Concert 2

9 October 2022

Ensemble Renard

Founded in 2018 by musicians from the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Ensemble Renard are an exciting, young chamber ensemble looking to push the boundaries of wind chamber music. Winners of the Nicholas Blake Woodwind Ensemble Prize 2019 with Thea Musgrave’s seldom heard wind quintet, they have been passionate about championing repertoire that is rarely given the light of day. Ensemble Renard are Britten Pears Young Artists 2022/23 and hold a Tunnell Trust Award after attending their residency on the Isle of Coll. In 2021/22, the group held a Chamber Music Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music where they explored more diverse repertoire and commissioned new works as well as appearing in major venues and festivals and such as Wigmore Hall, Llanfyllin Music Festival and Festival International de musique de Dinard.

In returning to Scotland for the first time as a group since visiting the Isle of Coll in July 2021, we wanted to share a mixed programme of some wind quintet ‘classics’ as well as some lesser known, contemporary works. We have included three works by the Scottish composers Thea Musgrave, Judith Weir, and James MacMillan, not only to celebrate Scottish music but because these are some of our favourite pieces to play as a group. We enjoy exploring new repertoire and are excited to share this programme with you! 

Amongst the Scottish music, there are works from America, France, Hungary, and England. We start the two halves with the music of France. Oliver Knussen’s Alleluya Nativitas and Maurice Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin are works inspired by the French Medieval and Baroque composers Pérotin and Couperin. Knussen was a contemporary of the three living Scottish composers and had an important connection with our alma mater, Royal Academy of Music. We like to programme these two works together particularly as Knussen was greatly influenced by the music of Ravel. Le Tombeau de Couperin, originally for solo piano and subsequently orchestra, will be played in an arrangement by another composer linked to the Academy, with whom we have had the privilege of working on his own wind quintets, Hans Abrahamsen. Before the interval we perform another work originally for solo piano. Ligeti extracted six movements from his Musica Ricerata and rewrote them for wind quintet to create the Six Bagatelles. This is now one of the most popular works in the repertoire, alongside Samuel Barber’s Summer Music which features in the second half. We close the programme with African-American composer Valerie Coleman’s work, Red Clay and Mississippi Delta. She describes the work as “a virtuosic chamber work that merges classical technique and orchestration with the blues dialect and charm of the south.  

Tonight's programme

Oliver Knussen: Alleluya Nativitas
Thea Musgrave: Wind Quintet
Judith Weir: Mountain Airs
György Ligeti: Six Bagatelles
                                                             Interval
Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin (arr. Hans Abrahamsen)
Samuel Barber: Summer Music, Op. 31
James Macmillan: Untold
Valerie Coleman: Red Clay and Mississippi Delta

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This concert is supported by the Tunnell Trust – click the image for a link to their website