Intimate Classics #5

francisco coser, dexter duffy-howard, thomas bertolottiWe went to the most amazing concert last night, the fifth in Thomas Bertolotti’s super series of chamber concerts – Intimate Classics in the City – at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate, Hull for Hull2017. Tom invited Dexter to play a piece at the concert as a young local musician – and what a concert it was!

Award winning Brazilian violinist Francisco Coser currently at the Corso di Perfezionamento of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia played a stunning recital – from the familiar sounds of Bach and Paganini, Ysaye’s epic ballad to Enescu, to the less known but most dramatic Brazilian composer Flausino Vale. Francisco was flying, his performance was so full of intensity and verve, showcasing the underlying folk tunes in all the pieces with spectacular style. We were mesmerised.

Midway through the concert Tom welcomed Dexter to the stage and he played his piece, Hungarian Stomp accompanied by cellist Tom and Francisco. We hadn’t heard the arrangement – by Russian flautist, and previous Intimate Classics soloist, Ivan Alekhin before – so it was a great surprise, and a wonderful collaboration. At the close of the concert the full church of people gave a huge round of applause, what an evening.

Rich took this gallery of photos, click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…

Massive thanks to Tom for inviting Dexter to play and for giving him the opportunity to do something that he (and we) will never forget. It has been totally inspirational for him to perform this specially arranged piece together in front of a big audience in a beautiful ancient venue.

I filmed a tiny video on my phone…

Francisco’s Programme

J.S Bach – Sonata N. 3 in C Major for solo violin, BWV. 1005

Paganini – 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 1

Flausino Vale – 26 Characteristic and Concertante Preludes for Violin Alone – I. Batuque/Drumming (to Jacinto Meis) IX. Rondó Doméstico/Domestic Rondo (to Edgardo Guerra) XVI. Resquiecat in Pace (to his late mother) XI. Casamento na Roça/Marriage in the Countryside (to Nicolino Milano) XV. Ao Pé da Fogueira/By the Firepit (to Angelo França)

Ysaye – Sonata N. 3 in D Minor for solo violin, Op. 27/N. 3, “Ballade” (to George Enescu)

The Next Concert 

All the concerts are free of charge with a retiring collection for the church renovations, 6 pm on 23rd June 2017 at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate, Hull.  For the final performance in the series Thomas Bertolotti will be joined by guitarist Merlin Miller for a concert of cello and guitar duos and solos. See you there!

Lou & Dex
Rich took this nice photo of me and Dex

Rich, Lou and Dexter Duffy-Howard

Photographs © Rich Duffy-Howard

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Electro-Acoustic Ensemble

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to our friend John Stead for inviting us to a special evening concert – the Electro-Acoustic Ensemble’s acousmatic performance of music for cello, organ, piano and electronics in Hull’s Charterhouse Chapel. Members of the EAE – Nigel Bartram (cello), John Stead (electronics), Stanislaw Hansel (organ, piano and sampler) – performed an adventurous and beautiful concert in the most atmospheric candlelit chapel. Pieces ranged from Guillaume de Marchaut’s 12th century Hoquetus David to Japanese American composer Karen Tanaka’s 1996 song of love interspersed with world premieres of new pieces by EAE members including tributes to Peter Maxwell Davies on the first anniversary of his death.

Stanislaw Hansel’s organ pieces really set the scene in the chapel when his ‘naughty little interludes’ kicked in, I was hooked! His Passacaglia for organ and cello continued to fascinate, contrasting the long slow cello notes with amazing high irregular tunes.

Dexter particularly enjoyed Nigel’s evocative cello and piano composition which layered live cello and piano over samples of sounds of nature and transported us to a lovely day – In a Lakeland Garden.
John’s ‘Cycles and Rounds for PMD’ – a tombeau for Peter Maxwell Davies and ‘Duet I for ‘cello and computer’ – a graphic score – made full use of the acousmatic sound system. Cycles and Rounds featured beautiful bell and metallophone sounds moving around the chapel, flying over head and disappearing into imaginary tunnels. Duet I’s partially improvised interplay between the cello and John’s electronic manipulation of it’s sounds was most otherworldly as it rebounded from one side of the chapel to another.
What an inspiring concert, a chance to hear something unusual and timeless, enhanced by illuminating introductions to each piece and a stylish programme to keep.


The EAE have been exploring, creating and performing  music with specific reference to son et lumieres,  sound installations, film, music, traditional and new digital media art forms since 1988. You can visit the EAE website here


Rich and Lou and Dexter Duffy-Howard – Visit our Loudhailer Home Page

Poeticall Musicke

Rich and Dexter and I walked through the hustle and bustle of a York party night out on Saturday into the sanctuary of St Helen’s church in Stonegate where Poeticall Musicke’s concert of elegant viola da gamba music took us to another time and place. Alex McCartney: theorbo and Jon Rees: viol played a beautiful set of pieces from the reign of the sun king, Louis XIV. The programme included suites by Robert de Visée and Marin Marais, beautiful and enchanting, a real treat.

