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Hope, distilled: Jill Crossland at University of Leeds

For a piano geek like me, today's lunchtime concert by Jill Crossland at University of Leeds was a must-see/hear. Jill performed a programme of 18th century keyboard music, comprising D Scarlatti, JS Bach, Rameau and WA Mozart. 
After a slightly stressful few weeks it was a really positive experience to sit and hear pure, hopeful music - a cascade of wellness. The very first piece, Scarlatti's Sonata in B minor K19, was like measured droplets of water - a dose of calm to set the pace, followed by the Sonata in G, K146.
Jill then delighted the audience with a selection of Rameau pieces and selection from Bach's Well-Tempered Klavier, Book 1 (17, 21 and 23 I think - though I am sure there was a bonus piece!). The final work was Mozart's Piano Sonata in C, K330. Joy and hope and resolution. I was floating! 
The sum total of the programme brought to mind the famous quote of Julian of Norwich: All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.  I …
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Matt Anderson Jazz Quartet at Leeds University School of Music

A new academic year at Leeds and the first term along boasts a pretty good lineup of lunchtime concerts at the School of Music. The first one saw Matt Anderson Jazz Quartet - Matt Anderson (saxophone) Martin Longhawn (piano) Sam Vicary (double-bass) Sam Gardner (drums). This quartet of long-time collaborators and friends was formed during studies at Leeds College of Music; now living further afield, this was a unique opportunity to hear them play together once more.

A really fun hour of music - not my normal style of music but well performed, with very good examples of communality in music making. Pieces by Gardner, Anderson and Longhawn as well as American Songbook classic and final Charlie Parker.

The rest of the Lunchtime Concerts are listed at http://concerts.leeds.ac.uk/

Museuns at Night - Leeds and Aoife O'Donovan at Brudenell Social Club

Two weeks, two more great events. First up a Museums at Night event including music held on 19th May. The Leeds University Library Galleries hosted an event looking at the anniversary of the Russian Revolutions. A ticketed 18+ event, there was plenty of space and time to look at the various activities. 
Musically, members of the Leeds Festival Chorus performed 3 times, selections from Rachmaninov's Vespers. Spine tingling stuff and very effective use of the space in Parkinson Court. 
Members of stage@leeds performed dramatic readings from eyewitness accounts of the two Revolutions. This took place in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, where there is currently a special exhibition of items related to the Revolutions. Diary entries, photographs, personal belongings of British citizens resident in St Petersburg/Petrograd - all of which were referenced in the readings - the exhibition is a real eye opener and well worth a visit. Although the whole of the Treasures Gallery is worth…

Lunchtime Harp: Hugh Webb at Leeds

Bright sunshine and another excellent lunchtime concert. This time the programme was a selection os solo harp pieces with Hugh Webb performing. Hugh was a charming presenter as well as performer, providing interesting information behind his programme of 20th century harp music (but then, according to Hugh, the concert harp is a 20th century instrument).
The programme started with the evocative En France by Marcel Tournier. Sounds of the sea - very nice anticipation of summer. Then came Benjamin Britten's Interlude from Ceremony of Carols - a clear sonic difference from Tournier, very simple and direct. Colin Matthews' Little Suite for Harp was possibly my favourite piece of the hour - 3 short movements (march, barcarole, toccata) with preludes in between - from sublime to angular. Similar to the Peter Moore lunchtime concert, the programme here demonstrated the wonderful range of the instrument.
Robert Keeley's Farid left me behind a little, but Hugh's own piece Tone, to…

Performance perspective: A Classical Interlude at Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Festival, Clitheroe

The May Day weekend saw the annual Ribble Valley Jazz and Blues festival hit Clitheroe. An amazing lineup of musicians across 17 venues for the weekend. The festival is entirely volunteer run and they did an amazing job! This year, the festival organisers had a few branch-out events including A Classical Interlude - a morning of classical guitar and an afternoon of piano. 
Members of the Clitheroe Piano Meetup, myself included, were invited to perform at the Interlude concerts. They were held in Clitheroe Library - so far, so familiar as this is the venue for the regular piano group.  Multi instrumentalists John Hesketh and Ian Plested performed solo and duo guitar repertoire to a packed out room. 
For the piano slot, there were 5 performers: John Hesketh, Nick Mahon, Margaret Plested, yours truly and Richard Dinsmore. The repertoire - what a selection! Somehow independently of each other we'd ended up focusing on quite a few French composers. After a more 'classical' start …

Trombone awsomeness: Peter Moore at Leeds University

A real lunchtime treat a few weeks back -the ever increasing chaos of my life at the moment means sadly I have only now found the time to write! Taking an hour out of the whirlwind I went to see Peter Moore, with pianist Robert Thompson, play one of Leeds University School of Music's Lunchtime Concerts. What an hour! 
Peter Moore won BBC Young Musician in 2008; since the he has gone from strength to strength including nomination as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and as a Young Classical Artists Trust musician.
For the lunchtime recital, the programme was: James Maynard - new work (premiere 30th January 2017 at Wigmore Hall) Manuel de Falla - 7 Canciones populares Españolas Reynaldo Hahn - A Cloris Henri Duparc - La Vie antérieure Eric Ewazen - Sonata for trombone and piano (1993) 
Everything was fantastic. Throughout, the sheer range of textures and emotions that Peter pulled out of the trombone was amazing; from a dreamy softness in the Maynard work to the third of the de Falla Canc…

múm: People on Sunday

After purchasing tickets for Lubomyr Melynck, I saw this performance and thought - yep, that sounds good! People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag) is a German silent film from 1930, filmed in summer 1929. A portrayal of daily life in Berlin at the time and the desire of workers to enjoy their leisure time! múm are an experimental group from Iceland. Think indie/electronic/ambient and very enjoyable. 
The combination - a highly enjoyable, informative, funny, relaxing evening. I hadn't seen Menschen am Sonntag before and it was interesting to watch - bits of Berlin that I recognise, beer drunk from big goblets (think oversized wine glasses), the feel of warm sunshine and the breeze off the lake. Great! As was the social commentary - including how modern the lifestyles of the characters were (or maybe, how much continuity there is between the late 1920s and today). The live improvised score from múm was very in keeping with the film - both matching the sunny weather and the scenes/emoti…