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Friday 4 June 2021
BBC Radio 3 Early Evening Concert: Rachel Podger, Reiko Ichise, Rachel Brown & Chad Kelly

JS Bach Trio Sonata in G major BWV 1038
Couperin La Françoise from 'Les Nations'
Vivaldi Concerto in G minor RV 106
Telemann Paris Quartet No 6 in E minor TWV 43 e:4

Rachel Podger violin
Reiko Ichise viola da gamba
Rachel Brown flute
Chad Kelly harpsichord

Recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 logo

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

LSO St Luke's Jerwood Hall

© Matthew Weinreb

© Matthew Weinreb

Support the LSO and LSO St Luke's

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JS Bach

Trio Sonata in G major BWV 1038

✒️ c 1730 | ⏰ 8 mins

1 Largo
2 Vivace
3 Adagio
4 Presto

This short piece survives as a set of manuscript parts in Bach’s hand, dating from the early 1730s, but with no composer’s name attached. It has two unusual features: its bass line is identical that that of Bach’s Violin Sonata BWV 1021, and the violin part is written in scordatura (altered tuning, here with the strings tuned only to G and D), a device normally employed to make the part easier to play. For years it was assumed that Bach’s second son and pupil Carl Philipp Emmanuel probably had a substantial hand in the Trio, but more recent research suggests that it is more likely his father’s work, possibly composed for one of his pupils or music-loving friends. Certainly its modest scale indicates that it was intended for domestic use. There are four movements, all dance-like in quality, but tinged with minor-key melancholy.

Note by Wendy Thompson

Johann Sebastian Bach
1685 – 1750 (Germany)

Composer Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach was orphaned by the age of 10, and was subsequently raised by his elder brother, with whom he studied organ and rudimentary composition. At 18 he became organist of St Bonifacius’ Church in Arnstadt. Here, not for the last time, Bach’s burgeoning talents as a performer brought him into conflict with the church authorities, who took exception to the young man’s elaborate improvisations and hymn accompaniments.

Bach swiftly outgrew the musical demands of Arnstadt, moving in 1707 to the wealthier church of St Blasius for whose choir and orchestra he wrote his first dateable works. The following year Bach was invited by the Duke of Weimar to become his court organist, and in 1714 was promoted to the post of Konzertmeister. With the support of the duke’s nephew, he was offered the vacant post of Kapellmeister at the neighbouring court of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. Here he devoted much of his time to instrumental composition, from organ showpieces and ‘teaching’ works for keyboard to his magnificent Brandenburg Concertos.

Following his first wife’s death in July 1720 and re-marriage the following year to Anna Magdalena Wilcke, Bach accepted the post of Kantor at Leipzig’s respected St Thomas School and director of the town’s music on 23 May 1723. He was expected to be schoolmaster and choir-trainer; director of music at two town churches and supervisor for that at two others; organist; composer, orchestral and choral fixer. Additionally, Bach set about producing a new cantata to be performed at the main Sunday service and other important church feasts, a Herculean task that yielded more than 60 works a year over a five-year period.

During his lifetime, Bach gained wide recognition as a virtuoso organist and keyboard player and gifted teacher, although only a handful of his compositions
were published.

Profile by Andrew Stewart

François Couperin

La françoise from Les Nations

1726 | 23 mins

1 Sonade
2 Allemande
3 Première Courante
4 Seconde Courante
5 Sarabande
6 Gigue
7 Chaconne ou Passacaille
8 Gavotte
9 Menuet

Corelli’s influence on instrumental music spread far and wide in the late 17th century, even penetrating the conservative confines of the French court. The theorist Sébastien de Brossard, writing in 1695, claimed that every composer in Paris, especially the organists, was 'madly writing sonatas in the Italian manner'.

François Couperin le grand began his career as an organist at the court of the ageing Sun King, and by the time of Louis’s death in 1715 had established himself as the leading French composer of the time. His compositions strove to marry the best elements of the rival French and Italian styles – Couperin described his aim as 'Les goûts réunis’ (the reunion of styles).

