Fitzwilliam String Quartet with Anna Tilbrook (piano)
Courtenay Centre, Newton Abbot
Not that many years ago, Plymouth had an annual Chamber Music Series that ran for some sixteen
Sadly this eventually came to an end, not really because of financial constraints, but simply because the average age of the trustees was such that new helpers and supporters were needed to step up, and ensure that Plymouth Chamber Music Trust, as it was known, could continue to flourish, which,
Devon market-town Newton Abbot’s own NADSA concert-series has been around a lot longer, and it was a real experience to come along in person to one of its recent concerts at the town’s Courtenay Centre.
It was lovely to see the Town Mayor and his wife not only in attendance, but also clearly enjoying the musical treats on offer. In fact, before the recital started, Mayor Ken Purchase had handed over a generous cheque from the Town Council to NADSA by way of ongoing and support for the Society in particular, and, by implication, Classical Music in general. In receiving the cheque it was pointed out that Devon’s county town of Exeter, is far less fortunate here, since, like its even bigger sister-city of Plymouth, there is simply nothing available that remotely approaches the quality-series available at Newton Abbot.
Given that nearby Totnes also runs its equally-successful Early Music Society Series, I used to think that this was all down to the seeming difference between the ambience of a smaller country town and its inhabitants, compared to that of much larger conurbations.
I still think there is indeed an element of truth in this, but ultimately it’s all about being able to draw on, and inspire a vast body of similarly-minded people with various skills who are then prepared to work hard behind the scenes and on the say, who make such series run so successfully. Perhaps it’s simply that such dedicated folk tend to be found more in rural areas than our cities, where community spirit can be far more fragmented.
Warm and welcoming
As for my first NADSA recital in Newton Abbot, from the outset I encountered such a warm, and welcoming atmosphere, which made the afternoon’s music even more enjoyable.
And while on that same subject, I’d very much like to thank the gentleman in the car behind me as I attempted to exit the Cricket Field car-park without validating my ticket in the adjacent pay-station. He kindly took my ticket and validated it along with his – otherwise I could still be there waiting until the next concert, even if that’s not really a bad idea.
With generous discounts for NADSA members, the series has something for all chamber-music aficionados, Details of the next event – featuring pianist Martin James Bartlett who, at just seventeen, was crowned BBC Young Musician in 2014 – will appear here shortly, or simply visit the NADSA website.
Philip R Buttall
top image: Courtenay Centre (L) with Fitzwilliam Quartet and Anna Tilbrook inset
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