24 May 2015
Promoter of the month: May 2015
An occasional series that highlights the initiatives of valued concert promoters.
Tring Chamber Concerts
24th May at 7.30pm - Hastoe Village Hall
Mozart Piano Trio, K 564
Ravel Pavane pour une infante défunte
Bridge Three Idylls
Franck Piano Quintet
Paul Barritt and Catherine Yates violins
Louise Williams viola
Josephine Horder cello
James Lisney piano
Church Lane, Hastoe, Hertfordshire HP23 6LU
In launching this occasional series of blog posts in praise of promoters, I must (for the sake of transparency) admit to a partisan interest in my first choice. Two of my colleagues and friends are central to the initiative and, additionally, the series fulfils one of my central beliefs that it is the role of musicians to be creators of concerts rather than separate themselves from the responsibility of the promoter.
Tring Chamber Concerts illustrates this most eloquently and is the brainchild of cellist Josephine Horder and violinist Paul Barritt. Back in 2003, in the midst of thriving international careers, they resolved to act upon a passionate conviction that top class chamber music could be presented within their community and using the most beautiful venues in their corner of Hertfordshire. As many music societies throughout the country withdrew from presenting expensive and adventurous programmes of chamber music, Jo and Paul met the problem face on and have now become an indispensable part of the local arts calendar.
From the start, an emphasis was placed upon both continuity and variety. Jo and Paul formed the basis of the groups of guest musicians (drawn from other distinguished ensembles such as the Lindsay, Allegri, Sorrel string quartets performing with pianists such as Howard Shelley or myself). Their familiar faces ensured that the local audience were reassured at what to expect and they developed a sense of ‘ownership’ of the concerts.
Also fundamental to the success of the series was the lack of stuffiness in the concert experience. Performers introduce the music, concerts are often themed and popular additions such as cakes and wine have created an excited and enjoyable buzz. At a time when many chamber music promoters are becoming increasingly conservative, Tring Chamber Music have been able to lead a willing audience towards music that might otherwise be the province of the aficionado; this season, for example, includes mainstream masterpieces such as the Franck Piano Quintet - but also items by Gideon Klein and Schoenberg.
There are many aspects that I really like about Tring Chamber Concerts. There is a simplicity about its constitution: two main figures who choose the programmes, perform within the concerts, act as box office and promoters - and inspire a loyal band of volunteers to provide support on the day; luxurious and high class concerts worthy of many an international festival or major venue are produced at a fraction of the normal cost; established, mature performers are central to the project and the concerts are ‘events’ rather than risk the spirit of ‘off-the-peg’ productions; and, ultimately, music is the obvious winner as the audiences concentrate upon what they are hearing rather than evaluating the abilities of new musicians.
There is no reason why the people of Tring and its surroundings should keep these wonderful concerts to themselves - the area is of easy access by train or road (with free and convenient parking). There are excellent pubs and eateries close by. If you want to enjoy the summer festival experience of top class concerts, performed with a palpable sense of freshness and discovery, I suggest that you visit the TCM website and bag yourself a bargain.