It is with much excitement that I end my accidental and largely unnoticed exile from these pages to announce that Tyne Consort are, later this month, giving two lunchtime concerts in two of Newcastle’s finest recital venues. First of all, the important details of when and where. The first concert is on Friday 26th July at our old friend (unlike some old friends, this one would surely not object to being called old) the Lit and Phil (this will commence at 1.10pm). Then on Monday 29th July we will for the first time be performing at none other than Newcastle Cathedral, otherwise known as the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas (commencing at 1.05pm). Admission to both concerts is free and we are very much looking forward to the opportunity to renew our acquaintance with one esteemed Newcastle institution, make the new acquaintance of another, and hopefully reach out to new audience members for whom the free lunchtime recital is a more congenial (or convenient) enterprise than the usual evening one.
Our programme is necessarily shorter than previous programmes, adapted to suit the demands of the flying visitor between appointments for a succinct, finely-crafted musical vignette to see him or her through the afternoon (as a veteran of lunchtime recitals myself, I know it can be important that these events do not overrun). We start with an early (Opus 2, Number 4 to be precise) quartet by the Italian composer Luigi Boccherini (best-known for the prolific minuet from his String Quintet in E Major). This light, delicate quartet of three movements glows with neoclassical elegance (although its provenance and influences are recognisably Baroque) and is the perfect aperitif to the main event, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. This scarcely needs an introduction, although some of course has already been provided in the very first of these posts. Nonetheless there will be some listeners to whom the later two of the four movements (the minuet and rondo, both in the home key of G Major) are less familiar than both the first, featuring probably the most recognisable opening theme in all classical chamber music (as well perhaps as the most perfect exposition, if that is the right word, of sonata form), and the second, the lovely swooning romance which remains, outside of the Romantic Period, the very definition of romantic music. The final item in the programme is Philip Glass’ Second Quartet (“Company”), a radical departure from the first two works in style, although it shares with the Mozart the traditional four-movement structure. Perhaps to a greater extent than any of Glass’ other quartets, Company bears all of the minimalist hallmarks: mysterious, mesmerically repetitive and fastidiously even-handed in its treatment of the quartet‘s individual voices.
The lunchtime recital represents a new scene for us, and it is a scene we keenly anticipate inhabiting in the coming two weeks. We would be delighted if you could spend an hour inhabiting it with us. It seems that we might even get the weather for it.