Rich took these photos, take a scroll through the gallery…

We picked up a copy of Alex’s CD, Elizabeth’s Lutes on the way out to add to our collection of Poeticall Musicke albums, gorgeous music, evocative of past times, I love it.

Photographs by Richard Duffy-Howard

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Playing the Bridge

What a good day it was yesterday ‘Playing the Bridge’ for a cool collaboration which transforms Scale Lane Bridge into an interactive musical instrument as part of Hull 2017 City of Culture. Playing the Bridge is an artistic commission and performance devised by bridge architect Jonathan McDowell and composer Nye Parry who are both Gamelan players – and coordinated here by Hull Gamelan’s Laurence Rugg. The soundscape piece we created yesterday will be performed on Scale Lane Bridge on March 26th alongside music which our Gamelan group has been working on with Laurence. Like the Gamelan, the bridge can be played by striking the metal work to make tuned sounds.

So yesterday Hull Gamelan players joined up with York University Music Department and Hull Music Tech students and spent the day making amazing sounds using Gamelan mallets on the bridge’s metal panels and girders as the main instrument. We explored the sounds of the bridge to create a soundscape  – big gong sounds using huge metal panels from inside & outside the chamber, drones of cellos, viola, harmonium, wind instruments and metallic bridge parts, building to huge ominous crescendos and diminishing to delicate hums.

You can hear the performance on March 26th 2pm at Scale Lane Bridge. The composition will also be incorporated in a multi-media installation inside the Bridge throughout April with projections by artist Madi Boyd showing the inner workings of the swing bridge.

Corey, Dex, Zach and I had a wonderful time exploring the Bridge and the sounds we all generated. Rich took these photographs to document the workshop for the project.

Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…

Photographs © Rich Duffy-Howard

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard- visit our Loudhailer Home Page

Intimate Classics in the City #2

Ivan Alekhin and Kate BatemanLast night’s concert – Flute Fantasia – was the second Intimate Classics in the City concert at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate  organised by cellist Thomas Bertolotti, whose vision is to make high quality classical music more accessible, bringing international artists into the city and showcasing new young musicians.

Ivan Alekhin & Kate Bateman – from Russia and America – performed a fabulous concert of flute duos and solos. Ivan’s opening collection, a Bach partita set the scene beautifully before  a selection of vibrant dance tunes including Marais’ Les Folies Espagnole, a wonderful set of variations originally written for my favourite instrument, the viola de gamba, what a treat. Kate’s performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Etudes showcased her poise and performance, full of both intensity, and lightness – gorgeous. 

The Intimate Classics series gives young musicians an opportunity to perform on the bill with with world class musicians. Young violinist Eleanor Hockney’s performance of Dvorak’s Humoresque, accompanied by Thomas on cello was a lovely part of the evening.

Rich took this gallery of photographs. Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…


Bach – Partita A minor
Marais – Les Folies Espagnole

Piazolla Tango etudes 1, 3 and 4
Mozart Duet no 4

Dvorak – Humoresque – Eleanor Hockney

The Next Concert 

All the concerts are free of charge, 6 pm on the third Friday of each month, so 17th March 2017 at 6 pm at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate, Hull. Antanas Makstutis, Cristine Avila Martinez & Beatrice Stelzmuller – an international ensemble, flute, clarinet and piano trio from Lithuania, Austria and Colombia, and, from Hull, the Rosa String Quartet play Beethoven. See you there.

Photographs © Rich Duffy-Howard

Rich, Lou and Dexter Duffy-Howard

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Intimate Classics in the City #1

David Johnson and Thomas BertolottiWhat a marvellous night out we had last night at Thomas Bertolotti’s first Intimate Classics in the City concert for Hull City of Culture 2017.  A most exceptional young cellist, Thomas has organised a series of concerts at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate, Hull with the vision of making high quality classical music more accessible, bring international artists into the city and showcasing new young musicians. All the concerts are free of charge, 6 pm on the third Friday of each month. There is a collection plate at the end of the concert, to raise funds for Hull’s oldest church, the St Mary’s restoration fund.

For the first concert of the season –  an evening of string duos –  Thomas invited David Johnson of the Gurzenich Orchestra in Koln to return to the town of his birth. David has a big international presence, having played as a chamber musician and soloist for many years in Germany, USA, India, Norway and South America.

How good to see the Church so full for the evening, and the audience was mesmerised from the first note. Thomas is a wonderful cellist. His soulful and passionate performances are a joy to experience and the chemistry between the pair was evident throughout the whole stunning recital. Thomas chose a vibrant and beautiful programme which suited the ancient church perfectly. David’s eloquent introductions set the scene for each composition, we loved every minute of it.

Rich took this gallery of photographs. Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…


Ravel – Sonata for Violin and Cello
Gliere – 8 Duets for Violin and Cello
Martinu – Duo No. 2 for Violin and Cello
Paganini – Duetto No. 2 for Violin and Cello
Handel-Halvorsen – Passacaglia for Violin and Cello

The Next Concert

Look out for the next concert in the series, Friday 17th February 6pm at St Mary’s Church, Lowgate. Flute Duo Ivan Alekhin & Kate Bateman – flautists from Russia and America respectively.

