Sarah-Jane Bradley & John Lenehan

Location: St Mary's Church, Luton LU1 3JF
Sarah-Jane Bradley
John Lenehan

Last season’s audience may well remember these two extraordinary musicians from the opening concert that year given by the Rossetti Ensemble. They now return with a programme designed to offer special insight into our theme of The Relationship between Literature, Art & Music. Schumann’s Märchenbilder (Fairy Tale Pictures) is at once both programmatic and abstract. Are they portrayals of Rapunzel, of Rumpelstiltskin or of Sleeping Beauty? The composer makes no specific reference to the exact source of his inspiration, but there are instances in his journals at the time relating to these mythical characters. There is a similar, vaguely allusive idiom in Bax’s haunting Legend (one of several pieces with similar such titles by Bax), the composer drawing us into an imagined world of saga, myth and folk history. Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet is much more direct in its provenance – his ballet score based on the Shakespeare play is now recognised as a masterpiece and rightly acclaimed wherever it is heard, even as incidental music for BBC’s The Apprentice!

The programme also includes a fascinating early work by William L. Harris, a mid 20th Century British composer, recently recorded by these performers on their latest CD, English Music for Viola and Piano. The recital ends with the thrillingly virtuosic Rachmaninov sonata, originally for cello and piano, but here thoughtfully transcribed for the viola by Victor Borisovsky.

    • Richard Sisson (Chair of Luton Music)


Robert Schumann – Märchenbilder Op 113
William L. Harris – Suite for Viola & Piano
Arnold Bax – Legend


Sergei Prokofiev – Two pieces from Romeo and Juliet
Sergei Rachmaninov – Sonata in G minor Op 19

Sarah-Jane Bradley – viola
John Lenehan – piano

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