Concert Season 56

1st October 2022 at 7:30pm

Seeking Utopia : Marking the 150th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s birth in 2022

World Premiere

Viv McLean – Piano
Shiry Rashkovsky – Viola
Jessica Duchen – Narrator

A concert narrative developed by Jessica Duchen to celebrate R. Vaughan Williams 150th anniversary.  The concert explores the contrasting backgrounds and transcendental artistry of Ralph Vaughan Williams (Darwin’s great-nephew) and his viola muse Lionel Tertis (son of impoverished immigrants, his father a synagogue cantor). 

This special programme of words and music tells the story of them both and their spirited battles against prejudice of all types – an impassioned plea for unity and acceptance.

Programme including:
Suite for Viola and Piano Ralph Vaughan Williams
Morpheus (or Passacaglia) Rebecca Clarke
Serenade from Hassan Frederick Delius arr. Tertis
Rasphody from Suite Hebraique Ernest Bloch

‘The Bible says that God made the world in six days. Great Uncle Charles thinks it took longer: but we need not worry about it, for it is equally wonderful either way.’
– Margaret Vaughan Williams, explaining The Origin of Species to her small son, Ralph.

‘A colleague once accused me of trying to split hairs in groping for Utopia. But why not? I see nothing against endeavouring to attain the impossible, however inadequate our efforts may be towards that goal.’ – Lionel Tertis

Lauded by The Strad for her ‘beguiling… thrilling and exuberant’ Royal Festival Hall debut, award-winning violist Shiry Rashkovsky pursues an international and diverse career. Her recent recording of Kate Whitley’s Viola Concerto with the Multi-Story Orchestra for NMC Records was described as ‘fearless’ by the Guardian. A passionate chamber musician, Shiry is regularly invited to numerous prestigious festivals.

Jessica Duchen's dramatic works include the libretto for Roxanna Panufnik’s Silver Birch for Garsington Opera, shortlisted for an International Opera Award 2018. She was a music critic for The Independent for 12 years and is author of seven novels (‘Captivating’ – BBC Music Magazine on Immortal) and two biographies. Her narrated concerts and concert dramas have been commissioned by venues and festivals in Britain, France and Australia.

Viv McLean is a superb pianist and a popular and regular performer at the Amersham Concert Club.  Viv won First Prize at the 2002 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona and has performed in all the major venues in the UK, as well as throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA. ‘Viv McLean revealed extraordinary originality, superb simplicity, and muscles of steel hidden by fingers of velvet.’ Le Monde (Paris).