June Concerts

Published: May 11, 2024

For the Grand Finale of our 2023/2024  concert season, on June 4th and 6th, we are delighted to welcome three  exceptional artists: Alissa Firsova, piano, Tim Hugh, cello, and Andrew Marriner, clarinet .

For our concert on Tuesday the  trio will be joined by violinist, Katerina Nazarova to perform “Quatuor pour la fin du temps” by Olivier Messiaen. This will be followed Alissa Firsova’s composition for the Amigos de Música, ‘Algarvia’ for Violin and Piano

The Thursday concert will include clarinet trios by Brahms, Piazzola, the Arpeggione sonata by Schubert and Alissa Firsova’s own composition,  “The Reunion” clarinet trio

Alissa Firsova and Tim Hugh playing at Os Agostos

Alissa Firsova is a British-Russian pianist, composer and conductor. She made her Wigmore Hall and Proms debuts in 2009 and has enjoyed collaborations with Camerata RCO, Daniel Rowland, Tim Hugh, Andrew Marriner, Mark Padmore and many others. Since winning the BBC Proms Young Composer Competition in 2001, she received three commissions for the Proms, writing for the Royal Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic and Southbank Sinfonia…

 

Tim Hugh is the Principal Cello of the London Symphony Orchestra. Following his success at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Tim enjoys an international career as a soloist. He has worked and recorded with many of the greatest conductors including Valery Gergiev, André Previn, Bernard Haitink, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yehudi Menuhin and Sir Colin Davis.

 

Andrew Marriner held the position of principal clarinet in the London Symphony Orchestra from1986 to 2019, having succeeded the late Jack Brymer in that post. During his orchestral career Andrew maintained a presence on the worldwide solo concert platform, in the field of chamber music, and as a teacher.

He has given recitals in London, New York, Portugal, Beirut, and has recorded much of the piano trio repertoire with the Solomon Trio. As a soloist Andrew has been a regular performer in London, both at the Barbican and the Royal Festival Hall. As both performer and teacher, his career is worldwide in its reach, taking him regularly from Europe to the Americas, Asia and Australia.

KATERINA  NASAROVA, violin

 Born in Tasmania Katerina began playing the violin and piano at a very early age. In 2012 she won Australia’s most prestigious music competition performing Shostakovich Violin Concerto No.1. Subsequently she has gone on to make her debuts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

As an active chamber musician Katerina has performed across Europe and Asia. As soloist she has performed in the Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Cadogan Hall, LSO St Luke’s, the Bridgewater Hall Manchester, and in Italy, Germany and the Kennedy Center in the USA, where she was invited to lead a chamber orchestra working closely with conductor Lorin Maazel.

 

Programme for Tuesday, June 4th

 

 From the End of Time to the New World

 

Olivier Messiaen (1908 – 1992)

Quatuor pour la fin du temps” (1941) (50 mins)

  • Liturgie de cristal
  • Vocalise, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps
  • Abîme des oiseaux
  • Intermède
  • Louange à l’éternité de Jésus
  • Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes
  • Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du temps
  • Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus

 

Programme notes for Messiaen´s “Quartet For the End of Times”

by Mark van de Wiel © Philharmonia Orchestra 

Messiaen’s masterpiece, given its first performance in 1941 in a German prisoner of war camp by the composer and three fellow prisoners, shines a message of hope and consolation through music which is as relevant today as it was then.

 Its eight movements, inspired by the biblical Book of Revelation (“I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed in a cloud”) convey the depth and emotional power of Messiaen’s religious belief through a wide range of instrumental blend, singing melodies and dancing rhythms.

 Listen for the stillness of the opening ‘dawn’ movement, punctuated by its awakening birds on the violin. Throughout the piece, Messiaen slows our listening with hypnotic melodies, whether in the singing ecstasy of the ‘infinitely slow’ cello and violin solos, or the abyss depicted in the solo clarinet movement (in its central section it’s the clarinet’s turn for birdsong, a cascade of colour).

