Newsletter #6     November 2015

Welcome to our sixth newsletter – designed to keep you informed about our activities, as well as other local chamber music events.


The current season opened on 25 October with a performance of stunning lyricism and passion by the Elias String Quartet. For reviews of the concert by Andrew Polmear and Richard Amey see  and choose ‘News and Views’.
The next concert, on 29 November by the Aronowitz Ensemble, is enough of a departure from Strings Attached tradition to justify a little background information and discussion.


Strings Attached doesn’t choose the players or the programme. We represent the audience and we keep Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome, who both chooses the players and agrees the programme with them, informed about our preferences. From the start he and we agreed that this is not just another provincial music club. We want world-class players and we want depth of programming. Recent Strings Attached questionnaires have shown that people want string quartets, trios, quartets or quintets for piano and strings, and wind ensembles, rather than soloists.


So how do we feel about the inclusion of a piece for just two players performing Beethoven’s Sonata in D major for cello and piano? It’s a tremendous piece of music but that wouldn’t necessarily win it a place in our series. What wins it that place is that it’s one of the keys to understanding the shift from Beethoven’s middle quartets to his late quartets. These late works, starting with opus 127, which so baffled some of Beethoven’s contemporaries, did not come from nowhere. Opus 127, written in 1825, came only 8 years after this sonata and in the sonata you can see him working towards those later works with their darker harmonies, their abrupt changes, their freedom from conventional form, their constant probing under the surface as though to find the meaning of life.


If you want to do some homework there’s a lovely recording by Paul Tortelier and Eric Heidsieck on . Type ‘Beethoven cello sonata 5’ into the search box. Tortelier plays it as though trying to emphasise the melodiousness, to soften the harshness, like a nurse reassuring the patient that everything will be all right. But Beethoven didn’t want to be soothed, he wanted to rage and for that you’d need to listen to a recording by Rostropovitch and Richter, or Mischa Maisky and Martha Argerich, both available free on Spotify.


A final thought about this is that in the past Andrew Comben has challenged us with voice (Mark Padmore), and with solo violin (Rachel Podger). Feedback afterwards from the audience has been “no more voice, unless it’s Mark Padmore”, and “no more solo violin unless it’s Rachel Podger”. See if you feel the same about this sonata from the  Aronowitz. If you don’t, you should still like the Dvorak ‘Cypresses for String Quartet’ and the Brahms Piano Quintet, which are in the mainstream of Strings Attached tradition.



Concerts, as usual, take place at 11.00 am in the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange.


Tickets prices have been held at last year’s level of £18.50 (concessions £16) or you can buy a half-season ticket for the three concerts in 2016 for £49.50 (concessions £42).

Young people: tickets for those aged 8 – 25 are free as part of the Cavatina Scheme. They can only be booked in person at, or by telephone to the box office. The young person need not be present at the time of booking but a name and email address will be required.

Tickets are available from the Brighton Dome Box Office (01273 709709) or .


If you haven’t yet renewed your membership for 2015/16, you can do so by downloading a membership form from . Alternatively, you can do so at the next concert. Your £10 annual fee includes a free sherry or fruit juice during concert intervals. A bargain at £10 for five more concerts!




The easiest way to access these is via the Strings Attached chamber music calendar. Go to and choose ‘calendar’ from the menu. Details of concerts organised by music societies in Lewes (Nicholas Yonge), Seaford, Steyning, Horsham and Chichester (Chichester Chamber Concerts) can all be accessed with links to the relevant websites.


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