Around the time that he gained his first court appointment in 1693, he began work on a set of four-movement trio sonatas . These six pieces with their characterful French titles, probably composed over a period of time in the mid-1690s, were directly inspired by Corelli, whose works, Couperin admitted, 'I shall love as long as I live', and whose memory he honoured in 1724 with a 'grand trio sonata' entitled L’apothéose de Corelli.

Two years later, he issued four of his early trio sonatas in print under the title Les Nations: sonade et suite de simphonies, renaming them La françoise, L’espagnole, L’impériale and La piémontoise , in subtle homage to France, Spain, England and Italy. In the preface to the publication, Couperin claimed that he had not changed or added much to the original pieces: 'I have merely added long suites, for which the sonatas are simply a prelude or a kind of introduction'.

The opening 'sonade' of La Françoise was originally entitled La pucelle (The Maid). Its eight sections form a miniature suite alternating slow and quick tempi, in which the slow sections are inflected by plangent chromaticism, while the faster ones are more dance-like. Eight further dances follow: an allemande in which flute and violin interweave their lines; a pair of stately courantes, the second faster than the first; a stately sarabande; a lively gigue; a chaconne over a recurring ground bass in the French style; and two quintessentially French dance-forms to end – a gavotte and a minuet.

Note by Wendy Thompson

François Couperin
1668 – 1733 (France)

Composer François Couperin

François Couperin was a French Baroque composer, harpsichordi and organist. He began his musical studies at a young age with his father – Charles Couperin, organist of Paris’ Church St-Gervais – but his own success surpassed that of his family, and he became know as ‘Couperin le grand’.

As a teenager, Couperin inherited his father’s post, and in 1693 he became one of the four organists of the royal chapel which opened up new, prestigious opportunities: he taught harpsichord to the royal children, later became court harpsichordist, and established a reputation as a teacher and performer without rival, as well as a highly skilled composer.

Couperin composed chamber music, including trio sonatas and his Concerts royaux, and a small amount of music for organ, but he is best known for his keyboard works. He wrote four volumes of harpsichord music – over 230 pieces – that would become important influences on composers as diverse as JS Bach, Richard Strauss and Ravel, and it was for the harpsichord that he wrote a treatise on playing style that would become one of the main resources in the early music revival of modern times.

Profile by Paul Griffiths

Antonio Vivaldi

Concerto in G minor RV 106

✒️ 1716 | ⏰ 11 mins

1 Allegro
2 Largo
3 Allegro

The Corellian trio sonata was closely related to another key instrumental genre of the Baroque era – the concerto. The greatest Italian exponent of the concerto principle was the Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi, who exercised enormous influence on his European contemporaries, especially Bach. Vivaldi’s voluminous concerto output includes several for smaller ensemble, more akin to the traditional trio sonata. The G minor Concerto was almost certainly composed during Vivaldi’s long spell as music director at a Venetian orphanage, the Ospedale della Pietà, and probably postdates the introduction of the transverse flute there in 1728.

There are three movements, the first featuring dialogue between flute and violin interspersed with ritornello sections for all four instruments; the second, in B flat major, highlighting a graceful flute melody subtly accompanied by violin and cello alone; and the third a lively dance once again in solo-ritornello format.

Note by Wendy Thompson

Antonio Vivaldi
1678 (Italy)– 1741 (Austria)

Composer Antonio Vivaldi

Vivaldi began taking lessons in the violin at a young age from his father; and trained for priesthood. He was ordained in 1703, and his uncommon reddish hair earned him the nickname Il Prete Rosso ('The Red Priest'). Mere weeks later, he withdrew from liturgical duties and accepted the position of violin master at the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for girls in Venice, Italy.

His time at Pietà proved valuable, as Vivaldi's earliest compositions were written during his tenure as violin master. This included a set of 12 trio sonatas, violin sonatas and concerto sets written in 1705; however it was L’estro Armonico ('The Inspiration Of Harmony'), published in 1711, that displayed his remarkable skill. It was this set that impressed his contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach enough to transcribe six of the works.