Throughout the long melodies the piano’s contribution ensures that our pulse slows but never stops (the clarinet, though, is alone in the abyss). Of the sixth movement Messiaen writes, “ Our instruments in unison imitate gongs and trumpets… of the Apocalypse”, but surely the blend of instruments in this rhythmically gripping music represents Messiaen’s own instrument, the organ? The emotional power of this Quartet on both listeners and performers remains unsurpassed.

 

Alissa FIRSOVA

Algarvia op 42 (9 mins)

violin and piano

  • Sunset of the Fisherman’s Tears
  • Night of the Carnations
  • Sunrise Flight to the New World

Programme Notes for Algarvia by composer Alissa  Firsova

 

Algarvia Op. 42 was conceived after an inspire-trip to the Algarve organised by President of the Amigos de Musica, Helga Hampton and Author of “111 Places along the Algarve that you shouldn’t miss”, Catrin Ponciano.

The first mvt reflects an emotional encounter with the retired fishermen, who spend all their time looking out at sea and singing Fado songs, bringing tears into their eyes from all their cherished memories out there and tries to portray the unique untranslatable feeling of Saudade.

The second mvt tells the story of the Carnation Revolution, where all the people took the streets and sang so powerfully in unison the “Grândola, Vila Morena” to fight for a democracy, which now in 2024 marks its 50th Anniversary!

And the 3rd mvt was inspired by a glorious sunset in Sagres – the corner of Europe overlooking to the New World – symbolising hope and a new beginning.

It feels very special to be able to play this again for the Amigos 5 years after the premiere – in the context of a continuation of Messiaen’s End of Time which ends in Paradise, arriving in a true Paradise of the Algarve – from the End of the World to a New World – and always with Hope!

This is an Amigos de Musica commission, and the world premiere of this piece was in Os Agostos on June 11, 2019 with the composer and the violinist Daniel Rowland.

Programme for Thursday, June 6th

Johannes Brahms, 1833 – 1879

Clarinet Trio Op. 114

 

Franz Schubert, 1797 – 1828

“Arpeggione” sonata D. 821

for cello and piano

                        Interval

 

Alissa Firsova

Reunion” Trio op. 49

for clarinet, cello and piano

 

Astor Piazzola, 1921 – 1992

“The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” (26 mins)

(arr. Bragato/Dokshansky)

for clarinet, cello and piano

  • Primavera Porteña
  • Verano Porteño
  • Otoño Porteño
  • Inverno Porteño

Programme notes for Reunion by composer Alissa Firsova

Reunion Op. 49 is a true “corona” piece, written in between the waves of the Covid era in 2021, it was a time of reunion – after a long period of concerts being cancelled and not having been allowed to meet friends – festivals and events began to start up again and it was an incredible sensation to breathe music in and out into the world again.

It paints the story of the the clarinetist of the RCO, Hein Wiedijk, isolating himself in the mountains after having been hit by a variant, spending a meditative time, painting the beautiful landscapes, told by the lonesome, melancholic clarinet, playing into the piano to create an echo-like effect, as if it would be playing in the mountain valleys. It is then cautiously joined by the pizzicato of the cello, reflecting the time of uncertainty, when people would start meeting but not getting too close – the clarinet and cello’s notes never coincide, leading to somewhat of a frustration. They try again, this time playing together and with the piano joining, a new hope is born. The interaction takes off and the trio express the triumph in their embrace – they reminisce about the good old days until three outbursts of thunder take them by surprise.

Having got too close, their souls fly up into the heavens, where the true reunion takes place – in an ethereal, star-resembling coda.

This piece currently forms the peak of my cycle, Expressions, all connected with the clarinet.

For concert bookings please send an e-mail to reservasconcertos@gmail.com .

 

All concerts will take place in the Auditorium of OS AGOSTOS near Santa Bárbara de Nexe. Doors will open at 6.00pm and the concert will begin at 7.00pm. Wine, fruit juices and canapés will be available for self-service before the concert.

Entry donation including refreshments is €30 per person for guests and non-members, payable in advance by bank transfer (see our website www.amigosdemusica.org ).

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