Photographs © Rich Duffy-Howard

Rich, Lou and Dexter Duffy-Howard

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Fly Into My Vapour Arms

Kerrin Tatman and Freya Bryson’s concert for Amy Johnson was magnificent. Their ethereal and expressive songs and instrumentals ingeniously dramatised their stories using cello, piano, voice, violin and accordion. Kerrin’s striking cello and piano pieces were perfectly complimented by Freya’s theatrical voice, reminiscent of Bjork and Elizabeth Fraser. As the evening sunlight illuminated the resplendent stained glass in the beautiful setting of Hull’s Holy Trinity Church – new modern classically influenced sounds transported us from one century into the next and back – how wonderful.

A Concert for Amy: Music by Kerrin Tatman and Freya Bryson
A Concert for Amy: Music by Kerrin Tatman and Freya Bryson

The whole concert was dedicated to Amy Johnson and her passion for flying parallelled Kerrin and Freya’s passion for music. Our favourite pieces – Dexter chose Kerrin’s instrumental Storytelling and Freya’s Blossom. In the Forest/Apple Tree stood out for Rich. I Ioved Kerrin’s broken chord sections on both piano and cello, but Memoirs of a Slave Girl was utterly intense and mesmerising, so it would have to be that for me.  Kerrin and Freya were joined by violinist Tamara Kazziha and for the final piece, aerial silks performer Claire Harvey. It was a stunning performance from start to finish. We bought their CD, evocatively titled Fly Into My Vapour Arms. We’re listening to it right now, it’s fabulous.

Rich and Dexter took these photos. Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll along…

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

Gamelan Musical Journey

A Musical Journey 3Last night was the first performance of an embryonic new Hull Gamelan group. We have been practising tunes – especially written by Alec Roth for the Gamelan – to be performed for Laurence Rugg’s Musical Journey, part of this summer’s Amy Johnson Festival. At the end of another glorious sunny day, Laurence took us on an atmospheric journey interpreting Amy Johnson’s flight to Australia and reflecting her stops in Vienna, India and Indonesia with evocative music in three beautiful venues.

Starting the journey in Holy Trinity Church we heard the carillon bells before we were transported to Vienna for a selection of enchanting Viennese cabaret songs linked by snippets of Strauss on piano and bass. A walk along the road took us to St Mary’s Church, transformed into India with beautiful Indian decorations and an exciting dulcimer and tabla performance.

The final part of the journey took us to the the Guildhall where Alec Roth’s Kingston Bells welcomed the journeyers to the Banqueting Suite – representing Amy’s stop in Indonesia. The Gamelan group played a traditional piece – Kotek – and Alec Roth’s contemporary pieces, Kingston Bells for Gamelan, and Bubaran Hull – with improvised interludes between each piece.

What a lovely evening of eclectic music in beautiful settings. Rich took these photographs, click on an image to see the full picture and scroll along…

Gamelan group: Laurence Rugg, Lou Duffy-Howard, Gary Hammond, Alan Drever-Smith, Tallulah Vigars, Stephen Unsworth, James Rushworth.

Viennese Cabaret music – Lisa Featherstone voice and bass,  Laurence Rugg, piano

Indian musicians – brothers on tabla and dulcimer

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page




Gamelan in Pink and Green

I have been lucky enough to be playing the York Gamelan, Gamelan Sekar Petak (white rose, in honour of York’s white flower symbol) with a lovely group of people, some really experienced players. We are practicing for the annual concert in York which I’m so looking forward to. Recently I had a chance to return to the Hull Gamelan, Gamelan Kyai Sri Jaladri Nage – Rise of the Sea Dragon – which was the first Gamelan I played back in 2002. We had a Northern Gamelan Network session with John Pawson – so inspirational, wonderful sounds and lots of fun. What a fantastic day. And the Gamelan looked gorgeous under the lights…

A 30 second snippet of the Gamelan Heron. Rich and I originally recorded it as a film soundtrack…

Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

Thomas Bertolotti at St Mary’s Church

Thomas Bertolotti at St Mary's Church
Thomas Bertolotti at St Mary’s Church

Cellist, Thomas Bertolotti was spectacular at St Mary’s Church this evening. We had a family evening out and it was amazing. We first came across Tom when he played Halvorsen’s Passacaglia on a theme by Handel with violinist Chris Heron at the excellent inaugural Project Strings concert last year and couldn’t miss the chance to see him again playing a set of unaccompanied cello music. Tom’s programme of two Bach Cello Suites, Cassado’s fabulous suite for solo cello and Caprice No 24 by Paganini perfectly showcased his stunning and passionate performance. The concert was in aid of St Mary’s restoration fund – a beautiful setting – and was the first of a series of concerts that Tom has planned to raise the profile of superb classical music in the church. We were all utterly inspired – it was awesome!

Rich took these photographs, click on an image and scroll through…

Photographs © Rich Duffy-Howard

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page