The Parnassian Ensemble plan a Festival of Chichester highlight

The Parnassian EnsembleThe Parnassian Ensemble
The Parnassian Ensemble
The Parnassian Ensemble join this year's Amici Concerts series  at St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square on Thursday, July 13 at 7.30pm.

Their programme, entitled Flourishes and Dances, comes as the group approaches its 20th anniversary next year.

The group comprises Sophie Middleditch – recorders; Helen Hooker – recorders; Lynden Cranham – baroque cello; and David Pollock – harpsichord.

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And as Sophie says, its stable line-up has been a big part of its success.

“David, Helen and myself have been in it right from the beginning and Lynden has been playing on and off with us since 2006. The whole idea of the Parnassian Ensemble is to give people the opportunity to hear music that they might not otherwise hear, and that can range right from the early English 20th century pieces from composers that are not well known but are brilliant right up to the modern-day. One of the pieces we will be playing in Chichester is a piece written for us by Steve Marshall, the piece which gives the concert its title.

“It’s a commission. He has written pieces for Helen in the past. I had heard some of his pieces and was asked to play one of his pieces, and Helen and I really like his style. We introduced his music to Lynden and David, and he very kindly wrote us this fantastic piece. He must have been pleased with the way we played it because he is writing something else for us at the moment.

“What I liked is the fact that he has got quite a lot of experience of writing for recorder, but he has not written anything for a professional recorder group before. We basically let him have free rein to write whatever he wanted as long as it was performable by our particular instruments. We are a baroque group. We have got Lynden on a beautiful antique original cello, and David on harpsichord and Helen and myself on recorders, and he is an absolutely-fantastic composer. The piece he has written has got elements that are quite jazzy. He writes so interestingly and is very influenced by jazz. There are elements of jazz and blues and all sorts of things that you would not normally associate with a baroque group.

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“He takes into account our personalities as well. He knows what Helen and I like to do, but it does not stop him from writing exactly what he wanted to write. It is a two-way process when someone is writing for a group specifically. Sometimes there might be one or two bars that you query, but with this the vast majority is exactly as he wrote it.”

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