Concert 3 Yehudiana
Sunday 5th June at 2.00pm
Philip Bailey presents a celebration of Yehudi Menuhin, arguable the most famous classical musician of the 20th century. Philip is a brilliant and entertaining raconteur who with SSO violinist Marina Marsden and concert pianist Clemens Leske, will share music and stories of the Menuhin family.
A BRILLIANT “YEHUDIANA” CHARMS YASS.
It was the sort of afternoon on which many might have preferred to stay at home out of the weather but the Yass Music Club’s regular subscribers, as well as another twenty or so enthusiasts, braved the elements on Sunday, 5th June to attend “Yehudiana” presented by Philip Bailey, beautifully supported by Marina Marsden playing the violin and the pianist Clemens Leske, in a unique sharing of the lives of the wonderful Menuhin family, particularly of Yehudi but also with mentions of his sisters, Hephzibah and Yaltah.
With great skill and chutzpah, Philip revelled in a most entertaining show as he presented a thoroughly composed account of the life and genius of Yehudi Menuhin as one of the greatest violinists of all time and of whom Philip had an intimate personal knowledge and deep love.
“Yehudiana” was unlike any performance that most of the audience had ever experienced before and we were immediately made aware of Yehudi’s Jewishness by the circumstances of his being so named as an act of defiance to anyone who might have had any feelings of anti-Semitism and we were told quite clearly that Yehudi means ‘Yehudi, the Jew’.
Philip Bailey is a great raconteur and he enthralled his audience with stories of the Menuhins and he achieved this beautifully by interweaving his narrative with references to particular pieces which had been special parts of Yehudi’s repertoire and it was here that the two musicians, Marina and Clemens, became part of the presentation to enhance the stories that Philip told.
The first of these pieces was the adagio from J S Bach’s Violin Sonata and it set the pattern for the remainder of the performance as Philip developed Yehudi Menuhin’s story with interpolations from Ernest Bloch’s ‘Nigun’ with the narrative continuing with J S Bach’s andante from his “Italian Concerto’ and then, with a change of pace to conclude the performance’s first half, the allegretto from Cesar Franck’s Sonata in A major always with the music seamlessly woven into Philip’s spoken performance.
At interval a delicious afternoon tea was served by the Friends of Cooma Cottage and a raffle was drawn with the prize of a two volume book of “Yehudiana” generously donated by Philip and which was won by Wayne Stuart to his great excitement.
The second half of the concert began with a scintillating saxophone performance given by Maddy Brown, one of our Dr RAG Holmes Music Scholars, who was accompanied by Ruth Giddy, also a RAG Holmes Scholar, and Ruth received special praise from Philip for her sympathetic playing.
With the support from Marina and Clemens, Philip continued with more stories from Yehudi’s life through the Romanian Dances of Bella Bartok, an allegro from Beethoven’s “Spring” sonata and the allegro from Edward Elgar’s E minor Violin Sonata, one of the composer’s last works written at the end of World War I with the anger, sadness and frustration of the times as well as the imminence of Elgar’s own death.
Philip finished the Menuhin story accompanied by the playing of Fritz Kreisler’s “Caprice Viennois”, which Kreisler had written as a tribute to his native city, Vienna, the love of which was so much shared by Yehudi, himself.
The whole performance was a remarkable one and a musical treat that those in attendance will always remember for the superb blending of Philip Bailey’s wonderful story telling in combination with the brilliance of violin and piano as it came from Marina and Clemens.
Our President, Peter Crisp thanked Philip, Marina and Clemens for a superb concert and presented each of them with a piece of Crisp glass to mark the special occasion.
The next concert for the Yass Music Club will feature the Grigoryan Brothers who will be playing for us on Sunday, 28th August at 2.00pm. A concert not to be missed!
(Submitted by Brian Millett. Photos by Peter Jones.)
Philip Bailey was born in 1942 and raised in Sydney, Australia. After taking degrees in Agricultural Economics and in Education, he became a teacher. From 1974, he taught in Britain for two years before joining the Menuhin staff. During extensive travels with Yehudi and Diana over the course of the next twenty-two years, he and partner Tim Coupland served the Menuhins in various capacities. Between these commitments, they established an antique restoration business in London, an enterprise generously supported by both Yehudi and Diana.
After Yehudi’s death in 1999, Philip and Tim returned to Australia and now share retirement in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, near Sydney.
Marina studied violin at the Sydney Conservatorium with Alice Waten. She then studied for a Performer’s Diploma in Vienna with Gerhard Schulz (Alban Berg Quartet) with the assistance of an Australia Council Grant, a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee award and Austrian Government stipends. While in Europe she also had lessons with Josef Suk, Sándor Végh, Valery Klimov, and Valery Gradov. In 1990, Marina Marsden was appointed as a Concertmaster of the Bruckner Orchestra in Austria, and was Associate Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 1992 until 1994. As soloist, she has performed with the Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra symphony orchestras, and the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra.
In 1997, Marina Marsden travelled to Austria and the USA on a Churchill Fellowship, and in 1998 she toured Vietnam for Musica Viva as a member of Ku-ring-gai Virtuosi. She was also a founding member of Grevillea Ensemble.
Marina Marsden received a 1999 Australian Music Centre National Award for her CD of Margaret Sutherland’s chamber music on the Tall Poppies label, and has also recorded for Move Records and ABC Classics. She also edited Margaret Sutherland’s Violin Sonata for Currency Press (2000).
Marina Marsden is also active as a chamber musician. She performed at the 2008 Kowmung Music Festival in Oberon and at the 2009 Bowral Autumn Festival with members of the Australia Ensemble. She is a founding member of the Linden String Trio with violist Justine Marsden and cellist Timothy Nankervis. Engagements have included performances for the ABC Classic FM Sunday Live Series and Sydney Mozart Society.
Distinguished pianist Clemens Leske has been concerto soloist with all of Australia’s symphony orchestras (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Tasmania, West Australia and Queensland) under such conductors as Vladimir Spivakov, Nicholas Braithwaite, Muhai Tang, Vernon Handley, Raimon Gamba and Tommy Tycho.
During his studies at the Juilliard School, New York, Clemens regularly appeared at Lincoln Center in the famed ‘Bang on a Can’ and ‘Focus’ festivals of contemporary music, and won numerous prizes and awards, including the ABC Young Performer of the Year, the David Paul Landa Memorial Scholarship (Australia), and the Hattori Award (London).
He has performed regularly with the Australian String Quartet, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Moscow Virtuosi and at such festivals as the Barossa International, Huntington, Spring and Adelaide. Recently, he was soloist with the Bangkok Symphony, performing the Schumann Piano Concerto for the King of Thailand’s birthday concert and with the Sydney Symphony performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto to great acclaim.
He has released three discs of solo piano and chamber music and recorded extensively for Australian radio stations ABC-FM, 2MBS and 5UV.
In 2005 Clemens gave his London debut in the Royal Festival Hall, performing Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. As a result of this success, he was invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Eastbourne Festival.
Recent appearances include performances in the eight-piano Steinway Spectacular, a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the world premiere of Carl Vine’s Anne Landa Preludes (2006) and a solo recital as part of Historic Houses Trust’s ‘House Music’ series at Government House.
Clemens has also appeared as soloist with the Sydney Symphony at Angel Place and the Opera House, performing Mozart’s K413 Piano Concerto; and he performed Strauss’ Burlesque with the same orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy.