Sheffield City of Makers

La Belle Époque: A French Weekend

09/03/2018—11/03/2018

Chamber music and song from France’s golden age Baudelaire and the Bassoon Friday 9 March, 7.15pm Venue: Crucible Studio, city centre Pre-concert Talk, 6.15pm: Professor Helen Abbott, Director of the Baudelaire Song Project The flowers of evil ‘The brightest lyric soprano of the younger generation’ and winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2017 Audience Prize, Louise Alder, partners with Ensemble 360’s ‘bassoonist in a million’ Amy Harman, and pianist in a ‘class of his own’ James Baillieu. Celebrating the poet Baudelaire and the musical influences of his life, music by Beethoven, Wagner and Duparc features alongside the pinnacle of French mélodie and Debussy’s most impressive songs in Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire. Louise Alder soprano Amy Harman bassoon James Baillieu piano

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Ensemble 360 Saturday 10 March, 3pm Venue: Crucible Studio, city centre One work finished just a few days after the outbreak of the First World War – Ravel’s Trio – stands alongside a work conceived towards its end, Debussy’s Cello Sonata. Debussy’s work is in one sense traditional, built around Sonata form, yet its character is resolutely forward-looking. Ravel’s Tzigane is a bravura piece of showmanship demanding extreme virtuosity. Expect fireworks! Ravel Tzigane for violin and piano Debussy Nocturne et Scherzo for cello and piano Ravel Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré for violin and piano Debussy Sonata for cello and piano Ravel Piano Trio

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Ensemble 360 Saturday 10 March, 7pm Venue: Crucible Studio, city centre Debussy’s Trio is the work of a young man yet to find a personal voice, but it is effortlessly sweet and charming. In contrast, Ravel’s Violin Sonata hints at the composer’s discovery and love of American jazz. Ravel’s only string quartet was much admired by Debussy, and while perceived as progressive and modern, Ravel considered it firmly rooted in classical tradition.

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Debussy and his Muse Saturday 10 March, 9pm Venue: Upper Chapel, city centre Ravishing mélodies and an extraordinary relationship When an 18 year old Debussy worked in the studio of fading diva Madame Moreau-Sainti, he fell in love with one of her most talented pupils, Marie-Blanche Vasnier. A captivating society lady with the voice of an angel, this green-eyed muse sang her way into his heart, inspiring a period of happiness, creativity, and self discovery. Award-winning duo Gillian Keith and Simon Lepper perform Debussy’s most ravishing songs, illuminated by extracts from diaries, letters and essays, interwoven seamlessly into this most touching of programmes. Gillian Keith soprano Simon Lepper piano

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Ensemble 360 Sunday 11 March, 11.30am Venue: Crucible Studio, city centre Energy and vitality counteract a degree of poignancy in this concert. Debussy’s Violin Sonata was the composer’s last completed work and the premiere in 1917 was his final performance. Ravel’s Violin and Cello Sonata was dedicated to the memory of Debussy and its relentless drive makes it an arresting homage. Ravel Sonata for Violin and Piano (1897) Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello Debussy Petite pièce for clarinet and piano Debussy Première Rapsodie for clarinet and piano Debussy Violin Sonata

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Ravel and Vaughan Williams Sunday 11 March, 1.15pm Venue: Firth Hall Mediterranean mélodies Winner of the 2016 Kathleen Ferrier Award, baritone James Newby returns to Sheffield with pianist Simon Lepper to explore the evocative sound world of Ravel. From entirely flippant, to deeply profound, the fragranced Cinq Mélodies Populaires Grecques are paired with music by Ravel’s pupil, Vaughan Williams. Travelling through places foreign and familiar, Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems of a wandering vagabond’s reminiscences inspired the classic English song cycle, and some of Vaughan Williams’ best writing in Songs of Travel. James Newby baritone Simon Lepper piano

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Ensemble 360 with Catrin Finch (harp) Sunday 11 March, 3pm Venue: Crucible Studio, city centre Although Debussy only wrote a single quartet, we can be grateful that it’s a wonderful piece. In Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro, the opening wind and strings duos, followed closely by rippling harp, launch what could almost be a ‘manifesto of impressionism’ in music. Debussy Syrinx for solo flute Ravel Sonatine (arr. for flute, viola and harp) Debussy Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp Debussy String Quartet Ravel Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet

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The Short Straw Sunday 11 March, 7.30pm Venue: Firth Hall Nursery rhymes, fairy tales and fables… for grown-ups! Celebrated soprano Ailish Tynan partners with pianist Simon Lepper to conclude our SongMakers weekend. The carafe jealous of a giraffe, the Queen of Hearts’ strange icy domain, and the adventures of a flea, an elephant and a pot of jam… Poulenc’s delightful, charming, nonsensical and surreal ‘La Courte Paille’ inspires this programme exploring the voice of children in French song. Programme to include: Poulenc La Courte Paille Prokofiev The Ugly Duckling Rosenthal Chansons de Monsieur Bleu Offenbach Le Corbeau et le Renard Ailish Tynan soprano Simon Lepper piano

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