britten's Ceremony of Carols at Westminster Cathedral, The Chapel of the Savoy and St. James’ Piccadilly with the English Chamber Choir, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with Vox Cordis at Holy Trinity Kensington and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro in Blackheath. Frequent orchestral concert and tour engagements have taken her to the Salzburg, Istanbul and Gran Canaria Festivals, and further afield, to Beijing with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife. A regular guest solo artiste aboard Cunard’s fleet since 2004, she has performed extensively throughout Europe and worldwide onboard Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.

Michael Grant is an international cabaret entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, teacher and composer. After studying at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he went on to perform in many musicals and concerts in London’s West End and across the world. As a classical soloist he has performed in most of the UK’s most prestigious venues, including Wigmore Hall, Britten Theatre, Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall, St. Martin-in- the-Fields, St. James’ Piccadilly and the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh. As a jazz musician and cabaret entertainer Michael regularly performs his own swing show around the world as a guest artist for Cunard and P&O Cruise Lines. He has written three ballets, two musicals and several song cycles continuing the English song tradition of the early 20th Century.

This recital is part of a long-term recording project for Ellen and Michael. Their repertoire draws on a wealth of traditional song from across the British Isles but, with an unusual combination of harp and soprano saxophone, their collaboration has brought together traditional and modern influences, some unfamiliar tunes and complex harmonies. Inspired by the sea in his home town of Hastings and influenced by the strong English style of composers such as Vaughan Williams and Finzi, Michael has also composed a song cycle with words from John Masefield’s Salt-Water Ballads which will be premiered at this recital.

Where to find King Charles church.