Local Composer, Pianist and Club member celebrated

Dorothy Howell

Dorothy Howell (1898-1982), a recitalist at and member of Malvern Concert Club, was remembered in two events in September 2010. One of her orchestral compositions, Lamia, was performed at a BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 5 September, broadcast live at 8pm on BBC Radio 3. This performance came 91 years after its premiere was conducted by Sir Henry Wood himself at the Promenade season of 1919 – he liked the work so much, he repeated it three times that season.

To coincide with the concert, an Exhibition on the subject of Dorothy Howell’s life and works was held at Birmingham Central Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, from 4 to 30 September. On the first day, Saturday 4 September from 10am to 4pm, there were live performances of her music and her niece and nephew were present.

Born in Birmingham, Dorothy Howell spent her last 34 years in Malvern Wells, continuing to compose and perform with distinction. Her one and only recital for the Club was on 17 March 1951.

Additional information from Elgar’s Legacy: The Malvern Concert Club 1903-2003 by Michael Messenger OBE<, pp.183-4.

(posted 31.08.10, updated 01.07.11)

Margaret Elgar

Margaret Elgar

Margaret Elgar died suddenly at the age of 82 on 30 September, the day of our first concert of the Season. She was the last remaining family member to have known and to remember her great-uncle Sir Edward, our founder; he died when she was six. He bought musical instruments for his great-nieces, and she had memories of being taken to his home to tea, and of picking raspberries in his garden. (He gave her a dock leaf in which to carry them!)  She eventually became a music teacher, and a fine cellist and pianist, although severe arthritis put a stop to that in her last years. She valiantly learned the recorder when this happened, and had a great love of the Early Music repertoire, but eventually this also became too difficult. She never complained, even when life was clearly a great struggle.

Her Requiem Mass took place on Monday 11 October at St. George’s RC Church in Worcester, where she had sung in the choir for many years, and where Sir Edward had once been organist. She is buried near to his grave in St. Wulstan’s churchyard, Little Malvern.

She was a loyal and regular member of the Concert Club over many years, and a committee member between 2001 and 2004.  She will be very greatly missed.

The Club dedicated the concert on 28 October 2010, Ex Cathedra performing Monteverdi Vespers, to her memory.

Photo by Lucy Ford, courtesy of Worcester Standard

(posted 16.10.10, updated 01.07.11)

Malvern Concert Club Audience Survey, 11 November 2010

Many thanks to all of you who took part in this survey. This is a summary of the results, which indicate that the vast majority of our audience (members and non-members) are very satisfied with the Club.

  • Of the 173 completed questionnaire forms, 87% were from Club members. Of these, 11% had just joined, 8% belonged for 2 seasons, 20% for 3-5 seasons, 17% for 6-9 seasons, 31% for 10 or more seasons.
  • 62% lived in Malvern or within 5 miles, 6% had travelled over 30 miles.
  • Apart from one child, there was no-one in the audience under 40. 12% were aged 40-59, 52% aged 60-74, 31% aged 75 or over.
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, you rated the music at 4.5 and the performers at 4.6. With the option of up to 7 choices, 84% said the performers were the best thing about the club, 69% value for money, 64% the programming.
  • 76% want to keep the concerts on Thursday nights.
  • Amongst non-members, 55% heard about the concerts through posters and leaflets, 27% through word of mouth.
  • Amongst other local concert clubs, Worcester (17%) and Cheltenham (14%) were the most frequently attended. Malvern scored 4.6 on a scale of 1 to 5 compared to all other local clubs.
  • 90% of you had seen our printed programmes , scoring them 4.0 out of 5; 71% saw posters/leaflets, score 3.8; 14 % (and only 28% of Internet users) saw the website, score 3.8.
  • Of the words you associated with the Club, 87% said ‘well-run’ and 82% ‘professional’. The next cluster were ‘exciting’, ‘traditional’, ‘important’ and ‘sociable’, all around 31%.
  • Only 10% of you made additional comments. The most common theme (5 out of 18 comments) was a request for more contemporary or experimental programming and/or a desire to attract a younger audience.

(posted 14.04.11, updated 01.07.11)

A message from Piers Lane

Tasmin Little
Piers Lane

The  Club keeps an Artists’ Book where visiting musicians can record their comments. After the violin and piano recital with Tasmin Little on 17 February, Piers Lane wrote:

‘After playing the Elgar Sonata together for over twenty years now, we both felt that Malvern (not to mention the Shackell Steinway) brought out new inspirations for us. Thank you for that – and for allowing us to be part of the tradition of this great club.’

In fact, they told Linda Jennings, our Secretary, that they felt it was the best they had ever played the sonata!

(posted 05.05.11, updated 01.07.11)

Aronowitz Ensemble on YouTube!

With their annual visits to the club over the three Seasons, 2009-12, the Aronowitz Ensemble have become firm favourites with the Malvern audience. From One to Seven is the title of a nine-minute video, released in April 2011, which demonstrates their flexible group and individual talents, and is both serious and light-hearted at the same time.

To watch the film on YouTube, click the picture.

(posted 27.05.11, updated 15.09.11)

Prestigious award for Alina Ibragimova

Alina Ibraghimova receiving her RPS award 2011

It was announced this May that Alina Ibragimova (who played for the Club on 15 September) won the Young Artist Award in the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2011, in association with BBC Radio 3.

The citation from the RPS Jury read: ‘Still only 25 years old, the violinist Alina Ibragimova has consistently garnered five-star reviews, displaying artistic integrity across a broad range of repertoire. 2010 was a landmark year for her, with a number of high-profile engagements and stunning performances of Beethoven Sonatas at Wigmore Hall, solo Bach at Birmingham Town Hall and the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ Violin Concerto at the BBC Proms.’

Picture by Simon Jay Price, taken at the RPS Awards Ceremony

(posted 27.05.11, updated 01.07.11)

2010-11 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 30 June in the Carice Room at the Elgar Birthplace Museum, Lower Broadheath, Worcester.

Reports of a successful season were given by officers. Most officers were re-elected, and four new committee members were elected.

The Chairman, Joseph Brand, paid a special tribute to Ernie Kay, who was standing down after 14 years’ tireless work for the Club, as committee member, Assistant Secretary and Publicity & Marketing Officer. In recognition of his dedicated service, Ernie was elected as a Club Vice President, and presented with a set of CDs.

The formal business was followed, before refreshments, by a recital by young musicians Christine Sjölander, mezzo-soprano, and Malcolm Forbes-Peckham, piano (photographed, left, at the recital). Swedish-born Christine is now based in Birmingham, where she graduated from the Conservatoire in 2005. A graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Malcolm has performed at major London venues. Both teach music at Malvern St James. Together they gave a superb performance of Scandinavian songs – repertoire unfamiliar to most of the audience.

Peterson-Berger   from Four Folk Ballads, Op.5
Stenhammar   from Songs, Op.8
Grieg   from Melodies of the Heart, Op.5
Nystoem   Songs by the Sea
Frumerie   from Songs of the Heart, Op.27
Sibelius   from Five Songs, Op.37

(posted 14.09.10, updated 13.07.11)