Vivaldi composed over 200 solo violin concertos, 27 for solo cello – with 20 written for the flute and oboe for a particularly talented student during his tenure at Pietà. From 1718 to 1720, he moved and worked in Mantua, and shifted his focus on composing opera; while still travelling back and forth to Rome and Venice. His first opera, Ottone in villa, was premiered in Vicenza in 1713. The success of the opera Armida al campo d’Egitto led to his position as impresario under Prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt. From 1725 to 1729, five new collections of concerti (Op 8–12) were given to publishers; and Vivaldi later began to sell instrumental scores to individual buyers.

From the 1730s onwards, Vivaldi remained reasonably active as an impresario in Venice, Mantua and Rome, until his health began to decline. In 1740 he travelled to Vienna, but his declining health meant he did not live to see the production of his opera L’oracolo in Messenia in 1742. His funeral arrangements were made hastily, with a poor burial made the same day he passed. Until Vivaldi’s private collection of original scores were found in the 1920s, his position as one of Italy’s most influential composer was overlooked.

Profile by Yasmine Ali

Georg Philipp Telemann

Paris Quartet No 6 in E minor TWV 43 e:4

✒️1738 | ⏰ 20 mins

1 Prélude. A discretion – très vite
2 Gai
3 Vite
4 Gracieusement
5 Distrait
6 Modéré

During the first half of the 18th century, Georg Philipp Telemann’s reputation both in Germany and abroad exceeded that of Bach, and his music was widely available through a spate of publications. From the autumn of 1737 he spent eight months in Paris at the invitation of a group of notable performers, where, he later wrote, 'I had engraved new quartets sold by subscription and six sonatas entirely constructed from melodic canons.' The quartets to which he refers (trio sonatas in all but name) are the Nouveaux Quatuors en Six Suites: they were first performed by an ensemble including the celebrated viola da gamba player Jean-Antoine Baptiste Forqueray, and 'made the ears of both the royalty and the citizenry attentive'. Bach was among many European subscribers to the lucrative publication.

The six Quartets are essentially French in format – a succession of dances – but represent a subtle fusion of Gallic and Italian styles. No 6 in E minor opens with a seemingly traditional French overture alternating slow and fast sections, but with the violin interpolating cadenza-like passages clearly derived from the Italian concerto. Two courtly dance movements in the style of a gavotte and a menuet follow, enclosing a fast contrapuntal movement; then comes a quirky character piece marked 'Distrait', and the quartet ends with an expressive chaconne over a six-bar ground bass.

Note by Wendy Thompson

Georg Philipp Telemann
1681 – 1767 (Germany)

Composer Georg Philipp Telemann

Georg Philipp Telemann was born in Magdeburg and studied law in Leipzig before switching to music and beginning a highly successful career which saw him holding important church, civic and court posts as a composer and musical administrator in a succession of German cities. In 1702, while still a student, he was appointed musical director of the Leipzig Opera, and important positions followed in Eisenach and Frankfurt before he became music director to the city of Hamburg in 1721, an appointment he held on to for the remaining 46 years of his life.

His reputation as an outstandingly prolific composer has not always helped modern-day appreciation of him, but he is more properly remembered as one of the most respected musicians of his time, with an international standing which outstripped that of one friend, Bach, and matched that of another, Handel.

Profile by Lindsay Kemp

Artist Biographies

Rachel Podger

Violinist Rachel Podger

Rachel Podger, 'the unsurpassed British glory of the baroque violin,' (The Times) has established herself as a leading interpreter of the Baroque and Classical. She was the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Prize in October 2015, Gramophone Artist of the Year 2018, and the Ambassador for REMA’s Early Music Day 2020. A creative programmer, Rachel is the founder and Artistic Director of Brecon Baroque Festival and her ensemble Brecon Baroque. Rachel is Patron for The Continuo Foundation.

