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Spirit of the Maiden


Saturday 23th September, 7.30pm

In this programme we explore musical gems by women composers from the 19th Century to the present day.

In an era when women hardly ever performed in public, or composed, Clara Schumann did both. A virtuoso pianist and interpreter of her husband’s work even at an early age, we hear her Piano Trio of 1846, written when she was 27 and pregnant with her 4th child. It has been called the ‘masterpiece’ amongst her compositions.

We also hear works by the Boulanger sisters, who made an extraordinary impact on French musical life. Lili was the first woman to win the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1913 and Nadia became one the of most influential musical teachers of the 20th Century, with students such as Aaron Copland, Lennox Berkely, Phillip Glass and Astor Piazzolla.

Rebecca Clarke’s impressionistic Sonata for Viola and Piano brings us to the 21st Century where we listen to the sound of Pale Yellow and hear the story of the Russian folktale-inspired The Spirit and the Maiden.

Refreshments available from 7pm and during the interval.

Clara Schumann Piano TrioLili Boulanger Two Pieces for Violin and Piano

Nadia Boulanger Three Pieces for Cello and Piano

Elena Kats-Chernin The Spirit and the Maiden Piano Trio

Jennifer Higdon Pale Yellow for Piano Trio

Rebecca Clarke Sonata for Viola and Piano

£12 / £8 (under 18)

Alison Boden violin ¦ George White viola ¦ Lorna Davis cello ¦ Liz Kozlowski piano

The Spirit and the Maiden

Once upon a time in a far away land there was a young maiden whose job it was to carry water back and forth between the village and the well. Each day she carried two buckets  suspended from a pole that she bore on her shoulders, wearing a trail into the ground with her heavy load. One summer’s afternoon, as she rested for a moment on the wall of the well, her turquoise shawl, a gift from her grandmother, who had been rumoured to be a witch, slid down from her shoulders and sank into the deep, cold waters. As the maiden reached down to grasp it, to her surprise, another hand reached up from the depths to grasp hers.
“Not only the thirsty seek the water, the water as well seeks the thirsty.”

As she pulled her out her hand, she gasped at the sight of a luminescent young man emerging from the water. He was pale, almost blue, as beautiful as a stream and his voice was full of music, like a river. Her heart beat so loudly, she thought her chest would burst. “For a thousand years have I lived in these waters and no human hand has ever touched me”, he told her. And she looked into his eyes and was transfixed with wonder.

Come and hear for yourself how the story ends…