Autumn programme from The Parnassian Duo in Chichester

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The Parnassian Duo – members of the flexible four-or three-piece Parnassian Ensemble – offer an autumn concert under the appropriate title The Fall of the Leaf.

“Though there might not actually be any leaves left by then!” says Sophie Middleditch (recorders) who is combining with David Pollock (harpsichord) for the recital.

The concert will be in St George’s Church, Cleveland Road, Chichester, PO19 7AD in the Last Friday of the Month Concert Series at St George’s, Whyke on November 24 at 7.30pm ( Interval tea/coffee/juice and cake. Tickets on the door £10 (under-18s free). David and Sophie are promising a programme of baroque and modern music with composers including Byrd, Bach, Handel, Telemann and Murrill: “I'm really looking forward to playing this programme,” says Sophie, “And so is David. The actual title of the programme is taken from a small but really beautiful piece of Renaissance keyboard music by Martin Peerson, a 16th-century piece. It is tiny but it's really beautiful and we thought it might be a good nod to the autumn!

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“With our programmes usually we're doing one of two things, offering a programme that is either pieces that we're working on and wanted to include or maybe it might be a theme that we start with and that we're working around. But with this one we thought we would do some really well-known baroque composers but we thought that we might also do some modern composers as well, which is something a bit more unusual for us. It's nice to have that opportunity to do this as a duo. It gives us a chance to do some of the repertoire that we might not be able to do in Parnassian Ensemble concert when there are four of us. When there are four of us most of the pieces have to revolve around the four of you but this is a chance to work together and it's a mix of duets and solo pieces. And it's lovely because David and I have known each other for a long time. Parnassian started in 1998 but we've known each other since 1995.”

​The Parnassian Duo (contributed pic)​The Parnassian Duo (contributed pic)
​The Parnassian Duo (contributed pic)

And for this concert Sophie will be using three different-sized recorders: “The usual baroque set-up for our combination would be to use a treble recorder and the harpsichord and that will work with all the big-name composers that you can think of. We're doing some Bach and Handel and Telemann, and we are also doing a lovely piece by the composer William Williams, who is very niche and not very well known but it's great-quality music.”

And then there will be the modern pieces: “David is playing two pieces from a set written for him in 95 by his very good friend Gavin Stevens. They are stand-alone solo harpsichord pieces and I am going to do a couple of unaccompanied pieces as well, Four Haiku by Nicholas Marshall and Pagan Piper by Christopher Ball.”

And that means varying the size of recorder for Sophie – all part of the interest.

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It comes at a time when things fortunately are pretty much back to normal in terms of Covid: “But we do still have the cost of living crisis and that's a major concern for promoters and for anyone putting on concerts, but I do think audiences seem to have been really grateful for the chance to come back to live music and that has been fantastic, and all of us now are getting back to the levels of our usual busyness which is great.”