Following an exciting and innovative collaboration, A Guardian Angel, with the ‘impeccable’ (Gramophone) vocal ensemble VOCES8, Rachel was thrilled to be one of the Artists in Residence at Wigmore Hall in 2019/20. Alongside this, Rachel and Christopher Glynn recorded the world premiere of three previously unfinished Mozart sonatas which were completed by Royal Academy of Music Professor Timothy Jones for release in March 2021. Rachel featured in The VOCES8 Foundation’s LIVE From London festival in a new advent version of A Guardian Angel, 'a sensitive accompanist when called for and displayed nimble fingers in her virtuosic solos' (Wall Street Journal). She performed solo Bach for Gramophone Magazine’s Winners’ Digital Gala, appeared in Bitesize Proms, BOZAR at Home, Living Room Live, Baroque at the Edge, and a collaborative disc by Musicians For Musicians, Many Voices on a Theme of Isolation. Rachel presented BBC Radio 3’s Inside Music and directed a new arrangement by Chad Kelly, The Goldberg Variations Reimagined.

Upcoming engagements include recording a selection of Beethoven sonatas and performances of Mozart and Beethoven with Christopher Glynn, a return to Philharmonia Baroque and San Francisco Early Music, a Four Seasons collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music, and further performances of Bach Cello Suites, The Goldberg Variations Reimagined, and A Guardian Angel.

Rachel has won numerous awards including two Baroque Instrumental Gramophone Awards for La Stravaganza (2003) and Biber Rosary Sonatas (2016), the Diapason d’Or de l’année in the Baroque Ensemble category for her recording of the La Cetra Vivaldi concertos (2012), two BBC Music Magazine awards in the instrumental category for Guardian Angel (2014) and the concerto category for the complete Vivaldi L’Estro Armonico concertos (2016). Rachel and Brecon Baroque released the highly anticipated album, Vivaldi Le Quattro Stagioni, on Channel Classics in 2018.

Bach Cello Suites transposed for the violin was released in April 2019. According to BBC Music Magazine, the five-star album is 'a spellbinding set that is arguably Podger's finest recorded achievement to date …one would naturally assume the suites were violin originals after experiencing her life-enhancing playing.'

A dedicated educator, she holds the Micaela Comberti Chair for Baroque Violin (founded in 2008) at the Royal Academy of Music and the Jane Hodge Foundation International Chair in Baroque Violin at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Rachel has a relationship with The Juilliard School in New York where she visits regularly.

Reiko Ichise
viola de gamba

Reiko Ichise

Tokyo born gamba player Reiko is one of the highly sought-after chamber musicians in the United Kingdom. After reading musicology in Tokyo, Reiko moved to the United Kingdom to study viola da gamba at the Royal College of Music. Reiko's passion for chamber music has led her to be a regular member of various illustrious ensembles, including Florilegium, Passacaglia, The King's Consort, Bach Players, The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments and the Elephant House Quartet.

As a chamber musician, she has released a number of critically acclaimed CDs and radio broadcasts. Reiko was a part of the award-winning viol consort Fretwork for eight years, during which time she had the honour of performing both ancient and new works. As a soloist, she has appeared with a number of prestigious orchestras, including the Academy of Ancient Music, English Baroque Soloists, Gabrieli Consort, Arte dei Suonatori, Britten Sinfonia, and Hallé Orchestra, as well as in a number of international festivals and series. Reiko is a professor of viola da gamba at the Royal College of Music in London.

Rachel Brown

Flutist Rachel Brown

Best known for her eloquent and virtuosic performances on a huge range of flutes and recorders, Rachel Brown is also an acknowledged authority on historical performance practice, an inspirational teacher and an entertaining and illuminating speaker.

