Anyone who was present in Middleton Hall last July for James Gilchrist's performances with Anna Tilbrook and the Sacconi Quartet for the BBC's Big Chamber Weekend, due incidentally to be broadcast on Radio 3 as a series of lunchtime chamber concerts in September, will need little persuasion to come again for his quick return visit, this time to perform with the Ellipsis Wind Ensemble.
The centre piece of the concert will be a new arrangement of Roxanna Panufnik’s settings of Shakespeare Sonnets: Generation of Love.
Roxanna Panufnik is one of the UK's most popular and loved composers whose works have struck a deep emotional chord with audiences everywhere. Generation of Love was originally composed in 2009 for piano, tenor and horn, but since then she has re-scored it for various combinations including soprano, cello and piano, and for string orchestra. It will be interesting to hear how it has been adapted for tenor, piano and 'floboe'.
James Gilchrist is one of the UK’s leading tenors and has performed in major concert halls throughout the world. Recognised as ‘the finest Evangelist of his generation’ his extensive repertoire embraces works spanning many centuries. He is an enthusiastic and prolific exponent of lieder and enjoys nothing better than putting together interesting and challenging recital programmes.
James had been training to become a doctor before the urge to devote his life to music won the day. Melanie Ragge too was originally a medical student, before ultimately graduating from King’s College Cambridgewith an MPhil in Musicology. She was subsequently awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship at the Royal College of Music where she studied piano with Phyllis Sellick, oboe with Michael Winfield, and contemporary oboe with Edwin Roxburgh. She has subsequently led a busy successful career.
Melanie began her collaboration with Susanna Stranders, with whom she formed Ellipsis, in 2009, since when they have enjoyed devising and performing intriguing and varied programmes for small ensembles centred around a flute, oboe and piano.
The trio is completed by Robert Manasse, who is currently working as a free-lance flute-player with a wide variety of orchestras including the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and many more. To continue the medico-scientific backgrounds of these players, Robert read applied biology at Imperial College and later took a PhD in plant biochemistry.
"Gilchrist is wonderfully skilful in leading his voice through awkward places and sensitive in the modulation of his tones. He encompasses all moods."John Steane, Gramophone