FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Hanover Band offer chamber series

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The Arundel-based Hanover Band returns to the Festival of Chichester with a celebration of chamber music over three successive days in St John’s Chapel.

Under the series title Glorious Chamber Music at Lunch Time, The Hanover Band Chamber Ensemble begins its mini season on Thursday, June 25 at 1pm.

Colin Lawson (clarinet) and principal players of the Hanover Band on period instruments will perform Weber’s Clarinet Quintet Op 34 in Bb and the youthful Mendelssohn Octet Op 20 in Eb. Tickets £20, £15.

The season continues on Friday, June 26 at 1pm when string and wind principals of the Hanover Band present Reicha’s Wind Quintet Op 88 No 2 in Eb major and Spohr’s masterpiece, the Nonet Op 31 in F major which was commissioned by Johann von Tost in Vienna in 1813. Tickets £20, £15.

The series concludes on Saturday, June 27 at 1pm when the Band’s principal players perform the Schubert Quintet in C, D 956, composed in Vienna in early October 1828, just two months before his death. Tickets £20, £15.

Hanover Band founder Caroline Brown is delighted at what she promises will be three lunchtimes rich in colour and variety in three concerts which look at music written between 1811 and 1828.

“It really was the most fantastic period with some wonderful compositions. We are looking at examples of some of the finest chamber music that was written at that time.”

The Weber on the Thursday is full of colour and atmospheric, Caroline says: “Weber was very much aware of the intricacies of the instrument for which he was writing specifically. It’s the perfect example of the medium. It’s a very popular work which is loved by many people.

“We are completing it with the Mendelssohn Octet which was written when he was only 16. He was a very young man. It’s an incredible work. It consists of eight string players. You have got in effect two string quartets.

“It’s very varied and complicated. In a sense, it is very youthful, but the way it is written is totally brilliant. It comes over as youthful, but somehow he has managed to write a complete masterwork.”

The Friday puts the focus on two pieces which must be considered novelties, pieces which are essentially rarities and really ought to be performed more than they are – though Caroline concedes they demand a combination difficult to put together.

“Reicha’s Wind Quintet was written for a quintet of players that were in Paris at the time of the Battle of Waterloo, as it happens. It was finally published in 1818. It managed in all the chaos of war to get a little bit lost.

“I believe it to be one of Reicha’s most popular works. Reicha has the ability to bring out all the characteristics of all the different instruments. It bubbles! It has got that turbulent feeling of war, but you hear each instrument individually.

“The Spohr (also part of the Friday programme) was commissioned in 1813 so these two works were written around the same time. The Spohr was written for a wealthy Viennese merchant who particularly asked that it should be written in such a way that each instrument should appear in its own character.

“We are looking at works that are very much of the calibre of the string writing that was going on. This is giving wind instruments their moment to flourish and to show themselves in their true light.

“Both the works are novelties. They are rarely performed, but they deserve their moment!”

Booking for all Festival of Chichester events as follows: online: www.chichestertickets.co.uk. Box office: 01243 813595. In person: Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).