Matthew Hunt & Friends launch 2019 Chichester Chamber Concerts series.

Alina Ibragimova
Alina Ibragimova

Matthew Hunt & Friends offer the January entertainment in the Chichester Chamber Concerts series.

Thursday, January 24 will bring together Matthew Hunt (clarinet), Alina Ibragimova (violin), Louise Hopkins (cello) and Alasdair Beatson (piano) in The Assembly Room in the Chichester Council House in North Street.

Their programme will be Debussy – Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano; Ravel – Piano Trio; and Messiaen – Quartet for the End of Time.

Matthew, solo clarinettist with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and a member of Sheffield-based Ensemble 360, admits it’s quite a programme.

“The original idea was to find music that would pair well with Olivier Messiaen’s amazing Quartet for the End of Time, so we began thinking about other French works that would be suitable and that we wanted to play.

“Thinking about them all, they are all pieces that are somehow written on an orchestral scale yet restricted to chamber forces. Whilst Debussy did indeed later orchestrate his Rhapsodie, the other two pieces remained in the state they were originally written. The composer Thomas Adès once said about the Ravel Trio ‘It’s like a piano concerto but the fixer forgot to book the rest of the orchestra!’

“The Messiaen Quartet is an amazing piece for so many reasons – its scale, subject and the circumstances of its writing and first performance. The piece concerns itself with the passage from the Book of Revelation where the Angel who announces the End of Time comes down, places one foot on the land and one on the sea and does exactly what its name suggests.

“The scale is huge. Messiaen explores time, its stretching, its inevitability and its precision in so many ways, none less than requiring the players to play more slowly than one might imagine possible.

“The piece was first performed where it was written, Stalag VIII, a prisoner of war camp where Messiaen had been interned fairly soon after the beginning of the Second World War. Luckily the camp guards were musical and realised that the great master needed manuscript paper, writing equipment and a space to write, which they provided.

“I was asked to put together a group to play the Messiaen, so asked some of my favourite colleagues who all luckily said yes. Alina, Alasdair and I have played together as a trio before and Louise is a truly magnificent cellist with whom I’ve often had the great fortune to work. I’m thrilled and excited to find out how it is together. It certainly promises some fantastic music-making.”

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