Whilst training on modern flute at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music with Trevor Wye she won numerous prizes leading to performances of flute concertos by Ibert and Nielsen and went on to win the coveted American National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition in Chicago in 1984. She gave first performances of works by Robin Walker, John Ogden, Judith Weir and a new commission for the Park Lane Group by Barry Guy. However, her interest in early music had already been captured by her recorder teacher, Ross Winters, and this naturally led to study of the baroque flute with Lisa Beznosiuk and Stephen Preston and an exploration of the many diverse classical and nineteenth-century flutes and their rich solo and chamber repertoire.

Rachel’s recital discs of French Baroque Music and Quantz Sonatas established her reputation. Her recording of virtuosic works by Schubert and Boehm on simple-system, ring-keyed and Boehm alto flutes has been described as ‘a revelation’ (Pan). As a soloist she has recorded extensively and toured in Europe, Japan and North America with a comprehensive concerto repertoire from JS Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann to Mozart. She has given many performances of the newly discovered Handel Flute Concerto and her championing of the works of the Berlin School has reawakened interest in the largely unknown masterpieces by Quantz. Her dazzling recordings of the Quantz and CPE Bach Concertos have won international acclaim. Most recently, her recording of the CPE Bach D minor concerto was voted best by Polish radio.

Rachel appears on many Telemann discs with Collegium Musicum 90 and her recording of the complete Handel flute and recorder sonatas Op 1 with the Academy of Ancient Music has been described as 'heart-rending' (BBC Music Magazine) and 'enchanting' (The Independent). She has recorded Bach’s B minor Suite twice, with the Brandenburg Consort and the Academy of Ancient Music. Rachel is a founder member and soloist with the London Handel Players with whom she has recorded Geminiani Sonatas Op 1 and three discs of Handel’s chamber music, described as 'perfection itself' (Pan).

Chad Kelly

Chad Kelly

Chad is currently on the music staff at the Bayerische Staatsoper, having previously held posts at English National Opera and the Royal Academy of Music. He has directed performances at venues as diverse as The Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Theatre, The Duke of York’s Theatre, Leicester’s Curve, Göttingen Handel Festival, the London Handel Festival, Vienna’s Resonanzen Festival, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

Chad enjoys a reputation as a formidable continuo player and director in the world of historically-informed performance. He has toured as a duo partner with leading performers such as Rachel Podger and Alison Balsom, and built close working relationships with conductors such as Trevor Pinnock, Ivor Bolton and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. He has been principal continuo player for the groups Solomon’s Knot and Opera Settecento and guest directs groups such as the Academy of Ancient Music.

Equally adept in the world of contemporary music, recent highlights include working on the world-premiere of Thomas Adés' opera The Exterminating Angel at the Salzburg Festival, and the world-premiere of Hans Abrahamsen’s The Snow Queen at the Bayerische Staatsoper. He has contributed to a number of new operas commissioned by the Royal Opera House, and has collaborated with the composers of the Guildhall’s Operamakers programme.

Before leaving Chetham’s School of Music, Chad became a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music and a Fellow of the Royal College of organists. He went on to study music at Girton College, Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar. From 2013 to 2017, Chad held the post of Lector in Music at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was academic supervisor to the undergraduate students. Chad continued post-graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he was awarded the coveted DipRAM. In 2017 he was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of his significant contribution to the music profession.

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

LSO St Luke's exterior

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

© Neil Wilkinson

Thank You for Watching

As we emerge from the most challenging period of a generation, please consider supporting our Always Playing Appeal to sustain our work at LSO St Luke's and allow us to continue sharing our music with the broadest range of people possible.

Every donation will help to support our future.

You can also donate now via text.

Text LSOAPPEAL 5, LSOAPPEAL 10 or LSOAPPEAL 20 to 70085 to donate £5, £10 or £20.

Texts cost £5, £10 or £20 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text LSOAPPEALNOINFO 5, 10 or 20 to 70085. UK numbers only.

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Programme Contributors

Wendy Thompson studied at the Royal College of Music, before taking an MMus in musicology at King’s College, London. In addition to writing about music she is Executive Director of Classical Arts Productions, a major supplier of independent programmes to BBC Radio.