The Villiers Quartet are pleased to announce the Fall release of their new CD: The Chamber Music of William Sterndale Bennett, collaborating UK’s finest chamber musicians Jeremy Young and Leon Bosch.
“We may well now find cause to regret, listening to the free spirited and often impassioned voice to be heard throughout this album, that the composer’s diverse undertakings in the field of music, as a performer, conductor, editor and administrator, drew him away from further exercising the talent which most commends him to posterity’s admiration.” Peter Quantrill
Undoubtedly one of Britain’s most important and influential musical figures of the 19th Century, the VQ’s latest CD continues a reawakening of interest in the music of William Sterndale Bennett. A pianist, composer and teacher. Bennett was good friends with both Mendelssohn and Schumann; Mendelssohn spoke highly of his work. A Professor at the Royal Academy of Music and later the Principal, Bennett taught Arthur Sullivan and Hubert Parry as well as rescuing the college from its closure.
In his long a varied career Bennett had a significant influence on English music, not solely as a composer but also as a teacher, as a promoter of standards of musical education and as an important figure in London concert life.
String Quartet in G Major WoO 17
The String Quartet written by Bennett when he was just 15, is a charming early work, much of its influence clearly being Haydn. The elegant 1st movement is followed by a lilting Adagio, a very classical Minuet and Trio and a humorous Finale.
Piano Sextet in F sharp Minor op. 8
The sextet written for piano, quartet and double bass dates from 1838, after a lengthy visit to Germany spent with Mendelssohn. It is a large scale work, and virtuosic for the piano throughout. The first movement is broad in melody and Beethovenian scale progressions. The second movement is nervy with an original trio, looking forward to the folk language of Edvard Grieg.
The Chamber Trio Op. 26
Completed in the following year 1839, this trio is a intimate (perhaps why Bennett entitled the piece Chamber Trio) beautiful work, which radiates charm through its three modest movements.
Leon Bosch, Double Bass
Leon Bosch is an internationally renowned classical double bass virtuoso. With over a dozen solo albums to his name, he regularly commissions repertoire for the instrument, making recital and concerto appearances around the world. He is professor of double bass at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. But he also gives masterclasses in the US, Europe, South Africa and the Far East, and coaches young eastern European musicians at the I, Culture Orchestra in Poland and the young South Africans who make up the Miagi Orchestra. He also acts as a mentor for South African musicians worldwide. Bosch was appointed principal double bass with the acclaimed Academy of St Martin in the Fields but left the post in 2014 to devote himself to his solo career, to teaching and to establishing his now thriving chamber ensemble, I Musicanti. He also conducts, and has a passion for researching lost or forgotten music for double bass.
Jeremy Young, piano
London born pianist, Jeremy Young, has gained a reputation as one of the UK’s most respected and versatile chamber pianists. A founder member of the Manchester Piano Trio, Young has partnered many of the world’s most distinguished musicians in venues such as Lincoln Center (New York), the Herbst Theater (San Francisco), the National Concert Hall (Dublin), Esplanade Hall (Singapore), the Almaty Concert Hall (Kazakhstan) and Wigmore Hall (London), and at many renowned festivals. He has also appeared as solo recitalist at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, The Arts House (Singapore), Hsingchu Concert Hall (Taiwan), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester) and the Southbank Centre (London), and has performed concertos under the batons of Sir Richard Hickox and Markus Stenz. Jeremy Young has broadcast widely across Europe, in the US, China and Russia, and has recorded several albums for major labels. He is currently the head of chamber music at the Royal Northern College of Music and tutor in piano and chamber music at Chetham’s School of Music.