St Christopher

The Soldier’s Tale
Event 5
Monday October 6th, 8.00pm 
Little Missenden Church

Captivating story, brilliant music
Erik Satie
Sports et Divertissements
Dmitri Shostakovich
Two Waltzes for Flute, Clarinet and Piano

This is an archived event from the 2014 Programme.

OCTANDRE ENSEMBLE: Jonathan Hargreaves conductor  Matthew Schellhorn piano  Philip Franks actor

Yesterday’s Stravinsky thread resumes with a complete performance of the marvellous Soldier’s Tale. A witty story scored brilliantly for septet in a new, pared-down style – virtuosic, colourful, amusing, exhilarating in its subtly powerful rhythms, and inflected with dance and jazz (hear the Tango, Waltz and Ragtime).

The devil tricks a soldier into a Faustian bargain; they wrestle for supremacy, and their fortunes twist and turn. That versatile actor Philip Franks will play all the roles - narrator, soldier and devil.

Eric Satie’s Sports and Diversions displays a different kind of wit: very French, ironic, cool, detached – and utterly delicious. 21 exquisite miniatures (some less than 20 seconds long) portray the pastimes of the bourgeoisie – accompanied with texts and pictures.

Shostakovich’s waltzes are great fun. Tongue-in-cheek, they revel shamelessly in lush tunes - full-on Johann Strauss mode.

With the lightest of touches (and the fewest possible notes) György Kurtág’s Tre Pezzi creates a magical and delicate sound world – dreamlike, then playful, finally incantatory.

Seán Clancy’s Fourteen Minutes (stimulated by video artist David Theobald’s work on greetings cards) is a 2013 Festival commission whose première was postponed when violinist Aisha Orazbayeva was taken ill. Now we can hear it – with a fully-restored Aisha.

The immensely impressive Octandre Ensemble, a flexible collective of London-based musicians co-founded by Christian Mason and Jonathan Hargreaves, is dedicated to exploring the energy of sounds, and the webs of ideas that form around them. 

Pianist Matthew Schellhorn was named a "Talent to Watch" by BBC Music Magazine, and described as "a rising star" (BBC Radio 3) and "one of Britain's most exciting young pianists" (Classic FM)

Philip Franks is a leading actor and director, with an enviable track record on stage, television and radio - from being an RSC Hamlet to playing Charlie in the Darling Buds of May.  He visits the Festival again the following night for Iain Burnside's celebration of Ivor Gurney - click here for details.

Seán Clancy is a Lecturer in Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire. Teachers include Joe Cutler, Philippe Leroux and Howard Skempton.



Commission supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation and the Festival Friends

Concert sponsored by Alan Hedges