St Bride's: Music - Lunchtime Recitals

Duo Benedict – Piano Duo
Stamatia Cottakis and Paul Ellis-Howe

Tuesday, 26 June at 1:15pm - FREE ADMITTANCE - Retiring Collection

Duo Benedict – Piano Duo<br />Stamatia Cottakis and Paul Ellis-Howe

W Mozart

Andante and Variations K501

M Moszkowski

'From Foreign Parts', op. 23

Russia

Germany

Spain

G Fauré

'Dolly' Suite, op. 56

Berceuse

Mi-a-ou

Le jardin de Dolly

Kitty-Valse

Tendresse

Le pas espagnol

W Ganz

'Qui Vive!' - Grand Galop de Concert, op. 12

PROGRAMME NOTE

Mozart's 'Andante and Variations K501' is a miniature masterpiece. Written in 1786, the five variations on an original theme are deceptively simple. They feature increasingly elaborate figurations and a poignant fourth variation in the relative minor key. The work ends with a return to the simplicity of the opening rather than a bravura flourish.

Much of the captivating duet music of the Prussian composer Moritz Moszkowski is sadly neglected these days. The composer was a virtuoso pianist, gifted orchestrator and a master at emulating the musical style of other countries. His now out-of-print set of six national character pieces 'From Foreign Lands' amply demonstrates this. The performers, who are playing from a 1922 edition, have selected three - 'Russia', 'Spain 'and 'Germany' - and find the latter particularly beautiful.

Fauré's 'Dolly' Suite is a celebrated collection of six short pieces written from 1893-6. They mark the life events of Emma Bardac, known to her family as Dolly, the daughter of the composer's mistress, Helene Bardac. The work begins with a 'Berceuse', marking Dolly's first birthday, and ends with a Spanish dance in the style of the composer's friend, Chabrier, possibly symbolising her move to Castille. The penultimate movement, 'Tendresse', is notable for its avant-garde chromaticism.

Wilhelm Ganz is another composer whose compositional output has fallen into relative obscurity. German by birth, he came to London where he took up a professorship at the Guildhall School of Music.  He composed two Concert 'galops' for his daughters, both gifted pianists, in 1862. 'Qui Vive!' is pure salon music and not intended for academic discussion! Rather, it pays tribute to the fun and entertainment live music-making has offered for keen amateurs everywhere, and long may this continue..!

Stammy Cottakis holds a BA in Music from Oxford University where she was a keyboard scholar for her College. She has since then worked as Nursery teacher, Spiritual Healer and private music teacher. She appeared in Adrian Mitchell's children's show, 'The Thirteen Secrets of Poetry' at the RSC in Stratford, telling stories, and reciting poems and songs. She now works with young children teaching them music in lessons inspired by nature, the night sky and colours of the rainbow.

Paul Ellis-Howe was born in the lively Bow Quarter of East London. He holds a B.Ed. degree and is a graduate of Trinity College London where he studied with the pianist and harpsichordist Valda Aveling and the conductor Meredith Davies. Paul was President of the Student Union and formed and directed the Trinity College Student Singers, a chamber choir dedicated to the performance of lesser known choral works in London churches.

Stammy and Paul became acquainted in 2015 through their roles as pianists and chamber musicians at the Lieder-group Serenata. They soon discovered they had much in common including a love of piano duets. Their repertoire is wide and eclectic and includes commonly-performed works, as well as long-lost music of yesteryear, selected from an extensive collection of dusty music anthologies in Paul's cellar! 

Stammy Cottakis and Paul Ellis-Howe became acquainted in 2015 through their roles as pianists and chamber musicians at the Lieder-group Serenata. They soon discovered that they had much in common including a love of piano duets. Both in demand as accompanists and teachers, they also share a passion for holistic therapy (they are Registered Spiritual Healer and Registered Massage Therapist respectively), cookery and comedy. Their repertoire includes commonly-performed works and party pieces, as well as the long-lost compositions of yesteryear; melodies harking back to parlours, drawing rooms and music halls; works of lesser-known composers selected from the extensive collection of dusty long-out-of-print music anthologies in Paul's cellar.