REVIEW: Tickhill Music Society's celebration of the cello with Tessa Seymour


Friday, 22nd November 2019, 2:40 pm
Cellist Tessa Seymour

The Birthday Party

At its recent gathering Tickhill Music Society (TMS) was invited to celebrate an unusual anniversary – the 300th year of a cello, made in Milan in 1720.

To mark the occasion, cellist Tessa Seymour finished her recital with a sarabande by Bach, composed in the same year. Tessa is an accomplished young cellist, who has moved to London from her native California to further her career, and whose CV includes the premieres of a number of contemporary works.

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But to begin at the beginning, Tessa’s concert at Tickhill was more than usually challenging – flooded roads gave her a circuitous journey from the railway station, and her regular accompanist cried off three weeks beforehand. He was replaced by the equally youthful Xiaowen Shang, and it is fair to say that her muscular accompaniment did not always compliment the more delicate playing of the cellist. This was particularly noticeable in the opening Sonata by Debussy, whose angular composition called for more balanced treatment. The first half was completed by an early work by Shostakovich, in which the partnership between cello and piano was more at ease, and the dialogue between the instruments was more equable. The programme finished with a Sonata by Brahms, and here the composer was more sympathetic to the cello, which Tessa exploited to the full, bringing out the sonorous tones of her instrument. One could say that on this occasion art imitated life, with the American cellist and the Chinese pianist not always comfortable with each other, but one cannot fault their dedication and endeavour, which was warmly appreciated by the audience who had also fought the bad weather to attend. Adrian Hattrell


TMS presents live music performed by professional musicians in a welcoming environment for the benefit of the people of Tickhill and surrounding area

The society developed from a concert held in March 1977 by the Coull Quartet. This concert had been suggested by the daughter of founder members, Philip and Mary Mottram, who was friendly with members of the quartet. The concert was such a success that large numbers of the audience proposed that a music society be established, with the object of staging concerts on a regular basis.Since then the society has acted as host to a number of musicians who have gone on to achieve international recognition such as lutenist Anthony Rooley and soprano Emma Kirkby, the Lindsay, Brodsky and Fitzwilliam String Quartets and the recorder player Michala Petri.

The next event is on Friday, December 13, at St Mary’s School, 7pm.